The Ultimate Guide to Rummy Nose Tetras: Care, Breeding, and Varieties

Rummy Nose Tetra

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The Ultimate Guide to Rummy Nose Tetras: Care, Breeding, and Varieties

Rummy Nose Tetras, scientifically known as Hemigrammus rhodostomus, are stunning and popular freshwater aquarium fish that hail from South America. Their vibrant appearance and peaceful nature make them a fantastic addition to any home aquarium. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Rummy Nose Tetras, exploring their care and maintenance, types and varieties, size and characteristics, and ideal water parameters.

An Overview of Rummy Nose Tetras

Rummy Nose Tetras are often admired for their striking appearance. They have a torpedo-shaped body that’s silver in color, with a bold, distinctive red nose and a black stripe that runs horizontally through their eyes and along their body. These markings give them a charismatic and unique charm, making them a sought-after species among aquarists.

These tetras are relatively small, typically reaching a size of 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 centimeters) when fully grown. They are known for their peaceful temperament, making them excellent tankmates for a wide variety of other community fish species.

Rummy Nose Tetra Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance are paramount when it comes to keeping Rummy Nose Tetras healthy and vibrant in your home aquarium. These beautiful South American fish may be peaceful, but they have specific requirements that must be met to ensure their well-being. Let’s delve into the details of caring for and maintaining a thriving Rummy Nose Tetra community.

Tank Setup

Creating the right habitat for your Rummy Nose Tetras is the first step in their care. Consider the following aspects when setting up their tank:

Tank Size: While Rummy Nose Tetras are small in size, it’s essential to provide them with ample swimming space. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a small school of these tetras. However, if you can accommodate a larger tank, it’s even better, as it allows for more swimming room and helps dilute any waste produced.

Substrate: Opt for fine gravel or sand as the substrate. These mimic the natural riverbeds of their native Amazonian habitat. Additionally, Rummy Nose Tetras appreciate a well-planted aquarium with live plants such as Java fern, Amazon swords, and floating plants. These not only provide aesthetic appeal but also serve as hiding spots and breeding grounds.

Filtration: Efficient filtration is critical. Rummy Nose Tetras are particularly sensitive to poor water conditions, and a high-quality filter helps maintain water quality. Ensure your filter provides both mechanical and biological filtration to remove debris and break down harmful ammonia and nitrite. Regular water changes (approximately 10-20% every 1-2 weeks) are also vital for maintaining water quality.

Water Parameters

Maintaining the correct water parameters is essential for the health and happiness of your Rummy Nose Tetras. Here’s a breakdown of the key water parameters:

Temperature: Keep the water temperature within the range of 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C). These tetras thrive in slightly warmer waters, so a reliable aquarium heater is a must to maintain a stable temperature.

pH Level: Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. It’s crucial to monitor pH regularly, as sudden fluctuations can stress the fish.

Water Hardness: Rummy Nose Tetras prefer soft to slightly hard water with a dH (degree of hardness) range of 2 to 15. Adjust the water hardness using appropriate water conditioners if needed.

Ammonia and Nitrites: These compounds are highly toxic to Rummy Nose Tetras. Ensure that ammonia and nitrite levels in your aquarium are consistently at zero. Use a reliable water test kit to monitor these parameters and take immediate corrective action if necessary.


Maintaining a balanced diet is key to the health and vibrant coloration of Rummy Nose Tetras. These fish are omnivorous and will readily accept a variety of foods. Here are some dietary considerations:

Flakes and Pellets: High-quality flakes and pellets designed for tropical fish are suitable as the staple diet. Look for products that offer a balanced mix of proteins and plant matter.

Live and Frozen Foods: To provide variety and mimic their natural diet, offer occasional live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. These treats can enhance their coloration and overall vitality.

Feeding Frequency: Feed your Rummy Nose Tetras small portions multiple times a day. This replicates their feeding behavior in the wild and prevents overeating.

Types and Varieties of Rummy Nose Tetras

Rummy Nose Tetras, scientifically known as Hemigrammus rhodostomus, are a fascinating group of fish that exhibit remarkable diversity within their species. While the true Rummy Nose Tetra is the most widely recognized, several distinct types and varieties exist, each with its unique characteristics and subtle differences. Exploring these variants not only adds intrigue to the aquarium hobby but also allows enthusiasts to appreciate the subtle nuances in coloration and behavior that make each variety special.

