Angelfish and Neon Tetras in the Same Aquarium – Is It Safe? - "File:Freshwater angelfish biodome.jpg" by mendel is licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0.
Angelfish and Neon Tetras in the Same Aquarium – Is It Safe? - "File:Freshwater angelfish biodome.jpg" by mendel is licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0.

About Angelfish

Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) are a popular freshwater fish species in the aquarium trade known for their graceful appearance and unique shape. They belong to the family Cichlidae and are native to the tropical regions of South America, primarily found in the Amazon River basin in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.

Here are some key characteristics and information about angelfish:

  • Physical Appearance: Angelfish have a distinct triangular-shaped body with elongated dorsal and anal fins that resemble angel wings, which is where their common name comes from. They typically have a silver or iridescent body color with vertical black stripes. There are also various color variations and patterns bred through selective breeding, including black, silver, gold, and marble patterns, or evenorange koi angelfish.
  • Size: When fully grown, angelfish can reach up to 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) in height. However, in aquarium settings, they might not grow as large due to space limitations.
  • Temperament: Angelfish are generally peaceful, but their temperament can vary from fish to fish. They are considered semi-aggressive, and they might become territorial during breeding or when they feel threatened. It’s essential to provide them with enough space and hiding spots to minimize aggressive behavior.
  • Aquarium Requirements: For keeping angelfish, it’s best to have an aquarium of at least 20 gallons, though larger tanks are recommended for a more comfortable and stable environment. They prefer warm water with temperatures ranging from 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C). Good filtration and regular water changes are crucial to maintain water quality.
  • Diet: In the wild, angelfish are omnivorous, feeding on small insects, crustaceans, and plant matter. In captivity, they readily accept high-quality flake or pellet foods designed for cichlids. It’s essential to supplement their diet with frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia to provide essential nutrients and mimic their natural diet.
  • Breeding: Angelfish are known to be egg-layers and can be relatively easy to breed in a well-maintained aquarium. During breeding, they become more territorial and protective of their offspring. To encourage breeding, you can provide flat surfaces, such as broad leaves or vertical surfaces, for them to lay their eggs on.

Overall, angelfish are captivating and elegant aquarium fish, but they require proper care and attention to thrive in a home aquarium. Regular maintenance, water quality checks, and a balanced diet are essential to ensure their well-being and longevity.

About Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are one of the most popular and well-known freshwater fish in the aquarium hobby. They belong to the family Characidae and are native to the slow-moving waters of the Amazon River basin in South America, including countries like Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.

Here’s some information about neon tetras:

  • Physical Appearance: Neon tetras are small, colorful fish with a distinctive and eye-catching appearance. They have a vibrant iridescent blue stripe that runs horizontally along their shimmering silver bodies from the nose to the base of the tail. Below this blue stripe is a contrasting red stripe that starts at the middle of their bodies and extends to the tail fin.
  • Size: Neon tetras are relatively small and typically grow to about 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 cm) in length.
  • Temperament: These fish are known for their peaceful and non-aggressive nature, which makes them ideal for community aquariums. They are social creatures and prefer to be kept in groups of at least six individuals to feel secure and display their natural behaviors.
  • Aquarium Requirements: Neon tetras are well-suited for smaller aquariums due to their small size. A tank size of 10 to 20 gallons (40-80 liters) is usually sufficient for a small school of neon tetras. They a temperature range of 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 27°C). Providing them with plenty of plants, rocks, and driftwood in the aquarium will create hiding spots and mimic their natural environment.
  • Diet: Neon tetras are omnivores and will readily accept a varied diet. In captivity, they can be fed high-quality flake or pellet foods specifically formulated for small tropical fish. Additionally, supplement their diet with frozen or live foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms to provide essential nutrients and maintain their vibrant colors.
  • Schooling Behavior: As mentioned earlier, neon tetras are schooling fish, which means they prefer to swim together in a group. Keeping them in a school not only provides them with a sense of security but also enhances their vibrant colors and natural behavior.

It’s important to note that neon tetras are relatively delicate fish, especially during the acclimation process to a new aquarium. Ensure that the tank is fully cycled and that water parameters are stable to prevent undue stress on the fish.

Overall, neon tetras are a beautiful and lively addition to a community aquarium, and their striking colors and peaceful nature make them a favorite among hobbyists of all levels.

