Do Ember Tetra Stay At The Top Of The Tank?

Ember Tetra is a popular fish that many aquarium owners enjoy keeping. However, if you notice your Ember Tetra staying at the top of the tank, it can be worrisome. Does Ember Tetra stay at the top of the tank?

It is common for Ember Tetra to swim near or on the surface of their home. This behavior may be due to lack of oxygen, swim bladder syndrome, poor water quality, hungry Ember Tetra, curious Ember tetra, ammonia poisoning, and stress. See below for ways you can help your little friends that are swimming near or on the surface of their home!

This article will discuss why this happens and what to do about it!

Is It Normal For Ember Tetra To Stay At The Top Of The Tank?

Not always. Ember Tetra stays at the top of the tank for a few reasons; lack of oxygen, swim bladder syndrome, poor water quality, hungry Ember Tetra, curious Ember tetra, ammonia poisoning, and stress!

It can be common, but not always.

Reasons Why Ember Tetra Stay At The Top Of The Tank

Some common causes may be that your aquarium is not properly oxygenated, that your Ember Tetra has swim bladder syndrome, or that the water quality in their tank is poor.

It can be common to find Ember tetra at the top of the tank for many reasons including lack of oxygen, swim bladder syndrome, poor water quality, hungry Ember Tetra, curious Ember tetra, ammonia poisoning, and stress.

Not Enough Oxygenation

This usually happens when there isn’t enough oxygen in your aquarium water and is most often the case when your aquarium is overcrowded or if you haven’t recently cleaned the tank.

Swim Bladder Syndrome

This usually happens because Ember Tetra are fast swimmers and people don’t realize they need to have more plants in their home for them to be able to slow down! The faster a fish swims, the harder it is for them to keep their balance, and the more likely they are to have swim bladder syndrome.

Poor Water Quality

This can happen if you’re not maintaining proper water parameters or if your tank’s heater has gone out! Make sure that you maintain temperature, monitor pH levels, and vacuum regularly so as to avoid poor water quality issues in your home aquarium!  If this happens because of a sudden change in the water conditions (such as ammonia poisoning), it usually passes within 24 hours.

If it doesn’t pass after that amount of time then we recommend taking your Ember Tetra to visit a local fish veterinarian.

Hungry Ember Tetra

If there isn’t enough food leftover at the end of feeding times, hungry Ember tetra may turn to eat their own scales or other things that they shouldn’t! If you don’t want your Ember Tetra doing this, make sure there is plenty of food at all times and avoid feeding them fatty foods.

Curious Ember Tetra

If the top of your aquarium seems crowded with fish but not nearly as much plant life, it could be because curious Ember tetra is chasing each other around and keeping an eye out for predators like bettas and gouramis.

When a school of water-dwelling animals (like fish) gets stressed by one another’s presence, they tend to swim towards the surface in order to get away from each others’ bubbles. It can cause oxygen levels in your tank to drop.

Ammonia Poisoning

If your tank’s ammonia levels get too high, you’ll notice that Ember Tetra will turn dark and stop swimming around! If this happens to your fish then we recommend taking them out of the water immediately so as not to cause any further damage.

This usually happens because somebody in their home aquarium did something accidentally (like feeding them food with high protein content) but it can also happen if they’re exposed to sudden changes in the water parameters or if there was a power outage while no one was at home.


Sometimes Ember tetra just gets stressed by other things going on in its environment like fights between other fish, predators getting too close nobody is watching, or even a new addition to its aquarium.

How To Help Ember Tetra That Swim At The Top Of Their Tank?

There are a few simple things you can do in order to help your Ember tetra stay at the top of their tank!

Improve Oxygenation

If there isn’t enough oxygen in your home aquarium, it might be because there aren’t plants for them to absorb from or that the filter is not set up properly. In this case, we recommend checking out our article “How Often Should I Clean My Fish Tank?” so as to make sure you don’t have an issue with water quality and try adding more live plants if needed!

Remove Ammonia

If ammonia poisoning has ever happened in your fish’s environment, then we recommend first checking out water through a test kit so as to make sure your Ember Tetra doesn’t get sick again!

I recommend API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit, White, Single.

Then, it might be best for you to up the number of live plants in their aquarium.

Eliminate Stress

If there are too many fish swimming too fast or if some new addition is stressing them out (like an aggressive betta), then we recommend taking measures to remove that stress. This includes removing any culprits and keeping a closer eye on things like feeding times since hungry Ember Tetra will tend to fight each other during this time!

Feed Properly

Make sure not to overfeed your Ember tetra because they can become constipated and bloated which can lead to swim bladder syndrome!

Treat Diseases

While Ember Tetra isn’t as prone to diseases as other types of tetra (like neon tetra), you can affect them by conditions such as fin rot or dropsy.

If this happens then we recommended checking out the best treatment for these specific issues in order to make sure that you’re not doing anything wrong at home. You might also want to consider taking your pet back to visit their local vet just in case there’s an underlying condition causing it all!

Maintain Water Parameters

Keeping up with water parameters is not only important for your Ember Tetra’s health: it ensures that they’re all staying at the top of their tank and out of stressful situations like fights with other fish!

Maintain Temperature

You’ll notice that if you take away temperatures, some types of tetra will become sluggish or even stop moving. While this isn’t something to worry about as long as there are no signs of disease (like discoloration), you might want to consider using a heater if your home aquarium is one of those that has the tendency to get too cold.

Does Ember Tetra Stay At The Bottom Of Their Tank?

Yes, they do! In fact, most tetras tend to swim around on the bottom of their tank unless there’s something going wrong in their environments like fights with other fish or even ammonia poisoning!

Sometimes Ember Tetra can stay still by the bottom because they aren’t feeling well sometimes it could just be because there was some sudden change in the water parameters which can stress them out.


Why Is My Ember Tetra Staying Still?

Sometimes, your tetra might be swimming still because it’s trying to pick up on something you’re doing wrong like over or underfeeding!

Is My Ember Tetra Dying?

If your tetra is still and it hasn’t moved in a while then you might want to take a closer look at their coloration, gills, or fins. These are all signs that there’s something going wrong with them!


As always, if you have any concerns about your Ember Tetra then feel free to contact us for more information. We are here every day of the week so never hesitate to ask!

Does Ember Tetra Stay At The Top Of The Tank? It is a common question among aquarium owners because it’s important for them to know how their fish will react in order to take measures accordingly.

You’ll oftentimes find that they stay at the top when there’s not enough oxygen or they’re stressed out but this isn’t something you want happening all the time since it can cause problems with water parameters and fight stress-related diseases like fin rot & dropsy which might lead back into ammonia poisoning.

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