Can Neon Tetra Live With Goldfish: The Determining Factors

Neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) is one of the many popular fish species in the ornamental fish community. It is a freshwater fish that belongs to the characin family. Neon tetra comes in various colors and sizes, but their overall body coloration is usually light brown. Now, if you have goldfish as a pet, is it okay for a neon tetra to live with it?

In this article, we are going to discuss these two species’ compatibility as well as site reasons behind the answer to give you an overview of the best step to take when deciding in this matter.

Aquarium Fish

Can Neon Tetra and Goldfish Live Together?

No, neon tetras cannot live with goldfish and this is backed up by a variety of compatibility issues. Goldfish can live in extremely a wide range of conditions and pH levels. They are one of the most popular fish species for homes, so you can try living with them if you have enough space. Despite this, they may prey on their smaller tank mates such as neon tetras.

Why Are They Not Compatible?

Neon tetras has a lot of differences with gold fish. The size difference between them is one reason why they cannot live together. Neon tetra needs to be given enough space as well as hiding places that can help prevent the aggressive behavior from happening because goldfish have no such requirements, excluding leaving food out or over-populating the tank.

Water Temperature

Goldfish are fine if the conditions in the tank bring them to a stable body temperature. They don’t really require high-pH or special oxygen levels as they prefer hard, pure water that’s full of minerals and all types of species you can think off so it is best to leave out goldfish at home without problems, but this isn’t always going to be possible for everyone.

Neon tetras are freshwater fish that require a slightly higher water temperature to survive. The temperature of the water they live in can range between 24 and 27 degrees Celsius (75–80 degrees Fahrenheit). Goldfish, however, cannot live and thrive in the same water temperature. The water temperature that gold fish can live in can ranges from 20 to 24 degrees Celsius (68–74 degrees Fahrenheit). It is important to note that goldfish and neon tetras live in very different environments, with goldfish prefer a lower water temperature to survive, making these two species incompatible when it comes to water temperature.

Goldfish on a black background

Goldfish Preys on Tetras

Of the two fish, only goldfish can eat anything, even neon tetras. They are not picky about what they sit in and usually don’t react to such things as pesticides or nitrates. Goldfish need more food than neon tetra, as neon tetra possess excellent waste-processing abilities. A single gold fish can essentially eat up to ten 1/4″ pieces of krill per day if it has enough water change. However, the amount of oxygen a gold fish needs is much higher compared to that in even hard water conditions; thus some high quality diets are recommended. The optimal weight for a gold fish is given as 12 grams. Goldfish often starve and die if their diet does not contain large amounts of easily digestible food such as krill, small shrimp, daphnia and other free-swimming microorganisms that are present in virtually all aquarium keeping waters.


Goldfish prefers a more messy environment as they dispose waste in the bottom of the tank, which led to lower water quality. Neon tetras, on the other hand, cleans most or all waste very well and intake large amount of room for swimming. In addition, goldfish requires a very large tank as they grow to quite large sizes. Neon tetras can be kept in small tanks, but should not be kept with other species of fish.


Both goldfish and neon tetras are very active and love to swim around the tank. They can also be trained to swim through hoops, and they often jump out of the water while swimming, which makes them fun to watch. Goldfish will also jump to get food out of the tank. However, there are some possible health issues that need to be considered. While goldfish tend to stick their head in the sand while eating (which may or may not cause infections), external parasites such as tape worms can infect neon tetras; these fish normally have a white stripe on its side which is usually infected due to this parasite. This can be dangerous for neon tetras, as the parasites may cause varying degrees of discomfort where infection will eventually lead to death if not treated in time.

Goldfish Aren’t Tropical Fish

Some people may search and conclude that goldfish are similar to tropical fish just like neon tetras but the two are in fact quite different. These differences start out when you hear that they originate from Asia. One of their main differences is this puts them into a different category than other exotic fish such as rasboras, cichlids or parrots. Goldfish is native to East Asia so technically, it is not tropical due to its climate being cold but goldfish get to a certain size and are known in the aquarium trade as “tropical fish”. Because of this, you see many people purchase goldfish or keep them (for some reason) even though they aren’t adapted for an aquarium that’s over 74 degrees Fahrenheit, causing them to die early.

Social Habits

Neon tetras are peaceful, territorial and could be kept with other neon tetras but they may eat each other’s eggs because they don’t feel threatened. Whereas, goldfish could pick up on certain stimuli that indicates a predator nearby and not waste time due to sensory overload! Because goldfish don’t fight with each other nor get caught up in territoriality, most keepers use them for a peaceful pet. For example, it’s not common to see territorial male goldfish at best but if the housekeeper does, an aggressive display can result. Because these fish are solitary in nature and aren’t usually found in groups of more than three or four individuals, most find them very accommodating for peaceful cohabitation.

What Other Fish Are the Best Tank Mates of Neon Tetras?

Livebearers like guppies, mollies and swordtail are among the most compatible tankmates with neon tetras because they’re both known as social fish. In addition, you can also consider angelfish and loaches as great tank mates for your neon tetras.

What Fish Can Be the Best Tank Mates For Goldfish?

Though goldfish are peaceful, this doesn’t mean that all tank mates are suitable for keeping with them. If you want someone who will partner up with your goldfish in an established aquarium community, go ahead and choose a non-aggressive cichlid like a mocha or Oscar. Two of the most common fish that can also live with a goldfish is the guppy and rasbora.