Ember Tetra

Hyphessobrycon amandae

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© iStock.com/[email protected]

Ember tetras are one of the smallest shoaling fish in the world


Ember Tetra Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Hyphessobrycon amandae

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Ember Tetra Conservation Status

Ember Tetra Locations

Ember Tetra Locations

Ember Tetra Facts

Small invertebrates and crustaceans
Main Prey
Name Of Young
Group Behavior
  • shoal
Fun Fact
Ember tetras are one of the smallest shoaling fish in the world
Other Name(s)
Fire tetra
Peaceful and social
Optimum pH Level
Araguaia River basin
  • Diurnal
  • Crepuscular
Favorite Food
Micro pellets
Common Name
Ember tetra
Central-Western Brazil
Number Of Species

Ember Tetra Physical Characteristics

  • Orange
Skin Type
2-4 years

View all of the Ember Tetra images!

Share on:

Ember Tetra Summary

Ember tetras are small freshwater fish that are primarily kept as pets in aquariums. They are from South America and have an orange body that makes them stand out against other fish. Ember tetras can be found in both the wild and in captivity, where they originate from the Araguaia River basins in Brazil.

They belong to one of the most diverse fish families in the world and can be found in large schools. Ember tetras were first discovered in 1987 and named after fish explorer Heiko Bleher’s mother, Amanda Bleher. 

3 Facts About Ember Tetras

  1. Ember tetras are also known as ‘fire tetras” because of their deep orange coloration.
  2. The female ember tetra has a larger swim bladder than males. The swim bladder helps with bouency in the water.
  3. Ember tetras are highly social fish and prefer to live in groups known as “shoals”.

Ember Tetra Classification and Scientific Name

Ember tetras (Hyphessobrycon amandae) belong to a diverse fish family, known as the Characin family. They are a type of tetra in the Hyphessobrycon genus and the order of characiforms.

Ember Tetra Species

The ember tetra is one species of fish that is part of a group of freshwater fish that consists of 2,000 different species in 19 families.

Ember Tetra Appearance

Ember Tetra

The bright colors of the ember tetra make them desirable fish to keep in aquariums.


The ember tetra has an attractive appearance that makes them a sought-out shoaling fish for aquarium keepers. They have a deep russet orange color that looks striking in aquarium lighting. The color deepens near their heads and tails, giving a darker orange appearance with a hint of red.

Their fins have a pointed tip, with a long and narrow dorsal fin. The color on the ember tetras dorsal fins fades to a lighter shade of orange, with the rear end of the fishing having slightly darker colors than the rest of the fish’s body. It is not uncommon for some ember tetras to have slightly clearer fins than their body, but if you look closely they will still have a hint of a lighter orange color.

The bright colors of the ember tetra make them desirable fish to keep in aquariums, and it is mesmerizing to watch these shoaling fish swim together. Ember tetras reach an adult length of 0.8 in size, which makes them very small and perfect for nano aquariums.

Their small size also makes them ideal for small aquariums where you can keep a small group without having to worry about these fish taking up too much space. Female ember tetras are slightly rounder than male ember tetras, making them appear larger out of the two.

Ember Tetra Distribution, Population, and Habitat


Ember tetras are distributed throughout the wild in the Araguaia River basin in Brazil and they are native to parts of Central-Western Brazil where they can be found in warm freshwater basins. They are also distributed in the aquarium trade industry because they make popular pet fish.


The ember tetras population is classed as the least concern by the IUCN, and this fish species currently faces no threats to their population. This is probably because their numbers are plentiful in aquariums around the world.


The ember tetras habitat includes slow-moving waters in the Araguaia River basin that consists of slow-moving freshwater. Their native habitat in Brazil is filled with aquatic vegetation, rocks, and a sandy or stony bottom. Here they will swim in groups and take shelter amongst the vegetation when needed. They are considered tropical fish, which means that their native waters are slightly warm.

