Rummy Nose Tetra

Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Rummy Nose Tetras, alluring freshwater fish known for their distinctive red-nosed appearance. These charming fish are easy to care for, making them an ideal choice for community aquariums. Discover essential care tips, ideal tank conditions, and compatible tank mates to create a thriving aquatic environment for these peaceful, schooling fish. Add Rummy Nose Tetras to your aquarium and be captivated by their unique beauty.

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Care DIfficulty


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South America

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1.5 inches (3.8 cm)

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Up to 5 years

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Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Rummy Nose Tetra, or Hemigrammus rhodostomus, is an attractive freshwater fish native to the Amazon River basin in South America. They are commonly found in the tributaries of the Rio Negro, which flows through Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela.

In their natural habitat, Rummy Nose Tetras are often found in calm, shallow waters rich in plant life. These plants serve not only as hiding spots but also as a food source, while the dark riverbeds enhance their vibrant colors. These social fish thrive in groups of at least six and can often be seen in schools of 20 to 30 or more.

Their natural environment features warm, soft, and acidic water. The temperature usually ranges between 75 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius), with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0, and water hardness between 2 to 12 dGH. To create a similar environment in your aquarium, maintain a consistent water temperature, use a high-quality filtration system, and include live plants and driftwood.

By replicating the Rummy Nose Tetra's natural habitat and maintaining the proper water conditions, you'll be setting your fish up for a healthy and happy life in your aquarium.

Rummy Nose Tetras are admired for their unique red nose and black-and-white striped tail, creating an eye-catching appearance in aquariums. Although small, growing up to approximately 2 inches (5 cm) in size, their vivid colors and lively nature make them a perfect choice for those seeking a dynamic, engaging aquatic display. These delightful fish charm observers as they swiftly swim through the tank, making them a beloved favorite among hobbyists of all experience levels.

With proper care, Rummy Nose Tetras can enjoy a lifespan of up to five years. As social beings, they thrive in groups and should be kept in schools of at least six individuals. To promote their well-being and ensure a long life in captivity, it's essential to provide a lushly planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spots, as well as a diverse diet consisting of high-quality flakes, pellets, and frozen foods.

Fun Facts

In this section, we'll delve into some fascinating facts about Rummy Nose Tetras that make them stand out in the aquarium hobby. From their distinct facial coloration to their social behavior, Rummy Nose Tetras are full of surprises and are sure to captivate any aquarist.

  • Distinctive red nose: Rummy Nose Tetras get their name from the vibrant red coloration on their heads, which is unique among tetra species. This bright red coloration serves as a means of communication within their shoal and a way to assert dominance or display stress levels.
  • Sensitive to water conditions: Rummy Nose Tetras are known to be sensitive to changes in water parameters. Their red coloration can serve as a valuable indicator of water quality – if their colors fade, it may signal that the water conditions need to be checked and adjusted.
  • Different species, similar appearance: There are three different species of Rummy Nose Tetras – Hemigrammus bleheri, Hemigrammus rhodostomus, and Petitella georgiae – each with their subtle differences. However, they all share the characteristic red nose and black and white striped tail, making it difficult to distinguish between them without careful observation.
  • Active swimmers: Rummy Nose Tetras are known for their lively swimming behavior, which adds energy and movement to an aquarium. They are particularly active during feeding time, darting around the tank in search of food.
  • Shoaling fish: Rummy Nose Tetras are shoaling fish, meaning they prefer to swim together in groups. This social behavior not only helps them feel secure but also creates an eye-catching display in an aquarium. Their synchronized movements and striking colors can transform a home aquarium into a mesmerizing underwater scene.

Now that you've discovered some intriguing facts about Rummy Nose Tetras, you'll be better equipped to appreciate their beauty and intricacies in your aquarium. In the following section, we'll provide recommendations on tank setups, ensuring your Rummy Nose Tetras have an ideal environment to thrive and showcase their distinctive features.

