Rummy Nose Tetra – Peaceful And Easy

Updated on:

** This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

The Rummy Nose Tetra is one of the most popular tetras available.

I almost always have some in my tanks.

They are shoaling fish – that is, they form shoals to better protect themselves from enemies and to search for food and mating partners.

Each individual in the shoal has a unique pattern and appearance making for a colorful and unique display.

In addition to their attractive appearance, they have a peaceful nature making them easy to take care of as long as you follow the guidelines in this article.

Carry on reading for detailed information about Rummy Nose Tetra care, tank conditions and suitable tank mates.

I am hoping you will fall in love with them as much as I already have.


There are three varieties of Rummy Nose Tetra and the most common one is the True Rummy Nose Tetra with the scientific name Hemigrammus rhodostomus.

The others are Brilliant Rummy Nose Tetra ( Hemigrammus bleheri)  and the False Rummy Nose Tetra (Petitella georgiae). 

The Rummy Nose Tetra fish also has the nicknames firetip tetra and firehead tetra; this is because of the bright red color of its head.

And even though different species have unique patterns and colors, the bright red head feature is common.


The Rummy Nose Tetra is a freshwater fish native to South America.

They are from the Characidae family.

The different varieties are all found in South America but in different regions.

They can be found in the rivers Rio Vaupes, Columbia, and Rio Negro, Brazil.

Rummy Nose Tetra Lifespan

A Rummy Nose Tetra can live up to five or six years.

However, in exceptional cases, they can live up to seven to eight years, but these are exceptional cases. 

Many factors like diet, water condition, the fish’s genetics, and the like affect the fish’s lifespan. 

If you want your Rummy Nose Tetra fish to live up to its fullest, ensure they are always kept in the best conditions with a variety of high-quality food.

Hemigrammus bleheri

Size and Appearance

The Rummy Nose Tetra is classified as a small fish.

It grows to 2 or 2 1/2 inches long.

If you keep them in a spacious tank and give them a healthy diet, they can grow up to three inches in length. 

They can survive in small tanks because of their small size and minimal growth.

The Rummy Nose Tetra has a notable appearance.

Their most distinguishing feature is their fiery red heads. 

The Rummy Nose Tetra has a silver body that occasionally has a translucent tinge of green.

Except for the tail fin, their fins are translucent, while the tail fin has a zebra-like pattern (black and white horizontal stripes).

It also has central black bars separating the two sides of the fin. 

They have a relatively small frame and a torpedo-like shape with big heads.

Their fins are also small and delicate.

The male and female are usually about the same size.

Sometimes during breeding, the female fish might get plumper.

You can know about the tetra’s health by their appearance.

When their bright fiery-red head seems pale or faded, it indicates that they are not in perfect health.

Color Varieties of The Rummy Nose Tetra

The three Rummy Nose Tetra species have a very similar appearance so it’s difficult to distinguish between them.

However, it’s believed that only the Brilliant Rummy Nose Tetra species have the red area of their nose spread past their gills.

Another way you can differentiate the three species is by their size.

While other Rummy Nose Tetras can grow up to 2.5 inches, a fully grown Common Rummy Nose Tetra is about 1.75 inches when fully grown.


Rummy Nose Tetras are peaceful, pleasant, and sociable.

They create strong bonds among individuals of their species and they do not feel threatened by the presence of other fishes. 

They like to be in groups of six and more and you can rarely find them swimming alone except when in search of food or shelter.

And being with many of their own species increases their chances of survival. 

When in their natural habitat in the Amazon rivers, they always swim at the bottom of the river, similar to how they swim in the middle bottom in the aquarium.

This behavior is because of their sensitivity to light.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

It is common knowledge that the aquarium should mirror the natural habitat of the fish.

The Rummy Nose Tetra’s natural habitat is usually warm and slightly acidic.

And the river bed contains fine sands, with plants,  debris, and rocks all around. 

To mirror the Amazon River’s conditions, these are the parameters you should maintain. 

Water Requirement

The Rummy Nose Tetras are sensitive to slight changes in the water conditions, so you must keep it constant to prevent any adverse effect it might have on the fish. 

  • Water Temperature: Between 75 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Water Hardness: 2 to 6 KH
  • pH level: 5.5 to 7.0 (high acidity)

Tank size

Considering the fish’s size and behavior, they do not need huge tanks but you also have to consider that you can only get a group of them, so a small tank might not be suitable. 

The ideal tank size for one Rummy Nose Tetra is 2 gallons of tank space per fish, which means you can calculate the appropriate tank size depending on the number of Rummy Nose Tetra in the shoal.

Meaning if you are getting 10 Rummy Nose Tetras, you should have a 20-gallon tank.