  1. Hemigrammus rhodostomus (True Rummy Nose Tetra): This is the archetype of Rummy Nose Tetras, the one that captures the hearts of aquarists worldwide. Recognizable by its torpedo-shaped body, the true Rummy Nose Tetra boasts a silver body adorned with a striking red nose. A distinctive, bold black stripe runs horizontally from its eye, through the nose, and along the body’s midsection. This iconic appearance is the hallmark of the species and has earned it its place in the hearts of aquarium keepers.
  2. Petitella georgiae (False Rummy Nose Tetra): Often confused with the true Rummy Nose Tetra due to their similar appearance, False Rummy Nose Tetras possess subtle but noticeable distinctions. While they also exhibit the classic red nose and black stripe, the red on their noses may not be as intense, and the black stripe often extends further down their bodies, creating a unique aesthetic. These subtle differences make them a captivating alternative for those looking to diversify their Rummy Nose Tetra collection.
  3. Hemigrammus bleheri (Bleher’s Rummy Nose Tetra): Bleher’s Rummy Nose Tetra is the largest among its Rummy Nose counterparts, making it an intriguing choice for those seeking a slightly larger tetra. Its red nose stripe extends further, creating a striking contrast against its silver body. This variant’s increased size and vibrant coloration make it a visually captivating addition to any aquarium.
  4. Hemigrammus rhodostomus “Rio Mamore”: This is a specialized variant of the true Rummy Nose Tetra that is named after the Rio Mamore in Bolivia. What sets this variant apart is the even more intense red coloration on its nose, making it a sought-after choice for aquarists aiming to showcase the most vibrant red hues in their tanks. The Rio Mamore variant provides a captivating display of color, creating a visual focal point in any aquatic setting.
  5. Albino Rummy Nose Tetra: Albino Rummy Nose Tetras are strikingly different from their traditional counterparts. Lacking the typical black stripe, they exhibit a creamy-white body adorned with a vibrant red nose. Their unique appearance adds a touch of elegance and contrast to any aquarium, making them a sought-after choice for those looking to diversify their Rummy Nose Tetra collection.

Each of these Rummy Nose Tetra types and varieties offers aquarists the opportunity to curate a tank with a distinct visual appeal. Whether you choose the iconic true Rummy Nose Tetra for its classic look, the False Rummy Nose Tetra for its unique black stripe, Bleher’s Rummy Nose Tetra for its larger size, the Rio Mamore variant for its intensified red coloration, or the Albino Rummy Nose Tetra for its striking albino appearance, you’ll be adding a touch of elegance and vibrancy to your aquatic environment.

Rummy Nose Tetra Size and Characteristics

Rummy Nose Tetra

Rummy Nose Tetras, scientifically known as Hemigrammus rhodostomus, are a species of freshwater aquarium fish celebrated for their captivating size and distinctive characteristics. These petite South American tetras have become cherished inhabitants of many aquariums worldwide due to their unique visual appeal and peaceful nature. Let’s take a closer look at their size and key characteristics.


Rummy Nose Tetras are relatively small fish, making them an ideal choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists. When fully grown, they typically reach a size of approximately 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 centimeters). Their compact size makes them well-suited for various aquarium sizes, from smaller tanks to larger community setups.

Despite their diminutive stature, Rummy Nose Tetras make a significant impact in any aquarium due to their striking coloration, which is a hallmark of their charm.

Coloration and Markings

One of the most captivating aspects of Rummy Nose Tetras is their vibrant coloration and distinctive markings. These characteristics set them apart and make them easily recognizable in the aquarium community:

  • Silver Body: The primary body color of Rummy Nose Tetras is a sleek silver, which serves as a perfect canvas for the vivid colors that adorn them.
  • Red Nose: The defining feature of Rummy Nose Tetras is their striking red nose. This vibrant red extends from the tip of their snout to just behind their eyes. It creates a bold and eye-catching contrast against the silver body, instantly drawing attention and admiration.
  • Black Stripe: A bold black stripe runs horizontally through their eyes and along the midsection of their body, effectively dividing the silver body from the red nose. This stripe is a crucial characteristic that adds depth and elegance to their appearance.
  • Transparent Fins: Their fins are generally transparent, with subtle hints of white. This transparency allows their vivid red nose and the black stripe to stand out even more prominently.

Schooling Behavior

Rummy Nose Tetras are renowned for their social and schooling nature. In their natural habitat, these fish thrive in large groups, and this behavior persists in the aquarium. To witness their most remarkable characteristics, it’s advisable to keep them in schools of at least six individuals or more. In larger groups, Rummy Nose Tetras display enhanced coloration and exhibit fascinating synchronized swimming patterns.

The schooling behavior of Rummy Nose Tetras is not only visually appealing but also indicative of their well-being. When they feel safe and comfortable in their environment, they tend to school closely together, creating a breathtaking spectacle of color and motion within the aquarium.

Peaceful Nature

Perhaps one of the most endearing characteristics of Rummy Nose Tetras is their peaceful temperament. They are known for their harmonious coexistence with a wide variety of other fish species in a community aquarium. Their gentle nature makes them an excellent choice for aquarists seeking to maintain a tranquil and cohesive tank environment.

While Rummy Nose Tetras exhibit a social disposition among their own kind, they rarely display aggression towards other tankmates. This peaceful demeanor further enhances their desirability as community fish.

Rummy Nose Tetra Water Parameters

Maintaining the right water parameters is crucial for the health and longevity of Rummy Nose Tetras:

ParameterIdeal Range
Temperature75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C)
pH Level6.0 to 7.0
Water Hardness (dH)2 to 15
Ammonia and Nitrites0 ppm

Regular monitoring of these parameters and swift action to address any deviations will help keep your Rummy Nose Tetras thriving.

Rummy Nose Tetra and Shrimp: Compatibility and Tips

Introducing Rummy Nose Tetras to a shrimp-inhabited aquarium can be a harmonious coexistence if certain precautions are taken. These tetras are generally peaceful and shouldn’t pose a direct threat to shrimp. However, their omnivorous nature means they may occasionally snack on small shrimp fry. To ensure compatibility, provide plenty of hiding spots for the shrimp, such as dense plants and caves, where they can retreat and avoid tetra attention. Additionally, choose larger and more robust shrimp species like Amano or Cherry Shrimp, which are less likely to become Rummy Nose Tetra snacks. Regular feeding of the tetras with a well-balanced diet can also reduce their temptation to hunt shrimp. In a well-planned aquarium with proper hiding places and thoughtful feeding routines, Rummy Nose Tetras and shrimp can coexist beautifully.

Maintaining a Rummy Nose Tetra Community Tank

Creating and maintaining a Rummy Nose Tetra community tank is a delightful endeavor for aquarists who appreciate the beauty and charm of these fish. To build a successful community, it’s crucial to consider tank mates that share similar water parameter requirements and peaceful temperaments. Popular companions include other small tetra species, rasboras, and peaceful bottom-dwellers like Corydoras catfish. Avoid aggressive or fin-nipping fish, as Rummy Nose Tetras have delicate fins. Ensure ample swimming space and hiding spots to reduce stress and aggression among tank mates. Regular water testing and maintenance are key to a thriving community tank, as stable water conditions are vital for the well-being of all inhabitants. With the right planning and care, a Rummy Nose Tetra community tank can become a captivating and peaceful underwater world.

Rummy Nose Tetra in a 10-Gallon Tank: Feasibility and Considerations

While Rummy Nose Tetras are small, keeping them in a 10-gallon tank requires careful consideration. These tetras thrive in schools and need space to swim. In a 10-gallon tank, it’s advisable to keep a small group of three to five tetras to prevent overcrowding. Adequate filtration and frequent water changes are essential to maintain stable water parameters in such a confined space. Ensure that the tank is well-planted with live plants and features ample hiding spots to reduce stress. Regular monitoring of water quality and diligent care will be required to keep a 10-gallon Rummy Nose Tetra tank successful. If possible, consider larger tank options to provide these beautiful fish with a more spacious and comfortable home.

Troubleshooting: Rummy Nose Tetra Health Issues

Rummy Nose Tetras are generally hardy fish, but like any aquarium species, they can encounter health issues. Common problems include fin rot, ich, and bacterial infections. If you notice any changes in their behavior, appearance, or appetite, it’s essential to take immediate action. Quarantine affected fish to prevent the spread of disease and consult with an experienced aquarist or veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment options. Proper tank maintenance, stable water parameters, and a balanced diet are key preventive measures to keep Rummy Nose Tetras healthy. Regular observation and swift intervention are crucial for resolving health issues and ensuring the continued well-being of these captivating fish.

Finding Rummy Nose Tetras Near You: Local Availability

Locating Rummy Nose Tetras for your aquarium can be an exciting quest. These tetras are commonly available in many pet stores, aquarium shops, and online retailers. Start by visiting your local fish stores or contacting aquarium enthusiasts in your area. Online fish forums and classified ads can also be valuable resources for finding Rummy Nose Tetras. Ensure you source your fish from reputable sellers to guarantee their health and quality. When acquiring Rummy Nose Tetras, consider the size of your tank, their compatibility with existing tank mates, and their specific care requirements. Obtaining these tetras from reliable sources will not only ensure their well-being but also contribute to the success of your aquarium hobby.


In conclusion, Rummy Nose Tetras are captivating and peaceful additions to home aquariums. Their stunning appearance, social nature, and relatively low maintenance requirements make them an excellent choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists. By providing them with the right tank setup, water parameters, and a balanced diet, you can enjoy the beauty of these tetras in your own aquatic oasis. So, consider adding a school of Rummy Nose Tetras to your aquarium, and you’ll be rewarded with their vibrant presence and graceful behavior.

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Aquarium Enthusiast

I love sharing my knowledge about all things aquarium related. I have been keeping aquariums for over 20 years and cannot imagine a life without an aquarium. 

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