4cm - 5cm
6.6 - 7.8
They distinguish themselves by the red spot on their sides, commonly known as a “heart,” which gives the species its popular name “bleeding heart” tetra. Being schooling fish, they are very active and will surely turn out to be your aquarium’s main attraction.
Its original habitat is the Amazon River Basin and other river basins in South America and Columbia, but they are very easily bred in aquariums as well.
The Bleeding Heart Tetra’s usual life span is between 3-5 years and it reaches up to 3 inches in length. Females are usually more full bodied and males have a larger dorsal fin.
The minimum tank for a small school of Bleeding Heart Tetras (4-6 fish) is about 20 gallons. Water should be kept around 72-80° Fahrenheit and pH should be slightly alkaline, between 6.5-7.0.
They will usually swim through the bottom to middle areas of the aquarium, so if you see your fish swimming towards the surface, this means they do not have enough oxygen and you should take care of that matter immediately.
Bleeding Heart Tetras only display their best colors when feeling secure, so make sure water parameters stay the same. Also, provide a lot of plants and hiding places, subtle lighting and dark gravel to make them feel more at ease.
Feeding your Bleeding Heart Tetra
Food for this fish species is pretty easy to find, as they accept any food usually given to tropical fish: live food, flakes, freeze-dried, or frozen food. If you plan to give them flakes or crisps as their main diet, try to offer them extra protein occasionally by giving them frozen or live foods.
Also, as they are opportunistic feeders and usually eat vegetable material in the wild, you could give them chopped lettuce leaves as an occasional treat. They should be fed several times during a day, but never give them more than they can eat in 3 minutes.
First of all, make sure you keep an established school of tetras, as their best behavior and distinctive color patterns can only be seen in small to large groups.
Other tetra varieties could be the best tank mates for your Bleeding Hearts and would also help them stand out, as most of the tetras have slim bodies, unlike the Bleeding Heart Tetra, which has a larger, flatter body.
Also, you can choose tetras of different colors to add variety to your aquarium.
Smaller or same-sized fish would make great companions for your tetras, as they will not be intimidated or harassed by them. Danios, cherry barbs, Rasboros, and some bottom dwellers such as some loaches or cories are usually peaceful fish that could live happily alongside Bleeding Heart tetras.
Try to avoid placing less active species, like dwarf cichlids, as a tetras fast movements can cause them a lot of stress.
Also, larger fish, especially cichlids that are particularly aggressive and territorial, could find your tetras to be a tasty meal and chase them around.