Ember Tetra 101: Care Guide and Compatibility

ember tetra profile
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: July 16, 2024
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Bored with your plain old fish tank? **Explore the colorful world of Ember Tetras**! Experience the exciting charm these tiny marvels bring to your aquarium. **Ditch the dull** and **revamp your fish-keeping hobby** with these lively little fish.

Article Summary

  • Ember Tetras, scientifically known as Hyphessobrycon amandae, are small and colorful freshwater fish native to South America.
  • They are peaceful and do well in groups, so it’s recommended to keep them in groups of 10-15 individuals.
  • Maintaining water quality and the presence of live plants contribute to their longevity.

Species Overview

Ember Tetra, scientifically known as Hyphessobrycon amandae, are small and colorful freshwater fish native to South America. These stunning creatures are a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts due to their vibrant appearance and peaceful nature.

Name, Habitat, and Origin

Ember Tetras originate from South America, specifically from the clear, slow-moving waters of the Araguaia river basin in Brazil. They are typically found in heavily vegetated backwater areas, often referred to as “blackwater due to the tannins released from decaying plant matter. This unique environment provides them with the perfect conditions for their survival.

Physical Characteristics

One of the most striking features of the Ember Tetra is their bright orange coloration. Their bodies shimmer with an intense hue that adds a vibrant touch to any aquarium. The combination of their rounded shape and contrasting black eyes further enhances their appeal.

Ember Tetras are relatively small, measuring just under 1 inch in length when fully grown. Despite their petite stature, they possess unique fin characteristics that distinguish them from other fish species.

Their dorsal fin is elongated and extends towards the tail, creating an elegant flowing effect. This distinct feature sets them apart from their close relatives, such as neon tetras.


It’s worth noting that diet and care play a crucial role in maintaining the vivid coloration of Ember Tetras. A well-balanced diet consisting of high-quality flakes or pellets supplemented with live or frozen foods helps enhance their natural hues.

Size, Growth Rate, and Lifespan

Ember Tetras reach a maximum size of just under 1 inch at maturity. Despite being small in size, these captivating fish have a moderate growth rate compared to other species.

The Ember Tetra have a lifespan ranging from 2 to 4 years under optimal conditions. However, several factors can influence their longevity.

Water quality plays a vital role in their overall well-being, so it is essential to maintain a clean and stable aquarium environment. The presence of live plants also contributes to their longevity as they provide hiding spots and improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Ember Tetras are delightful freshwater fish that require specific habitat and tank conditions to thrive. Creating a suitable environment for these vibrant little creatures is essential for their overall health and well-being.

profile close up of ember tetra

Tank Set Up

A minimum tank size of 10 gallons is recommended for the Ember Tetra. However, larger tanks are ideal, especially if you plan on keeping a bigger group of these beautiful fish. Providing ample space for swimming and interaction with other tetras is crucial.

To create an optimal habitat that replicates the Araguaia river basin, it’s important to include plenty of vegetation in the aquarium. Ember Tetra prefer a well-planted tank with hiding spots where they can retreat when feeling stressed or threatened.

Consider adding plants such as Java Moss, Hornwort, or Anacharis to provide them with the perfect sanctuary.

Adding driftwood or Indian almond leaves can also enhance their natural habitat. These additions not only mimic their native environment but also release beneficial tannins into the water, creating slightly acidic conditions that Ember Tetra thrive in.

Water Parameters

Ember Tetras thrive in slightly acidic water..

Maintaining proper water parameters is vital for the health of your Ember Tetra. They prefer a temperature range between 72°F and 82°F (22°C – 28°C). Keeping the water within this temperature range will ensure their comfort and promote healthy growth.

In addition to temperature, monitoring pH levels is crucial. Ember Tetras thrive in slightly acidic water with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. It’s important to test the water regularly using reliable kits to maintain stability in pH levels.

Water hardness, measured by kH and hardness levels, should also be considered when caring for Ember Tetras. Aim for soft to moderately hard water conditions (4-8 dKH) as found in their natural habitats.


