Bleeding Heart Tetra

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Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma - (Fowler, 1943)
Bleeding Heart Tetra

From the Upper Amazon, an ideal beginner's fish best kept in schools.


One of the best-liked tetras in the aquarium hobby, the Bleeding Heart is well-known for the bright-red, heart-shaped spot just behind the gill cover. It is a hardy species that is easy to care for and a reliable schooling fish for beginners. A number of similar species may be sold under the same common name.

Family: Characidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: The Bleeding Heart Tetra prefers a shadowy tank, with clumps of larger plants on the sides and back, and smaller varieties in front, leaving lots of open area in the center for the fish to swim.

Maximum length: 7 cm (3 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 38 L (10 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Mid-level.


A relatively undemanding species, the Bleeding Heart Tetra will eat just about any of the commonly available prepared foods. Provide a wide variety of commercial meaty fare, including good-quality flakes, frozen or freeze-dried foods. Supplement its diet with small live foods, such as bloodworms and brine shrimp and herbivore foods that contain Spirulina.

Aquarium Compatibility

A schooling species best kept in groups of at least three and only with mild-mannered community fishes. It is sensitive to poor water conditions, so regular water changes are a must.


Scatters adhesive eggs but is not easy to spawn. Males have extended dorsal and anal fins, and brighter colors.


Include a dark gravel substrate and decorate with driftwood.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW