Ember Tetra: Lifespan, Behavior, Care, & Breeding

Ember Tetra, sometimes also known as Amanda’s Tetra or Fire Tetra, is a small, peaceful schooling species that originates from South America, mainly Araguaia river basin. The best way to recognize them is by their attractive and bold orange, an ember-like color that gave them their name. Ember Tetras are very small, nano fish that grow less than an inch in size, so they’re perfect for smaller to medium aquarium communities. They are known to be very versatile, colorful, affordable and easy to handle which makes them beginner friendly and all around very popular among aquariums. Overall, they make a great addition to every peaceful, nano fish community and you should give them a chance. Let’s take a closer look at this cool species!

Ember Tetra Lifespan & Size

As mentioned earlier, Ember Tetras are very small fish; they don’t even grow up to an inch! They mostly grow up to around 2cm in size (0.8inch). Because of this, it’s best to keep them in groups of many to make them stand out. Their lifespan is anywhere between 2-4 years.

Behavior & Characteristics

Calm & Cheerful

Ember Tetras are magnificent looking bright orange fish that will add great contrast to a densely planted aquarium. Their colors are quite vivid, especially on males when mating season comes around and all this will make them stand out in the crowd. They are very peaceful creatures, so there won’t be a need for any anger management classes from your side. Just make sure you don’t group them with larger, aggressive fish that might eat them, and they will be fine. Their ideal tank mates are other peaceful fish like rasboras, platies, guppies, mollies, etc.

Females are noticeably rounder than males while males display brighter colors.

Schooling Species

The most important thing to remember about this species is that they’re a schooling species – they prefer to stick together and move in groups. Ideally, you want to have at least 10 of them because they’re very small in size. The more you have, the more comfortable they will feel within the tank community. If you keep only a few of them, they might be shy and uncomfortable to explore, so make sure you keep at least 10 of them, and they’re going to be enjoying themselves in your aquarium.  Oh, they also love to hang around with other peaceful fish – seeing other fish move around the tank will make them more comfortable and outgoing.

Ember Tetra Schooling Source

On top of all that, watching them move together is a thing of beauty. They will follow each other religiously, and any attempt to scatter them will be a hard task. This is perhaps a good thing since they’re going to display beautiful bright colors whenever you see them grouped up inside the tank.

One thing to note is that they come from very soft & calm tropical waters – you should keep the water flow moderate or preferably slower to stimulate their natural environment as much as possible. You will learn more about their environment in the housing section of this article.

Nutrition & Feeding

Ember Tetras are relatively easy to feed and take care of, they are omnivores which means they eat both plants and meats, so they are quite versatile when it comes to food. Since they’re micro predators – they will eat live food, so make sure you give them small, nano meats so they can consume it properly and not run into problems due to their small mouths. Other than that, here are some foods that you can serve them:

  • Flake foods
  • Frozen, dried foods
  • Micro-pellets
  • Live foods such as daphnia, bloodworms, brine shrimp

Overall, you won’t have to worry too much about nurturing your tetras so feel free to experiment per your liking.

Ember Tetra Care & Housing

Alright, here comes the fun part!

One thing that you have to understand when it comes to Ember Tetras is that their natural environment is somewhat unique, and in order to get the best results – you might want to replicate that. Araguaia river basin is known to be moderate/slow flowing water so that these conditions would be ideal. Another thing unique to this river is that the bottom is covered with leaves and tree branches making it dim lit, so it’s a good idea to have a dense aquarium with low to moderate light settings.

They’re nano fish, so they’re comfortable with smaller tanks, but since they swim in schools, they might require slightly more space to truly thrive as a group.

That being said, your Ember Tetras will appreciate lots of plants, driftwood, leaf litter and floating plants – feel free to make the environment as rich as possible. A darker substrate will also help to display their attractive & beautiful bold orange colors in combination with a dense background.

Overall, when it comes to aquarium settings, try to replicate these conditions:

  • Tank Size should be at least 10 gallons and up
  • Temperature 72 to 84°F (23-29°C)
  • pH 5.5 to 7.0 (they prefer neutral to slightly acidic pH levels)
  • Moderate / Slow water flow
  • Moderate / Dim lighting conditions

Ember Tetra Breeding & Reproduction

Ember Tetras are not difficult fish to breed whatsoever, it should be relatively easy to get them to spawn; however, you should know some things before attempting to breed them.

One thing to note is that they are a species with no sense of parental care which means they don’t care about their eggs and they will not try to defend them. In fact, some males are known to eat the eggs in order to re-feed themselves after a long & exhausting mating period. So with that in mind, here’s how you should breed them properly:

First off, you should set up a separate tank for spawning. Ideally, it should have dim lighting, and it should be filled with soft, thin plants as a spawning substrate with temperatures of about 80 to 85° F.

When you notice your males radiating with incredibly bright, orange colors and your females getting a little fat, put them together in the secondary tank that evening and by the next morning you should have a few eggs on your display. After they spawn, you should remove the adult fish from the secondary tank and allow the eggs to hatch. This process takes about 30 – 40 hours, and when hatched, your juvenile fish will need a few days to fully adapt and start swimming. Keep in mind that these juveniles will remain relatively small for a while, but keep feeding them, and eventually, they will grow into adults.


Ember tetras are amazing fish to have for almost any peaceful aquarium community. They’re beautiful, peaceful and very easy to take care of. On top of all that, you will have the pleasure of spectating their grandiose group moves, and that’s very much a unique and fun experience. So go ahead and give them a shot!