Flame Tetra (Von Rio Tetra) – Care, Tank Mates, Feeding & Details!

Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus) also known as Von Rio Tetra and Red Tetra is a freshwater ray-finned fish from the Characin family.

It originates from the reservoirs of South America. Often found under other names – fiery tetra, flaming tetra.

Quick Stats

Family: Characidae
Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon flammeus
Origin: South America, Brazil, coastal rivers
Social Behaviour: Peaceful
Tank Level: All areas
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
Diet: Omnivore
Breeding: Egg-layer
Care: Easy
pH: 5.5 to 7.5
Hardness: 3 to 15 dGH
Temperature: 72 to 82 F (22 to 27 C)

General Information

Unfortunately, human activity in some regions of our planet has led to a significant reduction in the natural populations of some ornamental fish species.

Success in artificial breeding still allows us to enjoy these attractive pets, which once again underlines the importance of aquarium in preserving species diversity.

Flame Tetra is a peaceful schooling species that is perfect for keeping in tropical aquariums. The fish is beautiful and relatively unpretentious in keeping, which allows it to be recommended to novice aquarists.


The first thing that captivates the Von Rio Tetra is its small size. Adults Flame Tetra grows up to a maximum of 4 cm, which allows keeping these fish even in nano aquariums.

The body shape of the fish is almost diamond-shaped, which is typical for many representatives of the Characins. They have a small mouth and large eyes with a blue ring. The tail is two-lobed, almost transparent.

The anal fin is well developed, which in males is colored blood red with a black border. The pelvic and dorsal fins are small, colored in the same way as the anal. The adipose fin is absent.

Considering the general body color of the Von Rio Tetra, it can be noted that the front part of the body has a silvery hue, which gradually turns into a fiery red.

Behind the eyes, there are two clearly visible transverse stripes of dark color. It should be noted that the color of the fish directly depends on the conditions of keeping. If the tetra is under stress, it turns noticeably pale.

The life span of Flame Tetra in an aquarium is 3-4 years.


In nature, the range of the Flame Tetra is rather limited. Researchers found this species in the southeast of Brazil, in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The typical biotope of tetra is a shallow stream with a slow current and dense thickets of aquatic plants. The water can be clear or black. Fish loves shallow depths (up to 50 cm) and a sandy bottom.

Unfortunately, the area of Flame Tetra is located in densely populated areas, as well as in places where the country’s industrial capacities are concentrated.

Uncontrolled human activity has led to severe degradation of natural habitats. The last confirmed capture of Von Rio Tetra dates back to 1992.

Most likely, this species have completely disappeared in the natural environment or exists in small, highly fragmented groups.

Flame Tetra Aquarium Setup

Flame Tetra is a schooling fish, so it should never be kept alone. The absence of others like themselves is a severe stress for the fish, which will definitely affect its health and color.

Considering the small size of the tetra, a 40-liter aquarium will suffice for a flock of 6 individuals. Do not forget to equip it with a lid so that movable tetras do not accidentally end up on the floor of your room during active games.

Any soil suitable for plants can be used – sand or small pebbles. Natural stones and driftwood will become the best decorations.

The aquarium must have dense islands of plants. Against their background, the fish will look much more attractive. The thickets are also an excellent natural hiding place for shy tetras.

For an even more “natural” charm, use Tetra ToruMin Conditioner with Natural Peat Extract. It will give the water a characteristic “tea” shade, typical for many rivers in South America, and will also slightly acidify the water, which will be to the taste of the tetras.

Flame Tetra Care

The Flame Tetra demands good care of their water. The aquarium should be equipped with a filter and compressor of a suitable capacity, as well as a thermostat to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Water changes should be done once a week (up to 20% of the aquarium volume). Remember that tap water is not suitable for fish life, and in some situations, it is even dangerous, for example, if it contains chlorine.

In order not to worry about the health of your pets, use the Tetra AquaSafe conditioner with every change, which removes chlorine, heavy metals and brings beneficial vitamins and protective colloids to the water.

Do not get carried away with too bright lighting. Von Rio Tetras prefer subdued lighting.

Optimal water parameters for the keeping: T = 23-26 ° C, pH = 5.5-7.5, GH = 3-15.

Flame Tetra Tank Mates

Flame Tetra is ideal for keeping up in a community aquarium. The fish is completely peaceful and will not offend his tank mates.

The best tank mates for Flame Tetra are Neon Tetras, Black Skirt Tetra, Rummy Nose Tetra, Ember Tetra, Harlequin Rasbora, Celestial Pearl Danio, Various Types of Barbs, Apistogramma, etc.

Keeping Von Rio Tetra with large predators is not recommended because small Von Rio tetras will become an easy snack for them.

Feeding Von Rio Tetra

In nature, the Flame Tetra feeds on whatever it can find. Her diet consists of small invertebrates (crustaceans, larvae, worms), algae, and even detritus.

At home, quality dry food is best suited. They are fully balanced, contain a complex of vitamins for good health and longevity, as well as functional supplements.

They are easy to store and there is no danger of infection in the aquarium. Foods with natural color enhancers like Tetra Rubin or TetraPRO Color Multi-Crisps are excellent choices.

After a few weeks of feeding, you will notice that your pets are much brighter.

A good alternative is TetraMin Flakes, the “classic” flakes for all ornamental fish. You can also pay attention to the Tetra MicroFood line of food specially designed for fish with small mouths.

And of course, do not forget to treat your fish occasionally with natural treats in Tetra FreshDelica Nutritional Jelly.

Breeding Flame Tetra

You can easily breed flame tetras in your home aquarium. First of all, you need to identify the parent fish.

Since the fish are kept in groups, You should be able to spot the male and the female fish. The male is slender, smaller, and brighter in color. Females have a black tip on the pectoral fin.

Spawning can be done in both pairs or groups. It is best to spawn Von Rio Tetra in a separate container. At the bottom of such an aquarium, a separator mesh of a suitable diameter, bundles of Javanese moss or glass balls are placed.

This is necessary so that parents cannot get to their caviar and eat it because their parental instinct is completely absent.

The aquarium should be filled with “mature” water from an existing aquarium. It should be slightly acidic or neutral.

The water temperature should be increased to 26-28°C. You can install an air-lift filter or just a compressor with a spray. Do not use bright lighting.

Ready-To-Spawn producers are placed in a spawning aquarium and wait for the eggs to appear. It can be stimulated by frequent water changes.

After spawning, newly minted parents should be placed back in their aquarium. After 1-1.5 days, larvae develop and feed on the yolk sac.

They will be ready to feed on their own in 3-4 days. Von Rio Tetra fry is sensitive to light, this must be taken into account when breeding fish.

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