Flame Tetra: A Comprehensive Guide to Care, Breeding, and More

Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus)

Table of Contents

Flame Tetra: A Comprehensive Guide to Care, Breeding, and More

Welcome to the fascinating world of Flame Tetras (Hyphessobrycon flammeus), where vibrant colors and captivating behavior come together in a small, enchanting package. If you’re an aquarium enthusiast seeking to add a touch of fiery elegance to your aquatic realm, the Flame Tetra might be your perfect choice.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various facets of Flame Tetra care, from their striking appearance to their breeding habits. Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a beginner looking to start a new underwater adventure, this article will provide you with expert insights and practical advice to ensure the health and happiness of these remarkable fish.

Scientific NameHyphessobrycon flammeus
HabitatAmazon Basin, South America
SizeUp to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm)
Lifespan2 to 5 years
TemperamentPeaceful and social
Tank Size10 to 20 gallons (or larger)
Water ParameterspH: 6.0 to 7.5, Temp: 75-82°F
Breeding TemperatureAround 80°F (27°C)

Flame Tetra Appearance

Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus)

The Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus) is a striking freshwater fish known for its vibrant colors and petite size. These fish showcase brilliant red and orange hues, resembling a fiery flame, hence their name. Their bodies are streamlined and elongated, with a maximum size of about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm), making them a popular choice for small to medium-sized aquariums.

Flame Tetra Lifespan

Flame Tetras have a moderate lifespan in captivity, typically ranging from 2 to 5 years. With proper care, a well-maintained environment, and a balanced diet, you can ensure that your Flame Tetras thrive and live closer to the upper end of this range.

Flame Tetra Size

As mentioned earlier, Flame Tetras are relatively small fish. On average, they reach a size of approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) when fully grown. Their diminutive size makes them suitable for smaller aquariums, but they are equally delightful additions to larger setups.

Flame Tetra Male vs. Female

Distinguishing between male and female Flame Tetras can be somewhat challenging, but a few subtle differences can help:

  • Coloration: In many cases, males tend to be more vibrant and exhibit deeper red and orange colors compared to females.
  • Body Shape: Males might appear slightly slimmer, especially when viewed from above.
  • Fins: Females often have more rounded and less colorful fins, while males may have elongated dorsal and anal fins.

It’s important to note that these distinctions can be subtle, and the most reliable method for determining gender is through careful observation during breeding behavior.

Flame Tetra Pregnant

Flame Tetras do not get “pregnant” in the traditional sense like live-bearing fish do. Instead, they are egg-laying fish. When ready to spawn, females will develop a fuller and rounder appearance as they carry their eggs. It’s essential to provide a suitable environment with plants or spawning mops for the female to lay her eggs, and a separate breeding tank is often recommended to protect the eggs and fry from potential predators.

Flame Tetra Care

Maintaining proper care for Flame Tetras is vital to ensure their health and vibrant appearance:

Flame Tetra Tank Size

For a small school of Flame Tetras, a 10 to 20-gallon aquarium is generally suitable. However, consider a larger tank if you plan to keep a larger group or include other fish species as tank mates. These tetras are peaceful, but providing enough space minimizes stress and territorial disputes.

Flame Tetra Water Parameters

Flame Tetras thrive in soft to moderately hard water conditions with a slightly acidic to neutral pH range. Ideal parameters include:

  • Temperature: 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C).
  • pH: 6.0 to 7.5.
  • Hardness: 2 to 15 dGH.

Regular water changes, typically 10-20% every 1-2 weeks, help maintain water quality and keep your Flame Tetras healthy.

Flame Tetra What To Put In Their Tank

Creating a suitable habitat for Flame Tetras involves providing the following:

  • Plants: Live or artificial plants with fine leaves for hiding and spawning.
  • Substrate: Fine-grain gravel or sand.
  • Hiding Places: Driftwood, caves, and other decorations to offer shelter.
  • Adequate Lighting: To enhance the vibrancy of their colors.

Remember to simulate their natural habitat, which includes slow-moving or still waters with plenty of vegetation.

Flame Tetra Common Possible Diseases

Flame Tetras are generally hardy, but they can still be susceptible to common aquarium diseases such as Ich (white spot disease) and fin rot. Ensure good water quality and maintain a stable environment to minimize the risk of disease. Quarantining new fish before introducing them to an established tank can also help prevent the spread of diseases.