In Aquariums

Ember tetras can be kept in aquariums, and they are ideal for nano aquariums because of their small size. A tank of around 10 gallons in size will suffice for a small group of between 6 to 8 ember tetras. Replicating their natural habitat in their aquarium is ideal because this will allow your ember tetras to display their natural behaviors like they would in the wild.

You should avoid keeping ember tetras on their own because these social fish enjoy each other’s company, and it will make them feel secure in their captive environment. Ember tetras do require a filter in their tank to help with surface movement and to keep the water clean. Since ember tetras are tropical fish, they will need a heater set within 71 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22-28 degrees Celsius).

They prefer soft water with a pH of 6.6 because their native habitat has very soft water. The aquarium should ideally be filled with live plants and a dark substrate. A small heavily planted aquarium will suffice for this shoaling fish.

Ember Tetra Predators and Prey

In the wild and in captivity, ember tetras will fall prey to larger and more aggressive fish, such as cichlids. They should be kept in an aquarium with compatible tank mates, like other peaceful shoaling fish such as neon tetras, guppies, and livebearers like mollies and platies. Ember tetras will not actively try to harm other fish, because they have a peaceful temperament.


Ember tetras are omnivores, and they are micro-predators that feed on other small invertebrates. Their diet consists of small crustaceans, invertebrates, and zooplankton. They may even nibble on dead fish and invertebrates. Ember tetras can also be seen eating plant shoots and aquatic vegetation. Some ember tetras will also graze on microbes from plants and microscopic algae in the water column.

Their captive diet should consist of micro pellets for omnivorous fish since these types of pellets are small enough to fit in their mouth while providing them with the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Ember Tetra Reproduction and Lifespan

Ember tetras reproduce by laying eggs along a surface, such as plant leaves, rocks, and driftwood. The male will then fertilize the eggs with his milt. The eggs will hatch after a few weeks and the parents do not play a role in caring for their offspring. When a female ember tetra is carrying eggs, she will have an extended belly that becomes square before she is about to release her eggs.

Once the eggs hatch, the fry (baby fish) will emerge and begin to find food by feeding on microscopic algae and zooplankton due to their incredibly small size. The fry will be vulnerable to other fish, which makes it important to keep them in a separate tank where they can be raised until they are large enough to be placed back into the main tank.

The average lifespan of an ember tetras ranges from 2 to 4 years. Certain factors can either increase or decrease their lifespan, depending on their genetics, health, risk of disease, and overall care.

Ember Tetra in Fishing and Cooking

Ember tetras are not used in fishing or cooking, because they are undesirable fish to eat or fish for. They are only caught to be bred for captivity for the aquarium trade industry.

Similar Animals

View all 117 animals that start with E

Share on:
About the Author

Sarah is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering aquatic pets, rodents, arachnids, and reptiles. Sarah has over 3 years of experience in writing and researching various animal topics. She is currently working towards furthering her studies in the animal field. A resident of South Africa, Sarah enjoys writing alongside her pets and almost always has her rats perched on her shoulders.

Ember Tetra FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Where are ember tetras found?

Ember tetras are native to Central-Western Brazil where they can be found in the Araguaia River basins. They are also commonly kept in aquariums as pets.

How big should an ember tetras tank be?

The minimum tank size for a small group of ember tetras is 10 gallons. This gives the fish enough space to shoal and swim around, while leaving extra space for a filter, heater, and decorations.

How many ember tetras can you keep together?

Ember tetras should not be kept alone as they are solitary fish. A group of 6 or more ember tetras will be best for smaller aquariums, but you can keep large shoals of ember tetras in big aquariums. The larger the aquarium is, the more ember tetras you can keep inside.

What do ember tetras eat?

Ember tetras are omnivores and eat small invertebrates, crustaceans, vegetation, roots, and microscopic algae. In captivity, ember tetras should be fed a micro pellet food that is formulated for small omnivorous fish.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


  1. Wikipedia / Accessed November 25, 2022
  2. Aquarium wiki / Accessed November 25, 2022
  3. Seriously fish / Accessed November 25, 2022