Angelfish and Tetras | Which Tetras can live with Angelfish?

For many tropical fish keepers, the hobby is most rewarding when they house more than one species together. As an Angelfish keeper, you will likely want to house other peaceful fish in the water with your favorite pets.

An Angelfish living with tetras

Are Angelfish and Tetra compatible? Do specific species affect the success of keeping Angelfish with Tetras? We understand your need to know those answers before you invest your money and time trying to keep them in a community tank.

What follows is a closer look at how your Angelfish (a semi-aggressive cichlid from South America) might react if kept with some Tetra species (peaceful fish that also hail from the Amazon, as well as Africa).

Angelfish With Tetras: A Community Aquarium

Angelfish concerns:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Omnivore diet

When it comes to housing Tetras with Angelfish, you will be looking at two obstacles. The first issue will be temperament, and the second issue is diet.

Angelfish are cichlids from South America. These fish, while peaceful when compared to some cichlid species, are still considered semi-aggressive. You need to be cautious when selecting angelfish tank mates – a peaceful fish species is a must.

These fish can become aggressive as they mature and grow. As with other cichlids, Angelfish become agitated during periods of breeding. Water changes can also trigger aggressive behavior as chemical signals used for social hierarchy become depleted.

The other concern when selecting fish is that the Angelfish are omnivores, eating animals and plants alike.

As predators, Angelfish do eat other fish, usually only small fish that fit into their mouths. Juvenile Angelfish can cohabitate with almost any peaceful fish, but that changes as they mature and grow.

An example would be Angelfish and Neon Tetras, which are natural food sources in the wild.

Tetras And Angelfish: A Community Aquarium

Tetra concerns:

  • Stress levels
  • Smaller Angelfish tanks mates
  • Part of a natural diet

Tetras are known as peaceful fish, making them susceptible to stress from aggressive tank mates.

Keep Tetras in groups of at least six to help this schooling species feel safe. Also, provide them with plenty of hiding places they can go to if they feel uneasy.

Some species of Tetra can reach three inches in length, but several species only grow to 1.5-inches or less. Smaller tank mates will become a food source for adult Angelfish. You must be selective when trying to house Angelfish with Tetras, sticking with species that will not fit into the mouth of an adult Angelfish.

In their natural habitat in South America, the Neon Tetra is part of the Angelfish diet. That makes them less than ideal as tank mates, as they will trigger a response more so than other Tetras your Angelfish does not eat in the wild (such as larger Tetras from Africa).

Angelfish And Tetra Aquarium Needs

For fish to be kept together in a community aquarium, they need to live in similar conditions. Angelfish tank mates must acclimate within parameters that your favorite species thrive.

Should you try to house Angelfish with Tetras, you will want water parameters within these ranges:

  • Aquarium size: 20-gallons
  • Temperature range: 75 and 80-degrees Fahrenheit
  • PH levels: 6.8 to 7.5
  • Hardness: 5 to 8-degrees dH

The ranges listed above take into account Angelfish and Tetra tank conditions. The following lists showcase each fish breed’s water parameters and demonstrate that some markers have lower and higher caps.

Angelfish parameters

  • Aquarium size: 20-gallons minimum
  • Temperature range: 75 to 86-degrees Fahrenheit
  • PH levels: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Hardness: 5 to 13-degrees

As a fan of Angelfish, you are (or will soon) become aware of how big they can get. The smaller fish you purchased at the pet store can grow to six inches from tip to tail. That means this family of cichlids need space, with a single Angelfish requiring a 20-gallon tank and a school of four doing best with at least an 80-gallon aquarium.

The angelfish water temperature is similar to many freshwater tropical fish needs – angelfish are hardy. A range between 75 and 86-degrees Fahrenheit is adequate. They will do fine in a community tank with a temperature of 82-degrees or less.

A PH range between 6.0 and 7.5 is acceptable. That simulates the water conditions found in the Amazon basin where these fish naturally occur.

For most beginners, water hardness should fall within the acceptable range of 5 and 13-degrees dH out of their faucets. If you find that your water is outside that range, you can take steps to alter it.

Tetra parameters

  • Aquarium size: 10-gallons minimum
  • Temperature range: 75 to 80-degrees Fahrenheit
  • PH levels: 6.8 to 7.8
  • Hardness: 3 to 8-degrees

Tetras average between 1.5 and 2.0-inches in body length, making them smaller than adult Angelfish. They will require less space, but this is a social fish that should be kept in groups of six or more. That puts a minimum tank size in the 10-gallon range.

Aquarium temperatures fall within a standard tropical fish range between 75 and 80-degrees. That represents a generic average between the various species, but your tank’s residents will do good there.

The PH levels for Tetras can go from 6.8 to 7.8. You will note that the range does not dip as low as PH levels for Angelfish. The PH range should not be complex for most beginners to maintain (or adjust to).

Water hardness for Tetras has a more limited spectrum, going from 3 to 8-degrees of dH. You might need to soften the water a bit with treatments like live plants, which the Tetras and Angelfish will not mind.

Which Type Of Tetra Do Poorly/Well With Angelfish?

Neon Tetras

Keep with Angelfish? No

The species hails from the Amazon Basin. The back scales are dark blue with blue and red iridescent stripes along the body (silver in color). Adults reach just over one inch at most.

Angelfish and Neon Tetras make poor tanks mates. Neons are a natural food source for wild Angelfish. They are also smaller in size, which would make them a victim of “bigger fish eating smaller fish,” even if they were not part of the Angelfish’s diet.

Cardinal Tetras

Keep with Angelfish? Maybe

Cardinals are another species from South America. A red underbelly and blue sides make them appear similar to the Neon. These Tetras grow to be two inches as adults, though.

A fully-grown adult is too large to fit into an Angelfish’s mouth so they can be part of a community tank. Housing juvenile Cardinals can be more problematic, as your Angelfish will eat them if they can swallow them.

Black Neon Tetras

Keep with Angelfish? No

The Paraguay Basin is home to the Black Neon. A thicker band of black sits below a thin white line that is almost iridescent. Most adults grow to 1.5-inches at most.

Their smaller size is what makes them a Tetra species to avoid housing with Angelfish. They are just too small to avoid the mouths of hungry cichlids like Angelfish.

Black Skirt Tetras

Keep with Angelfish? Yes

Also hailing from the Southern portion of the Americas, the Black Skirt has less of a torpedo shape than the previous species we mentioned. The subdued black and translucent color scheme fills an adult body that reaches up to 2.5-inches.

A school of adult Black Skirt should be okay with Angelfish, especially if both have their own space. Fry and adolescents might become a meal.

Rummy Nose Tetras

Keep with Angelfish? Maybe

This species hails from the Amazon Basin. It has several possible body colors, with a red hue on the head that inspires the name.

Adults range from 2.0 to 2.5-inches, making the larger specimens safe from Angelfish. The small adults and younger Rummy Nose are fair game in the eyes of your large fish, though.

Serpae Tetras

Keep with Angelfish? No

The long-lived Serpae Tetras hail from the slow-moving pockets along the Amazon river. It has a reddish-brown color with black fins. Adult fish grow between 1.5 and 2.0-inches.

We would suggest avoiding housing these Tetras and Angelfish together. They are smaller, making them tempting targets. You might be surprised to see these smaller fish nipping at your Angelfish’s longer fins also.

Bloodfin Tetras

Keep with Angelfish? Maybe

These Tetras are in many rivers across the southern Americas. Red fins are the standout feature on the iridescent bodies of the Bloodfin. Adult fish reach 2.0-inches in length.

These fish are known to nip long fins, but many keepers find them as compatible tank mates for Angelfish. Small specimens that fit into your Angelfish’s mouth may disappear at mealtime.

Red Eye Tetras

Keep with Angelfish? Yes

The Amazon Basin, among others, is home to the Red Eye. An upper red eye socket and black caudal fin highlight the silver body of this fish. It can be a bigger Tetra species, with adults reaching three inches.

The larger size makes the Red Eye Tetra a potential tankmate for your Angelfish.

Congo Tetras

Keep with Angelfish? Yes

Our list includes this species that hails from the Congo River Basin in Africa. Iridescent colors and transparent fins make this a favorite among fish keepers. Adult specimens range between 3.0 and 3.5 inches.

We can also recommend this large fish for your Angelfish tank.

GloFfish Tetras

Keep with Angelfish? Maybe

These are captive-born species of Tetras. The standout here is the fluorescent glow, especially under dedicated lighting. Its overall size will depend upon the original species the GloFish Tetras were genetically modified.

We find the conditions that these fish thrive in might be less than suitable for your pet Angelfish. Most GloFish Tetras are big enough to safely house with adult Angelfish if you want to try them.


Are Angelfish aggressive towards Tetras?

It depends. Neon Tetras are a natural food. Tetras that fit into an Angelfish’s mouth are target meals.

Do Angelfish eat Tetras?

Yes. Tetras are a natural food source, or they are small enough to trigger predatory responses from Angelfish.

Best schooling fish for Angelfish?

Boesemani Rainbow fish, Corydoras catfish, and Dwarf Gourami are three examples of peaceful species that enthusiasts consider the best schooling fish to keep with your Angelfish.

How to feed Tetras and Angelfish

Tetras often feed on the top of your column, while Angelfish feed anywhere. Both are omnivores and will eat the same types of food.

If you can, try to find a food that sinks slowly that your Angelfish can enjoy without competing with your Tetras. Keep the Tetras occupied at the surface with floating foods.

Supply enough food that the fish can eat in three minutes, twice a day.

Housing Angelfish With Tetras

Your Angelfish are large omnivores that will snack on smaller Tetra species. There are Tetras available that can live alongside your favorite fish, however.

Do you have questions about keeping Tetras with your Angelfish? Or, do you have comments to add to our discussion? Include them below!