Can Neon Tetras Live With Bettas? [FAQs Answered]

At what age do Bettas make bubble nests

For most betta fish owners, it is more difficult to find the perfect tank mate for their bettas. It even gets more complicated when they cannot find the perfect tank mate that will complement the betta’s fierce attitude. However, there are 5 to 6 fish specified by the experts that can live compatible with the bettas.

The neon tetra, one of the fish from those mentioned species, and whether it can coexist happily with bettas will be discussed in this article. Read through every word of this article carefully in order to know the answer.

Neon tetras can live with bettas peacefully in a community tank, however, there are some factors that will be the key elements to maintaining peace between them. When tank factors are taken into consideration, the behavior of bettas around neon fish will be crucial in maintaining harmony. 

Although it’s possible for neon tetras to coexist with bettas in a community tank, Mary McCauley from Mary’s Magic Bettas warns against this pairing, especially in small setups like a 10-gallon tank.

She emphasizes that bettas are solitary and territorial, often preferring to be alone. Combining them with neon tetras or other fish risks aggression and stress, which can lead to health issues.

Therefore, while physical compatibility might seem feasible, the psychological wellbeing of bettas should be a priority.

Do Neon Tetras And Bettas Get Along?

Bettas and tetras initially seem to be diametrically opposed and incompatible. In contrast to the other, which is a violent, possessive, lonely fish, the former is a gentle fish that requires a community to survive. Betta and neon tetra share certain commonalities regardless of their intrinsic distinctions, which makes raising them together feasible. 

First off, as they are both tropical aquatic species of fish, you may adjust the water’s characteristics to make them both happy. Furthermore, and perhaps most significantly, bettas are not the ruthless demons that some fishkeepers portray them to be. 

Neon Tetras move really quickly and congregate across the entire tank. These little fish may get along swimmingly with other small fish, including bettas. If you want to retain a bunch of neon tetras and bettas, though, you will want a larger tank with between ten and twelve gallons of water.

Since anytime the aggressive bettas begin running after them, the neon tetras will require a lot of areas to explore. The neon tetras will consume any food scraps left over from the bettas without engaging in any type of food-related conflict with the bettas.

There are some other factors that play an important role in turning both neon tetras and bettas living together peacefully. I will elaborately discuss those factors in the later part of this article.

9 Factors That Make Neon Tetras And Bettas Compatible

Well, neon tetras and bettas can be good tank mates but that depends on too many factors. We all know that bettas are pretty aggressive fish and tetras are peaceful fish which is why there are some factors that will play a key role in making both of these opposite personality fish live together peacefully. 

Below I have discussed some of the important factors that are based on environment, fish personality, etc. Some factors might be known to you while some might be new to you. But every factor is equally important and you will need to review these factors properly.

1. The Tank Factor

Bettas do well in 5 to 10-gallon tanks, despite the fact that it is common to maintain them in tiny pots. If you wish to introduce buddies to your betta, larger tanks are very crucial.

Because of their gregarious habits, neon tetras also require a bare minimum of ten gallons. Since neon tetras are socializing fish, they will become anxious if they are not surrounded by several other neons. A neon tetra group should have at least 5 to 10 fish to be considered optimum.

An absolute minimum becomes an inch of fish per gallon when choosing tank stock. Neon tetras can reach lengths of 1.5 inches, whereas bettas can reach lengths of 2.5 inches. You would have fish that are around 18 inches long fish if you had 10 neon tetras so one betta.

Therefore, a typi­cally 20 to 21-gallon tank is recommended even if they can live in an 11-gallon aquarium. Adding additional snails to the aquarium to aid maintain its cleanliness might even be possible with this amount of extra space. The neon tetra and the betta will have enough area in this bigger aquarium to avoid squabbling.

2. The Tank Conditions Factor

The toughness of neon tetras and bettas is one trait that makes them both desirable options for aquarium fish. But just because these fish can live in less-than-ideal settings in the wilderness doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make an effort to provide those surroundings inside their tank; except if you want to send them to an inevitable end.

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As a result, if you would like your neon tetra and betta to grow and develop into beautiful fish, you must make absolutely sure that the water quality parameters in your communal tank are suitable for both fish species.

