Bleeding Heart Tetra Fish 101: A Comprehensive Aquatic Guide

Bleeding Heart Tetra Fish, also known as the Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma, are striking and popular freshwater fish in the aquarium hobby. Their distinctive bright red spot on their bodies resembles a bleeding heart, hence their name.

These beautiful and peaceful fish are a great addition to any community tank, adding a pop of color and a sense of tranquility.

This comprehensive aquatic guide will explore all aspects of caring for Bleeding Heart Tetra Fish, including their natural habitat, behavior, tank setup, diet, breeding, and common health issues.

Bleeding Heart Fish

Whether you are a beginner hobbyist looking to start your community aquarium or an experienced fish keeper wanting to add these stunning fish to your collection, this guide will provide you with the necessary information to ensure your Bleeding Heart Tetras’ optimal health and happiness.

Join us as we dive into the world of these mesmerizing freshwater fish and learn how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive. 

Bleeding Heart Tetra Fish Habitat (Hyphessobrycon Erythrostigma)

The tetra bleeding heart Fish (Hyphessobrycon pyrrhonotus) is a tropical fish native to the Upper Amazon River Basin, specifically found in countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and parts of Venezuela.

First discovered by Fowler in 1943, this vibrant red dot species is known as the Rosy Tetra. They have an elongated body with distinct blood-red dots on their dorsal and anal fins, hence the common name ‘Bleeding Heart.”

In their natural habitat, these tetras prefer heavily vegetated areas with soft sandy substrates and slow-moving waters. In an aquarium setting, they generally have a peaceful temperament but can be territorial, especially when mating.

Weitzman noted that they should be kept in groups to prevent aggression among tank mates. Fry may arrive when providing a high-quality diet such as quality dried, flake, pellet, frozen foods, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. However, it is essential to note that we cannot guarantee the lifespan of these fish as larger tank mates or cichlids may threaten them.

Bleeding Heart Tetra Water Conditions

Bleeding Heart Tetras are a freshwater fish native to the upper Rio negro Amazon River basin in South America. They are a relatively easy fish to care for, making them a good choice for beginner aquarists.

Here are the ideal water conditions for Bleeding Heart Tetras:

  • Temperature: 72°F – 80°F (22°C – 27°C)
  • pH: 6.5 – 7.0 (slightly acidic)
  • Hardness: Up to 12 dGH (soft to moderately hard water)
  • Water movement: Slow to moderate

Bleeding Heart Tetras prefer soft, slightly acidic water conditions similar to those in their natural habitat. They are also sensitive to water quality, so regular water changes and maintaining good water filtration are essential.

Here are some additional tips for creating a healthy environment for Bleeding Heart Tetras:

  • Decorate your aquarium with live floating plants. These will help the fish absorb nitrates and provide hiding places.
  • Driftwood and other decorations create a natural look and provide additional hiding places.
  • Provide subdued lighting, as Bleeding Heart Tetras dislike bright light.
  • Feed your Bleeding Heart Tetras a high-quality diet of flakes, pellets, frozen or live brine shrimp, and bloodworms.

Where Can I Buy These Aquarium Fish?

You can typically find them for sale at aquarium stores, fish specialty stores, or online fish retailers. Here are a few places where you can look to buy bleeding heart fish:

  1. Local Aquarium Stores: Check out your local aquarium stores or pet stores with an aquarium section. They often carry a variety of fish species, including bleeding heart tetras.
  2. Online Retailers: Numerous online retailers specialize in selling aquarium fish and deliver them to your doorstep. Some popular online fish retailers include LiveAquaria, AquaBid, and That Fish Place.
  3. Online Classifieds and Auctions: You can also check online classifieds or auction websites where individuals sell fish. Websites like Craigslist or Aquarist Classifieds might have listings from local breeders or hobbyists in your area.
  4. Local Fish Clubs and Associations: Joining local fish clubs or associations is a great way to connect with fellow hobbyists and find bleeding heart tetras for sale or trade. Attend fish club meetings, auctions, or events to explore the availability of these fish.

When purchasing fish, it’s essential to ensure they are healthy and obtained from reputable sources. Look for well-maintained aquariums and active and vibrant fish, and inquire about the fish’s origin and any quarantine procedures followed. Additionally, research the specific care requirements of bleeding heart tetras to provide them with a suitable environment in your aquarium.

Bleeding Heart Fish Reproduction & Breeding in Captivity

With the right conditions, these generally peaceful fish can be bred in captivity. During the breeding season, the male fish typically exhibits a reddish humeral spot, and the female lays her small live larvae in invertebrate-filled areas such as creeks.

It is essential to acclimate the fish to their new environment and ensure biologically pristine conditions with weekly water changes.

During breeding, the male compresses his pectoral and dorsal fins against the female to stimulate spawning. The larvae may hatch within a few days and need to be fed small live foods until they are large enough to consume invertebrates.

If successful, the new specimen may become a constituent of a new species. Once the breeding pair has spawned, it is essential to separate them from any larger fish that may prey on the larvae.

