Ember Tetra: Care, Size, Lifespan, Diet & More

Ember tetras (Hyphessobrycon amandae) are small, colorful freshwater fish that make great beginner fish. As the name suggests their orange ember-like coloration is the main point of attraction. 

Ember tetras are relatively peaceful species and are easy to care for. This is why we recommend them for aquarists of different skill levels. However, there are some key points you will need to know to properly care after these beauties. 

We made this article to provide you with the correct care guidelines for Ember Tetras, as well as any other information you might need. So let’s begin!

Species Profile & Overview

Ember Tetras are native to Central and South America in the Amazon Basin. A Large number of these fish are found in Central Brazil in the Araguaia River basin. Like most tetras, this fish is also often collected directly from the wild for the pet industry. 

Ember Tetras are often found in slow-moving waters in the tropical regions of Brazil and surrounding areas. They prefer waters that are heavily planted with warmth and well-oxygenated. They also prefer to have plenty of hiding places to hide from predators. 

What makes this species of tetra unique is its dark orange coloration which helps them stand out in its surroundings. Their color is also believed to be used as a defense mechanism to make predators think twice before hunting them.

The Ember Tetra is a beautiful little fish that is perfect for any size aquarium. They are also easy to care for and make a great addition to any home aquarium.


school of Ember Tetra
Ember Tetras

The Ember Tetra is a beautiful little fish that packs a beautiful orange color into its small body. The fish is mostly dark orange when fully mature. They have the same coloration on their fins as well. 

They have gained a lot of popularity in the aquarium hobby for this reason. Their dark orange coloration makes them very visible fish in any planted aquarium. The green color of the plants and the orange color of this fish give a beautiful contrast to any fish tank.

Ember Tetras have a very similar body shape to other tetras, especially the Neon Tetra. They have very slender bodies with unique translucent fins. Their caudal peduncle is also very thin, which adds to their streamlined appearance. 

The dorsal and anal fins are uniquely grown tall which gives them their unique tetra looks. However, the fins are small and rounded which is the same color as their body. The tail fin is forked and is the largest fin on its body.

The pectoral and ventral fins are translucent and light can easily pass through them. This makes it super hard for the naked eye to notice it. 

Keep in mind that when you first buy these fish from pet stores, they might not look very colorful. These fish need some time to adjust to the change and a clean and high-quality diet to develop darker orange colorations.

Adult Size

Ember tetras are a very small species of fish, with adults only reaching less than 1 inch in length. There is no significant size difference between males and females of this species but females can look plump.

The small size of ember tetras makes them a great choice of fish for nano tanks. However, they can live in any size aquarium as long as they are living in the school with other Ember Tetras.


The Ember Tetra fish has a lifespan of about 2 – 5 years in captivity. However, there are reports that they can even live up to 10 years when the tank is heavenly planted. Diet and water quality can affect their lifespan.

They are popular aquarium fish, but their lifespan can become relatively short if proper care is not given. Genetics, stress, and diseases can all contribute to a shortened lifespan in Ember Tetra fish.

Behavior & Temperament

The Ember Tetra is a peaceful fish that does well in a community tank. They are active and playful but can be shy around larger fish. They are also a great choice for nano tanks.

Ember Tetra fish are good community tank fish. They are peaceful and do not bother other fish. However, other fish may bully them if they are kept in a community tank with larger or nippy fish.

Ember tetras are schooling fish that do best in groups of 6 or more. If you have a larger tank then you should definitely get more Embers. These fish schools are much better in large numbers. 

Keep in mind that these fish may not school tightly when kept in low numbers or when there are no other species available. Ember tetras school when they feel threatened so if you have a tank with no other fish, they might feel so safe and comfortable to start exploring the tank individually. 

They prefer planted tanks with plenty of hiding places. Plants and hiding places give them a sense of security when kept with other species of fish. Green plants will also make your tetra colors look more bright and more visible. Especially when you combine plants with a dark substrate. 

Ember tetras are known to be very active and playful. They often swim in groups and play with each other. But they can become shy in lower numbers or when enough plants are not available for them to take refuge.

Ember Tetra Care

Ember tetras are relatively easy to care for which makes them a super fun fish to keep. They are a great addition to any community aquarium and do well in a variety of different water conditions.

