Ember Tetras are adorable, orange-colored, tropical freshwater creatures. They are also known as Fire Tetra due to their bright orange color.

Their vibrant color and playful personalities can brighten up any aquarium. Even beginner-level aquarists can pet tetra easily because they are peaceful and low-maintenance. These fish are pretty soothing to watch as they swim around. It is worth seeing the flash of color as they swim!

If you are looking for a stunning and easy to care for fish, Ember Tetra is an optimal choice. Before getting down to the fish store to buy Ember tetra, you should explore everything about this fantastic fish. Luckily, you are at the right place. In this article, we have penned down amazing facts, breeding, care requirements, and more about this pet.

All about the Species

Quick Species Facts
Scientific Name HyphessobryconAmandae
Other Common Names Amanda’s Tetra, Dwarf Reds, Reds, Fire tetras, Dwarf Tetra
Family Characidae
Origin Araguaia River Basin in Brazil
Lifespan 2 to 5 Years
Size Up to 0.8 Inches
Type Tropical Freshwater Fish
Ember Tetra Origin
Image Credit: Map data ©2022 Google.INGI Ember Tetras Origin: Araguaia River Basin Brazil


Ember tetras were first discovered inhabiting acidic backwaters of Eastern Brazil in 1987. They belong to the Characidae Family that has almost 200 diverse species. They are one of the best additions to any community tank. They have an attractive appearance that makes them very popular among fish keepers. Compared to other tropical fishes, Dwarf Tetra does well in warmer water and heated aquariums. They can survive in water temperatures as high as 32°C. However, it isn’t the ideal temperature for them as it will accelerate their metabolism, and eventually, they will die early.

They stay small in size, due to which they are more susceptible to becoming large fish’s meals. Therefore, keeping them and fire or large-sized fish in the same tank can be dangerous. It can be stressful for your little friend, negatively impacting their immune system. You should create a peaceful and safe environment for your tiny pet so they can live for a longer period.

Mato Grosso is home to the Ember Tetras, a vertebrate native to the Araguaia River basin in Brazil. The water in these areas is exceptionally soft and acidic due to the peat filter. You can see the Ember’s intense color in only such water. In alkaline, hard water aquariums, the fish would shrivel up and not live very long. Therefore, you should keep them in freshwater to make them live a long life.


Ember’s unique appearance makes them easily noticeable in tanks filled with fish. They have red and orange-colored bodies with gradient orange scales and orange rims around the eyes.  Brightness can vary between different species of Fire Tetra. However, sharpness is generally a characteristic of all.

Their fins are long and dorsal. They appear transparent at the edges and the same as body color at the base. Like other tetras, their body structure seems to be the same, tall and wide. Due to their body shape, you can see them enjoy making swift and smooth movements.


The size of ember tetra usually helps aquarists decide the correct tank size to keep them in. The Dwarf tetra is a tiny fish with a maximum length of approximately 0.8 inches both in length and width. The average size of the Ember tetra is 0.5 to 0.7 inches long, but some specimens may be as small as 0.4 or as large as 1 inch.

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They have a very sensitive digestive system as their small body can’t bear low-quality food and overeating. Ember Tetra is one of the smallest fishes, even smaller than their neon tetra counterparts.

Freshwater Orange Tetra Size and Care Guide
Freshwater Orange Tetra Image Credit: maxpixel.net

Pro Tip – Don’t go on the size of this tiny creature. We strongly advice that you keep them in a 10-gallon tank as ember tetras are schooling fish that stay in groups of 8 or more.

Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra are two different species of tetra fishes that differ in color and size. Most people confuse neon tetra with ember tetra and think they are similar. Their lean and sharp body structure helps them make quick movements and swim faster than mates of their size.

Life Expectancy

Like their size, they have a shorter lifespan too. Generally, tropical fishes live up to 5 years only. But a few can live as long as 20 years, like Goldfish and Koi. But if kept in the preferred environment and optimal aquarium condition, Tetras can live up to 10 years.

Ember tetra is a calm and playful fish. Poor choice of tank mates and inadequate feeding can lead to fights between Tetra and other species. Though Tetra won’t initiate the battle, they can become someone else’s target because of their polite nature. An unfavorable living environment can shorten any pet’s life. Therefore, be vigilant about the surroundings and tank parameters before petting them.

You can increase your tetra lifespan by keeping them happy. If you wish to maximize your Dwarf Tetra’s joy and reduce stress, it is best to purchase several fish rather than an individual. It takes less time for them to adjust to new environments when they are part of a group.


