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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > The Tetras > Bleeding heart Tetra
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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the

South America


bleeding heart tetra

Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma


    Another of the "old time" tetras the bleeding heart is still a great specimen for any community tank. Timid and shy they must be kept in groups.

Quick stats:


    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: 2.5" (6 cm)
    Tank: 24 inches
    Strata: Bottom-middle
    PH: 5.5-7.3
    Hardness: Soft to hard. dH range: 3.0 - 12.0
    Temperature: 73 to 82°F (23-28°C)


    Order: Crpriniformes
    Suborder: Characoidei
    Family: Characidae
    Genera: Hyphessobrycon
    Species: Erythrostigma

bleeding heart tetra

Common name:

    Bleeding heart

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    South America, The Amazon and other water sheds in Colombia

General Body Form:

    Tall and disc shaped. The males dorsal fin is pointed and the end extends to form a filament, the anal fins first ray is much longer than the rest. The females dorsal fin is rounded with her anal fin front being longer.


    The upper side is orange to brown with a reddish tinge. The underside is a silvery red. The body and throat are a pinkish orange. On each side of the fish is a bright red mark ringed with a iridescent scales, this is where its common name came from. The front of the dorsal fin is red with a large black dot. The anal fin has a triangular white area. The upper half of the iris is red and the eyes have a black cross band.

    bleeding heart tetra


    Said to be sensitive to poor water conditions the bleeding heart can be a great member of a community. The tank should be well planted either using live or plastic plants and be dimmed with some floating material. They are more sensitive to light than most so an arraignment of dark colors is better . A shy fish you will need to provide hiding places but also leave open spaces for swimming. Feeding is not a problem as they will except all types of food, flake frozen or live, what is important is that you vary the food on a regular basis. Kept in groups of six or more and away from any fin nipping species the bleeding heart should b provide you with many hours of enjoyment.


    Heavily vegetated small streams and rivers of it range.


    Although it has been reported, this fish is a challenge as all conditions have to be perfect. Isolate and condition the male in a tank containing many fine leafed plants such as Myriophyllum, Cabomba and some Java moss, also include some floating material as well. After a few days introduce the female to the tank. After the mating ritual the eggs are scattered among the plants . Remove parents after eggs are laid. Fry hatch after 2-3 days and are free-swimming after a few more. They must be fed the finest of foods like baby brine and crushed flake.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Shannon
I bought 6 of these to go in my 75 gallon tank with 4 cories and a few guppies. Tank was fairly well planted with both live and fake plants. The first few days went okay, however, once they became adjusted to their new tank they became vicious. They attacked each other endlessly and killed the smaller two while I was at work in the first week. The four that were left settled into separate halves of the tank and I thought peace was found. I was wrong. They started ambushing each other and taking chunks out of their sides. Within the second week I was down to two fish. They were hunkered down on their opposite sides of the tank clearly stressed and battered. I added stress coat and continued with frequent water changes but after 2 1/2 weeks I woke up to find another dead and one completely missing. They never bothered my other fish but I wouldn't ever get these horribly mean things again. They are absolutely NOT peaceful as they are advertised.
From: Andrew Givens
In fact I've found fin-nipping to be a problem when in a shoal! In this case, I placed 6 bleeding hearts into my 102-litre 30" community at 25c and pH7 with dense planting to the rear, in a mixed community with chequer barbs, corys, scissortails and einthoven rasboras - within one hour one of my scissortails had lost it's top tail-lobe! I personally put this down to the prominent tail-flash (which the scissors seem to use for communication and presumably also as a predator-decoying 'eye dummy') drawing the BH's attention - the BH's do occasionally chew each other's dorsal fins, which also have a 'flash'. I later moved the BH's to a 120cm 180litre tank and there was no recurrence of this (and no fishes with tailflashes either...hmm) as they seemed happier with more room to move about. I've seen them at 3" and they're huge! Give them a big tank and they're great - pink with a greenish back and red spot, lovely.
From: Rowan
I have a small school of these fish (5) in my 180L planted tank along with Cherry barbs, Dwarf neon rainbowfish and a Bristlenose pleco. They are incredibly peaceful and are also very hardy. This tetra may get a bit larger than other tetras, but to watch a beautiful school of Bleeding heart tetras swimming around is more than worth a little extra waste. As with all schooling fish, Bleeding hearts must be kept in groups of at least 6. Like most tetras, Bleeding heart tetras enjoy a heavily Planted tank, and look best and are happier in larger numbers. Bleeding heart tetras are very peaceful, although fin-nipping will occur when not kept in a school.






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