Rummy nose tetra

Rummy Nose Tetra – Diet, Breeding and Complete Care Guide:

Rummy nose tetra is without any doubt a perfect freshwater aquarium fish with its enchanting beauty, sparkling colors, and playful nature. Rummy nose tetras can catch anyone’s attention with their mesmerizing display of colors, as they move in groups it almost feels like a dream.

With so much beauty comes immense delicacy as well, thus, rummy nose tetras are hard to handle. They can’t tolerate fluctuations in water parameters and are easily dominated by bigger fishes. Thus, most of the rummy nose tetras are often under great stress.

In this guide, we will tell you all you need to know to keep these beauties in your home aquarium.

Let’s get started!!!


Rummy nose tetras belong to the Characidae family. They are native to South America where they inhabit the Amazon River scattered among different regions.

Natural HabitatSouth America (Amazon River)

There are three closely related species of tetras that are often confused with rummy tetras.

  • True rummy nose tetras (Hemigrammus rhodostomus)
  • Firehead Tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri) 
  • False Rummy nose tetra (Petitella georgiae)

Due to similarities in their appearance and habitat, they are often confused and even professionals can’t make out the difference.

Rummy nose tetras usually live in warm water areas with slow waves and a sandy river base. Rummy nose tetras prefer places where they can find a chance to hide such plants, rocks, and caves.

Knowing the natural habitat of a fish is necessary to replicate it in your home aquarium to make them feel at home.


The sight of rummy nose tetra is no less than a nature’s marvel with transparent to the silver body, with bright red head and zebra pattern tail. They have a linear body that can reach a maximum size of 2-3 inches.

Starting from vibrant blood-red colored head especially starting from the nose that gives this fish its characteristic name Rummy Nose Tetra. Its eyes are deep red with a central black retina.

The head is followed by the elegant transparent body that often is reflected as sparkling silver when seen from a distance. Surprisingly enough you can even see their center bone due to their transparent body.

Now one of the most distinguished features of this fish is its tail, it has a zebra-like pattern. Its caudal fin has white and black alternating horizontal lines that create an impressive pattern.

All the fins of this fish are tiny and transparent except the caudal fin. There are generally little to no differences in the two genders and except for the females have larger, healthier bodies with better pigmentation.

Rummy nose tetra
Image Credit : Aquariadise


5-6 Years

Generally, it is very hard to look after a rummy nose tetra that contributes to their shorter life span than expected. They are quite fragile and can’t tolerate drastic changes in water parameters.

Most a rummy nose tetra can reach is 8 years with extreme care, perfect living conditions, better disease management and prevention coupled with ideal tank mates. There is a role of genetics that determines their life span.


2-2.5 inches

One thing that enhances their cuteness and attractiveness is their small size. Rummy nose tetra hardly grows larger than 2.5 inches given the best living conditions.

Behavior and Temperament:

Two words completely define their behavior peaceful and schooling. Rummy nose tetras are quite friendly, entertaining, and playful fish. They remain in groups and shoal together thus they are least bothering to other fishes.

Usually, rummy nose tetras are seen in the middle part of the tank swimming with their groups displaying beautiful colors and patterns. They mind their own business and expect their other tankmates to do the same.

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Ideal Tankmates for Rummy Nose Tetra:

Selecting the right tankmates for rummy nose tetra is very important as they are small fishes that are easily stressed and dominated by other fishes. Often bigger fishes can make a meal out of them and enjoy it, so any big fish is an absolute no.

Aggressive and territorial fishes are great stressors for rummy tetra, especially cichlids. Rummy nose tetras usually inhabit the middle part of the tank and remain in the form of groups. Thus, any fish that can either stays in the uppermost or bottom of the tank is good.

Ideal Tankmates for rummy nose tetra are following.

Worst Tankmates for Rummy Nose Tetra:

Tankmates that can make your rummy tetra’s life miserable are following.

As long as these above-mentioned fishes are away from your rummy nose tetra, they are good to go.

Can I Keep Rummy Nose Tetras Together?

Yes, absolutely rummy nose tetras are known for the fact that they are great schooling fishes. They love to remain in large groups, and it makes them look fascinating.

