Can Guppies and Tetras Live in Same Tank?

Every guppy keeper strives to build a vivid, stable, and beautiful aquatic environment. One of the best ways to achieve that is by building mixed tanks holding several species. Guppies are colorful, adaptable, friendly, and peaceful fish that will get along with a variety of other breeds.

One of them is the Tetragonopterus, more commonly known as Tetra. These are gentle and friendly fish that are easy to maintain and keep. They share similar tank conditions and diets to guppies, making them ideal tank mates.

Today, we will assess the differences and similarities between guppies and tetras, looking to see whether they are compatible. This article’s goal is also to assess which changes to adopt to make both species comfortable within their environment and with each other.

Here are a few pointers to consider in this sense:

Water Requirements For Tetras and Guppies

Tetras and guppies don’t come from the same areas, despite sharing similar environmental conditions. Here’s how the 2 species fare against each other:

  • Guppies’ environmental conditions – Guppies are generally tropical fish, spread all over the world. This includes South America, Africa, Europe, and Australia. You can find them in fresh, flowing waters that provide high oxygenation and an active and energetic environment. The ideal living conditions should include a water temperature between 75 to 82 degrees F, a pH between 5.5 to 8.5, a regular day-night cycle, and abundant aquatic vegetation. As a general idea, guppies prefer warmer, tropical waters with as few temperature fluctuations as possible.
  • Tetras’ environmental conditions – Tetras are not as widespread as guppies, but you can still find them in many places around the globe. This includes North and South America and Africa. Brazil and Peru are two of the most tetra-rich locations on the globe. The tetra prefers water temperatures similar to that of guppies, between 75 to 80 F, and a neutral pH.

This data shows that tetras and guppies will thrive similar environments, which explains why they are so compatible.

Food Requirements For Tetras and Guppies

The differences between tetras and guppies are even fewer in terms of dietary preferences. Both species come from diverse environments where food is rather scarce and mostly plant-based. Nevertheless, both tetras and guppies are omnivorous, which means they eat both plants and animal-based nutrients.

I recommend feeding both species mixed meals for an adequate diet, providing essential protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Here’s what to remember about guppy and tetra feeding requirements:

  • Avoid overfeeding – The concept of overfeeding is easy to understand but difficult to apply. How much food translates to overfeeding? Also, will feeding your fish more often than recommended (1-2 times per day max for guppies) qualify as overfeeding? As general indicators, if there is still food floating in the tank after your fish have had their fill, you’ve overfed them. The same will happen if you feed them too often. Overfeeding will lead to food decaying in the tank and causing a spike in ammonia levels. Over time, this will lead to fish illness and even death, which is why overfeeding is so dangerous.
  • Ensure a diverse diet – Guppies and tetras both need varied diets. You can’t feed them only plants or only vegetables, since this will deprive them of essential nutrients. Improper feeding will lower their immune system, leading to parasitic infections and disease. I have written extensive articles on guppy dieting and food choices that could serve as inspiration in this sense.
  • Don’t rely on commercial food too much – The best food options for both species are natural, with as little processing as possible. Food processing inevitably destroys a lot of the nutrients in the process. At the same time, commercial foods often lack the nutrient quality that fresh foods will deliver. I suggest providing a mix of live food, pellets, flakes, and vegetables to your fish for a well-rounded and healthy diet.

Best Tank Mates for Guppies and Tetras

Fortunately, guppies and tetras will both tolerate the same species. As friendly and peaceful fish by nature, guppies, and tetras are compatible with a variety of other fish species, provided they aren’t too big or aggressive.

Here’s what to remember when introducing new tank mates for your guppies and tetras:

  • Watch out for size differences – Nature has taught us that large fish will view smaller species as prey. Make sure that the new species are roughly the same size as the largest guppy in the tank. This will minimize the risk of one species hunting the other. You should also remember that different species have different dietary requirements. Feed all of them according to their needs to prevent their more feral behaviors from taking over.
  • Avoid aggressive or territorial species – Some fish species are highly aggressive, like the Pufferfish, the Piranha, the Tiger Barb, or the Oscar. These are by no means compatible with peaceful and friendly species like tetras and guppies.
  • Non-fish species are also an option – Both tetras and guppies tolerate other aquatic species like frogs, snails, or shrimp. The goal is to create a diverse but stable and safe environment where all species can coexist in peace. Make sure one specie’s lifestyle doesn’t interfere negatively with that of another, and you’re good to go.

Will Tetras and Guppies Eat Each Other?

Adult tetras and guppies won’t attack each other, generally speaking. The situation changes when talking about the fry, which serve as food for all tank fauna.

If you want to protect the fry, I suggest having a spare water tank for breeding purposes only. You can move the pregnant females into the tank when the labor kicks in and move them back after they’ve delivered.

The fry will grow into a separate environment, where they don’t need to fear for their lives 24/7. Alternatively, you can set up a rich aquarium environment filled with hiding places and live plants.

This will provide the fry with protection during their first few weeks of life when they are the most vulnerable.

How Many Guppies and Tetras Can I Keep in a Tank?

The general tank rule states that you should have 2 gallons of water for each guppy. The same rule applies to tetras. Obviously, this is only a general suggestion since the data can change depending on the fish’s size. A larger guppy may need more water than a very small one.

A 10-gallon tank will allow you to have around 5 inhabitants, whether they are guppies or tetra. For a more balanced population, I would recommend getting at least a 20-gallon tank, which can take in 5 of each species. A 55-gallon tank would be ideal, for more stable water parameters.

Just remember not to ignore the 2-gallon rule since overcrowding can have devastating consequences. It will lead to increased aggression due to territorial fights, higher irritability, and violence during mating, and decreased water quality.

You can easily prevent this by controlling the fish population and ensuring a healthy water-volume-to-fish-number ratio.


Guppies and tetras can live together with little-to-no problems. In fact, they may be 2 of the most compatible species you can find.

They share the same environmental preferences and similar diets, making it easier for guppy keepers to have mixed tanks.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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