Rummy Nose Tetra Complete Guide

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The Rummy Nose Tetra, which is also known as Hemigrammus rhodostomus, is a freshwater fish species, known for its display of multiple colors. It is one of the most beautiful fishes that one can buy for a freshwater aquarium. It is a tropical fish species native to South American climates. The Rummy Nose Tetra is a small fish species with a size of only two inches or 5cm. Many fishkeepers like it for its striking color display, and calm nature. The Rummy Nose Tetra is one of their most common names, but they are also known as the Firehead Tetra, it is a name that is used for more than one species of fish from the same genus.

The Rummy Nose Tetra is one of those species that can survive in tanks alone, and also with companions from different other species. Just make sure that their companions are also peaceful like them. These are highly active species of fish, and they love to room around in their habitat. These fishes would keep moving from one part of the tank to another and would make the water look alive. The Rummy Nose Tetras are small in size, so when they move in water, it feels like the water is moving, also their striking colors give a beautiful display and please the eye. This article below contains all the information about Rummy Nose Tetra, including a care guide specific to them.

Basic Facts Table:

Lifespan6 to 8 years on average
Size5cm or 2 inches on average
ColorsSilver, red, white, and black stripes
Freshwater or SaltwaterFreshwater species
Care LevelMinimum to moderate,
CompatibilityPeaceful species of small fishes

Tank Companions: (List other fishes that can be paired with Runny Nose Tetra):

As you already know that these are peaceful, schooling fish species, you should add other fish species with similar habits in their tank. You should not add any large fishes that can eat small Rummy Nose Tetras. Also, do not add any aggressive fish species as they would not be a great fit for the peaceful Rummy Nose Tetra.

Here is a list of popular Tank Companions for Rummy Nose Tetra fish.

  • Angelfish
  • Danios
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Mollies
  • Neon Tetra
  • Discus Fish
  • Yo-Yo Loaches
  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • Cherry Barbs
  • Dwarf Gourami

Apart from fish, you can also put shrimps and snails in the tank to add beauty and diversity.


The appearance of these fishes is beautiful. They are small and have multiple colors in their bodies. For example, their head is covered with orange-red color and that is why they are known as firehead tetra as their heads resemble a small flame. They have small beautiful eyes with black color inside. Their silver bodies almost appear as if they are transparent and you can see through them. Their tail contains black and white stripes, the number of stripes can be different for every individual, usually depending on the size of the fish. Both male and female bodies look the same, except at the time when females are ripe. The shape of their bodies is like a fusiform.

Their bodies give a greenish tint from their silvery bodies when they swim. Fins of the Rummy Nose Tetra are hyaline. Some of these fishes may have three black stripes along with two instead of having five black stripes with white spaces. The total size of their bodies is five centimeters or two inches. The Head can range between 0.5cm to 0.75cm, and the body about three to four cm, the tail fins are about 1cm long. 5cm is the size of a full-grown male or female Rummy Nose Tetra fish, young fishes can be smaller when they are in the growth phase.

Natural Habitat:

The natural habitat of this fish is freshwater sources, especially rivers in South America (Brazil, Peru). Amazon river is known as the origin place of all three species of Rummy Nose Tetra. Their natural habitat contains soft and sandy river beds. Water-based green plantations are very common in their natural habitat and that acts as a major food source for the Rummy Nose Tetra.

Also, their habitat contains rocks and caves which helps them hide from predators and other fish species and shelter them. The Rummy Nose Tetra lives in those regions where the temperature of the water is comparatively warm, and the water is slightly acidic. Also, they do not like dark places and deeper water and like to room around where there is a low level of water and sunlight can reach the bottom of the river easily. You need to keep these details in mind as they will be useful while you are building a fish tank for the Rummy Nose Tetra.

Lifespan of Rummy Nose Tetra:

The average lifespan of a Rummy Nose Tetra is between 6 to 8 years. For one of the smallest species of fish, it is a long lifespan. Their lifespan in the fish tank depends on the care. If you are providing them the care they need, they may live more than 7 or 8 years but if they are not being cared for properly. There is a higher likelihood of untimely death. For that reason, you should learn about properly taking care of them and about their native environment. If you can do that, they will be longer and will be healthier.

