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Rummy Nose Tetra

By | Last Updated: 18th May 2020

The rummy nose tetra, indigenous to South America, is one of the most popular aquarium fish because of its calm, gentle nature, highly preferred in a community tank. Besides the Hemigrammus rhodostomus, which is in discussion here, the Petitella georgiae, and  Hemigrammus bleheri are also referred to as rummy nose tetra. The three species have striking similarities, though the Hemigrammus bleheri or common nose tetra is slightly smaller than the other two.

Rummy Nose Tetra

Quick Information

Scientific Name Hemigrammus rhodostomus
Other Names Firehead tetra
Origin Orinoco River, Lower Amazon Basin of South America 
Type Freshwater fish
Conservation Status Not recorded
Behavioral Characteristics Peaceful, hardy, friendly, adaptable
School Size 5 – 6
Physical Traits Torpedo-shaped glossy body, hyaline textured fins (excepting tail), horizontally striped tail fins
Scale Texture Bright and luminous
Colors Silver translucent body, iridescent green scales,  black and white horizontally-striped tail fin, deep red head, nose, and eyes , with the coloration also spreading to the front part of body 
Size Small; 2 inches (5cm)
Lifespan 5 – 6 years
Sexual Dimorphism Not prominent; though on maturation females have a rounder body and a bulging abdomen
Probable Diseases   Ich and dropsy
Approximate Price 80¢ – $1.20
Rummy Nose Tetra School Size

Tank Setup & Care Sheet Details

Care Level Expert
Tank Size 20 gallons (76 liters)

Water Parameters

pH Level 6.4 – 7.0 (water must be soft, and acidic)
Temperature 75 – 89 °F (24 – 31°C); prefers warm water
Hardness <6 dGH
Aquarium Water Flow Moderate

Tank Ambience

Lighting Subdued
Substrate Type Dark-colored substrate involving thin leaves and Java moss; glass marbles, grass matting
Tank Mates Compatible with: Neon tetra, pygmy corydoras,  dwarf gourami,  guppies, betta, cardinal tetra, discus,  harlequin rasbora, barbs, red cherry shrimp, hatchet fish, German blue rams
Incompatible with: Larger, aggressive, boisterous  aquarium fish like rainbow shark, tiger oscar, red- tailed black shark, flowerhorn cichlid, and angelfish
Suitable Position in the Tank Middle


Diet Flakes, pellets, and granules, as well as live foods like daphnia, bloodworms, and tubifex
Frequency3 times a day
Rummy Nose Tetra Tank Mates
Rummy Nose Tetra Fish

Important Things To Know For Fish Keepers

  • Keep them in big tanks despite their small size as they prefer swimming and shoaling around in a spacious area.
  • If you notice white or black spots on your rummy nose tetra’s body, alongside restlessness, disinterest towards eating, erratic swimming, and tendency to hide, quarantine it at the earliest. Also talk to the veterinarian as those could be the first symptoms of ich disease.
  • Since the Hemigrammus rhodostomus prefers warm water keeping them with fishes that live in cold water, such as Corydoras panda, is never a good idea.
  • Stress, inadequate nutrition, or improper tank water conditions may be some of the reasons for your rummy nose tetra to eventually lose its color.
  • While buying the fish, it is better to know and identify their gender. Males and females barely have any physical differences, making the breeding procedure highly challenging. 
  • Sterilizing their breeding aquarium and cleaning it using an anti-fungal agent is essential since the eggs are prone to fungal and bacterial infections.

Note: They get stressed quite easily if there is a change in their living conditions, or even when chased by other fish, that could cause them to show problem behaviors like jumping out of their aquarium. Being shocked or startled suddenly may even take a toll on their life; hence owners should be vigilant enough to ensure that their fish is being kept in proper living conditions.

Rummy Nose Tetra Size
Rummy Nose Tetra Pregnant


Q. What are platinum rummy nose tetras?

They are a color variation of the rummy nose tetra (particularly the Hemigrammus rhodostomus), having a shinier and sparkling body. The platinum rummy nose tetras are costlier, with each priced at $2-$3.

Q. Can rummy nose tetras die suddenly?

A sudden water change or alteration in the tank’s pH level could result in the death of a healthy rummy nose tetra. Regular water change is always advised to keep a check on the pH level though it should be done in small portions (5% of the total volume) over a certain span of time.

Q. Can they get aggressive sometimes?

Aggression is not something that rummy nose tetras would commonly display, but like any other fish, they may chase or nip at each other during feeding, or when threatened in any way.

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