Ember Tetra

Ember Tetra

Ember tetra is a beautiful, eye-catching, and fascinating freshwater tropical fish that is very famous and popular in the aqua world. Its demand is increasing for the last few years due to its stunning, bright appearance and fun-loving nature. You can easily take care, maintain, and breed ember tetra, it adjusts easily with other species in the tank.

Everything About Ember Tetra

It lightens up the aquarium when you add it and its peaceful and playful temperament makes it an ideal choice for aquarists and hobbyists. Ember tetra is gorgeous and unique and is the best choice to add creativity and character to your aquarium.

Ember tetra is easy to care for and handle and the most sought-out fish in the aquarium trade. These fire-red creatures swimming in the form of groups in the tank glows up the tank.

It is one of the most colorful and compatible tetra species for a planted tank. Ember tetra needs low-maintenance as you have to recreate or mimic its natural environment in the tank, and the fish is glad.

Ember tetra profile

Categories Features
Scientific name Hyphessobrycon amandae
Common name Ember tetra
Care level Easy
Suitable for aquarium Yes
Tank size Small or even nano tanks
Shoaling/schooling Yes
Diet Omnivore, micro-predator
Reproduction Sexual
Lifespan 2-3 years
Origin Brazil
Temperament Peaceful
Behavior Active and playful
Size 1-1.5 cm
Biotope Amazonian
Plant safe yes
Breeding Substratum egg scatters

Scientific and other names

The scientific name of ember tetra is hyphessobrycon amandae, and it has several common-names, like red nano-tetra, dwarf tetra, fire tetra, and amandas.

All these names represent the bright appearance and size of ember tetra. The word hyphesso is a Greek word that means ‘of lesser nature, and Brycon is a generic name. 

Origin and Species of Ember tetra

The origin of ember tetra is the Araguaia river basin in the central Brazilian region of Mato Grosso state, south America. Ember tetras belong to the class Actinopterygii, order Charadriiformes, and family Characidae. 

Charadriiformes order has the most diverse freshwater fish and includes characins and 19 other families and almost 2000 species. The family Characidae hail from tropical and subtropical waters. The genus hyphessobrycon consists of the tetra family along with other 154+ recognized species.

Heiko bleher is the man behind the discovery of these minute creatures in 1986. He gave them the name hyphessobrycon amandae after his mother name ‘Amanda bleher’ she was a researcher.


Ember tetra belongs to the natural habitat of slow-flowing, slow-moving rivers, lakes, and sometimes swamps. These areas have too many plants, trees, and vegetation in the surrounding that provide shelter to the fish and serve as a food source. The fish prefer backwater tributaries and streams of the lower Amazon basin in Brazil. 

The water of these rivers, lakes, and streams is soft and slightly acidic with a soft substrate with a layer of fallen leaves and branches. The water turns yellowish-brownish and lowers pH due to the release of tannins from decomposing organic materials.

Appearance and size of ember tetra

The fish has a beautiful, bright, fiery, orange-red color body with the eyes of the same orange-red color outlining the black pupil. Some species have a more orange tint, and some have more red-tint in their body.

They may have a gradient or orange ombre near their abdomen. Usually, the portion above the eyes is a bright red color, making the fish more attractive. Their bright color fades at the time of stress and turns white with a tinge of slight red. 

They have a slightly elongated and thin body shape with mild translucency near the pelvic fin. They have compact and closely lying scales that look almost transparent. The male has a brighter and sharp-coloration during spawning.

The female appears dull with a round, oblate abdomen during the breeding season. Also, their air bladder is visible through their body, and you can see it from outside. The male has a smaller and pointed air bladder, while the female has a large and round air bladder.

Their fins are darker, which makes them stand out differently in contrast with the orange-red body. They have merged anal fins with the smaller dorsal fin while the caudal fin is large, and all appear slightly gray or black.

The structure defines the speed of movement, and they have a compressed back that helps them move and swim swiftly. The brightness of their body color depends upon the environmental condition.

Ember tetras are small-sized fish with a length of hardly 2 cm that means 0.8 inches. Due to their too small size, they are ideal for very small or even nano aquariums. Aquarium’s environment and diet play a vital role in determining their size. These smaller and strikingly glamorous creatures, when swimming in a tank, look gorgeous.

Typical behavior

Ember tetras belong to green regions with numerous trees and plants in the surrounding. These plants influence the behavior and nature of ember tetras. They feel more safe and comfortable when there are plants, fallen logs, thick vegetation, and driftwood all around them in the aquarium.

