How To Keep Guppies and Tetras Together - "Group of Guppies" by timothy.jabez is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.
How To Keep Guppies and Tetras Together - "Group of Guppies" by timothy.jabez is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.


Creating a thriving and harmonious aquatic community is a dream for many aquarium enthusiasts. Among the countless possibilities, one combination stands out for its vivid colors, peaceful nature, and compatibility: keeping guppies and tetras together. Guppies, known for their vibrant personalities and striking hues, and tetras, celebrated for their captivating schooling behavior and diverse species, can coexist in the same tank to create an aquarium of exceptional beauty. This article delves into the art of keeping guppies and tetras together, offering insights into tank setup, water parameters, feeding, and everything in between to ensure a successful, visually stunning, and healthy aquatic environment.

About Guppies and Tetras


Guppies, scientifically known as Poecilia reticulata, are small, vibrant freshwater fish native to the tropical waters of Central and South America, particularly found in regions like Venezuela, Trinidad, and Barbados. These popular aquarium fish are known for their striking coloration, lively personalities, and relatively easy care requirements.

  • Natural Habitat: Guppies are commonly found in slow-moving streams, rivers, and shallow ponds in their native habitat, often in densely vegetated areas. They prefer warm, tropical waters.
  • Size: Adult guppies typically reach a size of 1.5 to 2.5 inches (3.8 to 6.4 cm) in length, making them one of the smaller freshwater fish species.
  • Behavior: Guppies are highly active and sociable fish. They enjoy exploring their surroundings, interacting with tank mates, and even displaying playful behaviors. Males are known for their elaborate and colorful fin displays during courtship.
  • Distinct Characteristics: One of the most notable features of guppies is their vibrant coloration, with males often displaying more vivid and intricate patterns compared to females. Guppies come in various colors and patterns, making them a favorite choice among aquarium enthusiasts. They are livebearers, which means they give birth to live fry rather than laying eggs.


Tetras are a diverse group of small to mid-sized freshwater fish that originate from Central and South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. They are known for their schooling behavior, stunning colors, and peaceful nature, which makes them a popular choice for community aquariums.

  • Natural Habitat: Tetras can be found in various aquatic environments, including streams, rivers, and ponds in their respective native regions. They often inhabit densely vegetated areas and thrive in warm, soft, and slightly acidic water.
  • Size: The size of tetras can vary depending on the species, but most commonly kept tetras are between 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) in length.
  • Behavior: Tetras are known for their schooling behavior, and they feel more secure and exhibit their best colors when kept in groups of at least six individuals. They are generally peaceful and coexist well with other non-aggressive fish.
  • Popular species: Some popular tetra species include neon tetras, glowlight tetras and rummy-nose tetras.
  • Distinct Characteristics: Tetras are famous for their stunning colors and unique fin shapes. Many species exhibit iridescent and neon colors, making them visually appealing additions to a community aquarium. Their prominent adipose fin, situated between the dorsal fin and tail fin, is a common characteristic of tetras.


Guppies and tetras are generally compatible in the same aquarium due to their peaceful nature and similar water parameter requirements, making them excellent tank mates for a harmonious community setup.

  • Peaceful Nature: Both guppies and tetras are known for their peaceful and non-aggressive behaviors. They tend to coexist peacefully with other fish species and are less likely to engage in territorial disputes or aggressive interactions. This peaceful disposition makes them suitable companions in a shared aquarium environment.
  • Similar Water Parameter Requirements: Guppies and most tetra species share similar preferences when it comes to water conditions. They thrive in tropical freshwater setups with warm temperatures ranging from 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C). These fish also prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH levels, typically ranging from 6.5 to 7.5, and relatively soft to moderately hard water. The compatibility in their water parameter requirements reduces the need for specialized care and adjustments, simplifying the maintenance of the shared tank.
  • Varied Tank Levels: Guppies primarily occupy the upper and middle levels of the aquarium, while tetras can be found throughout the water column, including the middle and lower levels. This difference in preferred swimming areas minimizes competition for space and reduces the likelihood of territorial disputes, which is great when keeping guppies and tetras together.
  • Colorful Aesthetic: The vibrant colors and patterns of guppies and tetras can create a visually stunning and diverse display in the aquarium. Their contrasting hues and active behavior add to the overall appeal of the tank, making it an attractive choice for aquarists looking to create an aesthetically pleasing community aquarium.
  • Schooling Behavior: Many tetra species, such as neon tetras and cardinal tetras, are known for their schooling behavior. Keeping them in a group enhances their sense of security and results in captivating synchronized swimming displays that can be enjoyed alongside the playful nature of guppies.

While guppies and tetras together can be harmonious tank mates, it’s important to select tetra species that are compatible with guppies and avoid aggressive or fin-nipping tetras. By maintaining suitable water conditions and providing a well-structured tank, aquarists can create a thriving and visually captivating community aquarium featuring these peaceful and compatible fish.

