Bleeding heart fish: Care, Tank Mates, Breeding & More

The best information about the bleeding heart fish

Welcome to this special page about the Bleeding Heart Fish also known as The Bleeding Heart Tetra Fish. If you need to know information about these fish, about their feeding, about their breeding or about their behaviors you will only have to review this article.

bleeding heart tetra

What does a bleeding heart fish look like?

Bleeding heart fish are large and have a tall but fairly compressed body laterally. The color of the bleeding heart fish is beige and the vast majority have reflections in green tones on their top,and reflections of red tones on the lower half. In the middle part these fish usually have a red spot and it is from here that their curious name of bleeding heart comes from.

This special feature is what distinguishes this curious species from other different fish and is also what gives them their name. The dorsal fin of the bleeding heart fish is long and less brown at the base which usually has a gray tone that pulls towards pink. The anal fin is usually metallic blue and usually has a border in black tones. These fish usually present sexual dimorphism since the dorsal fin of the male is usually sickle-shaped and is usually longer, as well as the anal fin is more pointed. On the other hand, females have a bulging belly and the anal fin is usually a lighter color.

Scientific NameHyphessobrycon erythrostigma
Other NamesSpotfin Tetra, Punto Rojo
FamilyCharacidae
GenusHyphessobrycon
OriginsSouth America
TemperamentPeaceful
Aquarium LevelBottom – Middle
DifficultyBeginner – Intermediate
ShoalingYes
Best kept asGroups 5+
DietOmnivore
ReproductionEgg-Layer
Lifespan3 – 5 years
Maximum Sizeup to 8 cm

Where do bleeding heart fish live?

This peculiar species, with really striking characteristics, is native to the Upper Amazon Basin and above all they usually inhabit streams and rivers located in Peru and Colombia, with green areas and usually always do so in groups of at least ten specimens. Therefore, specimens of bleeding fish can be found in the Amazon basin and that is why, if you are thinking of locating them in an aquarium, you should have one of sufficient capacity because they are used to living in a group and are cardumen fish, which also need to have free areas to be able to swim when they need it.

Behavior of bleeding heart fish


The bleeding heart fish has certain attitudes for each moment of its life, but in general they are usually calm fish and that can be had in an aquarium, although they are quite delicate. Learn more about the behavior of these striking fish.

How does a bleeding heart fish behave?

Bleeding heart fish are usually really peaceful animals that do not usually get into trouble, although, like most fish, they are somewhat violent, especially in the breeding season, with fish of the same species. On the other hand, they do not usually have problems with other fish of other species.

During the reproductive season their character changes and they themselves change coloration and become more reddish. It is a type of cardumen fish that usually lives in groups of about ten specimens and that reach more than four years of life. The bleeding heart fish, although it is peaceful, is also really active and prefers to live with the more specimens the better.

Bleeding heart fish in the aquarium

As explained above, they are violent fish with those of the same species, as long as they want to ensure dominance within the bank in which they live or of which they are part. The dominant fish will always be located in the internal zone or inside the bank formed with their companions, because this way they will be protected from any attack, protected by the less dominant fish that will go in the outside areas and will be the ones that will receive the attacks in case they occur.

They are therefore suitable fish to place in a community aquarium as long as these rules are respected that they are cardumen fish that live in groups and that the whole group must be introduced together in the aquarium to avoid fights for domination. In addition, the males, both before the females in the breeding season and before the rest of the fish, make various gestures to intimidate them, without harming them, unfolding the fins, accentuating their colors or putting themselves right in front of the other fish.

Aquariums for bleeding heart fish

If you have a new group of bleeding heart fish in your aquarium or you are thinking of getting one then you will find some guidelines and tips to prepare an ideal aquarium for the maintenance of this curious and beautiful fish.

Aquarium maintenance for bleeding heart fish

The bleeding heart fish is a very fast swimmer and really skilled, so it needs a fairly large aquarium. At least an aquarium of about 100 liters of capacity is recommended, although those of 80 liters can also be worthwhile. Being fish known as cardumen, bleeding heart fish need to be acquired and kept in a group. At least between ten and fifteen specimens are recommended. In addition to these water needs, these types of fish also need to have a planting area or vegetation where they can hide.

As for the arrangement of the vegetation, it should be borne in mind that the central areas of the aquarium should not be occupied with it, but that these must be free so that the fish can swim comfortably, thus chosen an aquarium of about ninety liters more or less where the vegetation will be planted marginally. As for the substrate, it is best to use it quite dark and with roots to create a good decoration.

Elements of the aquarium of the bleeding heart fish

With regard to light, it should be borne in mind that it is not excessively intense. This can be achieved naturally by simply incorporating different floating plants into the aquarium. As for filtration, it must be good, constant and efficient because these fish require excellent water quality. In addition, when the food falls to the bottom it must be removed or siphoned manually so that the water does not get dirty and lose quality.

