Bleeding Heart Tetra Care: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

If you’re looking for a colorful and easy-to-care-for fish for your aquarium, the Bleeding Heart Tetra is a great choice. With its vibrant red color and distinctive black markings, this fish is sure to catch your eye. But what do you need to know about Bleeding Heart Tetra care to keep these fish happy and healthy in your tank?

Bleeding Heart Tetras require a well-planted aquarium with soft, slightly acidic water. They are peaceful and should be kept in groups of at least six. They feed on small live foods such as brine shrimp and daphnia, and their diet can be supplemented with high-quality flakes and pellets. Regular water changes and maintenance are essential for their health.

First, it’s important to note that Bleeding Heart Tetras are a peaceful species that do best in groups of at least six. They are relatively small, growing to only about two inches in length, so they don’t require a large tank. However, they do need plenty of hiding places and plants to swim around and explore.

When it comes to feeding, Bleeding Heart Tetras are omnivores and will eat both flakes and live food. They are not picky eaters, but it’s important to avoid overfeeding to prevent health issues. Overall, Bleeding Heart Tetras are a great addition to any aquarium and with proper care, they can live for several years.

Bleeding Heart Tetra 2

Species Summary


Bleeding heart tetras are native to South America, specifically in the Amazon River basin. They are commonly found in slow-moving streams and rivers with dense vegetation.


On average, bleeding heart tetras can live up to 5 years in captivity with proper care.


These fish are known for their striking appearance, with a bright red spot on their silver body that resembles a bleeding heart.

They have a slender body and a forked tail. The dorsal fin is tall and the anal fin is long and pointed.


Bleeding heart tetras typically grow to be around 2 inches in length, making them a great option for smaller aquariums.

Growth Rate

These fish have a moderate growth rate and can reach their full size in about a year.

Behavior & Temperament

Bleeding heart tetras are peaceful and social fish that do best in groups of 6 or more. They are active swimmers and enjoy having plenty of space to explore.

They are also known for their playful behavior and will often chase each other around the tank.

Male vs Female

Male bleeding heart tetras tend to be more colorful and have a brighter red spot on their body than females. Females are typically larger and rounder than males.

I remember when I first got my bleeding heart tetras; I was fascinated by their unique appearance and playful behavior.

Watching them swim around in their tank was always a calming and enjoyable experience. With proper care and attention, these fish can make a great addition to any aquarium.

Tank Setup

Tank Size

When it comes to Bleeding heart tetra care, the first thing you need to consider is the size of the tank. These fish are active swimmers and need plenty of space to move around.

A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 20 gallons of water per pair of Bleeding heart tetras. This will ensure that they have enough room to swim and explore.


Bleeding heart tetras prefer subdued lighting, so it’s important to avoid harsh, bright lights.

You can achieve this by using low-wattage bulbs or by adding floating plants to the tank to provide shade.

This will help to create a more natural and comfortable environment for your fish.

Filtration & Aeration

Good filtration and aeration are essential for keeping your tank clean and healthy.

A good filter will remove debris and waste from the water, while aeration will ensure that there is enough oxygen in the water for your fish to breathe.

You can achieve this by using a hang-on-back filter or a canister filter, and adding an air stone or bubbler to the tank.


Bleeding heart tetras are tropical fish and require a water temperature of around 76-82°F. To maintain a stable temperature, you will need a good quality aquarium heater.

Make sure that the heater you choose is appropriate for the size of your tank and that you monitor the temperature regularly.


When selecting a substrate for your Bleeding heart tetra tank, it’s important to choose something that is gentle on their delicate fins.

Sand or fine gravel is a good option, as it won’t scratch or damage their fins. Avoid using sharp or rough substrates, as these can cause injury to your fish.


Bleeding heart tetras are naturally found in heavily planted areas in the wild, so it’s important to provide plenty of hiding places and visual barriers in your tank.

You can achieve this by adding rocks, driftwood, and other decorations to the tank.

