Ember Tetras are popular fish for a number of reasons including their stunning orange colour and their ability to cohabitate with many other species of fish in a tank. But before you go buy Ember Tetras it is important to consider which other fish they will share the tank with and which fish companions to avoid.
Some of the best tank mates for Ember Tetras are Guppies, Danios, smaller Gouramis, and Otocinclus Catfish. Larger fish may eat Ember Tetras. Ember Tetras are peaceful fish and will be happy to share their tank environment with many other kinds of fish which are not territorial or aggressive.
In this article we will look at 19 kinds of fish that you can safely place in your tank alongside these popular fish.
When trying to decide what are the best tank mates for Ember tetras we need to consider the following factors:
- The water conditions that the Ember Tetra likes should be suitable for the other species of fish.
- The food requirements of other fish should be similar.
- Comparable sizes of fish (as larger fish may eat the small Ember Tetra).
- The aggressiveness of other fish.
- Whether or not other fish will attack if their territory is encroached upon.
This is a super colourful fish that is small. It also swims in schools like the Ember Tetra. It is a very peaceful and sociable fish.
Like the Ember Tetra it swims in the middle waters of the tank but will have no problems sharing with it. It requires water of PH 7 and a temperature of 68-79F (20-26C), which is approximately the same as the Ember Tetra.
It is, unfortunately, prone to a disease known as neon tetra disease due to poor genetics, so hardiness of neon tetras today is not what it used to be.
This is a peaceful, community fish requiring water of PH 4.6 to 6.2 (a little lower than for the Ember Tetra, but not a problem).
The range of water temperature it requires is similar to the Neon Tetra, 73-81F (23-27C). It swims in the top/ middle of the tank and there will be no conflict with the Ember Tetra.
Blood Parrot Cichlid
Blood parrot cichlids are pretty fish that are relatively peaceful – unlike some other cichlids.
It shares the middle level of the tank with other fish but also swims at the bottom of the tank, giving some space to the Ember Tetra.
PH requirement is 6.5 to 7.4 and temperature should be in the range 76-80F (24-26C), so roughly the same conditions that the Ember Tetra likes.
Rasboras come in a huge variety of shapes and colors, a lot of which make great tank mates for ember tetras.
This is a peaceful top to middle dwelling fish that likes similar temperature, (73-82F, 23 to 28C), and water conditions, (PH 6 to 7.5), to the other fish so far mentioned.
Some good types of rasbora are:
- Galaxy Rasbora
- Green Neon Rasboras
- Blue Neon Rasboras
- Harlequin Rasbora
Otto Catfish are both very peaceful and eat algae which naturally exists at the bottom of the aquarium.
In my experience, they often stay at the bottom or at the side of the aquarium eating food and are not likely to disturb other fish. In fact, they are beneficial to other fish as they can help clean the tank environment.
Like the Ember Tetra and other fish mentioned so far, they are native to the rivers of Brazil and South America, so come from a similar environment. Again, PH levels should be 6.5-7 and ideal water temperature is 72-79F (21-26C).
This fish is even more tolerant of aquarium conditions than the others mentioned so far.
Water temperature can be as low as 15C (59F) and the PH level of the water is an even wider range from 6.8 to 8.
These fish are friendly and enjoy the company of other similar sized fish. They also eat any kind of food you give them, so sharing the food you feed your other fish will not be a problem.
These are another breed of South American tropical freshwater fish that are fairly easy-going and at ease in a community fish tank, so they are an ideal tank mate for the Ember Tetra.
These fish eat almost anything that other fish eat, including algae. A water temperature of 68-78F or 20 to 26C and a PH of 6.8 to 8 is ideal for these fish which again matches closely with the requirements of the Ember Tetra.
These fish come from North and South American and live in rivers like most of the fish above at temperatures of 72-78F (21 to 25C) and they like water of neutral alkalinity (PH 7-8.5).
They will cohabit with any other peaceful and non-territorial fish and like the Ember Tetra are usually happiest when in a school with 3 or more companions. This makes them ideal tank mates for the Ember Tetra.
These fish require a similar water temperature as the Ember Tetra, (70-78F, 21-26C).
They are generally community-friendly fish that swim in shoals, but can be aggressive sometimes. I have them in my aquarium, and they’ve proven to be quite hardy and get along with the other fish in my aquarium.
They like PH levels of 7-8.5.
They are active fish and like other active fish as tank mates, they should therefore be suitable tank mates.
The gold barb is an interesting gold colored fish with black spots and red fins. It can be less aggressive than other barbs – especially Tiger barbs.
Golden barbs like to be in groups of at least 3, but larger groups of 6 or more are likely better.
Dwarf Gourami are a nice looking fish that are generally peaceful with other fish, though they can get aggressive with other male dwarf gourami.
