Co-Existence, Care, Feeding + Extra


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Neon and ember tetra are a few of the hottest small education fish for group aquariums, however can they dwell collectively? The reply is sure! Neon tetra and ember tetra make nice tank mates for each other, and each of those fish are a fantastic selection for inexperienced persons.

Let’s take a deeper dive into evaluating these two species and discovering out what makes them superb companions for each other. I’ll additionally provide you with some hints for locating different peaceable tank mates for these gorgeous fish. Let’s get began!


  Neon Tetra Ember Tetra
Scientific Title Hyphessobrycon innesi Hyphessobrycon amandae
Origin Amazon River, South America Araguaia River Basin, Brazil
Dimension 1.5 inches 0.7 to 0.9 inches
Colours Blue, Silver, Purple Shiny Orange, Shiny Purple
Temperature 73 to 78°F 73 to 82°F
pH 5 – 7 5.5 to 7
Water Hardness 2 to 12 dGH 5 to 17 dGH
Weight-reduction plan Omnivore Omnivore
Temperament Peaceable Peaceable
Expertise Stage Newbie Newbie

Introducing the Neon Tetra

Aquarium fish neon. close-up on the faded green background

Neon tetras are one of the well-liked freshwater fish on the earth. With their vibrant pink and neon blue colours, they’ve turn into an icon of tropical fish retaining.

Of their pure habitat, neon tetras inhabit the Amazon river basin the place they’re typically present in ‘black water’ – water that has been dyed a wealthy amber shade by the presence of tannins within the water. The sort of water is mushy and acidic, which is why neon tetras want mushy, acidic water to thrive in an aquarium, too.

Neon tetras are basic education fish that look gorgeous once they type a tightly packed group that strikes across the aquarium collectively.

Attending to Know the Ember Tetra

ember tetra

Ember tetras are a reasonably latest introduction to the aquarium commerce – they weren’t even found within the wild till 1987! These fish come from the Araguaia River Basin in Brazil – not so distant from their neon cousins.

Since their discovery, they’ve turn into an increasing number of well-liked and at the moment are one of the sought-after tetra species. Their deep orange-red colours look gorgeous when set towards a lush inexperienced planted aquarium.

Their tiny measurement and peaceable nature make them a sensible choice for inexperienced persons trying to arrange their first tropical group tank.

Preserving Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra Collectively

Neon tetra and ember tetra are in the identical genus, that means they’re very carefully associated to at least one one other. However what makes them good tank mates for one another?

Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra Dimension

Ember tetras are one of many smallest tropical fish in the marketplace. Often rising to an grownup measurement of lower than an inch, these tiny fish are nice for small aquariums, however solely when stored with different small fish.

That’s one cause that neon tetras are such great tank mates for them! Rising to only one.5 inches in captivity, neon tetras are solely barely bigger, and can seldom pose any menace to the tiny ember tetra.

Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra Temperament

Ember tetra and neon tetra are each comparatively peaceable fish. Ember tetras are as shut as you’ll get to the mannequin group tank fish, and can infrequently present aggression towards different species until they’re very burdened (see notes on fin nipping later).

Neon tetra can sometimes be feisty with different fish, however often solely throughout breeding time, or when burdened. On the entire, neon tetras are a peaceable group tank species, too.

Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra Stage of Care

Each neon tetra and ember tetra are nice fish for inexperienced persons. Whereas you must ensure your water parameters, filtration, and tank surroundings are arrange appropriately, these fish are comparatively forgiving and tolerate a variety of circumstances.

Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra Water Parameters

These two species have very related wants in relation to water parameters. Each require mushy, acidic water with a pH of lower than 7, and a GDH of 5-12 will fulfill each species.

In case your water is difficult or alkaline, you possibly can attempt softening it by including supplies that comprise tannins equivalent to driftwood, peat, and Indian almond leaves.

Since tannins are current of their pure surroundings, some aquarists imagine they’re helpful for the well being of those South American fish.

As for water temperature necessities, neon tetras are a little bit bit fussier than ember tetras and don’t get pleasure from water temperatures exceeding 78°F. Set your aquarium heater’s thermostat to between 73°F-78°F to maintain each species pleased.

Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra Feeding

Neon tetras and ember tetras are each omnivorous, opportunistic feeders which are unfussy of their weight loss program and can get pleasure from a variety of fish meals.

As a result of they’re so small, flake meals are the plain selection, slightly than pellets, which may get lodged within the throats and choke small fish.

Reside and frozen meals equivalent to bloodworms, tubifex worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, and mysis shrimp are wonderful additions to dry meals, and, when fed recurrently, could make an enormous distinction to your fish’s well being.

A various, nutrient-rich weight loss program will even make the colours of those species brighter, so don’t be complacent by solely feeding them one factor!

As with all fish, additionally keep away from overfeeding, because it’s one of many biggest causes of fish illness and water high quality issues.

Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra Tank Decor

Pet fish are all the time happiest when you can also make your aquarium resemble their pure surroundings. To arrange the right tank for these fish, you must think about what a South American river appears to be like like.

Are you able to see the dense crops, twisted roots, and items of wooden which have fallen within the water from the rainforest above?

As talked about earlier, items of driftwood are particularly appropriate for these fish as a result of hardwood driftwood releases tannins into the water, making it softer and extra acidic, simply as it might of their pure surroundings.

Driftwood additionally appears to be like gorgeous when surrounded by dwell crops (see subsequent part).

Though these fish aren’t nice cave dwellers, creating caves from aquarium-safe rocks is crucial if you wish to hold bottom-dwelling fish within the tank with them.

Good Crops for Neon Tetras and Ember Tetras

Getting some dwell crops for these colourful fish to swim amongst will make your tank infinitely extra vibrant and thrilling than a boring, empty aquarium with just a few ornaments.

Reside crops additionally present an necessary refuge for tetras to cover amongst, and might considerably enhance the water high quality by filtering out carbon dioxide, nitrates, and phosphates that might in any other case trigger algal blooms.

Aquatic crops additionally launch dissolved oxygen into the water, which inspires energetic habits and makes hypoxia much less seemingly to your fish.

Nice newbie crops embody Java fern, Java moss, Amazon Sword, Anubias, Crypts, Anacharis, and Vallisneria.

Floating crops equivalent to Amazon frogbit can even create an attention-grabbing dappled lighting impact below them however must be managed to forestall them from carpeting your complete water’s floor.

Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra Education

Like different tetras, each of those species are education fish that should be stored in a big sufficient group to stay wholesome and likewise to look their finest.

Within the wild, tetras can type monumental colleges of a whole lot of fish the place they will really feel secure and safe within the firm of their very own species.

In an aquarium, each neon tetra and ember tetra must be stored in teams of a minimum of 6 fish, and ideally extra to really feel comfy and pleased.

Teams of 10 or extra for each species are preferable, and they’re going to exhibit higher education habits in bigger aquariums – I’ll clarify why in a second!

Will Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra College Collectively?

Whereas some aquarists have reported neon tetra and ember tetra education collectively, that is often as a consequence of not having sufficient members of one of many species or each.

For instance, if you happen to add 3 ember tetra to a tank with 10 neon tetra, they’ll in all probability attempt to be part of the neon tetra college as a result of there’s not sufficient of them to type a college of their very own.

That is removed from superb, as each species would naturally choose to solely college with their very own species, and might be far happier if you happen to hold them in massive sufficient teams to take action.

Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra Tank Dimension

As a result of they’re a smaller species, a college of ember tetra doesn’t strictly require such a big tank as the identical measurement college of neon tetra. Let’s get extra particular utilizing the ‘one inch of fish per one gallon of tank quantity’ rule of thumb.

Should you needed to maintain a college of 10 ember tetra, you’d have to take their most measurement in inches and multiply it by 10 (0.9 x 10 = 9 inches).