Just make sure that any decorations you choose are safe for your fish and won’t leach harmful chemicals into the water.


Live plants are a great addition to any Bleeding heart tetra tank.

They provide natural hiding places for your fish, help to oxygenate the water, and create a more natural environment.

Some good options include Java fern, Anubias, and Amazon sword.

Just make sure that you choose plants that are compatible with your tank setup and lighting.

Bleeding Heart Tetra

I remember when I first set up my Bleeding heart tetra tank, I was so excited to create the perfect environment for my fish.

I spent hours researching the best tank setup and carefully selecting the right decorations and plants. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it to see my fish swimming happily in their new home.

With the right tank setup, you can provide your Bleeding heart tetras with a comfortable and healthy environment that will allow them to thrive.

Water Quality

Water quality is essential for the health and wellbeing of your bleeding heart tetra. In this section, we will discuss the four main aspects of water quality: water temperature, water pH, water hardness, and water changes.

Water Temperature

The ideal water temperature for bleeding heart tetras is between 75°F and 82°F. It is important to maintain a consistent temperature, as fluctuations can cause stress and illness.

You can use a heater to regulate the temperature and a thermometer to monitor it.

Water pH

Bleeding heart tetras prefer slightly acidic water with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. You can test the pH level using a water test kit and adjust it using pH adjusters if necessary.

Avoid drastic changes in pH, as this can be harmful to your fish.

Water Hardness

Bleeding heart tetras thrive in soft to moderately hard water, with a range of 4 to 12 dGH. You can test the water hardness using a water test kit and adjust it using a water softener or buffer if necessary.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are crucial for maintaining good water quality. You should aim to change 25% of the water in your tank every two weeks.

This helps to remove excess waste, toxins, and other harmful substances from the water.

When performing water changes, make sure to use a dechlorinator to remove any chlorine or chloramines from the tap water.

Personally, I have found that maintaining good water quality is the most important factor in keeping my bleeding heart tetras healthy and happy. I always make sure to test the water regularly and perform water changes as needed. By doing so, I have been able to enjoy my beautiful fish for many years.

Tank Maintenance

Maintaining a clean and healthy tank is crucial for the well-being of your Bleeding heart tetras. Here are a few tips to help you keep your tank in top condition:

First, make sure to perform regular water changes. You should aim to change about 20-25% of the water in your tank every week. This will help remove any excess waste and toxins in the water, keeping your fish healthy and happy.

Second, keep an eye on the pH and temperature levels in your tank. Bleeding heart tetras prefer a pH level between 6.5-7.5 and a temperature between 75-82°F.

Test your water regularly and make adjustments as needed to ensure your fish are living in the optimal conditions.

Third, clean your tank regularly. Use a gravel vacuum to remove any debris from the bottom of your tank, and scrub the sides of the tank with a soft brush to remove any algae buildup.

Be sure to also clean any decorations or plants in your tank.

Fourth, consider adding a filter to your tank. A filter will help remove any excess waste and debris from the water, keeping it clean and clear. Just be sure to clean or replace the filter regularly to keep it working effectively.

Finally, keep an eye out for any signs of illness or stress in your fish. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or unusual markings, take action immediately to address the issue.

I personally find that keeping up with regular water changes and tank maintenance not only benefits my Bleeding heart tetras, but also helps me relax and unwind.

It’s a peaceful and rewarding hobby that I highly recommend to anyone interested in caring for these beautiful fish.

Tank Mates

If you’re thinking about adding Bleeding heart tetras to your aquarium, you’ll need to choose the right tank mates to ensure that your fish thrive. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting compatible fish species:

Compatible Fish Species

When it comes to choosing tank mates for your Bleeding heart tetras, you’ll want to look for fish that are similar in size and temperament. Some good options include:

Neon Tetras Care Guide pet people blog
  • Neon tetras
  • Harlequin rasboras
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Otocinclus catfish

These fish are all peaceful and won’t compete with your Bleeding heart tetras for food or territory. They also prefer similar water conditions, making it easier to maintain a healthy environment for all your fish.

Incompatible Fish Species

While there are many fish that can coexist peacefully with Bleeding heart tetras, there are also some species that should be avoided. These include:

  • Cichlids
  • Gouramis
  • Angelfish
  • Betta fish

These fish are all known for being aggressive or territorial, which can lead to stress and conflict in your aquarium. They may also require different water conditions, making it difficult to maintain a healthy environment for all your fish.

How many Bleeding heart tetras should be kept together?

When it comes to Bleeding heart tetras, it’s best to keep them in groups of at least six. This will help to reduce stress and aggression, as well as promote natural behavior and socialization.

Personally, I’ve found that keeping a group of 10-12 Bleeding heart tetras together in a 20-gallon tank provides a beautiful and peaceful display.

They swim together in a synchronized way, and their bright red coloration really pops against a dark substrate and green plants.

Remember, choosing the right tank mates is crucial for the health and happiness of your Bleeding heart tetras.

By selecting compatible fish species and keeping them in the right numbers, you can create a thriving community aquarium that you’ll enjoy for years to come.


Proper diet is essential for the health and well-being of your Bleeding heart tetra. In this section, we will discuss what to feed, frequency, and tips for feeding your fish.

What To Feed

Bleeding heart tetras are omnivores, which means they eat both plant and animal matter. You should provide a varied diet that includes both. Some good options include:

  • High-quality flake or pellet food: This should be the staple of your fish’s diet.
  • Frozen or live foods: Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia are all good options.
  • Veggies: Blanched spinach, zucchini, and peas are all great options to add some variety to your fish’s diet.

It’s important to avoid overfeeding your fish, as this can lead to health problems. Feed only what your fish can consume in 2-3 minutes, once or twice a day.


The frequency of feeding your Bleeding heart tetra will depend on their age and size. Younger fish should be fed more frequently than adults. As a general rule, feed your fish once or twice a day.

If you notice that your fish are not eating all the food within 2-3 minutes, reduce the amount of food you are feeding them.


Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when feeding your Bleeding heart tetra:

  • Remove any uneaten food after feeding to prevent it from fouling the water.
  • Rotate the types of food you feed your fish to provide a varied diet.
  • Consider using a feeding ring or target feeding to ensure that all your fish get enough food.

Personally, I have found that my Bleeding heart tetras are very active and curious when it comes to feeding time. They will often come to the surface to greet me and eagerly eat the food I provide. It’s a great feeling to see them healthy and happy!

Common Diseases


Bleeding heart tetras are generally hardy fish but can still be susceptible to a few common diseases.

One of the most common diseases is ich, which is caused by a parasite that manifests as white spots on the fish’s body.

Another common disease is fin rot, which is caused by bacteria and can cause the fins to become ragged and discolored.

Dropsy is also a common disease, which is caused by a bacterial infection that leads to swelling and bloating of the fish’s body.


If your bleeding heart tetra is suffering from ich, you will notice small white spots on the body and fins. With fin rot, the fins will become ragged and discolored, and the fish may become lethargic.

If your fish has dropsy, you will notice swelling and bloating of the body, as well as pinecone-like scales.


If you notice any of these symptoms in your bleeding heart tetra, it’s important to act quickly to prevent the disease from spreading to other fish in the tank.

Treatments for ich include raising the temperature of the tank and adding medication to kill the parasite. For fin rot, it’s important to keep the water clean and treat with antibiotics.

Dropsy is a more serious disease, and treatment may require antibiotics and isolating the affected fish.


The best way to prevent diseases in your bleeding heart tetras is to maintain a clean and healthy tank environment.

This includes regular water changes, keeping the tank properly aerated and filtered, and monitoring the water quality.

It’s also important to avoid overfeeding your fish, as excess food can lead to poor water quality and increase the risk of disease.

Personal Anecdote: I once had a bleeding heart tetra that developed fin rot due to poor water quality. After treating the water and adding antibiotics, the fish made a full recovery and is still swimming happily in my tank today.

