Rummy Nose Tetra [Care Guide] – Size, Temperature, Tank Mates & More

The Rummy Nose Tetra is a stunning freshwater fish that makes a great addition to any aquarium. To discover the best method to care for these beautiful fish.

Rummy Nose Tetra – Quick Facts

In a rush? Check out the quick facts about Rummy Nose Tetra below.

Fish Info

Scientific NameHemigrammus rhodostomus
Common NamesRummy nose tetra, brilliant rummy nose tetra, red nose tetra, Firehead tetra
AppearanceSilver body, red head, and colorful caudal fin.
DifficultyThe difficulty of caring for rummy nose tetra is easy to moderate.
DistributionThe Rummy-nose Tetra is found in South America in the Rio Vaupes in Columbia and in the Rio Negro in Brazil.
LifespanThe lifespan of rummy nose tetra is around 6 to 8 years.
TemperamentRummy nose tetras are peaceful fish that are great for community aquariums.
Keep in Groups ofThey prefer to live in groups of six or more.
Tank MatesCorydoras catfish, Cherry Barb, Harlequin Rasbora, Pearl Gourami, Green Neon Tetra, Dwarf Gourami, Corydoras Catfish, Silver Tip Tetra, Mystery Snail
DietRummy nose tetras eat any kind of flake, pellet, fresh, and live foods, including bloodworms and brine shrimp.
LengthAround 2.5 cm
Sexual DimorphismMales are usually smaller than females, with more pronounced fins.
Breeding DifficultyRummy nose tetras are quite easy breed in captivity.

Water/Tank Recommendations

Water TypeFreshwater
Water TemperatureThe ideal water temperature for rummy nose tetra is 76 – 80 degrees F or 24- 27 degrees C.
Water pHThe ideal water pH for rummy nose tetra is 5.5-6.8.
Water HardnessThe ideal water hardness for rummy nose tetra is 50-100 ppm.
Tank sizeThe minimum tank size for rummy nose tetras should be no less than 20 gallons, and the recommended tank size is 30+ gallons.


Red Empress Cichlids are a beautiful freshwater fish that has quite the cult following in the aquarist community. Renowned for their beautiful colors and captivating patterns, these fish can be eye-catching no matter where you look!

But like any other species, they require special care if you want them to thrive in your aquarium. That’s why this guide was put together. It will teach you about Red Empress Cichlid care so you can keep these fish happy and healthy.

By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be an expert!

About Rummy Nose Tetra

The Rummy-nose Tetra is a gorgeous freshwater fish with an interesting name. Also called the brilliant rummy nose tetra, forehead tetra or red-nosed tetra, these tiny fish are fun to take care of and pretty to look at.

The scientific name of this species is Hemigrammus rhodostomus. It belongs to the characin family, which also includes popular types of community fish like bloodfin tetras and guppies.

Rummy nose tetras live in South America in the Rio Vaupes in Columbia and in the Rio Negro in Brazil. They’re quite easy to breed compared to other freshwater species, making them great choices if you want a pretty yet hardy addition to your tank.


The name of the Rummy Nose Tetra says it all. The head and part of its body is deep red in color, making it look like a dusky nose! This intense shade can vary slightly from fish to fish.

The rest of this species’ body is shiny silver. You might see some light blue hints on the sides as well. Their fins are equally vivid and beautiful.

Males have white caudal fins with black tips that contrast nicely against their silver bodies. Females tend to have more subdued fins, but they still shine.

Their Length

The average length of a rummy nose tetra is about two and a half centimeters. This makes them very small, making it easy for even beginning aquarists to keep them healthy in their tank.

If you want to maximize their length, it’s best to keep them in an aquarium that is at least 20 gallons. These fish do well when they have a bit of room to swim around.

Water quality and diet are also important factors, so don’t neglect these.

This will help your fish grow a bit longer.


Rummy Nose Tetras generally live for around 6 to 8 years when kept when they’re kept in captivity. They can survive for longer in the wild, but that’s rare with captive fish.

Like any other freshwater species, this tetra’s lifespan can vary greatly depending on its living conditions and diet.

