Blood Salem

This colourful up to 4 cm large freshwater fish is mainly found in the Amazon basin, the Paraguay basin and some tributaries of the Río Uruguay.

What distinguishes blood tetras?

Blood tetras are normally peaceful when fed well. However, if fed insufficiently, they tend to nibble on the fins of their conspecifics and other fish. Therefore they are only suitable as a beginner fish to a limited extent. Also overcrowding makes the fish quarrelsome. The blood tetra is not suitable for keeping as a single animal or in very small groups. It quickly becomes shy, hides and then does not please its owner anymore.


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The appearance of blood characins

© Mirko Rosenau

The fish has an elongated, laterally flattened physique. The ground colour is reddish to bright purple. In the shoulder area (gill area) the fish is marked with an elongated black spot, a black coloured sickle or a vertical line.

The completely black dorsal fin has a white base and a white tip. The caudal, custom and pectoral fins of the blood salmer are monochromatic blood red. The anal fin of the fish is also blood-red, but has a wide black rim.

Sex differences

The female blood tetras are less intensely coloured than the males. The body of the females is also fuller and the back is higher than that of the males. The females of the blood tetras are also slightly larger than the males.

Water values for blood tetra

The blood tetra feels most comfortable at pH values between 6.0-7.6 and a total hardness between 5°-15° GH. The water values should be checked continuously. At water temperatures of 23 °C – 28 °C the Blood Tetra thrives magnificently and will please aquarium enthusiasts for many years. Due to the great appetite of this species of fish and the intensive feeding which is necessary as a result, up to a quarter of the aquarium water should be replaced by fresh water at least once a week, otherwise there is a risk of increased clouding.

Food and nutrition for blood tetras

The blood tetra is a quite demanding fish as far as nutrition is concerned, but as an omnivore it can be fed on live food, such as smaller mosquito larvae, fruit flies, small crabs and water fleas, as well as on dry food. The blood tetra also likes to eat scalded lettuce. There is nothing wrong with a balanced diet with food from both plant and animal sources. However, aquarists should always make sure that they get enough food, as the blood tetra can nibble on its conspecifics or other fish in the community tank if the food is too scarce.

The ideal aquarium for blood tetras

Blood tetras are very lively fish, which prefer to stay in the middle water region in an aquarium. As swarming fish which love to move, they need sufficient space to swim around. In the aquarium (from 150 L) there should be enough aquarium plants which can serve the fish as a retreat or hiding place. We also recommend a few floating plants that dampen the light and a substrate of dark sand or gravel.

Under these conditions the blood tetra will certainly feel comfortable. Peat filtering is also recommended, as the blood tetra lives in the wild in the black water of jungle rivers.


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Housing conditions

Due to the natural aggressiveness typical for blood tetras, socialisation with smaller fish should be avoided. Angelfish or gouramands should also be avoided, as the long tactile threads of these fish magically attract the blood salmon. A good alternative is to keep them in a species tank. Blood tetras are preferably kept in small groups of 8 to 10 specimens. The females should be in the majority. With optimal husbandry conditions and good care, the popular ornamental fish can reachan age of 4-5 years.

In short form here again the optimal holding conditions:

  • Group housing
  • 150 L Aquarium
  • lush pool vegetation
  • Gate filtering
  • sufficient, balanced diet

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