Skip to Content

Should You Keep A Platy And Neon Tetras In The Same Tank?

With platies and neon tetras both seeing their popularity increasing while also being cheap, beginner friendly, and colorful we are seeing countless people asking if they are able to keep platies and neon tetras in the same aquariums as each other.

There is a large amount of contradictory information out there about the various suitable platy tank mates so we wanted to publish this dedicated article going over how you can keep a platy and neon tetras in the same tank without having problems.

Provided your aquarium tank is large enough to keep platies and neon tetras in it, you should be able to add the two species to the tank without having problems.

Just keep in mind that you will have to keep at least six neon tetras in an aquarium as they are a schooling fish with platies also tending to like other platies in their tank too meaning you will probably need a 20 gallon tank or larger.

Space is one of the main issues that can encourage aggression between fish and unfortunately, many of the people that we see reaching out and asking questions about keeping a platy with neon tetras simply don’t have aquariums big enough due to so many beginners starting off with a 5 gallon or 10 gallon tank.

A 20 gallon tank really is the absolute minimum size we would recommend and that is with two platies and six neon tetras in the same tank, any more fish in there and you really do have to look at a larger tank.

Will A Platy Eat Neon Tetras?

It is unlikely that a platy will eat a neon tetra that is in its aquarium and even though an adult neon tetra is around half the size of an adult platy, the majority of platies will struggle to get a neon tetra into their mouth.

Due to the skittish nature of neon tetras, it is also unlikely that they will let an aggressive platy even get close to them never mind eat them.

If the neon tetras in your aquarium are breeding then a platy can easily eat neon tetra fry due to their tiny size.

Once the neon tetra fry grow into juvenile neon tetras, it does become increasingly difficult for a platy to eat them though due to the platy species having a somewhat small mouth when compared to the rest of their body.

If you are wanting to help your neon tetra fry survive in your aquarium then you are able to use fish fry hide to help prevent your platies from following them around in your tank.

For the most part though, a platy eating neon tetra fry my actually be a benefit to some aquarium setups, especially smaller ones or tanks that are heavily stocked due to how frequently neon tetras can breed.

If your platies are eating the fry then it will prevent you from having problems with overpopulation in your aquarium while the adult neon tetra are left untouched by your platies due to their larger size preventing platies from eating them.

Can Platies And Neon Tetras Live In The Same Aquarium Tank?

Many people keep neon tetras in their tanks that also contain platies without having problems.

Although it is not a common pairing due to neon tetras usually doing better in a species specific tank with just neon tetras, it can definitely work and it can also work well.

The best part is, you are usually able to set up a very budget friendly community tank with platies and neon tetras that will look great due to their bright colors.

As we covered in our article about keeping platies with amano shrimp, you can also add some amano shrimp to the tank with your platies and neon tetras if you wish as they offer a great clean up tank member.

Your platies and neon tetras can occupy the other levels of your aquarium while your amano shrimp focus on eating as much of the algae, detritus, and leftover fish food as possible from the tank to help reduce the amount of maintenance that you have to carry out on your aquarium to keep it in a good condition.

More and more people seem to be keeping neon tetras and platies in their larger aquascape tanks too due to the colors of the fish contrasting so well against the greens of their aquascapes.

This could be one of the main reasons that we have noticed such a dramatic increase in the number of people asking if they can keep neon tetras with platies recently due to so many of these beautiful aquascapes going viral on social media in recent months.

How Many Neon Tetras Should You Keep In An Aquarium With Platies?

You should always keep an absolute minimum of six neon tetras in your aquarium no matter what tank mates you are keeping with the fish as neon tetras are a schooling fish that will have issues if kept alone or in small groups.

Depending on the size of your aquarium, you can keep as many as thirty neon tetras in a large tank with your platies and not have any problems.

Now, just to clarify, the maximum number of neon tetras that you are able to keep in your aquarium is controversial and often debated in the fish keeping community.

Although it is pretty much agreed that you should never keep below six neon tetras in an aquarium, most wild neon tetra schools often range from around twenty five neon tetras up to around fifty neon tetras depending on the environment.

The problem is, in captivity, a school of over thirty neon tetras can start to have problems within the school no matter how large the aquarium is.

This is why we would recommend that you keep between six and thirty neon tetras in an aquarium with your platies while following the one inch of fish per gallon in the aquarium rule.

For example, say you have fifteen neon tetras that are 1.5 inches long totaling 22.5 inches of fish and five platies that are 3 inches long totaling 15 inches, you will need a 22.5 + 15 = 37.5 gallon tank or larger.


That brings our article going over if you can keep a platy and neon tetra in an aquarium with each other in the same aquarium tank to an end. We hope that we have managed to help clear up some of the more common misconceptions that we have seen repeated on social media time and time again and that you now understand that you can safely keep neon tetras with platies with minimal problems in your tank.