A school of rummy nose tetras swimming from your aquarium in a wave-like pattern with their mesmerizing colors and shiny bodies. This is a sight that every fishkeeper wants.

Moreover, a single rummy tetra often feels left out and gets depressed and lonely. If you are planning on getting yourself a rummy nose tetra, go and buy at least six of them. It will not only make your aquarium look prettier, but it will also make your fish feel a lot better.

rummy nose tetra school
Image Credit : fabAquarium

Rummy Nose Tetra Diet:

Rummy nose tetra isn’t picky eaters, but the only problem is their tiny stomachs and even tinier mouths. They are omnivores and can literally eat anything that can fit in their mouth.

In wild rummy nose tetra frequently consume plants, insects, larvae, and even eggs. As they can feed on both a plant-based and a meat-based diet, it gives many options to fishkeepers regarding what to feed them.


Green vegetables finely chopped into small bits that can fit their mouth easily are much appreciated by rummies. Especially cucumber, and peas are good choices, lettuce leaves can also work wonders.

Meaty Stuff:

In the section of meat-based stuff, they usually like worms such as bloodworms. Moreover, daphnia, krill, and baby shrimps are high in protein and by far the best diet for tetras. Frozen, dried, or live food all are acceptable options for your rummy nose tetras.

Store-made Diet:

Most aquarists prefer store-made stuff for their fish, as it is correctly balanced with all nutritional components. Small flakes and pellets are easier and optimal choices for your fish.

Eating Habits of Rummy Nose Tetra:

Due to their small stomachs and poor appetite rummy nose tetra should be fed twice a day. All you need to do is to break up their daily food into two sections and feed it two times daily.

This will give your fish enough time to digest food properly and come up with a fresh appetite. Every time you feed rummy tetras the food quantity should not be more than what they can easily consume in 2 minutes at most.

As they are not picky eaters there is a higher chance of overfeeding, and you should be careful about this. Try not to overfeed them as it is difficult for them to get themselves out of this stress and they usually get sick easily.

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Rummy Nose Tetra Breeding Guide:

Breeding rummy nose tetra is pretty once you have figured out their gender, a common problem faced by many fish breeders. As mentioned earlier there is a negligible difference between male and female tetra, thus making a pair takes quite a while.

  1. The best way to separate a pair is to introduce a bunch of fish to the tank and see which ones of them pair up.
  2. Separate this pair into a breeding tank and provide them with plenty of food.
  3. The breeding tank must contain various plants as rummy nose tetra usually take plant shelter to fertilize and hide their eggs.
  4. Water temperature is one of the key elements that ensure successful breeding. The best-advised temperature by breeders is above 85-degree Fahrenheit.
  5. The breeding tank should be clean and free of toxic substances such as waste products, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites.
  6. Females often find a hiding place to fertilize and lay eggs, such a place could be the leaves of the plants.
  7. Male approach the female and fertilize the eggs, after fertilization the eggs are kept hidden.
  8. It usually takes 2-3 days (70-80 hours approx.) for eggs to hatch.
  9. Rummy nose tetras are known for their ability to eat away their eggs, thus it’s best to remove any adult rummy tetra from the tank.
  10. After hatching from the eggs, the fry survives on the proteinaceous material inside their eggshells.
  11. Once they grow a little bigger you can feed them on powdered food that they can easily take in.

Aquarium Care Guide:

How to build the perfect aquarium for your rummy nose tetra?

In this section, we will go through the complete guide about building suitable living space for your rummy nose tetra.

Aquarium Size:

15–20-gallon aquarium.

It is a major misconception that rummy nose tetra requires little space as for their small size. Rummies love to swim in large spaces with even larger groups. So, a tank with plenty of space to swim is best for them.

A 20-gallon tank can easily accommodate around 8-10 rummies. Thus, 2 gallons of water for one rummy nose is a perfect match.

Water Parameters:

Rummy nose tetras are particularly sensitive about fluctuations in water parameters. A slight disturbance from the setpoint can trigger can stress in your fish and can affect their immunity in a way making them susceptible to diseases.

Aquarium Size20-gallons
Water Temperature75–85-degree Fahrenheit
Water Hardness3-10 KH
Ammonia, Nitrate, and Nitrite Levels0-5 ppm

The above-mentioned parameters are most appropriate for your rummies. Regular water changes paired with a time-to-time assessment of water conditions can save you and your fish from all the Hassles.