Signs of a Healthy Bleeding Heart Tetra

When you bring home a bleeding heart tetra, you want to make sure it is healthy and happy. Here are some signs to look for:

  1. Active and Alert: A healthy bleeding heart tetra will be active and alert. It will swim around the tank and explore its surroundings. If you notice your tetra hiding or not moving much, it could be a sign of illness.
  2. Bright Colors: Bleeding heart tetras have vibrant red and silver colors. A healthy tetra will have bright, bold colors. If you notice your tetra’s colors are dull or faded, it could be a sign of poor health.
  3. Clear Eyes: A healthy bleeding heart tetra will have clear, bright eyes. Cloudy or sunken eyes can be a sign of illness.
  4. Healthy Fins: Check your tetra’s fins for any signs of damage or discoloration. A healthy tetra will have smooth, intact fins.
  5. Healthy Appetite: A healthy bleeding heart tetra will have a good appetite. It will eagerly eat food and compete with other fish for food. If you notice your tetra is not eating or is losing weight, it could be a sign of illness.

Remember, the best way to keep your bleeding heart tetra healthy is to provide it with a clean and well-maintained tank.

Regular water changes and proper filtration are essential for your tetra’s health and well-being.

Personally, I have found that my bleeding heart tetras are happiest when they have plenty of hiding spots and plants to explore.

I like to provide them with a variety of live plants and decorations to create a natural environment for them to thrive in.

Signs Your Bleeding Heart Tetra Is Sick

If you want your bleeding heart tetra to live a long and healthy life, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of illness. Here are some things to look for:

First, keep an eye on your tetra’s behavior. If it’s swimming erratically or seems to be struggling to stay afloat, it could be a sign of illness.

You should also watch for any changes in appetite – if your tetra isn’t eating, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

Another thing to look for is changes in your tetra’s appearance. If it has any visible wounds or sores, it could be a sign of infection.

You should also watch for any changes in color or texture – if your tetra’s scales are looking dull or it’s developing any growths, it could be a sign of a more serious health issue.

Finally, keep an eye out for any unusual behavior or symptoms. If your tetra is gasping for air at the surface of the water or seems to be struggling to breathe, it could be a sign of a respiratory problem.

You should also watch for any signs of parasites or other infections, such as white spots or fuzz on your tetra’s body.

Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet’s health. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important to take action right away.

Consult with a veterinarian or an experienced fish keeper to determine the best course of action for your bleeding heart tetra.

Personally, I once had a bleeding heart tetra that suddenly stopped swimming with the rest of the school and seemed to be struggling to stay afloat. After doing some research, I realized it could be a swim bladder issue. I quarantined the fish and fed it a diet of peas, which helped alleviate the problem. It’s important to stay vigilant and take action when you notice something is off with your fish.


Breeding Setup

Before you start breeding bleeding heart tetras, you need to set up a breeding tank.

The breeding tank should be at least 10 gallons and should have a sponge filter to keep the water clean.

You should also add some plants to the tank to provide hiding places for the fish.

Bleeding Heart Tetra 3

When setting up the breeding tank, make sure the water temperature is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pH level is between 6.5 and 7.0.

You should also add a heater to the tank to maintain a stable water temperature.

How To Breed

Breeding bleeding heart tetras is relatively easy. To breed the fish, you need to introduce a male and female into the breeding tank. The male will start to chase the female around the tank, and they will eventually spawn.

Once the eggs have been laid, the parents should be removed from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs will hatch in 24 to 48 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming in another 24 to 48 hours.


Once the fry are free-swimming, you should feed them small amounts of infusoria or liquid fry food several times a day. As they grow, you can start to feed them brine shrimp or crushed flakes.

Make sure to keep the water in the breeding tank clean by doing frequent water changes. You should also remove any uneaten food from the tank to prevent it from fouling the water.

My personal anecdote: I found breeding bleeding heart tetras to be a fun and rewarding experience. Watching the parents care for their eggs and fry was fascinating, and it was exciting to see the fry grow and develop over time.