To achieve these optimal conditions, consider using a sponge filter along with regular filtration systems like powerheads. This will help maintain water quality and ensure proper circulation throughout the tank.

Tankmates and Temperament

Ember Tetras are known for their peaceful and non-aggressive temperament, making them great additions to community aquariums. They are shoaling fish that do well in groups. When considering tankmates for Ember Tetras, it is important to choose species that are compatible with their small size and gentle nature. Here are some key points to keep in mind when selecting tankmates for Ember Tetras:

Suitable Tankmates

Ember Tetras thrive when kept with other small, peaceful fish species. They feel most comfortable among their own kind, so keeping them in a group of at least 10-15 individuals is highly recommended. This allows them to exhibit their natural shoaling behavior and provides a sense of security.

Some suitable tankmates for Ember Tetras include:

These species share similar temperaments and tank requirements, creating a harmonious environment within the aquarium.

Compatibility with Non-Fish Tank Mates

Ember Tetras are generally compatible with peaceful invertebrates..

In addition to other species, Ember Tetras can also coexist with certain non-fish tank mates. Ember Tetras are generally compatible with peaceful invertebrates and can add a unique dynamic to the aquarium.

Consider adding these non-fish tank mates alongside Ember Tetras:

  • Nerite snails: These small, algae-eating snails help maintain a clean aquarium while posing no threat to the Ember Tetras.
  • Cherry shrimp: These colorful shrimp species create an interesting visual contrast and provide additional movement within the tank without causing any harm.

Adding these non-fish tank mates can enhance the overall aesthetics and diversity of your aquarium while ensuring a stress-free environment for your Ember Tetra.

Fish Species to Avoid

While Ember Tetras are generally peaceful, it is important to avoid keeping them with larger or aggressive fish. Larger fish may see the tiny Embers as potential prey, leading to stress and potential harm. Aggressive fish can intimidate the delicate Ember Tetras, causing them to hide excessively or become stressed.

Here are some species that should be avoided as tank mates for Ember Tetras:

  • Large cichlids like Angelfish or Oscars
  • Aggressive barbs such as Tiger Barbs or Rosy Barbs
  • Predatory fish like Betta splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)

These species have different temperament requirements and may pose a threat to the well-being of Ember Tetras.

.. it is important not to overfeed these tetras..

Ember Tetra Care

Ember Tetra, also known as Hyphessobrycon amandae, are small and vibrant freshwater fish that make a stunning addition to any aquarium. These tetras are incredibly easy to care for, making them suitable for aquarists of all experience levels.

Food and Diet

Ember Tetras are omnivores by nature and require a balanced diet to thrive in captivity. In the wild, these tiny fish feed on zooplankton and small invertebrates found in their natural habitats. To replicate their diet in an aquarium setting, it is crucial to provide them with a varied menu.

You can feed your Ember Tetra high-quality flakes or pellets specifically designed for tropical fish. Supplement their diet with frozen or freeze-dried food options such as bloodworms and brine shrimp. Live food like daphnia or mosquito larvae can also be offered occasionally to enhance their nutritional intake.

However, it is important not to overfeed these tetras as they have small stomachs. Feed them small amounts multiple times a day rather than one large feeding session. This helps prevent digestive issues and ensures optimal health.


One of the advantages of keeping Ember Tetra is their hardy nature and resistance to species-specific diseases. However, they are still susceptible to common ailments that affect many freshwater fish species.

Common Potential Diseases

Ich (white spot disease), fungal infections, and bacterial infections are among the most prevalent diseases observed in Ember Tetras. These conditions can cause visible symptoms such as loss of appetite, abnormal swimming behavior, or discoloration.

To treat these diseases effectively, it is crucial to maintain excellent water quality through regular water changes and proper filtration systems. Medications specifically designed for treating ich or fungal infections can be used following the manufacturer’s instructions. It is essential to monitor your tetras closely for any signs of illness and address them promptly.

Care Recommendations

Maintaining good water quality goes hand in hand with proper tank maintenance. Perform regular water changes of about 25% every two weeks to remove accumulated toxins and maintain optimal conditions for your tetras’ health.

