Can You Keep Zebra Danios and Neon Tetras Together? - "neon tetras" by gpshead is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Can You Keep Zebra Danios and Neon Tetras Together? - "neon tetras" by gpshead is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Appearance and Behavior

Zebra Danios

  • Appearance: Zebra danios, also known as Zebrafish, have a striking appearance with bold contrasting black and silver stripes running horizontally along their slender bodies. They have a torpedo-shaped body and are relatively small, usually reaching about 2 inches (5 cm) in length. Their fins are transparent with a hint of yellow or orange coloration.
  • Behavior: Zebra danios are active and lively fish. They are known for their energetic swimming and darting movements, making them a captivating species to observe. They are shoaling fish, meaning they thrive when kept in groups of at least five or more. Being social creatures, they display a hierarchical social structure within their group, but aggression is generally minimal. Zebra danios tend to be curious and will often explore the entire aquarium.

Neon Tetras

  • Appearance: Neon tetras are small, slender fish with a stunning and vibrant appearance. A striking feature is a bright red stripe that runs parallel to the blue color, starting at the middle of the body and extending to the tail. Neon tetras have translucent fins that may have a touch of red or yellow.
  • Behavior: Neon tetras are peaceful and non-aggressive fish, making them suitable for community aquariums. They are schooling fish and feel more secure when kept in groups of six or more individuals. When they swim together in a school, their vibrant colors create a beautiful display. Neon tetras are relatively calm swimmers compared to zebra danios, and they tend to occupy the middle and upper levels of the aquarium. They appreciate a well-planted tank with areas for shelter and subdued lighting.

Both zebra danios and neon tetras are hardy and adaptable fish, which contributes to their popularity among aquarists. They are generally active, peaceful, and compatible with a wide range of tank mates. By providing them with suitable conditions, proper socialization, and appropriate tank mates, you can observe their natural behaviors and enjoy their striking colors in your aquarium.

Zebra Danios and Neon Tetras Together – Will it Work?

So, can you keep zebra danios and neon tetras together?

Yes, zebra danios and neon tetras can generally be kept together in the same aquarium. Both species are small, peaceful fish that are commonly found in community tanks.

However, there are a few factors to consider when keeping these fish together:

  • Tank Size: Both zebra danios and neon tetras are active swimmers, so it’s important to provide them with enough space. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons (80 liters) is recommended for a small group of each species.
  • Water Parameters: Zebra danios and neon tetras have similar water parameter requirements. They thrive in water with a temperature range of 72-80°F (22-27°C). Maintaining stable and suitable water conditions is essential for the health of both species.
  • Schooling Behavior: Neon tetras are shoaling fish and feel more secure in groups of at least six or more. Zebra danios also prefer to be in groups, so it’s important to provide adequate numbers of each species to ensure their well-being.
  • Compatibility: In general, zebra danios and neon tetras are compatible and usually get along well. Both species are peaceful, although zebra danios can sometimes be more active and fast-swimming, which might intimidate the slower-moving neon tetras. To minimize any potential issues, provide plenty of hiding places, plants, and open swimming areas in the aquarium.

It’s important to monitor the behavior of your fish when introducing them to the tank and watch for any signs of aggression or stress. If any issues arise, it may be necessary to rearrange the tank layout or provide additional hiding places to ensure the well-being of all the fish.

Remember, individual fish can vary in temperament, so it’s always a good idea to observe your specific fish closely and make adjustments as needed to create a harmonious community tank.

Can You Keep Zebra Danios and Neon Tetras Together? - "neon tetras" by gpshead is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Can You Keep Zebra Danios and Neon Tetras Together? – “neon tetras” by gpshead is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Aquarium Setup

To set up an aquarium that accommodates both zebra danios and neon tetras, consider the following guidelines:

  • Tank Size: As mentioned, provide a tank with a minimum capacity of 20 gallons (80 liters). This size allows for adequate swimming space and helps maintain stable water conditions.
  • Filtration and Heating: Install a suitable filtration system to maintain water quality and ensure proper circulation. Both species prefer a temperature range of 72-80°F (22-27°C), so a reliable heater should be used to maintain a consistent temperature.
  • Substrate and Decorations: Use a fine-grained substrate, such as sand or smooth gravel, as both zebra danios and neon tetras have small mouths and can accidentally ingest larger gravel, leading to health issues. Add plants, rocks, driftwood, and other aquarium decorations to provide hiding places and break the line of sight within the tank. This helps create territories and reduce stress.
  • Lighting: Provide appropriate lighting that promotes plant growth and enhances the colors of the fish. Both species appreciate subdued lighting, so consider using floating plants or positioning the light to create shaded areas.
  • Water Parameters: Maintain water conditions suitable for both species. Zebra Danios and Neon Tetras prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range of around 6.5-7.5. Regularly test the water parameters and conduct partial water changes as needed to maintain water quality.
  • Group Sizes: As schooling fish, neon tetras should be kept in groups of six or more. Zebra danios also prefer groups, so aim for a minimum of five individuals. These numbers help reduce stress and promote natural behavior.
  • Aquascape Layout: Aim for a well-balanced layout that includes open swimming areas and plenty of hiding places. Use plants and decorations to create visual barriers and break the line of sight between fish, reducing aggression and stress. Avoid overcrowding the tank, as this can lead to territorial conflicts.
  • Introducing Fish: When adding new fish to the tank, follow proper acclimation procedures to minimize stress. Turn off the tank lights and float the bags containing the fish in the aquarium for 15-20 minutes to allow the temperature to equalize. Then, gradually add small amounts of tank water to the bag every few minutes before gently releasing the fish into the tank.

By following these guidelines, you can create a suitable environment that accommodates both zebra danios and neon tetras, promoting their health and well-being while providing an aesthetically pleasing aquarium.


In conclusion, zebra danios and neon tetras are popular freshwater fish that can be successfully kept together in a well-maintained aquarium. While they have some differences in appearance and behavior, both species bring beauty and liveliness to any community tank.

Creating a suitable environment for both species involves providing ample swimming space, appropriate water parameters, and a well-balanced aquascape with hiding places and visual barriers. By ensuring proper group sizes, maintaining stable water conditions, and offering a diverse and stimulating tank setup, you can witness the fascinating behaviors and striking appearances of these fish.

With their compatibility, hardiness, and captivating features, zebra danios and neon tetras make excellent choices for aquarists seeking lively and visually appealing additions to their community tanks. By following the guidelines outlined earlier, you can create a harmonious aquarium environment that accommodates the needs of both species and provides an enjoyable and captivating aquatic display.