Flame tetra Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus) is a beautiful little freshwater fish that is perfect for beginner aquarists.

This species is very peaceful and can be kept in a community tank with other small fish. They are also very easy to care for and are not picky eaters.

Flame Tetras are a great addition to any aquarium and will surely bring some color and life to your tank!

Species overview

The Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus) is a freshwater fish that’s native to the Orinoco River basin in South America.

They are found in slow-moving waters with a lot of vegetation. This is something to keep in mind if you’re planning on keeping them in your aquarium because you’ll need to replicate this environment as best as you can.

Flame Tetras are very peaceful fish and can be kept with a wide variety of tank mates. They are also one of the few freshwater fish that will do well in a nano aquarium.

The main draw of the Flame Tetra is its bright orange color. This really makes them stand out in most freshwater aquariums and means this fish will likely be a popular choice for years to come.


Flame tetra

As you can probably tell from their name, Flame tetras are a very colorful freshwater fish. their body is a bright orange color that has a red hue to it. The fins on this fish are also orange, but they’re tipped with a lighter shade that almost looks white.

The fins on this fish are quite long and streamline. The dorsal fin is shorter than the anal fin, but both of these fins extend back quite a way. The caudal fin is forked and symmetrical.

Flame tetras have a very long and thin body shape that tapers down at the end. This gives them a very hydrodynamic look that helps them swim quickly.

One of the most notable features on this fish is their eyes. They have large eyes that are very expressive. This, combined with their bright colors, makes them a very popular freshwater fish.


The lifespan of a Flame Tetra in captivity is anywhere from 5 to 8 years. This is a pretty wide range, but it really depends on the individual fish and the care they receive.

As with any other pet, there are a number of things that can shorten the lifespan of a Flame Tetra. Poor water quality, stress, and a suboptimal diet are all common culprits.


The Flame Tetra grows to a maximum length of about 2.5 inches (6.4 cm). These fish are relatively small, so they don’t need a lot of space to swim around.


Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size for a flame tetra is 10 gallons. However, we recommend going up to a 20 gallon tank if you plan on keeping a school of 5 or more fish.

Since these fish like to stay in the middle and upper levels of the tank, you don’t need a ton of vertical space. However, you still need to make sure there’s enough room for them to swim around without being cramped.

Water Parameters

As with any fish, the key to keeping your flame tetras healthy is to maintain consistent water parameters. These fish are native to the clear, slow-moving waters of the Amazon Basin.

The water is typically soft with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. The temperature is on the warm side, usually around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

When setting up a tank for your flame tetras, it’s best to start with these parameters and make adjustments as needed. Test the water regularly and be sure to do partial water changes as needed to keep the water clean and free of toxins.

  • Water temperature: 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 7.2
  • Water hardness: 2 to 12 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

The inside of a Flame Tetra’s tank can be set up in a number of ways. There really isn’t a wrong way to do it as long as you keep a few key points in mind.

The first is to make sure there is plenty of cover. These fish like to have a lot of places to hide and feel safe. Driftwood, caves, and plants all make great options.

You’ll also want to use a fine gravel or sand substrate. This will help keep the inside of their tank looking clean and will be much easier on their delicate fins.

Finally, make sure the water is well-oxygenated. Flame Tetras are a relatively active species and will need a lot of oxygen to stay healthy.

Common Diseases

There are a few diseases that you should be aware of if you’re keeping flame tetras. The good news is that these fish are relatively hardy and don’t often fall ill.

The most common disease that affects flame tetras is ich. This is a parasitic infection that will show itself as white spots on the body and fins of your fish.

If left untreated, ich can be deadly. However, it’s relatively easy to treat if you catch it early.

Another disease that you might see in your flame tetras is fin rot. This is an infection that attacks the fins of your fish and can cause them to disintegrate.

Fin rot is usually caused by poor water quality, so the best way to prevent it is by maintaining a clean and stable tank.

If you notice any signs of disease in your flame tetras, the best thing you can do is consult a vet or experienced fish keeper. They will be able to help you diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of treatment.

Behavior & Temperament

The Flame Tetra, like many other species of Tetra, is a schooling fish. This means that they prefer to be in the company of at least 5 other Flame Tetras. In the wild, these fish can be found in huge schools of hundreds or even thousands of fish.

The good news is that even in the home aquarium, these fish will school together. This creates a beautiful and mesmerizing display as they swim in unison around the tank.

Flame Tetras are generally peaceful fish. They will get along with most other fish species that are peaceful and of a similar size. These fish are not aggressive and are not known to nip at the fins of other fish.

One thing to keep in mind is that Flame Tetras are timid fish. They can be easily intimidated by larger and more aggressive fish. For this reason, it’s best to keep them with other peaceful fish that are of a similar size.

Tank Mates

The name “flame tetra” comes from the vivid red and orange coloration on the body of the fish. This coloration is what makes this species so popular in the aquarium trade.

The good news is that the bright colors don’t just make for a pretty fish. They also help the fish to blend in with their environment.

In the wild, the flame tetra’s native habitat is in slow-moving waters in South America. The water is typically murky and doesn’t have much in the way of plants.

This environment is easy to replicate in the home aquarium. As a result, there are plenty of compatible tank mates for the flame tetra.

Some good choices include:


The flame tetra is a stunning little fish that’s not too difficult to breed in captivity. This species is native to the warm waters of South America, so you’ll need to recreate those conditions to trigger spawning.

The first step is to set up a breeding tank. It should hold at least 10 gallons of water. Then, add some live plants and a few hiding places. The plants are important because they provide the fry with a food source.

Next, adjust the water temperature to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a heater to maintain that temperature. Then, add a few rocks to the tank. These will help to stabilize the pH and keep the water quality high.

When everything is in place, it’s time to add the fish. You’ll need two males and two females. The males are easy to spot because they have longer fins.

Once the fish are in the tank, feed them plenty of live foods. Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia are all good choices.

The female will lay her eggs on the plants. After she does that, the male will fertilize them. Then, it’s up to the parents to protect the eggs until they hatch.

The eggs will hatch in about three days. Once they do, remove the adults from the tank. They will eat the fry if given the chance.

The fry will feed on the microscopic organisms in the water. You can supplement their diet with live foods like baby brine shrimp. As they grow, you can transition them to flake food.


The Flame Tetra is a beautiful freshwater fish that is perfect for beginner aquarists. They are easy to care for and are very peaceful, making them a great addition to any community tank.

With their bright red and orange coloration, they are sure to add some flair to your aquarium.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance fish that is still stunning to look at, the Flame Tetra is a great choice!