Neon Tetras & Angelfish – Can They Live Together?

When setting up a community fish tank, the most important thing is choosing your species wisely. You have to make sure that your new pets can share water parameter requirements, but not only.

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Indeed, temperament compatibility is a must, as you certainly want to avoid smaller fish becoming a meal in no time.

Angelfish and neon tetras share similar water necessities, but what about their personality? Can they live together at all? Well, with a few handy tricks in mind, they could actually make a pretty functional combination.  

Keeping Neon Tetras & Angelfish

When keeping neon tetras with angelfish you should consider aquarium size, water parameters, school size, feeding, and filtration. Below, I go into details:

– Aquarium Size

Angelfish are decently sized fish and can grow up to 8 inches long in captivity. Also, they feature quite tall bodies, so they certainly require enough space to move around freely.

On the other side, although neon tetras are much smaller and do not require that much space, they are schooling fish and need to be kept in groups.

In order for being able of keeping a pair of angelfish and a functional school of neons, you should set up an aquarium of at least 40 gallons. All that is under such size can trigger aggressive behavior or stress among both species.

In case your neons decide to start nipping on the angelfish because feeling threatened or unhappy, they could soon become a meal.

– Bigger School

Neon tetras are minute fish that get scared quite easily. And they are schooling fish, meaning that they simply have to live in a group in order to function normally. Under ideal conditions, a group of 6 specimens is able of adapting well to life in captivity.

In this case, however, a larger school is preferred. Keeping a group of 12 to 15 neons will ensure that your tiny pets feel much safer within the presence of larger fish as angelfish are.

Furthermore, this will decrease the chances of your angelfish attacking your neon fish. Although both species are extremely peaceful and docile, angelfish can still decide to eat smaller fish that fit into their mouth. Therefore, keeping the little ones in larger groups is a much more reliable solution.

– Water Parameters

Both angelfish and neon fish originate from acidic and warm waters, which is great news. That means that you can easily setup such water parameters which work perfectly for your community tank. Below are some basic guidelines to follow:

  • Water temperature should be between 75- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The pH level should be kept between 6,8 and 7,0.
  • Both fish prefer softer water, anywhere from 3 and 8 dKH.
  • A mild current is highly welcome.

Additionally, plants are vitally important, so feel free to plant your community tank heavily. Floating plants will protect your neon tetras from light, as they are used to living in darker waters.

High plants will act as a refuge to neon tetras and to angelfish as well, as they offer many natural hiding spots. On top of that, you can add peat moss at the bottom of the tank, to increase the chances of any potential eggs not becoming a meal to adults very soon.

– Feeding

Both species are omnivorous, meaning that they will happily accept both healthy greens and meaty treats. However, their core diet should consist of high-quality apposite flakes or pellets, in order to ensure they are getting enough nutritive values in captivity.

Angelfish like feeding at the top of the tank, while neon tetras prefer sticking around the mid-levels. This should make feeding much easier, as there is basically no risk of these two species getting into conflict while eating on different tank levels.

You can feed both of your fish twice per day but remember to never overfeed them. Indeed, neon tetras are super-small and so should be their meals.

– Filtration

Neon tetras and angelfish are both quite resistant and can survive with no filter if their humans are willing to provide a bit of extra care.

However, it is highly recommended to set up a good filtration system anyway, as community tanks with several fish inside are much more difficult to keep stable.

Will Angelfish Attack Neon Tetras?

Angelfish are known as really peaceful (and even friendly) pets. They do not tend to get into physical conflicts as long as they have enough space, even during the breeding process.

However, they are omnivorous, and they can decide to eat neon tetras sometimes. After all, it is part of their natural instinct. Therefore, keeping a larger school of neons is incredibly important as this will ensure that angelfish never chase them out.

Seeing so many fish swimming simultaneously can actually bring them to change their minds and give up on attacking the little ones.

Will Neon Tetras Eat Angelfish Fry?

Sadly, neon tetras are famous for being quite the fry eaters. And not only, but they can also decide to feed on eggs. This is part of their natural instinct and there is nothing you can do to avoid such behavior, other than isolating the angelfish you wish to breed into a temporary tank.

Additionally, neon tetras can often eat their own eggs and fry if they happen to breed in their community tank. If you wish to save your neon fry, you should gently pick them up with a net and place them into an isolation tank.

Alternatively, peat moss as a substrate addition can be quite helpful, as neons will probably be unable of spotting them all then, and some may manage to hatch and grow up.

Wrapping Up

Neon tetras and angelfish are both amazing tropical fish species, and many aquarium keepers often simply do not wish to compromise between keeping one or the other. Therefore, community tanks make amazing solutions if you are willing to invest some time and effort in setting yours up correctly.

Although angelfish are much larger when compared to tiny tetras, they can still get along peacefully if there is enough space and greenery around. A few handy tricks will help you obtain a suitable home for both.

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