The Fish Guru

Keeping Guppies and Tetras Together: A Complete Guide to Compatibility and Care

Guppies and Tetras are some of the most popular aquarium fish in the world, and for good reason. They are both beautiful and fascinating to watch, and they are relatively easy to care for.

However, before you decide to keep these two species together, there are a few things you need to consider.

Compatibility of Guppies and Tetras

Guppies and Tetras are both small, peaceful fish that are well-suited to community aquariums. However, they do have a few differences in terms of size, temperament, and social behavior that you need to be aware of.

Size: Guppies are generally smaller than tetras, with a typical adult size of 1.5 to 2.5 inches. Tetras, on the other hand, can grow up to 2-3 inches in length.

It is important to consider these size differences when selecting your tankmates because larger tetras may see guppies as prey, especially if your guppies are small or young. Lifespan: Guppies typically live for 2-3 years, while tetras can live for up to 5 years.

This means that if you choose to keep these two species together, you may need to replace your guppies more frequently than your tetras. Water Temperature, pH level, and Hardness:

Guppies and tetras have similar water requirements in terms of pH level and water hardness.

They both prefer slightly acidic water with a pH range of 6.5-7.5 and moderate water hardness of 5-15 dGH. However, when it comes to temperature, guppies prefer warmer water compared to tetras.

Guppies thrive in temperatures ranging from 75-82F while tetras prefer a temperature range of 72-78F. Ensure you keep the temperature just right for both species to thrive together.

Diet: Guppies are primarily herbivores and will enjoy eating small insects and algae. Tetras, on the other hand, are omnivores and require a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter, with a preference for flake and freeze-dried foods.

Temperament: Guppies are social and generally get along well with other peaceful fish. They may display some fin nipping towards their own species or similarly sized fish.

Tetras can be territorial and may fight for dominance if kept in a too-small tank or if they feel their space is being encroached upon. Social Behavior: Guppies are livebearers, meaning that they give birth to live young instead of laying eggs.

This can result in an overpopulation problem if the breeding is not controlled. Tetras, on the other hand, lay eggs that they guard and care for until they hatch.

Ensure that the breeding aspect is catered for and any excess fish that may lead to overpopulation are removed from the tank.

Similarities and Differences Between the Two Species

Guppies and tetras have many similarities and differences when it comes to their appearance. Both species have a variety of color schemes to choose from and are popular for their bright and vibrant hues.

Guppies: Guppies come in different varieties such as the common guppy and the endler guppy. They have a slender body that tapers towards the tail.

Male guppies have elongated fins and vibrant colors, while female guppies have a rounder and fuller body. They are available in a wide range of colors and patterns, with popular varieties being the blue-tailed guppy and the sunset guppy.

Tetras: Tetras also come in a wide range of colors and patterns, with some of the most popular varieties being the neon tetra, the black neon tetra, and the cardinal tetra. They have an elongated body and a narrow tail, and their fins are often pointed and triangular in shape.

Water Requirements for Guppies and Tetras

Maintaining the proper water parameters for your guppies and tetras is crucial if you want them to thrive and live long, healthy lives. pH Level and Water Hardness: Both guppies and tetras prefer slightly acidic water with a pH range of 6.5-7.5. They also prefer moderate to hard water with a water hardness of 5-15 dGH.

You can test your water parameters using a water testing kit to ensure you keep the pH level and water hardness stable. Water Temperature: Guppies and tetras have different temperature ranges that they thrive under.

Guppies prefer warmer water with a temperature range of 75-82F, while tetras thrive in a temperature range of 72-78F. The dissolved oxygen level should also be monitored as high levels of CO2 can fluctuate or lower the oxygen levels for both species.

Water Testing and Maintenance: Regular monitoring of the water and regular water changes are recommended for the optimal health of your fish. It is essential to consider the water testing and maintenance routine to avoid aquatic health issues.

Ensure that the right treatment and water conditioner products are applied while cleaning the tank. In conclusion, keeping guppies and tetras together requires proper consideration of their needs.

You should ensure the tank is spacious enough to provide ample aquatic space, care while feeding, and proper maintenance of the water. By following the guidelines discussed in this article, you can have a successful community tank where guppies and tetras can coexist harmoniously.

Happy fish-keeping!

