Betta fish are among the most loved fish species for an aquarium. Their gracefulness and shining colors make them a favorable choice for a pet fish. Although Bettas are commonly kept alone in a tank, aquarium enthusiasts occasionally put them in larger aquariums with a variety of other species. This, however, does not always work as planned.
Can Neon Tetras live with a Betta? Under some basic circumstances, there will be no problems. Neons are really fast and will keep a distance from the Betta. In the perfect setting, your aquarium will be rich with plants and hiding spots for the Tetras. Below, you will find a detailed answer on how to keep them together!
The answer hides in the other name of the Betta – Siamese fighting fish. Famously, they are quite aggressive to the majority of other species and to their own kind as well.
You simply cannot put two male Bettas together. There are, however, certain types of fish that can get along with Bettas. Today, our focus will be on Neon Tetras and how compatible they are in a tank with a Betta.
How to Keep Neon Tetras and a Betta together
Neon Tetras are another species that are commonly kept for their vibrant colors. They are among the most common fish in Pet Stores and are great for beginners.
They are easy to look after but they as well have requirements. While the minimum tank size for Neon Tetras is 10 gallons, if you plan on having them with a Betta, definitely go for a larger one, around 20 gallons.
Neon Tetras are peaceful and what makes them suitable for a Betta tank is their speed. They will keep a distance from the Betta. Of course, we have to mention that it is usually not advisable to put another species that is rich in colors with a Betta.
As long as you have a heavily planted aquarium that provides enough hiding spots for smaller fish, you are good to go. Neon Tetras require a lot of space. This species lives in packs, so make sure you have a minimum of six.
They are schooling fish so they will move around a lot but mainly stick to the mid-area of the tank. Bettas, on the other side, are usually around the top of the tank as they have a different respiratory system, and need to breathe.
Both species have similar requirements as of water parameters. Water needs to be around 24C – 26C (75F – 79F). The safest way to put them together is to first keep them separated in different tanks.
Neons are quite prone to diseases and get stressed easily when placed in different water conditions. Make sure to keep them under quarantine for a couple of weeks.
Introducing Tetras to a Betta tank is not considered as the best option compared to the other way around. Based on personal experience, adding the Betta to a Neon Tetra pack is a better idea. This way, it will not be aggressive towards the smaller fish for invading its own territory.
As soon as you have added the Betta to the tank, it is time for several days of careful observation. As mentioned above, Neons will not have any aggressive behavior.
Your Betta, however, needs to be under watch. If you see any signs of prolonged stress, it would be best if you separate them again. Such signs are appetite loss, fin tearing, and constant aggression and chasing. This is why there should be enough hiding spots.
In the span of a few days, the two species should be comfortable enough together. If your case is one of the rare negative ones, separate the Betta to the secondary tank.
There is never a guarantee that your Betta will accept inmates. If you already know that it is aggressive, there is little chance that this will change. It is in their nature to be alone.
However, be sure that Neon Tetras are one of the best tank mates for a Betta. Even if the Betta is aggressive at some point, it will hardly ever reach one of the Tetras due to their speed. Also, the two species of fish spend their time on different water levels, therefore there shouldn’t be any issues.
Here is a summarized version of all the requirements that will ensure the safety of your aquarium:
Always have a pack of Neon Tetras. This means having at least six together. Singular Neons are stressed and get sick too easily.
Try to add the Betta last. In most cases, people buy Neons to add to a Betta tank but this is considered as the harder option. Although I have not had such problems with my fish, Bettas can get aggressive when you add new fish to their territory.
This can be prevented easily if you have a larger tank. Also, another option is to take the Betta out in a container and rearrange the whole tank so that it looks unfamiliar to the Betta. This may sound like a pointless trick but it can actually decrease aggression levels based on territory.
Do not settle for a small tank. Neon Tetras require at least 10-15 gallons.
Get a lot of decorations or living plants. They serve as hiding spots for all fish and decrease stress.
Personal Experience with Keeping Neon Tetras and a Betta
Keeping Neons and a Betta together has been a popular topic lately. If you go to two different Pet Stores and ask this question, you will easily get two completely different answers. Such is the case online as well. Different fish-keeping blogs will give you different information.
Speaking from personal experience, these two species are totally compatible in a community aquarium under the right conditions.
I have tried it with several Bettas in different tanks continuously, simply because these two species are extremely beautiful and look amazing together in a tank. Until now, I haven’t had any killed or eaten Neons.
I have mentioned all the key actions that will ensure the well-being of all your fish. As long as you stick to all requirements mentioned above, and your Betta does not have a history of aggression, feel free to start a community tank with Neon Tetras.
Both species have stunning vibrant colors and combined with some lighting will make your aquarium a sight to see.
Below, you can read some additional frequently asked questions about the co-existence of Neon Tetras and Bettas.
Neon Tetras and a Betta in a 5-gallon tank?
If there was any way to forbid such action, it would have already been done. Bettas only require at least 5 gallons of space to exist peacefully alone. For Neon Tetras, 10 gallons is just on the border of too small.
The best choice for a pack of Neon Tetras is at least a 15-20-gallon tank. If you place them together in a 5-gallon one, it will not only be too crowded, but it will end up in a lot of aggression and surely – dead Neons.
Tetras require a lot of space to move around, having them in such narrow living space will cause stress.
Are Neon Tetras good with Bettas?
Bettas and Neon Tetras will often get along easily. If you provide sufficient environment, there will be no problems in keeping them together. Make sure you have all the water conditions correct first.
Water needs to be around 24C – 26C (75F – 79F) and the tank must have a good filtration system. Make sure you add the Betta to the Neon tank and not the other way around. This way, the chances for aggression are decreased.
There is one other smart move that you can try. This is for the cases when you already have a Betta and want to add a different species.
Before you move the Neon Tetras in the tank, take the Betta out in a cup or container, and move it away from the aquarium. Then, rearrange the whole tank so that the Betta will not feel like the new fish are intruders in its own territory.
Are Neon Tetras Aggressive?
Neon Tetras are the perfect addition to any community tank. You can hardly ever see signs of aggression from this species. As long as they are in a pack, they will not be stressed and will move around together.
Can Neon Tetras eat Betta food?
While Bettas are classified as carnivores, Neon Tetras are omnivores. Therefore, Neons will have no problem with eating Betta food. However, it still depends on the exact type.
If we take flakes, for example, there will be no problem. If we take pellets, they are often too big for Tetras and they will quickly fall to the bottom. Neon Tetras are mid-area fish and would rarely eat from the bottom.
To sum up, you can feed Betta food to Neon Tetras but the other way around would not be sufficient. This is because Betta fish is a lot richer in protein than regular fish food.