Bloodfin Tetra (Aphyocharax anisitsi): Ultimate Care Guide

Common Name(s)Bloodfin Tetra, Redfinned Tetra, True bloodfin tetra
Scientific NameAphyocharax anisitsi
OriginSouth America
Temperature70-80° F
SizeMax size is 2.5 inches
Minimum Tank Size20-30 gallons
Food & DietOmnivores
Lifespan7-10 years in captivity
Water pH6-8
Tank MatesYes; mostly small, school fish; Danios
Common DiseaseIch, parasites, bacterial infections
Bloodfin Tetra
Bloodfin Tetra

If you are looking for an easy to care for fish, then hands down the Bloodfin Tetra should be your top choice! These beginner-friendly freshwater fish have a good reputation in the aquarium hobby niche because of their unique characteristics and peaceful nature.

The Bloodfin Tetra is native to South America and found specifically in the Rio Parana basin. The Rio Parana runs from Brazil to Argentina before it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Their habitat is considered subtropical with cool waters. They can be found in the middle to upper water column in streams or rivers and feed on primarily small insects and crustaceans or worms.

The Bloodfin Tetra gets its name from the red coloration on its fins. Its body is oblong in shape with a silver body and a greenish-blueish tint depending on the aquarium lighting.

They tend to be active swimmers and do best with medium to large schools of fish, so if you want to add some activity and life to your aquarium, then the Bloodfin Tetra is the way to go.

In this guide, we will dive into Blood Fin Tetra care, including tank preparation, water and temperature parameters, tank mates, and even some breeding tips.

Bloodfin Tetra Care

These slim-profiled fish are easily distinguished by their red-orange coloration on their fins like the caudal and dorsal fins. If you catch them in the right lighting, you can spot different hues of green and blue on their silvered-colored bodies.

Typically these fish can get up to 2.5 inches long, so they are small fish. As a result, they should be kept with similarly sized fish.

However, they make up for their small size with their lifespan. Under proper care, you can expect your Bloodfin Tetra to live anywhere from 5-10 years.

They are known to be skittish fish. They are fast swimmers and it is not uncommon for you to observe them quickly darting about the tank when you approach them. They tend to do best in schools of 5-8 fish of a similar size. If kept alone or with small groups, you may start to observe aggressive or antisocial behaviors which can lead to unwanted problems.   

Are Bloodfin Tetras easy to care for? Bloodfin Tetras are very easy to care for and are recommended for beginners and even experts. The reason for this is because they are a hardy freshwater fish species and are able to adapt to different water conditions. For example, they can be kept in cool waters without a heater, however the cooler temperatures may have a negative effect on their coloration.

Food and Diet

Being omnivores, Bloodfin Tetras have a lot of options when it comes to feeding. In the wild, they mainly feed on small insects and plant matter, but in an aquarium setting they are not finnicky eaters and will dine on high-quality flakes or pellets.  

You should also feed live or fresh food such as the occasional brine shrimp or blood worms as a treat. Make sure to choose protein-rich foods.  You should provide small portions of food frequently throughout the day to keep your tetra community healthy.

Aquarium Set-up and Care

These skittish fish are known to be sensitive to poor water conditions so making sure your tank is set up the right way will help support a healthy Bloodfin Tetra population.

What makes these fish species so great for beginners is their relatively low maintenance when it comes to tank care. A suitable tank size for Bloodfin Tetras is anywhere from 20-30 gallons. Since they like to be kept within small schools of similar fish species, it is advisable to go with a medium to large tank size to accommodate your different fish.

Aim to replicate the natural environment of the Bloodfin Tetras. They prefer some vegetation and darker substrate. Adding a combination of dense plant matter gives your fish a place to hide and forage and gives your tank a nice look overall.

Keeping aquarium lighting dim will also help make the colors of their fins really stand out.

Bloodfin Tetras prefer cool to warm water temperatures – around 70-80° F. The best pH levels are between 6.0-8.0.  They do fine with slight water parameter fluctuations, however, it is best to keep water parameters constantly steady as any rapid changes can cause significant stress to your fish which may lead to premature deaths.    

In addition, these fish are skilled jumpers especially during breeding. It is best to make sure your tank is securely covered in order to prevent any accidental jumping outside of the tank.     

Temperament and Breeding

Bloodfin Tetras are peaceful fish and make excellent community fish. However, because Bloodfin Tetras are active fish they should only be kept with its own kind or a similar fish species of the same size.     

How many Bloodfin Tetras should be kept together? The best number is around 6 but you can have as little as 5 or as much as 7 or 8. If you’re combining different fish species, make sure they are of similar size and activity level.

Choosing tank mates may be a bit tricky with the Bloodfin Tetra. In general, you want to avoid larger fish or fish with wavy fins because they may get nipped at. A good option might be a Bloodfin Tetra-only tank filled with aquatic vegetation and invertebrates that can’t be eaten. One study found that zebrafish were similar in behavior to Bloodfin Tetras so they are a good option for compatible tank mates.

Here is a more in depth ranking of the most and least compatible tank mates for your Bloodfin Tetra:

Most CompatibleLeast Compatible
Neon TetrasFlowerhorn
DaniosOscar Fish
Peaceful ShrimpMany Cichlids
Silver Dollars Guppies

Male and female Bloodfin Tetras may be hard to tell apart. The slight differences will lie in their reddish-orange coloration on their fins. As a general rule, males will be more brightly colored in these areas than females.

Females may also be slightly larger than male Bloodfin Tetras, especially during breeding as the females get extra plump since they are carrying eggs.

In terms of breeding, Bloodfin Tetras are egg-layers and they do not engage in parental care. In other words, if left unchecked, they will eat the fresh eggs. Follow the steps below for a quick and easy guide to breeding your Bloodfin Tetras.

  1. Make sure that your fish are fed good nutrition high in protein over a period of several days
  2. Prepare a separate tank with broad leaved aquarium plants, dim lighting, and similar water temperatures that they are used to in their home tank
  3. Insert the pairs of fish and you can generally leave them alone. The female will get nice and plump when she is full of eggs
  4. Bloodfin Tetras are egg scatterers so they will scatter their eggs typically on the broad-leaved aquarium plants, or if there are none, then usually on the aquarium glass although the eggs are not adhesive
  5. As soon as the eggs are released, promptly remove the fish as they will consume the free-floating eggs.
  6. The eggs will hatch in a few days and receive nutrition from the yolk of the eggs so feed them a liquid diet and then move onto baby brine shrimp

An interesting behavior that you can observe during breeding is that the female Bloodfin Tetras will leap out of the water in order to release her eggs.


Since Bloodfin Tetras are quite hardy, they are pretty tough and can remain healthy given the proper conditions in your aquarium. But they aren’t immune to the plethora of diseases that may affect aquarium fish such as parasites or bacterial infections. Ich is a common affliction and can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Bloodfin Tetras, like most aquarium fish, are most sensitive to any rapid changes in water parameters. If you are going to change anything, for example water temperature, then make sure to do it slowly and give your fish time to adjust to any changes.

The best treatment for disease is prevention so keep a consistent maintenance schedule for your fish and aquarium and you should be good to go.

Find Bloodfin Tetra for Sale

Bloodfin Tetras are commercially sold and bred in captivity.

A helpful tidbit is that since Bloodfin Tetra are sensitive to poor water conditions, you can check if an adult Bloodfin Tetra is unhealthy if it’s smaller than average in terms of body size.

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