You can tell it’s the rummy nose tetra the moment you detect the lovely red patch on your scaly pal’s nose. They are one of the hardiest fishes you can think of adding to your tank – challenging to breed but undoubtedly easy to care for.

The freshwater fish is one of the most common in an aquarium trade, hence are abundantly available.

As a newbie or an experienced fish parent- the rummy-nosed tetra is considered a staple of the fishkeeping community.

The bony has a very detailed and eye-catching bodice that makes them even more exuberant to watch in their school.

Let us unfold all there is to know about this community fish without further suspense.

Let Us Know About the Fish

Quick Species Facts
Scientific Name   Hemigrammus Rhodostomus
Other Common Names Rummy Nose Tetra, Red Nose Tetra, Rednosed Tetra
Family Characidae
Origin South America- The Amazon River Basin
Lifespan 2-3 years (in captivity)  
Max.Size 2 inches
Type Freshwater fish

Origin and Habitat

The Rummy Nose Tetra is native to South America, just like all the other fishes of the same genus.

They happily swim in moderate current water, so you will likely find them in streamlining rivers and creeks.

Notably, this genus is abundant in Brazil and Venezuela

Since they belong to the Neotropical and Negro ecosystem, the nose tetras will be easily found in Amazon Basin.

Two more genera, also called rummy nose tetra, belong to the same family and are often confused with each other. They are:

  • Hemigrammus bleheri, whose origin is Reo Negro and Rio Meta basin. They are also referred to as Fire head tetra and sometimes brilliant rummy nose tetra.
  • Petitella Georgiae, located on the upper parts of the Amazon basin, is often called ‘false rummy nose tetra.

Interesting Fact: The scientific name – Hemigrammus Bleheri- was in honor of the man who first caught and gave this fish for discovery- Heiko ‘Bleher’.

Size – How Big Do They Get?

A comfortable size means a comfortable placement in your tank. The tank size correlates to how big your tank friend can get.

When we talk about the size of the rummy nose tetra, they can range anything between 3-5 cm.

Their average size isn’t more than 3.6 cm, as per scientific findings.

When they hit their maturity, you will witness them be at a size of approx. 1.6 cm or beyond. Hence, it is best to opt for a tetra that is smaller than that.

Appearance and Color

Rummy Nose Tetra -Size and Color

Rhodostomus (Rhodo= Red + Stoma = Mouth) is a fish with a red mouth (nose), as indicated by its Greek name. Rummy nose tetra is considered the show stopper among the tetra family’s other fishes —courtesy of its ornate body and eye-catching color pattern.

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They have a cigar-shaped body that is more refined as compared to the other tetras

Notably, their base color is translucent with a prominent tinge of silver. Followed by their signature red mark on their nose, from which they get their name.

The deep rummy color mark stretches till their fins, and their caudal fin is black and white, replicating a chessboard.

Good to Know: When the rummy nose is feeling well, a thin yellowish stripe runs down the side of the body.

Life Expectancy

The primary reason they are the ‘hardy’ fish of the tetra genus is that, compared to the other breeds, the life span of rummy nose tetra is higher.

They can comfortably live for up to 3 years in captivity. However, their lifespan can go up to 5-8 years in the wild.

Hence, with proper care and imitating the wild habitat and water conditions, the rummy nose can live in your tank for more than 5 to 6 years.

Male or Female: Sexing

The sexual dimorphism in the rummy nose tetras is very tricky. While other breeds show prominent attributes of distinction, this breed doesn’t.

Hence, the only way of checking the difference is by paying attention to the shape and size of the fish.

The female rummy nose has a fuller and more plump body than the male, given that they lay the eggs.

Identifying the sex while purchasing your tetra clarifies their gender, which plays a vital role in the breeding procedure.

Sale Price and Availability

The price range of the rummy nose tetra wanders around the price range of the other tetra fishes.

While the geographical barrier made purchasing complicated, the advancement has made life easier.

 Various online platforms and fish forums sell rummy nose tetra for $3-$8.

The range is totally dependent on various factors like age, size, and geographical proximity.

