Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma

Bleeding heart tetra

Bleeding heart tetra, Hyphessobrycon erythrostigmaBleeding heart tetra, Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma
Photos by Andy Rapson


Hyphessobrycon: Greek, hyphesson, -on, -on = a little smaller + Greek, bryko = to bite.

General Notes:

Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma is a reliably peaceful species and good community fish in a well established aquarium. With good care you can expect a life span of around five years. To see these fish at their best use a dark substrate and subdued lighting, decorate the tank with bogwood roots or branches and leave some open swimming space. As with most other tetras Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma is a shoaling species and they appreciate being kept in a group of five or more. Try if possible to keep more females than males.


Wild Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma feed on worms, crustaceans and plants. In captivity they relish lots of live or frozen food and a good quality flake food which will ensure a balanced diet. Their colours will be seen at their best when a varied diet is offered.


Mature male Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma are larger and have more vibrant colours than the females. Mature males also have extended dorsal and anal fins.


There are no confirmed reports about Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma being bred in the home aquaria.

Wild status

The status of wild populations of Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma have not been evaluated but the fish is commercially bred in large numbers.

Information at a glance

pH: 5.6 - 7.2
dGH: 2 - 12
Temperature: 23 - 28°C (74 - 82°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 6cm (2.5in)
Min tank size: 100 litres
Difficulty level: Easy
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Middle

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Bleeding heart tetra, Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma

Origin: South America: Upper Amazon River basin

Habitat: Sluggish rivers and stream, also found in lakes. Usually close to fallen branches in both black water and white water.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Characiformes
Family: Characidae
Genus: Hyphessobrycon
Species: H. erythrostigma

Common name:
Bleeding heart tetra

Synonyms: Hemigrammus erythrostigma, Hyphessobrycon rubrostigma