Max Size: 4cm

Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus)

Flame Tetras are peaceful, bright and active. They are straightforward to take care of as they can survive in a wide temperature and water parameter range, making them suitable for the beginner aquarist with basic knowledge of the fish. They are small and undemanding, as they prefer simple living conditions. However, they must be housed in a group as they are schooling fish.

The d├ęcor choice is not particularly important, but a well-furnished setup with live plants and dark substrate will show better colouration. On the other hand, driftwood roots and branches placed so that plenty of shady spots are formed might create a natural-looking arrangement with a soft, sandy substrate.

You could further enhance a biotope-style aquarium by adding dried leaf litter while decaying leaves' tannins and other chemicals will simulate natural conditions. You can leave leaves in the aquarium until they have entirely decomposed, or you can remove them and replace them every few weeks.

Floating vegetation and relatively dim lighting seem to be most beneficial to Flame Tetras. The fish is naturally intolerant to the accumulation of organic pollutants, as are many fish that inhabit pristine environments. Weekly water changes are necessary for these Tetras, which require spotless water, and you should never introduce them to a biologically immature aquarium.

The Flame Tetra is identified by its elongated, slightly compressed high body, golden yellow head, orange upper body with two dark vertical bars and a fire-red body underneath the spine and above the pelvic fins. The dorsal fin base is red, and it is marked with a white leading edge. The anal and pelvic fins are a deeper red at the root, gradually fading towards the edges. The caudal fin varies from red to almost transparent and the pectoral fins are colourless.


Flame Tetra
Flame Tetras
Flame Tetras
Flame Tetras
Flame Tetras
Flame Tetra
Flame Tetra
Flame Tetras
Flame Tetra
Quick Facts
Scientific NameHyphessobrycon flammeus
Year Described1924
Other NamesRed Tetra, Rio Tetra, Red Flame Tetra, Von Rio Tetra, Fire Tetra
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH3 - 15
TDS18 -215
72 - 82℉
22.2 - 27.8℃


In the home aquarium, the Flame Tetra will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Tank Mates

2 interesting tank mate ideas for the Flame Tetra could include:

Black Widow Tetra(Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)
Mascara Barb(Dawkinsia Assimilis)

Sexual Dimorphism

It is somewhat tricky to distinguish the males from the female Flame Tetras as they are much alike. Males have hooked anal fin tips and black pectoral fin tips, while females have less red colouration and darker pectoral fin tips. Also, males have slimmer bodies than females, whereas females have thicker, rounder bellies.

Other Tetras of interest

Adonis Tetra(Lepidarchus adonis)
African Moon Tetra(Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)
African Red Eyed Tetra(Arnoldichthys spilopterus)
Arowana Tetra(Gnathocharax steindachneri)
Black Darter Tetra(Poecilocharax weitzmani)
Black Line Tetra(Hyphessobrycon scholzei)
View all Tetras
Date Added: 26/10/2020 - Updated: 04/10/2022 16:07:56