Flame Tetra Care 101: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

If you’re looking for a colorful and active addition to your aquarium, Flame Tetras might be the perfect choice for you. These small, brightly colored fish are known for their lively personalities and striking appearance. But before you bring them home, it’s important to know how to properly care for them.

Flame Tetra is a freshwater fish species that requires a minimum tank size of 10 gallons. They prefer a pH range of 6.0-7.5 and soft to moderately hard water. They are omnivorous and should be fed a varied diet of flakes, pellets, and live/frozen foods. Regular water changes and proper filtration are necessary for their well-being.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Flame Tetra care, from setting up their tank to feeding and maintenance. You’ll learn about their natural habitat, preferred water conditions, and how to create a comfortable environment for them to thrive in. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge you need to keep your Flame Tetras healthy and happy.

Personally, I’ve had great success with keeping Flame Tetras in my own aquarium. These little fish are full of energy and always seem to be darting around, bringing life to my tank. With the right care and attention, they can be a beautiful and rewarding addition to any aquarium. So let’s dive in and learn how to give them the best possible care.

Species Summary

If you’re considering adding Flame Tetras to your aquarium, it’s important to know everything you can about their care. In this section, we’ll cover the basics of Flame Tetra care, including their origin, lifespan, appearance, size, growth rate, behavior and temperament, and the differences between males and females.


Flame Tetras are native to South America, specifically the Amazon River basin. In the wild, they prefer slow-moving waters with plenty of vegetation. They are a popular species in the aquarium trade and have been bred in captivity for many years.


With proper care, Flame Tetras can live up to 5 years. However, their lifespan can be shorter if they are kept in poor conditions or if they are not given the right diet.


Flame Tetras are small, brightly colored fish that are typically red-orange in color. They have a distinct black stripe that runs from their eyes to their tail. They are also known for their large dorsal and anal fins, which can be blue or green in color.


Flame Tetras are small fish, typically growing to be around 1.5 inches in length. They are a good choice for smaller aquariums or for those who want to keep multiple fish in a larger tank.

Growth Rate

Flame Tetras are relatively fast-growing fish, reaching their full size in about 6 months. However, their growth rate can be affected by factors such as water quality, diet, and tank size.

Behavior & Temperament

Flame Tetras are peaceful fish that do well in community aquariums. They are active swimmers and enjoy having plenty of space to swim around. They are also known for their playful behavior and can often be seen chasing each other around the tank.

Male vs Female

Male Flame Tetras are typically smaller and slimmer than females. They also have more vibrant colors and longer fins. Females are larger and have a rounder body shape. They may also have a slightly duller coloration than males.

Personally, I’ve found Flame Tetras to be a great addition to my aquarium. Their bright colors and playful behavior always bring a smile to my face. With the right care, they can be a great choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists.

Tank Setup

When it comes to setting up your Flame Tetra’s tank, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure that your fish thrive in their environment.

Tank Size

The first thing you need to think about is the size of the tank. Flame Tetras are small fish, so you won’t need a huge aquarium. However, they do need plenty of swimming space, so we recommend a minimum tank size of 10 gallons for a small school of 6-8 fish.


Flame Tetras don’t require any special lighting, but it’s important to provide a consistent light cycle to help regulate their internal clocks. A timer can be helpful to ensure that the tank light turns on and off at the same time each day.

Filtration & Aeration

Good filtration is essential for maintaining a healthy aquarium environment. A hang-on-back filter or canister filter is a great option for a Flame Tetra tank. Additionally, it’s important to provide adequate aeration to ensure that there is enough oxygen in the water for your fish.


Flame Tetras prefer water temperatures between 75-82°F, so a heater is necessary to maintain a consistent temperature in the tank. We recommend a submersible heater with a built-in thermostat to make temperature regulation easy.


A fine-grained substrate like sand or gravel is best for a Flame Tetra tank. Avoid using sharp or rough substrates that could injure your fish.


Flame Tetras enjoy having plenty of hiding places in their tank, so adding decorations like rocks, caves, and driftwood can make them feel more secure.


Live plants not only add aesthetic value to your tank, but they also help to maintain water quality by absorbing nitrates and producing oxygen. Some good plant options for a Flame Tetra tank include Java Moss, Anubias, and Amazon Sword. I remember when I first set up my Flame Tetra tank, I was so excited to see these beautiful fish swimming around in their new home. By following these simple guidelines for tank setup, you can create a comfortable and healthy environment for your Flame Tetras to thrive in.