Behaviour and Compatibility

Bleeding heartfish are known for their peaceful behavior and social nature. To thrive, they should be kept in groups of at least six individuals. These fish prefer tanks with plenty of vegetation to provide hiding spots and simulate their Rio Upper Amazon basin habitat.

A dark substrate is recommended as it helps to bring out their vibrant colors. When introducing new tank mates, it is essential to choose specific species compatible with their gentle temperament.

Additionally, regular water changes are necessary to prevent the build-up of pollutants in the tank. Some species may become aggressive if the tank is overcrowded, so it is vital to monitor their behavior closely.

Recommended Bleeding Heart Fish Tankmates

Bleeding Heart Tetras are peaceful and relatively small fish, making them ideal tank mates for various peaceful and similarly sized species. Here are some excellent choices for tank mates, keeping in mind that compatibility can vary depending on individual fish personalities and tank size:

Ideal Tank Mates:

  • Other Tetras: Many other tetra species, like Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, and Black Skirt Tetras, are great companions as they have similar water requirements and temperament.
  • Rasboras: Harlequin Rasboras, Glowlight Rasboras, and Cherry Barbs are all peaceful, schooling fish that make excellent tank mates.
  • Danios: Zebra and Pearl Danios are active, colorful fish that can add life to the tank without threatening Bleeding Heart Tetras.
  • Dwarf Gouramis: Peaceful dwarf Gouramis like Honey Gouramis and Sparkling Gouramis can add a different dimension to the tank with their labyrinth organ breathing ability.
  • Corydoras Catfish: These bottom-dwelling catfish are peaceful scavengers and will help keep the tank clean while adding a different shape and movement to the community.

Considerations for Tank Mates:

  • Tank Size: Larger tanks provide more space for the Bleeding Heart Tetras and their tank mates.
  • Temperament: Choose a peaceful species with a similar temperament to avoid bullying or aggression.
  • Water Parameters: Make sure all tank mates have similar water requirements.
  • Size and Behavior: Avoid fish that are too large or aggressive, and be mindful of any fish that might be prone to nipping or harassing smaller species.

Fish to Avoid:

  • Aggressive or Larger Fish: Avoid fish that are known for being aggressive, like certain cichlids, barbs, or larger loaches, as they could pose a threat to Bleeding Heart Tetras.
  • Fast-Moving Fish: Avoid very fast-moving fish, as Bleeding Heart Tetras are generally slow and might not be able to compete for food.
  • Predatory Fish: Do not keep Bleeding Heart Tetras with fish that might see them as a meal, such as larger barbs, certain tetras, or cichlids.

Remember: Observe your fish closely and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the well-being of all your tank inhabitants.

By carefully choosing compatible tank mates, you can create a peaceful and visually stunning community for your Flameback Bleeding Heart Tetras.

Are bleeding heart tetras aggressive?

Are bleeding hearts aggressive? Bleeding Heart Tetras are generally peaceful fish. However, they can fin nip at slow-moving or long-finned tank mates if kept in a small group or under stress.

Are bleeding heart tetras fin nippers?

Do bloodfin tetra nip fins? Bleeding Heart fish are generally peaceful. However, they can nip fins if stressed, kept alone, or with slow-moving fish with flowing caudal fins.

Are bleeding heart tetras hardy?

Yes, ‘bleeding heart’ fish species are considered relatively hardy fish. They thrive in stable conditions with good water quality, making them a good choice for beginner aquarists.

What do bleeding heart tetras eat?

They are omnivores and enjoy a varied diet. Feed them high-quality flakes or pellets, with occasional treats of frozen brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms.

How long do bleeding heart tetras live?

With proper care in a well-maintained aquarium, they can live for around 5 years. This includes a healthy diet, good water quality, and a peaceful tank environment.

What do bleeding heart tetras eat?

Bleeding Heart Tetras are omnivores! They thrive on a varied diet of high-quality dry food or pellets alongside treats like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and even chopped lettuce.


In conclusion, the captivating beauty of the bleeding heart fish makes it a sought-after addition to any freshwater aquarium. With its vibrant red body, contrasting black patch, and delicate silver shimmer, this species truly stands out amongst its aquatic counterparts. The peaceful nature of the Bleeding Heart Tetra makes it an excellent choice for community tanks, as it gets along well with other peaceful fish species.

Whether you’re an experienced aquarist or a beginner, the flameback Bleeding Heart Tetra offers a captivating and rewarding experience. Its active nature and schooling behavior create a dynamic and visually stunning display in your aquarium. By providing them with a well-maintained habitat, suitable tank mates, and a balanced diet, you can ensure these mesmerizing fish’s long-term health and vibrancy.

So, if you want to add a touch of elegance and grace to your aquatic haven, consider introducing the enchanting tetra bleeding heart to your tank. Its striking appearance and peaceful demeanor will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on you and your guests. Embrace the beauty of the Bleeding Heart Tetra and watch your aquarium come alive with its vibrant presence.

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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