Bloodfin Tetra Tank Mates – Creating An Active Community Tank

In this post, we’ll share a few Bloodfin Tetra Tank Mates that will be sure to create an awesome community tank as well as a few care tips and some fish to avoid.

Every fish tank deserves a little activity, whether it’s the slow-moving grace of a Threadfin Rainbow or the fast dynamics of a tetra.

Most fish in your tank need places to hide and plants to get behind when they are shy, but the true beauty of an aquarium can be observed when the fish are actively playing around.

If you are looking for an active little fast swimmer with an aesthetically pleasing look, Bloodfin tetra might be a good option.

The Bloodfin Tetra

Bloodfin tetras

How big do Bloodfin Tetras get?

The Bloodfin Tetra is a small fish that usually grows around 2″ with a shiny silver body that gives off a greenish hue in the right Aquarium Lighting. But the distinct part about these fish comes from their red fins.

They provide a striking contrast to its silvery body and earned it the name, Bloodfin Tetra (also Redfin tetra and True Bloodfin. Glass Bloodfin is a bit different). And don’t worry, it’s a peaceful fish with no “blood” on its fin; well maybe there’s a little bit on its teeth after feasting on the live feed.

The fish is native to the Río Paraná basin in South America, which runs from Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

Are Bloodfin Tetras Hardy?

Its natural habitat and its own traits make it a very hardy fish to keep, which can survive a number of water parameters and is perfect for beginners.

It might be a bit shy at first, but once it gets used to the tank, Bloodfin tetra is an active swimmer. It’s middle to surface dweller (and has an occasional jumping-to-freedom tendency, so keep the lid on).

Ideally, a lush green tank, generously dotted with live plants will be ideal for the Bloodfin, since it will mimic its natural habitat. If a planted tank seems too much to handle, some silk decorations may be fine (avoid plastic if you can).

But it’s always a good idea to look at stubborn and hardy plants that don’t require much care, like Java Moss or Dwarf Aquarium Lily (as long as their requirements don’t clash with the Bloodfin’s).

Quick Care Tips

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Size: 2 inches maximum
  • Ideal tank size: 20 Gallons (Can survive in smaller, but it’s a very active fish that prefer to stay in a school, so it needs enough space to swim around)
  • Temperature range: 70 – 80 °F
  • PH range: 6 – 8 (7 is ideal)
  • Hardness range: Soft to Hard water (up to 30 GH. This fish is very adaptable, and it can survive and thrive in a much wider water hardness range)

Bloodfin’s ability to survive in a wide range of parameters makes it a very good candidate for a community tank. However, if kept in schools of less than six of its kind, Bloodfin acts out and exhibit a “nippy” attitude towards long-finned and slow swimmers.

Equipment You Might Need For Your Bloodfin Tetra

  1. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter
  2. NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light
  3. Fluval M Aquarium Heater
  4. Python Pro-Clean Gravel Washer and Siphon Kit
  5. Marina Algae Magnet Cleaner
  6. API Freshwater Master Test Kit

Finding The Right Bloodfin Tetra Tank Mates

It’s inherently peaceful and social, and mix well with similarly social fish, ideally of the same size. The presence of aggressive tank mates will stress it out, even if it’s kept in a school.

But there are many small fish species, snails, and crabs that your Bloodfin can stay happy with.

Here’s just a few:

1. Clown Pleco

Clown Pleco

Clown Pleco is a very hardy but shy fish.

  • Care level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Size: 3.5 to 4 inches
  • Ideal tank size: 20 Gallons minimum
  • Temperature range: 73 – 82 °F
  • PH range: 6.8 to 7.6

Clown Pleco got their name from the tiger stripes they have on their black bodies. It hails from freshwater Amazon rivers, which makes its habitat a bit similar to that of the Bloodfin tetra. It’s a bottom dweller, so this usually keeps it out of the Bloodfin’s domain. Clown prefers a soft to medium hardness, and a bit of alkaline water (about 7.5) so it also makes it parameter compatible to the Bloodfin.

They are very peaceful and usually fit well with almost all the other same size and smaller fish. They can be kept alone. Putting two males (and occasionally two females) together can sometimes result in “property disputes,” which your Bloodfin might enjoy watching from a “higher plane,” but won’t be well for the Pleco’s own health.