Tank Size and Setup When Keeping Guppies and Tetras Together

  • Appropriate Tank Size: For housing guppies and tetras together, a minimum tank size of 20 to 30 gallons (80-120 liters) is recommended. A larger tank provides ample space for these active swimmers and allows for a more stable environment.
  • Space to Swim and Thrive: Both guppies and tetras are highly active fish, so a spacious tank ensures they can move and explore freely. Adequate swimming space promotes their well-being and reduces stress.
  • Hiding Places: Create a natural and engaging environment by incorporating live or artificial plants, driftwood, rocks, and caves to offer hiding spots and shelter for these fish. Guppies may seek refuge during breeding, and tetras can benefit from places to rest.
  • Live Plants: Live plants not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of the aquarium but also contribute to water quality by absorbing nitrates. Guppies and tetras enjoy swimming among plants, and the plants offer cover for fry and reduce stress.

Water Parameters

  • Ideal Water Temperature: Maintain a stable water temperature between 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C) to accommodate the tropical preferences of both guppies and tetras.
  • pH Levels: Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH range, typically between 6.5 and 7.5, as this mimics the conditions of their natural habitats. Consistency in pH levels is crucial to prevent stress and health issues.

Filtration and Water Quality

  • Filtration System: A good filtration system, such as a sponge filter, hang-on-back filter, or canister filter, is essential for maintaining water quality. Adequate filtration helps remove excess waste, ammonia, and nitrites, ensuring a stable and healthy environment for both guppies and tetras.
  • Regular Water Changes: Performing routine water changes is vital to keep ammonia and nitrate levels in check and maintain optimal water quality. Aim for weekly water changes of 20-25% of the tank volume to replace old water with fresh, conditioned water.
How To Keep Guppies and Tetras Together - "Group of Guppies" by timothy.jabez is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.
How To Keep Guppies and Tetras Together – “Group of Guppies” by timothy.jabez is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.


Proper nutrition is essential to ensure the health and vitality of guppies and tetras in a shared aquarium. Understanding their dietary needs, suitable food types, and feeding frequency is crucial for their well-being.

Dietary Needs

  • Guppies: Guppies are omnivorous and have a diverse diet in the wild. They primarily feed on small invertebrates, algae, and plant matter. In captivity, their diet should be well-balanced and contain a mix of protein and vegetable-based foods.
  • Tetras: Tetras are omnivorous as well, with some species having a preference for small invertebrates and others for plant matter. They enjoy a varied diet, so it’s essential to provide a mix of protein and plant-based foods.

Suitable Types of Food

  • Flakes and Pellets: High-quality flake and pellet foods formulated for tropical fish are suitable for both guppies and tetras. Look for options that offer a balanced diet with essential nutrients.
  • Live Foods: Offer occasional live foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms to provide a source of protein. Live foods can be a treat and stimulate natural hunting behaviors.
  • Frozen Foods: Frozen foods, such as frozen brine shrimp or bloodworms, can also be part of their diet. These are convenient and offer variety.
  • Vegetable Matter: Include vegetable matter in their diet. You can feed them blanched and finely chopped vegetables like spinach, zucchini, or peas.
  • Commercial Specialty Foods: There are commercial foods specifically designed for guppies and tetras. These can be a convenient option to ensure a balanced diet.

Feeding Frequency

  • Regular Feeding: Feed your guppies and tetras together with small portions of food 2-3 times a day. This helps prevent overfeeding and ensures they get the nutrition they need.
  • Only What They Can Consume: Provide an amount of food that the fish can consume within a few minutes. Excess food can lead to water quality issues.
  • Variety is Key: Rotate their diet to provide a variety of food types, including flakes, pellets, live, and frozen foods. This helps ensure they receive a balanced diet and prevents dietary deficiencies.
  • Observation: Pay attention to your fish’s behavior. If they appear to lose interest in food or have visible bulging stomachs, adjust the feeding regimen accordingly.

It’s important to tailor the feeding routine to the specific needs of your guppies and tetras while considering the dietary preferences of different tetra species. Providing a balanced and varied diet, along with regular monitoring, will help keep your fish healthy and vibrant in their shared aquarium.


In the world of aquarium keeping, the partnership of guppies and tetras is a harmonious blend of colors, behaviors, and elegance. The allure of these two species is not solely about their aesthetic appeal but also about the joy they bring to the hobbyists who choose to bring them together. As you embark on this aquatic journey, you’ll discover the captivating dynamics and mesmerizing visuals that guppies and tetras together can offer. By providing them with the appropriate tank size, a well-mimicked natural environment, and a diet tailored to their needs, you create an ideal setting for their thriving coexistence. Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or just starting, the experience of keeping guppies and tetras together is bound to be a rewarding adventure in the world of aquatic wonders.