3. The Water Parameter Factor

Water that is between 77- and 81-degrees Fahrenheit should be used to house bettas. In contrast, the ideal ambient water temperature for neon tetra ranges from 74 to 78°F. You can see that this results in a limited spectrum of 77-81°F. With a decent tank heater, or even greater, a tank heater regulator, this is absolutely possible.

Thankfully, the pH requirements for these two species are comparable. pH levels of 6.6-7 are ideal for a betta. Additionally, neon tetras in water with a pH of 6.5-7. Therefore, they each require somewhat gentle water hardness.

The water requirements of neon tetras and bettas are rather comparable, as you’ll notice. They are therefore the perfect tank mates in this regard.

4. The Neon Tetra’s Personality Factor

The schooling fish known as neon tetras are quite calm. They thrive best in groups of 10 to 20 tetras. Neon tetras typically find themselves in legal trouble, although you would guarantee that the betta would be the culprit in a fight. A male betta’s large, drapey fins might be bitten by tetras.

The good news is that whereas betta likes to be towards the top of a tank, neon tetra likes to hang around in the mid. Therefore, fin nibbling should be reduced as soon as your tank is spacious enough and filled with plants.

5. The Betta’s Personality Factor

Betta’s character traits can differ greatly. In contrast to females, who are often less violent, men are. Female bettas, therefore, have a considerably higher possibility of coexisting happily with neon tetras, despite being less flashy and appealing.

The majority of us, however, actually want to retain a male betta that is stunning and flamboyant. Each betta fish has a unique character, which is one of the fantastic things about them. You could discover that you are one of the luckier people and have a betta with a decent attitude. Your betta will get along just great with some tank mates if you prepare ahead and take care of them.

However, there is numerous betta that flat-out refuses to cohabitate in a water tank with other creatures.

6. The Diet Factor

You’ll be happy to know that betta and neon tetra nutritional needs are fairly equivalent, allowing feeding both species the right food simple.

Bettas eat meat, but neon tetras eat anything. The latter may receive their nourishment from both sources of plants and animals as opposed to the former, who can only acquire it from animal origin. As a result, you can treat a neon tetra with practically anything you would offer a betta. However, not every tetra food is good for bettas.

7. The Decoration and Hiding Spots Factor

There may be advantages in hiding spots for both of these species. Your betta will feel safer when it has a rapid exit route to a concealed area while it is near other schooling fish.

These secure areas may be made utilizing plants. Bettas may easily switch between leaves and stems if the vegetation is dense. You may make use of stone caverns and driftwood, among other things. Although some of them may actually be purchased, others may require some advance planning. 

Choosing a sturdy piece of driftwood and drilling a hole in it are my recommendations if you decide to use it. On the other hand, the neon tetras will be able to hide easily whenever the bettas start to attack them. As we know bettas have a violent nature, the tetras may save their lives by utilizing these hiding spots.

To provide the neon tetras with plenty of hiding places, the tank should be densely planted. They’ll be able to avoid confrontation this way. In addition to providing shelter, thickly planted tanks are also attractive to bettas. This provides them with a location to construct their bubble habitats. 

If you don’t want to invest a lot of money on high-end lighting or Carbon dioxide, minimal lighting tank plants are a fantastic option. Even though live plants are the greatest option for your fish and tank, not everybody is gifted with a stroke of golden luck. If you decide to buy artificial plants, consider something large and dense like an artificial Anacharis. 

The availability of many excellent places to hide will be ensured by selecting denser vegetation. To guarantee that there are adequate hiding places, customized aquarium decor may also be used.

8. The Correct Way Of Adding The Fish

You should introduce neon tetras to your tank first and then add a betta afterwards. This is a consequence of the betta’s possessive attitude. Bettas are far less inclined to accept visitors if they have made a home for themselves in an aquarium by themselves. The entire tank will be regarded as his own domain. 

When he is introduced, he will be able to distinguish between them and, presumably, just take up a section of the tank. As a result, the neons should be able to coexist happily in a neutral environment. Placing a jar with the betta within it into the water is necessary before introducing it into the tank. 

They will observe one another with a security boundary in effect, and as a result, the neon tetra and betta will have some time to know each other. Put the betta into its aquarium after about approx. 60 minutes. 

