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Raising The Fiery Freshwater Native – The Ember Tetra

Tetras are commonly raised by aquarium hobbyists all over the world. Popular for their playful, fun-loving personalities and their gorgeous appearances, tetras are awesome fish for beginner and expert fishkeepers alike.

These fish can truly catch your eye and light up any aquarium in which they are housed. With an excellent temperament and a friendly disposition, this fish is the one you absolutely must consider raising in your tropical freshwater aquarium. It’s also one of the best fish for fish keepers who are new to the hobby.

Ember Tetra

Ember Tetra Background

Ember Tetra 1
Photo by Matthew Willis

This dazzling little fish is known by many other names, including the Fire Tetra. It is sometimes referred to by its scientific name as well, which is hyphessobrycon amandae. Whatever you call it, here’s what you need to know.

This fish is a member of the Characidae family and is found in the slow-moving waters of western and central portions of Brazil. A member of one of the most diverse orders of fish, Characiformes, this fish is one of 2000 fish in 19 families. It is impressive to say the least.

These fish were first found in central Brazil, in Mato Grosso state. These fish are native to the slow-moving rivers, swmaps, and lakes of this region. Generally, the regions in which they are found in the wild are heavily encased with trees and plants, many of which end up inside and lining the riverbed. This vegetation provides valuable athlete rofr the Ember Tetra, along with other fish and animals as well.

The riverbeds will often be dark and filled with plants. They usually live in waters that have soft soil, and there may be light rock or gravel mixed in, too. REgardless of these substrate type, all Ember Tetras will live in heavily shaded water.

Prized for its bright appearance and cheery behavior, this fish can easily be distinguished by its fiery appearance. An active, easygoing fish, it is not easy to care for and can therefore be found in most aquarium stores. No matter how much experience you have in raising fish in a freshwater aquarium, the Ember Tetra is a great option for you.

Ember Tetra Appearance And Behavior

Ember Tetra 2
Photo by Peter Maguire

Ember Tetras are native to vegetated areas. As a result, the presence of plants has played a huge role in their behavior. They love to hang out a breed in plants, driftwood, and logs. They are not timid, and instead are quite active and very playful. You will find them hiding and swimming among the plants, although they typically hang out in the middle portion of the water column.

These fish should be given some time to adapt to new tank settings. Although it’s difficult to scare an Ember Tetra, you want to make sure it has plenty of time to acclimate to its new conditions. These fish love to be surrounded by other Ember Tetras, they are schooling fish. They will spend their time playing with their tankmates and will actually take less time to adapt to their environments if they are housed with other members of their species.

They also look quite stunning when they are allowed to shoal!

These fish have a unique appearance that makes them a standout among other fish species. A fiery red color, these fish sometimes also have an orangish hue. Their eyes, too, are trimmed in orange. These tiny fish will never grow to a full inch in length, instead remaining about three quarters of an inch long.

These fish have long bodies, and it’s easy to tell the difference between males and females. Females have swollen abdomen during the breeding period but they also have larger air bladders that will be distinguishable even when the fish are not breeding.

Each Ember Tetra will have a merged anal fin, a large caudal fin, and a compratively small dorsal fin. These caudal and dorsal fins will be either black or light grey., the head around the eyes and mouth can sometimes be red. The back of the fish will often seem somewhat compressed toward the back. This is nothing to worry about- it is simply an adaptation that allows your fish to swim around with ease.

This fish also has compact scales. These scales lie close together and sometimes look practically transparent, giving your Ember Tetra an almost iridescent appearance.

Ember Tetra Tank And Water Requirements

Ember Tetra 3
Photo by Peter Maguire

When you house Ember Tetras in your fish tank, there are several water conditions that you will want to keep in mind. They prefer narrow rivers with water that moves slowly. Ideally, the pH should be in the range of 5.5 to 7, although they can tolerate slight variations. The water hardness should not be more than 18 dH, and the temperature should be maintained between 68- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit.

Because these fish are generally found in heavily planted areas, it’s important that you do your best to recreate this in the tank. You can keep a wide variety of plants with them, including easy-to-care for options like the Java fern, Java moss, and Anacharis.

You should make sure your tank is heavily planted, but also that there is plenty of space for your fish to swim around in. You want to make sure they do not feel too overcrowded. You might want to consider placing some free-floating plants like hornwort at the top of your tank and allow the rest to be affixed firmly in the tank’s substrate.

You can usually find Ember Tetras in slow moving tributaries, far away from the main rivers. Therefore, they don’t like a lot of water flow in the tank. Whenever possible, use a filtration system that is silent and an equally quiet, yet effective, aeration system. This will provide a minimal amount of water movement while also keeping the tank aerated. It won’t disturb your Ember Tetras and it will make your tank easier to clean. A sponge filter is a good option to consider.

You don’t have to be too particular about the substrate type. A dark one will look best , and it will also be the type to which your Ember Tetras is the most acclimated. You might also want to consider adding dry leaves, which will leave behind beneficial bacteria after they decompose.

You can keep your Ember Tetras in a somewhat small, shallow tank. Ideally, it should be about 10 gallons, but this will vary depending on whether you are raising other Ember Tetras as well as other kinds of fish. Try not to grow your tank with too many plants or decorations, and think about the height of your aquarium, as this will depend on what kind and how many plants you decide to try to squeeze in there.

