Ember Tetra – A Beautiful Addition to Your Aquarium

Ember Tetra - hyphessobrycon amandae

Ember Tetra is also known as Dwarf Tetra, Fire Tetra, Red Nano-Tetra.

It is a vibrant tiny freshwater, tropical fish, native to Rio das Mortes, some 100 km before its confluence with the Braço Maior of the Rio Araguaia (the western border of the Isla do Bananal). State of Mato Grosso, Central Brazil. 

This bright-colored, eye-catching fish has become popular amongst the aquarists in recent times due to its friendly nature and low maintenance. They will be a great addition to your Community Tank.

Ember Tetra an Overview:

Description Category
Family Characidae
Type Freshwater Fish
Color Form Orange, Red
Temperament Peaceful
Max. Size 0.8” (2 cms)
Lifespan 2 to 4 years
Diet Omnivores
Minimum Tank Size 10 Gallons (38 liters)
Water Parameters Acidity: 5 to 7pH

Hardness: 5 to 17 dGH

Temperature: 73°F – 84°F (23°C – 29°C)


Species Origin: 

Ember Tetra, its scientific name is Hyphessobrycon amandae, is a recently discovered fish by a German researcher, author, photographer, and a Scientist Heiko Bleher. It was discovered in 1987 and named after his mother Amanda Bleher. 

They are freshwater fish from a family of Characidae, of order Characiformes, a vast and diverse range of over 2000 species, and they are most stately looking amongst the family. They are found far away from the mainstream, where the current is low, amongst thick vegetations. This detail has to be taken care of as you would want to reproduce a similar environment in their new habitat.

They are not only eye-catching with their brilliant looks but also peaceful and fun-loving fish. They are community-friendly and are compatible with a wide range of inmates. Most of all, they are easy to look after.  


Life Span of Ember Tetra:

In general, their life spans from 2 to 4 years. However, in a well-maintained, heavily planted aquarium, Ember tetras have known to live ten years or more.

Pragmatically, maximizing their life span depends upon the environment in which they live and the care they receive. Water quality impacts majorly on their health, besides the plants and the nourishment.

Ember Tetra life span

Physical Characteristics:

Like all other Tetras, Ember Tetra is also a tiny fish that grows up to a maximum of 0.8 inches (2 cms). They are easily identifiable due to their distinct appearance: They are beautifully colored shiny and brilliant-looking fish. Most of them exhibit Orange, Reddish color. The pelvic fins are translucent. The eyes often reflect the color of the fish and are demarcated in black. 

The anal fin is merged, and they have a rather small dorsal fin and a large caudal fin. The Dorsal and Caudal fins are of slightly black or grey gradients that are noticeable with the rest of the body being orange or red. 

Their bodies are elongated. Although both male and female Ember Tetra are more or less similar, you can distinguish them through their air bladder. The male Ember Tetra has a slightly small and pointed air bladder. The females have a fairly large and rounded air bladder and during the breeding period, you will notice that their abdomen grows a little bigger. 

The structure of their body allows them to move swiftly and smoothly in the water. Their scales are tightly packed and look slightly translucent.


In their natural habitat, the Ember Tetra’s diet includes Small Invertebrates, Planktons, Plants, and Microbes. While feeding them, keep in mind that their feeding habit is directly in correlation with their appearance and colors.

Do you want your Ember Tetra brighter? Then take good care of what you feed them.

They have no issues being fed on dry foods, like flakes and granules. Besides, some live feeds or frozen food like Artemia, Daphnia, or Grindal worms are a significant source of proteins and nutrients required by Ember Tetra. Brine Shrimp brings out lustrously color in Ember Tetra.

You may have to consider their size while feeding. It is better to feed them small portions two to three times rather than one large meal. Sometimes it may be necessary to grind the food before feeding it to them.

From time to time you may find them munching on plants. It is perfectly alright for them to grazing on the microbes that live in these plants.

Unlike other fishes, Ember Tetra may not need artificial supplements. It is given only when you find them unhealthy and the vet advocates for it.

Ember Tetra Habitat:

They are known to settle their habitat in slow-moving water, like backwaters, lakes, swamps, and far away from the mainstreams. They inhabit where the vegetation is thick and tall. Most times, they end up on the banks surrounded by plants. It serves as a breeding ground.

Tank Size and Conditions for Ember Tetra:

Ember Tetra in a 5 gallon tank

Tank Size: 

The minimum required tank size is 10 gallons (38 liters). A minimum recommended fish is 5 since they thrive better in a fairly big group you can add more. This tank is ideal for up to 8 fishes. If you are planning to have more than 10 fishes consider setting up a bigger tank. Despite their nano size, they are dynamic swimmers.

Tank Conditions:

Ember Tetra is a freshwater fish, which lives in slow-moving water conditions. 

Because, their natural habitat is heavily padded with thick plants, trees, mosses, planktons, etc. and the constant decomposition of these green matters keeps the water pH level little on the acidic side. The ideal pH parameters are between 5.5 to 7. 

Although their natural habitat has very soft water, they have adapted to a wide range of hardness 5–17 dGH. The ideal temperature range from 73°F – 84°F (23°C – 29°C). You may test the water parameters with a master test kit and adjust the parameters accordingly.

You need to recreate just the same environment as their natural habitat with the recommended water pH range, hardness, and the temperature of the water, not excluding the plants. The recommended plants and vegetations include Java moss, Java fern, Hornworts, and Anacharis.