Tank Specification

Since the Rummy Nose Tetra is used to a sandy substrate, ensure there is enough sand in the bottom of the tank.

Do not overcrowd the aquarium with decorations and plants, as this fish likes to swim around, especially in the middle area which should be left empty.

They like to have plants because they use them as a hiding place when they are stressed or feel threatened in any way. 

Other necessary equipments are the aquarium lighting, filters, and heaters.

Because of the fish’s sensitivity to slight changes in the water, you should use a high-performance filter that is overrated for the size tank that they are housed in.

A standard aquarium light will do OK for them, especially if you have moderate decorations to help as a shade.

But if you do not have plants or decorations, use dim lighting as the fish is sensitive to light.

What to Feed Rummy Nose Tetras

Rummy Nose Tetras are omnivores so feeding them is pretty straightforward. 

Ordinarily, they will survive with protein and plant based-materials.

But you should supplement it with fish flakes and pellets to make it a balanced diet.

You can treat them once in a while by providing live bloodworms and Daphnia or some frozen foods. 

As much as you want them to be healthy and well-fed, do not overfeed them.

When you overfeed them, their waste and the excess food will quickly cause a change in the water’s pH. 

Feed them with small amounts of food two to three times a day.

Make sure that all the food is consumed to avoid contaminating the water.

Female Rummy Nose Tetra

Male and Female Differences

You have to look closely to see the difference between the male and female Rummy Nose Tetra.

You can see the difference by looking at their body size and shape.

The males have more slender bodies than the females.

Even though the females are smaller, they have a rounded abdomen.

Also, the males have a unique hook on their rear fin.

Common diseases

Rummy Nose Tetras do not have special health conditions or diseases; they can experience any common freshwater diseases.

Some of the common illnesses are:


Ich is a parasitic infection caused when the fish experience environmental stress. The symptoms are white spots on the fish.

The disease is contagious so immediately isolate the fish and treat it in a separate tank. 

The disease can lead to the death of the fish, so get appropriate over-the-counter medication to treat them.


Dropsy is a bacterial infection that causes the fish’s body to swell due to the accumulation of fluids in the fish.

It is a common disease caused by different factors, including a compromised immune system. 

Some of its symptoms are pale gills, bulging eyes, abnormal scale appearance, and a weird swollen look to the fish.

There can be different causes of this disease so the best would be to avoid your fish getting it in the first place.

Ensure good environmental conditions and a high-quality diet with suitable tank mates to reduce stress.

Suitable Tank Mates

The best tank mates you can give Rummy Nose Tetras are more of their own kind.

You can see their excitement in their coordinated movements and display.

But there are other suitable tank mates apart from their kind.

And since they do not feel threatened by other fish species, you can add other smaller fish species of a similar gentle nature. 

Due to their bright colors and patterns, they can be a target for larger or more aggressive fish.

So, you have to consider the other fish’s behavior too. 

Also, while getting a suitable tank mate, take note of other factors like the fish’s water requirement, diet, and other things that might affect the Rummy Nose Tetra.

Some of the fish you can add to their tank as tank mates are:

Good tankmates for Rummy Nose tetras are not limited to those stated above, but you can not go wrong with these.

Rummy Nose Tetra Tank Mates


Breeding Rummy Nose Tetras is not a complicated process.

Recognizing and having a good mix of females and males is the first hurdle. 

You can do a trial-and-error method until you get the sexes right by putting a few in the tank and taking note of the ones that pair off.

To provide a good breeding condition, raise the water’s temperature to about 84 degrees Fahrenheit, similar to the breeding season of the wild.

Ensure there are enough plants in the tank as they will use them when breeding.

The female will go near a plant and turn over for the male to fertilize her eggs. After fertilization, the female will lay the eggs on a leaf.

Once the female has laid all her eggs, remove all the fish to prevent them from feeding on the eggs.

The hatching of the eggs takes about 24 hours.

The tiny fish fry will feed on their egg sac for the next few days. After about six days, they will start swimming around.

Then, you can start providing them with food like infusoria, powder solutions, and brine shrimp.

After two months they should be big enough to be added back into the community tank.

Should You Get Rummy Nose Tetras for Your Aquarium?

It is no wonder that Rummy Nose Tetras are so popular, considering their striking appearance and peaceful nature.

Whether you have experience in the aquarium department or not, I can highly recommend the Rummy Nose Tetra.

They are easy to care for and are active swimmers that will bring life to any fish tank.

Photo of author


Irma Bense is the founder of She has over 42 years of experience in keeping fish.She has kept both freshwater and saltwater fish through the years.She has extensive knowledge in breeding numerous species of fish from Show Guppies, Cory Catfish, German Blue Rams to Apistogrammas.You can learn more about Irma on the 'About' page.

Leave a Comment