One stipulation that this fish requires is the presence of wood. It’s a wood-eating fish, and though it can feed on other things, having wood is important for optimal health and mood. It will also give your tank a bit exotic look. Other dietary recommendations are vegetables, like cucumber, potatoes, and zucchini, and you can add in occasional live or frozen feed for overall good health.

2. Neon Tetra

neon tetras

If you have a relatively soft tank, Neon Tetra’s can be very good tank mates for your Bloodfins.

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Size: up to 1.5 inches
  • Ideal tank size: 10 Gallons
  • Temperature range: 70– 81 °F
  • PH range: 6 to 7 (ideally, a bit acidic, like 6.5)

Neon Tetra is one of the most sought after fish, loved by aquarists. It’s effortless to keep and loves to stay in planted tanks. But it’s important to note that thanks to years and years of breeding in tanks and not enough shipments from their natural habitats, the Neon Tetras may have gotten a bit weaker. So when you are choosing your Neon’s from the fish store, make sure to check them for signs of sickness and activity. They are usually very playful.

They are middle-level dwellers, so your choice of substrate can be varied. But super aggressive lighting might not be a good idea as Neon’s natural habitat has slightly tanned water with low-lighting situations. It’s a good idea to mimic the same effect with floating plants, which can also offer your Neon a place to rest. They are schooling fish, and if you already have a 20 Gallon for your Bloodfin, it’s a good idea to keep about 15 or more of Neons together. They are fast swimmers and, along with Bloodfin, add a lot of activity to the tank.

They are omnivores and very agreeable diners, so they usually don’t ask for something special. A good selection of flakes, pellets, vegetables, live, and frozen feed is a good idea.

3. Celestial Pearl Danios

Danio margaritatus

Celestial Pearl Danios are active swimmers, and a trifle more “outgoing” than the shy Bloodfins, but having sufficient size schools for both can make them very compatible with each other.

  • Care level: Intermediate
  • Size: up to 1inch
  • Ideal tank size: 20 Gallons
  • Temperature range: 73– 79 °F
  • PH range: 6.5 to 7.5

Pearl Danios have a very peaceful nature, and they are full of activity. They are not geographical cousins of the Bloodfins, like other tetras and Clown Pleco are, and come all the way from the shallow pond waters of Myanmar. They prefer a heavily planted aquarium and light.

They aesthetically compliment that Bloodfins, as they also have red coloration on the fins. They get their name from the pearl-colored spots on their skin. It’s a relatively new fish in the game, and they were discovered in 2006.

Water hardness for these Danios should be soft to medium, which your Bloodfin will be fine with. They are a schooling fish, and keeping at least 6-8 of them is highly advisable. And don’t overshoot the number of Danios and Bloodfins. Try keeping them in similarly sized schools first and see where it goes.

They are just a bit trickier to care for than Bloodfins because their tolerance to changes in water parameters is relatively low. Also, they have small mouths, so when feeding them, make sure that they can swallow the food particles. That means smaller size flakes and pallets.

It’s an omnivore, but in its natural habitat, a Pearl Danio would feed on small critters and larvae, so feeding them crushed fish flakes, krill, and nascent brine shrimp will probably keep them happier.

4. Corydoras


It matches the water needs of a Bloodfin tetra very closely. And since it’s a bottom dweller, it will give enough space to the Bloodfins, socializing from a distance.

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Size: 2 inches on average (can range from 0.75 inches to 4 inches)
  • Ideal tank size: 20 Gallons
  • Temperature range: 70 – 80 °F
  • PH range: 6.0 to 8.0

Corydoras are very peaceful, and they don’t have the tendency to defend themselves, so keeping them with aggressive tank mates is usually a bad idea. But similar sized and shy Bloodfins, even with their occasional fin-nipping, make very desirable tank mates. Like most other catfish, Corydoras are very easy to care for. Though they do well in a wide range of parameters, a sudden change in parameters can stress them out or make them sick. Especially the nitrate counts. Try keeping your tank as clean as possible, and employ a trustworthy filter to keep things steady.

Since they are bottom feeders, you have to be a bit careful with the substrate. Sharp gravel can hurt them, so sand or fine gravel would be a better idea. They are schooling fish, and for a 20-gallon tank, about five of them would be a good idea.

As omnivores, they can feed on almost anything, and as bottom feeders, they do an amazing job of cleaning up the leftovers. But a balanced diet of plants and meat-based elements will be a good idea. Some people have found algae wafers to be a Corydora’s favorite feed.

From a visual perspective, you can go with a few different types of Corydoras (albino, green, pepper, or pygmy, etc.). In general, they have a flat underside (typical for bottom feeders) and a short face. They have an armored body (though not hard enough to hold-off a crab invasion).

5. Gold Barbs

It’s another feisty and active fin-nipping fish from Asia (Red River Basin). But it is also a schooling and peaceful fish that can work well with the Bloodfins.

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Size: 2.5 to 3 inches max
  • Ideal tank size: 20 Gallons
  • Temperature range: 72 – 82 °F
  • PH range: 6.0 to 8.0

Gold Barbs have a beautiful gold-colored body, with patches of black and a solid bar near the tail. It usually develops an orange or red sheen on its shiny scales as it grows older. It’s a hardy fish and prefers to swim in the middle and the bottom of the tank. It’s advisable to keep at least six of them in a school, to prevent them from acting out.

It’s a curious fish and likes to explore the surroundings. One issue with them is that they also nip at plants. It’s not a problem if you have a heavily planted tank, but if you only have a few plants, you may want to add more before introducing the Gold Barbs in it.

It’s easy to feed. Flakes, pallets, cut vegetables, bloodworms, and other live or frozen feed will be good for them.

6. Mollies

Sailfin Mollies

Mollies are a very peaceful and easy-for-beginner fish that doesn’t mind sharing the tank with a Bloodfin school.

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Size: 2 to 3 inches (some species grow up to 4 inches, so you will have to plan your bio load and tank size accordingly)
  • Ideal tank size: 20 Gallons
  • Temperature range: 72 – 78 °F
  • PH range: 6.5 to 8.5

Mollies come in a variety of species, from graceful looking black mollies to funky looking Golden Sailfin Mollies. But most will be compatible with the Bloodfins, in both water parameters and temperament. They are generally peaceful and should be kept in groups of at least four or more.

Ideally, the water to keep the mollies should be on the hard side, preferably something over 20 GH. The Bloodfins are perfectly fine with this level of hardness in the water. They aren’t picky eaters and as an omnivore, feeding on a variety of flakes, pellets, vegetables, and live food. A heavily planted tank would be ideal for mollies.

7. Platy


Platies are native of North and South American freshwaters. They are peaceful, active, and love to play around.

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Size: 3 inches max
  • Ideal tank size: At least 10 Gallons
  • Temperature range: 68 – 82 °F
  • PH range: 6.8 to 8.0

Platies are relatively hardy and come in a variety of species and a nice selection of colors and sizes. Swordtail platies are also considered part of the family, along with variable platies. The difference comes in sizes, as well as a distinct sword-like tail.

Like Bloodfin, they can thrive in a wide range of water hardness (10 – 28 GH), though nothing too soft. They prefer planted trees as it gives them a lot of places to hide. They are omnivore, but they lean mostly towards vegetation. Algae, good quality flakes (the right balance of protein and vegetable matter), and sometimes bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp are good to feed choices.

They are not schooling fish per se, but tend to enjoy staying in groups. Though you have to maintain one male and at least three or four female ratios in the groups, otherwise fights will break out between the males, and your Bloodfin might shy away from the commotion (or start betting on the fighters with bits of flakes and bloodworms).

A Few Other Good and Bad Tank Mates

Mostly, Bloodfins will be fine with other tetras of the same sizes. They are also good with Zebra Danios, Silver Hatchet fish, and other, similar-sized characins. Some people have found certain crab species and snails to be compatible with Bloodfins as well.

Some aquarists have found them living successfully with angelfish as well (despite the large fins).

But generally, stocking them with long-finned fish like Bettas is a bad idea. The fish nipping will stress the slow-moving fish out, and possibly make them sick.

Final Thoughts

Bloodfin Tetra is an excellent fish for beginners. And thanks to its adaptability and a wide range of parameters it can stay happy in, you can try a bunch of different stocking combinations, based on the water parameters.

Since Bloodfin Tetra is an active fish, it’s a good idea to keep the currents in the water moving at least at a moderate pace. With the right care and stocking, you can build a colorful and vibrant aquarium around your Bloodfins.

Looking for more community tank ideas check out our most popular fish compatibility list.

Bloodfin Tetra Tank Mates - Creating An Active Community Tank

Featured Image Credit: Hemigrammus / CC BY-SA

Jack Dempsey
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