The main reason these fish are so popular is that they are very active and can school when kept in large numbers. These little fish are always on the move and make your tank look very alive. They are also very social creatures and enjoy being around other fish.

Embers are also very adaptable species that can thrive in a wide range of water parameters. But, it is still important to try and match their aquarium parameters as closely as possible to what they have in the wild. This will help to ensure that they remain healthy and happy in their new environment.

If you’re thinking about getting an Ember Tetra fish, be sure to read the next few sections carefully to learn about what kind of care they require.

Tank Size

The minimum tank size for Ember Tetras is 10 gallons. In a 10 gallon aquarium, you can keep up to 10 ember tetras. If you want to keep them in larger schools then simply add one gallon per each additional tetra you want to add. 

Ember Tetra fish are social creatures and do best in larger groups. A larger aquarium will let you have more of these fish and that’s when you can see the true behaviors of these fish. 

A larger aquarium also allows for more plants and hiding places, which can provide shelter and protection from other fish. The water will also stay more stable which is super important for the health of these beautiful fish.

What To Put In An Ember Tetra Tank

Ember tetras prefer an aquarium with plenty of hiding places and live plants. A combination of live plants and a dark substrate will make their colors pop out in the tank. We are always in favor of natural decorations and live plants as they make the tank look more natural and beautiful.

These fish are a very small species so you can decorate most of the tank without compromising their living space. That being said, if you have a large group of them, it’s best to leave some open space to see their schooling behaviors. 

When a tank is overcrowded by plants and decorations they can break the school of ember tetras passing by. So it is best to plant the sides and background of the tank leaving the middle and front empty for the fish to swim. 

We highly recommend using natural decorations to decorate and create a beautiful aquarium. There are many benefits of using natural decorations like rocks and driftwood in an aquarium. 

Natural decorations help the tank to look more beautiful and natural both for fish and humans. They also help to keep the water cleaner and clearer by providing a place for beneficial bacteria to grow. 

One of the best things about Ember Tetra is that they are compatible with a wide variety of freshwater plants. This means that you can easily create a beautiful and thriving aquarium that your fish will love. 

Some of the best plants to keep with Ember Tetra include Java Fern, Moss Ball, Anubias, and Amazon Sword. These plants are all easy to care for and give your tetras plenty of shade and hiding places to hide if they need to. You can also pick other types of plants to create more beautiful aquascapes.

Depending on the type of plants you want to keep, you have a few options for the substrate to choose from. Ember Tetras do not swim near the bottom of the tank so it doesn’t matter what type of substrate you want to pick. However, a darker substrate can make the fish look more bright and will look less dirty when the tank gets older.

school of Ember Tetra
Ember Tetras

Light Requirements

Ember Tetras is a brightly colored fish that live in crystal clear waters. They are often found in streams and rivers that are not too deep and have clear water so that light can reach the vegetation. This means they are well adapted to bright daylight conditions. 

As long as your tank is well planted the lighting conditions will not stress the fish. Plants will create shades for the ember tetras and absorb the light to prevent algae growth. A full-spectrum LED light is the best choice for these fish.

Make sure your light has red LEDs as the red light can make the Ember Tetras look more orange. The darker orange the fish become, the more visible they will be to the viewers. So light with some red LEDs is the ideal choice of light for these tiny guys.

Make sure to set your light on a timer and run it on a schedule. The plants and the fish need to live in a set day/night environment to be able to function properly. Having the light on a timer will give the fish a sense of day and night and let them adjust to a fixed schedule. 

Water Conditions & Parameters

Ember Tetras are pretty adaptable species and can live in a wide range of water parameters. Again, there is a recommended window that you should aim for if you want them to be as healthy as possible.

Ember tetras come from the clear rivers and streams of the Araguaia River basin in South America. The water in their natural habitat is clear but some places are stained brown from tannins released by decomposing leaves and other organic matter. 

The water flow is moderate and the river bed is covered with plants and algae. Ember Tetras are often found near plants where they can swiftly hide when they feel threatened. Recreating a similar environment with similar parameters is highly recommended.

