Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon Palmeri) Fish Species Profile

The Emperor Tetra has a genuinely majestic appearance, and an affable personality to match.

This species is peaceful, active and tranquil and rarely shows aggression, though the male will compete with other males. It can be kept with many different species but avoid putting it with more abundant species, or it may be seen as food. It will fare much better when in the company of its own kind though.

The original Emperor Tetras are royal blue and purple and vibrant yellow, which shifts back and forth and shimmers. They also display a stripe that blends out into purple or blue that lightens near the fins and tail, which are yellow.

The Emporer tetras come in 4 other varieties which include Rainbow, Blue, Black and Red.

Scientific NameNematobrycon Palmeri
Other NamesRainbow Emperor Tetra, Blue Emperor Tetra, Red Emperor Tetra, Black Emperor Tetra
OriginsSouth America
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan3-6 years
Maximum Sizeup to 4.5 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature73 - 80 ℉ (22.8 - 26.7 ℃)
PH5.0 - 7.5
TDS50 - 250


Emporer Tetras are native to the medium or deep slow-moving sections of rivers, minor tributaries and backwaters in San Juan and Atrato river basins in Columbia in South America.

Emporer tetras prefer to live in dense vegetation with a dark substrate.


Emporer Tetras will accept dried foods of a suitable size, but they will need a variety in their diet.

Daily meals of small frozen and live foods such as Artemia, Brine shrimp, Daphnia and similar, will not only encourage this species to breed, but it will also give the best colouration for this fish.

Sexing the Emperor Tetra

It is relatively easy to differentiate male and female Emporer tetras.

The main difference between the sexes is the fact that the females have green eyes and the males have blue eyes.

The female is noticeably smaller and has a fatter abdomen than the male. The male possesses an elongated ray in the middle of its caudal fin and an extended dorsal and anal fin whereas the female does not.

Breeding the Emperor Tetra

The Emperor Tetra, when paired off, will breed with little to no help necessary.

Move them to their own tank with dim lighting, soft acidic water and feed them live food.

Provide a spawning mop or some dense floating plants for them to place their eggs, alternatively; you could put some mesh on the bottom of the tank that will be large enough for the eggs to fall into but small enough so that the adults can not get to the eggs.

Emporer tetras will only release a few eggs at a time so it could take several hours as soon as the eggs are noticed its advisable to remove the adults to avoid them consuming their spawn.

If you are unable to see any eggs after a couple of days, this means it has been unsuccessful therefore you will have to remove them and try again with a different pair.

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Date Added: 8/3/2020 - Updated: 8/3/2020 2:04:28 PM