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On day one, schedule a few hours to observe and inspect the tank. Keep an eye out for the betta’s aggressive behaviours, also including flared gills. As long as the betta isn’t hurting anything, a little chase and territorial-establishing attitude are fine. The betta’s attempts to eliminate other fish and his efforts to merely establish oneself are two different things.

Keep in mind to have a fallback strategy in case circumstances don’t work out. If keeping your betta with neon tetras does not really work out, it’s better to have a smaller tank ready for her.

9. The Life Saver

Finally, think about obtaining a tank divider to isolate them if you detect the tetra’s fin biting at your bettas in especially.

With a protective barrier between them, the fish may socialize while remaining protected from the bettas’ anger. You may take down the partition and allow the fish to coexist openly once they’ve both become acclimated to each other’s company.

On the other hand, keep a vigilant lookout for any more fin nibbling. The only solution is to divide the tanks of your bettas and tetras if the latter is still interfering with the former.

How To Introduce A Betta To Neon Tetras In A Safe Manner?

The male betta has strong territorial tendencies, so placing him in the tank initially is a mistake because he’ll take over the entire area, thereby turning it into a betta tank. Therefore, adding tetras will result in a conflict, making it impossible for you to do so.

In light of this, it would be more logical to introduce the group of tetras first to the tank. The calm tetra, in contrast to bettas, won’t attack any newcomers. Bettas should be added last since doing so stops them from controlling the entire tank and deterring territorial violence.

To create distinct zones, another suggestion is to utilize a tank barrier. To help the betta get acclimated to controlling a smaller area right away, make sure his side is smaller. The fish should be allowed to become acclimated to observing one another through the glass barrier. 

Make sure you only take it out if you’re sure the betta doesn’t mind the tetras being there.

With A Betta, How Many Neon Tetras Can You Keep?

Neon Tetras require a social environment, whereas bettas may survive alone. Therefore, you must thus maintain them properly. There isn’t any limitation on the number of neon tetras that may coexist in an aquarium with a betta, although it is advised to keep groups of at least 6 neons together. 

However, 10 neon tetras or more should always be stored together, in my opinion. They shouldn’t be fighting for territory since bettas lounge at the tank’s top and bottom whereas neon tetras assemble for schooling in the lower and middle regions. In fact, this is only valid if your tank is large enough.

A 14-gallon tank is required if you intend to keep a team of ten neon tetras, according to the rule of 1 gallon per inch of fish. After taking the ratio into account, a betta should be kept in a tank that is three to four gallons in size. If you have multiple bettas then you will need at least 21 gallons before taking into account the space that must be left in the tank to accommodate everything else.

In A 5-gallon Tank Featuring A Betta, How Many Neon Tetras Can I Keep?

Neon tetras require a minimum number of six fish to be kept together, thus you cannot add them to a 5-gallon tank without risking their safety. Neons cannot be added to your aquarium without overcrowding it because a betta alone requires 2–3 gallons.

This subject was mainly included because I’ve heard it asked elsewhere, however even adding just 6 neon tetras will cause them to invade the betta’s area. This increases the likelihood that the Betta may act hostilely against them.

Neons are a species that naturally thrives in groups and are calmer when maintained in bigger numbers, thus keeping too few of them will make them stressed.

Neons under stress are more prone to begin biting your betta’s fins, which might cause the betta to retaliate by biting. The very last thing a fishkeeper wants to see is fish fighting and hurting each other. Therefore, 5-gallon aquariums are not recommended for a colony of neon tetra and betta fish.

In A 10-gallon Tank Featuring A Betta, How Many Neon Tetras Can I Keep?

In their native environment, neon tetras reside in schools, so keeping them in your house should follow likewise. In order for them to create a group, move as a unit, and feel more comfortable, you need 6-10 of them. A 10-gallon tank, however, is only large enough to house ten neon tetras.

Will Betta Eat Neon Tetra?

Your betta will certainly eat neon tetra only and only if you keep them hungry for a long time. As bettas are considered carnivores which means they are fond of flesh, they can eat the flesh of the neons. However, there are other factors that can trigger the bettas to eat the neons. 

However, one of the most common factors that make the bettas expose their carnivore nature is when they get into disputes over territorial control. Though the neons are calm in nature and normally thrive in the bottom part of the tank if the betta feels the neons are roaming in their territory then the betta might kill them and will devour them.

