Bleeding Heart Tetra Tank Mates - "Bleeding heart tetra" by (: Rebecca-louise :) is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Bleeding Heart Tetra Tank Mates - "Bleeding heart tetra" by (: Rebecca-louise :) is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Setting up an ideal aquatic habitat for your beloved bleeding heart tetras and their compatible tank mates is a rewarding endeavor. These captivating fish, known for their distinctive markings and peaceful demeanor, thrive in a well-maintained environment that caters to their specific needs. In this guide, we will explore the essential considerations and steps required to create a harmonious and thriving aquarium for your bleeding heart tetra and bleeding heart tetra tank mates.

Appearance and Behavior

The bleeding heart tetra (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma) is a popular freshwater aquarium fish known for its striking appearance and peaceful behavior. Here’s an overview of its appearance and behavior:


  • Distinctive Markings: The most distinctive feature of the bleeding heart tetra is the bright red or pinkish “bleeding heart” mark on its body, which is typically located on the upper half of the fish, just behind the gills. This marking gives the fish its common name.
  • Coloration: Apart from the bleeding heart, the rest of the fish’s body is typically silver or light pinkish in color. It has a shiny, metallic appearance.
  • Size: These tetras are relatively small and usually reach a maximum size of around 2 to 2.5 inches (5 to 6.5 centimeters) in length.
  • Fin Structure: The fins are typically transparent with a hint of red or pink.


  • Peaceful Nature: Bleeding heart tetras are known for their peaceful and non-aggressive temperament, making them suitable for community aquariums. They can coexist with a variety of other peaceful fish species.
  • Schooling Behavior: These tetras are social fish and feel more comfortable when kept in groups of at least five or more individuals. When kept in a school, they display a more natural and less stressed behavior.
  • Swimming Habits: Bleeding heart tetras are active swimmers that occupy various levels of the aquarium, from the middle to the upper levels. They are not typically bottom-dwelling fish.
  • Diet: They are omnivorous and will accept a varied diet. In captivity, they can be fed high-quality flakes, pellets, live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. A balanced diet contributes to their vibrant coloration.
  • Tank Requirements: To provide a suitable environment for bleeding heart tetras, it’s essential to have a well-maintained aquarium with stable water parameters. They prefer slightly acidic to neutral water (pH around 6.5 to 7.0) and a water temperature between 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C). Plants, driftwood, and rocks can be used for decoration, and the aquarium should have moderate to low lighting.

In summary, the bleeding heart tetra is a visually appealing and peaceful freshwater aquarium fish known for its distinct bleeding heart marking and sociable behavior. When properly cared for, they can be a great addition to a community aquarium.

Bleeding Heart Tetra Tank Mates

When selecting bleeding heart tetra tank mates it’s crucial to choose species that are compatible in terms of water parameters, temperament, and size. Here are some factors to consider when selecting tank mates for bleeding heart tetras:

  • Temperament: Bleeding heart tetras are peaceful fish, so it’s essential to choose tank mates with a similar temperament. Avoid aggressive or fin-nipping species that could stress or harm them.
  • Size Compatibility: Consider the size of potential tank mates. Bleeding heart tetras are relatively small, reaching about 2 to 2.5 inches in length. Avoid larger fish that could view them as prey or intimidate them.
  • Water Parameters: Ensure that the water parameter requirements of potential bleeding heart tetra tank mates match those of the bleeding heart tetra. These tetras prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH of around 6.5 to 7.0 and a temperature range of 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C).
  • Swimming Level: This fish typically occupy the middle to upper levels of the aquarium. Choose tank mates that primarily inhabit different levels of the tank to reduce competition for space.
  • Schooling Behavior: Bleeding heart tetras are social and feel more secure when kept in a school of at least five individuals. Consider other schooling fish that can coexist peacefully with them.
  • Diet Compatibility: Select bleeding heart tetra tank mates with similar dietary requirements to simplify feeding. Omnivorous species that accept a variety of prepared foods, live, or frozen options are usually good choices.
  • Aggressive Species to Avoid: Avoid species known for aggression, territorial behavior, or fin-nipping tendencies. Examples include somr cichlids, certain barb species, and some types of gouramis.
  • Compatibility with Plants: If you have a planted aquarium, choose tank mates that won’t uproot or damage your plants. Many tetras are plant-friendly, but some other species may be less so.
  • Disease Considerations: Be mindful of the potential for disease transmission. Consider quarantining new fish before adding them to your main tank to prevent the introduction of illnesses.
  • Observation and Monitoring: Always closely observe the interactions between your bleeding heart tetras and their tank mates. If you notice signs of aggression, stress, or fin damage, be prepared to make adjustments or rehome incompatible fish.

