Ember Tetra are a great fish to brighten any aquarium, with their bright red scales and small size, they
will add a pop of color to any aquarium, if you know how to keep them happy and healthy, that is. They
are a freshwater fish, that need at least a 10-gallon tank to live in comfortably, and they work extremely
well for a community tank.
General Information and Introduction
They are part of the order Characiformes in the family Characidae
Sometimes also called Fire Tetra, the Ember Tetra, as it is more commonly called, is a small freshwater
fish native to Central to Western Brazil.
They are from the Characiformes order of fish, which is very diverse having almost over 2000 fish with
19 families, from which they are from the Characidae family.
Although it is challenging to identify most fish in the Characiformes order, they are still easily
recognizable and eye-catching fish with their beautiful fiery red and orange scales, and sometimes when
they are swimming in groups they can look like a swirling column of fire.
Since they like to move around a lot, they are not boring fish to look at by any means, and since they like
lots of vegetation, you can see them darting in and out of the plants and chasing each other.
They are very popular among fish keepers around the world due to their red and orange color, and were
found in Mato Grosso State, which is in Central Brazil.
They are a very easy fish to keep, which they lend to their small size, since they are not demanding in
terms of diet, and overly crazy filtration and aeration systems. Just a few things to note first, is that they
are peaceful yet active swimmers, which is why they must be kept in 10-gallon tanks or larger, which is
about 37 liters.
They are great fish to keep for beginners, and in a well-kept tank they can live up to 2 years, but with
how easy they breed, as long as you do it right, you will have a steady supply of fish for easily well past
that 2-year limit.
The Ember Tetra is found in tropical places around the world, mostly in very wooded ponds, and
sometimes swamps, mainly in Central to Western Brazil
Since they are found naturally in slow moving lakes rivers and even swamps, they are used to heavily
wooded areas with lots of plants and trees, where they are used to using these for shelter, and hiding
Keep this in mind when setting up your tank and make sure that whatever you will make will suite them
so that they are comfortable and that your set up will reduce stress.
Keeping them together
Having multiple Ember tetra isn’t just visually pleasing, but it is highly recommended to have at least 8-9
in a tank, which will help significantly with decreasing stress, and also help them settle into a new tank.
Ember Tetra Size
The Ember Tetra is easily recognizable thanks to its beautiful fiery red color with the occasional orange
gradient in their scales, with an orange rim around their eyes to match.
These small fish grow to be around 0.8 inches long, or around 2 centimeters, which is why they look the
best in groups, which sometimes looks like spiraling flames behind the glass of your fish tank.
They have an elongated body shape, and during breeding season the females have a slightly oblate
abdomen. The females also generally have a larger air bladder when looking side by side with the males.
In terms of fins, they have one anal fin, with a dorsal fin on the smaller side, and a caudal fin on the
larger side, which have a slightly grey or black gradient, while the upper part of the head around the
mouth and above the eyes can sometimes be a reddish sort of color.
Caring for your Ember Tetra
These Tetras are freshwater fish, and as freshwater fish, they are very sensitive to changes in light or
water acidity and temperature. While they are very small, that are actually not prone to many diseases
and are typically quite a healthy species
DO NOT OVERFEED FISH! Overfeeding is a big issue with many smaller fish, as this could cause an issue
with their digestive system. A good indicator of this is if your fish look tired constantly or act strangely. If
your Ember Tetra are showing any of these symptoms, take a look at what they are eating, this could be
one of the first reasons why. If you have tried adjusting their diet and it is not helping, go to a vet.
The quality of the food could also be a determining factor, so if you are using low quality or inexpensive
food, then consider investing in higher quality or more expensive food. Consistent water renewal is also
key for their health, along with constant aeration and filtration.
Cleaning the tank regularly is also very important, since it is so densely packed with seaweed and other
plants, which can cause algae and bacteria buildup, which is not a nice thing to look at. Even though it
damages the aesthetic of the aquarium, more than the fish itself, an excess of algae can bring harm to
the Ember Tetra as well.
Parasites are another danger that could slip into your tank unnoticed, so try to not tamper with your
aquarium too much, but when they do, they can cause diseases, usually recognizable by cream-colored
dots on the skin, bloating, and sometimes Dysfunctional Shoaling Behavior, but other things can cause
the last one as well. I won’t go into detail on that here, but I will add a link to a very in-depth article
about it here.
Read Related Topic: Diamond Tetra
Aquarium Size and Specifications
The minimum size that you should keep these little floating embers is 10 gallons, with lots of plants and
Since they are found naturally in heavily wooded areas, they like a lot of leaves and foliage in their tanks
to replicate their natural habitat, which can help them settle into a new tank setting faster. You should
incorporate some mosses near the bottom of their tank.