Feeding Habits and Dietary Needs

Guppies and tetras have different feeding habits and dietary needs. Understanding these differences is essential for keeping your fish healthy, happy, and vibrant.


Feeding Habits and Dietary Needs

Guppies are omnivores and have a preference for meaty foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. They also enjoy leafy vegetables, peas, and spirulina.

They are known to be “messy eaters,” which can result in leftover food accumulating at the bottom that can impact the water quality. A controlled feeding regimen where you give them smaller portions even several times daily can help minimize this tendency.

To maintain the proper nutrition levels of your guppies, it is essential to provide them with a varied diet. Feeding them the same food every day may lead to malnutrition and genetic color changes.

Feeder flakes and solid pellets are suitable commercial foods for guppies. Tetras’

Feeding Habits and Dietary Needs

Tetras are small species that need protein and the right plant matter to maintain optimal health and color.

They are traditional carnivores and acquire animal protein from bloodworms, brine shrimp, and other live or frozen foods. Tetras also require vegetable matter to provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Blanched zucchini, cucumber, and spinach are suitable choices, and an ideal commercial type of food should be plant and protein enriched flakes. Insects, larvae, and parasites are essential food sources for some tetras species like the three-lined pencilfish.

Providing them with different protein sources produces a varied diet and provides enrichment for the fish.

Maintaining Adequate Nutrition

Maintaining adequate nutrition for your fish includes ensuring they have a balanced diet. A varied diet prevents malnutrition and enhances natural coloring.

It is important to note that leftover food should be removed from the tank to avoid water contamination and bacterial growth. Developing a feeding regiment for your fish helps prevent overeating, ensure protein and plant food ratios are balanced, and maintain the nutritional benefits of different foods.

Choose suitable commercial food types and supplement them with the occasional treat or live food to provide variety and enrichment.

Social and Territorial Behavior

Guppies and tetras are social species that thrive in groups. Understanding their social behavior and their need for space is essential to minimize aggression and promote harmony within the aquarium.


Social and Territorial Behavior

Guppies are social and do well in communal settings. They are energetic swimmers, and it is common for males chasing female members and even to compete amongst themselves.

A ratio of one to three males for every female is suitable for a healthy breeding habitat. Setting up plants and other hiding places for the fry is essential because the parents tend to see them as food sources, reducing their population.

Including tank mates in the community helps reduce aggression and increase the social setting of the fish. Tetras’

Social and Territorial Behavior

Tetras are shoaling fish, which means that they like to group together in vast numbers.

They have specific swimming patterns that occur during the day and at night. Maintaining the right number of tetras in your aquarium is essential to enhance their social behavior.

Tetras can become aggressive if they feel their space has been invaded, especially during breeding periods. Adding a larger fish to the aquarium can trigger territorial behavior; an ideal number of tetras should maintain a group of six to eight individuals.

Housing Guppies and Tetras Together

Guppies and tetras can be housed together in the aquarium if some considerations are followed. The tank should have enough space to enable them to swim properly and reduce territorial behavior.

Adding hiding spots, plants and driftwood to the tank may provide refuge for the fish and enhance their environment. A safe ratio of tetras to guppies is three tetras for every guppy, which makes the habitat less stressful for all the fish.

It is essential to note that tetras should not be kept with larger, aggressive fish like cichlids or aggressive puffers.


The feeding habits, dietary needs, social, and territorial behavior of guppies and tetras are important considerations when keeping them in the aquarium. Understanding these factors is pivotal in maintaining the health, vibrancy, and harmony in the tank.

Proper feeding, supplementing commercial food with live or frozen food sources, and developing a feeding regimen helps maintain the nutritional content required in the fish’s diet. Creating a habitat that provides elevated social and hiding places will reduce territorial behavior.

Following these guidelines helps ensure your fish live long, healthy lives in an enriched environment.

Potential Diseases

Guppies and tetras are susceptible to a range of diseases and illnesses, and it’s crucial to understand the warning signs and the treatments necessary to help your fish recover.

Common Fish Illnesses

Some of the most common illnesses that affect guppies and tetras include ich (white spot disease), fin rot, dropsy, swim bladder dysfunction, columnaris, and Neon Tetra Disease. Ich is a parasite that causes white, poppy-like spots on the fish’s body and fins.

