April 6

Bloodfin Tetra – Care, Feed, Breeding, Diseases


Bloodfin tetras are ray-finned schooling fish that are found in abundant supply in South American waters. Their body has green coloration while the fins are red. They are very active and peaceful freshwater fish.

They enjoy swimming at the middle and top levels of the tank and may even attempt to jump out which is why a tank cover is of necessity. They are often recommended for beginner aquarists.

They can survive in a wide range of water parameters, including low temperature. They are quite fertile but lack parental instinct. They are indeed worth having in the home aquarium for their display of colors. Keep reading to discover how you can breed and care for these easy-going creatures. Additionally, we shed light on their characteristics, behavioral patterns, feeding habits, tank requirements, and tank mates.


Are you fond of keeping colorful fishes for your vivarium collection?

Have you heard about Bloodfin Tetra?

Are you planning to keep Bloodfin Tetra in your aquarium?

If your answer to all of the above questions is “Yes,” then read on.

In this article, we are going to discuss the magnificent Bloodfin Tetra fish which you can keep in your aquarium. These fishes are no doubt a wonderful treat for the eyes, but they need a bit of care as well.

Bloodfin Tetra is an excellent hardy type vivarium fish that are quite admired by vivarium hobbyists worldwide. They are also known as glass bloodfin, bloodfin, red finned tetra, red finned characin, and Argentine bloodfin. Although both the body and fins have a silver color, the fin variants namely caudal, dorsal, adipose, and anal types are generally red in color. For mature male species, you will see gill glands and hooks over the anal fins. This fish is scientifically called Aphyocharax anisitsi.

Bloodfin Tetra in a nutshell

Where did they originate from?

Bloodfin Tetras are generally found in the Amazon Basin (Northern & Western region), Colombia (Southeastern region), Brazil (Western region), Argentina (Rio Panara Basin region), and Peru (Eastern region). Although they have their presence in streams (mostly acidic), narrow tributaries, and rivers, they prefer being in those with sufficient overhanging vegetation and shades.

How do you care for a Bloodfin Tetra fish?

Bloodfin Tetra is omnivorous in nature, and you need to ensure that the water environment where they exist should have moderate movement. They need a normal to moderate level of lighting in the fish tank. For the beginners in aquarium hobbyists, this small and vibrant fish tops the list as it demands lesser care and is easily manageable. You may easily keep them at your home, school, hobby center, or community centers.

For giving the tetras a healthy breeding environment, make sure that the P.H. factor of the water is 6-8 and it has a hardness of about 2-3 dGH. Along with that, try maintaining the temperature of around 64 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

You may even keep them inside aquariums that have no heater. But do not forget to install a heater inside the fish tank as the tetras are always affected by temperature fluctuations. To do so, you may opt for plants like java moss that will give them a congenial environment similar to that of Latin American river basins.

A matured fish if taken proper care can grow up to 5.51 cm long and can live up to ten years or more. As these fishes are peaceful in behavior, the care level it requires is quite comfortable for a first-timer aquarium hobbyist. You may easily nurture the fish in all types of tanks. But for accommodating school sizes of 5 to 7 tetras and better maintenance, make sure that the tank size should be of minimum 20 gallons.

Also, you should always prefer the one which has a larger space with enough swimming area. Bloodfin Tetra has a habit of swimming in the middle and upper sections of the tank. So, you can easily plant some trees in the lower strata to ensure privacy and better breeding.

    In fact, the fishes in South America are used to living in warm rivers that meander through forests and have leaves falling into the substrate. The dense forest often canopies the sunlight, thereby giving the fishes much-needed vivid darkness. It’s better to create a habitat in your tank very similar to the original one if you want to ensure good breeding and living conditions.

    How will you feed the fish?

    Bloodfin Tetra likes to be fed on worms and insects that live in the wild. Well, you may feed them traditional flake food, but for the best outcome on growth, let them feed on tubifex worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, frozen food, and occasionally dried food. Remember, you need to ascertain that they get the required amount of nutrition. Since they are omnivorous in nature, it is best if you can feed them with alternative carnivore food along with plant or vegetable.

    Since the fish is very active, you must concentrate on the amount of food it requires. But, still, make sure that whatever food you give, they should consume it within 2-3minutes. Some hobbyists often feed them 2-3 times a day. As a caregiver, you must understand one thing clearly and that is the stomach of a fish is as tiny as a pinhead. So give them an appropriate amount of food and see that they consume whatever given.

    Sometimes, fishes tend to die due to overfeeding. Since fishes do not understand the proper amount to gulp, over-feeding might be a cause of their death.

    What will you do to make the fish breed successfully?

    If these fishes do not breed, your cost will definitely increase as some fishes die due to the slightest negligence. The Bloodfin Tetras are egg layers, and they love privacy during breeding. As a passionate hobbyist, you need to ensure that the lighting remains very low and the water is more on the acidic type.

