Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus): Ultimate Care Guide

Common Name(s)Flame Tetra, Von Rio Tetra, Red Tetra
Scientific NameHyphessobrycon flammeus
OriginSoutheast Brazil
Temperature72°F – 82°F
Size1 inch
Food & DietOmnivorous
Water pH5.5 – 7.5

Flame Tetra Facts

  • Flame Tetras are dwindling in numbers in their natural habitat, but are commonly commercially bred as they are popular fish for the home aquarium.
  • Flame Tetras are a schooling species that should be kept together in a grouping of at least 6 or 7.
  • Flame Tetras are a great fish for beginners as they can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

Flame Tetras are popular fish for home aquariums, and they are commonly commercially bred. They can be found in many pet stores for sale, and for purchase online from breeders. They are hardy little fish that can tolerate a wider range of water parameters, and are not picky eaters. They are both peaceful and active fish that prefer to school together, and they don’t require a complicated setup to house. They are a great choice for a beginner to the fish keeping hobby.

Flame Tetras have fire red bellies and tails. Their front half is a reflective golden silver color with black stripes running vertically. Their fins are the same vibrant red, but they gradually fade out into a transparent coloration.

Flame Tetra
Flame Tetra

Flame Tetra Care

Flame Tetra are considered an easy fish to care for due to their ability to accept and thrive in a wide range of water parameters. They are fairly hardy fish who are not especially prone to disease or ailment. As long you have set up your Flame Tetra tank correctly, perform regular water parameter checks, and feed them the correct diet, your Flame Tetras will do just fine.

Food & Diet

Flame Tetras are omnivorous fish that will readily accept frozen, freeze dried, pelleted, or flaked food. They are not picky eaters at all. They have great appetites, so you will want to feed them 2 to 3 times per day. Make sure to only feed them enough food that they can completely consume in 2 to 3 minutes so that their water remains clean. Feeding them this way helps with water cleanliness, but regular water changes still need to be made. You can offer them foods like bloodworms for a treat, but you should do this on occasion rather than every day.

Size & Lifespan

Flame Tetras are a relatively small species. They only reach up to 1 inch in length at full maturity. If they are cared for properly, you can expect your Flame Tetra to live anywhere from 3 to 5 years. Owners of Flame Tetra have reported them growing larger and living longer, but it is entirely dependent on the fish and how well they are kept. A fish kept in inadequate conditions will not grow to reach its full potential or live nearly as long.

Tank Requirements

Flame Tetra are schooling fish that should be kept in a minimum grouping of at least 6 fish in a minimum of a 15 gallon tank. If you have room for a larger tank, you can house a larger school. You would need to make sure the tank is at least 2 gallons larger for every additional Flame Tetra you want to add to the aquarium. Vy keeping Flame Tetra together in a group, you will be able to see them display their interesting schooling behaviors. Flame Tetras kept by themselves will become stressed quite quickly.

Flame Tetras are a hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. They can live in a temperature range of 72F to 82F, and 5.5 to 7.5 pH. 

Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus)
Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus)

Tank Setup

Flame Tetras do not require much to keep them happy. They prefer a minimal substrate like fine gravel or sand. Use a piece of driftwood, plants, or rocks to give your Flame Tetras something to hide behind when they are stressed. Flame Tetras prefer dim lighting, so floating plants are also a great choice for decor.

Flame Tetra Breeding

If you are considering breeding Flame Tetra in your home aquarium, you will be happy to know that it can be done without much difficulty. Flame Tetras do not provide their offspring with any parental care. In fact, if they are able to, they will eat their own eggs, and fry. To ensure the survival of the eggs and fry, you will need to set up a dedicated breeding tank for your breeding pair of Flame Tetras. You can even use a mesh in the bottom of the tank that allows for the eggs to safely pass through while also blocking the parent fish from getting to them. Once the Flame Tetras have finished spawning, you can then remove the parent fish from the breeding tank.

Flame Tetras are an egg scattering species, much like most other Tetra species. When Flame Tetras are ready to spawn, they will perform a sort of embrace and the female will release her eggs while the male fertilizes them.

How Do Flame Tetra Breed?

When Flame Tetra are ready to breed, the male and the female will perform a sort of embrace with one another. The female will release her eggs, while the male fertilizes them. The female Flame Tetra will lay up to 100 eggs during this time.

Flame Tetras do not provide their offspring with any parental care, and once they are finished spawning, they should be removed from the breeding tank to ensure the survival of their eggs and fry. It is said that they will begin to go after their own eggs fairly quickly once they have finished spawning.