What Do Ember Tetras Eat?

Ember Tetra 5
Photo by Dawn Endico

Ember Tetras are not a picky eater. In the wild, they will eat zooplankton and other small invertebrates. Occasionally, they may also graze on plants. Here, they aren’t necessarily eating the plants but instead are munching on the microbe colonies that live there.

These fish can be fed other dry foods, too, like granules or flakes. You can also add frozen or live food as treats. Good options include Daphnia and Grindal worms.

Make sure the diet of your tetra is as diverse and nutritionally dense as possible. While you no doubt want your fish to be healthy, remember that the more varied your Ember Tetra’s diet it, the more color it will display.

Ember Tetras are extremely small, and as such, have extremely tiny mouths. You will need to grind the food up into small pieces, and you should only feed small pieces at a time. Feed your fish two or three times a day to make sure they get the nutrients they need. You can also add plants to your tank, which will give your fish something to munch on during the day.

You shouldn’t need to add any other supplements to your tank. You can make sure your fish stay healthy by supplying them with a broad, diverse diet. This will help prevent disease and keep your fish healthy for the long term.

Ember Tetra Tank Mates

Ember Tetras are remarkably easygoing and as a result, will get along well with most other community fish. They rarely cause any issues, instead spending most of their time hanging out in the middle of the tank, minding their own business. They don’t like to eat from the bottom of the tank, which makes them a great companion for catfish, like the small corydoras.

You should attempt to keep your Ember Tetra with fish of a similar temperament and size. You want to avoid large, aggressive fish, particularly those that are carnivorous or predatory in any way. You can think about keeping them with fish like dwarf cichlids, neon lights, rasboras, or hatchetfish, all of which occupy different water levels in the tank. You can even keep Ember Tetras with snails and shrimp.

Remember, keeping Ember Tetras together is always a good bet, as they are schooling fish. Keeping them in groups of seven or eight fish will help them feel more at home, reducing their stress and making them feel more relaxed. Plus, a school of Ember Tetras is absolutely gorgeous to look at.

Common Ember Tetra Diseases

Ember Tetra 4
Photo by AvipsuArko

Ember Tetras, like all other freshwater fish, are sensitive to changes in water quality, temperature, alighting, and acidity. It’s important that you maintain constant parameters in the tank and avoid common missteps like overfeeding, neglecting cleaning, and crowding the tank.

Overfeeding is a common issue among small fish, causing issues with the digestive system. You will need to become closely acquainted with your Ember Tetra to determine whether overfeeding is a problem. If your fish acts tired to strange in any way, it might be time to look at what – and how much – they are eating.

The quality of your fish food can also affect the health of your fish. You might want to invest in food that is more expensive or consider more consistent water renewal. You also need to supply aeration and filtration that are consistent and of high quality.

If you are raising Ember Tetras in a tank that is filled with plants, you will need to take extra care to clean it. While plants help filter toxins and nitrates from the water, they also contribute to the buildup of algae and other bacteria. Therefore, it’s important to clean it regularly. Too much algae not only makes your tank look bad, but it can also make your fish extremely sick.

The main disease you have to worry about with Ember Tetras is parasitic infection. Parasitic disease usually cause skin problems, like white dots, as well as digestive issues, like bloating. If your fish are having trouble shooting, this may also be a sign that parasites are involved.

Breeding And Life Spans Of Ember Tetras

Many people select Ember Tetras for their fish tanks because they want to be able to breed them. Ember Tetras are not difficult to breed, but you do need to have some background knowledge in order to be able to do so.

The first thing you need to know is that Ember Tetras are free spawning, meaning the parents will neglect and fail to care for the fry after they are born. This is nothing to worry about and does not require intervention of any kind. However, you may need to control some aspects of the breeding process to make sure you don’t end up with too many or too few fry.

First, you will need a small tank for your ry. You should remove water from the main aquaru for this separate tank, as this will make acclimating to the tank easier for both the adult parents and for the fry. You should dim the light and filter the water at a weak level.

To simulate spawning conditions, set the pH at a neutral live and maintain water temperature around 80 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, which is somewhat higher than the fish normally are acclimated to. You may want to give the fish live foods for two weeks before they spawn. The extra protein will help to encourage spawning behavior.

Once the fry are born, you will need to remove the parents to the original tank. You can also put a breeding mesh on the bottom of the tank. This is necessary, no matter what you do, because adult Ember Tetras will often eat the fry.

While breeding your Ember Tetras may sound like an additional challenge, it’s absolutely worth it. These fish have relatively long lifespans for being small freshwater fish. When appropriately cared for, Ember Tetras can live for up to two years in captivity.

Is An Ember Tetra For You?

If you’re looking for a fish that will add life, color, and personality to your freshwater tank, it’s time to consider the Ember Tetras. These Brazilian fish are fun to watch, engaging in colorful displays of activity as they move with the rest of their shoaling group about that tank. They are easy to feed, easy to breed, and easy to house with other fish. You don’t have to worry about many diseases, either!

So what are you waiting for? Get things fired up, and purchase a few of these fiery looking fish for your small community tank today.

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