Bloodfin tetra Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The bloodfin tetra (Aphyocharax anisopterus) is a freshwater fish that is native to the Amazon basin. It is a peaceful fish that is often kept in community tanks.

This fish is silver in color with a black stripe running along its body. The bloodfin tetra gets its name from the red coloration on its fins.

This fish is a popular choice for beginner aquarists because it is easy to care for. In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know about bloodfin tetra care.

Species overview

The bloodfin tetra (scientific name: Aphyocharax rathbuni) is a freshwater fish that’s native to South America. More specifically, they can be found in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins of Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela.

They prefer slow-moving waters with dense vegetation. This provides them with plenty of places to hide and forage for food.

Bloodfin tetras are very peaceful fish and get along well with most other tank mates. They are a popular choice for community tanks because of this.

The main draw of bloodfin tetras is their bright red fins. This makes them a very popular choice for freshwater aquariums.


Bloodfin tetra

The Bloodfin Tetra is one of the most popular freshwater fish in the aquarium trade. And it’s not hard to see why.

The first thing you’ll notice about this fish is their bright red fins. The fins on the Bloodfin Tetra are beautiful and really stand out (especially their caudal fin).

The body of the Bloodfin Tetra is a deep blue color. This is offset by the bright red fins and the white stripes that run along their sides. There are also black dots on their dorsal and caudal fins.

The Bloodfin Tetra is a small fish, only reaching about 2 inches in length at most. They have a long and slender body shape that’s perfect for swimming quickly.

The fins on this fish are all relatively small with the exception of the caudal fin. The dorsal and anal fins are short and close to the body. The pectoral fins are also small, but they’re a bit more noticeable.

The caudal fin is the real star of the show. It’s large and triangular in shape with beautiful red coloration.


The typical lifespan for a bloodfin tetra is between 5 and 8 years. However, there are some reports of these fish living up to 10 years in captivity.

As with most fish, their lifespan will be shortened by poor living conditions. Bloodfin tetras are very sensitive to water quality. They also don’t do well when they’re stressed. So, if you want your bloodfin tetras to live a long and healthy life, it’s important to provide them with a good environment.


The Bloodfin Tetra fish is a small freshwater fish that only grows to be about 2 inches in length when fully mature.


Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size for bloodfin tetras is 20 gallons. This is assuming you’re keeping them in a school of at least 5 or 6 fish (which you should).

We personally recommend a slightly larger tank if you can accommodate it. Every extra space will make a big difference and allow you to keep a larger school or more tank mates if you’re interested in a community tank.

Water Parameters

The Bloodfin Tetra is a freshwater fish that is native to the fast-flowing waters of South America. In the wild, they inhabit rocky streams with plenty of hiding places.

In captivity, they do best in an aquarium that has a sandy substrate with plenty of plants and hiding places. The water should be well-filtered and fresh with a moderate flow.

The ideal water parameters for Bloodfin Tetras are:

  • Water temperature: 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.0-8.0
  • Water hardness: 5-19 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 3-10 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to the inside of the tank, there are a few key things that you’ll want to consider for your Bloodfin Tetras.

The first is the substrate. Since these fish spend a good amount of time near the bottom of the tank, you’ll want to go with something that’s soft and not too abrasive.

We recommend a sand substrate, but you could also go with something like crushed coral if you’d like.

The next thing you’ll want to consider is the plants. These fish are known to nibble on vegetation, so you’ll want to go with something that can bounce back (like Hornwort or Java Moss).

You can also add some rocks and driftwood to their habitat. This will help to create some hiding spots and make the inside of the tank look a little more natural.

Just be sure that any rocks you add are smooth and won’t damage their fins.

Common Diseases

The Bloodfin Tetra is a pretty hearty fish that doesn’t often get sick. However, like any other animal, they are susceptible to disease if they’re kept in poor living conditions.

The most common disease that these fish get is ich. It’s a pretty common freshwater fish illness that is caused by a parasite.

Ich will present itself as white spots on the body of your fish. It can be pretty easily treated if caught early, but it can be deadly if left untreated.

Another disease to look out for is hole-in-the-head disease. This is another freshwater fish illness that is caused by poor water quality.

It will present itself as, you guessed it, holes in the head of your fish. It can be pretty gruesome to look at, but it’s usually not deadly if treated early.

The best way to prevent these diseases is to simply maintain the quality of the water in your tank. A tank with clean and stable water conditions is always going to be the best environment for your fish.

Behavior & Temperament

Bloodfin tetras are another fish that does best in a group. They’re very social creatures that love to be around others. In the wild, they often school together in groups of 20 or more.

In captivity, they’ll be just as happy in a group of five or more. When they’re not with their own kind, they can become shy and stressed. So, it’s best to keep them in a tank with at least a few others.

These fish are relatively peaceful. They’ll get along with most other species as long as they’re not too aggressive. They do have a reputation for nipping the fins of slow-moving fish, but that’s usually only an issue when they’re not getting enough to eat.

Bloodfin tetras are active fish that love to swim. They’ll often school together, swimming in synchronization as they move around the tank. They’re also known to be good jumpers, so be sure to keep a lid on your tank!

Tank Mates

The bloodfin tetra is a schooling fish, so it does best when kept in a group of 6 or more. It’s also relatively peaceful, so it can be kept with a wide variety of tank mates.

Some compatible species include:

  • Guppies
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Swordtails
  • Neon Tetras
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Black Neon Tetras
  • Glowlight Tetras
  • Silver Dollar Fish
  • Rummy Nose Tetras
  • Clown Loach


Bloodfin tetras are a bit more difficult to breed than some other species, but it’s still possible to do it in captivity.

To start, you’ll need to set up a breeding tank. It should hold at least 30 gallons of water and have a soft, sandy bottom. The water should be well-filtered and have a slight current.

You’ll also need to add some plants and driftwood for hiding places. Bloodfin tetras like to have a lot of places to hide.

When everything is ready, add two females for every male. Remember: Males have longer fins.

The next step is to trigger spawning. You can do this by raising the water temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and adding a lot of live foods to the tank.

Bloodfin tetras are egg-scatterers. The female will lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. Then, the eggs will sink to the bottom and hatch in about 24 hours.

Once the fry have hatched, remove the adults from the tank. The fry will feed on microscopic organisms in the water. You can supplement their diet with live foods like baby brine shrimp.

As they grow, you can gradually transition them to flake food and pellets.


The Bloodfin Tetra is an excellent choice for beginner aquarists and experienced hobbyists alike. They’re very easy to care for and can adapt to a wide range of water conditions.

They’re also a peaceful fish that will do well in most community tanks. The only real downside to them is that they’re a relatively small fish, so they may not be the best choice if you’re looking for a fish that will add a lot of visual interest to your tank.

Overall, we think the Bloodfin Tetra is a great choice for anyone looking for a low-maintenance fish that will do well in most tanks.