Bleeding heart tetras are some really cool fish to go with no doubt. They are beautiful, they are active, and they are a blast to watch. That being said, you might want to keep some other fish in the same aquarium as your bleeding heart tetras. As you probably know, you can’t keep all fish together.
Some species just are not compatible, which can be true for various reasons. You might be wondering which fish are ideal tank mates for bleeding heart tetras and which ones are not. So, let’s not waste any more time and talk all about bleeding heart tetra tank mates.
The Bleeding Heart Tetra
Bleeding heart tetras are some really cool looking fish no doubt. Their spectacular red and silver coloring makes any tank look a whole lot better. These little guys are native to South America, specifically the Amazon river basin. They are tropical freshwater fish, so they definitely need warm water.
Bleeding heart tetras are extremely small, growing to around 64 millimeters in size, or about 2.5 inches long. These little beauties can live for as long as 5 years if well taken care of. To make bleeding heart tetras feel at home, 6 of them need a 15 gallon tank at minimum, but preferably something larger like a 30 gallon tank. These fish are fairly easy to take care of and make for a good beginner’s choice.
Best Bleeding Heart Tetra Tank Mates: Top 7
Something to keep in mind here is that bleeding heart tetras are very small and very peaceful. This means that you cannot keep them with fish much larger, faster, or more aggressive than themselves.
Faster moving fish will outcompete them for food, much bigger fish will stress out bleeding heart tetras, and aggressive or territorial fish, especially larger ones, are liable to take a chunk out of bleeding heart tetras. You need to keep bleeding heart tetras with fish of a similar size which are also peaceful and not territorial.
On the other side of things, try not to keep bleeding heart tetras with much smaller and slower fish, as the bleeding heart tetras will cause them stress and probably outcompete them for food too. The same species, small schooling fish, small peaceful fish, and bottom feeders are all good choices to consider for bleeding heart tetra tank mates. Let’s go over some of the best tank mates for bleeding heart tetras right now.
1. Other Bleeding Heart Tetras
Without a doubt, your best bet to go with in terms of bleeding heart tetra tank mates is other bleeding heart tetras. These little guys are schooling fish. You should actually never keep these little guys on their own without companions of the same species. It is recommended that you keep bleeding heart tetras in schools of at least 6 fish or more. This is the only way in which you will really see their true behaviors and colors. Also, seeing as they are both the same species with a peaceful temperament, there is nothing to worry about in terms of size, territory, or access to food.
2. Other Tetra Fish
On that same note, keeping bleeding heart tetras with another small school of a different species of tetra fish is also not a bad option. We do recommend going in this direction, as tetras generally tend to get along just fine with other tetras, mainly because of the similar sizes and peaceful temperaments which they all share.
This is also a really neat way to go because it will help add some more color and variety to your tank. Some good options to consider here include red neon tetras, blue neon tetras, cardinal tetras, diamond tetras, serpae tetras, and glowlight tetras.
Yet another good option to go with, this time from outside the tetra fish family, is the rasbora. Rasboras require more or less the same water conditions as bleeding heart tetras, which makes life a lot easier. They will eat virtually the same foods, which is convenient when it comes time for feeding.
Also, they are about the same size as bleeding heart tetras, plus they have about the same level of energy too. All in all, they make for great fits with bleeding heart tetras, especially because they are also known to be fairly peaceful.
4. Cherry Barbs
Cherry barbs are yet another good tank mate for bleeding heart tetras. Once again, when it comes to temperament, both of these fish are very peaceful and they are not territorial, so they will very rarely get into confrontations. Both bleeding heart tetras and cherry barbs are tropical warm water and freshwater fish, plus they require more or less the same water parameters, which means that they can be kept in the same tank.
They also have about the same level of energy, so outcompeting each other for food is not an issue. Also, feeding is not difficult as both of these fish can survive on more or less the same foods. Cherry barbs are also cool options to go with because of their bright red coloration. They definitely add some flare into any aquarium.
Loaches are fairly easy to take care of fish. Now, they do move slower than bleeding heart tetras, plus they are quite a bit bigger. However, neither of those factors are issues when it comes to housing these two fish together, mainly because the loach is a bottom dweller. The loach spends the vast majority of its time at the bottom of the tank, so it is well out of the way of any bleeding heart tetras.
Also, when it comes to feeding, loaches will eat things off the bottom of the tank, old scraps, and other foods. Keeping them well fed along with some quicker moving bleeding heart tetras is really not an issue. The loach is a fairly peaceful fish, which combined with the fact that loaches and bleeding heart tetras have different domains, means that they will probably never get into fights either. Both of these fish require more or less the same water conditions, so that is no problem either.
The corydora catfish is a type of bottom dwelling catfish, kind of similar to the loaches we talked about above. Corydoras tend to be fairly peaceful and slow moving, plus they dwell at the bottom of the tank, which means that they will never get in the way of bleeding heart tetras.
They won’t get into fights, which is quite important. Although bleeding heart tetras are quicker moving than corydoras, they are in the middle of the tank, whereas corydoras are at the bottom, so outcompeting each other for food is not going to happen. Also, both of these fish species can survive in the same water parameters.
7. Shrimp, Crabs, & Snails
All of these guys also make for good bleeding heart tetra tank mates, especially smaller shrimp and snails. Snails and bleeding heart tetras are not going to bother each other at all. Snails will stay on plants, the grass, and the bottom of the tank, whereas bleeding heart tetras will stay in the center of the tank, which means that they won’t get in each other’s way. We have covered some popular aquarium snail options on this article.
If you are going to go for some crabs or shrimp, make sure that they are smaller non-aggressive crabs and shrimp to make sure that they won’t try to take a piece out of your bleeding heart tetras.
Some Fish To Avoid
We are not going to make a huge list here, but what you do need to know is that you should avoid keeping bleeding heart tetras with bigger and more aggressive fish. They should not be with fish like betta fish, Oscars, and larger cichlids.
These guys are all substantially bigger than tetras and will probably outcompete them for food or terrorize them. At the same time, try to avoid slower moving fish like dwarf cichlids because bleeding heart tetras will definitely outcompete them for food.
As a general rule of thumb, keep bleeding heart tetras with fish of a similar size, temperament, and level of activity.
As you can see, there are plenty of good bleeding heart tetra tank mates out there which you can choose from. Our list is not exhaustive, so you could always do some further research, but the above options are by far the best choices to consider.