Ember Tetra: Quick Guide To Keeping These Tiny Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Ember Tetra

Are you searching for a lively and active freshwater fish with lots of personalities? But you need a fish that has a peaceful temperament and is easy to care for? If the answer to these questions is a YES, the Ember Tetra will be a perfect match for you. 

Due to their attractive appearance and personality, they are a popular choice amongst aquarium tank enthusiasts. If you too are interested in opting for these little fellows, this article will be the perfect guide for you. 

So, let’s dive right in!


Ember Tetras also are known as the Fire Tetras belong to the Characidae fish family and hail from the Central Western Brazilian region. Characidae is a diverse fish family that comprises of nearly two thousand fish species. But the Ember Tetra fish seem to be the most popular Characidae fish. 

The main characteristic that helps the Ember Tetras stand out is their bright and vivid appearance. They are small-sized fish that are peaceful and are comparatively easy to care for.

Ember Tetras are highly recommended for beginner level tank keepers and community tanks. If cared for properly, they can easily live for up to two years. 


Identifying Ember Tetras is no challenging task because of their bright reddish-orange color. They can grow up to a maximum size of 0.8 inches in length and have an elongated body.

The dorsal and caudal fins have a grayish tint while the top of the head and the area around the mouth has a red gradient. 

The backside of their bodies is compressed, giving them an aerodynamic shape that contributes to their quick swimming speed. The scales are placed very close to one another, and at times the fish may also appear translucent.

Females stand out from the male Ember Tetras due to their large air bladders. During the breeding season, the bellies of the females also appear rounder and larger. 


Most small-sized fish are very timid and shy. Therefore, they tend to hide away inside the tank and can barely be seen roaming around. However, this is not the case with the Ember Tetras.

Ember Tetras quickly become the center of attention in any tank due to their energetic personalities. They love to swim around and are quite fast as well. 

The middle column of the tank is their favorite region to be in, and they love to hide and swim through plants. Once the fish has adapted to the new tank, you will rarely see them idle. Due to their small size, they remain peaceful and neither cause nor participate in any chaos inside the tank. 

By nature, the Ember Tetras are shoaling fish; therefore, they are happiest when other Ember Tetras surround them. Keeping them in groups not only makes them more comfortable and help them adapt to the tank quickly but also adds to the overall beauty of the tank. The more, the merrier!

Tank Setup

Whenever you are setting up a tank for a specific fish, the goal should be to recreate the condition of their natural habitat.

Naturally, the Ember Tetras come from a region that features slow-flowing rivers that are heavily concentrated by plants. The soil is soft with rocks spread over the bed scarcely. 

Being freshwater fish, the Ember Tetras are sensitive to temperature changes. Therefore, the tank owners should be vigilant and ensure that the tank conditions remain stable, and fluctuation can be avoided as much as possible. 

Tank Conditions

The perfect pH range for Ember Tetras is between 5.5-7. Try and maintain slight water flow, so the fish feel comfortable. The maximum hardness of water inside the tank should be no more than 18dH, and the optimal temperature range is between 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit. 


Adding plants to the tank is another must. These plants not only provide a hiding place for the fish and make them feel secure but sometimes they also become a source of food.

Moderation should be practiced when adding plants to the tank. There should be space between the plants so the Ember Tetras can swim in between the plants. Some plant recommendations include Hornwort, Java moss and Anacharis. 


Ember Tetras are incredibly hardy; therefore, they rarely fall sick. Control the number of algae inside the tank as it can cause trouble for the Ember Tetras. Other than this, keep an eye on the Ember Tetras.

If they feel lethargic or you notice some change in their physical appearance, it might be an indication of illness. If any such condition persists for a couple of days, it is better to get the fish checked and isolate the Ember Tetra showing these signs of disease. 

Substrate and Tank Size

Any substrate can be added to the tank; however, a soft sand substrate with a little bit of gravel mixed would be a perfect choice.

Many people don’t take the size of the tank seriously because the Ember Tetras are small in size, but due to their active nature, they do require a tank of a minimum of ten gallons. 

Tank Mates

As mentioned earlier, the Ember Tetras are peaceful; therefore, they are a great addition to any community tank. The best tank mates for Ember Tetras are small-sized fish with a similar temperament. Corydoras and other types of tetra fish are therefore great tank mates for Ember Tetras. 

The favorite region of Ember Tetras in the middle column of the tank therefore other peaceful fish that either lay at the bottom of the tank or like to stay on the top are also an ideal choice to add to a tank with Ember Tetras.

Dwarf cichlids, neon tetras, Rasboras and hatchet fish make good tank mate companions. 

Larger aggressive fish which will most likely prey on these small Ember Tetras should never be kept with them. Snails and shrimps can also be added to the tank as the Ember Tetras will not nip or intimidate them. 

Ember Tetras are shoaling fish by nature; therefore, it is recommended that seven to eight Ember Tetras are placed in a tank together. Keeping them within groups of their own makes them comfortable and helps them adapt to the tank conditions with ease. 


Ember Tetras have an omnivorous diet which means they can be fed both plants as well as protein-based food. Their favorite food comprises of small-sized invertebrates and zooplankton.

Dry food is an excellent choice to feed Ember Tetras, but it is recommended that tank owners also add a portion of live and frozen food to add some variety to the feed. 

Feeding them twice or thrice a day in small portions is optimal. Despite the feeding schedule, add some plants to the tank too so the Ember Tetras can graze on their leaves as needed. 

Since these are middle column fish, they will not go to the bottom of the tank in search of food. Therefore, the tank owners have to be vigilant when feeding Ember Tetras and ensure that each one of them is adequately fed. 


Ember Tetras are amongst some of the easiest to breed fish. Since they are free spawning fish, the parent Ember Tetras do not care for their fry. Most of the time, the fish spawn by themselves, and the tank owners have little to no contribution in the process. 

Feeding them live food for up to two weeks before spawning is recommended. To encourage spawning, maintain the tank temperature to between 80-82 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep an eye on the fry as the parents tend to prey on it. 

To prevent the parents from eating the prey, either focus on feeding the parent Ember Tetras properly. Or the better approach is to remove the fry and keep them in a smaller tank separately or add a breeding mesh to the tank. 


All in all, the Ember Tetras are an excellent choice for beginner level tank owners who are searching for an easy to care for hardy fish. These fish are known for their enthusiastic personality and bright appearance

They quickly steal the spotlight in the tank and become a fan favorite within no time. Whether you are looking for some aesthetic fish that enhance the beauty of the tank or looking for fish that will not demand a lot of care, Ember Tetras are the right choice either way.

John Kilmerstone

I love keeping pet fish and receive a lot of joy and peace from watching these colorful creatures. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of pet fish. Discover how to care for and look after pet fish and amplify your satisfaction.

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