For the reason that group’s mixed size is 9 inches, they’ll want 9 gallons of tank measurement, so they might, in principle, squeeze right into a 10-gallon tank. I’ll let you know why a 20-gallon tank is a lot higher in a second!

Are you able to calculate what number of gallons of 10 neon tetra measuring 1.5 inches every would want? 10 x 1.5 inches = 15 inches and due to this fact 15 gallons of water.

Why 20-gallon Tanks are A lot Higher for Education Fish!

Many newbie aquarists have been disenchanted when retaining education fish equivalent to tetras in 10-gallon nano tanks.

Whereas in principle, it ought to work, in actuality, the tank will not be lengthy sufficient for the fish to exhibit their pure education habits. As an alternative, they may scatter out and infrequently ‘hover’ in a single spot. This isn’t superb to your fish’s well being, neither is it very enjoyable to look at.

A 20-gallon tank is the minimal tank measurement for education fish to group collectively and swim round in a tightly packed group like they might within the wild. Your fish might be a lot happier, and so will you, from the pleasure you get watching them!

Why Longer Tanks are A lot Higher Than Taller Tanks for Education Fish

There are just a few forms of fish that are inclined to swim vertically slightly than horizontally – however not many! Pufferfish and Seahorses are two of just a few species.

Like 99% of fish, tetras swim horizontally, and so want an extended tank slightly than a tall tank to offer them most swimming house. To get pleasure from their education habits, you must present them with a tank that’s a minimum of 30 inches lengthy.

Good Tank Mates for Ember Tetras and Neon Tetras

Since they’re each small, neon and ember tetras typically get alongside effectively with the identical forms of tank mates.

Different small, peaceable group tank species make the only option. Faculties of different tetras equivalent to rummy nose tetras, cardinal tetras, and black skirt tetras look notably gorgeous subsequent to those fish.

Danios, rasboras, and white cloud mountain minnows may additionally make good decisions.

To create some variety within the tank, you possibly can additionally hold some small, peaceable cichlids. Ram cichlids and kribensis are two stunning, pretty suitable choices so long as the tank is massive sufficient to offer them their very own territories.

Livebearers equivalent to guppies, platies, and swordtails may be added, though these fish are inclined to choose barely tougher, extra alkaline water than these tetras.

On the backside of the tank, you possibly can host a clean-up crew, equivalent to a college of corydoras, catfish, or some kuhli loaches. Plecos or Siamese algae eaters are additionally a fantastic addition if you happen to’re on the lookout for fish to eat a few of the tank’s algae for you.

Should you like the thought of retaining invertebrates, you possibly can think about peaceable shrimp species equivalent to cherry shrimp, ghost shrimp, or amano shrimp.

These crustaceans do a wonderful job at consuming algae and retaining the tank clear, as do nerite snails, thriller snails, and rabbit snails.

Incompatible Tank Mates for Ember Tetras and Neon Tetras

As a result of each of those tetras are so small, I wouldn’t suggest retaining them with massive fish. Even comparatively peaceable bigger fish equivalent to angel fish, goldfish, or severums can simply gobble up a small tetra once they’re hungry! The tiny ember tetras are particularly weak to predation.

I’d additionally keep away from medium-sized boisterous tank mates like tiger barbs, cherry barbs, and bigger rainbow fish since they might simply bully both species, however particularly the slightly fragile ember tetras.

Breeding Neon Tetras vs Ember Tetras

Should you’re a newbie fish keeper, neon tetra and ember tetra are superb fish to maintain, however tougher to breed.

Each of those species require particular circumstances in a delegated breeding tank to spawn, however ember tetras are slightly simpler to breed than neon tetras.

Neon tetras are usually solely bred by superior aquarists. You could get the water temperature good and make the water very mushy and acidic (<5 levels dH and between pH 5.0-6.0).

Particular spawning mops are positioned on the backside of the tank for the dad and mom to spawn, and the dad and mom must be eliminated as quickly as they’ve laid their eggs.

