Are Neon Tetras and Bettas Good Tank Mates?

One of the most beautiful aquarium fish are definitely neon tetras. It is best to keep them in schools of 10 to 12 because they feel the best that way and they are even more beautiful in groups. However, if the size of your tank doesn’t allow you to have this much, you can go with less than that but please don’t go under six of them.

If you are wondering whether you can keep Neon Tetras and Bettas together int he same tank, the answer is yes, but under certain conditions. Neon tetras are very fast swimmers and normally they would occupy the middle section of the aquarium. Bettas usually spend most of their time in the top section so there shouldn’t be any problem. Even if your Betta feels territorial it has no chance to get in touch with the neon tetra because of their speed.

neon tetras and bettas

But first let’s see whether these two need similar water conditions.

Do They Need the Same Water Conditions?

You simply can’t keep two fish species together if they don’t require the same or very similar water parameters.

Here is what you need to know:

Water temperature

  • Betta fish: 76-82°F
  • Neon tetra: 68–82°F 


  • Betta fish: pH 6.8-7.5
  • Neon tetra: pH 4-7.5 

As we can see from the above, keeping a water temperature between 76-82°F, and the pH between 6.8-7.5 would be ideal for your Betta fish, and your Neon tetras will feel great as well.

Of course, we don’t have to mention that keeping the tank clean, checking water quality and simply taking care of them is extremely important.

Diet: Do Neon Tetras Eat Betta Food?

While it is well known that Betta fish are carnivores and need a protein-rich food, Neon tetras are omnivores. But what does it really mean? Well when it comes to Neon tetras diet they will enjoy shrimp pellets and flakes. Live and frozen food is also fine, just like spinach and lettuce. However, if we want to keep them together we have to find the ideal combination for both, but don’t forget that Betta fish are more demanding when it comes to food.

To sum things up while your Neon Tetras can eat food intended for Betta fish, your Betta can’t rely solely on Neon tetra food.

Do They Get Along?

Due to their peaceful nature Neon tetras have no problems getting along with other fish, including Bettas. In case you are just planning your tank setup, it is recommended to include Neon tetras first and later add a Betta. Including a Betta fish will make it act a bit territorial and will probably make it more aggressive towards the neon tetras. You can also try including female Betta to the setup since they are less aggressive.

Choosing Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are easily available in most pet stores. However, when you decide to buy them, pay attention to the tank they are living in at the moment. It is very important to see that it is clean and well maintained. After that pay close attention to the Neon tetra appearance – is their head light blue and is the distinctive stripe present? Is the abdomen silver and shiny? Is the red stripe intensive or hardly visible? Are they active or just hiding in the tank? Is there any visible damage on their fins and body? All these questions are intended to pint you to the right direction when you are choosing a Neon tetra school for your tank.

Final Words

It is good to know that when you decide to introduce a tank mate to your Betta, that in most cases everything depends on your Betta’s character. Having a spare tank or a tank divider is always a good option if you run into any problems with your Betta and the new tank mate(s).  

Our recommendation for keeping a Betta and neon tetras together is to have them in at least 15 gallons tank, with plenty of live plants and hiding objects, but with a good amount of open space for the Neon tetras as well. By doing this we are going to reduce the chances to experience some problems to its bare minimum.

Now let’s sum thing up:

  • If you know that your Betta is aggressive it would be better to give up on the idea of introducing a tank mate.
  • Add the Neon tetras in the tank first.
  • When we take a look at the water parameters and the food they like, Neon Tetras and Bettas are pretty compatible.
  • Make sure to put them in a 15 gallons tank or a larger one.
  • Put lots of live plants and hiding places without reducing the open space in the tank.

Now after you have read everything we had to say, it is up to you whether you are going to keep Neon Tetras and Bettas together. However, if you have any doubts, we recommend checking some other Betta tank mates like:

Have a great day!

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