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 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 fins 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.

Tank Mates for the Flame Tetra

2 ideal tank mate ideas for the Flame Tetra include:

Black Widow Tetra(Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)
Mascara Barb(Dawkinsia Assimilis)
Quick Facts
Scientific NameHyphessobrycon flammeus
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℃

Photos of the Flame Tetra

Flame Tetra
Flame Tetras
Flame Tetras
Flame Tetras
Flame Tetras
Flame Tetra
Flame Tetra
Flame Tetras
Flame Tetra

Natural Habitat

The Flame Tetra comes from the Paraiba do Sul and Guandu River basins, Sao Paulo in the upper Tiete River basin as well as the Rio de Janeiro in the Guanabara bay region in eastern Brazil in South America. These Tetras inhabit shallow, slow-flowing creeks, river tributaries, streams and backwaters that are covered in dense vegetation.

These Tetras are very rare, are now threatened and have been labelled as endangered mainly because of habitat loss, the introduction of new species and pollution. The vast majority of Flame Tetras available to aquarists are captive-bred. This includes some selectively bred forms such as golden, orange and albino that differ from the original wild type.

What to feed the Flame Tetra

The Flame Tetras are simple to feed, but their diet should be rich and diverse to promote good colouration. Feed these fish high-quality flake, granule, pellet or tablet foods several times a day in small amounts that they can consume quickly.

It is also advisable to give these Tetras live or frozen foods such as bloodworm, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae or daphnia frequently, this will provide them with their best colours. They also enjoy grazing on organic material, such as algae or detritus.

How to sex the Flame Tetra

It is somewhat tricky to distinguish the males from the female Flame Tetras as they are much alike. Still, the tip of the anal fin on the male is hooked and black, while on the female the fins have less red colouration but darker tips of the pectoral fins. And the male's bodies are slimmer than the females in contrast to the females thicker, more rounded belly.

How to breed the Flame Tetra

It would be best if you prepared a separate breeding tank with mature water and a low level of light as well as plenty of plants or spawning mops. It would help if you also conditioned the breeders with plenty of live or frozen food such as mosquito larvae or bloodworm as an inducement to reproduction.

Once the female is ready to spawn, you will see her swimming more vigorously around the tank, and the male will be bumping into her.

The female will swim amongst the plants, scattering her eggs whilst the male swims alongside or behind her and fertilises the eggs. Usually, when the female lays her eggs, they will stick to either the plants or they may drop to the bottom of the tank. The female can lay up to 500 eggs during a single spawning.

Once the female has finished scattering her eggs, and the male has fertilised them you should then remove the adults from the breeding tank because they will have nothing more to do with the eggs, but they may consume them.

It is advisable to keep the lights off and the tank dark because Tetra eggs and fry are especially sensitive to the light.

The eggs will usually hatch in a day or so depending on the temperature and conditions, and the fry will become free-swimming around three to four days later. Keep the tank lights off for the first week or so then gradually increase the lighting.

The newly hatched fry will firstly feed on their yolk sac but, once they have consumed their yolk sack and after they become free-swimming you can provide them with infusoria and rotifers.

Other Tetras of interest

African Moon Tetra(Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)
African Red Eyed Tetra(Arnoldichthys spilopterus)
Black Darter Tetra(Poecilocharax weitzmani)
Black Line Tetra(Hyphessobrycon scholzei)
Black Neon Tetra(Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)
Black Phantom Tetra(Hyphessobrycon megalopterus)
View all Tetras
Date Added: 26/10/2020 - Updated: 22/11/2021 17:35:20