Ember Tetra Care Guide: Expert Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

Ember Tetras are a beautiful and fascinating addition to any freshwater aquarium, especially for those new to the hobby. These small, flame-colored fish make a stunning visual impact as they dart around their aquatic environment. Their peaceful demeanor and easy-care requirements have made them a favorite among aquarists of all experience levels.

Originating from Brazil, the Ember Tetras thrive in densely planted environments with plenty of hiding spots, imitating their natural habitat. Growing up to around 0.75 to 0.80 inches in length, these tiny fish are well-suited for community tanks and nano aquariums. While they exhibit a striking appearance, understanding their care requirements, diet, and suitable tank mates is crucial for maintaining a healthy, thriving environment for these captivating creatures.

Key Takeaways

  • Ember Tetras are a popular choice for both novice and experienced aquarists due to their striking appearance and ease of care.
  • These tiny fish are native to Brazil and require a well-planned tank environment, including densely planted areas and suitable tank mates.
  • Factors such as diet, breeding, and disease prevention are essential to consider for the well-being of your Ember Tetras.

Species Overview

Ember Tetra, scientifically known as Hyphessobrycon amandae, is a small and attractive freshwater fish that is popular among aquarists. They originate from the Araguaia River basin in Central Brazil, where they inhabit backwater rivers with low currents and abundant vegetation. As a hardy and easy-to-care-for species, Ember Tetras make a great addition to community aquariums, particularly for beginner fish keepers.

These vibrant fish exhibit striking colors and a playful temperament, which further adds to their appeal. They are social creatures that prefer to be in schools and thrive in planted tanks with plenty of hiding spots and swimming space. Their size, diet, and overall care needs are relatively straightforward and manageable, making them well-suited for most aquarium setups.

Scientific NameHyphessobrycon amandae
Common NameEmber Tetra
DistributionCentral Brazil, Araguaia River Basin
Size1 inch
Lifespan2 to 4 years
TemperamentPeaceful, Playful
Minimum Tank Size10 gallons
Temperature72-82 °F (22-28 °C)
Water Hardness1-10 dGH
Care LevelEasy
Filtration/Water FlowLow
Water TypeFreshwater
Breeding DifficultyModerate
CompatibilityCommunity, small non-aggressive fish

Origins and Natural Habitat

Ember Tetras (Hyphessobrycon amandae) are small, vibrant fish native to South America, specifically Central Brazil. They are predominantly found in the Araguaia River Basin, where they prefer backwater rivers with low currents and a rich amount of vegetation.

In their natural habitat, these fish thrive in warm, slightly acidic waters. As they originate from regions with relatively high temperatures, maintaining a water temperature between 75 and 82 F (24-28 degrees Celsius) in your aquarium is essential for their well-being. Additionally, the ideal pH range for Ember Tetras is around 5.8 to 7, which helps in mimicking their natural environment.

To replicate the conditions of the Araguaia River Basin, creating a planted tank with plenty of hiding spaces is the way to go. This not only enhances the beauty of your aquarium but also enables Ember Tetras to feel secure and comfortable. You can achieve this by incorporating various types of soft aquatic plants, ensuring a thriving and diverse community tank.

Adopting these measures allows you to provide the ideal home for Ember Tetras, keeping them healthy and content in their new surroundings. By understanding and respecting their origins and natural habitat, you’ll contribute to their overall well-being and longevity within your aquarium.

Physical Characteristics

Size and Shape

Ember Tetras are small fish, growing up to only 0.8 inch (2 cm) in size. Their bodies are thicker and taller in the front half, narrowing out towards the back half. The dorsal fin is located near the middle of their body, providing them with a balanced look and smooth swimming ability.

Color and Markings

These vibrant fish get their name from their bright orange or red color, reminiscent of a glowing ember. Their slightly translucent bodies have a coppery sheen, adding to their attractiveness. The iridescent scales of an Ember Tetra give it a shimmering appearance, making it stand out in any aquarium.

