Care Guide for Ember Tetras – Orange Jewels of The Nano Aquarium

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Care Guide for Ember Tetras – Orange Jewels of the Nano Aquarium

The ember tetra is a staple in the freshwater nano-aquarium world. Just imagine a school of tiny, flame-colored fish darting back and forth amongst a lush forest of green aquarium plants. Plus, its peaceful nature and hardiness makes it an attractive choice for both beginners and veterans in the fishkeeping hobby. If you’ve never tried keeping ember tetras before, then keep reading to find out why they’re such a top-selling species at our fish store.


What are Ember Tetras?

Hyphessobrycon Amandae, a common tetra that is found in Brazil, comes from the same genera as other well-known tetras such as Von Rio tetras and the black neon Tetra. This species only grows up to 0.8 inch (2 cm), but it packs a powerful punch with its bright, red-orange body that is slightly translucent with a coppery sheen. Unlike many other nano fish, ember tetras are relatively outgoing, especially in large groups, and won’t dart away as soon as you approach their tank.

Hyphessobrycon amandae

How to set up an aquarium for Ember Tetras

You can keep them in either a 5-gallon tank with a smaller group or a larger tank that holds a large number of students, due to their small size. They are mildly acidic, but can be adjusted to pH levels of 5.5 to7.5, 72 to 82degF (22 to 28degC), very soft to moderately difficult water. Slow flow with gentle filtration using a sponge filter or pre-filter sponge is preferred. In planted tanks with a dark background and substrate, ember tetras show brighter colors. Hobbyists like to add driftwood, catappa leaves and other interesting botanicals to give their tanks a South American look.

How many ember tetras should I keep together? As with most tetras, they are naturally social creatures that feel the most comfortable when surrounded by their own kind. They are not a tight-knit group, but rather prefer to live in a loose group or small shoal. We like to have at least 6-10 of these tiny fish so that they can make an impact in the aquarium.

What fish can live with ember tetras? They are the perfect community fish and do fine with any similar-sized, peaceful animals that won’t eat them. For example, you can keep them with other nano schooling fish such as rasboras, tetras, and danios. Since they tend to swim around the middle of the aquarium, we like to pair them with bottom-dwelling corydoras catfish and surface-dwelling hatchetfish or pencilfish. Plus, their gregarious nature makes them well-suited as dither fish for Apistogramma dwarf cichlids or other timid creatures. We also find they get along with algae eaters like otocinclus catfish and dwarf shrimp. While they will leave the adult shrimp alone, almost all fish will opportunistically go after baby shrimp, so provide plenty of dense plants and caves for them to hide.

Can I put a betta fish with ember tetras? A blue betta fish or powder blue dwarf gourami would look amazing as a centerpiece fish among a sea of ember tetras because blue and orange are complementary colors. Be aware that some dwarf gouramis or bettas are territorial and may need to be moved if they get too aggressive.

Ember the tetras of a community tank

What do Ember Tetras Eat?

They are omnivores in nature and enjoy eating small invertebrates, zooplankton, and plant matter. Even though ember tetras do not have picky eating habits, they do have small mouths that love slow-sinking foods. Plus, feeding a varied diet of different fish foods will help them get plenty of essential nutrients and vitamins to live a long and healthy life. These are our favorite foods:

Nano pellets Crushed flakes Baby brine shrimp Easy Fry and Small Fish Food Daphnia – Cyclops – Rotifers

How to Breed Ember Tetras

It can be hard to sex ember tetras, so we recommend buying at least six fish to have a higher chance of getting both males and females. Males are slimmer in profile than females. Females have rounder bodies when viewed from above. As egg scatterers, they display no parental care and will happily predate on their own eggs and newborn fry. That being said, ember tetras can be bred in a colony setting where the parents are kept with the young. It is important to place them in a mature, seasoned aquarium that has plenty of natural microfauna and dense plants for the fry.

A school of ember tetras in a densely planted tank

To produce greater numbers, prepare a small, mature tank with a sponge filter or air stone for slow flow. Place java moss or DIY spawning mop as shelter underneath the plastic mesh that covers the tank’s bottom. The barrier prevents the eggs from falling through the holes and keeps the adults away. To make biofilm, add some catappa leaves to the soil. If your pH is higher, you can also acidify the water by adding them to the water. After feeding and conditioning the adults to spawn, you can transfer them to your breeding aquarium. After several days of spawning, remove the adult fish and fry if possible.

Tiny babies need tiny foods like infusoria and vinegar eels. You can feed them small meals several times per day and make sure to change the water every day. You may be able for them to start eating baby salt shrimp after a few weeks depending on their water temperature. This will increase their survival rate and growth. If you see a great disparity in the sizes of the baby fish, you may need to move the bigger fry to another grow-out tank so the smaller fry won’t get outcompeted for food.

While Aquarium Co-Op does not ship live fish, we have a list of preferred online vendors for you to browse that can ship aquarium animals right to your door. And for further inspiration, read our article about the top 5 nano fish that can live in a 5-gallon aquarium on your office or room desk.