Flame Tetra Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

The Flame Tetra or Von Rio Tetra is a beautiful and vibrant colored fish. As a beginner, you’ll learn the essentials to properly maintain these vibrant fish in your aquarium. By the end of this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to take on the rewarding task of raising Flame Tetras.

flame tetra or Von Rio Tetra

This page may contain affiliate links, which will earn us a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Flame Tetra Species Profile and Identification

Flame Tetras, also known as Von Rio Tetras, are small and colorful freshwater fish native to Brazilian coastal rivers. Bearing the scientific name Hyphessobrycon flammeus, these Tetras are popular among aquarium hobbyists for their striking appearance and easy care requirements.


  • Size: Flame Tetras typically grow up to 1.5 inches (4 cm) in length, making them suitable for smaller tanks.
  • Color: They exhibit vivid orange-red hues throughout their bodies, with males having a more intense coloration. Female Flame Tetras sport a slightly duller shade of orange.
  • Fins: The dorsal and caudal fins of these Tetras are black, contrasting with their bright body color. Males have elongated dorsal fins, whereas females have shorter, rounder dorsal fins.
  • Lifespan: With proper care, Flame Tetras can live for up to 5 years in a home aquarium.

In order to properly identify and appreciate these stunning little fish, it’s important to consider their appearance and the distinctive features mentioned above. By familiarizing yourself with their colors, fins, and size, you’ll be better equipped to spot healthy Flame Tetras and provide them with the best possible care.

So, now that you have a brief idea about Flame Tetra’s species profile and identification, let’s dive into the essentials of setting up their ideal habitat in the sections that follow. Remember, any beginner can care for these beautiful fish as long as the proper guidelines are followed.

Flame Tetra Supplies

When preparing to care for your Flame Tetra, it’s essential to gather all the necessary supplies to ensure optimal care and a healthy environment for your aquatic pets. In this section, we’ll cover the crucial supplies needed to keep your Flame Tetras happy and thriving in their new home.

First and foremost, you’ll need a suitable aquarium. A 10-gallon tank is the minimum for a small school of Flame Tetras, but you should opt for a larger tank if possible, as this species thrives in groups. To create a comfortable environment for your fish, install a heater and make sure to have a dependable aquarium thermometer to monitor water temperature.

Proper filtration is crucial for maintaining a clean and stable environment within your aquarium. Invest in a high-quality filter with a flow rating suitable for a tank of your size to ensure efficient removal of toxins and waste. Aim for filter flow rates of approximately 4-6 times the volume of the tank per hour.

Next, focus on the substrate and decorations in your aquarium. Flame Tetras prefer a darker substrate, such as fine gravel or sand. Besides, having plenty of live plants and hiding spots will give your fish a natural and stress-free environment. Some excellent plant choices for this species are Java Fern, Anubias, and Valisneria.

Lastly, don’t forget about essential maintenance tools, such as a gravel vacuumalgae scraper or pad, and a fishnet for easier care and maintenance of your Flame Tetra habitat. These tools will help you keep your fish tank clean and ensure proper habitat conditions for your aquatic pets.

By gathering these supplies, you’ll be taking the first steps towards creating a perfect environment for your Flame Tetras, setting the stage for a rewarding and enjoyable fishkeeping experience.

Flame Tetra Tank Setup

Setting up a suitable tank for your Flame Tetras is crucial for their well-being and overall happiness. To get started, you should consider the following guidelines:

  • Tank size: Flame Tetras are small, active fish that thrive in schools of six or more. A minimum tank size of 10 gallons is recommended, but going larger (such as a 20-gallon tank) allows for better water quality and more swimming room for the fish.
  • Substrate: Opt for a dark-colored substrate like sand or fine gravel. This not only brings out their beautiful colors, but it also helps create a more natural environment for them.
  • Decoration and Hiding Spots: Flame Tetras enjoy having plenty of hiding spots to explore and rest in. Add live plants, such as Java Moss, Java Fern, or Anubias, to provide cover and contribute to a healthy ecosystem. You can also include rocks, driftwood, or clay pots to create more hiding spaces.
  • Filtration: A reliable, efficient filter is essential for maintaining good water quality in your tank. You could opt for a hang-on-back filter or a sponge filter, but make sure it offers gentle water flow, as Flame Tetras prefer calm waters.
  • Heater: Flame Tetras are tropical fish that need water temperatures between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22-25°C). Invest in a high-quality aquarium heater to maintain a consistent temperature in the tank.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is suitable for Flame Tetras – they don’t require any specific lighting demands. However, if you have live plants in your tank, you’ll need to provide an appropriate amount of light for them to grow.

By following these guidelines, you’ll create a comfortable and visually appealing environment for your Flame Tetras to thrive in and enjoy.

Flame Tetra Water Requirements

Maintaining a healthy environment in your aquarium is essential for the well-being of your Flame Tetra. Water requirements play a significant role in keeping your fish healthy and stress-free.

  • Temperature: Flame Tetras thrive in water temperatures between 74°F and 82°F (23°C to 28°C). Use an aquarium heater and a thermometer to ensure the temperature remains stable within this range.
  • pH level: These tetras prefer slightly acidic to neutral water. Aim for a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. It’s crucial to monitor the pH level consistently using a pH test kit, as fluctuations might stress your fish.
  • Water hardness: Soft to moderately hard water is ideal for Flame Tetras. Maintain a hardness level of 4 to 15 dGH. You can measure water hardness using a water hardness test kit.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate levels: Ensure levels of ammonia and nitrite are as close to zero as possible, while keeping nitrate levels below 40 ppm. Regular water changes and good filtration can help keep toxic levels down.

It’s essential to perform regular water changes to maintain a healthy environment. Changing about 20-30% of the water every week is a good rule of thumb. Be careful while doing water changes so as not to stress the fish. Make sure the new water has similar parameters to the tank water and is temperature-matched.

Following these water requirements will keep your Flame Tetras happy and help them showcase their vibrant colors.

Flame Tetra Diet and Feeding

When it comes to Flame Tetra diet and feeding, it’s important to provide a balanced, nutritious diet for the fish to thrive. Flame Tetras are omnivorous, which means they can eat both plant-based and meat-based food sources.

Key aspects of their diet include:

  • High-quality flake food or micro pellets (which should be the main part of their diet)
  • Freeze-dried or frozen bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp (for variety and extra nutrition)

Consider supplementing their diet with the following plant-based food sources:

  • Blanched spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Spirulina flakes or tablets

Make sure to avoid overfeeding Flame Tetras, as this can lead to health problems. Feed them small, manageable portions that they can consume within 2 to 3 minutes. As a general guideline, you should feed Flame Tetras two to three times per day.

To maintain optimal water quality and prevent excess stress, remove any uneaten food from the tank after feeding. Furthermore, remember to occasionally vary their diet by offering live or frozen food, which can help enhance their colors and stimulate their natural hunting instincts.

Flame Tetra feeding tips:

  • Observe your fish’s behavior to ensure they are eating properly and adjust the amount or type of food if necessary
  • Don’t forget to thaw frozen food before feeding it to your fish, to prevent stressing or harming their digestive system

Overall, maintain a varied and nutritious diet for your Flame Tetra to keep them healthy and vibrant.

Flame Tetra Care Schedule

To maintain a healthy environment for your Flame Tetras, it’s crucial to establish a proper care schedule. By following a consistent routine, you will ensure your fish thrive in their tank.

Weekly Tasks:

  • Check water parameters: Use a water testing kit to monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, ensuring optimal water quality for your fish.
  • Inspect equipment: Make sure your filters, heaters, and lights are functioning properly and address any issues immediately.

Bi-weekly Tasks:

  • Water change: Conduct a 25% to 50% water change, depending on your aquarium size and fish population, and replace it with dechlorinated water.

Monthly Tasks:

  • Clean tank: Take the time to clean the tank, remove any debris or algae buildup and clean the tank glass.
  • Filter maintenance: Clean or replace the filter media as required.

By following this care schedule, you’ll provide a clean, healthy, and stable environment for your Flame Tetras:

Frequency Task
Weekly Check water parameters
Weekly Inspect equipment
Bi-weekly Water change
Monthly Clean tank
Monthly Filter maintenance

Remember that consistency is key when it comes to caring for your fish. Keep an eye out for any signs of stress or illness in your Flame Tetras, and address any issues as soon as possible. With a proper care schedule in place, you’ll be well on your way to providing a thriving and vibrant habitat for your fascinating little companions.

Flame Tetra Health Problems

Just like any other fish, Flame Tetras may encounter health issues that can affect their overall well-being. However, by maintaining a clean and stable environment, you can minimize the risk of illnesses and help your fish thrive.

Fin Rot and Fungal Infections Fin rot and fungal infections are common issues among freshwater fish, including Flame Tetras. These health problems are often the result of poor water quality or physical injuries to the fish. To treat your fish, use antifungal and antibacterial medications as suggested by the local aquarium store.

Ich (White Spot Disease) Ich is another widespread disease that can affect Flame Tetras, which manifests as tiny white spots on the fish’s body. The cause of Ich is a parasite that thrives in poor water quality. To address this issue, gradually raise the water temperature to 86°F (30°C) and add aquarium salt, as well as over-the-counter Ich treatments.

Bloated Fish Occasionally, Flame Tetras may experience bloating, which could be due to overfeeding or constipation. To alleviate this, reduce food intake for a few days and feed your fish daphnia to help clear their digestive tract.

Gill Flukes Gill flukes are parasites that can affect Flame Tetras, causing difficulty breathing and irritation around the gills. To treat this issue, use anti-parasitic medications specifically designed for gill flukes.

To avoid health problems in your Flame Tetra, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Maintain optimal water quality and perform regular water tests.
  • Avoid overcrowding in the tank.
  • Quarantine and treat new fish before adding them to the main tank.
  • Feed a high-quality, varied diet to boost their immune system.

Flame Tetra Tank Mates

Choosing the right tank mates for your Flame Tetra is essential to maintain a peaceful and harmonious environment. Fortunately, Flame Tetras are easygoing and quite social fish, making them a great addition to most community tanks.

Compatible tank mates for Flame Tetra include:

  • Small and peaceful fish species, such as Corydoras, Guppies, and Platies.
  • Other Tetra species like Neon Tetras, Rummy Nose Tetras, and Ember Tetras.
  • Dwarf Gouramis, which are known for their gentle nature and compatibility with community tank setups.

However, it’s important to also consider the size and temperament of the other fish species in the tank. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Size: Flame Tetras may become snacks for larger and more aggressive fish, so avoid housing them with any species that can fit a Tetra in their mouth or are known to be territorial or aggressive.
  • Temperament: Choose compatible fish species with a similar friendly and gentle behavior, as aggressive fish can stress out your Tetras, leading to health issues.
  • Schooling Fish: Flame Tetras are schooling fish and will thrive in a group of at least five of their own kind, so consider adding other small schooling fish species that share similar water parameters.

By choosing compatible tankmates and maintaining a suitable environment for all inhabitants, you will be able to create a diverse and enjoyable home for your Flame Tetras. This will not only make your aquarium an attractive display, but will also help ensure the health and happiness of your aquatic pets.

Flame Tetra Breeding

Breeding Flame Tetras can be a delightful and rewarding experience for both beginners and experienced fishkeepers. To start, you’ll need to set up a separate breeding tank, maintain optimal water conditions, and achieve a desirable male-to-female ratio.

Preparing the breeding tank:

  • Use a 10 to 20-gallon tank with a sponge filter for gentle water movement.
  • Place several plants or spawning mops to provide an ideal location for the eggs.
  • Keep the water temperature slightly warmer, around 80°F (27°C), with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0.

Identifying males and females:

  • Males are slimmer with more intense red, orange or dark stripes.
  • Females are larger, possess rounder bellies, and exhibit a silver-blue color on their bodies.

For successful breeding, keep a higher ratio of males to females – around 2 or 3 females per male. Once the breeding tank is set up, observe the fish for courtship behavior. Upon noticing signs of breeding, such as males following females and attempting to spawn, transfer the pair or group to the breeding tank.

Eggs are usually scattered amongst the plants or on the tank’s bottom. To prevent predation, remove the adult fish after spawning.

Hatching occurs within 24 to 36 hours, so be prepared with adequate food sources tailored to meet the nutritional needs of the fry, such as infusoria or baby brine shrimp. After one week, gradually increase the tank’s water level and introduce the fry to a varied diet.

With proper care, your Flame Tetra fry will grow and showcase the same vibrant colors and patterns as their adult counterparts. Patience and persistence are crucial to successful breeding, so don’t be disheartened if you’re met with a few obstacles along the way.


Proper Flame Tetra or Von Rio Tetra care is essential for maintaining a healthy and vibrant aquarium. With the right supplies and care, these colorful fish can thrive and provide enjoyment for years to come. If you found this complete guide for beginners helpful, please leave a comment and share your experiences with this wonderful species.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *