Do Tetras Eat Shrimp? Can Tetras and Shrimp Live Together?

Tetras are one of the most popular fish for aquariums because they look so pretty. Shrimp are also popular because, well, they’re interesting to watch and do a good job keeping algae out of the tank. Now, do cute tetras eat shrimp?

Yes, tetras will eat shrimp if the shrimp can fit in the mouth of the tetra. This is important to note because some tetras are small and some shrimp are big. This article will offer a comprehensive guide on the different types of tetras that can peacefully live with shrimp.

Can Tetras and Shrimp Live Together?

First of all, tetras and shrimp can live together from a water requirement perspective. Tetras and shrimp come from similar environments and live together in nature, so the two will do perfectly fine together in the same tank.

As mentioned previously, there are some things that you need to consider before putting shrimp and tetras together. Here are a few of them to consider.

Size Comparison

The most important factor in determining if tetra and shrimp can coexist is the size difference between the two. Tetras will eat pretty much anything that fits in their mouth, so if your shrimp will fit in a tetra’s mouths, then you will have problems.

Fortunately, tetras are very small fish that usually grow to about 0.5 inches in length and shrimp grow to about double that length.

What does that mean?

Tetras usually won’t eat adult shrimp because adult shrimp are much larger than tetras. Baby shrimp and shrimp eggs are fair game for tetra, though.

Tetra Hunger

Tetra do not eat 24/7 like goldfish. In fact, tetra really only eat when they get hungry, so if you keep them well-fed you don’t really have to worry about them bothering tankmates for the most part.

Of course, there are more aggressive tetra breeds that will bother tank mates, but those tetras are the exception to the rule. For reference, aggressive tetra breeds are serpae tetras and black skirt tetras, which are not really a common breed for most to have in their tank.


Being an invertebrate, shrimp are at the bottom of the food chain. This means that they have evolved to naturally spend their life hiding from prey.

What does this mean for your tank?

If you give your shrimp plenty of plants and shelter, then the shrimp will have their natural instincts kick in and use that shelter to avoid bigger fish. At least until the shrimp get big enough to not have to worry about being food for a larger fish.

shrimp and neon tetras

Species of Tetra and Shrimp Compatibility

This section will cover the different types of tetra and their compatibility with shrimp. The general rule of small tetras living peacefully with shrimp applies in this case.

Can Neon Tetras and Shrimp Live Together?

Yes, neon tetras and shrimp can live together. Neon tetras are so small that shrimp won’t fit in their mouth. But they will eat shrimp eggs and very small baby shrimp, so keep an eye out during that time if you want the shrimp population in your tank to grow.

Remember, tetras are omnivores and will eat anything that has protein and fat in it IF it fits in their mouth. That includes shrimp and bloodworms. Yes, tetras eat bloodworms and they will also eat algae.

Can Ember Tetras and Shrimp Live Together?

Ember tetras are about the same size as neon tetras, so you don’t have to worry about them eating your shrimp. However, they will still eat shrimp eggs and very small shrimp.

This can actually be a good thing with certain breeds of shrimp that have a tendency to completely take over a tank. Keep this in mind if you have a cherry shrimp problem in your tank.

Can Rummy Nose Tetras and Shrimp Live Together?

Again, rummy nose tetras are far too small to eat shrimp. The same applies where they will only eat eggs and small shrimp they are lucky enough to catch.

Will Black Skirt Tetras or Serpae Tetras Eat Shrimp?

Black skirt tetras and serpae tetras are the two most aggressive breeds of tetra. They will chase down and eat shrimp, so watch out putting these types of tetra in a tank with fish.

They also are not afraid of tearing a shrimp slightly larger than them apart, which is another important point to keep in mind.

Personally, we don’t recommend keeping these types of tetras with shrimp unless you have a large supply of shrimp at an affordable cost or don’t care about constantly having to rebuy shrimp.

Yes, these tetras will completely decimate the shrimp population in your tank like that.

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