Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus) Species Profile & Care Guide
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.
|Scientific Name||Hyphessobrycon flammeus|
|Other Names||Red Tetra, Rio Tetra, Red Flame Tetra, Von Rio Tetra, Fire Tetra|
|Aquarium Level||Middle - Top|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Groups 6+|
|Lifespan||3 - 5 years|
|Temperature||72 - 82 ℉ (22.2 - 27.8 ℃)|
|PH||5.5 - 7.5|
|GH||3 - 15|
Natural Habitat of the Flame Tetra
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.
Other Tetras of interest
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 bloodworms, 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.
Breeding 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.