Neon tetras are an extremely popular fish as they are a beautiful tropical fish that is small, which has led to aquarium owners wanting to place them in a tank with some friends to add to the tank aesthetic. Unfortunately, goldfish and neon tetras cannot live together because neon tetras are a tropical fish that require warm water and goldfish prefer cooler water.
This is a sad development for many aquarium owners since neon tetras are so beautiful, but it’s a really bad idea because of the temperature requirements of the two fish.
Water Temperature Requirements
Goldfish require a water temperature anywhere from 60 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Colder water within that range is generally better for goldfish, though.
Neon tetras are the opposite as they are a tropical fish. They can live in water that ranges from 68 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, they prefer water in the warmer range. And we really would not recommend putting neon tetras in 68 degree water – that will just lead to health problems for the tetras.
Really, this is the only reason you need not to put goldfish and neon tetras together in the same tank. The other issues can be resolved with enough work, but the temperature issue cannot be resolved.
Goldfish Eat Tetras
So, if the differences in temperature has not convinced that goldfish and neon tetras can live together, then the fact that goldfish can and will literally eat neon tetras should convince you that it’s a terrible idea.
Yes, goldfish will eat neon tetras. The problem is that goldfish can get really big and have a voracious appetite, so once they get big enough they will eat neon tetras. Neon tetras aren’t exactly cheap, which makes this a bad idea.
The neon tetras will also hide in the structure you have in the tank to avoid being eaten because that’s just common sense. If you can’t even see the neon tetras, then what is the point of having them in your tank?
Exactly. There isn’t any point in having them in your tank in that case.
Finally, it’s just plain cruel to the neon tetras to have them constantly swimming away from hungry goldfish. Please don’t put them in the same tank for this reason if you still feel the need to put them in the tank despite the different temperature requirements.
Goldfish Make The Tank Messy
Finally, goldfish make the tank messy because they don’t have stomachs. They just poop everywhere, which results in a big mess and the need for constant water changes.
This is a problem because neon tetras prefer stable water parameters. They do not do well in tanks that have constantly changing water parameters from frequent water changes. And, as mentioned previously, goldfish require very frequent water changes.
You probably know this, but stressed fish are much more likely to develop diseases and will live a much shorter life. In the case of neon tetras, they will also lose some of their color when they get stressed. Color is one of the main reasons that you probably want to have neon tetras, so a lack of that vibrant color that neon tetras are famous for completely defeats the purpose.
That covers it for why neon tetras and goldfish can’t live together. The temperature requirement is the main reason we don’t recommend it, but it’s still not worth it because neon tetras will hate the amount of water changes you must do in a goldfish tank.
Additionally, stressed neon tetras lose their color, which eliminates the big appeal of having them in your tank.