The Essential Care Guide for Keeping Healthy Bloodfin Tetra (Aphyocharax Anisitsi)

The Ultimate Guide to Bloodfin Tetras for owners looking to understand their behaviors, compatible tank mates, breeding, and general needs.

Bloodfin Tetra – Quick Facts

In a rush? Check out the quick facts about Bloodfin Tetra fish below.

Fish Info

Scientific NameAphyocharax anisitsi
Common NamesRedfinned Tetra, Glass Bloodfin Tetra, and True Bloodfin Tetra
AppearanceBlood (red) colored tails and fins with a silver body
DistributionSouth America: Paraná River basin, Brazil, Paraguay, southeastern Bolivia, and northern Argentina.
Lifespan4 – 8 years
Keep in Groups of5+
Tank MatesTetras or other small peaceful fish
LengthTypically 3.5 – 5 cm (Maximum Length: 5.5 cm)
Sexual Dimorphism
  • Males have gill glands
  • Males have hooks on their anal fin
Breeding DifficultyBeginner/Intermediate

Water/Tank Recommendations

Water TypeFreshwater
Water Temperature64 – 82 °F (18 – 28°C)
Water pH6.0 – 8.0
Water Hardness4 – 30 GH
Tank size20 – 30 gallons (30 – 40, ideally)


The Bloodfin Tetra is a gorgeous freshwater fish that can be a joy to keep in your tank. The beautiful colors of these fish are unlike anything else you’ll find, which makes them quite the sight!

But don’t let their beauty fool you. These fish can give aquarists plenty of trouble if they aren’t properly cared for. They have specific water conditions and diet needs that need to be met for them to thrive (which isn’t too hard once you know what to do).

Fortunately, this guide will help prepare you for whatever comes your way. It covers all the essentials of owning these fish and how to care for them on a day-to-day basis.

Appearance, Size & Lifespan

The Bloodfin Tetra is a beautiful fish with a red “blood” color that extends from the tip of its tail to just past where its anal fin begins. The rest of its body is a beautiful translucent silver.

They typically grow to around 5 cm in captivity and can occasionally exceed that somewhat. Most will be between 3.5 and 5 cm in length.

If you look after your Bloodfin Tetras properly, they should live at least four years, with many making it towards eight years. Again, this depends entirely on how well your tank is set up and how well your fish are fed.

Tank Setup

A well-planned and thoughtfully executed tank setup is essential for the health and well-being of these fish. Bloodfin tetras are not difficult to care for, but you have to ensure their environment suits them. These tropical freshwater fish need a lot of natural stimulation to thrive.

This means plants (natural or artificial), rocks, driftwood, and more! Not only do they add enrichment value, but they also create places where your fish can hide if they want some peace and quiet.

Readily available hiding spots will ensure that your Bloodfin Tetra doesn’t experience any stress or anxiety while it’s trying to relax after a day of swimming around with its buddies. This combination of items is crucial because this species likes moving up and down through parts of the water column as needed when feeding.

Water Parameters

The best course of action when setting up the perfect environment for your Bloodfin Tetras is to mimic their natural habitat. These fish are used to living in rivers and streams that have a lot of plant life, so you’ll want to replicate this as closely as possible.


The recommended pH level for a bloodfin tetra is between 6.0 and 8.2, with no more than 0.5 fluctuations within this range. If you’re below or above this threshold, your water will be too acidic or alkaline, respectively, which could negatively impact these fish and potential tank mates later on.

To maintain this parameter, you’ll need to perform regular water tests using test kits (the more accurate, the better). These are quite sensitive fish that require a tight range of parameters, so any discrepancies could have consequences.


The best way to keep your Bloodfin Tetras happy is to replicate their natural environment as closely as possible. The water temperature should be between 64 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (around 18 to 28 degrees Celsius).

TIP: If you’re planning on breeding these fish, temperatures need to be closer to the high end of this range.

Tank Size

The smallest recommended tank size for a small group of bloodfin tetras is 20 gallons, but bigger is usually better (30+ gallons ideally). A larger volume will be necessary if you plan on keeping more than five fish together.

TIP: Failing to provide enough space could have serious behavioral ramifications, as they are active swimmers that need ample room to explore. Bloodfin tetras are prone to stress and disease when living in a cramped environment.