    You must concentrate a lot on their feeding habits during breeding. Give them foods that are of high quality and nutrient-rich. Something like brine is very much recommended. You must also keep a lot of plants to ensure proper oxygenation and healthy breeding habit of the fishes in the tank. The fishes will lay 300-500 eggs, and those will be laid over the plants present in the fish tank.

    When you see eggs in the fish tank, make sure that you remove the parent fishes from the tank. Keep the fries separately; else the parent fish might end up gulping their own fries.

    What diseases can affect the Bloodfin Tetra fishes?

    Bloodfin Tetras are quite hardy fish. If you can take good care and provide balanced food, they will hardly fall ill. Make sure that your tetras are not out in any stressful conditions; else that will definitely reduce the immunity of the fish.

    Well, they might be affected by normal diseases that can be borne through parasites. They can be affected by protozoa, skin flukes, and bacterial infections. But if the disease gets detected early, it’s possible to get rid of it. In case you introduce new fishes in the tank, please ensure that you go through the quarantine procedures first.

    Most fishes are affected by a fish disease called neon tetra.

    If your fish gets affected, then you will observe the following changes:

    •    Your fish will become restless.

    •    Fish will slowly lose its characteristic coloration.

    •    As the cyst spreads, the body starts developing a lump.

    •    The fish will face difficulty while swimming.

    •    The spine of the fish will become curved in a slow course.

    •    You will observe secondary infections like fin rotting and bloating.

    If your fish is affected, there is no treatment as such except that the fish has to be removed from the community tank so that other fishes do not get affected.

    How to prevent the neon tetra disease of fish?

    The only prevention to dying fishes is that you don’t buy fishes in sick condition. For that, you may avoid buying fishes online. In fact, when you want to introduce new fishes, always make sure they are disease-free. So, before introducing new fishes in the tank, make sure that they are properly quarantined for long so as to check they are disease-free or not. It also helps the fish to adjust to the tank temperature.

    To be on the safe side, you must maintain the high water quality of the tank and buy balanced food only. Buying low-cost fish food will end up in having contaminants. So it’s advisable to avoid them.

    What sort of habitat do you need to ensure for a Bloodfin Tetra?

    Bloodfin Tetras are not the type of fish that will enjoy unfiltered light. In fact, these small elegant swimmers like to circle in areas where there are a good collection of plants and the lights pass through several strata. If you want the fishes to stay and breed well, then place some aquatic weeds for a better habitat.

    Bloodfin Tetras are not the type of fish that will enjoy unfiltered light. In fact, these small elegant swimmers like to circle in areas where there are a good collection of plants and the lights pass through several strata. If you want the fishes to stay and breed well, then place some aquatic weeds for a better habitat.

    Floating Plants: You may plant some water lettuce to ensure a perfect mat for the fishes. They will ensure that enough light passes through the bottom strata of the fish tank. Besides, you should observe that the plants are not degrading the health of the fishes; in that case, remove the weeds and ensure good health for the fish. If the floating plants are getting rotten due to being at the bottom for a longer period of time, then you must remove them.

    Bottom Plants:  Being a hobbyist, you must look for broad-leaved aqua plants as these are suitable for Bloodfin Tetra, especially when they want to lay eggs. If you can combine portions of broadleaf Anubias with narrow leaf Anacharis that will satiate both sides of their taste. In fact, you need to ascertain that your fish tank has plentiful greens so that the fishes have a congenial environment for movement as well as breeding.

    Plants that serve as Hideouts:  Bloodfin Tetra fishes are shy and tend to get scared quickly. They are fond of hiding against leaves in the fish tank. If you include decorations in your fish tank, you’re sure to make a better place for the fishes. You can make decorations in your tank in the form of caves, coves, and even castles. With that done, you can be assured that you have made a safe shelter for your shy Bloodfin Tetra fish. In fact, they like running to safe shelters when other fish chases them.  Well, can we assume that even fishes love to play hide and seek!

    Swimming Space for the Fishes: Bloodfin Tetras require enough space to hide as well as to swim. So check if you have placed the taller plants at the back adding some small weeds at the bottom. Remember, these are only a part of your decoration to ensure the fish swims freely. In fact, Bloodfin Tetras are uncomfortable in cases where they are claustrophobic between plants. They would be stressed and won’t swim with total peace.

    Substrate: If you can make a dark substrate, that will help darken the tank and serve as the Bloodfin Tetra’s natural habitat. It will help to bring bright colors to your tetras. But do not forget to clean the tank in a day or two every time as the debris is more prominent in the dark background.

    Bloodfin Tetras are generally very friendly with other tank mates and are a great addition to community fishes. They get easy going with community mates when kept in larger tanks. You will see them nibbling the tails of other tank mates who are slow movers. 

    However, try to make sure that you keep them inside tanks that are at least 20 inches in breadth and have over 15 gallons of water. They do well inside a tank that has rosette-type plants. You can place Vallisneria and Sagittaria plants but make sure they remain inside the perimeter so that there is enough space for the fish to swim around. Bloodfin Tetras are energetic in nature, and they require more space as well as food.

