Rummy nose tetra: Care, Lifespan, Feeding, Algae Eating, Size..

Rummy nose tetra

The rummy nose tetra, also Hemigrammus rhodostomus, is a popular freshwater fish from South America. Its strikingly coloured redhead and the black and white striped tail fin give it an unmistakable appearance. In this guide, you will find out all the peculiarities and characteristics of red-headed tetras and consider when keeping and socializing.


Knowledge Surname:Hemigrammus rhodostomus, Hemigrammus bleheri
Family:Real tetras
Origin:Brazil and Colombia
Size:6 cm
Life expectancy:ten years
Temperature:24-27 ° C
Total hardness:below 10 ° dGH
PH value:5.5-7.0
Pool size:from 80 cm, 112 liters

General information

Origin & habitat

The rummy-nose tetra comes from South America, more precisely from Colombia and Brazil. There he lives in flowing waters with low currents. Most of the time he is in flat areas near the shore.


The rummy nose tetra has a basic silver colour. As the name suggests, the head is coloured a strong red. The rummy nose tetra has a striking black and white striped caudal fin.

Gender differences

The gender differences are very difficult to see. Adult females are usually a bit fuller than the males. No other differences can be seen externally.


Rummy nose tetra is good and active swimmers. Because they are peaceful and friendly fish, they are good for community tanks. They feel bothered by wild and intrusive fish species.

Keeping in the aquarium

Like most tetra species, the rummy nose tetra is a schooling fish. A swarm with at least 10, better 15 animals is required for keeping. The larger the swarm, the safer the red-headed tetra feel and the better their overall beauty comes into their own.


In the wild, rummy nose tetra feeds mainly on small invertebrates. In the aquarium, rummy nose tetra can be fed with high-quality and not too coarse dry food. Feeding live and frozen food, such as Artemia or mosquito larvae, comes closer to the natural diet but is also associated with more effort and costs. On the other hand, red-headed tetra, which is fed with live food, show a stronger and more beautiful colour. Many aquarists use dry food as a staple food and feed live or frozen food once or twice a week.

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Rummy nose tetras are free spawners and are now being reared in large numbers. The eggs are shed between plants or other suitable spawning substrate and adhere to them. As they are strong spawn predators, it is advisable to remove the parent animals after they have laid their eggs. The young hatch after about two days, and after four to six days they can swim freely and be provided with fine food.

Water values

The rummy nose tetra feels at home in soft and slightly acidic water. In its homeland, the rummy nose tetra lives in blackwater rivers. It is ideal for keeping it in a black water biotope aquarium, but it can also feel good in clear water. Rummy nose tetra is very sensitive to water polluted with nitrite and nitrate. Therefore you should carry out a partial water change and water tests at least once a week.

  • Temperature: 24-27 ° C
  • pH value:  5.5 – 7
  • Total hardness:  less than 10
  • Carbonate hardness:  below 7
Rummy nose tetra

The perfect aquarium

Tank size

Rummy nose tetra is a very good and active swimmers. So that you have enough free swimming space, an aquarium width of at least 100 cm and a volume of 180 litres is necessary.


The aquarium equipment should be based on the natural habitat of the rummy nose tetra. Dark sand or gravel is suitable as a substrate. Rummy nosetetra feels at home in rather dark, shady areas. To do this, you can dim the lighting a bit or use some floating plants to shield the light. Stones and roots made of bog or mangrove wood are ideal for structuring the aquarium. There should only be a slight current.

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The aquarium should be planted densely. Both fine-leaved and broad-leaved plants should be used. As already mentioned, floating plants are suitable to create some shady places. In addition to dense planting in places, there should be enough free swimming space.


Rummy nose tetra is peaceful and sociable fish. They are well suited for socialization with other, similarly large ornamental fish from South America. The socialization with discus fish and angelfish can lead to the rummy nose tetra feeling insecure and startled. Smaller cichlids, barblings, armored catfish or other small and medium-sized tetra species are better suited.

Likelihood of confusion

There are several types of the redhead tetra and rummy nose tetra that look very similar. The “hemigrammus bleheri” is the most popular in the aquarium hobby. The species rummy nosetetra ( Hemigrammus rhodostomus) and false rummy-nosetetra ( Hemigrammus georgiae ) look very similar to the Belehers red head tetra, but are somewhat paler and rarely found in aquariums. The keeping and care of the three species do not differ.


Rummy nosetetra is open breeders. Reproduction is only possible in a specially set up spawning tank. In the community basin, the probability of successful reproduction is almost zero.

Since rummy-nosetetra are spawning predators, a spawning grid in the spawning tank is helpful. A lot of patience is required for breeding rummy nose tetras, as they spawn rarely and only at certain water values—the eggs hatch after 20 to 30 hours. After about a week, the fry can swim freely. Artemia nauplii or small-grated flake food are used as rearing food.

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Buy tetra fish

Rummy nose tetra can be found quite frequently in the aquarium trade and specialist market. In addition to the local ornamental fish dealers, a few providers also offer online trading with separate ornamental fish transport  here we recommend Garnelio.

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