Ember tetras are schooling and shoaling fish that lives happily. These species are peaceful and extremely playful and are not timid. They are too active and play beautifully in the tank creating a mesmerizing view.

They are fast swimmer and love hiding and moving around plants and other decorations in the tank. They usually live in the middle of the tank and rarely goes to the bottom.

Despite their super-active nature, they take time to become habitual of the tank and show strange and cautious behavior initially. This problem resolves with time when they get habitual and acclimate to the tank and with other species. 

Are Ember tetras fin nippers?

They are not fin-nipper like other tetra species and are more suitable for the tanks. They keep to themselves and are usually shy of other active fish. If you experience fin nipping, it may be due to a small school.

Sometimes they exhibit fin nipping with the betta fish, or it is unlikely to happen. They are schooling fish and loves to live in groups just like diamond tetra.

Are Ember tetras aggressive?

No, ember tetras are not aggressive at all and are peace-loving, calm-nature species. A reason behind their non-aggressive nature is their too small size. If you face the problem of their aggression, although it is rare, add more fish of the same species in odd numbers.

They never harm, compete with, or cause trouble to other animals in the aquarium. Ember males usually defend forms of territory during the reproduction period but do not cause harm to anyone.

Which type of fish can live with Ember tetras?

Ember tetras, because of their peace-loving and undemanding, can live with multiple other species. Species with the same size and same temperament are the best choice of tank mates for ember tetra.

The fish live in the middle of the tank, so you can also keep them with bottom dwellers as it will not disturbance both species. 

  • Other tetras- especially neon tetra and toucan tetras
  • Danios – leopard, zebra
  • Small corydoras
  • Hatchetfish
  • Gouramis – dwarf, sparkling
  • Shrimp – cherry, crystal red
  • Rasboras – lambchop, chili, harlequin, micro
  • Pygmy catfish
  • Bolivian ram
  • Rainbowfish
  • Swordtail fish
  • Discus
  • Barbs
  • Kribensis dwarf cichlids
  • Guppies 
  • Mollies

They can also live with betta fish, but it requires little care and school. Better avoid keeping them with betta fish as it can result in fin nipping action from both fish.

Avoid keeping them with goldfish, large cichlids, predatory fish, and other large and aggressive fish. These larger fish can harass them or find them as a snack. 

Can you keep ember tetras together?

It is better to keep at least 4 to 8 ember tetra together in a tank for better schooling and shoaling. They live gladly with more of their kind species and feel more secure, stress-free, and lively.

If you do not add more ember tetra in the tank, the alone fish keeps shying and hiding behind the plants. The more ember tetras in a tank, the more beautiful and brilliant school they will become.

How long do ember tetras live?

There is an interesting fact about tetras that they live depending upon their body size. Smaller tetras have a shorter life, and large tetras have a longer lifespan. Ember tetras are also very small and are a short-term commitment species.

They live up to 2 to 3 years when you provide them ideal conditions and high-quality nutrition. Their lifespan is the same in both wild and planted aquariums. 

However, according to some reports, they can live for more than six years, but there is no scientific or documented proof. Good nutrition and a healthy environment can increase the expectation of the life of these small creatures. 

Diet of ember tetra

In their natural habitat, ember tetras are omnivores, micro-predator, and feed on small invertebrates, small crustaceans, and zooplankton. Also, they have a habit of grazing on plant shoots, vegetation and scraping microbes colonies from plants. 

In the aquarium, you can serve them various food to maintain their health and well-being. The fish gladly feed on dry flakes, pellets, wafers, or granules and live or frozen food.

Add diversity to their diet by including daphnia, Moina, grindal worms, artemia. Also, provide them brine shrimp, spirulina, blood worms, and insect larvae to enhance their bright coloration.

Their diet impacts their color and appearance, so provide them with a diverse and nutritionally dense diet. Also, a balanced diet helps to prevent diseases and increase their life expectancy. Your fish will also graze upon the aquarium plants that will add more nutrients to their diet.

Artificial supplements are a great source of essential nutrients when the fish is not healthy, but there is no need for supplementation for a healthy one as you can provide them all the nutrients from the diet.

Feeding method and frequency

The feeding frequency should be two to three times a day with a sufficient and consumable amount. Grind the large food particles as they are small and can not eat large pieces or chunks.

It is better to serve different food in every feeding as it helps provide a variety of food per day to the fish. You also diversify the diet is to make a mix of dried, frozen, and live food as in this way, they will eat well.

