Can Neon Tetras And Gourami Fish Live Together?

Disclosure: When you purchase something through my affiliate links, I earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Yes, neon tetras can live with gouramis. Gouramis are too docile and undemanding to present a challenge.

Naturally, the type of gourami matters. For instance, the so-called giant gourami is a whopping 18 inches long.

It can swallow your 1.5-inch neon tetras without a second thought, not because it has violent tendencies but because fish are opportunistic feeders.

But if you find a suitably sized gourami and maintain healthy conditions in the aquarium, there’s no reason why neon tetras and gouramis couldn’t co-exist.

I would personally recommend sticking to dwarf gouramis, as they are relatively small (about 3.5 inches) and generally peaceful towards neon tetras, posing little to no threat to them.

Can I Keep Neon Tetras And Gourami Fish Together In A Tank?

Maintaining peace between different fish species in an aquarium can present a challenge. Complications arise when the species in question differ in the following categories:

  • Natural Behavior
  • Water Parameters
  • Water Conditions
  • Dietary Requirements
  • Tank Size

The guide below will show you how gouramis and neon tetras compare in these areas. This will allow you to determine whether your fish can co-exist.

While retailers and professional aquarists can advise you, it is worth noting that fish have distinct personalities.

For instance, even though neon tetras are primarily peaceful, you may observe aggressive tendencies among your neon tetras.

Or they may fight each other because of specific alterations you made to their aquarium.

Once that happens, you may adopt conditions and parameters other aquarists with neon tetras would typically avoid.

Therefore, it is crucial to understand how aquarists usually make decisions like this one.

Also Read: 19 Great Neon Tetra Tank Mates

Neon Tetras vs. Gourami Fish: Behavior

The behavior is vital because aggressive fish will harass peaceful neighbors to death regardless of the conditions in the tank.

They don’t need dirty water and toxins to trigger them. You can tell that two fish species are mismatched because one species will spend most hours of the day in hiding.

Although, such timidity can also manifest because of stress and disease. Look for torn scales, frayed fins, and bruising before you blame the timid behavior on bullying.

In this particular case, Gourami and neon tetras have similar temperaments.

Neon Tetras: Natural Behavior

Neon tetras are social creatures that thrive in large groups.

They will only resort to aggression in poorly maintained tanks with little food. Otherwise, they will happily tolerate peaceful neighbors.

Gourami Fish: Natural Behavior

Gouramis are docile, slow-moving creatures. Are they perfect neighbors? Not necessarily. First of all, these are slow-moving fish.

They don’t like fast swimmers or fin-nippers. Neon tetras are fast-moving fin-nippers.

But you can prevent conflicts by providing ample room in the tank for the neon tetras to swim and explore without repeatedly encroaching upon the Gourami’s territory.

Secondly, male gouramis are territorial. In fact, you are better off keeping one male gourami and multiple females.

Female gouramis can live harmoniously with one another. They only become a threat during mating because they eat their eggs.

Ideal Parameters For Neon Tetras And Gourami Fish

Gourami Fish74 to 79 (F)6.0 to 8.04 to 15 dGH
Neon Tetras72 to 76 (F)6.0 to 7.05 to 15 dGH

Neon Tetras: Ideal Parameters

Neon tetras are hardy fish capable of tolerating clear and brackish water.

They can withstand a temperature range as wide as 70 to 82 degrees F and a pH lower than 6.0 or higher than 7.0.

However, you are better off keeping the water within the narrow range noted in the table above, especially in aquariums with sick fish.

A neon tetra’s parameters don’t vary drastically from what you see in a gourami tank.

Gourami Fish: Ideal Parameters

Many aquarists aim for a temperature range of 74 to 79 degrees F, but you can push those figures to 82 degrees or more if you think the neon tetras prefer a higher temperature.

Gourami fish are hardy enough to endure a temperature that exceeds their preferred range.

If you maintain a slightly acidic aquarium with low hardness, the Gourami fish will live alongside the neon tetras without developing nasty diseases or succumbing to stress.

Neon Tetras And Gourami Fish: Ideal Water Conditions

Gourami FishNeon Tetras
NitrateLess than 20ppmLess than 20ppm
Tank SizeMinimum 10 – 20 gallonsMinimum 10 – 20 gallons
FoliageYes (Floating)Yes (Floating)
FilterYes (Slow Water Flow)Yes
LightingLow to ModerateLow to Moderate
BubblerNot necessaryNot necessary

Neon Tetras: Ideal Water Conditions

These creatures originate from tropical regions with flowing water and dense vegetation. Those conditions are relatively easy to replicate in a tank once you install a heater and filter.