Habitat and Tank Conditions:

When you are creating the habitat or tank for the Rummy Nose Tetra, you need to remember the natural habitat details. You will have to make the aquarium according to those details. For example, the water in the habitat should be kept warm as their natural habitat water is slightly warm. Also, the water should be slightly acidic.

To set up the tank for Rummy Nose Tetra, you will have to use the fine-grain substrate. Other substances that you can use apart from fine grain are the small grovel. Rummy Nose Tetras do not spend their time on the surface, so whatever material you choose would work for them. But fine grain is generally considered better as compared to the grovel.

These are small fishes and need about 20-25 gallons of water. This much water is enough to hold 10 Rummy Nose Tetra fishes. If you want to add more fish, you will have to increase the size of the tank and will have to add more water. You can also build a medium-sized aquarium for them to set up a community aquarium of Rummy Nose Tetra with other peaceful small fish species.

Rummy Nose Tetra spends most of its time in the middle level of the tank. So, you should use the plants that can grow in this part. These plants also act as a buffer or shelter for the Rummy Nose Tetra when they need to stay away from the light or when they are hiding from the other fishes in the tank. You can add appropriate decorations in the tank but you will have to make sure that there is enough room for the fishes to move freely. Do not use anything that might become a trap for the fish.

As you know that Rummy Nose Tetra likes to be in warm water, you will have to use a heater to make sure that water remains at a moderately high temperature all the time. Idea temperature for the Rummy Nose Tetra is 75-84°F, the ideal pH for the water is 6.2-7.0. You should also use the standard aquarium lights. You can also add a separate air or water pump to keep the water in the tank moving.

An additional external filter should be used to keep the water clean of ammonia and nitrates. These chemical compounds are harmful to the Rummy Nose Tetra.  These are the optimal conditions for the growth of Rummy Nose Tetra in the aquarium as these conditions meet the conditions of their natural habitat. This healthy environment would let them grow and live longer and healthier.

Water Conditions:

The Rummy Nose Tetra are known as some of the most sensitive species of aquarium fishes when it comes to water conditions and change. They do not like change at all, and it affects their health immediately. So, you will have to make sure that the water conditions of their aquarium remain the same as optimal every time. Recommended levels of pH, hardness, temperature, and flow are given below.

  1. Minimum 20 gallons for 10 fish.
  2. The pH level is 6.5. *(5.5 to 7.0)
  3. Harness level is 4KH *(2 to 6).
  4. The temperatures level is 80 *(75 to 84).
  5. flow level is slow.

The reason for keeping the flow of water or water current slow is that these small fishes are not strong enough to live through higher motion in water. Make sure that water is moving slowly, and is not still, as that is also not an optimal condition. Flow in the water helps them move if it is in the same direction and the speed of the flow is slow.

You should also maintain the temperature in the water as the fluctuations in the temperature can have a serious impact on the health of the Rummy Nose Tetra. If you are adding more fish to the aquarium of Rummy Nose Tetra, you will have to make sure that you are not making an overcrowded aquarium. Make sure that there is enough space for each member of the aquarium to have its personal space.

Water Source:

It is easy to set up an aquarium for Rummy Nose Tetra fishes as they have moderate requirements in terms of plants, ornaments, sand, and gravel in the tank. The only thing that matters the most for the health of Rummy Nose Tetra is the water. You cannot use the tap water to fill your aquarium for Rummy Nose Tetra. This is because to make the tap water safer for drinking, many chemicals such as chlorine, and others are added. These chemicals are not found in the natural water reserves such as rivers where these fishes live naturally.

So, the presence of these additional substances in the tap water makes it difficult for the Rummy Nose Tetra to live and thrive. Not only that, some of these chemicals are extremely harmful to the fish and can even kill them. That is why you cannot use the tap water for filling your aquarium unless you have treated the water and have removed most of the harmful chemicals.