One unfortunate problem with dwarf gouramis is that they are prone to disease, so getting one can be hit or miss. Worse, you may not know for a few months whether or not they have Dwarf Gourami Disease, and there is no cure for it.
If you want to get one anyway, they do well in water between 72-80 and PH between 6-8, but probably closer to the middle of that range is better. As with any fish, stability is more important than specific numbers.
The rainbow fish is a beautiful, highly adaptable fish that comes in a few different colorations, each of which can be pretty striking in an aquarium.
Dwarf neon rainbows, for example, are a peaceful fish that are becoming more popular in the hobby. They should be kept in groups of at least 6, and add some nice color to an aquarium with ember tetras.
They can be a great alternative to neon tetras, due to their similar coloration (when standing a few feet away from the tank) and lower risk for disease.
The glowlight tetra is a freshwater fish that can be found in the wild in South America. This species is generally between 1-2 inches long and can grow to about 4 inches.
As with most tetras, they’ll work with the ember tetra without much issue.
Glowlight tetras like warmer water between 75-80F and soft, slightly acidic water in the range of 5.5-7.0 PH.
Red Cherry Shrimp
Red cherry shrimp have great color and are very gentle creatures that make great tank mates. They come in a number of varieties, including Blue Velvet Shrimp which have a deep blue color as well as a variety that has a pleasant yellow color.
Corydoras are a peaceful, bottom dwelling fish that is extremely popular in the freshwater hobby – and for good reason. They are very distinct looking and have great personalities.
If you have corydoras, you’ll probably want to use sand as the substrate for your aquarium, as it will make it easier for them to sift around through the substrate at the bottom.
Corydoras can survive anywhere between 68-80F and 6-8PH depending on which variety of corydora you get. (Not all of them thrive in the same conditions.)
Discus are a peaceful fish which is beautiful to look at. They used to be one of the most popular fish in the hobby, and when you look at them it’s no wonder why.
Discus can sometimes be aggressive towards other shy fish, so be careful.
One thing to note with discus is that you will want to build your aquarium around their needs and add the ember tetras secondarily rather than the other way around.
Discus like things quite warm – between 82-86F and a PH between 6-7, so there are a lot of other fish that won’t be suitable for a discus tank.
Cherry barbs are a pretty, red fish that can measure as small as an inch. They are very shy but will usually come out if given enough time. They can be found in fresh and brackish water in tropical areas. They are well liked by other fish.
Cherry barbs are a bit less aggressive than some other barb species, so they are a good alternative if you don’t want other fish in your aquarium to be bullied too badly.
Cherry barbs are good anywhere between 72-80F and 6.0-8.0PH.
The hatchetfish is an interesting looking surface-dweller that is completely peaceful toward other species. Can be a bit territorial with other hatchetfish but otherwise a good choice as a community fish.
One issue with hatchetfish is that they will only eat from the very top of the tank. Anything that floats down below them is gone forever, as far as they are concerned. This means you have to feed food that will float for a long time – otherwise you run the risk of starving them to death.
What Makes a Good Tank Mate for Ember Tetras
An Ember Tetra is a small schooling fish that has a gorgeous orange colour.
The best tank mates for Ember Tetras are going to be fish that can tolerate the same water conditions as an Ember Tetra and that display the right behavioural patterns.
As the Ember Tetra likes to swim in a school of fish, it will swim close to other fish in the tank and if any other fish is too territorial this will cause problems. The territorial fish may attack the Ember Tetra, especially as it is a small fish.
Ember Tetras are shoalers and prefer to live in large groups, so it is important to provide them with a tank mate. According to Jason, of Prime Time Aquatics, the ideal number of Ember Tetras to have in a group is 3-8 fish, depending on the size of the tank and the number of other fish.
If the Ember Tetra shares its tank with an aggressive or territorial fish this will cause it stress.
When I owned a tank many years ago, I noticed that when we put new fish into the tank, there would sometimes be incompatibility problems. Fish would sometimes die, after being nipped by other fish. Sometimes you could see damage to the fish, especially on the tail fins. Often the fish that was bullied would get stressed and stop swimming and sometimes died. If it didn’t die, it would disturb the balance of the whole tank environment. I put this down to stress.
So before thinking about a suitable tank mate for the Ember Tetra, consider if your Tetra will be happy with the behaviour of the new fish.
Where can I find out more about what other fish could be tank mates with Ember Tetras?
Obviously, you can go ask an expert, such as someone who sells fish, but I also advise you to go check out online forums such as Reddit which have a lot of discussion on many topics to do with tanks and suitable fish to put in them.
The advantage of Reddit is that the discussions are between people with actual experience of having fish, which is usually going to be a safer bet than the (often wrong) advice people at the pet stores give.
You can also check out my guide for tank mates for neon tetras, which has a lot of fish that will work with ember tetras as well.