    How do Bloodfin Tetras behave while they are in a fish tank?

    Generally, the Bloodfin Tetras are a social fish, and they seem to be more comfortable moving in groups. Hence, they feel secure when put in a school of similar fishes. They are active, but as their size is small, it might be advantageous for you to put them in tanks along with other fishes.  It’s a familiar sight to see them nib each other while swimming in groups.

    You might observe that while you release a shoal of fish inside the tank, one of them tends to be more ’bossy’ than the other ones. Similarly, while feeding, the dominant one normally chases the weaker fishes.

    Sometimes, this behavior of shoal of fishes also becomes the cause of death of some fishes of the school. To avoid that, we recommend removing the active boss for some time and letting the others rest. Later, when the others are settled, you may place the boss back to the fish tank. Repeat this practice if you see the health of the majority is affected. It’s more or less like removing a naughty child from the class for some time!

    Who can be the best aquarium mates for Bloodfin Tetras?

    Since Bloodfin Tetras are smaller fishes that can grow a maximum of 2 inches, they are vulnerable to the risk of being swallowed by their bigger counterparts. You will generally observe that tetras are shy and peace-loving in nature and they are most comfortable in a school of 6. In fact, if you notice one in the group acting bit boisterous, try removing that as your tetras might get stressed.

    If you wish to keep a school size of more than 6, you might observe that the fishes often nib at those that are slow-moving. So, it’s always advisable to keep fishes of similar types and resort to smaller school sizes.

    In fact, tetras are a type of fish that is more comfortable living in a school size with mates of their own kind. However, larger fishes can often stress them or even eat them as food.

    And, in case you want to keep tank-mates, then keep either shrimp or crabs which always remain in the lower strata of the tank. As they are peace-loving aquatic animals and never confront others, your Bloodfin Tetras will continue to stay active and stress-free always.

    Why Bloodfin Tetra is an excellent choice for a first-time aquarium hobbyist?

    Now, that you have all the details, let me also tell you why is it is great for a newbie in fish-keeping to choose Bloodfin Tetra for their loved aquarium.

    i) These fishes are easy to keep as they are hardy types requiring little care for their up-keeping.

    ii) They are friendly social aquatic creatures, so you may easily keep them with other fishes, but take care that they should not be too big. Big fishes can gulp the smaller ones. Also, always prefer selecting a school of equal-minded tetras otherwise they might nibble on the slower ones.

    iii) The decoration of a fish tank is comparatively easier as you may opt for rosette-type plants and try coloring the substrate for the fish to swim freely.

    iv) You don’t need to buy any special food for these fishes and feeding them once in 2-3 days is just enough. In fact, combining plants and other fishes eats can be the best combination.

    v) There’s no need to bother about lighting in the fish tank as the tetras love shades being the original inhabitant of Latin American river basins.

    vi) Since tetras swim in the middle and upper strata of the fish tank, you may easily keep other fishes that like swimming in the lower strata.

    vii) If you can mend well, then tetras can live till 10 years also in the same fish tank with other fishes. So your cost of maintenance goes down as well. Besides, there are no hassles to buy new fishes every year.

    viii) It’s easy to identify the male fishes as they are generally more colorful than their female counterparts. If you can create a congenial environment and successfully make them breed, they will no doubt grow in numbers in the same tank thereby lessening your buying cost.

    ix) Bloodfin tetras are conveniently available. You may find them in stores, both physical and online. With that said, it can’t get better if you get to buy healthy ones from online stores. You will have a great choice of healthy fishes that can live socially with other creatures as well.

    I’m sure that anyone reading this article will find all the necessary information regarding raising and caring Bloodfin Tetra fishes. Now, all you need is to get one for your aquarium today.

    Bloodfin Tetra FAQs 

    How big do Bloodfin Tetras get?

    Bloodfin tetras have a small body, measuring between 5-5.5 cm long at maturity in the home aquarium. So, ordinarily, bloodfin tetras should fit into a nano tank of about 38 liters, but this may not always hold true due to the fact that they are schooling fish and would need space to freely swim about.

    Are Bloodfin Tetras Hardy?

    Bloodfin tetras are generally peaceful but may put up aggressive tendencies in response to getting cramped - as a result of the tank getting overstocked. They love to swim together in groups as they are schooling fish species, and would usually nip at each other’s tail. They are very active, often display their jumping skills while in the tank.

    What do Bloodfin Tetras eat?

    Bloodfin tetras are omnivorous in their feeding orientation hence you can have a mix of any of these foods: flakes, dried feeds, daphnia, frozen feeds, brine shrimps, tubifex, insect larvae, and crustaceans - in good proportion. Bloodfin tetras are quite fastidious; plus proteinous and fatty foods are really beneficial for their growth and development.

    How long do Bloodfin tetras live?

    On average, the lifespan of the bloodfin tetra is between 5-8 years. However, if the water parameters are optimally maintained and the right (balanced) diet is provided on a regular basis, this fish can live up to 10 or more years in the home aquarium.


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