It is important to leave just enough space for them to swim, but also enough greenery for them to hide
in. Mix up some free-floating plants with some grounded plants.
The pH of the water should be around 5.5 to 7 with a maximum of an 18dh water hardness. As for
temperature it should be at 68 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, or 20 to 26 degrees Celsius
They are found mostly in slow flowing bodies of water, which means that it is best to use a silent
filtration system, with an equally silent aeration system. Using a sponge filter should give you enough
aeration, but at the same time not disturb them so that they feel comfortable.
There aren’t any special requirements, although having a darker aquarium one looks much more
imposing and eye catching, as it makes the Ember Tetra stand out more against the dark background.
Adding dry leaves, since decomposition of these leaves’ leaves behind valuable bacteria which helps the
ecosystem within the tank.
The height of the tank really comes down to the height of the plants you want to put into it. The more
decorations and foliage you have, the more space is taken up by them, and the less amount of space you
have for actual fish to swim around, so you have to find that good medium between being able to fit
enough foliage and enough fish so it is nice to look at, but most importantly, so that it is comfortable for
They like some soft and dark soil on the bottom of their tanks, with some loose rocks and gravel mixed
in. The rivers and lakes in their natural place of origin are most often shaded off by large leaves and
other types of plants, so keep that in mind when setting up where you would want to put your aquarium
and what kind of lamps and lighting you would want to use, so putting it next to a window might not be
Naturally the Ember Tetra eats small zoo plankton and invertebrates, with them sometimes munching
on plants and little microbe colonies.
They will eat dry foods as flakes or granules, but it is recommended to feed them live or frozen food
such as worms to keep their diet diverse enough.
Considering their size, think of grinding the food up, so that they can eat it, and that their diet affects
their color and appearance.
They should get small portions 2 or 3 times a day, and make sure to put plants that they can feed on in
their tank to break up their diet a little.
If your fish are healthy, they should not need any additional supplements of any kind, and to keep them
this way, you should give them a balanced and diverse diet. You should think about what you are giving
your little swimmers in advance, instead of feeding them the wrong food and trying to turn their health
around at the last minute and need to give them supplements.
How Many Ember Tetra in a 10 Gallon Tank?
The quick answer is you should have at least 8-9 ember tetra in a 10 gallon tank, but there is still more
information you need to know.
The ember Tetra are a relatively peaceful fish which work well in communities. Since they are naturally
found in heavily wooded areas, which provide them with cover and a bit more variation when
This is also important because these little fishes do a lot of swimming, since they are very active and
playful. They like swimming in and out of these plants and hiding in them. They mostly stay in the middle
of the tank, so don’t expect to see them near the floor and eating leftover scraps, which can be left to
the bottom feeders, which are a good option for a community tank. Just make sure that they won’t eat
They are not easily scared, but they do still need time to adjust to a new aquarium, and they might act a
little strange for the first little while, and act cautiously, but that will go away quickly as long as you
don’t change the setting and layout of the tank too often.
Ember Tetra are what are known as shoaling fish, which means that they are comfortable around their
own species, which reduces the time they need to adapt to the new aquarium, and they look beautiful
in groups as well, so it’s a win-win solution.
See Related Article: Lemon Tetra
Ember Tetra Breeding and Gender Differentiations
Breeding Ember Tetra is not difficult, as they are a free spawning fish. What that means is that they do
not take care of the fry (off spring) after they have laid the eggs.
They are also what are known as an egg scattering species which means that they do not need a specific
place to lay their eggs, as they scatter them along the bed of the tank.
If you monitor the aquarium well and the conditions are good enough where the fish aren’t getting sick,
and they are living happily and comfortably, breeding happens often and requires no intervention at all,
but if you want to increase the amount of off spring, this process needs some control.
The fry should be put in a smaller tank, with water taken from the main tank to make the acclimatization
process (acclimatization means getting used to the climate, or in this case, tank setting) very quick. The
water should be filtered weakly, and the lights should be dimmed.
Make sure to give the parents live food for 2 weeks before they start breeding, and to make sure that
they do not eat the young, which they tend to do, so make sure to either put the parents in a separate
tank after they have laid, or put a breeding net at the bottom of your aquarium.
Keep the pH closer to neutral, around 6 to 7 is enough, while keeping the water warm, around 80-82
degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 26-27 Celsius.
Do you want Ember Tetra in your fish tank?
Ember Tetra are a great community fish with vibrant colors, and are beautiful in groups. They should not
be kept with aggressive or big fish, and they are quite sensitive to water conditions.
If these parameters fit what you are looking for, then go ahead and add them right in! They will get
along just fine with all of your other freshwater fish, as long as they don’t eat your Tetras, and have a
similar water preference.