Can Neon Tetras Eat Betta Food?

Bettas and Neon Tetras are very beautiful fish that any aquarium hobbyist would like to have. The color and grace of these fish, combined with the appropriate decoration, can result in an awesome aquarium.

Many people think that it’s difficult to have both types of fish in the same aquarium, since Bettas have a reputation for being very aggressive.

However, with proper precautions, it’s possible for Neon Tetras to live with Bettas in the same tank.

But then, the following question appears:

Can Neon Tetras eat Betta food?

And it’s normal that you want to know if your Neon Tetra fish won’t get indigestion or even something worse from consuming Betta food.

On the other hand, setting up one aquarium instead of two also helps you save some money, right?

So what is the answer? Can Neon Tetras eat Betta food? Well, don’t worry, the short answer is yes, Neon Tetra fish can eat Betta food.

Today, I’m going to explain what you have to take into account to ensure that both Betta and Neon Tetra fish coexist and feed in the same aquarium in perfect harmony.

But first, it’s good idea that you know a little more about these fish, just in case you’re a total beginner.

Know your Betta fish

Betta fish is commonly called “Siamese fighting fish” due to an ancient clan of warriors existing in its country of origin, Thailand.

Betta fish have great strength and adaptability, so much so that they have survived throughout history inhabiting unusual places such as puddles or holes formed by carts in rice fields in Thailand. This has allowed them to develop the ability to breathe oxygen directly from the air through their gills.

And it happens that this fish has become used to shallow waters, so it lives better in small aquariums, since its body doesn’t support too much pressure.

If you really want to have Betta fish in your aquarium, you should know that being a tropical fish, Bettas demand a stable temperature around 26 degrees; a temperature below 22 will make your fish irreparably ill.

On the other hand, you should also try to keep a neutral pH in your aquarium, or at least slightly acidic, around 6.5 at the most.

Regarding its character, Bettas are quite territorial and could become quite aggressive, so if you want them to live with other fish, a recommendation is that they should be the same size as your Bettas because if they’re smaller, the Bettas could eat them – yes, Bettas are carnivores.

Another detail is that Bettas like jumping, so it’s very important that your aquarium has a cover, so you avoid unnecessary headaches.

Know your Neon Tetra fish

Neon Tetra fish is a warm and fresh water fish from the Characin family that’s related to the famous piranhas.

Although the origin of the fish is not very clear, it has been found that there are several areas of localization, mainly around Peru, Colombia and Brazil.

Their natural habitat is the minor currents of great rivers, especially the Amazon – although some populations have also been seen in clear waters.

Although they were previously difficult to reproduce in aquariums, these fish have become very popular in recent years due to their beautiful colors and because they aren’t very demanding about their habitat.

Neon Tetras are very sociable fish that adapt well to living with other species, they aren’t very demanding in terms of water quality and they’re also very resistant, a factor that makes them an ideal type of fish for any beginner in the world of aquariums.

(Find out what fish are compatible with neon tetras by reading our article Best Tank Mates for Neon Tetras)

These fish usually measure about 4 cm, with a coloration that includes blue, green and red, although sometimes they present slight variations depending on the environment they inhabit – it’s because of these combinations that they have such a name.

Regarding the conditions of your aquarium, it doesn’t need to be very large, with 50 or 60 lts is enough. The temperature should vary between 21º and 28ºC, with a pH between 4 and 7.5

It’s also a good idea to place plants and logs here and there, so they can seek shelter. You can also leave the center of the aquarium somewhat clear, so that they find free spaces to swim.

Feeding Your Betta and Neon Tetra Fish - What You Need to Know

Now, let’s see everything about food, since that’s what brought you here 😉

Betta fish feeding

In the wild, Betta fish are actually omnivores, feeding on plants as well as small insects and larvae that live in puddles.

However, the eating habits of Betta fish indicate that it prefers eating meat, since it spends most of its time consuming insects and their larvae, so its body demands a lot of animal protein to live healthily.

However, despite this, you should make sure that your Betta fish’s diet is specific to them. In other words, the amount of protein for them shouldn’t be below 40% protein, which is the ideal amount for them to be fed in a balanced way.