 Aquarium Equipment:

To maintain a perfect environment in your tank for your rummies following aquarium equipment are necessary.

  1. An External Water Filter: An efficient water filter is significant to maintain toxic metabolites to near 0 ppm. External filers are better suited to rummy nose tetras as they are most effective in keeping the levels of ammonia to a minimum.
  2. A Water Heater: Rummy nose tetras are fishes of warm water with slight acidity; thus, a water heater is a must especially in cold climate areas.
  3. Water Testing Kits: Water testing kits that usually are capable of determining all parameters in one go are best suited for the assessment of water conditions on daily basis.
  4. Vacuum Cleaner and Siphon: To ensure complete eradication of harmful waste from the bottom of the tank a vacuum cleaner and siphon are basic requirements.
  5. Fishnet: As rummies are small and fast swimmers thus catching them is quite troublesome, so fishnets are necessary.
  6. Water Pump: Rummy tetras are inhabitants of slow-moving water plains thus a water pump would be too much for them to handle. So, it is advised not to put a water pump in the rummy aquarium.
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A soft substrate is best suited for rummy nose teras as it closely resembles their natural habitat. Fine sand or small gravel are both pretty great options for the substrate.

Decorations and plantation:

As it is already mentioned rummies are easily intimidated, so they need hiding places in aquariums. Small rocks, caves, or decorations that can provide them a chance to hide are best.

Plants are the main component of a rummy aquarium; mid-length plants are generally preferred choices. Make sure not to overflood your aquarium with decorations and plants and remember to leave space for your fish to swim.

Disease Management in Rummy Nose Tetra:

Rummy nose tetras are quite delicate and are prone to diseases in case of poor water conditions. One of the key indicators of inappropriate water parameters is reduced pigmentation. If you notice that your fish getting paler it’s time for you to check water parameters.

High levels of toxic substances in an aquarium can make your fish sick and stressed in no time. Even if water conditions are perfect and your fish is getting enough care still there are chances of your fish getting sick.

The most common diseases that can affect your rummy tetra are Ich disease, dropsy, and overfeeding problems.

Ich Disease: It is most commonly seen in the form of white patches or spots all over your fish body. With spots, there is increased irritation, agitation, and difficulty in swimming. You will notice your fish rubbing its body to various surfaces.

Treatment of Ich: Check water parameters and perform instant water changes. You can use store-made medication for the treatment of Ich.

Dropsy: It is the excess fluid accumulation in your fish leading to difficulty in swimming. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are all you need for your fish suffering from dropsy.

An adequate and poor diet, unsuitable water conditions, overfeeding, overcrowding, incompatible tank mates all can put your fish at risk of disease.

How Much a Rummy Nose Tetra Cost?

One rummy nose tetra = 4$

Rummy nose tetras are pretty popular in the aquarium trade and are easily bred. Each rummy nose tetra can cost you no more than 4-5$ at most.

It is pretty cheap so you should always buy a bunch of them to bring a glow up in your aquarium with their sparkling colors and elegant swimming patterns.


How big do rummy nose tetra get?

2.5 inches
Rummy nose tetra can grow up to 2-2.5 inches at most provide they are kept in suitable aquarium conditions with an appropriate diet.

Is rummy nose tetra hardy?

No, rummy nose tetras are not hardy as they are very sensitive to water conditions. A slight shift in water parameters can put your fish under stress and increased risk of diseases. Moreover, they are easily intimidated by big fish.

How long does rummy nose tetra live?

6 years
A healthy rummy nose tetra can live up to 5-8 years maximum. Disease occurrence, poor diet, unhealthy water conditions, and bullying tankmates can further reduce their lifespan.


Rummy nose tetra is an excellent freshwater aquarium fish even for beginners provided they give them enough care. Rummies are elegant, delicate and can put your aquarium aesthetics to a new level with their mesmerizing beauty.

They are shoaling fish and love to stay in large groups and swim gracefully. Although taking care of a rummy tetra is a little difficult but it’s quite possible. Once you keep a group of rummies in your home aquarium you will love them to the fullest.

Hope this article will be beneficial for you.

Best of luck with your aquarium!!!

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