Due to their vibrant orange-reddish color, they are very easy to spot. Even Ember tetra got one of their common names because of how they look. Besides, they have marvelous, orange-colored eyes, like their body color with black rim. On the other hand, their fins are darker in color and seem more reddish than orange in the aquarium.

Their dorsal and caudal fins are pretty different from one another in terms of shape and coloration. However, the base of both is similar to the rest of the body. Before becoming completely transparent at the edges, the fins’ color slightly transitions into a darker shade. Also, their caudal fin is part of their back half.

Gender Identification – Male vs. Female

If you haven’t kept a fish before, it will be difficult for you to identify the gender. Ember tetras don’t usually have any color difference. However, a slight color difference can be noticed during the spawning period. Most male ember tetras have deep and brighter colors during spawning. However, the female is dull in comparison. They are also rounder in shape.

Some people state that male and female tetras slightly differ in their swim blades. You can observe your fish swim blade to determine whether it is a male or female. If the swim blades have a round shape, it’s a female. On the flip side, male ember tetras have slim and pointed swim blades.

Ember Tetra Care

Quick Care Facts
Care Level Easy
Social Temperament Peaceful
Diet Omnivorous Diet
Breeding Egg-scatterer (there is no particular area where they lay eggs)

Diet & Feeding

Diet plays an essential role in maintaining their bright and vibrant color. Therefore, you should feed them the right food and in the correct amount to keep them shiny and healthy. Ember tetra is an omnivore that feeds on prey and predators. Worms and other zooplankton make great food for them.

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When you get tetra for your aquarium, try to feed them around 2 to 4 times a day. However, professional aquarists suggest three feedings are enough for them. Make sure not to overfeed them as it won’t be good for their health.

Their daily diet can include small invertebrates, shrimps, live food, frozen food, flakes, dried food, and zooplankton. While feeding your fish daily, if you notice they are eating less than usual. Try grinding the food and avoid giving them big chunks. Try to feed them with different types of food every day. It will keep them healthy and in good shape.

Author’s Note: A large variety of health problems can occur if you overfeed an Ember Tetra. Be sure to watch for signs of malaise in your fish.

Temperament & Social Behavior

Ember tetra is a calm and social fish that loves to be surrounded by different tankmates without getting aggressive. To promote schooling, you should always keep them in groups of at least five. This will also increase their life expectancy rate.

If tetras are not introduced to other tankmates and aquariums properly, they can become territorial. Usually, male tetras follow females around to mate with them and sometimes harass them if no other females are around. Female tetras get stressed in an environment with more males.

Pro Tip: Female tetras count should be more than males to keep them safe and avoid abnormal mating behavior. We recommend that there should be only one male in the aquarium for every six females.

It is common for them to hide throughout the day since they are timid fish. This is due to their natural habitat, where it has a lot of vegetation or rocks, making them feel safe. They venture outside at night in search of food only.


Tetras do not breed easily. These fish start breeding from six months of age. They need proper water temperature and appropriate tank size to reproduce. You should separate the teras from their eggs during the spawning period as they tend to gobble their own fry.

Aquarists should watch them closely when they lay eggs so they can separate them before anything happens to the eggs. Ensure that the food you give them is high-quality and contains protein so that their muscles will develop properly.

You should keep an eye out for any signs of spawning behavior after reaching sexual maturity. You might notice them nodding, bumping, chasing each other around the tank, or nudging at the rock formations at the bottom.

Common Diseases

Ember tetras catch the strangest diseases that can be life-threatening. Sometimes, they turn all black and might die before you can get to know what happened. If you notice any black spots on their fins, take them to a vet right away to avoid any mishap.

The most common disease that Fire teras is susceptible to is ich. Others down the line are fungal and bacterial infections and impaction. Bacterial infections and ich usually arise because of aquarists’ negligence and contaminated tank water.

Quick Tip: Timely and proper tank cleaning is recommended to keep your fish safe and healthy.

Typically, these diseases are not life-threatening, but if neglected and untreated, they can take your pet’s life too. Keeping your fish healthy involves changing 10% tank water weekly, maintaining an appropriate temperature and pH level, and providing your little friend with the basic environmental needs by using water test kits, filters, and heaters.