Of course, they can also feed on certain plants, but they won’t survive too well if they only eat vegetables.

You should feed them flake or granulated balanced meals daily. You can also give them certain treats, but high in protein, such as bloodworms or brine shrimp fed live or freeze-dried.

It’s also important that you avoid overfeeding your fish, as this can cause some health problems. Ideally, you should give them an amount of food that they can consume in about 3-5 minutes.

Once the food is finished, remove everything that hasn’t been eaten from the aquarium, this way you avoid increasing the levels of ammonia and nitrite in the water, which are toxic.

Neon Tetra fish feeding

As it happens with Betta fish, in the wild, Neon Tetras are omnivores, so they eat meat as well as vegetables and plant matter. But the good news are that Tetras are less picky about food and can be considered truly omnivores.

This means that you can see them enjoying eating algae, insect larvae and other invertebrates the same. But in the aquarium, they’ll also eat all kinds of goodies that you give to them, whether in pellets, flakes, frozen or alive.

Ideally, feed them high-quality flake food, but you can also add:

  • Brine shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • Freeze-dried bloodworms
  • Tubifex

Of course, you can also incorporate vegetables into their diet, but as a general rule, you should feed them very small pieces, even if they’re small worms or larvae, as they could easily get choked.

The ideal frequency to feed them is twice a day when they are young, but as they grow and mature, you can reduce the frequency to once a day.

Just remember, feed them as much food as they can consume in just 3-5 minutes.

(Check out our guide on How To Care For Neon Tetras for more information on neon tetra care!)


Can Neon Tetras eat Betta food?

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article and based on the information you have already read regarding the type of diet for each variety of fish, it’s easy to deduce that indeed, Neon Tetras can eat the same food as Bettas.

The reason is very simple: while Bettas are more carnivorous fish, Tetras eat all they can eat – well, almost everything. This also means that Bettas won’t eat some of the food that Tetras eat.

If you also read the description I gave you about each type of fish, you will realize that both types of fish can be kept together in the same aquarium, since the water conditions for both are very similar.

Certainly, Bettas are aggressive and will try to attack Tetras at times, but Tetras are much faster, making it easy for them to escape from slow Bettas.

Continuing with the food matter, the ideal is that you find a balance point in the diet for both types of fish, so you must be very observant when you feed them.

Generally speaking, high-quality fish flakes are good for Tetras, while high-quality pellets will be better for Bettas. It’s a matter of preferences.

In general, Betta pellets are nutritionally more balanced and ideal as a basic food for these fish.

However, the Neon Tetra will also placidly accept these Betta pellets; the only problem is that Bettas can get aggressive when they see another type of fish eating their food!

It’s common to see that Tetras prefer pellets over Betta flakes, to the point that they often ignore the flakes if there are pellets also floating in the water – in addition, these pellets are also much easier to eat than flakes.

Therefore, my recommendation is, use pellets as food for both types of fish, since these are usually better balanced nutritionally.

And what about other types of food?

In addition to this basic diet, you must supplement their diet with “treats” that both enjoy equally.

In this case, the most recommended would be:

  • Daphnia
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Bloodworms

They’re all good options, both live and freeze-dried and frozen. However, it’s a good idea avoid abusing these prey, as in some cases they can cause some health problems in your fish – such as constipation – especially bloodworms.

Regarding the type of vegetables for your Neon Tetras, you can use the following:

  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas
  • Lettuce

The recommendation, in this case, is that you cut very small pieces and drop them in small amounts in the water on a regular basis, although not daily. The important thing to remember is that shouldn’t allow them to remain in the water for a long time once they have eaten.

Believe it or not Neon Tetras will eat small pieces of spinach!


As you have seen, there is no problem in having these two types of fish living and eating together in the same place.

I have given you some general recommendations here, but it’s also important that you take a good look at what your fish prefer to eat among the foods recommended for them.

Also, try to always use quality food and that their diet is as balanced as possible, this way you make sure that your fish always stay healthy and beautiful.