In optimal conditions, a Rummy Nose Tetra can live for several years. However, if you neglect the fish and provide them with poor living conditions, their life expectancy will be significantly shortened.

NOTE: Well-balanced conditions are necessary for the Rummy Nose Tetra to reach its full potential.

Sexual Dimorphism

Males are usually smaller than females, with more pronounced fins. Males also tend to be redder in coloration and often have a larger dorsal fin.

Females have a rounder belly and a bigger caudal peduncle.


The Rummy-nose Tetra is a freshwater fish that inhabits streams and rivers.

Originally found living in the Rio Negro and Rio Vaupes, these fish have become popular in aquariums thanks to their ease of care requirements (and stunning looks!).

Caring for Rummy Nose Tetra

Rummy nose tetras don’t require a lot of care, but they do have their quirks. They can be sensitive fish that loves company and a tank filled with plants.

To keep your fish healthy, the most important thing you need to do is provide them with water conditions that match those found in their natural habitat

Keep their tanks well-decorated – These fish like environments full of plants and hiding spots where they feel safe from predators.


This species of fish eat mainly flake or pellet food, as well as live foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Rummy nose tetras will eat any kind of plant matter that sinks to the bottom of their habitat. They also have a taste for organic flakes designed for tropical fish.

Keep in mind that you must provide a balanced diet for your rummy nose tetra. Young fish require a high protein content in their food.

How Often & How Much to Feed Them

Feeding your rummy nose tetra is pretty straightforward. Remember this helpful hint when it comes to their diet:

Deed twice a day, with each meal being small enough to eat in 3-4 minutes.

Aim for two large meals per day instead of several smaller ones, so you don’t stress the fish out too much during feeding time.

Possible Diseases

Like most fish, Red-nosed tetra can suffer from common aquarium diseases. Watch out for Ich, a highly contagious disease that causes white spots all over the body.

The condition is caused by stress, poor water quality or handling your fish too much. Quarantine any new fish before adding them to an existing tank, and never use nets that have touched diseased fish in another tank.

You could also encounter fin rot, which affects the fins causing them to turn black and fall off if not treated quickly enough.

Another common disease is bacterial infection, which can cause redness and swelling. Lastly, there’s the parasitic fluke, a tiny worm that invades the fish’s body to feed off its cells.

Tank Setup

The key to keeping a healthy tank is starting with the necessary equipment. Here are some things you need to consider:

Aquarium Size

The minimum tank size for rummy nose tetras should be no less than 20 gallons, and the recommended tank size is 30+ gallons. These are small fish but they do need plenty of room to swim around.

If you want to keep more than a dozen in your community aquarium, then increase the volume accordingly.

A large tank is important because these are shoaling fish that prefer to be in groups of at least half a dozen.

As a result, they need enough room to swim in synchronization and feel safe.

Water Conditions

Like all fish species, Rummy Nose Tetras require water parameters that mimic the natural environment of their wild habitats. Due to their sensitivity to changes in aquatic conditions and living preferences, it’s best to replicate what they have been used to in the wild.


The ideal pH level for rummy nose tetras is 5.5-6.8, which is slightly acidic to neutral. To maintain these levels in your tank, use a reliable test kit and perform weekly testing and adjustments as needed.

NOTE: Many people who own these fish don’t perform pH tests frequently enough. In some cases, the tanks are actually too acidic for the health of rummy nose tetras!

Because of this, it’s important to stay on top of these levels if you plan on keeping them in your aquarium.

Don’t be one of those owners who neglect to do an important test and end up harming their fish (or losing them altogether) as a result.


The ideal water temperature for rummy nose tetra is 76 – 80 degrees F or 24- 27 degrees C. One frequent error new owners make is keeping their tanks too warm, as this can cause disease or stress in your fish.

It’s important to keep the tank temperature at or near that of their natural habitat. Remember that warmer waters mean faster metabolisms and an increased need for oxygen (among other things).

When you’re first getting your tank ready, wait a couple of weeks before introducing your fish. This will give the water time to mature and stabilize.


The hardness of the water for rummy nose tetras should be kept between 50 and 100 parts per million. You can measure this using a test kit or use your tap water to find out how hard it already is.