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Tank Recommendations

Quick Tank Facts
Minimum Size 10 Gallons
Water Temperature 68°F – 82°F / 21°C – 27°C
Water Hardness 2-12 dHG
pH Level 5.5 to 7.5

Ideal Tank Size

The minimum tank size for your Ember tetra is 10 gallons. Since tetra loves to roam around the tank, they need ample space. Also, they behave more lively in a more natural setup, so you will need space to place lots and lots of plants, rocks, and more. This way, they can feel at home, loved, and stay with you for long.

If you have more than ten fish, you need a 20 to 25-gallon tank. Maintaining this balance will ensure enough plants and space.

Tank Setup, Decor, and Plants

You should be able to house at least eight fish in a 10-gallon tank, with each additional tetra requiring a gallon. It is recommended to use a filter to keep water moving since they originate from rivers.

Plants are the most important part of their tanks. Fire Tetras thrive in a climate with heavy vegetation, making them the most comfortable. Mimic their natural habitat and place rocks, lighting, colored LEDs to make them feel they are at home.

Water Parameters

Ember tetra is tropical freshwater fish that thrive in slow-moving water. Therefore, you can install powerheads to keep the water in the aquarium moving. It is recommended to have a pH range of 5.5–7 and a water hardness of no more than 18dH. Keep the water temperature between 68°F and 82°F.

The aquarium water level should constantly be tested with a test kit. A safe frequency is at least once or twice a week. These are the most diminutive maintenance fish, but unfavorable water conditions can shorten their life. So, ideally, experienced aquarists check the water level regularly to keep them safe. This will ensure your pet are not harmed by any fluke shifts.

Compatible Tankmates

Ember tetra is famous for cohabitating with other fish in the aquarium. Therefore, numerous species of fish make perfect tankmates for tetra. You should keep your Ember Tetras with Rasboras, Guppies, Discus, Danios, smaller gouramis, Shrimps, African dwarf frog, and Otocinclus catfish as tankmates.

Ember Tetras are susceptible to being eaten by larger fish. So, avoid keeping large fish and fin nippers in their tank. It will be happy to keep company with many other kinds of peaceful, non-aggressive fish in their tank environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Ember Tetras should be kept in a 10-gallon tank?

Ember tetra is a nano-sized fish that takes up to 1 or 1.5-gallon space. Therefore, if you have a 10-gallon tank, around eight tetras will fit perfectly. Anything more than that won’t allow free movements and impair their growth and development.

Will Ember Tetra School with betta fish?

Ember tetra and betta fish will make excellent tankmates. It is a perfect community tank fish that gets along with almost every fish. They are friendly, lively, and relaxed and love to be around fish of similar temperament.

Where can you get Ember Tetras in the United States for sale?

There are numerous places where you can buy Ember tetras in the United States, including Flipaquatics, Aquahuna, eBay, Liveaquaria, and more. You can get a single fish or pack of 3, 5, 10, or more as per your preference.

Are Ember tetras livebearers?

No, Embers are not livebearers. They don’t give birth to live baby fish. Instead, they lay eggs. These fish reproduce by laying and hatching eggs. The female lays the eggs around the tank at different places, and the male fertilizes them. It usually takes 24 hours to hatch the eggs.

Do Ember tetras eat their babies?

Yes, Ember tetras breeding pairs can eat their own eggs. Therefore, it is advisable to shift the breeding pair in the other tank when you spot eggs in the spawning one.

Is Ember Tetra an expensive fish?

No, Ember Tetra isn’t expensive at all. You can get them from a fish store for $3.

Final Remarks

Ember teras is an active, adorable, and playful little creature that can brighten up any aquarium with its presence. They make a perfect pet for beginners as they require minimum care. Don’t miss out on the flicker of bright colors. Bring Ember tetra home!

About the Author

Shelby Crosby

Shelby is a passionate fishkeeper who has been writing about fish for over 5 years. She is a pro aquarist and holds a BSc Honors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries. She creates her own beautiful aquarium layouts and loves to share her knowledge of tropical fish with other hobbyists.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

  • BSc Honors in Wildlife and Fisheries in 2011 (University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Completed her undergraduate thesis on the effects of zoochlorella supplementation on the growth and health of fish.

Writing Experience

Miss Crosby is a Freelance blogger; many of her articles are posted online on various blogs. She has also written a few short articles for "Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine" in the past. She is a regular contributor to FishParenting.com. Her education, first-hand experience with fishkeeping, and in-depth knowledge in aquaculture make her one of the most competent writers in the industry.

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