Last update: December 20, 2022

13 Best Ember Tetra Tank Mates

Anyone who has had ember tetra at home knows just how special they are to watch. They are fun-loving, social fish, and like having tank mates. However, even though they like other fish, their tank mates should still be chosen carefully. 

The best ember tetra tank mates include fish that like to be social and aren’t at risk for taking over the tank. They need to be peaceful fish that get along with other types of fish and also occasionally need time to themselves occasionally. If a tank mate likes to play and swim around with other fish, that’s a big bonus for your ember tetra. 

You can end up with an eclectic, colorful tank full of zestful fish when you set up your aquarium and bring together the right fish wisely. 

Ember Tetra Tank Mates – What You Need To Know 

Getting to know the ember tetra is an important first step, as you’ll want to know what to expect from these beauties before you start setting up a tank. The great news is that an ember tetra isn’t a complicated fish to care for which is why it tends to be a favorite for many aquarium enthusiasts. 


The ember tetra is a fairly easygoing fish that likes swimming around, being active, and playing. Your best bet for the most success is to have schools of ember tetras together and intermingle aquarium companions as you see fit. 


The ember tetra is a whole lot of personality in a very small package. When they reach adulthood, they tend not to grow longer than one inch. They are certainly one of the smaller tetras. 


The ember tetra doesn’t like competition, and isn’t known to exhibit territorial or aggressive behaviors. This is an excellent trait, but it can mean that improper companions can try to overpower them and dominate the environment. As such, pairing them with a companion that wants to own the tank or is known to be a bully isn’t recommended. 

Parameters ; Tank Setup

With ember tetras being so small, their ideal minimum tank should be 10 gallons. Of course, you’ll need more space if you’re building up a tank with multiple fish. Ember tetras are easy to care for and love having a community of fish in their tank. They can also handle a wide range of temperatures; between 70-82 °F is best. 

The Best Ember Tetra Tank Mates

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1. Cardinal Tetra

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  • Scientific Name: Paracheirodon axelrodi
  • Adult Size: 1-1.25 inches
  • Compatible with: Other small tetras, corydoras, dwarf gouramis 
  • Water Temperature: 73-81 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons 
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Origin: South America 

Cardinal tetras like to swim around the middle of the tank, and love nothing more than playfully swimming around with other cardinal tetras. They get along swimmingly with ember tetras as both types of fish enjoy community living. 


  • They gravitate towards different sections of the aquarium
  • Both fish are very friendly 
  • They both require the same water standards in terms of temperature 


  • They prefer pH a little lower than ember tetras 

2. Guppies

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  • Scientific Name: Poecilia reticulata 
  • Adult Size: 1-2 inches 
  • Compatible with: Mollies, livebearers, cory catfish  
  • Water Temperature: 68-78 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons 
  • Care Level: Easy 
  • Origin: South America 

Guppies like a tank filled with other guppies and fish that like swimming around, which is exactly what ember tetras enjoy too. Neither will be bothered by the other’s presence, and will create a lovely and lively atmosphere. Guppies are also a beloved fish for building up a solid aquarium with a big community of fish. 


  • Guppies help keep water clean through eating algae 
  • Both types of fish are easygoing and docile 


  • Some guppies like to nip at fins, so be sure you watch out for that 

3. Rasbora

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  • Scientific Name: Rasbora cephalotaenia 
  • Adult Size: 2 inches  
  • Compatible with: Danios, barbs, kuhli loach  
  • Water Temperature: 73-82 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons 
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Southeast and South Asia 

You can find quite a few kinds of rasboras, many of which are easy to care for and friendly. Rasboras like a lot of the same things that ember tetras do, so it’s a perfect match. While you’ll love the beauty that a rasbora adds into the water, your ember tetra will love their personalities. 


  • Thrive in similar water temperature ranges and pH ranges 
  • Rasboras add lots of color to the aquarium 
  • Rasboras like swimming along with ember tetras in groups 


  • Rasboras need to live in schools as well 

4. Corydoras

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  • Scientific Name: Corydoras
  • Adult Size: 1-3 inches 
  • Compatible with: Shrimp, neon tetras, silver dollar  
  • Water Temperature:  68-80 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons 
  • Care Level: Easy 
  • Origin: South America 

Corydoras are a fantastic fish that people have always loved for how spunky they are and how they maintain water quality. Not all corydoras will be suitable for living with ember tetras, however, as they don’t all like the same type of water and living conditions. Watching corydoras and their adorable faces clean up the bottom of the tank is quite entertaining. 


  • Their preferred diet helps them maintain water cleanliness 
  • Corydoras are friendly with many other types of fish as well 


  • They need super soft substrate such as sand 

5. Blood Parrot Cichlid

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  • Scientific Name: Amphilophus citrinellus x Paraneetroplus synspilus 
  • Adult Size: 8 inches 
  • Compatible with: Oscars, tetras, more blood parrot cichlids 
  • Water Temperature: 75-85 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons 
  • Care Level: Immediate  
  • Origin: Taiwan

If you didn’t think a relaxed cichlid existed, look no further than the blood parrot cichlid. They enjoy both the bottom and middle of the tank and as such, they are very compatible with ember tetras. The blood parrot cichlid is also very visually striking. 