Water Quality

When it comes to caring for your Flame Tetra, water quality is one of the most important factors to consider. In this section, we will cover everything you need to know about maintaining the right water conditions for your fish.

Water Temperature

The ideal water temperature for Flame Tetras is between 72-82°F (22-28°C). It is important to maintain a consistent water temperature, as sudden changes can be stressful for your fish. You can use a heater to regulate the water temperature and a thermometer to monitor it.

Water pH

Flame Tetras prefer slightly acidic water with a pH between 6.0-7.0. It is important to test the pH regularly using a water testing kit and make adjustments if necessary. You can use pH adjusting products to raise or lower the pH level of your aquarium water.

Water Hardness

Flame Tetras thrive in soft to moderately hard water with a hardness level between 5-15 dGH. You can test the water hardness using a water testing kit and adjust it using water softening products if necessary.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential for maintaining good water quality in your aquarium. You should aim to change 10-20% of the water in your tank every week. This will help remove any build-up of harmful chemicals and waste products. When performing a water change, make sure to use a water conditioner to remove any chlorine or chloramine from the tap water.

Personally, I have found that maintaining good water quality is the key to keeping my Flame Tetras healthy and happy. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your fish have the best possible living conditions.

Tank Maintenance

Keeping your Flame Tetras healthy and happy requires regular tank maintenance. Here are some tips to help you keep your tank in top condition:

First, make sure to perform regular water changes. Aim to change 10-20% of the water in your tank every week. This will help remove any excess waste and keep the water clean and clear. Make sure to use a water conditioner to remove any chlorine or other harmful chemicals that may be present in your tap water.

Second, keep an eye on the temperature and pH levels in your tank. Flame Tetras prefer a temperature between 75-82°F and a pH between 6.0-7.5. Use a reliable thermometer and pH test kit to monitor these levels regularly. If you notice any significant changes, take action to correct them as soon as possible.

Third, clean your tank regularly. Use a gravel vacuum to remove any debris that may have accumulated on the bottom of your tank. You can also use a sponge or scraper to clean the sides of the tank. Be careful not to disturb your fish or any live plants that may be in the tank.

Finally, make sure to replace any filters or other equipment as needed. Over time, filters can become clogged with debris and lose their effectiveness. Replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that your tank stays clean and healthy.

Personally, I find tank maintenance to be a relaxing and rewarding part of keeping fish. There’s something satisfying about seeing a clean and healthy tank full of happy fish. By following these tips, you can keep your Flame Tetras healthy and happy for years to come.

Tank Mates

If you’re planning to keep Flame Tetras, it’s important to choose the right tank mates. Here are some things you should consider:

Compatible Fish Species

Flame Tetras are peaceful and friendly fish, so they can get along with many other species. Some good options include:

Incompatible Fish Species

While Flame Tetras can get along with many fish, there are some species that should be avoided:

How Many Flame Tetras Should I Get?

The number of Flame Tetras you should get depends on the size of your tank. A good rule of thumb is to have one inch of fish per gallon of water. So, if you have a 20-gallon tank, you can have up to 20 Flame Tetras. However, it’s important not to overcrowd your tank, as this can lead to stress and disease.

Personally, I have found that keeping a small school of Flame Tetras with a few other compatible species can make for a beautiful and peaceful aquarium. Just make sure to do your research and choose your tank mates carefully!


Feeding your Flame Tetras a balanced diet is essential for their health and longevity. In this section, we’ll cover what to feed them, how often, and some tips to keep in mind.

What To Feed

Flame Tetras are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. Their diet should consist of a variety of foods to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients. You can feed them a combination of:

  • High-quality flakes or pellets
  • Frozen or live foods, such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia
  • Vegetables, such as blanched spinach or zucchini


Feed your Flame Tetras small amounts 2-3 times a day. They have small stomachs, so overfeeding can lead to health problems. A good rule of thumb is to give them only what they can eat in 2-3 minutes.