Pro Tip: Rummy nose tetras should be purchased in groups of eight or more. They are shoaling fish, and if purchased with their school, they will have a higher chance of surviving.

Rummy Nose Tetra Care Guide

Care Points Sheet
Care-level Easy
Socializing Social but independent
Temperament Calm and docile
Food Habit Omnivore
Breeding Process Easy-Moderate

What to Feed your Red Nose Friend?

Proper nutrition is highly suggestive for increasing the longevity of their lifespan. Hence, let us learn what to feed them.

They can eat a wide variety of foods because they are omnivores.

An important thing to learn about them is that their mouth size is considerably small, so giving them food that complies with their feeding capacity is necessary.

Feel free to feed them all – frozen, fresh, and dry foods.

Dry flakes, granules, blood worms, and shrimps are credible options. Ensure you are mixing up the kind of food to provide them with the proper nutrition maintenance.

Quick Fact: Changing the kind of food plays a vital role in increasing the coloration of this breed.

General Behavior

Like the other tetras, the rummy nose tetras have peaceful and tolerant behavior.

While they don’t model any form of temperament issues, they are so independent that they often don’t care about the other fishes in the tank.

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The rummy nose loves open and wide spaces. Hence, you will encounter them happily swimming in the mid-depth of the water.

Since they are hardcore schooling fishes, they start shoaling in any instance of stress in the tank. To model this claim, try moving your hand outside of the tank, and you will be stunned to see how they all school together in a different direction.

They do this as a defensive mechanism to their enemies, hence more comfortable in a group of ten or more.

Did You Know: The rummy heart tetra has an Otoliths auditory system with a hearing range of 200 Hz.

Reproduction Process

Breeding and Mating

When it comes to the Rummy Nose tetra, they abide by the dioecism method of mating. Although the process of mating is sexual, some requisites maximize the chance of their mating.

The breeding difficulty of this breed is elementary.

The external environment has a significant role to play in the same. Alter the following conditions to ensure a chance of mating.

  • The lighting should be dimmed.
  • Although, you can allow some sunlight to fall into the tank once or twice a day.
  • Steadily raise the water temperature by 2 to 3 degrees (26 to 29°C).
  • Feed them mosquito larvae, as they are a credible conditioning food.
  • Plant your tank with fine-leaved vegetation or use a spawning mop.
  • To keep the water brackish, the ideal pH range is 5.5 to 6.5.


The rummy nose spawns in the open water and prefers evening over other times of the day. The spawning procedure is very prominent, and one can detect it through the action of the fish.

In a spawning tank, combine the plumpest female bearing eggs from the group and the most brightly colored male.

It should be noted that they are egg scatterers, and their fertilization takes place externally.

After the egg is successfully scattered, it takes 36 to 60 hours to hatch.

The procedure doesn’t end here. After the eggs are hatched, separate the fry from the tank, as the parent fish tends to consume it.

As the fry is sensitive to intense light, please keep them in a dim to dark environment. Feed them infusoria at first, then tiny brine shrimps as time goes on.

Upon gaining maturity, the fry can be added back to the tank.

Do Rummy Nose Tetra’s Fall Sick?

Like any other freshwater species, there is always a chance of your rummy nose tetra falling sick.

Because they are hardy fish of the tetra genus, it is improbable for them to fall sick.

Although listed below are some diseases they may be subjected to in case of decreased activity or eruption of unlikely behavior.

  • Gill Flukes (Parasitic infestation)
  • Neon tetra Disease
  • BGD (Bacterial Gill Disease)
  • Sporozoan fish infection
  • Intestinal worms
  • Nematode (roundworms) infection
  • White spots

Tank Care Guide

Tank Specification
Capacity 120Litres
Water Temperature 73 to 79°F
Hardness Range 5 to 12dGH
Tank Lighting Moderate – Dim lighting
Water pH Level 5 to 6
Tank Type Community tank
Nitrate Below 50 mg/l
Substrate A mix of sand & gravel

Tank Size

The rummy nose tetra requires an ample amount of space for swimming around. Hence, it is essential to render a spacious tank with the right kind of material.