  • They like decorations and hiding spots like ember tetras do 
  • Both fish are lively 


  • You may occasionally come across a slightly aggressive blood parrot cichlid 

6. Barbs 

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 black ruby barb
  • Scientific Name: Barbus  
  • Adult Size: 2-4 inches 
  • Compatible with: Mollies, siamese algae eater, plecos 
  • Water Temperature:  72-80 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 20-55 gallons 
  • Care Level:  Easy
  • Origin: Asia, Africa, Europe

As you know, barbs come in many different shapes and colors. Overall, most barbs are a very cordial mate for your ember tetras. They are very tiny and inconspicuous and as such, most other types of fish like having them around. 


  • Many barbs like the same water conditions as ember tetras 


  • Some types of barbs might be a bit too territorial for an ember tetra’s liking 

7. Otto Catfish

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  • Scientific Name: Otocinclus vestitus  
  • Adult Size: 1-2 inches 
  • Compatible with: Rasboras, mollies, discus 
  • Water Temperature: 72-79°F
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallon 
  • Care Level: Easy 
  • Origin: South America 

Otto catfish are quirky looking fish that like living with ember tetras and other fish. They like to keep to themselves and spend their time cleaning up aquarium debris and algae. You’ll want to provide a few fun things that this catfish likes, such as toys and hiding spots, but your ember tetras will like them too. 


  • These bottom feeders help maintain water quality 
  • They add a lot of spunk and personality to an aquarium 


  • Sometimes otto catfish can get spooked easily 

8. Discus

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  • Scientific Name: Symphysodon 
  • Adult Size: 4-6 inches 
  • Compatible with: Clown loach, German ram, cardinal tetras  
  • Water Temperature: 82-86 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 55 gallon 
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Origin: Amazon River

The discus is a unique fish for an aquarium, as they aren’t as well-known as some of the other species on this list. Your ember tetras will love having them in their tank, as they have nice, friendly personalities and also like living with other types of fish. 


  • A discus enjoy slow water just like ember tetras
  • The discus is super playful 


  • Discus may be aggressive at first, but that should calm down 
  • The discus is much more particular about tank setup than ember tetras are 

9. Mollies

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  • Scientific Name: Poecilia sphenops 
  • Adult Size: 5-6 inches 
  • Compatible with: Barbs, endlers, angelfish 
  • Water Temperature:  72-78 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons 
  • Care Level: Easy 
  • Origin: North and South America

So many aquarium enthusiasts love having mollies in their tanks. Your ember tetras will also like them because they’re fun and won’t try to take over the space. 


  • Both fish enjoy harmony and occasional playtime 


  • Need to live with at least 4 other mollies 

10. Cherry Shrimp

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  • Scientific Name: Neocaridina davidi  
  • Adult Size: 1-1.5 inches  
  • Compatible with: Cory catfish, amano shrimp, small rasboras  
  • Water Temperature: 57-86 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 8-12 gallons 
  • Care Level: Easy 
  • Origin: Taiwan

Cherry shrimp and ember tetras aren’t likely to interact much in an aquarium, but will simply coexist. Furthermore, a cherry shrimp is of great benefit to the cleanliness of a tank, and adds a fun splash of color too. 


  • Cherry shrimp and similar types of these small shrimp come in beautiful colors
  • Cherry shrimp are bottom dwelling scavengers that help keep water clean 


  • They don’t interact much with ember tetras 

11. Rainbow Fish 

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  • Scientific Name: Melanotaeniidae 
  • Adult Size: 2-8 inches  
  • Compatible with: Danios, large tetras, swordtails  
  • Water Temperature: 74-78 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallon 
  • Care Level: Easy 
  • Origin: Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea 

The rainbow fish and ember tetra are fish known to enjoy the simple things, finding ways to be happy in a great number of parameters. As such, they live very nicely together in a tank. 


  • Rainbow fish adds gorgeous color and shine to an aquarium


  • Rainbow fish need to live in schools of at least 6

12. Dwarf Gourami

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  • Scientific Name: Trichogaster lalius 
  • Adult Size: 3-4 inches 
  • Compatible with: Mollies, zebra danios, tetras  
  • Water Temperature:  72-80 °F
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons 
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Origin: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan 

You’ll enjoy watching dwarf gouramis and ember tetras together swimming around your tank as both fish are social and amicable. Both fish also like eating the same types of meals, which can be a good thing to a certain extent. 


  • Both types of fish have similar personalities 
  • Dwarf gouramis get along very well with other fish 


  • Need to feed each fish enough to ensure neither gets underfed 
  • Dwarf gouramis are prone to getting sick 


As you can see, having a community tank with ember tetras is very doable, and doesn’t require that you’re an expert when it comes to fish. These 12 best ember tetra tank mates all tend to like the same things, so you can create a friendly aquarium with relative ease. 

Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

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