The Fish Guru

Backyard Brazil: Discovering the Beauty of Ember Tetras

Ember Tetra: Origin & Appearance

Ember tetra, scientifically known as Hyphessobrycon amandae, is a popular freshwater fish among aquarium enthusiasts. Originating from the Araguaia River basin in Brazil, this species is well adapted to slow-flowing rivers with lots of fallen leaves, logs, branches, and water plants.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the ember tetra, including its physical traits, natural habitat, and how to care for it.

Description of Ember Tetra

The ember tetra is a small, peaceful fish with a stunning appearance. It can grow up to 0.6 to 0.8 inches in length but is relatively small compared to other tetra species.

This fish has a transparent body with a golden maple or fiery red gradience from the head to the tail. The color becomes more intense in males during the breeding season, which is a sight to behold.

Natural Habitat

Ember tetras are found in the clear waters of the Araguaia River basin in Brazil. They inhabit slow-flowing rivers and streams with lots of aquatic plants, fallen leaves, and driftwood.

The water bodies they live in are usually shallow, with a pH between 5.0 to 7.0 and a temperature range of 73F to 82F. These water bodies are usually densely populated with other fish species and aquatic invertebrates.

Size and Coloration

Ember tetras have a slender and elongated body, which is relatively small compared to other tetra species. They usually grow up to 0.6 to 0.8 inches in length, making them ideal for small aquariums.

Their transparent body with golden maple or fiery red gradience makes them a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts looking to add some color to their tanks.

Care Stats Overview

Tank Size

Ember tetras are relatively small, which means they do not require a big tank to thrive. A 10-gallon aquarium is an excellent choice for keeping a small school of ember tetras.

However, it is worth noting that the bigger the tank, the better it is for the fish as it provides more swimming space and dilutes pollutants in the water.

Water Parameters

Maintaining the right water parameters is crucial for the well-being of ember tetras. They require a pH range of 5.0-7.0, a temperature range of 73F to 82F, kH between 1-5, and water hardness between 1-5.

It is important to note that the water quality should be monitored regularly to ensure it is within the recommended range. A high level of ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite can lead to health problems and death.


Ember tetras are peaceful fish that coexist well with other fish species without causing any trouble. They are suitable for a community tank and will thrive in the company of other tetra species such as the neon tetra, cardinal tetra, and glowlight tetra.


Ember tetras are omnivores, which means they will eat both plant and animal-based foods. A diet consisting of high-quality flake food, frozen or live brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms is ideal for them.

It is recommended to feed them a small amount of food multiple times a day rather than one big meal to prevent overfeeding and maintain stable water quality. In conclusion, the ember tetra is a fascinating species that adds a unique pop of color to aquariums.

They are relatively easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for beginners and experienced aquarium enthusiasts alike. By maintaining the right water parameters, providing a balanced diet, and keeping them in a peaceful environment, you can ensure that your ember tetras live a long and healthy life.

3) Life Span

The ember tetra has a life expectancy of 2 to 4 years in a well-maintained aquarium. However, this lifespan can vary depending on various factors that influence their overall health and well-being.

In this section, we’ll explore what these factors are and how they can impact the lifespan of ember tetras.

Factors that Influence Life Span

Water Quality

Water quality is one of the most important factors that can influence the lifespan of ember tetras. Poor water quality, with high levels of ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate, can cause stress, illness, and ultimately lead to death.

To ensure good water quality, regular water changes and maintaining proper pH, temperature, and water hardness are essential. A good filtration system is crucial in keeping the water clean and free of toxins.


Maintaining a balanced and varied diet is essential for the health and lifespan of ember tetras. Feeding them a high-quality diet that consists of flake food, frozen or live brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms will provide them with the necessary nutrients to thrive.

Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can cause health issues and reduce their lifespan.


A well-planted aquarium provides a natural environment and helps to reduce stress for ember tetras.

Plants also help to maintain stable water parameters, provide oxygen, and remove toxins, such as nitrates.