Understanding and addressing common diseases that can affect Flame Tetras (Hyphessobrycon flammeus) is crucial for maintaining the health and well-being of these vibrant aquarium fish. Let’s explore some of the most prevalent diseases and health issues that you may encounter, along with preventive measures and treatment options:

Common Diseases and Health Issues:

Ich (White Spot Disease):

  • Symptoms: White cysts or spots on the skin, rapid gill movement, rubbing against objects.
  • Cause: Protozoan parasite (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis).
  • Prevention and Treatment: Maintain stable water conditions, including temperature and water quality. Increase the temperature slightly to speed up the parasite life cycle. Treat with aquarium salt or copper-based medications, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Fin Rot:

  • Symptoms: Tattered or frayed fins, discoloration, loss of fin tissue.
  • Cause: Bacterial infection, often resulting from poor water quality or injuries.
  • Prevention and Treatment: Ensure pristine water conditions through regular water changes and tank maintenance. Isolate infected fish and treat with antibiotics suitable for aquarium use.

Velvet Disease (Oodinium):

  • Symptoms: Tiny golden or rust-colored specks on the skin, rapid gill movement, lethargy.
  • Cause: Protozoan parasite (Oodinium spp.).
  • Prevention and Treatment: Quarantine new fish before introducing them to your main tank. Increase water temperature and treat with copper-based medications designed for aquarium use.


  • Symptoms: Swollen abdomen, raised scales (pinecone-like appearance), lethargy, loss of appetite.
  • Cause: Bacterial infection affecting the fish’s internal organs and causing fluid retention.
  • Prevention and Treatment: Maintain excellent water quality and a stress-free environment. Quarantine sick fish and treat with antibiotics. Dropsy can be challenging to cure, and early intervention is crucial.


  • Symptoms: White, cotton-like growth on the skin or fins.
  • Cause: Fungal infections often occur due to injuries or poor water quality.
  • Prevention and Treatment: Maintain clean water conditions and address injuries promptly. Use antifungal medications available in aquarium stores.

Columnaris (Mouth Rot or Cotton Wool Disease):

  • Symptoms: White, cottony growth around the mouth, lethargy, loss of appetite.
  • Cause: Bacterial infection (Flavobacterium columnare).
  • Prevention and Treatment: Maintain stable water conditions, and avoid overcrowding. Quarantine affected fish and treat with antibiotics suitable for columnaris.

Preventive Measures:

  • Quarantine New Fish: Always quarantine new fish for at least two weeks before introducing them to your main tank. This helps prevent the introduction of diseases to your established aquarium.
  • Regular Water Changes: Maintain a strict schedule for water changes to keep the water clean and minimize stress on your Flame Tetras.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding can stress the fish and increase the risk of disease transmission. Ensure adequate space and hiding places for your Flame Tetras.
  • Proper Diet: Provide a balanced diet to boost their immune system. High-quality flake or pellet food, supplemented with live or frozen foods, helps keep them healthy.
  • Observation: Regularly observe your Flame Tetras for any signs of illness. Early detection allows for prompt intervention.


If you suspect that one or more of your Flame Tetras are sick, it’s essential to act quickly. Isolate the affected fish in a separate quarantine tank to prevent the potential spread of the disease to other tank inhabitants. Consult with your local fish store or a veterinarian specializing in fish for guidance on selecting the appropriate treatment, which may include antibiotics, antifungal medications, or copper-based remedies.

In conclusion, maintaining a healthy aquarium environment is the first line of defense against common diseases that can affect Flame Tetras. Regular maintenance, quarantine protocols, and attentive care can go a long way in preventing and managing these health issues, ensuring that your Flame Tetras thrive in your aquarium for years to come.

Flame Tetra Food & Diet

Flame Tetras are omnivores and will readily accept a variety of foods, including:

  • High-quality flake or pellet food: Ensure it’s specifically designed for tropical fish.
  • Live or frozen foods: Daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms provide essential nutrients and variety.

Feed your Flame Tetras small portions a few times a day, only what they can consume within a few minutes. This prevents overfeeding and helps maintain water quality.

Flame Tetra Behavior & Temperament

These tetras are known for their peaceful nature. They are social fish and do best when kept in schools of at least 6 to 8 individuals. In smaller groups, they may become stressed and less vibrant in color. Flame Tetras are active swimmers and enjoy exploring their surroundings, especially when provided with hiding places.

Flame Tetra Tank Mates

When selecting tank mates for your Flame Tetras, choose peaceful fish that share similar water parameter requirements. Suitable tank mates include:

  • Other Tetras: Like Neon Tetras and Cardinal Tetras.
  • Corydoras Catfish: Bottom-dwelling companions that are compatible with Flame Tetras.
  • Small Gouramis: Such as the Dwarf Gourami.

