Ember tetras should be kept in acidic water with a pH near 6.6, and although their native habitat has very soft water they have adapted quite well to a wide range of hardness (5–17 dGH). The recommended temperature range is between 23–29 C (73–84 F). Ideally their tank should contain live plants, a darker substrate, and open water for swimming. Ember tetras should be kept in groups of at least 9-10, in order to promote schooling. They appreciate a heavily planted aquarium, ideally with a small area shaded from direct light and will spend a lot of time swimming through planted areas, which also offer some protection for their fry.
Ember tetras will school with other tetras, such as the neon tetra, but may become stressed by the presence of significantly larger fish.
These fish swim at the middle level of the aquarium, and they don't feed from the bottom of the tank. Therefore, it is recommended that they are kept with other bottom dwelling fish (such as pygmy corydoras) so that leftover food is then eaten up off the substrate and not left to waste.
In a well maintained heavily planted aquarium, Ember tetras have been known to live ten years or more.