Ember Tetra: The Ultimate Care Guide

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Are you looking for a fun and colorful new fish for your aquarium? 

If so, the Ember Tetra is a great choice. 

They are beautiful freshwater fish that would be a great addition to any tank.

In this Ember Tetra care guide, you will learn everything you need to know about caring for these fun little fish! 

Ember Tetra Overview

Care Level:Low-Maintenance, Easy, Great for Beginners
Color:Bright Orange/Bright Red
Size:0.5-0.8 inches Long
Behavior:Peaceful, Curious
Lifespan:2-4 Years in Captivity
Tank Size:Minimum 10 Gallons for 8-10 Ember Tetras
Tank Set-Up:Freshwater, Heavily Planted
Tankmates:Fish with Similar Size & Temperament

The Ember Tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae) is a small freshwater fish that originates from Central Brazil. 

They are most commonly found in the Araguaia River and other surrounding slow-flowing, highly vegetated rivers. 

In the wild, these fish feast on zooplankton, small invertebrates, and some aquatic plant matter. 

This is an active, yet very peaceful species. They are very low-maintenance fish to own in captivity. 

What draws people to this amazing fish is its stunning, bright orange color. Not only that, but they are extremely easy to own and care for, making Ember Tetras a very popular choice for many aquarium enthusiasts. 

How big do Ember Tetras grow?

Ember Tetra size ranges between 0.5-0.8 inches, making these fish slightly smaller than other popular Tetras such as the Neon Tetra. It is very uncommon to see one of these fish grow to an inch or larger. 

Because they are shoaling fish, it’s best to keep at least 8-10 Tetras in the same tank. This will allow them to group and swim together through the tank.

Allowing Ember Tetras to shoal is important to make them feel comfortable and less stressed. Their small size makes this convenient and easy to manage.

Ember Tetra behavior guide

Ember Tetras are a fairly active species, yet they also tend to be very peaceful. 

This species is commonly referred to as curious, playful, and fearless. They enjoy swimming quickly back and forth around the tank to check out their surroundings. 

These fish are shoaling fish, which means they are typically found in a cluster swimming around together.

In a group, Ember Tetras can be found swimming through plants and vegetation and will often keep towards the center of the tank. 

Although they are quite active, it’s also not uncommon to find them calmly hiding out between the plants. 

These fish are not aggressive and make excellent tank mates to other species (more on this later). 

Ember Tetra care guide

Ember Tetra care is fairly simple and straightforward. 

This is one of the most low-maintenance fish to own and is recommended to all aquarium enthusiasts of any experience level. 

If you follow the basic care guidelines below, you should have no problem caring for this fun, brightly colored fish.

Ember Tetra tank size

Although Ember Tetras are a smaller species, it is not recommended to keep them in a small tank. 

The best tank size for for these fish is at least 10 gallons. A long, wide tank is also preferable over a short, tall tank. 

This provides a better distance for a small group of these fish to comfortably swim back and forth and gives enough space for the necessary amount of plants. 

What to include in their tank

In the wild, Ember Tetras are surrounded by heavy vegetation, so it’s best to add lots of plants to their fish tank. 

This will provide them a place in the tank to hide, rest, and swim through. Having plants will also help provide oxygen to the water and will improve water quality. 

The best plants for these fish to have in their tank include Java Moss, Java Fern, Hornwort, and Anacharis. 

Keep in mind that while heavy vegetation is great for your fish, you don’t want to add too many plants. This could restrict them from being able to freely swim back and forth throughout the tank and can make them feel stressed. 

How many Ember Tetras in a 10-Gallon Tank?

Following the basic rule of one gallon of water per one inch of fish, it is recommended to keep 8-10 Ember Tetras together in a 10-gallon tank. If you are looking to house more than that together, it’s best to upgrade your tank to a 20-gallon or larger.

This will help accommodate their needs while providing enough space for plants and swimming distance. 

Ember Tetra tank conditions 

In the wild, Ember Tetras are freshwater fish that thrive in small rivers with slow-flowing water and heavy vegetation. 

Therefore in captivity, their tank should include a gentle filter (so as not to push them around the tank), and lots of plants for them to swim through. 

Ember Tetras also do extremely well in blackwater tanks. But if you prefer to stick with a whitewater tank, you should provide these fish with softer LED lights.

Ember Tetra Water Parameters 

  • Temperature: Between 72-82℉ (22-28℃) 
  • pH Level: Between 5.5-7 pH (but preferably closer to 6-6.5) 
  • Water Hardness (dGH): Between 5-17 dGH 

Ember Tetras are hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. 