Flame Tetra Male or Female

It is fairly easy to tell the difference between male and female Flame Tetras by just looking at them. The male Flame Tetra has a reddish coloration to his anal fin, while the female’s anal fin has a more yellowish tint to it. The female also has a black tip on her pectoral fin, while the male does not. These two distinctive features make Flame Tetras fairly easy to tell the difference between male and female.

Flame Tetra Disease

Flame Tetras are a fairly hardy fish, but that does not mean that they do not have their fair share of potential problems and ailments. They can become infected with many of the same issues as many other freshwater fish as well as Neon Tetra Disease.

Common Disease that can affect Flame Tetras


Ich is a parasitic disease that can be identified by sight as well as behavior in your fish. Ich shows up on the body of the fish as white spots. If left untreated these white spots can spread all over the body of the fish and into its gills where it will eventually render the fish unable to get oxygen from the water. Ich is treatable if it is caught early enough on, and the treatment is fairly simple. It is important to quarantine your fish that are affected with Ich away from others due to Ich being extremely contagious.

Neon Tetra Disease

Neon Tetra Disease, much like Ich, is a parasitic disease that is quick to spread. Also like Ich, Neon Tetra Disease shows up as a white patch on the body of the fish. Thankfully, Neon Tetra Disease is fairly rare, and if you notice a white spot on the body of the Flame Tetra, it is most likely Ich. Neon Tetra Disease can be treated if caught early enough.

Flame Tetras can be infected with fungal, parasitic, and bacterial infections if they are not kept in good condition. It is important to establish regular water changes as well as perform regular water parameter checks for the health of the fish. Another way to protect your Flame Tetras from disease or infection is to quarantine any new fish before you add them into your home aquarium.

Are Flame Tetra a Schooling FIsh?

Flame Tetras are a peaceful and slow moving, schooling fish. They prefer to be kept in a grouping of at least 6 or 7 fish in a tank that is at least 15 gallons. If you want to keep a larger school, you would need at least 2 gallons additional to your tank per fish. It is important to make sure that you are housing them in the appropriate sized tank to make sure that your Flame Tetras do not stress or become ill.

How Many Flame Tetras Should Be Kept Together?

Flame Tetra are schooling fish that need to be kept in a group of at least 6 or 7. Any less than this, and your fish may not display all of their unique schooling behaviors, or they may become stressed. In the wild, Flame Tetras rely on their school to protect them as well as provide them a level of camouflage from predators. If you are planning on keeping a large school of Flame Tetras, make sure that you are providing them with enough room. Flame Tetras require an additional 2 gallons per fish.

Flame Tetra Tank Mates

Flame Tetras are very peaceful fish that are great in community tank setups with other peaceful fish of roughly the same size. They are a great addition to any micro schooling aquarium. They should be kept with other fish that have similar tank requirements, needs, and temperament.

Great tank mates for Flame Tetras are other Flame Tetras of course, Danios, Rasboras, and some bottom dwelling species like Corys as well as mollies, bettas, and guppies. Just make sure that you are not overcrowding the tank, or the water column. Flame Tetras occupy the middle of the water column, so better tank mates would be fish that occupy the bottom of the water column or the top.

Are Flame Tetras Aggressive?

Flame Tetras are a peaceful species unless they are under stress from inadequate conditions. Flame Tetras are schooling fish that prefer to live in a large grouping of at least 6 to 7 fish. For the smallest school of Flame Tetras you will need a tank that is at least 15 to 20 gallons with an additional 2 gallons per additional fish. If Flame Tetras are not kept in a large enough space, you will see your normally active and peaceful fish become aggressive with one another and stressed.

Compatible and Incompatible Tank Mates for Flame Tetra

Compatible tank mates for Flame Tetras would be other fish that share the same water requirements as well as roughly the same size. Other Tetra species are a great choice for Flame Tetra tank mates as long as there is enough room.

When considering tank mates for Flame Tetra, you need to keep in mind what space the fish occupy in the water column. Flame Tetras occupy the middle of the water column in the tank, and when choosing tank mates, you will want to be careful to not overcrowd the middle of the water column with too many fish. Peaceful bottom dwelling fish such as some Corys are a great choice as they will not often get in the way of your active Flame Tetras. Bettas and mollies also make for great tank mates for Flame Tetra.

Fish that are not compatible with Flame Tetras are any aggressive, large, territorial species that could potentially stress out your Flame Tetras or mistake them for a meal.

Where Can I Find Flame Tetra For Sale?

Flame Tetras are a popular choice for the home aquarium, and if you are looking to purchase Flame Tetras for yourself, you will be happy to know that they are sold in most pet stores, specialty aquarium stores, and from breeders online. You can expect to pay around $4 per fish. Keep in mind that you would need a minimum school of at least 6 to 7 fish.

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