Also, the plants in the aquarium need some of these chemicals such as phosphates, and nitrates to grow. But the tap water contains an excess amount of these chemicals and that can lead to the growth of algae in the water. You need to prevent this from happening if you are using tap water as algae can not only contaminate the water, it will also cause the death of the rest of the vegetation in the aquarium. To put it simply, it would destroy the ecosystem in the aquarium.

So, if you want to use the tap water for filling the aquarium, you should either distill it or use reverse osmosis to clean it. You can also send the sample of your tap water for testing to know about the amounts of copper, phosphate, chlorine, and other additives in your tap water. Testing will help you figure out if your tap water is usable or not.

Ideal Size For The Tank:

There are a lot of different sizes for the tank for making a Rummy Nose Tetra aquarium. The optimal size depends on the number of fish that you want to have. As you can have one fish for every two gallons of water, if you want to have ten fish, the ideal size will be between 20 to 25 gallons. If you want to have an even greater number of Rummy Nose Tetra fishes in the tank, you should make a tank that can contain more water.

For example, for making a community tank of more than two species with five members each, you will have to use an aquarium tank that can hold the respective amount of water. If you used less water, it would cause overcrowding in the tank and that will not be an optimal situation.

Behavior and Temperament:

The Rummy Nose Tetra is known as one of the most peaceful and calm fish species. They like to live in a cluster but sometimes, members of the cluster also move away from one another and live in different corners. They are not aggressive and do not attack other members of their group, species, or other species in the aquarium. Due to this behavior and a cool temperament, these fishes can be paired with many other fish species that are also calm and cool.

The Rummy Nose Tetra also likes to connect with fishes from other species if you are building a community aquarium. But you will have to make sure that you pair them with the right type of mates. They like to play with other mates and explore the entire fish tank, but sometimes, they also try to hide from other members of the aquarium, hence you should grow some plants in the aquarium so that there is a space for them where they can hide if they want.

Breeding Rummy Nose Tetras:

Breeding the Rummy Nose Tetra can be a problem if you are not a fish breeder or fish expert. It is because the male and female of this species look the same and only an expert can differentiate between a male and female. So, if you want success at breeding the Rummy Nose Tetra, you will need to know the difference between males and females. This difference will help you select the fishes for your aquarium and will help you get a balanced amount of males and females for breeding. You can also ask for help from an expert breeder to help you identify the number of males and females in your population.

After getting the right number of male and female Rummy Nose Tetra fishes, you will have to work on providing them the environment that they need for breeding. The first thing that you will need to do is to make sure that the temperature in the water is at the right level. Rummy Nose Tetra likes to breed during the summertime, so you should warm the temperature slightly up to the level of 84°F. This will depict the summer season conditions in the water.

For breeding the Rummy Nose Tetra, it is important to keep the water clean otherwise they would not breed if the water is polluted. They are sensitive to water pollution, and that is why you should use active filtration to keep the water clean. You need to add a lot of vegetation to the middle level of your aquarium. This is where the Rummy Nose Tetra pairs would breed. If there is less vegetation, they will not breed.

Female Rummy Nose Tetra would go to the leaves of the plants and would wait for the males to fertilize the eggs. After fertilization, females would release the eggs on the leaves. After breeding, separate the eggs from the fish tank otherwise they might get eaten. These eggs will hatch within the next 24 hours, but the fry will only swim after 6 to 7 days. These newborns will need special food and should be kept separate from the adults unless they are the same size as the adults.

Eggs and Fry Care Guide:

As mentioned earlier, if the eggs are not hidden or separated, they will be eaten by other fishes or their parents. The only way to prevent this is by using a separate tank for breeding. Separate the fishes that you want to breed. Put them in a separate tank with the optimal conditions for breeding. Once they lay the eggs, you should pick them up and put them in the previous tank. This separation will increase the chances of hatching and growing fry into fish. The fry cannot eat the same food as the adult Rummy Nose Tetra. So, you should use specialized and recommended food for them.

Diet of Rummy Nose Tetra:

The Rummy Nose Tetra fish are omnivores, they would eat everything including plant vegetation, small insects, larvae, and even their eggs and the eggs of other fish species. This diet helps them survive in the wild waters. You should also give them a similar type of food that contains a mixture of everything. Flakes and pellets are some of the most used food items for the diet of Rummy Nose Tetra.