Fin rot is characterized by a bacterial or fungal infection that results in the deterioration of the fish’s fins and tail. Dropsy, a bacterial infection that affects the kidneys and liver, results in a bloated and lethargic fish.

Swim bladder dysfunction can manifest as the fish swimming awkwardly or upside down, swimming at the surface or bottom of the tank, or struggling to swim at all. Columnaris is a bacterial infection that causes skin and gill erosion.

Neon Tetra Disease is a viral infection that results in the fish’s loss of color, wasting away, and muscle degeneration.

Detecting and Treating Illnesses

If you notice any signs of illness in your fish, it’s essential to act quickly. Early diagnosis and treatment of illnesses increase the chances of your fish recovering.

Water quality can play a significant role in preventing or causing illnesses. Regular water tests, water changes, and maintaining stable water parameters like pH and temperature, can help you identify and avoid potential problems.

Several commercial medications, including antibiotics and antiparasitic agents, can be used to treat bacterial and fungal infections. Consulting with a veterinarian or an experienced aquarist can also help diagnose and treat diseases.

Also, quarantine new fish before introducing them to your tank. This isolation period helps to ensure they don’t have any illnesses, and if they do, you can prevent their spread within your aquarium.

Tank Setup Requirements

Setting up a proper environment for your guppies and tetras is crucial to help them thrive and live long, happy lives. Maintaining the right tank size, temperature, filtration, aeration, lighting, decorations, and live plants is essential for their health and happiness.

Tank Size

The minimum tank size suitable for guppies and tetras is a 20-gallon tank, but if you can go larger, it’s better. An overcrowded tank can harm the fish’s health by increasing stress, disease outbreaks, and territorial behaviors.


The filtration system in your aquarium is vital for maintaining water quality by removing waste, debris, excess food, and chemicals that can harm your fish. A filter that can support a “cycle of nitrogen” through mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration should be used to maintain stable water conditions.


Aeration refers to the process of adding oxygen to the water, which is essential for the fish’s respiration.

Aeration can be achieved through the use of an air pump, air stones, or other mechanical means.

Well oxygenated water supports healthier fish, as it promotes oxygen saturation and carbon dioxide removal.


Maintaining a steady water temperature is crucial for your fish’s health. Guppies and tetras prefer warm water with a temperature range between 72-82F.

A quality heater with a thermostat mechanism is recommended to regulate the water temperature.


Suitable lighting is recommended to enhance the environment of your aquarium.

Lighting can help simulate daylight, control algae growth, and provide an attractive view of the fish’s activity.

A light timer can help maintain a regular light-dark cycle and help control electricity costs.


Additions like hiding places, plants, and driftwood enhance your fish’s natural habitat and reduce territorial behavior. Hiding spots help provide a refuge for tired or more introverted fish species.

Driftwood helps to imitate their living ecosystems and stimulates the growth and the maintenance of a beneficial microbiological ecosystem.

Live Plants

Live plants provide an added benefit to the aquarium by offering oxygen and removing toxins. They can also be a food source for some fish species, and adding different plants can simulate a natural habitat.

The plants’ root system can help keep the filter media clean and reduce the buildup of algae in aquarium water.


Maintaining proper environmental conditions and providing a balanced diet is essential for promoting healthy, vibrant guppies and tetras in your aquarium. Regular observation of the fish and monitoring of the water parameters can help prevent potential illnesses and provide early warning signs of any issues.

Following the guidelines discussed, including maintaining filtration and maintaining stimulating environments, ensures the fish’s proper growth and reduces territorial behavior. In summation, keeping pet fish requires time, effort, and care, but it is a fulfilling and rewarding experience.

Breeding Process of Guppies and Tetras

Breeding guppies and tetras can be a rewarding experience for aquarists. While it requires some preparation and management, the process can provide you with insights into the natural breeding behaviors and vibrant colors of your fish.


Both guppies and tetras have different mating behaviors, but both require specific conditions that promote healthy breeding. For guppies, a ratio of one male to three females is responsible for decreasing stress and reducing aggressive behavior.

Adding hiding spots and plants, and minimizing water changes, can help encourage breeding behavior. Males often display active courtship behavior, such as swimming in front of the female or flaunting their vibrancy towards them.

For tetras, the breeding process requires the provision of a specific environment that triggers the breeding behaviors. Species like the neon tetra require a persistent temperature range of between 75-78F and a pH

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