Typically, the fins display a slightly darker hue than the rest of the body, adding depth to their overall appearance. The vivacious colors and markings of the Ember Tetra are certainly some of their most eye-catching features, and they contribute to the stunning aesthetics of any tank they inhabit.

Lifespan and Growth Rate

Ember Tetras are known for their small size and vibrant colors which make them a popular choice for nano aquarium enthusiasts. As you plan your aquarium, it’s essential to understand the lifespan and growth rate of these delicate fish.

In a well-maintained aquarium with optimal water conditions and a proper diet, Ember Tetras can live up to 2-4 years. It’s worth noting that their lifespan can be influenced by various factors, such as water quality, tank size, and diet. Consistently maintaining ideal water parameters and providing a balanced diet will ensure a healthy environment and support their natural growth rate.

When it comes to their size, Ember Tetras are tiny fish typically measuring around 0.8-1.4 inches (2-3.5 cm) in length when fully grown. Their small size makes them an ideal choice for nano tanks, but keep in mind that they are a schooling fish and would require a group of at least 6-10 individuals to feel secure and exhibit natural behavior.

Your Ember Tetras will grow gradually, reaching their adult size within 9-12 months. To support their growth rate, it is essential to routinely monitor the water conditions, including temperature and pH levels. Ideal water temperature for these fish is between 73°F to 84°F, and the recommended pH range is 5-7.

To sum up, offering the proper care for your Ember Tetras, which includes maintaining suitable water conditions and an appropriate diet, will contribute to a healthy lifespan and optimal growth rate. Their small size and schooling behavior make them ideal residents for nano aquaria, bringing vibrancy and movement to your underwater world.

Diet and Feeding

Ember Tetras have an omnivorous diet, meaning they consume both plant and animal matter. As a responsible aquarist, it’s important to provide a balanced diet for your Ember Tetras to maintain proper nutrition and ensure their health and growth.

In their natural habitat, Ember Tetras primarily feed on small insects, zooplankton, and algae. To recreate this diet in your aquarium, you should offer a varied mix of high-quality flake or pellet foods. These should be specifically made for small omnivorous fish to ensure they contain the right nutrients for your Tetras.

Feeding should also include a range of live and frozen foods to mimic their natural diet further. Choices such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms are great options for this. These can provide essential nutrients and make feeding time more engaging and stimulating for your fish.

When feeding your Ember Tetras, offer small portions, and only feed them what they can consume within a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and health issues. Ideally, feed them twice a day or split their daily portion into several small feedings.

A well-rounded diet for your Ember Tetras should include:

  • High-quality flake or pellet foods designed for omnivorous fish
  • Live foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms
  • Frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms
  • Feed in small portions, twice a day or as several small feedings

By providing a balanced diet of flakes, pellets, live, and frozen foods, you can ensure your Ember Tetras will thrive and showcase their natural beauty in your aquarium.

Behavior and Temperament

Ember Tetras exhibit a peaceful and curious temperament, making them a great addition to your community aquarium. As they are quite active fish, you’ll often find them swimming throughout the tank, exploring their surroundings. Since Ember Tetras are schooling fish, it’s essential to keep them in groups of at least six individuals. This will encourage their natural shoaling behavior and ensure they feel secure and comfortable in their environment.

In a well-structured community tank, Ember Tetras can coexist with other small and peaceful fish, such as Neon Tetras, without any issue. Their shoaling nature means they tend to stick together, enhancing the visual appeal of your aquarium, while also minimizing any stress that could arise from living in a mixed-species environment.

To support the active and curious nature of your Ember Tetras, you should provide them with an ideal environment that includes plenty of hiding spaces, such as plants, rocks, and driftwood. This will allow them to explore their surroundings while also giving them places to retreat to when they need a moment of respite.

