Can Turtles Eat Neon Tetra

Turtles are fond of eating fish. As for neon tetra, they like to eat them once they catch them in the aquarium. Throughout this post, we’ll explain how turtles can eat them and how you can prepare your neon tetra for consumption. Are you ready? Let’s begin!

Can Turtles Eat Neon Tetra?

Yes, turtles do eat neon tetra and they are a good source of food for turtles. However, neon tetra are agile swimmers, making it difficult for turtles to catch them. On the rare occasion that they can catch them, they are breeders and are great for feeding your turtles. 

You can see longneck turtle eating tetra eating neon tetra in the video below.

Can Baby Turtles Eat Neon Tetras

Baby turtles can eat neon tetras as well! For baby turtles, try to give them smaller neon tetras so they can catch up to them. By giving your baby turtles neon tetras as a snack, they’ll have the protein needed to grow into healthy adults.

Can Neon Tetras Live With Turtles

No, turtle and neon tetra cannot live toghter as the turtle will eat neon tetra. 

When having turtles and neon tetras in the same tank, have at least eight fish. This will give the tetras enough to breed while giving your turtle enough fish to chase after. When having them in the same tank, give your turtles enough space to swim around. 

How to Prepare Your Neon Tetras for Your Turtle

You’ll have to prep your neon tetra before feeding them to your turtle. Here’s how you can do so. 

  • Tank Size

Since neon tetras are smaller fish, they don’t need a lot of space; only 1-2 gallons is sufficient enough. But if you have a large group of them, have a 10-gallon tank. A school of neon tetra can group together and swim around in the tank. Give them a taller aquarium so they can move around freely. 

  • Nitrogen Cycle

The nitrogen cycle is the process where the ammonia is processed into nitrate and nitrite. 

Both turtles and neon tetras experience the nitrogen cycle when they’re in the tank. Without the nitrogen cycle, the tanks would be filled with toxic waste, and they won’t be able to stay alive.

Turtles and neon tetras leave feces, urine, and waste. 

The waste goes to the bottom of the tank and begins to break down. This leads to ammonia (NH3) which can add toxins to the tank. If unchecked, the toxins will continue to build up until it kills everything in the tank. In severe cases, the Ammonia will burn the fish gills, leading to permanent injury or death.

Beneficial bacteria such as Nitrate are less toxic than nitrite and ammonia.

It can build up, but make sure you do a 25%-50% water change weekly. When doing this, make sure you have no fish inside of the tank. This is more humane and saves you more money from replacing your fish. 

  • Filtration

Neon tetras don’t have a specific filtration need. Make sure you have a filter that complements your aquarium.

That way, it gives you enough capacity for bacteria that use ammonia. Check the GPH (gallons per hour) rating, and make it 4x more than the tank size.

If you have a 20-gallon tank, make sure it has an 80 GPH rating to ensure your neon tetra can swim correctly. 

  • Lighting

Neon tetra lives in blackwater environments. Leaves fall in the rivers and streams and create tannins (tannic acid) that change the water into a dark brown color.

Since neon tetra has evolved to live in dark water, they aren’t fans of highly illuminated tanks. 

Neon tetra prefers living in areas with dim lights.

If you’re going to place plants in the tank, get plants that can grow in medium or low light. Alternatively, include floating plants that will reflect the light from the aquarium.

Neon tetra eggs are highly sensitive to light. In fact, the light can kill them, so you need to keep your aquarium completely dark until they are several weeks old. 


Turtles can eat neon tetra as they are a great source of protein for them. However, you have to ensure that the fish have their living conditions met before feeding them to your turtle. Always keep your tank clean to ensure that your turtle and tetra don’t create too much waste. By feeding your turtles neon tetra, you’ll see them have more fun inside the tank and grow immensely. 

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