Neon and Ember Tetras are the two most popular fish seen in aquariums. They are well known for their vibrant colors and peaceful nature.

Both tetras are black water schooling fish. They are easy to take care of and would make a great choice for your aquarium, especially if you are new to it.

Ember and Neon Tetras Stats

Neon and Ember Tetras are most of the time seen as compatible with each other. So they can be kept together in one aquarium. They have similar behavioral nature, and if the right conditions are provided, they can even be seen schooling together.

As both the tetras have a few different statistics, it can be a worrying thought as to what statistics should be provided in their tank. Thus, here’s a table provided for you that will help you know about what conditions to apply if you are planning to keep them in one tank.

Care level Minimum – moderate
Maximum Size Neon Tetra: two centimeters

Amber Tetra: two centimeters

Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons
Average lifespan In the wild: 10 years

In aquarium: two to three years

Diet Omnivore
Breeding Type Natural Propagation
pH 6 to plan
Hardness 9dGH
Temperature 75 F (24 C)
Temperament Calm and peaceful
Order Characiformes
Family Characidae
Genus Hyphessobrycon
Species H.Amandae

Neon and Ember Tetras Appearance: Body and Coloration

– Neon Tetra Body

Neon Tetras can grow up to 2.5 inches (6.35 centimeters) in the wild, but in the aquarium, the Neon Tetra size does not grow more than 1.5 inches (four centimeters). Neon Tetras are small, thin, and cigar-shaped. They have beads like big eyes which sit leveled with their mouth.

– Neon Tetra Colorism

This magnificent-looking creature has a metallic blue line from the upper head towards the tail but does not touch it. And in the opposite direction, a bright orangey-red colored line covers the beginning of its tail and comes towards its body till its belly. Other parts of its body are glass-colored. It got its present color by passing different states of evolution throughout a long period.

In black water, when viewed from approximately 30 degrees above the horizon, the color of Neon Tetras forms a bright mirror image underside the water surface, which confuses the bigger fish and helps Neon Tetras get away from predators.

The colorism of Neon Tetras is seen to vary according to the types of water. They appear very bright and colorful in clear water. In black water, they seem to be darker and faded in color; even their bright stripes also appear partially only.

A very common complaint heard from Neon Tetra owners is that their Neon Tetras are losing their color. Where color fading is often considered to be normal, there are some reasons as well for why their color must be fading:

  • Stress
  • Neon Tetra disease
  • Parasitic attack
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Poor maintenance of water parameters

– Ember Tetra Body

Ember Tetra size is approximately 0.8 inches (two centimeters). They have an elongated body shape with the lower part compressed than its upper part for swift movement. Their eyes and fins are slightly outlined with black.

– Ember Tetra Colorism

Ember Tetras are usually bright fiery red but sometimes vary from orangy red to orange. They are very vibrant looking and can be very easily distinguished because of their attractive appearance.

The same complaint of losing or fading colors is heard from the owners of Ember Tetras as well. And the reason for it is also similar, stress and unhealthy diet.

– Color Up

Some owners noticed a color-up when they started to feed the tetras a more protein diet, became more attentive towards their water temperature, and added more plants and hideout structures in the tank.

– Neon and Ember Tetras Sex Difference

Neon Tetras: The female Neon Tetras are bigger than male ones. The female Neon Tetras also have rounder bellies for which their colored lines appear curvy, whereas the male Neon Tetras have slender bodies and straight colored lines.

Ember Tetras: The female Ember Tetras have larger air bladders than the males and seem oblate during breeding.

Neon and Ember Tetras Proper Care

Due to lack of care, Neon and Ember Tetras often lost their vibrant color and died before time. It is extremely necessary to take proper care of them. We need to understand they are not only a piece of moving decoration but indeed a living creature. So when we decide to have them at our house, we also must ensure their proper care.

Thus it is best to know about them before bringing them home. It would be best to consult with a veterinarian well experienced on fish in advance and also at time intervals after bringing them.

