I am thinking about getting a ten gallon (ca. 38 litres) aquarium so that I can add some Neon Tetras to my tank environment that already includes one Betta fish and nothing more. However, I noticed that the Neon Tetras and the Betta fish eat similar things. I don't want to waste money on an aquarium to hold more fish if it will be too much trouble to restrain my other Betta while the Tetras are eating! Is there a simple solution to feeding tank mates separately?

  • My betta who is only about twice the size of the neons, has eaten 3 of my 5 neons.
    – user6383
    Dec 26, 2015 at 19:05
  • @Brian Oh dear! Have you separated them? How do you deal with it? Dec 27, 2015 at 1:42
  • @Brian some betta are mutch more aggresive than other. I also removed my betta from my community tank since he was attacking and killing some of my neon.
    – Rémi
    Dec 27, 2015 at 17:50
  • Ive got 8 neons in a tank with one female betta, they all get along. We only use betta pellets, but the betta and neons share. I think if you have a female betta as opposed to a male, then they are a lot less aggressive.
    – nick
    Nov 30, 2016 at 3:08
  • Oh No No, the BEST fish to go with your betta is a harlequin rasbora. I have 5 of them with my male betta and he ignores them completely. My only problem is my betta is eating their food more recently, his got a tummy now and im worried. I have a spare fish tank so i most likely will put him in there to make sure his eating properly again.
    – Nirvana
    Aug 31, 2017 at 11:44

5 Answers 5


Just feed them together. Use a quality flake or pellet food and it will be fine for both types of fish.

Also, just mentioning this out there because of the common, low-tech / no-tech, betta tank setups: if this tank isn't filtered and heated, do not put tetras in it. Bettas do not have the same water quality and oxygen saturation requirements as tetras do because they have a significantly different respiratory system, called a labyrinth organ, and do not have the same temperature requirements as tetras. Tetras breath oxygen through gills and not a labyrinth organ, they are warmwater tropical fish and need stable water temperature from around the mid 70's °F minimum up to the mid 90's °F (from around 24 to 35 °C). They can actually be in water in the low 100's °F (around 38 °C) for treating certain illnesses for an indefinite period of time if the water is thoroughly oxygenated. But again, stability is fairly important in tetra health.

  • I accepted, but then I remembered a question. Should I be worried about territorialness? I mean, my betta is used to being an only child. I am worried that he might get frustrated with having to share food and wait for an entire school of fish to eat. Aug 2, 2015 at 23:44
  • And also, how do you know when they are done? I know the two minute rule with betta fish but neons are in schools and the amount varies depending on how many are in the school. On top of which you have the betta fish. Aug 3, 2015 at 0:35
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    I have a tank with a Betta and neons, as well as some other fish. You have nothing to worry about. Hungry fish will eat food, its that simple. Just feed the fish slowly and dont overfeed.
    – Keltari
    Aug 6, 2015 at 12:55
  • @GeneralNuisance Once one or two of the fish start eating, it won't take more than 20-30 seconds before the entire school swarms on the food - it's much like feeding birds near a lake, but on a smaller time scale. And the two minute rule already accounts for the fact that the amount varies by school size - the more fish, the faster they'll eat the first pinch of food you put in, thus the more pinches you'll go through in two minutes. Mar 30, 2016 at 14:31
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    I've got a small remark about this par in this answert: "The common, low-tech / no-tech, beta tank setups, if this tank isn't filtered and heated, do not put tetras in it." Betta actually need warmer water than tetras. So puting a betta in a non filtered, non heathed tank is definitely a no-go! Every thank should have at least a filter in it. And if tropical fish are kept a heather as well.
    – Diether
    Dec 2, 2016 at 14:50

Tetras are one of the best choices out there to be a betta's tankmates. You shouldn't generally have a problem unless your betta is particularly aggressive.

If you're concerned about him exhibiting territorial behavior, you could put him into a cup and block his view of the tank, rearrange all his furniture (maybe even swapping out one or two pieces), add the tetras to the tank and let them get comfortable for a few hours, then finally put your betta back in. With everything rearranged he won't feel so much like he's returning to his old stomping grounds, so he'll be less likely to perceive the tetras as invaders.


I actually have a very similar setup since a couple of weeks. I feed my beta small balls and feed the neon flakes (my betta doesn't seems to like the flakes so much...). I feed my betta first by giving him one or two balls at the time. Why? Simple! The neon are way faster than the betta and they eat his food before him if I don't do it this way. Sure they eat a couple of his food but that is not my concern, I want to make sure the betta has enough food so he won't chase the neon around (too much) in the rest of the day.

As another answer noted it is better to add the neon first and then add the betta. I actually did the reverse and it worked but getting the neon first should help minimizing the loss. In my case I lost 3 neon over the first week. It's hard to say if it was my betta or the stress caused by the trip from the pet shop to my home.

To give a chance to all your fish, make sure they have plenty of places to hide and that the water conditions are good at all time (heater, filtration, frequent water test, etc).

In my case things seems to have settle down and I haven't lost any fish since 2 weeks. If my betta start chasing the neon hard (not one or two strike but many times) I close the lights of the tank and it seem to calm them down. I never had to do this in the day and only do it at night before going to bed.

Good luck with this fun setup and don't worry about your neon for the food but rather about your betta.


I have a set up with 9 tetras, a male Betta and a couple of Kuhli loaches and I just trained my Betta to go to my hand when I have it near the water, so I’m able to keep the tetras and Betta separate when they feed, and the Kuhli just eat the leftovers that fell to the ground and pieces of pleco wafers. I think even if I didn't keep them sort of separate in their tank they would be fine. It all just depends on how you introduce your fish and and the fishes' personalities ^_^.


I first put in Betta food and wait until my Betta is done eating, and then a put tropical fish flakes in for my neon tetras. It has worked very well and I have been able to keep them alive for up to a year so far!

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