Product recommendations for Bleeding Heart Tetra:

  1. Hikari Micro Pellets– This is a high-quality fish food that is perfect for Bleeding Heart Tetra. It contains all the essential nutrients that your fish need to stay healthy and vibrant.
  2. API Aquarium Water Test Kit – It is important to keep an eye on the water quality in your aquarium, and this test kit makes it easy to do so. It includes tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH.
  3. Seachem Prime – This is a water conditioner that helps to detoxify ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your aquarium. It is safe for use with Bleeding Heart Tetra and other fish.
  4. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum – If you plan on keeping live plants in your aquarium, this substrate is a great choice. It provides the nutrients that plants need to thrive, and also helps to maintain a stable pH.
  5. AquaClear Power Filter – This filter is highly effective at removing debris and maintaining water quality in your aquarium. It is also very quiet and easy to maintain.
  6. Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer– This device makes it easy to perform regular water changes in your aquarium. It is designed to be safe and easy to use, and can help to keep your Bleeding Heart Tetra healthy.
  7. Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter – This is a small and efficient filter that is perfect for smaller aquariums housing Bleeding Heart Tetra. It is easy to install and maintain, and will keep the water in your aquarium clean and healthy.
  8. NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light  – This LED light is perfect for illuminating your aquarium and showcasing your Bleeding Heart Tetra. It is energy-efficient and easy to install.
  9. Tetra Whisper Air Pump – This air pump is perfect for providing your Bleeding Heart Tetra with the oxygen they need to thrive. It is quiet and energy-efficient, and easy to install.


Caring for Bleeding Heart Tetras can be a rewarding experience. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that your fish are healthy, happy, and thriving. Remember to maintain a consistent water temperature, provide a balanced diet, and keep the aquarium clean to prevent disease and stress.

One thing I have learned from my experience with Bleeding Heart Tetras is that they are very social fish. They thrive in groups of six or more, and they love to explore their surroundings. Watching them interact with each other and their environment can be a fascinating and entertaining experience.

When it comes to breeding Bleeding Heart Tetras, it can be a bit challenging, but it’s definitely worth the effort. If you’re up for the challenge, make sure to provide the right conditions for breeding, such as a separate breeding tank, the right water parameters, and plenty of hiding places for the eggs.

Overall, Bleeding Heart Tetras are a great choice for any aquarium enthusiast. They are beautiful, peaceful, and relatively easy to care for. With a bit of effort and attention, you can create a thriving and healthy environment for your fish to call home.


As a Bleeding heart tetra owner, you may have some questions about the care of your fish. Here are some frequently asked questions:

Q: What should I feed my Bleeding heart tetra?

A: Bleeding heart tetras are omnivores, so they will eat a variety of foods. You can feed them flakes, pellets, freeze-dried foods, and live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. It’s important to provide a varied diet to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients.

Q: How often should I feed my Bleeding heart tetra?

A: You should feed your Bleeding heart tetra small amounts twice a day. Overfeeding can lead to health problems and poor water quality.

Q: What temperature should the water be for my Bleeding heart tetra?

A: The ideal temperature range for Bleeding heart tetras is between 72-79°F (22-26°C). It’s important to maintain a stable temperature to prevent stress and disease.

Q: Do Bleeding heart tetras need a lot of space?

A: Bleeding heart tetras are active swimmers and should be kept in a group of at least 6 in a tank that is at least 20 gallons. They need plenty of swimming space and places to hide.

Q: Can I keep Bleeding heart tetras with other fish?

A: Yes, Bleeding heart tetras are peaceful fish and can be kept with other peaceful community fish. Avoid keeping them with aggressive or fin-nipping fish.

Personal Anecdote: I have kept Bleeding heart tetras in my community tank for several years, and they have been a joy to watch. They are always active and playful, and they get along well with my other fish. By providing them with a varied diet and a suitable environment, they have thrived and brought me many hours of enjoyment.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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