They will appreciate hornwort, java moss, and other floating plants, not to mention decorations such as driftwood.

While the substrate type doesn’t matter to them, look for a dark substrate that allows their vivid colors to pop.

A low-light habitat will put them at ease. They don’t need pumps or bubblers.

Gourami Fish: Ideal Water Conditions

Gouramis live in slow-moving water in the wild.

Keep this in mind while selecting and configuring the filter. Fast-moving water is a threat because these creatures build bubble nests when they breed.

Therefore, you should minimize the water movement. It is just as essential to use sponge filters to protect the babies.

They will appreciate the same subdued lighting that neon tetras want. You should also gift them with floating plants and decorations.

The fish attach their bubble nests to these objects. Keep the pH, temperature, and hardness stable. Fluctuations will harm them.

You should also apply water conditioners to neutralize ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and other toxins when you perform water changes.

Ask the retailer whether the type they’ve sold you needs aquarium salt.

The Dietary Requirements Of Neon Tetras And Gourami Fish

FoodGourami FishNeon TetraQuantitySchedule
Fish Pellets and FlakesYesYesSmall Pinch7 Days
Tubifex WormsYesYesSmall Pinch or Less2-3 Times Weekly
BloodwormsYesYesSmall Pinch or Less2-3 Times Weekly
Brine ShrimpYesYesSmall Pinch1 – 2 Times Weekly
VegetablesYesYesSmall PinchTwice Daily
DaphniaYesYesSmall Pinch1 – 2 Times Weekly
Mysis ShrimpYesYesSmall Pinch1 – 2 Times Weekly
MaggotsYesYesFish can eat their weight in maggots2- 3 Times Weekly

Neon Tetras: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Like most omnivores, neon tetras are not picky. They can survive on nutritious flakes and pellets (rich in vitamins and minerals).

But most aquarists prefer to feed them various live, freeze-dried, and frozen foods, including bloodworms, algae, insect larvae, cucumber, etc.

Neon tetras can eat everything you usually feed your gouramis because their dietary requirements are the same.

Neon tetras with guppies in my home aquarium

Gourami Fish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Like neon tetras, gourami fish will eat flakes, pellets, frozen, freeze-dried, and live foods. You can feed them brine shrimp, bloodworms, blackworms, lettuce, peas, and more.

These creatures won’t complain so long as their meals are balanced. As omnivores, they need both animal and plant matter. Give them meals they can finish in two to three minutes.

Ideal Tank Size For Keeping Neon Tetras And Gourami Fish Together

The gourami size will dictate the tank size because many are larger than the neon tetras. The type of gourami fish will influence your decision.

For instance, kissing gouramis are eight to twelve inches long. They need 55 or more gallons.

On the other hand, dwarf gouramis, which are my preferred choice for cohabitating with neon tetras, can thrive in a 10-gallon tank.

Don’t forget that neon tetras require a school of six or more. Newcomers should keep one male gourami because multiple males are more likely to fight one another.

Also Read: Can Neon Tetras And Goldfish Live Together?

Best Tank Mates For Neon Tetras And Gourami Fish

If you own a tank of at least 20 gallons, you can easily pick other species to live along your gourami and neon tetras. Here are a few good options:

  • Shrimp
  • Mystery snails
  • Cory catfish
  • Barbs
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Guppies
  • Rasboras
  • Danios
  • Kuhli Loaches

Fish To Avoid In A Tank With Neon Tetras And Gouramis

Even though neon tetras and gourami fish can live together, I suggest avoiding the following species to prevent conflicts:

  • Angelfish
  • Tiger barbs
  • Red-tailed black shark
  • Rainbow shark
  • African cichlids (various species)
  • Rosy barbs
  • Betta fish

Also Read: Can Neon Tetras And Betta Fish Live Together?


If you are in a rush, here is a quick roundup of what I discussed earlier:

  • Neon tetras and gourami fish can coexist in the same tank if suitable gourami species are chosen and tank conditions are well-maintained.
  • Dwarf gouramis are recommended as tank mates for neon tetras due to their small size and peaceful nature, while it’s advisable to keep one male gourami with multiple females to minimize aggression.
  • Neon tetras and gourami fish have similar temperaments, but it’s important to provide sufficient space in the tank to prevent conflicts, as neon tetras are fast-moving fin-nippers.
  • Both neon tetras and gourami fish require similar ideal water parameters, including temperature, pH, and hardness, with clean water conditions and low levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
  • When selecting tank mates, peaceful species like shrimp, mystery snails, cory catfish, and small fish such as rasboras, danios, and platies are suitable, while aggressive species like betta fish, cichlids, tiger barbs, goldfish, and certain sharks should be avoided.