Angelfish and Ember tetras

In this post, we will learn a little about the relationship between Ember Tetras and Angelfish, as well as discuss their requirement and biology. 

Angelfish and Ember tetras

Angelfish and Ember tetras are not recommended to be housed in the same aquarium. Angelfish generally do not get along very well with smaller fish, in this case, the Ember tetra, which at most reaches 1 inch, while the Angelfish reach up to 6 inches. The predatory Angelfish behaviour towards these smaller fish would make an extremely stressful environment and could result even in the Ember tetra death.

Ember tetras 

Popularly known as Foguinho, the Hyphessobrycon amandae was discovered in 1986 by Heiko Bleher, and the scientific name is a tribute to Heiko’s mother, Amanda Bleher. This fish is found in Brazil, more specifically in the Araguaia River basin, in streams, ditches, shallow and soft water with an abundance of leaves and branches. The Ember tetras have a translucent body and an average life expectancy of 5 years. They are very small fish and can only grow up to 1 inch when adults. Their size makes them perfect for nano aquariums.

Behaviour & Compatibility

Ember tetras have extremely peaceful behaviour and can be kept in community aquariums with other peaceful fish of similar size. They are gregarious fish. Thus, it will be important to keep them in a school with at least 10 individuals, so they would perform more natural behaviours and more highlighted colours.


In the wild, Ember tetras are called micro predators They feed mainly on small invertebrates and zooplankton. In captivity, they will readily accept dry and live small food.

Sexual dimorphism

Males have a straight shape in comparison to females that have a plump shape. Adult males are also more colourful than females, especially during breeding periods.

Natural habitat

Little information is available about the Ember tetra natural environments but presumably, they inhabit small tributaries, backwaters, and marginal lagoons with slower-moving waters rather than main river channels. In general, the Araguaia River basin usually has soft, weakly acidic water, with the substrate covered by a layer of leaves and fallen tree branches.

Tank requirements

Ember tetras require at least a 15-gallon tank. They appear more colourful when kept in a densely planted tank. 

Dry roots and leaves can be added. Sandy, dark substrate further enhances their colours due to the contrast.

They adapt to a wide range of pH, from 6.5 to 7.3, and hardness, from 01 to 17 DGH, but prefer acidic, soft and slow-flowing water, in addition to diffused lighting and shaded areas. 

These fish are peaceful and shy. Thus, it is advisable to keep a reasonable amount of plants in the aquarium that will serve as shelter and refuge. It is also recommended to keep a minimum group of 5 individuals. The larger the group, the brighter their colours.

If you are going to resemble their natural habitat, use branches and leaves. Floating plants and dim lighting also go very well, in addition to a sandy substrate.

These fish are also good choices for well-planted tanks, where their colours form a nice contrast to the plants. 


Considering community aquariums, the small size of the Foguinho makes them unsuitable for the company of larger fish. 

Keeping them with Angelfish and Discus is impossible, as they will easily become prey. Rasboras, Pencil Fish, Small Corydoras and other fish with small mouths are suitable companions.


Angelfish are tropical medium-sized freshwater fish. They have a triangular silvery body and can grow up to 6 inches in length and 10 inches in height. Although they are semi-aggressive fish, they are very popular in larger community tanks.

Angelfish behaviour and compatibility

In general, Angelfish are quite peaceful fish. Although, they can get aggressive in specific situations. Additionally, younger Angelfish are prone to be less territorial and, thus, less aggressive towards other fish, mainly conspecifics. 

However they have some aggressive behaviours, they are usually common in community fish tanks and can get along with many other tropical species with which they share the same requirements.

The main reasons for Angelfish getting aggressive are when threatened and during breeding periods or territorial disputes. 


Angelfish are omnivorous fish. In the wild, they feed mostly on small invertebrates and smaller fish. In the tank, it is possible to feed them with live foods, such as brine shrimp and larvae, vegetables, such as zucchini and peas, or flakes and pellets. Keep in mind they require a protein-rich diet.

Angelfish may also eat smaller fish that are in the tank, such as fingerlings and small tetras (i.e. Ember tetras).

Sexual dimorphism

It is almost impossible to determine if an Angelfish is male or female just by looking at it. They require further examination and analysis. Although, if the female is ready to breed, it may give some hints.

Tank requirements

Angelfish require at least a 15-gallon tank kept alone. For pairs, the recommendation is a 29-gallon tank. However, these fish thrive easier within small groups of at least 4 individuals. 

Filtration and heating system are highly advised. However, you should avoid the ones that create strong currents, as Angelfish prefer slow-moving waters. Remember, angelfish are tropical fish, thus they should be kept in warmer waters and tanks resembling their well-vegetated natural habitats.

Does the Angelfish and Ember tetras combination work?

No, Angelfish and Ember tetras should not be kept together in a community tank. This is because the Ember tetras would be easily chased, bullied, and devoured by the Angelfish. It is important to avoid large aggressive and predatory fish species with Ember tetras. Otherwise, they would have not a chance of surviving. 


In this post, we learnt a little about the relationship between Ember Tetras and Angelfish, as well as discussed their requirement and biology.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us in a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Angelfish and Ember tetras

What fish do good with Ember tetras?

Ember tetras tankmates must be small peaceful fish. Some of them are:

–       Guppies;

–       Danios;

–       Small Gouramis;

–       Otocinclus Catfish. 

Will Angelfish eat Ember tetras?

Yes, Angelfish will definitely eat Ember tetras if they occupy the same tank. This is mainly because of their size difference.  Angelfish will see the tiny Ember tetras as prey and will begin to chase them around until devouring.

Can Angelfish live with Ember tetras?

No, even though they have similar tank and water requirements, their size difference makes it impossible for the Ember tetras to survive, as the Angelfish would easily devour them.

Are Ember tetras sensitive fish?

Yes, due to their small size, Ember tetras are very sensitive to water parameter fluctuations.

Are Ember tetras fin nippers?

It is very unlikely that Ember tetras begin nipping to other fish fins. Although there are some records, this behaviour is extremely rare for Ember tetras. They are usually shy and hide from more active fish.

How many Ember tetras can go in a 20-gallon tank?

It is possible to keep up to 20 Ember tetras in a 20-gallon tank. They are tiny fish that reach only up to 1 inch. Thus, it is possible to keep many ember tetras without having space issues.


Ember Tetra Tankmates: Best And Worst. 2021.

Fish Friend Finder: 10 Best Tank Mates for Ember Tetras.

Jason. 2017. 15 Great Angelfish Tank Mates (Complete Compatibility Guide).

Robert. 2019. Angelfish Care & Species Guide.

Teixeira, T.F., F.C.T. Lima and J. Zuanon, 2013. A new Hyphessobrycon Durbin from the Rio Teles Pires. Rio Tapajós basin, Mato Grosso State, Brazil. (Characiformes: Characidae). Copeia 2013(4):612-621.

Weitzman, S.H. and L. Palmer, 1997. A new species of Hyphessobrycon (Teleostei: Characidae) from Neblina region of Venezuela and Brazil, with comments on the putative ‘rosy tetra clade’. Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwater