Emperor tetra Care guide – Size, Life Span, Tank Mates, Breeding

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Extensive information related to the tetra emperor

The emperor tetra fish is a species that inhabits the Pacific and feels uncomfortable in the presence of other species that are very active. It has a beautiful livery that likes to be able to swim both in the middle and lower part of the fish tank. It possesses a tall body and lacks the famous adipose fin. It has a back in olive brown color and on its sides a greenish or bluish color; in the lower part it has another stripe in blackish color and is much wider.

Emperor tetra
Scientific NameNematobrycon Palmeri
Other NamesRainbow Emperor Tetra, Blue Emperor Tetra, Red Emperor Tetra, Black Emperor Tetra
OriginsSouth America
Aquarium LevelBottom – Middle
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan3-6 years
Maximum Sizeup to 4.5 cm

General habitat

To be able to opt for tetra emperor fish, it is important that you have a minimum amount of 60 liters within a group of no more than 6 specimens. This type of fish does not need special lighting compared to other species, because at the time they eat they prefer to do it in a dark place. When living in streams that have little depth, you should have a filter that has little strength so that they do not suffer from stress when living in captivity.

You must have enough vegetation so that they can have a comfort, with a temperature no higher than 28ºC and a pH between 6 to 7. Although it is not a delicate fish, it is important that at the time of acquiring it it can be given a period of adaptation and thus be able to reach an average of 6 years of life, yes, with the necessary care that omnivorous fish need.

Overview of the tetra emperor

It should be borne in mind that the tetra emperor fish are characterized by being peaceful and with a very quiet life by having a comfortable environment. Being a species that stays in pairs, although it prefers the security offered by being in a group. It is not advisable that it can be associated with much faster spices, because it will end up scaring you. This is because the alpha male likes to take possession of the area in which he swims; such a dispute between males does not end beyond an exhibition and display of fins between them.

Aquariums for tetra emperor fish

To be able to take care of the tetra emperor fish it is important that you can have an aquarium that has an amount of 60 liters and can not be groups larger than specimens. It is ideal to have dark areas so they can eat and sleep, as well as clear areas so they can swim comfortably.

Fish tanks for the emperor tetra fish

Fish tanks suitable for the emperor tetra fish should not have excessive light, as they do not tolerate too much lighting. It is important that a number of natural plants are included so that they can feed and swim freely.

The substrate of preference should be sand, in addition it is recommended that they be kept in aquariums of Amazon biotope,all depending on the preferences you have. On the other hand, you must have the water very well purified, but with the observation that it does not move too much since it can alter the stress of the specimens, because they live in slow waters.

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Aquarium elements

Filter: an important element inside the fish tank of the tetra emperor fish, which is responsible for being able to eliminate all kinds of algae or dead particles that are inside the fish tank. Ideal for good health in the specimens that are available.

Temperature: it is important so that a warm temperature can be regulated in the water,because these fish need 24 to 28ºC to be able to live properly.

Oxygen: essential so that they can count on adequate oxygenation in the water. Likewise, it can be provided that the fish have greater comfort within their habitat in captivity.

Lighting: allows the aquarium to have an option so that they can count on daylight and another to be able to turn off. In this way it is possible to provide adequate growth for both the plants that are inside, and the fish that live there.

Plants: most are living beings that are submerged in water, adapting to the environments of fish and are a food that has the properties of a good diet.

Types of tetra emperor fish

Tetra emperor fish are considered to be the Kings of the Phaacids, because they have a number of special characteristics. As it is a very bright and bright body, with colors that are degrading. Their specimens do not represent very marked differences between their species.

Types of emperor tetra fish

– Black emperor tetra fish.

– Tetra emperor kerri fish.

– Tetra emperor palmeri fish.

Care for your species

Black emperor tetra fish : a fish that has to be kept in an aquarium with large space and free of objects so that it has the comfort of swimming. It is important that you have an amount of 60 liters of water inside the fish tank. Counting on natural plants that can be located on the sides and thus let a clear central area be. The substrate has to be dark in tone and with low illumination. In addition, it is an omnivorous species that can be given a balanced and complete diet.

Tetra emperor kerri fish: known as tetra emperor false fish, with differences in coloration and with a central appendage in the caudal fin compared to the emperor tetra. It must live in a temperature between 24ºC to 28ºC, with a neutral and soft water. In addition, it must be free of nitrogen compounds and with very little lighting so that you can be safe. Their diet should be based on omnivores, although preferably they should be given small crustaceans, larvae and insects.

Tetra emperor palmeri fish: the aquarium where it will live must have a space that facilitates the freedom so that it can swim and can live in a community aquarium. The water must have an average temperature at 25ºC and a density of 7º GH with an acidic lightness. A species that lives in soft waters and has a pH of no more than 8. Their diet should be based on tubifex, daphnias, cyclopes, misquito larvae, fish and dry food. A specimen that lives deep in the aquarium, being very peaceful and gregarious, which likes good lighting.

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Offspring of the emperor tetra fish

Obtaining offspring is not always done because it is difficult to achieve it, but it is not impossible. To reproduce the emperor tetra fish it is important that you have an additional aquarium that has a special number of adult specimens providing a series of care, such as the amount of light, the change in temperature, among others.

Reproduction of the emperor tetra

Tetra emperor fish need a place that has soft water between 1 to 10 dGh, the pH must be between 6 to 7 and the temperature has to oscillate between 26 s 27ºC. It is important that they can be given a special place to have a successful reproduction of fry. The lighting must be reduced or if you want to remove it completely.

It is important that a series of plants that have thin leaves are placed on them, this helps so that when the female expels her eggs they can stick to their leaves. Ideally, a mesh should be placed in the lower part of the aquarium, so that the fry can hide from the parents and thus cannot devour them. One option is to reproduce the fish in groups,but it can also be done in pairs.

The male who has a greater color and is more colorful should be chosen, the female should have a stomach full of eggs and very healthy. Place them in the special fish tank for reproduction, with a total of 20 to 40 liters of water. During the night the hembrea spawns and the male will fertilize the eggs, a process that lasts a few hours. After spawning has been carried out, the parents should be removed.

Tips for breeding

The young of the tetra emperor fish will hatch in an average of 1 to 2 days and after a week they will run out of the yolk sac and must be given liquids and special food so that they can survive. With the passage of time, they can be moved to the main fish tank and be able to feed them along with the other specimens.

Feeding the emperor tetra fish

Tetra emperor fish are known to be of the omnivorous species. Being in a natural and wild habitat, its main food is small invertebrates and like fry that are of other species. So it is important that they can be provided with a varied and balanced diet, so that they can have the necessary nutrients. In addition, opt for meals that are prepared at home and improve your life time inside the aquarium, needing time to achieve it.

What does the emperor tetra fish eat?

– Dried red meat.

– Fish in small pieces.

– Vegetable porridge.

– Frozen animals.

– Food in flakes

How to feed them?

In order to feed the tetra emperor fish, two schedules must be set during the feeding day. Bearing in mind that having other species inside the aquarium, they can feed and do not suffer from malnutrition. At the time of providing food it is important to keep in mind that the amount given must be measured in relation to its size and the specimens that are held. They like to take the food they have been given and quickly go to the darkest places in the fish tank to eat quietly.


If you want to keep the tetra emperor fish for a long time, it is necessary to dedicate time to the food that is provided, this is because it must have the indispensable nutrients. So you can give it a homemade porridge with the inclusion of cooked vegetables. Or if not to be able to choose to cut live food and freeze it to have a quick option in the refrigerator.

In addition, it is important that the fish tank can be cleaned on a regular basis, this is because the remains of food that remain at the bottom of the fish tank can cause a series of health damages to the fish that inhabit together. This aspect is important even if you have cleaning fish, because you must take care of everyone’s health and thus preserve them in a better way.

Care of the emperor tetra fish

The tetra emperor fish is a species that does not need special care for its maintenance in captivity, but it is important that it can be given a period of adaptation within the fish tank. Bearing in mind basic aspects that must be taken care of so that it can reach an age of 6 years or more, this by being able to live comfortably and feel as if it were in its habitat.

Basic care

Aquarium: the aquarium must have an approximate length from 80 centimeters, with an amount of 60 liters and the groups should not be greater than 6 specimens.

Water conditions: the water where it lives must have a pH between 6 and 7 degrees; it has to be soft with an average of 15º dGh.

Temperature: it is important that the tetra emperor fish inhabits waters that have a temperature of 24 to 28ºC.

Food: being an omnivorous species can accept all kinds of food, such as live, frozen or dry food.

Reproduction: If you want them to be able to reproduce, it is important that they are provided with the right conditions so that they feel like in their natural habitat.

How to care for tetra emperor fish

If you want to have specimens of tetra emperor fish, it is important to keep in mind that their habitat should be in an aquarium that has a large number of plantations, as well as free spaces so that you have the willingness to swim whenever you want. In addition, it is important that you can increase the lighting and be able to place a substrate in dark color so that the coloration it has is enhanced. It is advisable that it can be filtered with a peat for better care.

If it is kept in optimal conditions, providing the food it wants and protection from algae that are waste, this fish can reach an approximate of 4.5 to 5 cm in relation to males and females a total of 4 cm. A type of fish that dispute for the hierarchy and for the territory, so they run to the other species of smaller size.