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Bleeding Heart Tetra

Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma


Bleeding Heart Tetra
  • Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma
  • Other Names: Spotfin Tetra
  • Family: Characidae
  • Origin: Peru
  • Adult Size: 2.5 inches (6 cm)
  • Social: Peaceful, good community fish
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Tank Level: Mid dweller
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Diet: Omnivore, eats most foods
  • Breeding: Egglayer
  • Care: Easy
  • pH: 5.6 - 7.2
  • Hardness: to 12 dGH
  • Temperature: 73-82 F (23-28 C)


Numbered among the South American species, this fish is prized for the heart shaped spot near where you'd expect the heart to be. Several sub-species exist, including a long finned variety, as well as one that is gold tinted.

All of them sport attractive fins edged in white and black, in addition to the characteristic bright red heart in the upper abdomen Although larger than many tetra species, males grow to an adult size of three inches, they are a relatively peaceful fish suitable for community tanks. Males are slightly larger than females, and have elongated dorsal and anal fins.


Found in the upper Amazon River Basin and the Rio Negro, the Bleeding Heart Tetra prefers soft acidic water. They are most comfortable in a planted tank with at least a half dozen or more of their own kind.


Undemanding, they will eat flake, freeze dried, or frozen foods. They particularly relish live foods of all types, and will develop more vibrant colors when fed a varied diet.


The Bleeding Heart Tetra has not been successfully bred in captivity.

Readers Respond: Have you kept a Bleeding Heart Tetra?

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