Aquarium water should be kept between 24 and 28 degrees and pH between 5.0 and 7.0, in addition to controlling the hardness between 2 and 10 dGH. Finally, it should be noted that bleeding heart fish are usually quite delicate, so it is not a fish that can be recommended to beginners in the world of fish and aquariums.

Breeding of the bleeding heart fish

Do you have a bleeding heart specimen and would you like to try a calf? Do you want to know a little more about the reproduction of this striking animal? Take a look at the guide that you will find below because surely many of your doubts will be resolved.

Reproduction of bleeding heart fish

The bleeding heart fish is a caracid and is also oviparous. Although, like most fish of this type it is quite difficult to achieve effective reproduction in aquariums or in captivity, it should be noted that this is not impossible. These fish perform a courtship prior to laying. The males chase the female they have chosen by performing different displays and swimming provocatively around her. If the female decides that she will accept the courtship, the coupling occurs that is quite curious because the male directly surrounds the female and hits her sides.

From here the laying takes place, which in this type of fish is usually between 300 and 400 eggs. When this part of the process takes place, the parent males should be removed from the eggs since otherwise they will eat them. The eggs will hatch between 24 and 36 hours later and the fry will be able to swim free in about five days.

Tips for breeding bleeding heart fish

To ensure that all this process is carried out effectively in an aquarium, it must be taken into account to keep the water at approximately 25 degrees and with a pH of 6.5 and a GH hardness that is smaller than 10 degrees d. In addition, if you get an aquarium especially to be used for breeding, approximately 50 liters, better, being able to place a mesh on the bottom to protect the eggs of the parents. It will also be very interesting to be able to filter the water with peat and it should be noted again that after laying the parents must be separated so that they do not eat the eggs.

In addition, it will be interesting to protect the eggs from light and that once the fry are born they should be provided with some food as any type of microorganism first, which are also known as infusoria and nauplii of artemia that must hatch, when they can already swim that will be approximately five days.

Feeding the bleeding heart fish

If you are going to acquire or have a new bleeding heart fish in your aquarium, you will surely be interested to review the following information about how these types of fish feed in nature as well as what you can do to feed them effectively in your aquarium.

What do bleeding heart fish eat?

The bleeding heart fish are native to the Amazon area, more specifically from this river and some other rivers located in South America. It is for this reason, and for their special characteristics, that normally, when they are free in nature, they usually or usually feed on small insects. In addition, the bleeding heart fish is an animal that usually feeds on the surface of the water so if there is too much food and falls to the bottom of the water they will not eat it, while if it is on the surface they will feed correctly. They are omnivorous animals and usually adapt quite well to different types of food.

How to feed a bleeding heart fish

If you have a new specimen or several specimens of bleeding heart fish at home, you must provide them with dry food in the aquarium, because it accepts them correctly, just as it will accept any type of commercial food that is shaped like leaves or some type of granulate.

But apart from this, it will also be quite interesting that you can give him freeze-dried food, some type of red larva or some artemia, that is, also add to his diet on a regular basis some frozen and live foods, such as Tubifex, Daphnia or even mosquito larvae. In addition, if when your fish finishes eating there are remains and they fall to the bottom of the aquarium, unless you have some type of bottom fish sharing the aquarium with your heart fish or your bleeding heart fish, which can clean the aquarium, you should clean them, remove them or siphon the aquarium to prevent them from decomposing and the water becomes in poor condition and can damage the health of your fish.

Care of bleeding heart fish

If you are thinking of acquiring a bleeding heart fish you should review some simple tips on what you should do to effectively and correctly care for these curious specimens that seem to have a sick heart.

How to care for bleeding heart fish

The bleeding heart fish will need at least one aquarium of about eighty or one hundred liters per specimen. In addition, as they are typical shoal fish, they should normally be acquired in groups of at least ten specimens. In the aquarium of these fish should be placed enough vegetation so that they can hide and feel comfortable but without occupying the central areas, since these must be free so that the fish can swim.

As for the lighting, it will be best to dim it with some floating plants so that the fish does not feel overwhelmed. The pH of the water must also remain between five and seven and with a hardness of 2 to 10 dGH. As for the temperature, it is best to keep it between twenty-four and twenty-eight degrees. Although these fish in the wild usually feed on small insects, once in the aquarium you can offer them different commercial foods such as leaves or other granulated foods. In addition, if they need supplements, they can be given red larva or artemia.

Basic care of bleeding heart fish

You also have to be very careful since the heart fish usually feed on the surface and that is why any remains that fall to the bottom must be removed so that it does not decompose and end up infecting the aquarium, so it will be interesting to siphon the aquarium from time to time.

In the breeding season, in addition to these cares, the heart fish will need extra support with some special measures such as a special aquarium, some type of element to oxygenate the environment, soft water, a constant temperature of twenty-five degrees or to offer once the small fish are born some type of food supplement, such as microorganisms or artemia that guarantee that these animals will grow well and in optimal conditions.