This is one of the many reasons why these fish are so easy to care for! 

In general, it is best to keep the water temperature between 72-82℉, with the general water hardness between 5-17 dGH.

Ember Tetra pH levels

For Ember Tetras to thrive, pH levels should stay between 5.5-7, but ideal conditions would be around 6.5 pH. It’s also recommended to test the tank water once or twice per week with an aquarium test kit. This will ensure the water parameters are just right for your Ember Tetras. 

I use API’s freshwater master test kit – check the latest price

Here’s a summary of the ideal water parameters and conditions for Ember Tetras:

Ember Tetra tank mates 

In general, this species does well with: 

Ember Tetras are peaceful, gentle fish, which means there are many different tank mate options to choose from for these fish. They will typically keep to themselves and do well with other tank mates. 

All of the list above are great to pair with your Ember Tetras. However, there are some species to avoid when choosing a tank mate.

For instance, you will want to steer clear of large fish that may mistake your Ember Tetras for food. Fish like Goldfish, large Gouramis, or Cichlids are generally not great tankmates for Ember Tetras. 

Another option to avoid is aggressive fish like Oscars, Bucktooth Tetras, and other large, aggressive species. 

Although there are some options to avoid, Ember Tetras generally get along well with similar species. 

Read more: Can Ember Tetras live with a Betta?

How many Ember Tetras should be kept together? 

Keep at least 8-10 Ember Tetras together in the same tank so that they can shoal together. This can easily be done in a 10-gallon tank, however, if you would like to keep more than 10 together, you will need to upgrade to a larger tank.

Keeping 8-10 together at a time will also help them feel more secure with their surroundings and will minimize their stress. 

How long do Ember Tetras live? 

In captivity, the Ember Tetra lifespan ranges between 2-4 years depending on how well they are cared for. Monitoring water parameters and giving your Embers the right living conditions, such as a heavily-planted tank, are two ways to ensure your Tetras live a healthy, happy life.

It is recommended to keep their tank heavily planted to closely mimic their environment in the wild. This reduces their stress and helps them to live a lot longer.

Another good way to reduce stress is to make sure your group is large enough. As mentioned above, a group of 10 or more kept together will not only encourage spectacular shoaling behavior but also help your Embers feel safe, lowering stress levels.

What do Ember Tetras eat?

Ember Tetras require other varieties of food in their diet. Fish flakes for freshwater fish are a great option for the base of their diet, but supplementing with foods like Daphnia, brine shrimp, bloodworms, zooplankton, and insect larvae is recommended to keep your fish healthy.

These foods, along with flakes, will ensure your Ember Tetras receive all the necessary nutrition and will help keep their color bright and vibrant. 

Keep in mind that Ember Tetras are small fish and any large pieces of food should be broken up or ground into smaller pieces. This will help them to properly eat and digest their food. 

It is also important to not overfeed these fish, as this could lead to several different health issues. We recommend feeding your Ember Tetras 2-4 smaller meals throughout the day.

Ember Tetra breeding

Breeding Ember Tetras is quite simple. To start, there will need to be both males and females in the same tank. The water temperature should be between 80-82℉ and pH levels should be closer to 7. These water conditions are optimal for the breeding process. 

Ember Tetras do not provide any protection or care for their fry once they are laid, so it’s important to place the fry in a separate fry tank. This will ensure other fish don’t eat the fry. 

The water conditions in the fry tank should be roughly the same as the main tank where they came from. 

Ember Tetra eggs typically hatch after 24-48 hours. Once the fry are grown (after a few weeks), they can be moved to their own larger tank. 

Ember Tetra diseases

Ember Tetras are very hardy fish and are not typically susceptible to species-specific diseases. 

However, overfeeding, poor diet, and unnatural water conditions can lead to illnesses. 

Some common illnesses to watch out for are: 

  • Parasites
  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal diseases
  • Lymphocystis 
  • Impaction

With proper diet and feeding, ideal water conditions, and an appropriately sized tank, this will significantly reduce the risk of common disease and illness for your Ember Tetras. 


If you are searching for a fun, colorful, freshwater fish to add to your fish tank, the Ember Tetra is a great option. 

This fish is active, peaceful, and curious. They are extremely low-maintenance and are easy to keep with other tank mates. 

They are also the perfect fish for aquarium hobbyists of any experience level. 

By following this guide and caring for your Ember Tetras properly, you will have a fun and vibrant addition to your fish tank for many years! 

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