– Neon and Ember Tetras Diet

Neon and Ember Tetras have similar food habits. They both feed on flakes, frozen or live brine shrimp, daphnia, small invertebrates, zooplankton, small bites of plants at times, and dried food. The protein intake of brine shrimp is very important for them to hold their vibrant colors. They also need to consume protein-rich food during breeding.

Neon and Ember Tetra fry: Make sure to feed the fries only dried food, considering their mouth and body size. Having something big and hard would be very tough for them. They should be fed in tiny amounts from two to four times a day, and overfeeding must be avoided.

– Neon and Ember Tetras Lifespan

Neon tetra: Though they can easily live up to 10 years in the wild, they only live two to three years in the aquarium.

Ember tetra: Similarly, Ember Tetras can easily live more than 10 years in the wild but survive only two to four years maximum in the aquarium.

– Neon and Ember Tetras Average Size

The average size of Neon Tetra: Four centimeters (1.5 inches)

The average size of Ember Tetra: Two centimeters (0.8 inches)

Neon and Ember Tetras Tank

When planning to keep fish and what type of fish should be kept, it is essential to choose the right tank. The type of tank needed varies according to the kind of fish. You may think any type of tank can be used for fish, but to your surprise, the requirements of different fish demand different tank conditions, and the wide range of tank varieties can confuse you.

If you plan to keep Neon and amber tetras in the tank, a tropical freshwater tank is the best option as both are tropical freshwater fish. Neon and Ember Tetra temperature are pretty similar; thus, their water temperature requirements are similar, 20 to 28 C. A tropical freshwater tank will help you maintain Ember and Neon Tetra water parameters, for which you will very easily be able to obtain healthy fish.

– Neon and Ember Tetras Tank Size

As Neon and Ember Tetras are both schooling fish, it is best to have a school of both. If you keep a school of only one of them, the other type may feel threatened and come under pressure, which will be bad for its health and color. Thus try to keep a school of both as they love schooling around the tank, decorate the tank and keep it spacious.

A tank of at least 20 gallons would be good enough for a school of both but make sure it is nothing less than that if it is convenient to get a bigger one.

– Neon and Ember Tetras Tank Decorations

Neon and Ember Tetras are usually the shy types, peaceful and calm they like to school around. They are most comfortable when they are kept in big numbers as they feel secure. They like hideouts for resting and will curl up inside one every time they feel threatened as well.

Along with the necessary things like a fish tank filter and bubbler, try to decorate the tank with many plants and varieties of small hideouts. You may add some mineral rocks and sand at the base as well. Make sure not to add too much lighting as they are blackwater fish; they are not much of a fan of light. Bright lights may stress them out as well. A couple of dimmed lights would be fine.

Neon and Ember Tetras Tank Mates

Neon and Ember Tetras are very calm, peace-loving, and dark water fish. Make sure to get Neon and Ember Tetra tank mates who have similar nature. If you bring them species of different behavior and requirements, it will not only disturb the tank’s environment but may also put the life of the fish in danger.

Fish that would be a good choice for tankmates:

  • Harlequin Rasboras
  • Guppies
  • Glowlight tetras
  • Cardinal tetras
  • Danios
  • Otocinclus

It is best if their tank mates are non-aggressive and smaller or of similar shape as them. Or else they might end up being the dinner of their bigger and aggressive tank mates. All the fish mentioned above are small and peaceful freshwater fish.

Neon and Ember Tetras are mostly mid-tank dwellers and would come at the top barely, mainly at the time of feeding only. You can choose their tank mates who are top tank dwellers to make sure they don’t cross paths with each other. The tetras may feel under threat if they’ll have to cross paths now and then with other fish. But usually, they are not bothered if they have their school of fish because they stay tightly in a pack.

Neon and Ember Tetras Breeding

During the spawning season, both the tetras will start to show behavior changes. If you can notice them at the right time and provide them with the right conditions, they will have successful breeding. Before that, if you want them to breed, make sure to keep a high protein intake in their diet. Here is an individual guideline for each of them.

