The bleeding heart tetra is a hardy, peaceful, schooling species that should be kept in groups of six or more. It does extremely well when kept with other peaceful fish, such as Megalamphodus, Corydoras and Nannostomus species.
The bleeding heart tetra prefers a somewhat dark environment. It is best housed in a tank that contains several bunches of large plants (either live or plastic) in the back and on the sides of the tank, with smaller plants in the front, leaving plenty of open space for swimming. A layer of floating plants to diffuse the light is also suggested. Pay strict attention to water quality.
Most tetras are carnivores that are specialized for eating small aquatic insects and the larvae of terrestrial insects. In the aquarium the tetra will do quite well on commercial flake, frozen or freeze-dried foods. Be sure to vary its diet between dry foods and small live foods, such as bloodworms, glass worms, brine shrimp and Tubifex worms.
The bleeding heart tetra is a typical egg-scattering tetra that requires a larger-than-normal breeding aquarium (20 gallons or larger) to successfully mate. It can be sexed by the extended dorsal and anal fins and brighter colors of the male, but it is still best to buy a group and let them pair off because the tetra seems to breed more readily when it can choose its mates.