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A minimum of 30-gallon tank (80 cm width)is crucial for the well-being of this breed.

Tank Setup

Plant Mates – The Right Vegetation

Native to the tropical land, the rummy nose tetra is used to a high amount of vegetation. It is always necessary to model the natural habitat to ensure it complies with their needs.

Not only does this make them feel at home, but it also gives them a sufficient place to hide. It also enables breeding among this genus.

Don’t shy away from integrating floating plants such as Salvinia and Pistia for the atmospheric characteristics. Moreover, plants such as Anubias and Java Fern are some credible options too.


The rummy nose tetras are not very difficult to care for, so there is no conformity when it comes to the substrate.

Although, since they are used to the sandy ground, opting for a sandy and dark substrate is the best option.

Filtration and Decoration

The filtration system is a crucial part when the rummy nose tetra’s health is taken into consideration.

Since they live in sifted water, they will appreciate peat filtration.

Expert Tip: Because chlorine is harmful to the rummy-nosed tetra’s health, use a high-quality anti-chlorine every time you change the water.

Don’t shy away from simulating the tropical vegetation. This includes a lot of decoration options such as Alter fruits, River stones, and a considerable amount of driftwood.

The driftwood is a credible and safe hiding spot for them in any stressful environment. This will make the rummy nose feel very safe.

Water Parameters

Give the rummy nose tetra a comfortable lifestyle by following the cited water parameters.

  • The Ph of the water leans more to the acidic side and can range between 5.5 to 7 PH.
  • Maintain the tropical temperature of the tank by keeping it between 23-26 degrees C.
  •  There is no constraint when it comes to the hardness of the water, so expand the range to anything between 2-15 DH.
  • The water nitrate’s water concentration must not exceed 50 mg/l.
  •  The water current they are used to is moderate, so ensure the filtration complies with this requirement.

Tankmates – Who Are the Appropriate friends?

A schooling fish will always help the fellow shy or aggressive tank mates balance the tank’s temperament and social state.

Although, don’t mix too many breeds in one tank. This will mitigate the probability of hybridization.

Listed below are some great tank mates for the rummy nose tetra can happily swim with:

  • Fellow Charcadie
  • Pencil fish
  • Corydoras (Panda Corys, Peppered Corys, etc.)
  • Ancistrus
  • Dwarf Cichlids
  • Apistogramma
  • Mollies
  • Small-sized Rasboras
  • Smaller gouramis
  • Hatchetfish
  • Rubber lip pleco
  • Discus

Frequently Asked Questions

How much prior must the tank be prepared for the breeding procedure?

Start conditioning the tank atleast 7 days before the spawning procedure begins.

Is there is a temperature constraint when it comes to the rummy nose tetra?

Yes, even though their tolerance to temperature is remarkable, ensure it doesn’t cross more than 30 degrees Celcius.

Rummy Nose Tetra v/s Rasbora – what is the difference?

While the Rummy Nose belongs to the Charcadie family, Rasbora belongs to the Cyprinidae family. Even though they have a very similar size and color, there are many prominent differences.

Final Word – Should you Get them Home?

In a nutshell, Yes. They are easy to care for and have minimal caretaking difficulty. The rummy nose is a staple if you are new to fish keeping.

From a workable temperament to an easy tank setup – breeding, caretaking, and safekeeping a rummy nose are extremely easy.

Moreover, they will add to the tropical aesthetic of your tank.

After all, the rummy nose tetra is a credible option.

About the Author

Victoria Lamb

Victoria is a freshwater aquatics specialist, fish keeper, and amphibian enthusiast. She has had more than 6 years of experience caring for aquariums and keeping several fish species, and her home boasts of 3 aquariums and a garden pond. Her goal is to educate fish owners on raising healthy and happy aquatic pets.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior and Welfare

  • University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK (2014-2018)

Writing Experience

Victoria has done ghostwriting for many aquarium and pet websites in the past. She has also worked for Canada's largest natural health magazine- ALIVE, with 300,000 monthly circulations as a freelancer. She had six published articles on animal behavior and welfare during her graduation for her thesis.

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