Emperor Tetra Care – Tank Size, Diet, Price & More!


The Emperor Tetra has a distinct black stripe that runs from the head to tail. They are a small to medium-sized tetra. They are great from the beginner and a great fish to keep in your aquarium if you’re looking for a fish to liven up your aquarium. The Emperor Tetra is a peaceful fish, so it usually does best with most non-aggressive aquarium fish.


emperor tetra
By Citron – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9799325

These fish have a small caudal (tail) fin. As you can also see, they have a thick, black stripe that runs down from their head to their tail. The rest of their body is pinkish in color.

Usual Behavior

With their peaceful nature, these fish are a great fish for any small community tank. However, males may fight. These fights usually aren’t very harmful, but if they do get too aggressive, always separate him from the rest of the fish.

Emperor Tetras are a schooling fish, just like all tetras. A school of 6 or more is recommended. They usually hang around in the top to middle part of the aquarium, but they may occasionally go down to bottom of the tank as well.


The Emperor Tetra lives for around 3-5 years. Always make sure to keep these fish in the right environment so that they won’t die from disease or stress. If you’re fish died before it was this age, it could of died from stress or a disease of some kind.


These fish are smaller fish, only getting no longer than 2 inches in length, which means they don’t need a massive around. But, as they are schooling fish, they can’t just live in a tiny tank.

Emperor Tetra Care

The Emperor Tetra, although a good fish for beginners, need a comfortable environment. Like all fish, Emperor tetras need their own water parameters and tank size. Always try to keep these fish at the best of your ability to keep them healthy,

Tank Size

Because of their smaller size, these fish only need around 10 gallons of water. Always make sure keep them a large enough tank. Also, if you’re thinking about getting more than 6 (or want a community tank), consider getting a larger tank.

Tank Mates

These fish do best with a school of 6 or more with one alpha male. If you’re thinking about other tank mates. You can consider …

  • Ember Tetras
  • Cory Catfish
  • Platies
  • Guppies
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Serpae Tetras


Emperor Tetras can have both pellet and flake food, but a good supplement for them would be freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms, and brine shrimp.

Water Parameters

These fish have fairly wide water parameters. So, water parameters shouldn’t be something that you have to worry about a lot.

  • pH: 5.0-7.8
  • Water Temperature: 73-81 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 23.8-27.2 Celsius)
  • Hardness: 3-8 dGH

Tank Setup

Emperor Tetras do best with plenty of vegetation in the tank with dim lighting. They also need plenty of places to hind. So, try to have plenty of plants throughout the aquarium. Live plants will not only help replicate their natural environment, but it will also serve as a place to hide. You could also add driftwood and rocks as well.

Possible Diseases

Emperor Tetras can get Ich & gill Flukes. Ich is a common disease that all fish can get. It is a external parasite that eats away at the host and creates a white capsule around it. This will make the fish look like salt had been sprinkled on it.

Typical Price

From the online stores I went to, they were usually around 5-6 dollars. This unfortunately might be slightly expensive. If you don’t believe you can afford these fish, you may also like Black Skirt Tetras which are much cheaper and look similar too. You should also know that the price will vary depending on where you go to.


To breed Emperor Tetras, you will need a breeding pair. Separate the pair to a bare-bottom breeding tank as the male will be aggressive when spawning. Feed the pair life foods before you attempt to spawn them. Make sure the water temperature stays at 80-82 degrees Fahrenheit, there is neutral (7.0) pH, and that the water is very soft.

Keep the lights subdue. These fish breed during dawn. The female will lay anywhere from 50-100 eggs! After the female is finished laying her eggs, remove the pair as they will eat the eggs. Now, add a sponge filter & perform weekly water changes. The fry will hatch within 1-2 days!

Are Emperor Tetras For Me?

If you want a tetra that’s easy to care for, but a little different from most tetras, than perhaps Emperor Tetras are for you. They are a peaceful schooling fish and are great fish for a community tank with other peaceful fish.

Emperor Tetras are great tetras. They are a great fish for beginners who want a neat beginner, schooling fish for their small tank.

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