Can All Tetra Fish Get Along?

You can find tetras in a wide range of varieties. They are easy to care for, and in the majority of cases, they are very peaceful fish. When aquarium enthusiasts wish to build a community tank, this is the first fish they turn to.

Even with their handsomely colored rainbow hues over a silver background. Their peaceful, social attitude. Tank owners still wonder. 

Can all tetra fish get along? Yes, all tetra fish can get along.  They make a great choice of fish to have on their own or as a partner fish to another breed, although some fish don’t make good tank mates.

If you have, or you are in the process of building an aquarium. It’s not the case of whether or not to have tetras, but what should you have in your tank with them.

How Large are Tetras?

Before you run off to find a school of tetras and some other fish to co-habit alongside them, you do need to know the species of tetra you will be having.

There are small tetras like black phantom, neon, serpae, ruby, glowlight, and cardinal. These varieties don’t usually grow above 2-inches in length. While small, this makes them very popular choices for community tanks.

In the midrange sizes of tetra, these don’t usually grow above 3-inches and include Congo tetras, Buenos Aires, black skirt, and bleeding heart. The larger variants, such as the bucktooth and the long-finned, can grow to between 4 and 5 inches in length.

Time to School

One of the reasons tank owners opt for these little fish is the way they swim around in a school. This though, is the tetra’s way of survival, as they appear larger when they swim around in formation.

Tetras automatically school with one another, and even various species of the tetra family seek one another out and hang out all day long.  Moreover, while they vastly prefer to school with their own kind, they will allow other fish to school with them, or even join a small school of other fish, if they’re not too big. Tetras are sociable and are happiest in schools of six or more.  Even the mildly aggressive Serpae tetra – exhibit more gracious behavior if other fish surround them.

Tetra Tank Tips

Any new tank owner can quickly have flashes of vibrant color dashing around their aquarium when choosing tetras. Once you pay attention to the fundamentals, and the care these little fish require, you can be off to a flying start.

Here are a few tips to go through as you begin to build your tetra tank.

  • Tetra tank mates: When considering tank mates for your tetra, make sure to account for the water, lighting, and feeding of the other fish you may wish to add.
  • Big tank: You will need a tank that is large enough to hold your school of tetras, and any other tank mates you wish to add. Just because tetras are small, they still require a decent amount of space each. A good guide is one gallon of water for each inch of fish. A 20-gallon tank can house around 20-fish, which don’t grow above an inch. Additionally, don’t forget your plants, rocks, and other decorations as this reduce the fish number you can have.
  • Night and Day: Any additions to your tetra tank will have to be on the same day and night pattern. If you want nocturnal fish, these will have very different lighting requirements.
  • Gravel: When you have gravel in your community tank, make sure it is fine enough that if a tetra accidentally swallows a piece, it can pass it through its body without issue.
  • Lids: Make sure your tank has a lid. If tetras become startled, they may leap from the water and find themselves on the outside of the tank.

Water Requirements and Feeding for Tetras

Generally, you find tetras in slightly soft acidic water in the wild. The species you find in home aquariums will be raised in waters that most usually have a higher pH level, and are more alkaline than the natural waters.

As a guide, the water should be between a pH of 6.8 to 7.8. The temperatures should also be in the range of 75 to 80 degrees fahrenheit. If your environment means your water will fall to a lower temperature than this, you will need an aquarium heater to compensate for this. One exception to the rule is the Buenos Aires, who does like slightly cooler waters.

Water changes of between 20 and 25% need conducting once or twice per month and should include the use of a gravel vacuum to clean all the waste from your substrate.  

Tetras are omnivores, so this means they are happy eating meat-based foods as well as vegetable-based foods. High-protein flakes and pellets are good options for these little fish, and on occasions, you can be feed live or frozen foods such as bloodworms. If you have a larger variety of tetra, you can feed brine shrimp rather than these worms.

Come feeding time, the rule of thumb for tetras, is to feed them only what they will consume in two minutes or less.

Tetra Tank Mates

Many other species of fish, snails, and shrimp make great companions for tetras. Here are a few of the main choices that aquarium enthusiasts choose.


Guppies are another nice looking small fish. They shimmer with rainbow colors and a tail fin that fans out in a flamboyant display.

Available in an endless range of colors. Blue, orange, green, silver, and many more combinations you can imagine. Guppies enjoy schooling with their own, or with your tetra. Just be sure to have double the number of males as females. Guppies are good neighbors, yet they can nip at long-finned fish like Long-finned tetras.  Guppies like the same diet as tetras, so there are no complications come feeding time.

African Dwarf Frogs

Frogs might seem an unlikely choice for tetra tank mates, but African dwarf frogs are a great addition. They are aquatic and don’t need dry land. They have lungs and get their air from the water’s surface.

You will need a good filter because frogs make more waste than fish. Gravel is generally the best substrate for aquatic frogs. Make sure your tank has plenty of large-leafed plants (fake or real) for your frogs to sit on.

Hungry frogs may attempt to snack on smaller fish, so time your frog feeding well to minimize the risk. The Dwarf frogs are meat-eaters and love frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp.

Sinking pellets should also be used because frogs hang out in the lower parts of the tank.  


The Plecostomus or Plecos make great tank cleaners. They’re a breed of catfish, and a scavenger. Be sure to choose one that won’t grow too large because they grow from a couple of inches to over two feet. The Clown Pleco remains small as it grows, so it can be a good choice to accompany your tetra aquarium.

Plecos feed on algae but will need their diet to be supplemented to ensure proper nutrition. They can eat vegetables and fresh or frozen worms and brine shrimp.

Plecos like to hide, so well placed rocks to make caves will keep them happy. Plecos are not particular of water conditions, yet they will appreciate a consistent for the environment.


Mollies are another great crowd favorite. They’re small, cute, and very relaxed, so they are a great addition to fit in with your tetras.

Mollies don’t cause much trouble and are not care intensive. Aside from this, they have a long life span of around 5-years. Conditions that are perfect for tetras are more than ideal for mollies. Food-wise, they can be fed flakes or they can eat mashed fresh vegetables and meat proteins.


Tetras are happy on their own, or they make great companion fish from any of the above or the others that are suitable.

Fish not to pair them with include sharks, betta fish, barbs, among others, can take unkindly to these small neon tetras. For harmony in your tank, schools of these will be swimming around in gentle currents and delivering a harmonious environment in your aquarium.

For new tank starters, or if you have had an aquarium for a while, there are not many fish that add as the most sociable of fish, the tetras.