Rummy Nose Tetra: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

Rummy Nose Tetra is an elegant shoaling fish whose classy appearance never stops to amaze aquarists of all levels. They are a peaceful community fish with sleek, torpedo-like bodies that many hobbyists simply can’t ignore.

But if you intend to introduce them to your aquarium for the first time, it’s all the more imperative to master the primary care guidelines in detail.

Did you know that you can intensify the fish’s color patterns by keeping them in groups? Some questions like this and much more about Rummy Nose Tetras are best answered if you’ve ever kept a freshwater Tetra species at home.

But don’t worry! If you haven’t because this guide will give in-depth coverage of Rummy Nose Tetra care.

Specifically, it will give an insightful look into the life of Rummy Nose Tetras, covering what these fish eat in captivity, their behavior in a confined setting, ideal tank size, the most suitable tank mates, breeding, and much more.

Species Overview

They may not be everybody’s favorite Tetra species, but considering their ease of care, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t consider Rummy Nose Tetras for your community tank.

Initially, these fish occupied the Amazon River Basin, but they’ve also been discovered in the Rio Negro and Rio-Vaupes rivers in Brazil and Colombia, respectively.

Generally speaking, aquascaping world boasts three types of Rummy Nose Tetras, but the original species is called the Hemigrammus rhodostomus. This variety belongs to the Characidae family and is quite entertaining to watch in captivity.

The other two species, Hemigrammus petitella and Hemigrammus bleheri share countless similarities, and just like most Tetra varieties, occupy the Amazon River basin in South America.  

ColorSilver body, black, and white stripped caudal fin, red nose
LifespanUp to 5-6 Years
Care LevelModerate
Behavior & TemperamentPeaceful
CompatibilityPeaceful community aquarium
Food and DietOmnivores
Size2-2.5 Inches
Tank SetupPlanted freshwater fish with open swimming space
Tank Size (Minimum)20 Gallons


The actual Rummy Nose Tetra will live for 5-6 years in a home aquarium. But, under rare circumstances, the aquarist can manage to keep them for as long as eight years in captivity.

As expected, the standard lifespan will depend on multiple factors, including genetics and quality care. Diet and the actual water conditions also play a role in estimating the fish’s lifespan in captivity.


Rummy Nose Tetras are a small-bodied species packed in so much beauty.

Their spectacular bodies assume a torpedo-shaped pattern, with a typical slender configuration and a well-rounded head. Most species will take on a beautiful silver base coloration, even though some fish may have a dazzling touch of translucent green shades. 

As far as the body profile goes, the Red Nose Tetra has small, translucent fins to contribute massively to its spotless appearance. You only need to focus on the tail fin to separate the Rummy Nose Tetras from most other Tetra varieties.

Usually, such a fin has captivating black and white stripes in place of the translucent shades.

You shouldn’t expect a constant number of stripes in every fish, but you won’t fail to spot a central, vibrant strip, dividing the fin into two. And that’s visible in all species.

Usually, this characteristic look gives the tail fin a zebra-like appearance, adding to the fish’s colorful display inside the aquarium.

With this combination, you won’t get enough of the fish’s sparkling appearance as they swim calmly inside the tank in small groups. It is simply breathtaking.

But that’s not the end. Rummy Tetra has a bright red nose, an attractive color that may sometimes cover the fish’s gills.

Sexing might be the most challenging aspect of keeping Rummy Nose Tetras because you won’t see a lot of differences between the male and female species. Also, many aquarists don’t seem convinced by the usual claim that the female species appear plumper than the males. 


So, how big do Rummy Nose Tetras get? Like many Tetras, Rummy Nose Tetras are not one of the biggest freshwater fish in captivity. On average, most species will never exceed 2.5 inches in a secluded environment.

Such body sizes make these species the perfect candidates for Nano tanks and other mini aquariums. Still, they are worth every penny if you crave a peaceful, low-maintenance species that can transform your aquarium without creating unnecessary squabbles inside the tank.

Rummy Nose Tetra Care

Don’t let their peaceful temperament fool you. Caring for Rummy Nose Tetras is not one of the most enjoyable activities you will engage in at home.

Usually, the trickiest part in keeping healthy Tetras is maintaining stable water conditions throughout their lives.

So, keep reading to find out what’s involved in successful Rummy Nose Tetra care in captivity;

Tank Size

With just a 2.5-inch full body length, perhaps you will already know that Rummy Nose Tetras need just a small tank to thrive at home. Preferably, the most suitable tank for these fish should have at least a 20-gallon capacity.

Despite their small size, Rummy Nose Tetras are a highly active species that should be set free to easily roam around the tank, searching for food and comfy spaces.

If you keep a single fish, the above-mentioned 20-gallon capacity will be just enough to keep them happy throughout their lives in captivity.

But if you anticipate new additions to the same habitat, you must consider an additional 2 gallons for every newcomer. Such a simple rule also applies if you want to keep Rummy Nose Tetras with other species in the same territory.

With the same principle, the general assumption will be that a 10-gallon capacity suits at least five fish in captivity.

Water Parameters

The first thing that comes to mind when we mention the ideal water parameters is the true picture of the water conditions in the Amazon River basin. And this region is dominated by soft, warm, slightly acidic water, with lots of vegetation.

Doubtless, Rummy Nose Tetras are sensitive to any change in tank water conditions. So, in addition to cycling the tank water every week, be sure to maintain the water parameters within the recommended range;

  • Water Temperature: 75°F-84°F
  • Water Hardness: 2-6 KH
  • PH Levels: 5.5-7.0

To keep the mentioned parameters at the most suitable levels, be sure to invest in a reliable aquarium testing kit. This will help you understand the actual water status and the necessary adjustments to keep a thriving Red Nose Tetra population. 