Ember tetra will breed below a broader vary of water parameters, however will nonetheless be inspired to spawn by heat, acidic water circumstances.

As with neon tetra, the dad and mom can prey upon their eggs and younger, so that they must be eliminated as quickly as spawning is accomplished.

The fry of each species could be raised on tiny dwell meals in addition to business or selfmade infusoria.

Should you’re retaining these species in a group tank, it’s not a good suggestion to induce spawning. The fries are most unlikely to outlive, and spawning can even make tetras extra aggressive.

Simpler Fish to Breed!

Should you’re a newbie aquarist who desires to have a go at breeding fish, I’d suggest first attempting to breed livebearers equivalent to guppies or platies, after which transfer on to breeding some simpler cichlid species equivalent to kribensis or ram cichlids.

Don’t even attempt to breed tetras earlier than you’ve received some respectable expertise with breeding different fish first!

Are Neon Tetra or Ember Tetras Fin Nippers?

Neon and Ember Tetras

A number of species of tetras have a status for nipping fins, however that is often a stress-induced habits in response to the unsuitable setup.

Incorrect water parameters, poor water high quality, overcrowding, small tank measurement, or not sufficient hiding spots can all trigger these fish to really feel burdened, however the commonest cause that these fish typically nip fins is that their teams aren’t massive sufficient.

Each neon tetras and ember tetras are strictly education fish that must be stored in teams of six or extra.

If stored in smaller teams than this, these fish can simply really feel intimidated and can both conceal away amongst crops or go on the offensive and nip on the fins of different fish.

Whereas neon tetra could also be barely extra prone to nip fins than ember tetra, neither species are the worst fin-nipping tetras!

Blue, White spot, Buenos Aires, Black widow, and particularly Serpae tetras are all extra inclined to nip fins than these two comparatively benign species.

It is likely to be counterintuitive, however retaining tetras in bigger teams in a bigger tank is often the easiest way to curb fin-nipping.


Which Is the Higher Neighborhood Tank Fish- Neon Tetra or Ember Tetras?

Each ember tetras and neon tetras are a few of the finest group tank fish you possibly can hope to search out – though which one is best relies upon a bit in your setup.

Whereas ember tetras are barely extra docile and innocent than neon tetras, they’re additionally smaller and extra liable to get bullied or eaten by bigger fish.

If in case you have any bigger or barely aggressive fish within the tank, neon tetra could be a better option.

However for retaining with delicate fish with lengthy fins like guppies and betta fish, ember tetras are barely much less prone to nip fins, particularly when stored in a big sufficient aquarium.

Can Neon Tetra and Ember Tetra Breed Collectively?

Neon tetra and ember tetra are carefully associated members of the identical genus, so you might be questioning: can they breed collectively? The reply- it’s extremely unlikely.

Though prolific breeders equivalent to mollies and guppies can crossbreed collectively, crossbreeding is sort of extraordinary in tetras, and these two species might not even be genetically suitable to supply offspring. Simply getting them to breed with their very own species is difficult sufficient!

Can Ember Tetra be Stored with Cardinal Tetra?

As you might know, cardinal tetras look fairly just like neon tetras however are often barely bigger. They’re additionally peaceable fish, and make nice tank mates for ember tetra, too.

If you’re a newbie fishkeeper, nonetheless, I’d suggest retaining neon tetras earlier than making an attempt to maintain cardinals. The neon tetra is hardier and fewer fussy over water circumstances than the cardinal tetra.


Neon tetra and ember tetra are superb tank mates for one another in some ways. They are often stored efficiently with a number of different small, peaceable, group tank fish and invertebrate species, too.

As a closing word, I’d like to emphasise some extent I made earlier- though some aquarists have tried retaining both species in 10-gallon tanks, the outcomes are disappointing since they received’t exhibit correct education habits.

Should you’re on the lookout for the perfect aquarium for these fish, ensure you try our guides to one of the best 20-gallon and 30-gallon aquariums.

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