Ember Tetra – A Complete Guide (Care, Diet, Facts)

There are so many different types of tropical freshwater fish out there which have been growing in popularity recently, and one of them is the Ember Tetra fish.

The Ember Tetra fish is a popular fish among aquarium hobbyists for several reasons: they are peaceful, beautiful, and relatively easy to care for. This fish makes a great addition to any freshwater tank.

If you are interested in learning more about the Ember Tetra, keep reading to find our full guide below.


About the Ember Tetra

The ember tetra is a freshwater fish of the Characidae family. Its scientific name is Hyphessobrycon amandae. This fish originates from the Araguaia River basin of Brazil.

The Ember Tetra was found pretty recently, so it is a new species that is still being studied. It was found in 1987 and named after a famous fish explorer’s mother.

If taken care of properly, Ember Tetras can live up to 10 years old. But, in everyday fish tanks, they usually are not in the best environment that suits their needs, so their average lifespan is about 2 years.

The Ember Tetra is mostly orange in color. Their eyes are black with an orange rim. In terms of size, they usually grow up to 0.8 inches in length, so they are relatively small compared to other species of freshwater fish. They are able to grow to a maximum of 2 inches.

Their dorsal fin is quite large for their body, while the caudal fin is small compared to the rest of their body. Their fins are usually black or grey which stands out against the bright orange or red color of their body.

The scales of the Ember Tetra are very close together and defined. This makes them look even more visually appealing, especially combined with their vibrant coloration.

The minimum tank size of this fish is 10 gallons. This is one of the only species of fish that can survive in such a small size tank.

The behavior of this fish is based on its environment. It comes from a region where there are lots of plants, so they prefer to hide and dwell in planted aquariums. However, they are also quite active and playful. Therefore, the best environment for them is to have an equal balance between plants and open space.

Benefits of Having an Ember Tetra

They make great fish for community tanks because of their peaceful nature. They get along with many other species of fish that around the same size and temperament level as them. Also, they love to swim in schools of their own.

They are relatively easy to care for. Even though they have some requirements and specifications, they are very easy to follow. A beginner could easily do it. For this reason, an Ember Tetra is the perfect fish to have to introduce people into the fish world.

They are visually appealing. The fiery red and orange coloration of this fish makes them stand out in any aquarium. This especially holds true for standing out against the green plants. That contrast in color will make your tank look incredible.

They are easy to breed. Ember Tetras are some of the easiest freshwater fish to breed. They do not need any intervention, as they are able to breed naturally, As long as you follow the requirements for breeding correctly, you should be able to breed healthy offspring in a short amount of time.

They are not picky when it comes to food. Ember Tetras are omnivores, so they both meat and plant-based foods. They generally do not care much when it comes to food, as they are a very food-driven species. Therefore, you can buy pretty much any type of food for them. Just make sure they are getting all of the right nutrients to live happy and healthy.

Requirements for the Ember Tetra

In order to ensure your Ember Tetra is being properly taken care of, there are some requirements that need to be met. This is going to create a healthy environment for your fish to thrive in.

Tank size – The Ember Tetra fish is quite small and calm, so it only needs a tank that is at least 10 gallons. This is one of the only fish that is able to survive in this small of a tank. Therefore, if you are going to choose a community tank, you need to get one that is larger sized.

Lots of plants – Ember Tetras need plants in order to survive. They love heavily planted aquariums so they can hide. You need to still leave a generous amount of open space for them to swim in, but they typically love to dwell in the plants.

Water – To best resemble their natural environment, the water pH levels should be approximately 5.5 to 7 pH (closer to 7). Also, the temperature should remain at around 68 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. There are several smart aquarium thermometer available that have wifi to send data to your phone.  The hardness of the water should be approximately 18dH. This is going to emulate the most natural environment, so they are the most comfortable they can be.

Substrate – While there is some flexibility with which substrate you can use, Ember Tetras prefer dark-colored substrate that is either brown, black, or green. This emulates their natural environment of the rivers in Brazil, and it decreases stress.

Filter – The flow rate of the filter plays a huge role in resembling a natural environment for the Ember Tetra. The flow rate should be set on a very low setting to match the slow-moving waters from the rivers where they originate. The gentle movement of water allows them to swim freely and stress-free.

Maintaining an Ember Tetra

Of course, the most important thing to care for any fish is to regulate the water. You should be regularly checking the temperature and pH levels to make sure that they are at a suitable level for your fish.