What to Put in Their Tank?

Now, this will be the time to flex your creative muscles as much as you can. Starting with the right substrate, you will want to create the perfect habitat for your Rummy Nose Tetras.

And speaking of the substrate choice, Rummy Nose Tetras prefer a sandy layer owing to its similarities to the natural river beds in the fish’s original habitat.

But because they are not true bottom dwellers, perfectly sized gravel also fits this category.

Next, utilize plenty of rocks and live plants to create as many hiding spots as you can.

These fish depend on such materials for shelter and added protection when they feel threatened in their new environment. But when introducing new decorative elements to the fish’s habitat, give them enough swimming space just in the middle of the tank.

Rummy Nose Tetras will be peaceful inside the tank and won’t even attempt to nibble on smooth leaves as some fish do. As long as they have suitable hiding spaces, they will likely spend their time calmly exploring their territory or scavenging for food until they get satisfied.

Moreover, you can invest in a standard filtration system and high-quality water heaters to help prolong their lives in captivity.

Because Rummy Nose Tetras are highly sensitive to shifting water conditions, they will never tolerate any slight increment in ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels. That’s why a heavy-duty filter is a must-have essential inside the fish’s habitat.

On the other hand, a high-quality water heater helps raise the water temperature when it drops below the recommended levels.

Common Diseases

Rummy Nose Tetras could be affected by different issues associated with the tropical freshwater fish. And your inability to maintain stable water conditions alone can fast become a costly mistake, considering the Rummy Nose Tetras are highly sensitive to shifting water changes.

For instance, Ich is a common ailment in the Red Nose Tetra community and results from increased stress levels inside the tank.

It comes with multiple white spots on the fish’s body and can lead to premature death if you overlook the critical symptoms.

In case of an Ich outbreak, your priority should be to separate the infected fish as soon as you can to save the whole community from its damaging effects. In many cases, common over-the-counter medications will work perfectly to alleviate the disease symptoms.

On the other hand, a swollen belly will almost certainly indicate dropsy or bloat. This is a consequence of fluid buildup inside the fish’s body and is often seen as a symptom rather than an actual condition.

A diagnosis of dropsy in a healthy Rummy Tetra community could indicate liver dysfunction or an underlying bacterial or parasitic infection.

We can’t guarantee that Rummy Nose Tetras will stay completely free from freshwater fish diseases in captivity for the rest of their lives. But, you can always make lifesaving steps by addressing the water parameters and the living conditions within the fish’s habitat.

Because most of these conditions are linked to the actual living conditions, you must maintain high water quality while providing a balanced diet and suitable tank mates.

What Do Rummy Nose Tetras Eat?

The Rummy Nose Tetras are omnivorous species, and feeding them in captivity should be a fun activity to look forward to.

They will eat plant-based matter and the right protein supplements in captivity. In other words, these fish feed on algae, small vegetation, and pellets as the primary meal but will also love one-time treats of live and frozen foods such as bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp.

Don’t overlook your fish’s feeding habits in captivity because overfeeding is a common issue you will have to contend with throughout their lives.

Instead, you should design an accurate meal plan that ensures your Rummy Nose Tetras get the right mix of essential nutrients even with as little as two meals a day. 

Behavior & Temperament

If you’ve kept any of the most popular Tetra species before, you will know that these are calm and passive species that will never cause unnecessary problems inside the aquarium. And Rummy Nose Tetra is no exception.

If you keep them in captivity, you can bet on them to live peacefully with other gentle, social fish like the Cherry Barbs. What’s more, Rummy Nose Tetras are a shoaling species and will have the best experience if allowed to swim in small groups.

If they are not scavenging for food or hiding from a potential intruder, Rummy Nose Tetras will be happy to stay towards the middle of the tank.

Rummy Nose Tetra Tank Mates

The ideal tank mates for Rummy Nose Tetras are similar species. And, you can create a dream aquarium with just a six species combination or even more.

With their endless, jerky movements inside the tank, you will never get enough of Rummy Nose Tetra’s cute display of natural beauty. But to achieve that, aggressive species must stay away from Rummy Nose Tetra’s habitat.

For the best companions, be sure to select other peaceful species that can match your Tetra’s swimming ability and other impressive traits. A few such examples are listed below;


Breeding Rummy Nose Tetras is practical with the right tank conditions. However, you must select the right combination of male and female species before inducing the spawning process.

The only challenging part of the breeding process is to successfully identify the male and female species from the group, otherwise known as sexing. And the most successful aquarists will try to keep multiple species in the same habitat to accomplish that.

At the start, you could raise the water temperatures slowly up to about 84°F. This is a quite underrated strategy to recreate the exact spawning conditions in the wild. If you manage to do it successfully, the female species will lay many eggs on the spawning mops and plants and task the males to fertilize them.

Unfortunately, Rummy Nose Tetras have a bad reputation for feeding on the new fry immediately after breeding. Accordingly, you must remove the adult fish from the breeding tank immediately after spawning to avoid this.

If breeding is successful, the eggs will hatch in as little as 24 hours, with the larvae surviving on the egg sacs for the first few days of their development.

After that, you can give them proper fish food such as powdered products, brine shrimps, and infusoria as you pay attention to their health, general appearance, and growth rate.

Final Thoughts

For any aquarist who intends to create a sparkling aquarium with a low-maintenance freshwater fish, it simply doesn’t get better than Rummy Nose Tetras. Caring for these fish should be a breeze if you know what to look out for.

And as we have already mentioned, quality care depends on fellow tank mates, diet, and living conditions. So, if you need a beautiful shoaling fish that’s quite rewarding in its own way, don’t ignore Rummy Nose Tetras. It is as simple as that.