Nematobrycon palmeri (Emperor tetra) Ultimate Guide

Nematobrycon palmeri

The emperor tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri) is a freshwater schooling fish from the family of the real tetras (Characidae).

The emperor tetra, which comes from Colombia, is particularly noticeable because of its wide black longitudinal band. The males also have an intensely purple colored belly during the mating season. Keeping and caring for it is not difficult if the aquarium is set to a slightly acidic, soft water environment. The offspring is a little more complex, as the emperor tetra are quite unproductive and hardly more than 40 eggs are deposited per spawning run and the adult emperor tetra are also pronounced spawners.

Nematobrycon palmeri (emperor tetra): Habitat

Home water is the catchment area of ​​the Rio San Juan in Colombia.

Nematobrycon palmeri (emperor tetra): Features, Shape and Color

The emperor tetra is characterized above all by a wide, black longitudinal band, which extends from the front edge of the gill cover to the caudal fin. The male can be recognized by the elongated dorsal fin and the longer central ray of the anal fin. In the male the iris is bright blue, in the female it is more greenish. Males ready to mate have bright purple belly.

The most important characteristics of the Emperor tetra are:

  • the body flanks of the emperor tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri) are colored shimmering blue. Depending on the state of health of the emperor tetra, this blue color can intensify
  • below its lateral line is a black longitudinal ligament, which extends from the rear edge of its gill cover to the base of the tail
  • the Iris of the male glows blue, that of the female green
  • the colors of the male intensify extremely strongly during the mating season: his belly glows purple during this time and his fins are patterned with rich contrasts
  • the male is somewhat larger than the female and has a larger dorsal and anal fin
  • the dorsal and anal fin of the emperor tetra are well developed, but it lacks an adipose fin
  • the color of its fins is yellowish to brownish
Nematobrycon palmeri in the Aquarium

Nematobrycon palmeri (emperor tetra): In the Aquarium

The Nematobrycon palmeri is peaceful and sociable. It should therefore be kept in a group of at least 10 individuals.

The aquarium should have a length of at least 70 to 80 cm. Emperor tetra can easily be kept together with other tetras, armored catfish or South American dwarf cichlids.

Dark fine gravel is chosen as the substrate. In order to achieve the softest possible, slightly acidic water, it should be filtered through a peat additive.

The aquarium should be equipped with individual groups of dense, fine-pinned aquatic plants, between which there must be plenty of space for swimming.

After a period of acclimatization, the emperor tetra is adaptable and also gets used to hard water.

However, sudden and abrupt changes in water chemistry must be avoided – for example when changing water.

The filtering with peat additives not only intensifies the luminosity of the colors, but also contributes to the well-being and to increasing the life span of the emperor tetra.

Optimal Aquarium Conditions for the Nematobrycon palmeri

Temperature: 23 ° C – 27 ° C
PH value: around 5.5-7.5
Water hardness: 5-15 ° dGH
Aquarium: approx. 70-100 l

Feeding the Nematobrycon palmeri
The emperor tetra does not have special requirements are placed on the feed.

The Nematobrycon palmeri is an omnivore; In addition to commercially available flake food, it should also be fed live food. Especially during the breeding season, you can feed the emperor tetra the following:

  • Mosquito larvae
  • Small live flakes
  • Frozen food
  • Artemia
  • Insects
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Vegetable food

Nematobrycon palmeri Aquarium mates

The emperor tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri) feels most comfortable in a swarm. It should be kept in groups of at least 8-12 specimens. In the aquarium this fish mainly prefers the middle area of ​​the tank as a swimming area.

So that the emperor tetra feels good, it should be kept in a dark basin (cover the surface of the water with floating plants). The basin should also have dense planting around the edges and a dark substrate (leaves or peat).

It is a lively, but nevertheless extremely peaceful fish and is well suited for a community tank with other peaceful fish (e.g. armored catfish). The dairy farmers are territorial and defend their territory.

Nematobrycon palmeri
Nematobrycon palmeri

Breeding the Nematobrycon palmeri

The emperor tetra usually only lays 1 egg between plants and usually eats it immediately afterwards. Therefore, the breeding of this fish is not particularly productive.

Emperor tetra are free spawners, which spawn just below the surface of the water after violent drifting. The fish larvae hatch after 24 to 36 hours, depending on the water temperature.

Like all free spawners, the emperor tetras leave their eggs to chance. The fish larvae hatch after 36 hours. They can be fed with powdered food for the first few days, then with newly hatched artemia

How to breed Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri)

Nematobrycon palmeri (emperor tetra): Potential diseases

Common diseases in tetras (Characidae ) and danionids (Danionidae ):

  • Fish Tuberculosis
    The Fish Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that predominantly occurs in fish in aquariums. It is widespread and leads to great losses [ read more … ]
  • Foot or fin rot (Columnaris disease)
    Milky white spots (similar to mold) form on the fins, on the edges of the scales and in the area of ​​the fish’s mouth [ read more … ]
  • Neon disease (real) infestations are mainly neon fish such as the blue neon, the neon tetra and other tetra species such as the redhead tetra and also danios such as the zebrafish or the ruby ​​barb [read more … ]
  • Neon disease (false)
    Potential victims of the false neon disease are neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi, Paracheirodon simulans) including red neon (this is not affected by the “real” neon disease) [ read more … ]
  • Fungal disease (mycosis)
    fungal disease (mycosis) or fungal infection always occurs as a secondary infection. Fungal diseases are also called “fish mold” or “water mold” [ read more … ]
  • Velvet disease
    With a strong infestation, the skin appears “velvety”, hence the name ” Velvet disease “. The color of this velvety covering is mostly golden-yellowish [ read more … ]

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