You should be doing water changes around every 2 to 4 weeks. This aids in filtration by removing any harmful bacteria or chemicals that could be harmful to your aquatic life. This is especially true for an Ember Tetra’s tank because of the abundance of plants.

Another important factor in maintaining an Ember Tetra is making sure the lighting is appropriate. Typically, the lighting should be on for about 12 hours a day and off for the other 12 hours. In order to simulate a natural light cycle, it is recommended that you get a light timer that will take care of this for you. A ramp timer is best because it gradually increases and decreases the lighting which is closer to their natural environment.

To prevent algae growth, it is crucial that you do routine water changes and make sure your filter is working properly. Also, if you notice any algae growth on the plants, you must tend to this immediately.

In terms of illness, the Ember Tetra is prone to one disease in particular. It makes them turn black all of a sudden, and then they quickly start to die. This can often happen quickly and without notice.

To ensure this does not happen to your Ember Tetra, be sure to look out for small black spots on their body that start to form. This usually appears on the caudal fin at first. Do not ignore this. One this appears, the disease can spread to their whole body in weeks or even days.

If you ever see a black spot begin to form, bring the fish to veterinary care. They can rule out of this is a serious symptom or not. If it is a beginning form of this disease, they can remove it so the fish can return back to its normal, healthy life.

Ember Tetra Diet

A big issue with all small fish is overfeeding. If you keep feeding the fish, they will not stop eating. Therefore, you have to know when to stop because they have no self-control.

It is important that you only give them small portions of food at each feeding session. Feeding sessions should occur around 3 times a day. This will ensure that their food intake is better controlled, so their small body will be able to digest food better.

Ember Tetras are omnivores, so they eat food that is both plant and meat-based. Popular foods for their diet include small invertebrates, zooplankton, some types of shrimp, fish flakes, dried foods, and artificial supplements. Artificial supplements will help to give the fish any nutrients it may be missing as well as help brighten their natural coloration.

If you do not have a proper feeding routine for your Ember Tetra, you risk damage to their digestive system. Since they are very small in size, they are very sensitive to food. So, look out for signs of overfeeding like them swimming on their side or any strange behavior.

Also, Ember Tetra have the tendency to eat from the plants in the aquarium. This should not be a concern, but you need to make sure that there is no algae growth, as this can harm your fish,

Tank Mates

The Ember Tetra is very easy to blend with other species including their own. Their compatibility is one of the reasons this fish is so popular among freshwater fish owners. They do great in community tanks because they typically have a very peaceful attitude.

They are most happy when in schools of their own, specifically in groups of around 7 to 8. Plus, they look stunning when swimming in groups of multiple Ember Tetras.

They are most compatible with fish of similar size and temperament. Specifically, we recommend blending them with fish from the Characidae family. But, they also do great with Corydoras, some Cichlids, Rasboras, and more.

A good characteristic to look for in tank mates is finding fish that swim at different layers of water. The Ember Tetra loves to stay in the mid-section of the tank. So, it is best to find some fish that are bottom-dwellers or ones that stay towards the top. When you get fish that swim towards the top, make sure the fish tank lid is secured properly so they do not jump out.

Some species to stay away from with Ember Tetras are larger, more aggressive species. They can become territorial of the aquarium, and they can even possibly eat the Ember Tetra because they see them as inferior and weak. Also, do not set them up with fish that like to mainly feed off plants. Ember Tetras need plants to survive, so they do not other feed to eat them away.

Breeding Ember Tetras

Ember Tetras are one of the easier species to breed. You must make sure that the breeding tank is under the correct conditions, and that they are more strictly monitored than a regular Ember Tetra tank. This will ensure a healthy environment for offspring to grow in.

Luckily, breeding Ember Tetras does not require any intervention. But, there are some things you should do to speed up the process. The breeding tank should be relatively small. The water should be very weakly filtered and the lighting should be dim.

Prior to breeding the Ember Tetras, you want to make sure the parents are as healthy as possible. Therefore, it is recommended to feed them live foods for at least 2 weeks before breeding.

When they breed the offspring, the parents should be separated into another tank. This will prevent them from eating their young, as some Ember Tetras are prone to doing this.

After about 3 days, the juvenile fish will start to swim and look for food. When they start swimming easily, the breeding process is complete.

Final Thoughts

The Ember Tetra is a great freshwater fish among both beginning and experienced fish owners. They are not too demanding, and they make a great addition by adding visual appeal to your aquarium. If you are looking for a freshwater fish that is both visually appealing and easy to maintain, the Ember tetra could be an excellent option for you.

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