Rummy Nose Tetra Care Guide

Water bodies of each kind are often home to a variety of fish species. Perhaps one unique one that stands out is the Rummy nose tetra, not just because of the strange name but for many other reasons as well.

Scientifically referred to as Hemigrammus Rhodostomus, this fish has extremely unique features. It has a bright red spot on its head, black and white stripes on the fluke and a silvery body which makes it a beautiful fish love by most fish lovers.

Varieties of Rummy Nose Tetra

Rummy Nose Tetra

There are two other types of fish with the name ‘rummy nose tetra.’ These include Brilliant Rummy Nose (Hemigrammus Bleheri) found in Brazil, and False Rummy Nose also known as Petitella Georgiae inhibiting hard waters found at higher levels.

These rummy nose fishes are almost alike with very few differences that are hard to discern unless by a very keen eye from a specialist. Despite their striking similarities however, they require difference in care.

Their Inhabitance

The Hemigrammus Rhodostomus, often referred to as firehead tetra, is of the South American origin. It mainly inhabits the Rio-Vaupes River in Columbia and Brazilian Rio Negro River. Plenty of the rummy nose tetra species can be found in the Amazon River too. The said rivers have highly acidic waters with an almost brownish tint. The acidity is as a result of lots of decayed plant leaves and other organic materials found at the bottom of the lake.

Rummy Nose Tetras are known to inhabit water bodies that are less populated by other fauna. Most of the rivers or lakes they live in are those that enjoy a wide rainforest canopy which eventually shed off their leaves into the water. They prefer the middle and lower water regions.

Appearance of the fish

Rummy nose tetra has this semi-transparent yet greenish tint under normal conditions. However, when it is stressed, its reddish coloration turns significantly pale. Flesh found at its fin and fluke appear whitish while the other parts are transparent.

Three wide black stripes are found on the fluke with four thin stripes crossing in between. On the fish’s tail-stem are three black spots which are elongated. Perhaps one of the most significant feature of the fish is the bright red spot on its head from whence it got its name. This red color stretches into its eye’s iris, with some more extending up to the gill.

There is no marked difference between the males and females. However, the females often exhibit increased body fullness unlike the males. Its lifespan is approximately 5 years. If well taken care of, the fish can have an extended lifespan of 8 years.


The maximum standard length is approximately 2” (5cm). Some are slightly smaller though.

Feeding Habits

The tetra rummy nose eats a variety of meals, rarely discriminating any particular type of food so long as it is small enough to get into its tiny mouth. The most popular foods that may be easy to find for it are granules and dried flakes. For a more diversified diet, they can be fed tubifex and blood worms. Remember, the feeding style is essential for its color development.

Unlike other fishes that enjoy live mosquitoes, the rummy nose does not find them too delicious, though there are those rare instances when they may be seen devouring these tiny insects. Not to forget is the fact that they enjoy their meals in the lower regions of the aquarium and even in the middle of it.

Water Conditions

Rummy nose tetra enjoys temperatures of between 76-80 degrees Fahrenheit or 24- 27 degrees Celsius. The water should be soft acidic and if it has some level of hardness, it should not go beyond 6dh and 6.4-7 ph. A recent study showed that too much calcium may sterilize the fish leading to a lack of productivity.


Rummy Nose Tetras

As a matter of fact, telling the difference between the sexes may present a challenge hence making it difficult for one to pair them. They reproduce at an average age of between 8 and 12 months. If they are kept in a tank, the water level should not be below 15 cm. The right size for a breeding tank is 50 by 40 by 40.

Before breeding, the fishes are put apart as they await spawning. During this period, they ought to be fed on live food like blood worms. Water hardness should be reduced and temperature slightly raised by 1 or 2 Celsius.

A protective net is a necessity for breeding. The water is best prepared by mixing the same amount of normal water and rainwater. Turfy brew is then poured into the water before it is filtered and poured into the tank. This should be done several days before the breeding fishes are put into the tank.

Changing Temperature when breeding

If after one or two days the fish do not start spawning, the temperature should be made to rise gradually then reduced. This should get the male actively hunting the female. She goes around before finally stopping under a leaf from where they mate. As they part, about 6 or 7 eggs will fall at the bottom of the tank.

The number of eggs largely depends upon the number of times a male turns over a female. This is likely to happen a number of times. After that, the fish will hide under plants in the tank as their color turns pale. They ought to be removed from the tank which should remain dark as the eggs hatch better under dark conditions.

The rummy nose tetra eggs take about 6 to 8 days to hatch. Once they hatch, the fry has to be well taken care of as they are quite slow to grow. It takes more than 6 months to raise them until they are able to eat live daphnia.


The rummy nose tetra is a peaceful species that can easily co-exist with other smaller fish species like cardinal tetra, neon tetra, bettas, angel fish and black neon tetra. It gets easily scared of getting moved. In fact, it can die.


The rummy nose tetra is a nice type of fish to keep, but one has to be extremely careful after eggs are hatched to keep the fry alive.

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