bleeding heart tetra

The Bleeding Heart Tetra: A Comprehensive Guide

What are bleeding heart Tetra? Are bleeding heart tetras territorial?

The gregarious freshwater fish known as the bleeding-heart tetra is perfect for a group aquarium. The bleeding-heart tetra, which is related to the black phantom tetra, lemon tetra, and 80 other species of tetra fish, flourishes in significant communities.

Ignoring the lovely freshwater fish known as bleeding heart tetras is difficult. However, they will always capture your attention because of their distinctive appearance and high activity level.

The upper Amazon Basin is the natural habitat of bleeding-heart tetras. In their natural habitat, these fish coexist with hundreds of other freshwater fish species in lakes, tributaries, and streams. Because of their laid-back personalities and distinctive appearance, bleeding heart tetras are an excellent choice for novice and experienced fish keepers.

Although bleeding hearts are mostly calm fish, fin nipping can be a concern since males can be aggressive and territorial. Therefore, they should not be kept with fish with larger fins, such as angelfish and bettas, and are best kept in small schools, mostly six or more.

Even better, taking care of them is very simple. This species is simple maintenance.

To equip you with the knowledge you need to own a bleeding-heart tetra, this article covers the fundamentals of caring for them.

Hyphessobrycon Erythrostigma

Common name: Bleeding Heart Tetra

Scientific name: Hyphessobrycon Erythrostigma

Average Adult Fish Size:  2.5 inches  /  6 cm

Place of Origin: Amazon Basin

Recommended Minimum Aquarium Capacity: 15 gallon / 60 liter

Temperature: 72 – 82 Deg F / 22 – 28 Deg C

Water chemistry: pH 6.0 – 7.2

Sexing:  Males tend to be more colorful than females. The dorsal fins of males are sickle-shaped, longer, and more pointed whereas the dorsal fins of females are shorter with a rounded tip.

Bleeding Heart Tetra: Origin

The bleeding-heart tetra (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma) is naturally found in the upper Amazon Basin. Hundreds of other fish species, including arapaima, tambaqui, and candiru share the same densely wooded environment as bleeding heart tetras.

Although bleeding heart tetras are not considered extinct in the wild, habitat degradation brought on by deforestation and human activity poses a threat to the fish. However, bleeding heart tetras are widespread in-home aquariums and the outdoors.

Size and Lifespan of Adults

A mature bleeding-heart tetra length is approximately 2.5 inches, while some females can reach heights of 3 inches. In addition, female fish often have longer bodies, more rounded tummies, and are more extensive than male fish.

Bleeding heart tetras can survive up to five years in the wild and in captivity. Because treatment and care are more easily accessible in captivity, captive-bred bleeding-heart tetras typically live longer than wild tetras.


Bleeding heart tetras are widely available in aquarium shops across the nation, and if one is not located nearby, you may order these fish online. Get fish from a reliable internet retailer to guarantee the fish is as healthy and safe as possible while being transported.

Per fish, expect to pay a little more than $5. Bleeding heart tetras usually cost $4.50 in retailers. Bleeding heart tetra breeders that sell these fish for less than $3.00 should be avoided since it shows the fish are ill or have been mistreated.


The name of the bleeding-heart tetra is distinctive and describes it perfectly. This fish’s most recognizable characteristic is a blushing red spot close to the gills. Although this vivid red dot is not on the fish’s heart, it is close enough to qualify for the common name.

Like other varieties of tetras, this freshwater fish has a diamond-shaped body. It is tall in the middle yet laterally compressed. The eyes are red and black, and the skull tapers down to a pointy nose. The color of the fish changes to a pinkish silver. This beautiful fish may become rich and brilliant with the correct diet and living circumstances.

The bleeding-heart tetra, like other tetras, has a long anal fin that extends from the body’s midsection to the tail. In addition, transparent pectoral fins, anal fins, and tailfins are present. The large dorsal fin is decorated with red and black splotch.

You will like watching this fish since it is adorable. In addition, bleeding heart tetras will undoubtedly add a pop of color to your tank, no matter how it is set up.


In general, bleeding-heart tetras are calm. The other fish in the aquarium will impact how the fish behaves, though. Compared to bleeding heart tetras living in a tank with shy, tranquil fish, antisocial fin nippers will act more aggressively toward bleeding heart tetras.

As schooling fish, bleeding heart tetras get along with other fish and thrive in groups of six or more. However, consider relocating your fish into a larger tank if your fish begins to fin-nip other fish.

You should take fin nibbling seriously as a symptom of discomfort in bleeding heart tetras. As a result, you should ensure that the tetras’ swimming area is unobstructed and that the middle of the tank is free of any plants or decorations that could impede it.

