Emperor Tetra (Tank-Raised), Nematobrycon palmeri
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The Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri) is a very attractive shoaling fish for the community aquarium. Its distinctive coloration consists of a mostly cream-colored body that is highlighted by a thick horizontal black stripe and yellow edges along its fins. Adult males also display a very noticeable purple sheen above their black stripe, especially when competing for the attention of females. In addition, adult males have dramatically elongated dorsal and caudal fins, including an extended middle ray that creates a “trident” tail. Females are smaller and thicker in size. The Emperor Tetra typically breeds in pairs and must be kept in shoals of at least 6-10 fish. Males will posture and compete for females, but this aggression is not a problem in aquariums with ample space and plenty of décor.
The Emperor Tetra typically occupies the top and middle level of the water column, although it can often be seen swimming and feeding in the middle and bottom levels as well. It is safe with other peaceful, small fish. Though it has a relatively robust, larger body than many smaller tetras, it has a very small mouth. Adult dwarf shrimp are possibly safe tankmates as well, but adult Emperor Tetras may eat small dwarf shrimp and their fry. Larger, peaceful invertebrates can also make good tankmates. Emperor Tetras must be kept in schools of 6 or more. Since they are tank-raised, Emperor Tetras are fairly adaptable, but their natural habitat contains soft, acidic water rich in tannins and leaf litter.
While not a picky eater, the Emperor Tetra will thrive and remain very colorful on a varied diet of meaty foods. High-quality flake food, pellets, and frozen or freeze-dried tubifex and bloodworms will all be readily accepted.
What We Like About This Fish:
- Elegant coloration and finnage, especially in males.
- Peaceful disposition with fish and peaceful invertebrates
- Very active and noticeable fish in any aquarium
- Hardy and adaptable
- Temperature: 73-81° F (23-27° C)
- pH: 5.5-7.5, more acidic water is preferred
- KH: 4-8 dKH
- Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
- Diet: Omnivorous. Will easily accept high quality dry and frozen foods
- Social Behavior: Peaceful, schooling/shoaling.
- Origin: Tank-raised, but indigenous to South America
- Average Adult Size: 1.4-1.7 inches (3.5-4.2 cm)
- Average Purchase Size: .75-1.5 inches (2.5-3.8 cm)