However, do not go overboard with your plants. But, do it with moderation. It should be just enough for the fishes to hide, rest, and play. Leave enough room for them to swim around, as they are one hell of an active species.

Ember Tetra is a species that quarter at the middle level. Therefore, plants that are free-floating like hornworts are recommended. 

These Tetra species are found in slow-moving water far away from the mainstream in their natural habitat: that means you will have to take care of the filtration and aeration systems accordingly. It is important to choose a filtration system that keeps the water clean and aerated without too much agitation and noise.

It is also advisable to choose a filter that has a water flow of 4 to 5 times the volume of your fish tank. 

When it comes down to creating the substrate, again, you may consider their natural habitat. A dark Substrate is impressive at the same time will make them feel at home.

Avoid placing the tank in direct sunlight as they are used to semi-darkness in their natural habitats.

To create a better pH it is advisable to add dry leaves to your tank. The enzymes produced from the decomposed leaves are beneficial to maintain an overall good condition of the water and the fish.

Temperament and Behavior:

Ember Tetras are peaceful and playful fish. They are active and love to swim around. They are shoaling as well as schooling fish. Therefore, you will mostly see them in groups moving and swimming around in a well-coordinated manner. 

They are community fish, alone they will be stressed. They prosper better and rapidly adapt to the new environment.

As they mostly stick to the middle layer, they seldom venture at the bottom of the tank to harvest food.

They are eerie and bold by nature, but not aggressive. They swim around the tank dynamically and they wouldn’t mind prying on the other species of their similar magnitude. This behavior makes them look furthermore attractive and quite entertaining.

Tank Mates for Ember Tetra:

We have learned that they are friendly, peaceful, and community fish: They get along well with other species of similar nature, size, and type. 

Since they are committed to the middle layer, the bottom of the tank seems abandoned. Hence, fish that likes to stay at the bottom layer makes a good tank mate, for instance, Pygmy catfish, Hatchet fish, Microrasbaras such as Celestial Pearl Danio, Harlequin Rasbora, Rasboras, Neon Tetras, etc.

Most Shrimps, such as Amano shrimps, Cherry Shrimps, Snails, and other tetras make a fine Tank Mate with Ember Tetra. 

Corydoras, Dwarf gourami, Barbs, and other species of Characidae will also make good mates.

It is advocated not to prop any species that eat plants such as goldfish, silver dollar, etc.; species that are large and aggressive by nature like Jack Dempsey Cichlid, Oscar, etc.

How to care for Ember Tetra:

Like any other fish, when you add ember tetra to your community tank, you have to keep in mind their natural habitat. Below are some basic:


Due to its tiny size, you need to feed them 2 to 3 times a day. It is easy to overfeed them when we feed them multiple times in a day. Overeating causes digestive problems as it does to any of us. If the feed is of low quality, it may also cause health issues. You may have to consider buying better feed, which might be a bit more expensive.


Even though they are tiny fish, there is no known species-specified disease. Of course, this is not insurance that they will never fall sick. As a general rule, poor water quality and diet can increase their chances of them contracting an infection and falling sick.


They are very sensitive to changes in lightings. You always have to keep in mind their natural habitat when it comes to their environment, which includes illumination. They will get stressed out when the lighting is too bright. It is better not to keep them under direct sunlight. 

Water Quality:

Apart from the temperature and the pH of the water, you need to watch out for algae bloom. Excessive algae can cause depletion of dissolved oxygen in the water. Therefore, besides aerating your tank continuously, you need to clean the tank now and then. It is unaesthetic to see a fish tank full of algae.

Breeding Ember Tetra:

Breeding ember tetra is fairly simple and straightforward. They are spawning fish. The parent fish don’t care for their offspring. They also spawn more often. The one thing you need to take care of is how to optimize the amount of fry.
You want to make some simple adjustments to your tank. Also, it is recommended to use a separate tank for the spawning process.
Before introducing the males and females into the spawning tank, you have to acclimatize the tank. It is best to take water from the main tank and do the minimum necessary adjustments.
Although eggs are not light-sensitive it is recommended to dim the light in the spawning tank. To invigorate spawning, adjust the water pH close to neutral, and increase the water temperature to 80-82°F(27 – 28°C).
It is advocated to feed high-quality commercial foods and live foods the preceding 2 weeks to prep them for spawning.
Most importantly, take good care of the substrate. To replicate their natural habitat of lower Amazonian rivers it is advisable to create a dark substrate.  You may use leaves of Indian Almonds or Guava as well as java moss. You can also add alder cones.
Once the eggs are laid, females will leave them to fend for themselves. This is a perfect opportunity to move the eggs to a separate tank, to prevent them from being eaten by their parents or put a breeding mesh on the base of the tank as the eggs will fall to the bottom of the tank.
The fry grows very slowly. It may take up to 2 months to reach 1/4 inch (0.6 cms) in length. Ground quality flakes, or baby brine shrimps.  Make sure to keep the tank clean through filtrations and aeration. Change the water regularly.

To Summarize:

Whether you are an experienced fish keeper or a rookie, Ember Tetra is the right choice.
All you have to do is to replicate their natural habitat, the slow-moving, clear water with a dark substrate, and enough vegetation.
Besides their low maintenance, they are peaceful, non-aggressive nature makes them good community tank mates.
One cannot refute that they are eye-catchers with their size and brightly colored body. They are soothing to the eyes and joyful to watch with their dynamic and playful nature.
If you have any questions or doubts or would like to share your thoughts about this article, please leave a comment below or contact here.
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