Neon Tetra Tank Mates for 10 Gallon Aquariums

Written by Randy Martin

Neon Tetra and Corydora

Neon tetra are amazing, and they are a lot of fun to keep in your aquarium. But I wanted to know what other fish you could stock with them in a 10 gallon, so I searched and made a list of some compatible species for that setup.

Neon Tetra tank mates you can keep in a 10 gallon aquarium:

  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Red Cherry Shrimp
  • Fancy Guppy
  • Cherry Barb
  • Kuhli Loach
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Celebes Halfbeak
  • Snails

It’s very easy for beginner fish keepers to overstock their tank with fish. If you decided that your primary species will be Neon Tetra but you want some extra species to make your tank more lively, then take a look at the following suggestions to get an idea of the combinations and quantity you could go for.

Other species for your 10 gallon Neon Tetra tank

I think it’s a good choice to go with Neon Tetra as your main species in such a small aquarium. Remember that Neon Tetra are a schooling fish, you need at least 5 together for them to feel safe and happy; more would be better.

If you only had Neon Tetra in the tank, you could easily keep 11 Neon Tetra up to possibly a total of 15 or so. It depends on your individual setup, how clean you keep your tank, your filtration, your skill level etc.

But if you want to stick other species in the tank then you need to cut back on the number of tetra you have. You don’t want to run out of space, and you definitely don’t want all that waste being produced in such a small area.

So here is some ideas of what you could possibly stick in with your Neon Tetra, taking into consideration the water temperature—and other basic needs.

Important: I’m not suggesting you can use ALL of these species together in a 10 gallon. Pick one or maybe two to go along with your Neon Tetra.

Ghost Shrimp

This is a great little addition to a Neon Tetra tank. These are so common and readily available, and honestly a lot of fun to observe in your tank. For a small tank I would feel like I’m almost missing out if I didn’t have some of these hunting on the bottom.

They have the added benefit of cleaning up leftovers and bile off the bottom fill (substrate) of your tank, helping you maintain and clean your aquarium. I speak about this beneficial factor of the ghost shrimp in my article What kind of fish tank is easiest to maintain.

The adult ghost shrimp shouldn’t have any issues with your Neon Tetra, but younger smaller shrimp could be harassed. There is usually safety in numbers. You can keep a lot as the bio imprint is very small.

You can keep about 5-8 ghost shrimp for a fully stocked 11 Neon Tetras in your tank.

Both species need a consistent temperature. A consistent 75°F (24°C) would be optimal.

Red Cherry Shrimp

Basically the same goes for these shrimp as for the ghost shrimp. These shrimp are bottom scavengers that will help eat up algae.

They are red spotted and can give your tank some more color. The color will look especially nice against a darker substrate. Which in a Neon Tetra tank I would suggest dark substrate anyhow.

Also you can consider using sand as your substrate, I talked about Sand vs Gravel and how shrimp do very well with a sand bottom.

Fancy Guppy

The guppy goes well in this small setup. The Fancy Guppy is a pretty fish that all fish keepers should have experience with.

They are peaceful and clean up after themselves.

If you have a mixture of female and male Guppies then you should always have a higher ratio of females. Like 3 females to 1 male. This is so the male doesn’t stress the females out by chasing them too much.

They can breed like crazy. Which can be fun but possibly problematic.

For the small tank we are talking about I would suggest maybe 4 fancy guppies to about 7 Neon Tetra. Like stated above it depends on your setup and skill. You can even have some ghost shrimp on the bottom for further cleaning.

The Guppy will stay at mid to top level, which could help balance out your tank since Neon Tetra are mid to bottom level schooling fish.

Cherry Barb

Another beautiful fish and widely available is the Cherry Barb. They are peaceful, eat just about anything, and very gentle.

They are a schooling fish and a little larger so it can get a little tricky with a 10 gallon along with your Neon Tetra. But it is doable.

For the size I would recommend only 4 Cherry Barb, and maybe 6-8 Neon Tetra. It’s debatable if that is already overstocked. If you know what you are doing though this should be okay.

Kuhli Loach

This could be an interesting addition. It’s an eel shaped fish that only grows to 3-5 inches. The bio imprint is very small also. Therefore you could keep these in your small tank with the Neon.

They would do better with a sand substrate, with lots of little hiding places. Provide areas for them to dwell underneath driftwood or perhaps in caves.

Kuhli Loaches need others of the same species grouped together to feel safe, so I would put about 3 together in the tank but probably no more than that. Though they would prefer more, you just need a bigger tank for that.

One possible issue is 75°F is the low end of what the Kuhli Loaches are comfortable with. So probably 76°F would be ideal for the setup.

Corydoras Catfish

The Cory Catfish is another bottom feeder, that could be considered part of your clean up crew. These are very common, you will find them at any fish store.

There are several different types of Corys. For a 10 gallon I would recommend either a Panda Cory or a Bandit Cory, as these stay just a little smaller than the rest.

As far as how many you should keep, I would follow pretty much the same guideline’s as for the Kuhli Loach.

No more than 3. However, people reported better schooling when there was 4. So you should consider all the factors of your setup to make the final call.

Celebes Halfbeak

So far we have mostly featured mid to bottom dwellers as tank mates, aside from the Guppy. The Halfbeak could also be considered for your tank. It’s a fish that spends most of its time on the surface of the water.

It should be kept in small schools. It’s a peaceful fish that won’t bother your Neon Tetra, especially since they occupy different levels of the tank.

So this could add more life to the top surface levels of your tank, and there isn’t many fish to do this with. I have went into greater detail about surface dwelling freshwater fish for your aquarium, if you would like even more examples.

So something like 3 Halfbeaks on top, with 7 Neon Tetra. With a group of Shrimp to patrol the ground.

Having a planted tank with the plants reaching up to the surface in some spots, will give your Halfbeak some much needed cover.


This is something else you can keep that will help you clean up all the algae in your tank. All you would likely need is 1 Nerite Snail to keep your glass and ornaments clean of algae.

They are very easy to keep. With just one Nerite there isn’t much to consider if you are over populating for the space.

Related Questions

Best fish for a 10 gallon aquarium?  In such a small aquarium it would be best to only stock 1 or 2 species together, possibly 3. Neon Tetra and other small Tetra species. Fancy Guppys are a common choice. Mollys, Platys, Corys, all do well in 10 gallon.

How many Neon Tetra in a 10 gallon tank? You need at least 5 Neon Tetra together as they are a schooling fish and need bigger numbers. For a 10 gallon species-only aquarium you could keep 11 Neon Tetra. Experienced fish keepers with the skill and a clean setup could keep up to 15 Neon Tetra in a species-only 10 gallon.

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