Here is the ideal range of water parameters to keep Ember Tetra in an aquarium environment:

  • Temperature: 74 – 84 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH: 5.5 – 7.0
  • TDS: 80 – 250 PPM

Regular water changes are super important to the health of your Ember Tetras. Make sure to change the water on a weekly basis and only change 10 – 20 % at a time. These fish do not like shocks. 

Filtration System

The filtration system in an Ember Tetra tank is another crucial factor in the health of the Ember Tetras. These fish live in super clean waters in the wild and they should have a similar environment in a tank. 

The filter helps to remove harmful toxins and debris from the water, keeping the water clean and safe for these fish to live in. The right kind of filtration system can also help with oxygenating the water, which is essential for the fish’s respiratory system.

Many different types of filters can be used in an Ember Tetra aquarium, just make sure to avoid filters with a strong water flow. These fish prefer to swim in slow to moderate flow. 

Common Diseases and Prevention

Ember Tetras are susceptible to several aquarium diseases that can have a serious effect on their health. Some of the more common aquarium diseases include bacterial infections, parasites, and fungal infections. 

These diseases can cause a fish to become listless, have difficulty breathing, and may even lead to death. While there are treatments available for many of these diseases, it is important to take steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

This includes ensuring that your Ember Tetra fish are kept in a clean and well-maintained aquarium and that they are fed a nutritious diet. It is also important to quarantine new fish before adding them to the main tank.

Diet and Feeding Requirements

Ember tetras are small freshwater fish that is native to Brazil. In their natural habitat, they eat a variety of small invertebrates, insect larvae, worms, crustaceans, and algae. They typically forage for food near the plants where they can also hide from predators. 

In captivity, it is important to make sure your Ember Tetras receive an omnivore diet that has a good mix of different types of food. This will help them to remain healthy and thrive under your care. 

Ember Tetras are omnivore species so a good diet for them includes live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia, as well as high-quality omnivore flake or pellet foods.

Dry foods like pellets and flakes should be their main diet and frozen or live foods can be given a few times per week as a snack. Commercially made aquarium fish foods are not able to fully provide all the nutrients fish need. But, they are still a good source of protein and algae that tetras can eat.

Overfeeding aquarium fish is unhealthy for the fish and the aquarium. When fish are overfed, they produce more waste, which can pollute the water and make it difficult for the filter to remove. Overfeeding can also cause fish to become obese, which can lead to health problems.

Breeding Ember Tetra

To breed Ember Tetra in an aquarium, you will need to purchase a group of 10 – 20 fish to be able to get one or more pairs out of it. Males and females look very similar when they are at stores. They will need some time to grow and mature before being able to guess their gender.

Male and female Ember tetras can look very similar. However, males are often more narrow and smaller than females. Females will get more round and have a wider body in the middle. This is more visible when she has eggs.

Once you identify a pair, you can set up a breeding tank and transfer them to the tank. The breeding tank should be small so the fish can find each other easily. Usually, a 2 – 5 gallon tank is the ideal breeding setup. 

In the tank, you must add some moss, floating plants, and almond leaves. Check daily for eggs and remove the adults as soon as they lay their eggs. Eggs are very small and might be hard to see, so make sure to look closely and carefully. 

Ember Tetra usually lay around 20 – 40 eggs on each spawn. The number of eggs can vary depending on the size and health of the female. Depending on the water parameters, eggs usually hatch within 36 – 48 hours.

Tank Mates

Ember Tetra fish are generally peaceful towards other tank mates, but other fish might bully them for their small size. This is especially true when they live in a small tank. A larger aquarium will allow all the fish to spread out and therefore can reduce aggression.

The Ember Tetra is a very small fish so it’s best to keep them with other fish that are small and peaceful. If they are housed with larger fish, the Ember Tetra may become stressed and hide a lot. Larger fish can also try to hunt your tetras which is not something you would want!

Considering these points, here are our recommended tank mates for Ember Tetra:

school of Ember Tetra
Ember Tetras


Ember Tetra fish can be a great addition to any sized aquarium. They are tiny fish that can even live in nano tanks. However, they do best in larger tanks when kept in large numbers. They are peaceful and can share a tank with other community fish. They are also easy to care for, but they are not beginner fish.