Avoid aggressive or larger fish that may intimidate or harm the Flame Tetras.

Flame Tetra Breeding

Certainly, let’s delve deeper into the fascinating world of breeding Flame Tetras (Hyphessobrycon flammeus). Breeding these beautiful fish can be a rewarding and educational experience for aquarists. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to successfully breed Flame Tetras:

Flame Tetra Breeding Process

  1. Separate Breeding Tank: To initiate the breeding process, you’ll need a separate breeding tank. This tank should be smaller than your main aquarium and equipped with a gentle filter to maintain water quality. Ensure that the water conditions in the breeding tank match the preferred parameters for Flame Tetras: a slightly acidic to neutral pH (around 6.0 to 7.5) and a temperature of approximately 80°F (27°C). It’s important to keep the water clean and well-maintained.
  2. Select Healthy Breeding Pairs: To encourage successful breeding, choose vibrant, well-fed Flame Tetras. It’s essential to ensure that the fish you select are in excellent health, as this significantly increases the chances of successful reproduction. Separating the males and females in advance can help condition them for breeding.
  3. Conditioning: Before introducing Flame Tetras into the breeding tank, it’s beneficial to condition them with a varied diet that includes high-quality flake or pellet food and live or frozen foods. This dietary variety prepares the fish for the energy-intensive process of spawning.
  4. Triggering Spawning: Flame Tetras often respond to environmental cues when it comes to breeding. To simulate the onset of the rainy season in their natural habitat, raise the water temperature in the breeding tank to around 80°F (27°C). Additionally, simulate a rainy season by performing frequent water changes (up to 50% every couple of days). These changes in temperature and water quality can trigger the Flame Tetras’ natural breeding instincts.
  5. Provide Suitable Hiding Places: To encourage breeding, include fine-leaved plants like Java Moss or spawning mops in the breeding tank. Flame Tetras prefer to lay their adhesive eggs on these surfaces. The plants and mops provide a safe place for the female to deposit her eggs, reducing the chances of the eggs being consumed by other fish in the tank.
  6. Egg Laying and Care: Once the conditions are favorable, the female Flame Tetra will lay her eggs on the chosen surface, and the male will fertilize them. The eggs are tiny and adhesive, sticking to the substrate. The female can lay anywhere from a few to several hundred eggs depending on her size and condition.
  7. Remove the Adults: After spawning, it’s crucial to remove the adult Flame Tetras from the breeding tank promptly. Otherwise, they may consume the eggs. Place them back in their main tank or another appropriate environment.
  8. Fry Care: The eggs typically hatch within 24 to 36 hours, depending on water temperature. The newly hatched fry are tiny and vulnerable. At this stage, you can feed them infusoria or liquid fry food until they grow large enough to consume micro-sized pellets or powdered food. Ensure that the water quality in the breeding tank remains excellent to support the development of the fry.
  9. Gradual Transition: As the Flame Tetra fry grow, you can gradually transition them to more substantial foods. Live or frozen baby brine shrimp and finely crushed flake food are suitable options. Continue to monitor water quality and perform regular water changes as the fry develop.
  10. Introducing to Main Tank: Once the Flame Tetra fry have reached a sufficient size and are able to fend for themselves, you can consider introducing them to your main aquarium. Be cautious and observe their interactions with other fish to ensure their safety.

Breeding Flame Tetras can be a captivating and educational experience for aquarium enthusiasts. By providing the right conditions and care, you can witness the entire lifecycle of these beautiful fish and create a thriving Flame Tetra community in your aquarium. Remember that patience and attention to detail are key to successful breeding.

Flame Tetra Eggs

Flame Tetra eggs are typically small and adhesive. They are attached to surfaces like plant leaves or spawning mops. The parents do not provide any parental care, so it’s essential to remove them to prevent predation.

Flame Tetra Breeding Temperature

To trigger breeding behavior, increase the water temperature in the breeding tank to around 80°F (27°C). This temperature simulates the onset of the rainy season in their natural habitat, which encourages spawning.

In conclusion, Flame Tetras are captivating fish with their fiery colors and peaceful temperament. Proper care, suitable tank mates, and attention to their breeding requirements can lead to a thriving and vibrant aquarium. By following these guidelines, you can create an ideal environment for your Flame Tetras and enjoy their beauty for

years to come.

Related Posts You May Like

Leave a Reply

Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Aquarium Enthusiast

I love sharing my knowledge about all things aquarium related. I have been keeping aquariums for over 20 years and cannot imagine a life without an aquarium. 

Lee Johnson
My Personal Favorites