Care and Tank Requirements

Caring for Ember Tetras is relatively easy, making them suitable for aquarists of different levels. In this section, we will go through all essential care aspects, including tank size, water parameters, tank setup and decorations, and filtration and aeration.

Tank Size

A minimum of a 10-gallon tank is required for Ember Tetras, as they are small, active fish. If you plan to add more fish to the community, consider increasing the tank size accordingly.

Water Parameters (Temperature and pH)

The ideal water temperature should be between 73-84°F (23-29°C). As for the pH level, aim for a range of 5.5-7.0. Maintain the water hardness between 5-17 dGH.

Tank Setup and Decorations

Create a comfortable environment for your Ember Tetras by setting up a heavily planted tank. You can use live plants such as Java moss and other foliage. Incorporate driftwood and rocks to create hiding places and additional structures.

This type of planted setup mimics their natural habitat and helps them feel secure. Adequate lighting is necessary for plant growth; however, Ember Tetras prefer slightly dimmer conditions. You can achieve this balance by using less intense lighting and providing dense vegetation for shade.

Filtration and Aeration

Filtration is crucial in maintaining the water quality in your aquarium. Use a suitable filtration system for your tank size. Combine mechanical and biological filtration to eliminate waste and maintain a stable environment for your Ember Tetras. In addition to filtration, ensure gentle water flow and aeration by using an air stone or sponge filter. This promotes oxygen exchange without causing strong currents, which can stress the fish.

By following these care and tank requirement guidelines, you can create a healthy environment for your Ember Tetras to thrive.

Suitable Tank Mates

When it comes to selecting tank mates for Ember Tetras, it’s essential to consider peaceful fish that can comfortably coexist in a community environment. Ember Tetras are small, non-aggressive species. Your choice of tank mates should ideally include species with similar temperaments and size.

Tetras make an excellent choice for companions, as they share a similar disposition. Within this category, Neon Tetras are particularly compatible, thanks to their peaceful nature and eye-catching colors. Additionally, Rasboras stand out as another fitting example, able to blend seamlessly into a harmonious environment.

Guppies are another fantastic option for sharing a tank with your Ember Tetras. Known for their bright colors and lively demeanor, guppies can add a dynamic element to your community tank without causing unnecessary tension.

When considering bottom-dwelling fish, consider corydoras and corydoras catfish. These peaceful scavengers can clean up leftover food that falls to the bottom, effectively maintaining a cleaner and healthier tank environment.

It’s essential, however, to avoid more aggressive and larger fish species such as barbs and some types of mollies. These fish may cause stress and harm to your Ember Tetras, ultimately disrupting the delicate balance of the tank.

Lastly, don’t forget about incorporating some invertebrates into the mix. Nerite snails, for example, are unfussy tank mates, easily coexisting with Ember Tetras, while helping to keep algae under control.

Breeding Process

Breeding Ember Tetras is generally considered easy, especially for those who already have experience in breeding fish. To ensure a successful breeding process, follow these steps:

Step 1: Prepare a separate breeding tank. Set up a dedicated tank for breeding, ideally at least 10 gallons in size. Fill it with water that matches the water parameters in the main tank, and provide plenty of hiding spots using Java moss or other fine-leaved plants.

Step 2: Condition the breeding pair. To improve their spawning readiness, feed the prospective breeding pair a diet rich in high-quality live or frozen foods for a few days. This enhances their overall health and encourages them to spawn.

Step 3: Introduce the breeding pair to the breeding tank. Once the pair is suitably conditioned, place them in the breeding tank, preferably in the early morning or evening when the lighting is dim. This will help them acclimate to the new environment and induce spawning behavior.

Step 4: Monitor for spawning. Ember Tetras will typically lay their eggs among plants or on other surfaces within the breeding tank. After spawning, they are known to eat their own eggs and fry, so it’s crucial to remove the adult fish from the tank as soon as you notice eggs.

