Ember Tetra: A Guide to Care, Breeding, Diet & Behavior

Ember Tetra: A Complete Guide

There is nothing more beautiful and elegant than an aquarium filled with shoals of colorful fish. Having different species of bright and shiny fish swimming here and there can be quite relaxing too. This is something you can have by adding Ember Tetras to your aquarium. The Ember Tetra, or the Dwarf Red, is a small-sized beautiful freshwater fish. It has become a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts to keep due to its striking appearance and ease of care.

Its bold color and peaceful temperament are what make it an excellent choice for so many. They can be kept with other peaceful and even larger invertebrates.

The small fish are pretty easy to breed and make an excellent choice if you want to add a pop of color to your aquarium.

Ember Tetra

Appearance and Markings

Ember Tetras are extremely small in size and have elongated bodies. They can grow up to a maximum length of 0.8 inches. Also, they have a striking red and orange appearance and are slightly translucent near the pelvis.

They have tall dorsal fins that have a color gradient that fades to a slightly dark color in the back. On the other hand, the caudal fins are forked. Their eyes are often circled with a black marking.

A fun distinction that you can make between the genders is that the males are more brightly colored, whereas the females have a slightly more rounded body.


The Ember Tetra typically lives for 2 to 4 years. However, many people have seen them live for up to 10 years if they are kept in a well-maintained aquarium and fed properly.

Natural Habitat

They are primarily found in Brazil and prefer backwater rivers with low currents. These waters also have high vegetation, which is required when replicating a home for them in an aquarium.


The Ember Tetra should be kept in a school of ten fish or more. This is because they’re shoaling fish and move in groups. They are pretty easy to maintain and need a lot of vegetation and dark substrate in the aquarium.

Being a freshwater fish, it is highly sensitive to its environment. This also includes changes in the lighting or water conditions. Therefore, their environment must be properly maintained. However, they are not prone to diseases and remain relatively healthy throughout their lives.

They should be kept in a 10-gallon aquarium as a minimum. It will require consistent aeration and sponge filtration to provide slight water movements and currents. You could also place air stones for the purpose as they provide oxygenation as well.

Water Requirements

With a natural habitat that is slightly acidic, the Ember Tetra requires clean water to thrive. This also helps with optimal coloration. Therefore, they need an aquarium or a tank with healthy vegetation and dark substrates such as Java Moss or Hornwort.

The temperature should be maintained anywhere between 73°-84° Fahrenheit with a pH balance of around 6 to 6.5. It should be consistently changed as well. The water hardness can be anywhere between a range of 5 to 17 dGH.

Diet and Feeding

These small fish should be given a well-balanced diet to keep them healthy and happy. From feeding them small live worms to brine shrimp or even freeze-dried fish food, they can eat it all. They should be fed around 2-4 times a day.

However, because they’re small, pay attention to how much they are fed during the day. The plants and the vegetation in the aquarium make a grazing snack for them during the day. In case of overfeeding, watch their behavior.

They should also be kept separate from fish that could potentially out-compete them during feeding.

Ember Tetra

Behavior and Temper

These fish are pretty active and have a peaceful temperament. This is why it is best to keep them with other tetras, such as the Neon Tetra. It is recommended to keep them separate from boisterous and much larger fish as they may get stressed by their presence.

The fish move around in groups and are not necessarily shy in nature. However, the plants in the aquarium also serve as hiding spots when they just need to rest during the day, which is necessary for them.

These fish usually stay within the upper-middle portion of the aquarium and do not target the fry. However, it is best to keep a breeding mesh to keep the parents away if you want to breed them, or you could always transfer them to another aquarium temporarily.


Being free-spawning fish, the parent fish do not necessarily pamper the fry but let them thrive on their own. This means that Ember Tetra is easy to breed as it does not require much intervention or interference with the process.

The water temperature should be around 80°-82° Fahrenheit for optimal results, with its pH value close to neutral. The lighting should be dimmed, and the water filter cleaned every week. Then, two weeks before spawning, they should be fed live food.

It is usually best to move the fry into a separate aquarium and grow a bit before reintroducing them into the larger one.


Despite your level of expertise in taking care of fish, the Ember Tetra is an excellent find for your aquarium as it requires minimum care and intervention. It also adds color to your aquarium’s environment.

This beautiful fish species is a must-have for aquarists of any experience level. However, if you are a beginner, we would highly recommend you to get a school of Ember Tetra. Watching them swim around with their dynamic nature is quite delightful.

They are a beautiful addition to aquariums, and their peaceful temperament and adaptability are excellent for maintenance.