– Breeding Neon Tetras

Neon Tetras need to be of at least 12 weeks to have healthy breeding. Look out for their spawning behavior; the male tetra will start courting around the female in squares followed by some quirky attitude.

When you notice that, prepare for a separate tank with dark to dim lighting, don’t make the water too hard, keep the solution slightly acidic at one specific temperature, add a small filter (not the one with holes where eggs may fit. Avoid bubbler as well.) and plant which will keep the water fresh. Now transfer the breeding couple to this tank.

Tetras will breed more than 100 eggs which will have a transparent appearance and sticky nature. Remove the parent tetras as soon as possible from that tank and shift back with the others, or else they will end up eating the eggs.

Within 24 hours, the eggs will hatch. Keep them in the dark; cover the tanks with a piece of paper or cloth. Feed them dried tiny food keeping the size of their body and mouth in mind. Once the Neon Tetras have grown to adult size, transfer them back with their parents.

– Breeding Ember Tetras

Breeding Ember Tetras is a similar process. They should be at least six months of age. During the spawning season, notice the behavior changes; they will chase and nod at each other around the tank. They will become very playful.

In the case of Ember Tetras, you will have to settle them in a breeding tank two to three weeks before mating. It is not much hard work to mate them but, you will have to dedicate your time to the male tetras can get a bit aggressive towards the female tetras, so watch out for that; if you notice it, the female tetras should be removed immediately. Ember Tetras will lay very fewer eggs compared to Neon Tetras. They lay only six to twelve eggs. The eggs are transparent jelly type.

It can give you a hard time spotting them as Ember Tetras are also egg scatterers, meaning they will lay eggs anywhere they find convenient all around the tank. But you must find the eggs. Immediately after you spot them, remove the male Ember Tetras first from the tank, or else they will eat the eggs and occasionally become aggressive towards the female tetras.

– How To Prevent Them From Eating Eggs?

There is a small technique to prevent them from eating the eggs, which is used and found useful. That is buying one male for every six female Ember Tetras. However, it is best to separate the parents from the breeding tank and hatch them in a fry incubator as Ember Tetras are not the type to take care of their fry. They should be hatched within 24 to 36 hours.

It will take the fries a couple of weeks to start swimming swiftly. By the time, make sure to feed them tiny fry food. Infusoria can be a good source of protein for them. If you are unable to find infusoria, dissolve boiled egg yolk with water and feed that.

Some fries tend to be more grown-up than others; if yours are among those, you may start to feed them regular dry food. If not, keep handling them with sensitive care.


Here is a small overview list you would want to remember before getting the Neon and Ember Tetras:

  • As a beginner fish keeper, Neon and Ember Tetras would be a great choice because they are easy to take care of. They would not require a lot of attention.
  • If you keep schools of them, they will already start feeling secure. Just make sure to maintain the environment and water parameters.
  • They do breed in aquariums if you can provide a bit of extra effort and care during the spawning season. A fry incubator is a must-have.
  • They have easy food habits.
  • It is a common complaint about these vibrant fish owners about the color fading. If you give them proper food and provide their required environment, they will hold their color. Still, some fading may be noticed, which is because of not being in their natural habitat.
  • They come in affordable ranges making it very convenient for you as a beginner and a penny pincher.
  • Setting up their tank is also very easy. You will just have to replicate the aquarium as tropically as possible. They love having plants and small hideouts for resting and hiding when a threat is experienced.
  • Neon and Ember Tetras are two of the calmest yet eye-catching fish. They are far from troublemaking. Thus bring them tank mates who have similar features. Never go for bigger or aggressive fish to stay with them.
  • Neon Tetras originate from the amazon river basins of and Orinoco of Brazil, whereas the Ember Tetras originate from the Araguaia river basin of Brazil. Though their origin is different, their similar behavioral statistics are what make them excellent tankmates.
  • Neon and Ember Tetras are small-sized, hardy, and peace-loving tropical freshwater fish. They will surely add the much needed colors to your aquarium.·
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