Step 5: Care for the embryos and fry. The eggs will hatch within 24 to 36 hours, and the fry will be free-swimming in about 3 to 4 days. During this time, the fry can be fed with infusoria or other fine particle foods. Once they are slightly larger, you can introduce baby brine shrimp as a source of nutrition.

Remember that patience and attentiveness are key factors for success when breeding Ember Tetras. By following these steps and maintaining pristine water conditions, you’ll be well on your way to expanding your population of this beautiful and vibrant fish species.

Common Diseases and Treatments

Ember tetras are relatively hardy fish, but they can still suffer from a few common diseases. In this section, we will discuss some of these diseases and their treatments, so you can keep your fish healthy.

White Spot Disease (ICH): This is a parasitic infection that appears as small white spots on the fish’s body. It can be treated using an aquarium medication specifically for ICH. Increase the water temperature to 86°F (30°C) for a week, and follow the medication’s instructions carefully.

Fungal and Bacterial Infections: These infections are often caused by poor water quality or injuries. They can manifest as discolored patches or cotton-like growths on the fish. Treatment involves using appropriate medication, such as broad-spectrum antibiotics or antifungal agents. Maintain a clean tank and monitor water parameters to prevent these infections.

Impaction: Overfeeding or feeding inappropriate foods can lead to a blockage in your ember tetra’s digestive system. Signs of impaction include a swollen abdomen, lethargy, and a lack of appetite. To treat this issue, abstain from feeding for a few days and then gradually reintroduce a high-quality, varied diet. Provide more greens in their diet and avoid large, indigestible food items.

Ensure that the water quality in your tank is regularly monitored and maintained, as poor water conditions are often the primary cause of diseases among fish. Test the water parameters frequently and perform regular water changes to maintain a clean and stable environment for your ember tetras. By following these preventive measures and addressing any signs of illness promptly, you can ensure that your fish remain in good health.


To ensure the optimal care and well-being of your Ember Tetra, following this comprehensive guide will aid you in creating a thriving aquatic environment. By carefully monitoring water parameters, providing an adequately sized tank with plenty of hiding spots, and offering a balanced diet, you can create a healthy and vibrant habitat for your Ember Tetra. With proper attention to their needs, these beautiful little fish will bring joy and color to your aquarium, making it a mesmerizing focal point in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Ember Tetras?

A 5-10 gallon tank is suitable for housing Ember Tetras. This size provides enough space for them to grow and move around comfortably.

What water temperature should be maintained?

Maintain a water temperature of 72-82°F (22-28°C) in the aquarium for Ember Tetras. This range is ideal for their health and well-being.

How long is the average lifespan of an Ember Tetra in captivity?

The average lifespan of an Ember Tetra in captivity is 2-4 years, assuming proper care and water conditions are provided.

What are some common diseases that Ember Tetras may contract?

Ember Tetras may be susceptible to diseases such as ich, fin rot, and other bacterial or parasitic infections. Maintain good water quality and observe your fish regularly to catch any signs of illness early on.

What are some suitable tank mates for Ember Tetras?

Ember Tetras do well with other small, peaceful fish species. Good tank mates include other tetra species, small rasboras, corydoras, and shrimp. Avoid larger or more aggressive fish, as they may stress or prey on the smaller Ember Tetras.

What type of food should I be feeding my Ember Tetras?

Feed your Ember Tetras a varied diet, consisting of high-quality flakes or micro-pellets, supplemented with live or frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. This will ensure proper nutrition and enhance their vibrant colors.

How often should I feed my Ember Tetras, and at what time of day?

Feed your Ember Tetras 2-3 times daily, providing only as much food as they can consume within 2-3 minutes. Feeding at consistent times each day, such as morning and evening, will help establish a regular feeding schedule.

Is there any visible difference between male and female Ember Tetras?

Males and females can be difficult to distinguish, but generally, males tend to be slightly slimmer and may have a more intense coloration. Females are usually slightly larger and have a rounder body, especially when carrying eggs.