Can Guppies Live With Tetras – 5 Suggested Tetra Tank Mates

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Guppies are easily one of the most popular fish in the hobby. Their bright colors and easy-going nature make them a staple of the ‘community’ aquarium. If you have guppies or you are thinking of getting some, you may be wondering ’Can guppies live with tetras?’

Guppies and tetras make an excellent combination for the community aquarium. There are a large number of different tetras you can safely keep with your guppies, including Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, Lemon Tetras, and Penguin Tetras.

I first started keeping guppies over 30 years ago when I was given a 10-gallon tank with a small group of guppies. I don’t think there has been a single day from then to today when I didn’t have at least one tank full of guppies in my fish room.

Guppy And Tetra Aquarium Set Up

The vast majority of tetras available in local pet stores will be happy living in the same aquarium conditions as guppies.

The community tank should ideally have a selection of rocks or wood to provide some hiding places for the fish. Real or artificial plants will also help the fish feel safe and at home.

Both guppies and tetras will appreciate a water temperature of around 75°F to 80°F (23°C to 27°C). Neither guppies nor most of the commonly available tetras are too worried about water hardness or pH providing the extremes of each are avoided.

Feeding Guppies And Tetras

Guppies and most species of Tetras are omnivores. As such they will eat just about anything you offer them.

I have had great success with good-quality flake foods and pellets. I have written countless articles preaching the virtues of both Vibra Bites by Hikari and Bug Bites by Fluval. Both foods work well, and a combination of the two will serve as a ‘complete’ diet for your fish.

Guppies and tetras will both really appreciate the addition of live or frozen bloodworm, daphnia, or brine shrimp. I would suggest 2 or 3 times a week feeding your guppies and tetras live or frozen foods. Live and frozen foods provide your fish with essential nutrients they may not get from other sources.

Best Tetras To Keep With Guppies

There are countless tetra species available in the hobby today. The vast majority are small, peaceful and make an excellent addition to your guppy aquarium. Below I list some of my favorites for the mixed guppy/tetra aquarium

  • Neon Tetra
  • Cardinal Tetra
  • Black Skirt Tetra
  • Congo Tetra
  • Red Eye Tetra

Neon Tetras

Neon Tetras are a staple of the aquarium hobby. Guppies and Neon Tetras are like peanut butter and jelly! Both species will thrive in the same aquarium conditions, eating the same foods and living without bothering one another.

Cardinal Tetras

Much like the Neon Tetra, Cardinal Tetras are small, peaceful and will live in perfect harmony with your guppies. The electric blue and bright red coloration of the Cardinal Tetra can be used to complement red or blue guppies or contrast against a yellow guppy breed.

Black Skirt Tetras

Black Skirt Tetras grow a little larger than both Neons and Cardinals. They can be a little bit nippy, but they don’t usually cause guppies too much trouble. A small group of Black Skirt Tetras will school around the aquarium and their black coloration will contrast against the bright colored guppies.

Congo Tetras

Congo Tetras are seriously underappreciated in the hobby. They grow a little larger than some of the other tetras on this list. A male Congo Tetra will max out at about 4” (10cm) and their long flowing fins will complement the long flowing tails of male guppies.

Do be aware, Congo Tetra will eat guppy babies. Depending on your point of view, this can be seen as a pro or con. Keeping Congo Tetras with guppies is a great way to keep the guppy numbers down so they don’t overrun your aquarium

Red Eye Tetra

I have found a group of Red Eye Tetras that look stunning when kept in an aquarium with a red guppy. The red of the Red Eye Tetras eye just shines like a jewel when kept with red guppies. Red Eye Tetras will grow to around 3 inches (7.5cm).

Will The Tetras Eat The Guppy Fry?

Simple answer, yes! Tetras are fast swimmers and they will chase down and eat the small fry. The bigger the tetra the bigger the problem. A 4” Congo Tetra for instance will eat guppy fry all day long. A small neon tetra may only snack on the tiniest for fry.

Keeping some tetras with your guppies is actually a good way to stop your guppy population from getting out of control.

In Conclusion

Generally speaking, Guppies and Tetras make a great combination. Many really successful community aquarium setups have been built around guppies and tetras.

About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James

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