Recommended Tank Setups

Each setup includes the core components—tank, filter, heater, lighting, substrate, and more—ensuring that you can create an appropriate environment for Rummy Nose Tetras and other compatible freshwater fish species in your aquarium. As you move from budget-friendly to high-end setups, you will also have more options for customization, aesthetics, and advanced features. Rummy Nose Tetras are schooling fish and need to be kept in groups of at least six individuals to reduce stress and ensure their well-being. Typically, Rummy Nose Tetras are priced between $2 and $4 per fish, although prices can vary based on factors such as size, quality, and availability.

Budget-friendly setup (around $200):

  • Tank: 20-gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy‍ ($40 - $70)
  • Filter: Hang-on-back (HOB) or sponge filter rated for 20 gallons ($20 - $40)
  • Heater: 50-100 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($15 - $30)
  • Lighting: Basic LED aquarium light ($20 - $50)
  • Substrate: Inexpensive aquarium sand or small gravel ($10 - $20)
  • Decor: A few pieces of driftwood and rocks, along with low-cost live plants like Java Fern and Anubias ($20 - $40)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 10 Rummy Nose Tetras ($20 - $30)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Mid-range setup (around $400 - $650):

  • Tank: 20-30 gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($60 - $120)
  • Filter: Canister filter or high-quality HOB filter rated for the tank size ($60 - $150)
  • Heater: 100-150 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($25 - $50)
  • Lighting: LED aquarium light with adjustable settings for plant growth and color enhancement ($50 - $150)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-rich aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks ($20 - $40)
  • Decor: A mix of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($40 - $80)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 15 Rummy Nose Tetras ($20 - $50)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

High-end setup (above $800):

  • Tank: 30-40 gallon rimless aquarium with a glass canopy ($120 - $250)
  • Filter: High-quality canister filter rated for the tank size ($100 - $250)
  • Heater: 150-200 watt adjustable aquarium heater with an external temperature controller ($40 - $80)
  • Lighting: Advanced LED lighting system with customizable settings for plant growth, color enhancement, and day/night cycles ($150 - $300)
  • Substrate: Premium aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks, with added root tabs for extra plant nutrition ($30 - $60)
  • Decor: A combination of driftwood, rocks, and live plants to create a natural aquascape, featuring plant species such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, Cryptocoryne species, and carpeting plants like Dwarf Hairgrass or Monte Carlo ($60 - $150)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 20 Rummy Nose Tetras ($20 - $70)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Please note that these numbers are just recommendations, and you should consider other factors such as tank mates and individual fish personalities when deciding how many Rummy Nose Tetras to keep in your aquarium. Prices may vary depending on location, brand, and availability.

Set Up Your Tank

In the previous section, we discussed the recommended tank setups for your Rummy Nose Tetras and other fish. Now that you have a better understanding of what's required, let's dive into the step-by-step process of setting up your aquarium. These steps will guide you through selecting the ideal location for your tank, cleaning and preparing the tank, installing essential equipment, and cycling the water to create a healthy environment for your fish. We'll also cover the proper acclimation process to ensure a smooth transition for your Rummy Nose Tetras and other fish into their new home. By following these guidelines, you'll be well on your way to creating a thriving aquatic ecosystem for your fish to flourish in.

