Maximum size : 8 cm

Bleeding Heart Tetra - Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The captivating Bleeding Heart Tetra (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma) is a relatively hardy, active, and peaceful fish species that can, at times, exhibit a hint of shyness. With their unique and striking appearance, these fish are highly sought-after, instantly recognizable by the small, heart-shaped red spot adorning their sides.

To ensure the well-being and comfort of the Bleeding Heart Tetra, it is essential to keep them in small groups within the aquarium. A sense of security and camaraderie among their own kind helps them thrive and remain stress-free. Isolation can lead to aggressive behaviour, such as fin-nipping of other fish, and increased stress levels that may ultimately result in fatalities. 

The optimal cohabitation of Bleeding Heart Tetras entails their companionship with Tetra species of comparable size, as well as Hatchetfish, Pencilfish, Corydoras Catfish, and non-predatory Cichlids of modest to moderate dimensions.

Adequate aquarium furnishing entails the incorporation of abundant bogwood and meticulously arranged areas of dense vegetation to meticulously replicate their native habitat. Unlike several tetra species, their habitat preference encompasses the lower strata of the aquarium, often manifesting in loosely spaced congregations positioned above the substrate.

The Bleeding Heart Tetra is characterized by its robust physique within the Tetra family. The chromatic spectrum of its deep body hues spans from beige to orange to silvery lavender. Its most prominent feature, and the origin of its nomenclature, is an eye-catching crimson patch adorning its flank, frequently assuming the configuration of a heart shape.

Bleeding Heart Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Discerning between male and female Bleeding Heart Tetras is a straightforward process, thanks to their distinctive physical characteristics. Males exhibit notably elongated anal and dorsal fins, while females possess shorter, rounded fins. Additionally, females tend to have a more robust, fuller body compared to their male counterparts. These marked differences make it easy for aquarists to identify and appreciate the unique attributes of each gender within this captivating species.

Featured Male
Featured Female
Female Male

Quick Facts

Scientific NameHyphessobrycon erythrostigma
Year Described1943
Other NamesSpotfin Tetra, Punto Rojo
OriginsPeru , Colombia
Max Size8 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.5 - 7.5
GH 5 - 15
TDS 50 - 150
Ideal Temperature
72 - 82
22 - 27

Natural Habitat

The captivating Bleeding Heart Tetras can be found in the shaded, slow-moving tributaries of forest lakes and streams throughout Columbia and Peru, where they inhabit the thickly vegetated river bends and creeks of the Upper Amazon.

These fish prefer to live in areas where deep and shallow waters meet, where you'll find submerged wood in the form of roots and fallen branches, along with overhanging vegetation. The highly acidic waters, a result of decaying vegetation, and sandy substrate create the perfect habitat for these fish to thrive. 


Breeding the Bleeding Heart Tetra in a home aquarium can be somewhat challenging, albeit not impossible. Females may often be unresponsive to males' advances, and rearing the fry can prove difficult. Although breeding within a community aquarium is feasible with ample plant coverage to protect the fry from predation, it is more practical to designate a separate tank for this purpose.

For optimal breeding conditions, maintain slightly acidic water and raise the temperature a few degrees above average. These adjustments will foster a conducive environment for reproduction.

After the Bleeding Heart Tetras have laid their eggs, which typically hatch in approximately 2 to 3 days, it is crucial to remove the parents from the tank to prevent them from preying on the fry. By carefully managing these factors, successful breeding of this intricate species can be achieved.

Diet & feeding

The Bleeding Heart Tetra thrives on a diverse diet that caters to its specific nutritional needs. These fish readily consume a range of suitably-sized commercial aquarium foods, in addition, to live or freeze-dried bloodworms and blanched lettuce leaves. As they occasionally forage at the bottom of the aquarium, sinking pellets also serve as an appealing option for their dietary regimen. To ensure optimal health, it is recommended that the Bleeding Heart Tetra be fed multiple times throughout the day. By providing a balanced and varied diet, you can promote the well-being and vitality of this captivating species.

Other Tetras of interest