Here are some tips to keep in mind when feeding your Flame Tetras:

  • Rotate their diet to ensure they get a variety of nutrients
  • Don’t leave uneaten food in the tank, as it can pollute the water
  • Consider using a feeding ring to prevent food from floating away or being eaten by other fish

When I first got my Flame Tetras, I made the mistake of overfeeding them. They ended up getting bloated and sick. I learned the importance of feeding them small amounts multiple times a day and not leaving uneaten food in the tank. By following these tips and providing a balanced diet, your Flame Tetras will thrive.

Common Diseases


Flame Tetras are generally hardy and disease-resistant, but they can still fall prey to various illnesses. Some of the most common diseases that can affect Flame Tetras include fin rot, ich, and dropsy.


Fin rot is characterized by the deterioration of the fins, which may appear ragged or frayed. Ich, on the other hand, presents as small white spots on the body and fins. Dropsy is a condition that causes the fish to become bloated and swollen, with pinecone-like scales.


If you notice any of these symptoms in your Flame Tetras, it is important to take action quickly. For fin rot, you can use antibiotics and aquarium salt. Ich can be treated with medication or raised water temperature. Dropsy is more difficult to treat, but it can sometimes be cured with antibiotics.


The best way to prevent diseases in your Flame Tetras is to maintain a clean and healthy aquarium environment. This means performing regular water changes, keeping the water temperature stable, and avoiding overfeeding.

It is also important to quarantine any new fish before introducing them to your main tank to prevent the spread of disease. I once had a Flame Tetra that developed fin rot, and I was devastated. I quickly researched the best treatment options and was able to nurse my fish back to health.

It was a valuable lesson in the importance of monitoring your fish and taking action at the first sign of trouble.

Signs of a Healthy Flame Tetra

If you’re a new flame tetra owner, it’s essential to know what a healthy fish looks like. Here are some signs to look for:

  1. Bright and vibrant colors: A healthy flame tetra will have bright, vibrant colors. Faded colors could be a sign of illness or stress.
  2. Active swimming: A healthy flame tetra will swim actively in the tank. If you notice your fish hanging out at the bottom of the tank or not moving much, it could be a sign of illness.
  3. Clear eyes: The eyes of a healthy flame tetra should be clear and bright. Cloudy or bulging eyes could be a sign of an infection.
  4. Healthy fins: A healthy flame tetra will have fins that are intact and not torn. Damaged fins could be a sign of fin rot or other illnesses.
  5. Good appetite: A healthy flame tetra will have a good appetite and eagerly eat their food. If your fish is not eating or appears to be losing weight, it could be a sign of illness.

It’s important to note that these signs are not foolproof, and it’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on your fish’s behavior and appearance. As an experienced fish keeper, I’ve found that paying attention to these signs can help you catch illnesses early and keep your flame tetras healthy and happy.

Signs Your Flame Tetra Is Sick

If you’re a proud owner of a Flame Tetra, you know how important it is to keep them healthy and happy. Despite your best efforts, sometimes they can fall ill. Here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Lethargy: If your Flame Tetra is swimming slowly or staying in one spot for extended periods, it could be a sign of illness.
  2. Loss of Appetite: If your Flame Tetra isn’t eating as much as usual or not eating at all, it could be a sign of illness.
  3. Faded Color: If your Flame Tetra’s vibrant color starts to fade, it could be a sign of illness or stress.
  4. Gasping for Air: If your Flame Tetra is gasping for air at the surface of the water, it could be a sign of a respiratory problem.
  5. Abnormal Swimming: If your Flame Tetra is swimming erratically or has trouble maintaining balance, it could be a sign of a neurological issue. If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to take action immediately. Quarantine the affected fish and seek advice from a veterinarian or a reputable fish store. Remember, early detection and treatment are crucial for the health and well-being of your Flame Tetra.

Personally, I’ve had a Flame Tetra fall ill due to overfeeding, which led to poor water quality. It was a stressful experience, but I learned the importance of maintaining a clean and healthy environment for my fish.


If you’re interested in breeding Flame Tetras, it’s important to create a suitable breeding setup, know how to breed them, and provide proper care for the fry. Here’s what you need to know:

Breeding Setup

Before you start breeding, make sure you have a separate breeding tank set up. It should be at least 10 gallons and have a sponge filter or air stone to provide gentle filtration and aeration. You’ll also need to provide hiding places for the fish, such as plants or a breeding cone. The water should be slightly acidic with a pH between 6.0-6.5 and a temperature between 75-80°F.

How To Breed

Once you have the breeding setup ready, introduce a male and female Flame Tetra. The female will lay eggs on the breeding cone or plants, and the male will fertilize them. After spawning, remove the parents from the tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs will hatch in about 24-36 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming in another 2-3 days.


When the fry become free-swimming, feed them infusoria or liquid fry food several times a day. As they grow, you can switch to powdered or crushed flake food. Keep the water clean by doing frequent water changes of about 25% every other day. Once the fry are large enough to eat regular food, you can move them to the main tank.

Personal Anecdote: I remember breeding Flame Tetras for the first time and being amazed at how quickly the fry grew. It was a rewarding experience to see them develop and eventually join the rest of the school in the main tank.

Product recommendations for Flame Tetra:

  1. Hikari Micro Pellets – This is a high-quality fish food that is perfect for Flame Tetra. It contains all the essential nutrients that your fish need to stay healthy and vibrant.
  2. API Aquarium Test Kit – It is important to keep an eye on the water quality in your aquarium, and this test kit makes it easy to do so. It includes tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH.
  3. Seachem Prime – This is a water conditioner that helps to detoxify ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your aquarium. It is safe for use with Flame Tetra and other freshwater fish.
  4. CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate – This substrate is perfect for creating a natural environment for your Flame Tetra. It contains live bacteria and is easy to maintain.
  5. AquaClear Power Filter – This filter is highly effective at removing debris and maintaining water quality in your aquarium. It is also very quiet and easy to maintain.
  6. Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer – This device makes it easy to perform regular water changes in your aquarium. It is designed to be safe and easy to use, and can help to keep your Flame Tetra healthy.
  7. NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light – This LED light is perfect for illuminating your aquarium and showcasing your Flame Tetra. It is energy-efficient and easy to install.
  8. Seachem Flourish Excel– This is a liquid carbon supplement that is perfect for promoting healthy plant growth in your aquarium. It is safe for use with Flame Tetra and other freshwater fish.
  9. Coralife BioCube Protein Skimmer – This protein skimmer is perfect for removing organic waste from your aquarium. It is easy to install and maintain, and will keep the water in your aquarium clean and healthy.


Now that you know everything there is to know about Flame Tetra care, you’re ready to take on the challenge of owning these beautiful fish. Remember to keep their tank clean, feed them a balanced diet, and provide plenty of hiding spots and plants to make them feel at home.

If you’re a beginner, don’t be intimidated by the thought of caring for these fish. With a little bit of research and effort, you can create a thriving aquarium that you can be proud of.

As for me, I’ve been a Flame Tetra owner for several years now, and I can confidently say that they are one of the most rewarding fish to care for. Watching them swim around their tank and interact with each other is a truly mesmerizing experience that I never get tired of.

So go ahead, give Flame Tetras a chance. You won’t regret it!


If you’re considering getting Flame Tetras, you might have a few questions about their care. Here are some common questions and answers to help you out:

Q: What should I feed my Flame Tetras?

A: Flame Tetras are omnivores, so they will eat both meaty and plant-based foods. You can feed them a variety of foods such as flakes, pellets, frozen or live foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. It’s important to vary their diet to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients.

Q: How often should I change the water in my Flame Tetra tank?

A: You should aim to change 20-30% of the water in your tank every week. This will help maintain good water quality and keep your fish healthy. If you have a heavily stocked tank, you may need to change the water more frequently.

Q: Can Flame Tetras live with other fish?

A: Yes, Flame Tetras are peaceful fish that can live with other peaceful community fish. However, they may nip at the fins of slow-moving fish with long fins. It’s best to avoid keeping them with aggressive or territorial fish.

Q: Do Flame Tetras need a heater?

A: Yes, Flame Tetras are tropical fish and require a heater to maintain a water temperature between 75-82°F (24-28°C). Make sure to use a reliable heater and monitor the temperature regularly to ensure it stays within the appropriate range.

Personal Anecdote: When I first got my Flame Tetras, I was worried about their care and had many questions. However, with a bit of research and trial-and-error, I found that they are easy to care for and a joy to watch in my aquarium. I hope this article has helped answer some of your questions and inspired you to add these beautiful fish to your collection.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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