Early detection of any health issues is crucial in preventing further complications. Keep a close eye on your Ember Tetra’s behavior, appearance, and appetite. If you notice anything unusual, take immediate action by adjusting their diet or consulting a knowledgeable aquarist.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that poor diet and inadequate water quality can significantly impact the overall health of your Ember Tetra. By providing them with a varied diet and maintaining excellent water conditions, you can ensure they thrive in your aquarium setup.


Ember Tetras are sensitive to fluctuations in water parameters, making it vital to maintain a stable environment. Ensure that your aquarium is well-cycled before introducing these fish and regularly test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.

Breeding the Ember Tetra

Breeding the Ember Tetra is a straightforward process that can be easily accomplished by aquarists of all experience levels. These vibrant and captivating fish, also known as Hyphessobrycon amandae, are a popular choice for hobbyists looking to add some color to their aquariums.

Ease of Breeding and Behavior of Breeding Pair

Breeding Ember Tetras is relatively easy due to their adaptability and willingness to spawn in captivity. It is recommended to keep a ratio of two females for every male in the breeding tank to ensure successful mating. Males are typically more colorful with brighter red hues compared to females. The males also possess elongated dorsal fins, while females have rounder bodies.

Breeding Tank and Conditions

To create an ideal environment to breed Ember Tetras, it is essential to set up a separate breeding or fry tank. This tank should be equipped with fine-leaved floating plants such as Java moss or spawning mops where the fish can lay their eggs. Maintaining suitable water conditions is crucial; aim for slightly acidic water with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 and a temperature around 78°F (25°C).

Ember Tetras thrive in soft water conditions similar to their natural habitat in Brazil’s blackwater streams. Mimicking these conditions will encourage successful breeding:

  • Temperature: Maintain a stable temperature around 78°F (25°C).
  • Water quality: Keep clean and well-filtered water with a slightly acidic pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
  • Lighting: Dim lighting helps create a more natural environment for breeding.
pair of ember tetras

Breeding Process

Once you have set up the breeding tank, it’s time to introduce the breeding pair. Place the male and two or more females in the separate tank with fine-leaved plants for egg laying. The male will initiate the mating ritual by displaying vibrant colors and chasing the females around.

The females will scatter their eggs among the plants, which should hatch within 24 to 36 hours after fertilization. It is crucial to remove the adults from the breeding tank once spawning is complete to prevent them from consuming their own eggs or fry.

Fry Tank and Care

After hatching, the fry will initially feed on infusoria or liquid fry food. As they grow, you can gradually introduce powdered or crushed flake food suitable for small fish.

  1. Feed them small amounts of high-quality powdered or crushed flake food multiple times a day.
  2. Monitor water parameters closely, ensuring temperature stability and maintaining pristine water conditions.
  3. Perform regular partial water changes to remove waste buildup.

To ensure optimal growth and survival rates, consider moving the fry to a separate grow-out tank equipped with appropriate filtration and heating systems. Regular water changes are essential to maintain good water quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many ember tetras should be together?

Ember Tetras thrive best in groups of six or more. Keeping them in a school mimics their natural behavior, reduces stress, and enhances their vibrant colors, creating a visually appealing aquarium.

How big do ember tetras get?

Ember Tetras are petite fish, typically reaching a size of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) when fully grown. Their small size makes them ideal for nano tanks and community aquariums.

Do ember tetras need plants?

While not strictly necessary, providing live or artificial plants in your aquarium can benefit Ember Tetras. Plants offer shelter, mimic their natural habitat, and create a visually appealing environment. However, they are adaptable and can thrive in tanks without plants as well.

Are ember tetras aggressive?

No, Ember Tetras are known for their peaceful and non-aggressive nature. They make excellent community fish and can coexist with a wide range of other fish species without causing issues.

Why are they called ember tetras?

Ember Tetras get their name from their striking coloration. Their vibrant reddish-orange and fiery hues resemble the glowing embers of a fire, making them a captivating addition to any aquarium.

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