To provide them proteins, you can feed them daphnia, and bloodworms. You can add any of the green vegetables that are available in your kitchen. But you will need to chop these vegetables into tiny pieces. If you are feeding them enough, they would not eat the plants inside the aquarium, but if you are not, they would start to eat the leaves of plants within the aquarium.

You will need to feed them twice a day and make sure that the feed is enough for the number of fish in your tank. Also, make sure that you do not put a lot of food in the tank at once. Because if you do, the fishes would only eat what they need and the rest would rot in the bottom of the tank or you will have to clean that excess amount of food that you added.

Diseases of Rummy Nose Tetra You Should Know About:

If you keep the conditions right and the water clean, there are chances that your fish will remain healthy. But some health problems might come even if you keep the conditions optimal. These include the Dropsy and Ich diseases. Each one is known to have killed a lot of Rummy Nose Tetra fishes.

  • Ich is a parasitic disease that can pass from one fish to another. So, if one of your fishes catches Ich, you must separate it from the others. The easiest way to spot if your fishes have Ich diseases is that fishes with Ick disease would develop small white spots all over their bodies. This will help you identify the infected ones and separate them. You can cure Ich using available medicines.
  • Dropsy is a Rummy Nose Tetra disease that causes the body of the fish to accumulate fluids. So, you can identify this disease by looking at the body shapes of your fish. If they are normal sized, then everything is okay, but if one or more of your fishes start to swell, it can be a sign of Dropsy. The cause of this disease is a bacterial infection and it can be treated with medicines.

If any of your fish catches any diseases, you should change the water inside the tank, and do a clean-up. Also, make sure that you keep the infected fishes separate from the healthy ones to avoid an outbreak.

Is Rummy Nose Tetra a Saltwater or Freshwater Species?

The Rummy Nose Tetra species is a freshwater species, originating from the Amazon river in South America. It lives in shallow, warm, and slightly acidic freshwater.

Is Rummy Nose Tetra a Schooling Species?

Yes, Rummy Nose Tetra is a schooling species of fish. They like to swim and move around the entire aquarium. Due to this schooling habit, they are known as the favorite species for many fish keepers who like to watch the fish school around in the tank. Also, you should pair them with other species that like schooling and swimming in the tank.

The number of Rummy Nose Tetra Per Gallon of Water:

According to the recommendation of fishkeepers, you should keep 1 Rummy Nose Tetra in 2 gallons of water. You can calculate the number of fish for your tank size using this. Adding more fish than this number per gallon can cause overcrowding which is not good.

Conclusion – Is Rummy Nose Tetra Suitable For Your Aquarium?

Rummy Nose Tetra is one of those fish species that are not only beautiful, but peaceful, and cheerful. They like to move around in the entire aquarium and this creates a beautiful scene as it feels like the water has come to life. As they are a peaceful species, you can pair them with other fishes that are peaceful and beautiful to look at. It is one of those species that almost every fish keeper wants in its aquarium. So, if you are someone who likes to watch peaceful, beautiful, and cheerful species of fish, then the Rummy Nose Tetra is one of the must-haves for your aquarium.


Question: What are the best Rummy Nose Tetra fish tank companions?

Answer: Rummy Nose Tetra should be paired with peaceful and small fish species of the same size. Here is a list of some of the best Tank Companions for Rummy Nose Tetra. Neon Tetra,Hatchet fish, Yo-Yo Loach, Dwarf Gourami, Harlequin Rasbora, and Pearl Gourami.

Question: What is the size of a Rummy Nose Tetra in cm?

Answer: The average size of a Rummy Nose Tetra fish is about 2 inches or 5 cm. It is the size of an adult fish.

Question: What are the water parameters for Rummy Nose Tetra?

Answer: Here are the water parameters for a Rummy Nose Tetra aquarium. The pH of the water should be between 5.5 to 7, temperature between 72 to 84 F or 22 to 29 C, and hardness between 2 and 8 HK. Keep the water filtered, and change 10% of the water every week.

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