Some Suitable Bleeding Heart Tetra Tank Mates

  • Other peaceful tetra species (e.g., neon tetras, cardinal tetras).
  • Rasboras (e.g., harlequin rasboras).
  • Corydoras catfish (e.g., bronze corydoras).
  • Peaceful gouramis (e.g., honey gouramis).
  • Non-aggressive species of livebearers (e.g., guppies, platies).
  • Small, peaceful loaches (e.g., kuhli loaches).
  • Peaceful freshwater shrimp (e.g., cherry shrimp, amano shrimp).

Remember that individual fish may have their own unique personalities, so it’s essential to monitor their behavior and make adjustments to the tank mates if needed to ensure a harmonious and stress-free aquarium environment.

Bleeding Heart Tetra Tank Mates - "Bleeding heart tetra" by (: Rebecca-louise :) is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Bleeding Heart Tetra Tank Mates – “Bleeding heart tetra” by (: Rebecca-louise 🙂 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Aquarium Setup

Setting up an aquarium for bleeding heart tetras and their tank mates involves creating a suitable environment that meets the needs of all the fish in terms of water parameters, decor, and maintenance. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Select the right tank: Choose an aquarium that is spacious enough to accommodate the number of fish you plan to keep. A 20 to 30-gallon (80-120 liters) tank is generally suitable for a small school of bleeding heart tetras and compatible tank mates.
  • Water parameters: Bleeding heart tetras prefer slightly acidic to neutral water conditions. Aim for a pH level of around 6.5 to 7.0 and a water temperature between 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C). Use a reliable aquarium thermometer and a water test kit to monitor and maintain these parameters.
  • Filtration: Install a good-quality aquarium filter to provide proper water circulation and filtration. A filter will help remove toxins and maintain water quality.
  • Substrate and decor: Use a fine-gravel or sand substrate. Decorate the tank with driftwood, rocks, and live or artificial plants. Live plants help maintain water quality by absorbing nitrates and provide natural hiding spots for the fish. Create caves and hiding places using decorations to provide security for shy or smaller tank mates.
  • Lighting: Provide moderate to low-intensity lighting. bleeding heart tetras do not require strong lighting, and it can help reduce stress for some tank mates.
  • Aquarium maintenance: Perform regular water changes (about 20-25% of the tank volume every 2-4 weeks) to maintain water quality. Clean the substrate during water changes to remove debris and waste. Trim and maintain live plants as needed to prevent overcrowding.
  • Bleeding Heart Tetra Tank mates: Choose tank mates that are compatible with bleeding heart tetras in terms of size, temperament, and water parameters, as discussed in the previous section. Ensure that there is enough space and hiding spots to reduce potential conflicts among tank mates.
  • Acclimatize fish: When introducing new fish to the aquarium, acclimate them slowly to prevent shock. Float the bag in the tank for about 15-20 minutes to equalize temperature and then release them gently.
  • Feeding: Offer a balanced diet that includes high-quality flakes or pellets, as well as live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. Feed small amounts 1-2 times a day, only what the fish can consume within a few minutes to avoid overfeeding and water quality issues.
  • Monitor and observe: Regularly observe the behavior and health of your fish. Any signs of stress, illness, or aggression should be addressed promptly.

By following these steps and maintaining good care practices, you can create a healthy and harmonious aquarium environment for bleeding heart tetras and their compatible tank mates. Remember that each aquarium is unique, and it may take some time to find the perfect balance for your specific setup.


Creating the perfect aquarium for your bleeding heart tetras and their bleeding heart tetra tank mates involves a careful balance of water parameters, decor, and diligent maintenance. By selecting compatible species, providing suitable hiding places, and maintaining optimal water conditions, you can ensure a peaceful and thriving underwater community. Regular observation and care will not only enhance the health and vibrancy of your fish but also provide endless enjoyment as you witness the beauty of your bleeding heart tetras and their companions in your thoughtfully crafted aquatic world.