Are Neon Tetras Cannibals?

Are Neon Tetras Cannibals?

Neon tetras are beautiful fish and one of the most popular aquarium fish out there. They are great community fish because they are not very aggressive, unlike many other aquarium fish. Sometimes people ask if these fish are cannibals, this is based on some of their behaviors such as eating their eggs and fry. If you are confused and want to know if Neon Tetras are cannibals or omnivores, then this article is for you.

Are Neon Tetras cannibals? Neon Tetras are omnivores. This means that they are both carnivores and herbivores and could eat both flesh and vegetables.

The fact is, almost all fish are omnivores, and only a small number are purely cannibalistic, so neon tetras are omnivores because they could kill and eat smaller animals that could fit in their mouth such as their eggs, their fry, worms, insects, etc.

Many people complain that their Neon Tetra fry is missing from their tanks that are dominated by only this type of fish.

This should not be a puzzle to you if you find yourself in such a situation because it simply means that the adult Neon Tetras are feeding on the fry.

This is possible because they are half carnivores and half herbivores. So, neon tetras are carnivores but they are not fully carnivores, as they don’t specialize in eating only meat.

Can Neon Tetras Be Kept Together?

Neon Tetras like to live in groups and could be kept up to 5 in a tank, depending on the size of the tank.

This fish could be regarded as semi-aggressive fish, especially the males, and so, it is recommended to keep more females than the males.

The recommended ratio of stocking them in a tank is 3 females per male.

This is primarily to stem the level of aggression that normally comes from the male Neon Tetras.

Although they could be kept together in a tank but they will normally fight each other if more number of males are kept.

They will fight because of territory, mate, food, etc.

Again, it is not recommended to keep their fry with neither their parents nor any other adult Neon Tetra.

They will feast on the smaller fish because they are cannibalistic in nature, so keep only the adults together because despite being half cannibals, they lack the ability to eat others that are of the same size as them.

Will Neon Tetras Eat Their Babies?

Neon Tetras are not good at parenting, they will eat both their eggs and their fry if they get the chance.

Like I explained above, they are half cannibals and lack the parenting ability to protect their eggs and their fry because they with eat them once they get the chance, that’s why it is recommended to always separate the parent fish or any other Neon in the tank so that the eggs will hatch and the fry will also mature without being eaten.

So, Neon Tetras do kill and eat their offspring and their eggs too once they have the chance.

Do Neon Tetras Eat Meat?

Neon Tetras are Omnivores and scavengers too, they will eat anything that could fit into their mouth, including smaller animals that could easily enter their mouth.

As I mentioned above, being omnivores makes them half cannibals and half herbivores, so they will eat both meat, plants, and vegetables too.


If you have Neon Tetras, don’t only feed them with normal fish foods like pellets, etc also feed them with live animals too because they are omnivores and those live animals are nutritious to them too.