Angelfish and Neon Tetras in the Same Aquarium

Setting up an aquarium to accommodate both angelfish and neon tetras requires careful consideration of the tank size, water parameters, and tank decorations to ensure the well-being of both species. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up a suitable tank:

  • Tank Size: Since angelfish can grow quite large and need more space to swim comfortably, it’s best to have a tank size of at least 30 gallons (around 120 liters) or larger. This provides enough swimming space for angelfish while also accommodating a school of neon tetras.
  • Water Parameters: The water temperature should be kept around 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C), which falls within the suitable range for both species. Use a reliable aquarium heater and thermometer to maintain a stable temperature.
  • Tank Decorations: Create a well-decorated tank with plenty of hiding spots and territories for the angelfish. Provide rocks, driftwood, and live or artificial plants. These decorations will offer shelter for the angelfish and make the neon tetras feel secure in their schooling behavior.
  • Filtration: Invest in a high-quality aquarium filter suitable for the tank size to maintain excellent water quality. Both angelfish and neon tetras are sensitive to poor water conditions, so regular filtration and water changes are crucial.
  • Schooling Behavior: As mentioned earlier, neon tetras prefer to be kept in schools of at least six individuals. Aim for a larger group if possible, as it will enhance their natural schooling behavior and keep them less stressed.
  • Tankmates: Be selective with tankmates, ensuring they are peaceful and can coexist with both angelfish and neon tetras. Suitable tankmates include small, non-aggressive community fish like guppies, rasboras, peaceful dwarf cichlids, and Corydoras catfish.
  • Feeding: Offer a balanced diet for both species. Angelfish and neon tetras are omnivorous and will accept a variety of foods, including high-quality pellets, flakes, and live or frozen foods.
  • Observation: Keep an eye on the fish’s behavior and interactions. If any individual fish becomes overly aggressive or if there are signs of stress, consider rearranging the tank decorations or providing additional hiding spots to reduce conflicts.

Remember that the compatibility between angelfish and neon tetras can vary depending on individual personalities and tank size. Some angelfish may exhibit more aggressive behavior, especially during breeding periods, so always be prepared to make adjustments to the tank setup if necessary.

By providing a spacious and well-decorated aquarium with suitable tankmates and proper care, you can create a harmonious and visually stunning environment for both angelfish and neon tetras.

Angelfish and Neon Tetras in the Same Aquarium – Is It Safe? - "File:Freshwater angelfish biodome.jpg" by mendel is licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0.
Angelfish and Neon Tetras in the Same Aquarium – Is It Safe? – “File:Freshwater angelfish biodome.jpg” by mendel is licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0.

Will Angelfish Eat the Neon Tetras?

Ususally it works very well having neon tetras and angelfish together. However, note that if you have large angelfish, and introduce some very small neon tetras (that can fit in their mouth), the angelfish may look upon the tetras as a potential food source.


In conclusion, angelfish and neon tetras are two popular and captivating freshwater fish species frequently sought after by aquarium enthusiasts. Both species possess unique and striking features, making them attractive additions to any aquarium.

Angelfish, with their graceful appearance and semi-aggressive temperament, can occasionally pose a threat to smaller tankmates like neon tetras, especially if the tank lacks sufficient space and hiding spots. Neon tetras, on the other hand, are peaceful schooling fish that thrive in groups, and they require a well-decorated environment with ample hiding spots to feel secure and display their natural behavior.

To successfully keep angelfish and neon tetras together, a spacious aquarium of at least 30 gallons (120 liters) or larger is recommended. Providing ample hiding spots through rocks, driftwood, and plants creates safe zones for the neon tetras to avoid potential predation from the larger angelfish. Again, usually this is mostly a problem if the angelfish are small enough to fit in the mouth of the angelfish.

Maintaining stable water parameters, offering a balanced diet, and selecting compatible tankmates can also contribute to a harmonious coexistence between these two species. Regular observation and appropriate adjustments to the tank setup are essential to ensure the well-being and happiness of both angelfish and neon tetras.

When approached with proper planning and consideration for the specific needs of each species, keeping angelfish and neon tetras together can result in a visually stunning and peaceful community aquarium, providing enthusiasts with endless hours of enjoyment and appreciation for these remarkable fish.