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Nematobrycon palmeri
Emperor Tetra

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Emperor Tetra - Nematobrycon palmeri

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I have a 110 L tank with Cardinals, Emperors, some other Tetras, catfishes, and a few asiatics (Three Spot, and others). I started to keep fishes two years ago. The Emperors were among the first ones. The Emperor is a hardy and very imposing fish with elegant moving. It is absolutely harmless to the tankmates, also towards the most little ones. It is not the most active fish. Mostly "stands" in groups, just moving its fins all the time, then breaking it with sudden fast runs. There are often fights for the ranks between themselves. The females are also involved! The male is 1-2 cm larger, so the first rank is always for a male. The males can be aggressive with other males of its species, if one of them is an older inhabitant. One of my Emperors killed another when I made a mistake and added a new male to the community. I recommend it to everyone!

Contributed by Krisztián Bezzegh

I have kept these fish for over 5 years now, and love them. I started with 3 males and 2 females, and in a 340 L heavily planted community tank they have bred regularly, with total numbers getting beyond 30 at times. Contrary to some advice, they seem to breed more prolifically when the tank is left alone without frequent water changes, and seem to do very well with neutral pH. The older males are quite aggressive to competition for females, and I too have seen Males kill new males that have been added to the community. Otherwise they are extremely attractive and copasetic to other (even smaller) species.

Contributed by Kevin Mccall

These fish are great, just like everyone else said. I have a 120 litre tank where I keep 5 of them with 4 congo tetras, 2 angels and 2 clown loaches. They don't bother any other fish in the tank. I got them about 4 months ago and they are fine. They are also quite hardy, so are good for beginners and also not hard to keep.

Contributed by Denise Hartuk

I have had a 110 liter tank for some time now. I have an array of about 20 small fish, including 2 Emperor Tetras. They are each about 3.5 cm. They are very happy and sometimes very energetic or playful with all the other fish.

Contributed by John Pfeiffer

The behavior of the Nematobrycon palmeri is peaceable, hardy and undemanding. This fish is easy to breed, but not very productive, eggs laid on water plants. Also must live in schools, and other peaceful fish like other characins, armored catfish, or the same breed. You shouldn't put too many males in one tank, or they may fight and kill other males in the tank, so keep this in mind.

Contributed by Isaiah Orta

I am an aquarist from Indonesia and I've been keeping Nematobrycon palmeri for more than a year now (consecutively), and found them to be one of the nicest, prettiest, and most docile characins available in market. I first became interested in keeping them after I saw some in my uncle's tank, they were beautiful indeed. My personal experience in keeping them is that they are really really pretty tetras whose males love to battle (including a lot of fin shaking, charging toward other males, they look like fighting bettas). One minus point is they do not school tight, even in my heavily planted tank. Nevertheless, the Nematobrycon palmeri is the one if you are looking for some nice tetra, great colouring, and peaceful toward others (even to the other much smaller fish).

Contributed by Ming

I first found these striking tetras at a local shop. They only had 3, so that's where I started. Within a week, I located 3 more and that brought me to 6. They shared the 75 liter tank with a few rummy noses, a petricola, and a betta. After about 6 months, the betta passed (we'd had him for 3+ years). A few weeks later, we noticed a baby emperor tetra. It was so exciting! We looked more closely and realized we actually had 5 babies. Since that time, we've been blessed with many, many more babies. They all are in the small tank, but once the fry are large enough to move to the 200 liter grow out tank, off they go. The fry then mature in the larger tank, leaving the adults to stretch their fins, so to speak. Our tanks are all fed twice a day, flake in the morning and a quality frozen food in the evening (typically bloodworms or brine shrimp). Our tanks are heavily planted and offer multitudes of nooks and crannies, which is of great benefit to the young fry.

Contributed by Rhonda

I bought 4 emperor tetras and a few other fish and snails when I restarted my tank about a year ago (there was an incident involving dish soap and my 3 year old). I didn't spend very much on all the fish because I wasn't sure if they would survive or not. I ended up losing the 4 other fish but the Emperor tetras survived and have even been breeding a lot! Right now I have 12 total, the 4 original (2 male and 2 female) plus two more sets of 4 that are about a month apart in age. I do not take special care at all to assist in the breeding but they seem to do just fine. The weirdest part is that, at least in my tank, the babies live in the gravel at the bottom of the tank for at least the first 6 weeks. The first babies I happened to notice between the gravel and the glass one day, so I was careful not to use my suction cleaner in the gravel till they grew up. Since then though I haven't been so careful. I look in the water I take out during water changes for babies (they are REALLY TINY) and save the ones I can, but I don't fret about losing any because they just keep breeding. I only have a 60 liter tank and I don't want them to overcrowd it.

Contributed by Jess

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