Plants also offer a source of food for the tetras, and their presence in the aquarium can help to increase their lifespan.

4) Sexual Dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism is the difference in physical characteristics between males and females of the same species. Ember tetras exhibit sexual dimorphism, and these differences become apparent when they reach maturity and are in breeding condition.

Description of Sexual Dimorphism

Mature males develop brighter colors than females, particularly during the breeding season. Their red-orange gradience becomes more intense and vibrant, while females have a rounder form and less vivid shades.

In contrast, females are slightly larger than males and have a more subtle, paler gradience from head to tail. During spawning, the male’s fin rays elongate, and their bodies become more streamlined to make swimming and fertilizing the eggs easier.

Along with their brighter coloration, males use this adaptation to attract females and outcompete other males. Females, on the other hand, produce more eggs and play a significant role in nurturing and protecting their young.

The rounder form of females makes it easier for them to release their eggs and helps them withstand the currents while searching for a suitable place to lay them.


In conclusion, understanding the factors that impact the lifespan of ember tetras can help aquarium enthusiasts provide their fish with the optimal environment, food, and care. Providing clean water, a balanced diet, and a well-planted aquarium can help boost their lifespan.

Additionally, understanding the differences between males and females is crucial for breeding and maintaining a healthy population. With proper care, ember tetras can live long and healthy lives in captivity.

5) Ember Tetra Care & Tank Set-up

Ember tetras are small, peaceful fish that require specific care to thrive in an aquarium environment. In this section, we’ll explore what you need to consider when setting up a tank and caring for your ember tetras.

Tank Size and


Ember tetras are social creatures and thrive in a school of at least six individuals. A 10-gallon aquarium is an excellent choice for a small school of ember tetras.

Keeping them alone or in a small group can lead to stress and sickness. A school of six or more will provide a sense of security, reduce stress and make them feel more comfortable in their environment.

The Nitrogen Cycle

The nitrogen cycle is a crucial process in maintaining a healthy aquarium. It involves the conversion of ammonia into nitrite and then into nitrate, which is removed through water changes.

A new tank can have “new tank syndrome,” where there aren’t enough beneficial bacteria to break down the nitrogen cycle. To avoid this, add ammonia gradually, test the water regularly with a test kit, and be patient.

Water Parameters

It is essential to maintain a stable environment for your ember tetras. The water temperature should be between 73F to 82F, pH between 5.0-7.0, kH between 1-5, and water hardness between 1-5.

Stable water parameters are crucial in avoiding stress and disease in fish. A drop-in temperature or significant changes in pH can cause significant stress for your ember tetras.

Tank Set-Up

The right set-up is crucial in creating an environment that simulates the ember tetra’s natural habitat. Freshwater, low current, and a filter will ensure water quality.

Lighting is not essential but can promote plant growth. Live vegetation, such as moss or Amazon swords, provides cover and helps to create a natural environment.

A dark substrate can help to emphasize the vivid colors of ember tetras. Open space is crucial as they are strong swimmers and need room to dart around.

Extra Equipment

When considering breeding or rearing frys, a breeding tank is essential. A pump to circulate water and maintain oxygen levels is crucial for maintaining healthy conditions.

6) Ember Tetra

Diet & Feeding

A balanced diet is essential for the health and well-being of ember tetras. In this section, we’ll explore what they eat, how often, and what to avoid.



Ember tetras require a diet rich in vitamins, proteins, and nutrients. A balanced diet ensures their colors remain bright, their immune system stays healthy, and they maintain a good weight.

A good diet consists of a mix of fish flakes, freeze-dried food, frozen food, and live food. Feeding a diet with varying sources of nutrients helps prevent deficiencies.



Ember tetras are omnivores, which means they eat both plant and animal-based foods. They enjoy eating fish flakes, freeze-dried daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms.

They also enjoy live food such as worms and daphnia. Adding feeds fortified with vitamins to their diet helps maintain their overall health.


While it’s essential to provide a rich and varied diet, overfeeding can lead to lethargy, obesity, and waste production. Feeding them small amounts three times a day is preferable, rather than one large feeding.

Only give your fish enough food to consume within two minutes.

Plant Munching

Ember tetras are known for nibbling on plants. This is a normal behavior and should not cause concern if plants are well planted and anchored.

In fact, they derive nutrients from the plants and will eat the algae present. Additionally, nibbling on plants can help keep their teeth healthy.

Supplementing live plants with a well-balanced diet can prevent over-munching.


In conclusion, providing good care and nutrition for your ember tetras is the key to their longevity and overall well-being. Maintaining a stable environment through regular water testing and checkups is essential.

Providing a balanced diet, suitable tank set-up, and companionship with other tetras ensures they thrive in a home aquarium. 7) Behavior & Compatibility

Ember tetras are social and peace-loving fish that require companionship and the right environment to thrive.

In this section, we’ll explore their behavior, the need for hiding places, and their compatibility with other fish species.


Ember tetras are social fish that thrive in a group of five to ten individuals. Keeping them alone can lead to stress and make them more susceptible to disease.

Being part of a school of their own kind enables them to lessen their stress and feel more safe and secure.

Peaceful Behavior

Ember tetras are peaceful fish that do not exhibit aggressive behavior towards other fish. They are active swimmers, and their vibrant colors are a delight to watch as they hover and dart around the tank.

These tetras are a good addition to a community tank in which they happily coexist with other species.

Hiding Places

Ember tetras are known to be skittish fish that will hide if they feel threatened. The provision of hiding places and plants in the aquarium provides them with safety and a sense of security.

Hiding places can come in the form of real or artificial plants, driftwood, and rock formations, among others.

Good Tankmates

Ember tetras are compatible with a wide range of fish species that are similar in size and mostly non-aggressive. Suitable tankmates include pygmy corydoras, discus, barbs, red cherry shrimp, neon tetras, hatchet fish and other tetra species.

Ember tetras school with other tetra species and will provide a delightful display of vibrant colors as they swim together.

Bad Tankmates

Ember tetras are small in size compared to other fish species, and predatory fish can easily prey on them. Tankmates that exhibit predatory behavior, carnivorous, and omnivorous, such as angelfish, pufferfish, and blood parrot cichlids should be avoided.

8) Breeding Ember Tetras

Ember tetras are relatively easy fish to breed, and with proper care, they will breed quite easily. In this section, we’ll explore the preparation needed before breeding and the breeding process.

Breeding Preparation

The first step to successful breeding is ensuring you have matured fish that are ready to breed. A good mating pair can be selected by choosing adult fish of different sexes, where the male fish will exhibit more vivid and colorful gradience.

The pH and temperature of the water should be stable and the same as your main tank’s water parameters. You can gradually increase the temperature slightly to simulate breeding conditions.

Free-Spawning Fish

Ember tetras are free-spawning fish that do not practice parental care. They lay eggs in plants or covered surfaces, leaving them unprotected.

To breed them, you need to purchase a separate breeding tank with water from the main tank. Design the breeding tank with plants, lighting that is not too bright, and a toned-down filter to mimic the natural habitat.

Breeding usually occurs in the early morning or late evening. The male will swim around the female and perform courtship behavior, which involves brightening colors and quivering.

The female will then lay the eggs, and the male will fertilize them. The eggs will then hatch within 24 to 36 hours, and you should remove the parents after breeding.

The fry will survive on their egg sacs for the first few days and then feed on small, live food such as infusoria. Once they are larger, they will require crushed flakes and frozen foods.


In conclusion, Ember tetras are peaceful fish that thrive in a stable environment with companionship. The provision of hiding places and plants in the aquarium provides them with safety and security.

Ember tetras can coexist with other peaceful fish species and are a delight to watch in a community tank. With proper preparation, breeding Ember tetras is easy and rewarding.


Popular Posts