The size of the food particle should be less than 500 microns for smaller ones. The particle size of fewer than 800 microns is acceptable for fully-grown adults. Since ember tetras are too small, they cannot eat much at a time. Therefore, feed them in small amounts to avoid the deposition of unconsumed food particles in the tank. 

Ember Tetra Breeding

Breeding and spawning of the fish is easy and occurs frequently. When breeding, feed them high-quality food as it helps in triggering and successful spawning.

Like other tetra fish, it is preferable to set a separate breeding tank for these fish and maintain the tank conditions and water parameters. It is better to add a small group of ten fish in the breeding tank rather than a single pair. 

After spawning, remove adults from the tank and let the eggs hatch and release the fry. The eggs usually incubate for 24-36 hours, and the fry starts swimming within 3 to 4 days. The eggs are not too sensitive to light, and the fry grows too slowly as it takes almost two months to reach the size of one-fourth inch.


Ember tetra is easy to care for and handle as they are hardy. They can adjust gradually to changing tank conditions and water parameters. They are not too sensitive and can tolerate temperature change.

Also, they are not picky or messy with food, which makes them easier to maintain. Despite their soft water habitat, they can live comfortably in hard water.

Overfeeding causes digestive issues to the fish, and you also need to maintain the quality of food. Cheap and low-quality food can deteriorate your fish health. Also, tank hygiene and maintenance is necessary with consistent water renewal and removal of algae.

Tank setup and water requirements for ember tetra

The fish require a suitable tank setup like all others and usually take some time to become comfortable and adjusted in an aquarium. You can mimic and resemble their natural habitat as much as possible in the tank. 

Tank size

The most preferable and optimal tank size for these minute creatures is a small or nano size tank. Although large tanks are better in aesthetics and maintenance, ember tetras are so small that they can vanish in the large tank. 

They start hiding behind plants and other decorations in large tanks. Also, there may be large fish in the tank that consider these small fish as their food. You should use a minimum of 10 gallons tank.

Water parameters

They are hardy and can resist a wide temperature range and other water parameters in the tank. Usually, they require soft or moderately soft water. The ideal level for water parameters are:

  • Temperature – 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water hardness – 3 to 4 dGH or below 18dGH
  • pH – 5.5 to 7


You have to install all the necessary equipment in the aquarium to ensure fish health and survival. Ember tetra naturally lives in still waters, so you have to add a filter that cleans water and produces a low current. 

Lighting should be moderate in brightness and should mimic natural sunlight. Install a water heater, air pump, or air stones in the aquarium if necessary, to maintain the water temperature and oxygenation levels.

Plants, rocks, and driftwood

Ember plants are fast swimmers and like a bit of open water to swim. It is better to add small plants and avoid too wide or too tall plants. Floating plants are ideal for the tank, or you may attach the plants to the driftwood. 

Dry leaves of almond, oak, beech, alder are best to use as they can stain the water by releasing tannins like their natural habitat. Other plants you can use are java ferns and java moss.

A piece of hollow driftwood or a cave are better options for the small aquarium. Do not add too big objects and avoid adding crowd to provide much space for the fish to swim.


Choice of substrate is not of much concern as they live in the middle of the tank and do not go to the bottom. There is no special requirement for the substrate, and you can add any substrate like sand or gravel of dark color to contrast with the bright color of fish.

Common Diseases

Ember tetras are not very prone to diseases and are resistant to most of the fish disease but may suffer some strange fish diseases. One most common is microsporidia infections that may badly affect them. Constipation and bloating are also common in the ember tetra.

They may develop a strange disease in which their body turns black, starting from a small black spot on the tail fin and extending throughout the body. This disease can be fatal if you do not diagnose it early. Also, they may develop many fungal and bacterial infections with low water quality.

Other diseases include ich diseases, which are very common in freshwater fish. The cause of the disease is a parasite that develops tiny white spots on the mouth, fins, gills, and whole body of the fish. It also causes scratching and redness or bloody streaks on the body.

Bacterial diseases ‘ false neon tetra or cottonmouth disease’ is also common in ember tetra and cause poppy scales, gray spots, lesions, and fuzzy patches on the body.

Cost of ember tetra

The fish is cost-effective and cheap, and everyone can afford it easily. Usually, it cost about one to two dollar per fish which is incredibly inexpensive.

They are schooling fish, so you should buy at least eight ember tetra for a tank for schooling, and it will cost you between $10 to $18.

The more tetras are in a tank, the more they feel homey and comfortable. These fish are worth buying because of their outstanding-coloration and fun-loving nature.

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