Bloodfin Tetra: Ultimate Guide (Care, Breeding, Diet & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

Bloodfin Tetra is a stunning freshwater fish that’s largely appreciated by beginner-level aquarists because of its manageable care requirements. These species are fast becoming many aquarists’ favorite freshwater Tetra, and rightly so.

If you were to spot them in a home aquarium, you would be amazed by their beautiful, distinct coloration, that’s even more pronounced as they swim in unison.

For many aquarists, the search for stunning Tetra species usually ends with the standard Neon Tetras, but true fish lovers will tell you that the cute, little Bloodfins have a lot more to them than what meets the eye.

But what would it take to keep them happy and satisfied in captivity? That’s the real question.

This guide will teach you everything you should know regarding Bloodfin Tetra care. Some aquarists have even likened the “blood” given name to the red shades on the fish’s tails. But how true are such claims?

Below, we discuss everything you should know regarding the fish’s lifespan, characteristic appearance, tank size, tank water conditions, diet, behavior, tank mates, breeding, and more!

Species Overview

Bloodfin Tetras are stunning freshwater Tetras that can add a dramatic visual appeal to your aquarium. They belong to the Characidae family and naturally occupy the Parana River basin in South America. However, they’ve also been discovered in the Amazon region, including Colombia and eastern Peru.

The chances of seeing beautiful Redfinned Tetras in a community tank are just as high as any other Tetra species in the modern fishkeeping community, given their ease of care and natural beauty.

For beginner-level aquarists, you will probably hear other cute names like Glass Bloodfin Tetra, Redfinned Tetra, and True Redfin Tetra, all of which refer to the conventional Bloodfin Tetras.

No matter the tank size, Bloodfin Tetras or Aphyocharax anisitsi, as they are sometimes known, will instantly add a sparkly look provided they have the right tank mates.

Like many Tetra species, the Bloodfin Tetras flourish in large groups where they will be the center of attention with their natural swimming prowess.

ColorSilver, red, blue
LifespanUp to 5-7 Years
Care LevelEasy
Behavior & TemperamentPeaceful
CompatibilityPeaceful community
Food and DietOmnivores
Size1.5-2 Inches
Tank SetupFreshwater with plants and rocks
Tank Size (Minimum)30 Gallons


Typically, Bloodfin Tetras live for around 5 to 8 years in captivity. This ranks them among the best performing Tetra species in terms of longevity.

However, these fish demand excellent tank after conditions to reach their full potential. You can significantly shorten their lives if you deny them ideal tank water conditions or constantly expose them to freshwater diseases.

Luckily, caring for Redfinned Tetras is easy if you understand the basic guidelines, as we will cover shortly.


Bloodfin Tetras have unique body patterns that make them stand out in captivity. This begins with a torpedo-shaped configuration with large heads. They assume a standard silver coloration with iridescent scales.

The beautiful lustrous scales emit a greenish-blue hue while reflecting bright lights from the surrounding.

Unlike many species, Bloodfin Tetras have prominent red color on their tail, anal, adipose, and dorsal fins. This hue perfectly complements the general body coloration and is just as impressive as you could imagine.

Like any ray-finned species, you must protect Bloodfin’s delicate rays from external damage.

When it comes to sexing, male Bloodfin Tetras have no notable differences compared to females. So, any slightest comparison will focus on the gill glands that are only visible in mature males. But, even this is not visible in all species.

Another way to identify Redfinned Tetras by gender is to focus on the vivid red coloration. It is more pronounced in the male species compared to the females.


A fully grown Bloodfin Tetra measures about 2 inches in captivity. This makes them a small freshwater species with manageable tank requirements.

Bloodfin Tetra Care

Bloodfin Tetras are perfect for beginner-level aquarists because of their resilience in the home aquariums. They are less demanding in captivity and will give you the best chance of experimenting with a freshwater Tetra species for the first time.

On top of that, they are just as peaceful as you would want your beautiful pet fish to be. And with all their impressive traits, it could be disappointing to expose your Tetras to substandard living conditions at home.

Keep reading to discover the simple strategies for caring for these fish in captivity;

Tank Size

Bloodfin Tetras are the perfect schooling fish that flourish with similar species inside the tank. However, stress automatically sets in if you isolate them or keep just a handful of them in a small tank.

At best, you will need a minimum of 20-gallon tank capacity to maintain your Redfin Tetras in perfect shape. Such a size is efficient enough to accommodate 5 to 7 species, even though we still recommend a bigger tank size to give your fish the best possible experience.

Water Parameters

The most impressive thing about Redfinned Tetras is their resilience. Like in the wild, these fish are less demanding in captivity and won’t have any difficulties adapting to slight shifts in tank water conditions.

Bloodfin Tetras thrive if they get the exact living conditions like in the wild. And that means a neutral pH, warmer conditions, and enough vegetation would be ideal for their new home.

Well, to cut the long story short, these are the key parameters to follow strictly when keeping the Bloodfin Tetras;

  • Water Temperatures: 64°F-82°F
  • Water Hardness: 2-3 dGH
  • pH Levels: 6.0-8.0

The key to maintaining these parameters within the recommended levels is to test the tank water status, frequently. For that reason, it would be wise to purchase a reliable aquarium testing kit to help you maintain everything within the standard range.

What to Put in Their Tank?

Now, this is your time to show your true affection to your cute-looking Redfin Tetra buddies.

As you would expect, Bloodfin Tetras prefer a comfortable tank with enough vegetation and suitable tank décor. Ideally, the primary objective when setting up the aquarium will be to recreate a natural-looking environment just like in the wild.