You don’t want the hardness level to go below 50 ppm. On the other side of that spectrum, you don’t want it over 100 either because there is no benefit, and it will increase maintenance work.


You’ll want to make sure that your tank has a robust filtration system to keep the water clean. Rummy nose tetras are very active and prefer higher-oxygenated water, which can be hard for filters to handle.

Make sure you get a filter that’s large enough for your aquarium (it should have at least five times more gallon capacity than there is volume of water). A decent hang-on-back filter or submersible pump with an air stone will work just fine.

Aquarium Plants

Rummy nose tetras do well with live plants. In their native environment, these fish are accustomed to living among dense vegetation in waters filled with plant life. The best choice for your aquarium is not just any live plant but one that’s specifically made for freshwater tanks.

Any tropical type of aquarium plant should be fine as long as you don’t have aggressive or large fish in the tank that could uproot them and damage their leaves. Feel free to experiment with a wide variety!

Rummy nose tetras will spend a lot of time darting through the plants. They also like to swim in and out of their leaves for shelter.

Behavior and Compatibility

Rummy nose tetras are a very active and playful species. They can be found darting throughout the tank and swimming in unison with one another.

They do well with other peaceful fish of similar size. For example, they pair well with other types of tetras or catfish. Avoid keeping them with large, aggressive cichlids as they may view these shy creatures as food!

Rummy nose tetras spend most of their time towards the middle and bottom parts of the water column.

How Many to Keep Together

You should keep a maximum of six rummy nose tetras together in one tank. This ensures that there are enough resources for each fish and minimizes squabbles over territory.

Larger groups of 20 or 30 fish can be kept, so if you have a very large aquarium, then go ahead and add even more!


Rummy nose tetras are very peaceful and can get along with many other species of fish. They do well with most community tank mates, excluding aggressive larger fish that might mistake them for food.

Always make sure to keep their tank mates in mind when setting up an aquarium based on the recommendations we’ve included above.

Tank Mates

Rummy nose tetras do well with other peaceful tank mates. They can live in harmony with most fish of similar size, including:

You can even keep them with a simple community aquarium full of guppies or platyfish.

Avoid bigger fish like cichlids, or angelfish. These larger fish will bully the rummy nose tetras and cause them to become stressed out.


Breeding rummy nose tetras can be quite easy in captivity, but you’ll need to make sure you have a good mix of both sexes.

Ensure your tank has plenty of vegetation, and warm the temperature up to around 80+ degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the female releases her eggs, take the adults away from them so they don’t get tempted to eat them!

The fry then hatch after about a day or so and then begin swimming around the tank after around a week.

Are Rummy Nose Tetra Fish a Good Choice For Your Tank?

The multitude of hues and designs you can find in the Rummy Nose Tetra is part of what makes them such a beautiful species.

If you’re set on owning these freshwater fish, we recommend doing your homework first. Get as much information about their origins, needs, and recommended tank conditions before purchasing any. This will help you avoid disappointment or costly mistakes down the line.


  • Rummy nose tetras are beautiful and active fish. This species is a bit more subdued than other types of tetra, but they’re no less fun to watch!
  • Because of their lack of aggression, these fish make excellent additions to community tanks. They play well with others and won’t cause any trouble when it comes to dominance or territory.
  • These freshwater fish also do very well in tropical water conditions. Their low-maintenance nature makes them one of the easiest tropical fish for aquarists who want something easy and hassle-free.


  • As we mentioned earlier, these fish have the potential to become infested with parasites if water conditions are not maintained. Some of the most common are fluke and anchor worms.
  • Another issue that comes up when keeping Rummy Nose Tetras in captivity is their sensitivity to changes in water conditions. This species struggles a bit when it comes to adapting to changes. This means frequent water tests are needed if you want them to thrive.


Rummy nose tetras are beautiful freshwater fish with a lot to offer aquarists. With their striking looks, low-maintenance care requirements, and peaceful temperament, these fish will provide you with years of enjoyment!

We hope this guide provided everything you need to know about caring for Rummy Nose Tetras.

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