Glowlight Tetra Tank Mates – The Best and the Worst - "Hemigrammus erythrozonus h080" by h080 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Glowlight Tetra Tank Mates – The Best and the Worst - "Hemigrammus erythrozonus h080" by h080 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


Introducing your glowlight tetra to a new aquarium is an exciting endeavor for any aquarist. These dazzling, neon-striped fish, known as glowlight tetras, are renowned for their captivating appearance and peaceful disposition. However, to ensure a thriving and harmonious aquatic community, choosing the right glowlight tetra tank mates is a crucial decision. In this guide, we will explore the ideal companions and those best avoided when creating a balanced and visually stunning underwater world for your glowlight tetras.

About the Glowlight Tetra

The glowlight tetra, scientifically known as Hemigrammus erythrozonus, is a popular and stunning freshwater aquarium fish that hails from South America. It belongs to the Characidae family and is renowned for its vibrant and captivating appearance, making it a favorite among aquarium enthusiasts of all levels of experience.

Physical Characteristics

Glowlight tetras are relatively small, typically reaching a maximum size of around 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 centimeters). Their striking coloration is the primary reason for their popularity. Their bodies are characterized by a translucent, silvery coloration that is accentuated by a horizontal stripe running from their nose to the base of their tail. The real spectacle, however, lies in their namesake feature: a dazzling, neon-orange or red stripe that runs along the top of their body. This stripe appears to “glow” when properly illuminated, hence the name “glowlight tetra.”

Habitat and Distribution

Glowlight tetras are native to the Amazon River basin and are typically found in slow-moving waters, including small streams, tributaries, and flooded forest areas. In their natural habitat, these fish are accustomed to densely vegetated areas with submerged roots and branches, which provide shelter and hiding spots.


One of the reasons for the popularity of glowlight tetras in the aquarium hobby is their peaceful and sociable nature. They are schooling fish, so keeping them in groups of at least six individuals is recommended to prevent stress and aggression among the group. When housed in a school, they tend to exhibit their natural schooling behavior, which is a mesmerizing sight to behold.

Care and Maintenance

Taking care of glowlight tetras in an aquarium is relatively straightforward, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced aquarists. Here are some key care considerations:

  • Tank Size: A 10-gallon (40 liters) aquarium is sufficient for a small group of glowlight tetras. However, a larger tank (20 gallons (80 liters) or more) is preferable if you plan to keep a larger school or include other fish species.
  • Water Parameters: Maintain stable water conditions with a temperature range between 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C), a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5, and soft to moderately hard water.
  • Diet: Glowlight tetras are omnivorous and will accept a varied diet. Offer them high-quality flake or pellet food, supplemented with live or frozen treats like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms.
  • Aquascape: Decorate the aquarium with plenty of live or artificial plants, driftwood, and hiding spots to mimic their natural habitat. Ensure that there is open swimming space as well.
  • Filtration and Maintenance: Use a reliable filter to maintain water quality and perform regular water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite levels in check.
  • Lighting: Moderate to low lighting is preferred to showcase their natural colors and reduce stress.
Glowlight Tetra Tank Mates – The Best and the Worst - "Hemigrammus erythrozonus h080" by h080 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Glowlight Tetra Tank Mates – The Best and the Worst – “Hemigrammus erythrozonus h080” by h080 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Best and Worst Glowlight Tetra Tank Mates

Choosing the right glowlight tetra tank mates is crucial to ensure a harmonious and stress-free aquarium community. Glowlight tetras are peaceful fish, so they generally get along well with other peaceful species that share similar water parameter requirements. Here are some of the best and worst tank mates for glowlight tetras

Best Tank Mates for Glowlight Tetras

  • Other Tetras: Glowlight tetras can coexist peacefully with various other tetra species, such as neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and ember tetras. These fish share similar preferences for water conditions and are all relatively small, making them great companions.
  • Rasboras: Rasboras like harlequin rasboras and chili rasboras are small, peaceful fish that make excellent tank mates for glowlight tetras. They create a lively and colorful community when kept together.
  • Guppies: Guppies are peaceful and colorful fish that can coexist with glowlight tetras. Just ensure that the guppies you choose aren’t too nippy, as this could cause stress to your tetras.
  • Corydoras Catfish: Corydoras catfish are bottom-dwelling fish that are compatible with glowlight tetras. They help keep the tank clean and add diversity to your aquarium’s activity levels.

Worst Tank Mates for Glowlight Tetras

  • Aggressive or Predatory Fish: Avoid housing glowlight tetras with aggressive or predatory species, as these fish may harass or eat the tetras. Examples include large cichlids, larger barbs, and aggressive gouramis.
  • Large, Fast-moving Fish: Fish that are significantly larger or much faster swimmers than glowlight tetras can cause stress and potentially harm the tetras.
  • Fin-Nipping Species: Some fish have a tendency to nip at the fins of species like glowlight tetras. Avoid keeping them with fish known for fin-nipping, such as tiger barbs and certain types of danios.
  • Territorial: Some territorial fish may not tolerate the presence of glowlight tetras in their space.
  • Overly Active Species: Fish that are extremely active or constantly on the move may stress out the more timid glowlight tetras. It’s best to avoid combining them with species that exhibit such behavior.

Remember that while these are general guidelines, individual fish may have varying temperaments. It’s essential to monitor the interactions in your aquarium and be prepared to make adjustments if any fish are displaying aggressive or stressful behavior. Additionally, always ensure that your tank is appropriately sized and adequately decorated with hiding spots and plants to create a more harmonious environment for all inhabitants.


In conclusion, the journey of creating a vibrant and harmonious aquarium environment for your glowlight tetras begins with careful consideration of their tank mates. By selecting compatible species that share similar water requirements and temperaments, you can ensure a peaceful and visually captivating underwater community. Avoiding aggressive or predatory fish and providing ample hiding places and swimming space will contribute to the overall well-being of your glowlight tetra tank mates as well as your glowlight tetras. With the right companions and proper care, your aquarium can be a thriving aquatic ecosystem that showcases the beauty of glowlight tetras and their compatible aquatic companions.