And there’s no better place to start than choosing the right substrate. Here, you won’t have better options than fine dark sand. Look, many will argue that moderately sized gravel is the best choice for most Tetra species. But that’s not true for Bloodfin Tetras.

Usually, a darky sandy substrate is best for mimicking the South American river beds and gives your fish surety that they are in a safe environment, free from predators and possible intruders.

After that, add the suitable live plants to complete the tank décor. From the start, it should be clear that Bloodfin Tetras crave the sight of fine natural plants for many reasons.

To begin with, natural plants provide much-needed shelter and hiding places. What’s more, such plants protect your Bloodfin Tetras from the bright lights that may sometimes impede their health in captivity.

 Here, consider a mix of tall plants and the floating types like anacharis, anubias, and Java Moss.

Like most South American Tetras, Bloodfins are active swimmers, so they will appreciate sufficient space towards the middle of the tank. Just be sure nothing is blocking their way, even when creating a compact aquarium for guaranteed security.

Furthermore, you can add artificial hiding spots using small rocks, driftwood, and plastic caves to make your fish more secure in their new home.

As far as filtration goes, Bloodfin Tetras require a powerful filter to cycle the tank water and remove harmful waste products like ammonia and nitrates.

And before we forget, Bloodfin Tetras are notorious escape artists, especially during breeding. And only a sturdy tank lid will help you prevent that.

Common Diseases

You will be delighted to discover that Bloodfin Tetras are a hardy species that won’t be bothered by any species-specific diseases.

However, the only time you must get worried is when you spot the symptoms of common freshwater fish diseases like Ich. This is a notorious stressor in the Tetra fish community that’s best controlled with frequent water testing.

Unless you take no action at all, Ich disease will never have a fatal outcome. All you have to do is get the right copper-based medications, and you can easily relieve the disease symptoms.

Also, you should quarantine the already infected species to limit Ich transmission to the rest of the population.

See, the safest way to prevent common diseases like Ich is to provide the best possible tank water conditions. So, ensure you monitor the tank water status and perform frequent cycling to ensure it is safe enough for your Bloodfin Tetras.

What Do Bloodfin Tetras Eat?

Bloodfin Tetras have a strong penchant for eating plant matter and algae in the wild. And being true omnivores, they will maintain the same feeding habits in captivity, where they readily accept pellets and flakes as the standard meal.

But just like any other fish, your Tetras would benefit from a diversified dietary plan that involves plant-based foods, proteins, and occasional snacks. For proper nourishment, be sure to supplement every diet with tubifex worms, daphnia, bloodworms, and brine shrimp.

What’s more, you should give Bloodfin Tetras light meals that they can complete in as little as 2 minutes, considering the increased risk of overfeeding. Ideally, these Tetras would be happy with a twice-a-day feeding plan.

Behavior & Temperament

Bloodfin Tetras are peaceful fish that readily accept similar-sized species as the perfect companions. They are great swimmers in captivity, and you will constantly spot them roaming freely inside the aquarium.

These fish will generally be non-aggressive for the better part of the day. However, you can occasionally notice slight aggression depending on the exact number of species at home.

Usually, this happens when there’s a noticeable size difference between the species. In such a case, the larger species will want to attack the smaller ones, causing a small fight in the process.

Luckily, such fights are never risky to the involved species. Still, you should consider removing the aggressor if the fights become a constant issue or they are serious enough to warrant your attention.

Also, Bloodfin Tetras are notorious for fin nipping. This is especially common if you keep them together with the Angelfish, Guppies, and similar fish.

Bloodfin Tetra Tank Mates

Bloodfin Tetras enjoy their own company, and you can keep as many as seven species in the same tank to have the best experience.

Keeping multiple species limits the possibility of aggression from the larger species and may help you maintain a healthy community at home. When choosing suitable tank mates, it’s important to prioritize the fish’s size, behavior, and activity levels.

Ideally, Bloodfin Tetra’s best tank mates should have the same size and portray an equally peaceful temperament the cute-looking Tetras have been praised for.

Because of their preying instincts, large, aggressive species don’t belong to a Bloodfin Tetra’s habitat. They will always try to eat your little Tetras.

As for the best tank mates, the list includes any of the following species;


Thankfully, breeding Bloodfin Tetras in captivity is a piece of cake. As the process begins, you will want to set up a new breeding tank with all the necessary elements for successful spawning.

Then, add enough plants and breeding mops to protect the eggs while leaving enough swimming space. If all the conditions are right, the adult fish will naturally pair up inside the tank before the females locate the right space for laying up to 500 eggs.

You may notice an increased jumpy movement from the female fish during this period, but that’s no call for concern. It is a normal phenomenon that shouldn’t endanger the lives of your fish as long as the tank lid is tightly sealed.

The real problem comes when the adults attempt to eat the new fry. You can prevent that by taking the fish back to the primary tank.

As soon as hatching is complete in 2 to 3 days, the baby fish will be happy with eggs sacs before turning to powdered fish food and infusoria. Later, they will try baby brine shrimp or fend for themselves.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve mastered the dos and don’ts of Bloodfin Tetra care, there could be no better time to experiment with the good-looking Tetra species.

Novice aquarists often praise these fish for a good reason, and we can’t help but recommend them to anyone looking to light up their tanks with a gorgeous-looking, low-maintenance species.

They are fun to watch at home and will add the sparkle look your aquarium so badly needs. If you’ve ever kept Bloodfin Tetras or any other freshwater Tetra before, you will know the true definition of an easy-peasy species.

For novice aquarists looking to experiment with the nice-looking Red Fin Tetras, what are you waiting for?