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Therefore, make sure that there is harmony between the bettas and the neons in the tank. Because there is a high chance that the neons will get killed and devoured by the bettas if they get into a territorial dispute.

Also, ensure that you keep your bettas hungry for a long time. Feed your bettas twice a day and make sure that the food is full of essential nutrients. As bettas are considered carnivores, try to treat them with live foods as often.

Will Betta Fish Be Attacked By Neon Tetras?

Neon tetras are absolutely calm, in contrast to bettas, which are known as Japanese combat fish. If your betta fights them, they will flee and hide right away. Because of this, you must give them ample cover, such as plants and perhaps a few other decorations. 

Due to the bullying from the betta, the neon tetra would experience a significant amount of stress if it were alone. You can provide them with a feeling of security by maintaining them in school. They immediately become less fearful of the potential threats when they are part of a group of 6–10 fish.

Why Is My Betta Chasing Neon Tetras?

The neon fish are being chased out of the betta’s zone, which takes up a fair amount of area. The betta won’t be satisfied unless it has the habitat to itself or controls over the other cowardly fish in the lower part of the tank.

You can maintain neons and bettas alongside, however, they’ll have their times when they don’t want to be around each other, but with time the neons will learn to stay away from the betta’s “private space.” Many betta owners discovered that the betta finally regarded the neon fish as if they were fish fry (babies), and would really share food with them.

Try to introduce them at the exact time or add a betta to a neon tetra tank because a betta that has been in a tank for a while is usually more likely to protest to a group of neons going in. There isn’t much cause for concern in the near future if your betta does exhibit aggressive behavior against your neon fish. 

They’ll probably become tired of trying because the less active betta has virtually little chance of capturing the zippy neon tetra. But in the long run, if betta’s behavior doesn’t improve after a few days, it’s preferable to separate them.

Although not all bettas are amiable towards the other fish, some do exhibit highly maternal behavior. 

How Can I Prevent My Neon Tetras From Biting My Betta’s Fin?

Nipping at the fins is a symptom of tension, and also bigger groups tend to make neon tetras happy. You can increase the number of neons in the mix to deter them from biting your betta’s impressive fins. However, this shouldn’t be a justification for overcrowding your tank. Just add more neons if there is room for them. 

This is why I suggested getting a larger aquarium than what is necessary for the quantity of fish you have since you don’t want to overburden the tank if you decide to add more fish. Since a mature neon tetra will develop to a maximum length of 1/2 inch while the basic rule is one gallon per inch of fish.

My recommendation is to resettle the betta if this is not a possibility. It is simpler to move a solitary betta to a small aquarium than it is to move a group of 10 or more swift neon tetras. Additionally, because the betta needs less area in any case, it seems logical to setup up a smaller tank that will be less expensive and occupy less area in your house.

If you intend to relocate your betta in this method, always wash your tank completely beforehand. No matter how appealing it would be to remove them from the frontline, it’s better for your fish if you wait a few days rather than putting them in an aquarium before it becomes ready.

Is There Any Chance That Neons Will Eat Betta’s food?

Bettas are considered carnivorous, while neon tetras lives on as omnivorous. Neon tetras consume a range of different foods in the wild, notably bugs, shellfish, daphnia, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, and even tiny fish eggs. Neon tetras also like eating a variety of plants, vegetables, and fruits. Neon tetras don’t have particular food preferences, thus they’ll consume everything given to them.

Neon tetras will consume betta food when you have a shared tank with both of those fish species. When it comes to exploring their environment or trying new foods, neon tetras are renowned for their enthusiasm. Although betta food can be consumed by neon tetras, it shouldn’t be their primary source of nutrition.

It won’t harm neon tetras if they occasionally consume betta food. Nevertheless, if they are consistently given better food, it may eventually harm their health.

Considering bettas are carnivores, the majority of their diet consists of animal products. Their diet is high in protein. However, because they are omnivores, neon tetras also require a plant-based diet to develop in the best way possible.

Tetras require a nutritious diet for optimum growth. Betta food could be consumed by neon tetras, despite the contrary being not true for betta fish. Neon tetra’s food won’t help bettas to grow.

Final Verdict

Similar to neon tetras, there are other 12 fish that can live with bettas peacefully. Make sure you have a look at my next article to know about those 12 fish.  12 Fish That Can Live With Bettas [Peacefully]

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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