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Bleeding Heart Tetra
(Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma)

bleeding heart tetra, Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma

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The Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma is more commonly known as the bleeding heart tetra because of the red mark in the center of their body. They are members of the family Characidae more commonluy refer to as Characids.  Their natural habitat is the Amazon River. They are members of the Characidae family.

Bleeding hearts are a smaller variety of fish. They only reach a length of two or three inches when fully grown. This makes them perfectly suited for smaller desktop or wall mounted aquariums.

Tetras are egg laying fish. But the bleeding heart rarely breeds in captivity. Unlike the black skirt tetra, it is easy to tell males from females in the bleeding hearts. The females tend to have smaller dorsal fins than the males. The males’ dorsal fin can become long and flowing in adulthood. The males grow to an adult size slightly larger than females. Both sexes have that eye-catching bright red spot in the region of their heart area. Their color palette becomes more pronounced if they are fed a diet of live or frozen fish brine. Several subspecies are available commercially including a long finned variety and golden tinted tetras. Bleeding hearts have a life expectancy of around five years.

The pH levels in the Amazon River run slightly acidic. As natives to the Amazon River, bleeding heart tetras prefer soft water with a pH level around 6.8. This can be easily achieved by purchasing Tetra's Black Water extract or a similar water conditioner from your local fish specialty store. You can also filter your water through peat or add a small layer of peat to your substrate. Make sure that the peat does not have any chemical additives. It is not strictly necessary, however doing so will help insure that your bleeding hearts will live a healthy life and reach their full life span. In general, Bleeding heart tetras are a quite hardy species and will survive in a multitude of water conditions.

Bleeding heart tetras are not an aggressive species, though the males do tend to be a bit territorial. They function well in community environments as long as they are grouped with similarly docile species.

Bleeding hearts, like all tetras are shoaling fish. They travel in packs. You can add a single tetra to your aquarium. But adding four to six allows them to frolic as they would in their natural habitat. There is nothing quite so satisfying as watching a group of fish swimming in a school as they would in their natural environment.

Bleeding hearts originate from waters teaming with predators. Their slight stature delegates them relatively low in the food chain. Thus they instinctively hide among plants and debris as a survival mechanism. They thrive in well planted fish tanks. They tend to swim midlevel in your aquarium. They also tend to prefer subdued lighting.

Bleeding hearts are omnivorous. In nature they survive on a combination of plant and animal matter. They will readily eat just about any freshwater tropical fish food you choose to give them. Tetras are notorious fin nippers. They should not be kept with long finned fish species such as angelfish or bettas.

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