You should feed your fish in the daytime even though bleeding heart tetras are less active during the day than at night. This is because bleeding heart tetras prefer to investigate their surroundings when there aren’t any observers, and the aquarium is dimly lit.

Tank Situation

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To thrive, bleeding heart tetras need particular tank conditions. As a result, you should routinely examine the aquarium’s requirements and ensure it complies with the following advice.

Temperature and pH levels in aquariums
Ensure the water stays between 72°F and 80°F with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5 by checking the water’s temperatures and acidity levels daily. The optimal temperature for bleeding cardiac tetras is 74°F.


The sand substrate should be added to the tank in a thin layer. Although bleeding heart tetras are bottom-dwellers, they frequently descend to the tank’s bottom to forage for food. Therefore, the tank should be lined with a soft substrate due to the Tetra’s scavenging instincts to prevent harming the fish.

Bubblers and Filters

Install a top-notch water filter in the tank to help maintain the water pure and hygienic. Water bubbles are not necessary for bleeding heart tetras because they naturally reside in water that moves slowly.

Tank Volume

Ensure that you purchase a 20-gallon tank or greater. Bleeding heart tetras thrive in large aquariums because they require plenty of plants and ornaments and ample space to swim around.

Plant Life and Décor

Freshwater plants like Guatteria scandens, Landolphia paraenesis, and Strychnos blackii abound in the upper Amazon Basin. These plants are native to the habitat of the bleeding-heart tetra, but a home aquarium cannot accommodate them.

A bleeding-heart tetra tank is best suited for the plants listed below:

Cryptocoryne Beckettii

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Aponogeton ulvaceus

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Red Dwarf Aquarium Lily

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Amazon Sword Plant

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African Water Fern

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Water Sprite

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Use large rocks and driftwood from nature to decorate the aquarium.

Setting Up the Tank’s Interior

The ideal strategy for tank decoration is to keep things as natural as possible. Try to mimic the natural rivers and streams these species call home.

Start with a nice layer of the sandy substrate to do that. Bleeding heart tetras cling to the aquarium’s center and bottom. This implies that they might occasionally scrounge for food there. Sand is secure and resembles real riverbeds.

In a natural aquarium, Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma. Plants with leaves in the foreground and taller stems in the background can be used. As these fish prefer shade from the light, add some floating plants.

A few pieces of driftwood are also an excellent complement. Branches that have fallen off trees are typical in the Amazon. Thanks to the driftwood, your bleeding-heart tetras will feel more secure and have a more natural appearance.

You could also sprinkle some leaf litter around. This encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms while enhancing the natural feel. Stick with a robust filtering system that can cycle your tank multiple times an hour. These fish can generate a lot of trash. However, ammonia and nitrate levels will remain low thanks to a robust filtration system.

Food and Nutrition

In both the wild and captivity, bleeding heart tetras are opportunistic eaters, which means they take advantage of food opportunities when they present themselves.

Only feed your tank’s fish twice daily to prevent overeating because the Tetra’s voracious appetite can lead to this species becoming overweight. They feed mosquito larvae, freeze-dried brine shrimp, fish food flakes, and pellets to bleeding heart tetras.

Seventy percent of your fish’s diet should consist of fish food flakes and pellets. In addition, include live or freeze-dried food as a snack in your fish’s diet.


In captivity, bleeding heart tetras are simple to reproduce. However, to successfully breed your fish, you will need a separate breeding tank. The breeding tank should have decorations and plants to make the fish feel at home.

If you wish to breed bleeding heart tetras in captivity, do the following:

Add live plants, such as spawning mops and accessories, to the breeding tank as decoration.
Additionally, a substrate made of soft sand should border the tank.
Maintain a 72°F water temperature in the breeding tank and check that it has less acidic water than the communal tank.
Never allow the water’s pH to fall below 6.0.
Once the breeding tank is ready, put the fish in it and gradually increase the water’s temperature.

In the tank, the males and females will start to spawn. The females in the tank will enlarge, indicating a successful breeding cycle.

The tank’s plants will be where the female bleeding-heart tetras lay their eggs. While some eggs may sink to the bottom of the tank, others will adhere to the leaves of the plants.

Once the eggs are laid, the adult fish should be removed right away. Up to three days may pass before the eggs hatch. Feeding the fry should wait until they can swim freely. Free-swimming fry should be fed powdered fry food until they are large enough to consume baby brine shrimp.


Bleeding heart tetras are enjoyable to keep—both the beginners and experienced aquarists like keeping them. As long as the tank conditions are kept in good shape, they are simple to care for and can live for five years or longer. They favor residing in tanks that closely resemble their home environment.