An appropriately balanced diet is essential for healthy bloodfin tetra. They’re omnivores, meaning that they will eat anything, both plants and animal matter.

These fish feed on insect larvae and plants in the wild. In captivity, you must provide high-protein foods and some plant snacks to meet their dietary needs.

A standard flake or pellet food is a good starting point. However, you can also provide live or frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms. The occasional blanched vegetable snack is always appreciated (try spinach or zucchini).

Be careful with overfeeding. Bloodfin tetras are not big eaters, so they won’t scarf down everything you put into the tank! Make sure that you only provide a couple of small meals a day.


Bloodfin tetras aren’t immune to disease. So, it would be best if you kept water conditions in check. Bloodfin tetras are most susceptible to parasitic diseases like ich and fin rot when temperatures get too hot, or ammonia levels rise significantly.

It’s always best to quarantine new fish before adding them to an established tank. Any issues will then be limited to one or two fish rather than the entire community.


Bloodfin tetras are peaceful and non-aggressive. They do best in groups of at least five fish. When kept with other similarly sized species, the bloodfin is usually able to avoid encounters altogether.

Aggression issues can occur if the fish lacks enough space or has too many tank mates (more on tank mates next). In these cases, they may become targets for aggressive species because of their size.

The best way to avoid this is by keeping them in large groups. A group of bloodfin tetras can live harmoniously together and stick together when exploring the tank.

Tank mates

Pairing your Bloodfin Tetras with the right tank mates is critical to their health and happiness.

Good mates

When looking for tank mates, you must avoid any aggressive species that might pick on your Bloodfin Tetras. Fish with long-flowing fins are best if you want to ensure the safety of your tetra.

Fish such as as the following make great tank mates:

These fish are not prone to aggression or fin-nipping tendencies. These fish also have beautiful colors that complement each other nicely.

When it comes to invertebrates, Bloodfin Tetras are compatible with most types of snails and shrimp (if there is enough space). So they won’t bother them at all!

TIP: Any other types of tetras are also a good option. You should be fine as long as they’re similarly sized and peaceful!

Bad mates

You should avoid keeping Bloodfin Tetras with large and aggressive fish. Because they are on the smaller side, these fish are easy targets for bullies.

Any large fish with a fast swim rate should be avoided at all costs due to their potential as predators.

They also aren’t compatible with any other species that can eat smaller tetras or nip at the fins. Sticking to peaceful tank dwellers is a safer option if you want your Bloodfin Tetra to live long and healthy.

TIP: One exception to this rule is keeping Bloodfin Tetras with Bristlenose Plecos. These two species can coexist very well and even interact from time to time!


Breeding bloodfin tetras is not too hard. It’s a natural part of the fish’s life cycle and will happen naturally in most cases (though you can help things along with some careful planning).

The best thing to do if you want to encourage breeding is to replicate their natural environment as much as possible. They like warm waters that are filled with plants and hideouts. When they breed, these fish will scatter up to 800 eggs into vegetation areas where they can safely grow without being eaten by other tank inhabitants!

The eggs typically hatch in 24 hours. The fry will stay within the egg for another two days before breaking free and starting to eat! After that, they’ll grow fast, reaching maturity after about six weeks.

You don’t need to do anything unusual when it comes to feeding these fish. The parents will take care of that part! However, ensure that there are places where they can hide if they feel threatened by larger fish.

Caring For Your Bloodfin Tetra

The best way to keep bloodfin tetras healthy is by providing them with the right environment and diet. These fish are hardy, but they still have their preferences!

Bloodfin tetras prefer warm waters. They also like having lots of places to hide. This can be achieved through plants or rockwork. These fish love decor made out of rocks as much as any other species!

The water should be relatively neutral in pH levels, too (somewhere between 6 and 8). Test it regularly with your kit so you know what’s going on inside the tank when it comes time for you to make adjustments. Stability is crucial if you want your Bloodfins to thrive.


As you can see, Bloodfin Tetras aren’t that difficult to care for. While they require a slightly different approach than other freshwater fish, it’s not rocket science!

The main thing to remember is their sensitivity to water conditions and temperature fluctuations. This goes for any species, but if you stick with it, this won’t be an issue!

If you have any questions about keeping these fish in your tank, feel free to comment below. We’re always happy to help!

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