  • Step #1: Choose the perfect spot for your aquarium, making sure it's away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts. Ensure the surface is level and sturdy enough to support your filled tank. If your aquarium requires a stand, assemble it according to the manufacturer's instructions and place the empty tank on it.
  • Step #2: Next, clean the tank by rinsing it with clean water (avoid using soap or chemicals) to remove dust or debris. Wipe the inside with a clean cloth or paper towel. Rinse the substrate (sand or gravel) thoroughly in a bucket until the water runs clear, then spread it evenly across the bottom of the tank, creating a slight slope towards the back for visual depth.
  • Step #3: Before filling the tank with water, plan the layout of your aquarium, including the position of equipment like heaters and filters. This will make it easier to set up and maintain the tank in the long run. Install the heater and filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you're using a sponge or under-gravel filter, place it beneath the substrate before adding water.
  • Step #4: Decorate the tank with driftwood, rocks, and plants to create hiding spots and a visually appealing environment, ensuring there are open swimming areas for your fish. When decorating the tank, be careful to arrange driftwood, rocks, and plants in a way that won't damage or obstruct the equipment. You can also anchor plants to driftwood or rocks to help them stay in place.
  • Step #5: Fill the tank with water treated with a water conditioner if your tap water contains chlorine or chloramines. Place a clean plate or plastic bag on the substrate to prevent disturbance while filling. Fill the tank until it's about 2/3 full. Attach the aquarium light to the hood or canopy, following the manufacturer's instructions. Consider using a timer for your aquarium light to maintain a consistent day and night cycle, which is essential for fish and plants. Connect the heater, filter, and any additional equipment (air pump, CO2 system) to power sources, and install the thermometer in an easily visible location.
  • Step #6: Top off the water, leaving space between the water surface and the top of the tank for oxygen exchange. Turn on the filter, heater, and other equipment. Monitor the water temperature and adjust the heater as needed. Allow the tank to cycle for 4-6 weeks to establish beneficial bacteria and stabilize water parameters. During the cycling process, you can add a bacterial starter culture to speed up the establishment of beneficial bacteria in the tank. Use an aquarium test kit to monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  • Step #7: After the tank has cycled and water parameters are stable, slowly acclimate your Rummy Nose Tetras and other fish to the tank's conditions before introducing them. Begin by floating the unopened fish bag in the tank for 15-20 minutes to equalize the temperature. Afterward, open the bag and add a small amount of tank water to it. Continue adding small amounts of tank water to the bag every 5-10 minutes for at least 30-60 minutes, allowing the fish to adjust to the new water chemistry gradually. Use a net to gently transfer the fish from the bag to the tank, avoiding any unnecessary stress or exposure to the water from the bag.
  • Step #8: Once all the fish are introduced, establish a consistent daily feeding schedule, providing high-quality food in appropriate amounts for your fish species. Perform regular water changes (20-30% every 1-2 weeks) and monitor water parameters using a test kit to maintain a healthy environment for your fish. Observe your fish closely for any signs of stress or illness, especially during the first few weeks after introduction. Be prepared to take action if necessary, such as adjusting water parameters or seeking advice from an experienced aquarist.

By following this step-by-step guide and incorporating the additional setup tips, you can create a thriving aquatic environment that will help your Rummy Nose Tetras and other fish flourish in their new home.

Recommended Water Parameters

To maintain the health and well-being of your Rummy Nose Tetras, it is crucial to ensure specific water parameters in your aquarium. Here's a breakdown of the ideal conditions to aim for:

  • Temperature: Keep the water temperature between 73°F and 81°F (23°C and 27°C) to provide optimal comfort for your Rummy Nose Tetras.
  • pH: Aim for a slightly acidic pH level ranging from 5.5 to 7.0. However, these tetras can tolerate pH levels up to 7.5 if changes are gradual.
  • Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water (1-10 dGH) is ideal for Rummy Nose Tetras. They can also adapt to slightly harder water conditions.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: It is important to keep ammonia and nitrite levels at 0 ppm, while maintaining nitrate levels below 20 ppm to ensure a healthy environment for your fish.
  • Lighting: Provide low to moderate lighting in the aquarium, ensuring shaded areas and the presence of plants to prevent stress among your Rummy Nose Tetras.
  • Water Movement: Moderate water flow mimicking their natural slow-moving habitat is preferred for Rummy Nose Tetras.

Regularly test your aquarium water parameters and perform necessary water changes to maintain a stable and suitable environment for your Rummy Nose Tetras.

Routine Water Maintenance

Regular water changes are essential for a healthy Rummy Nose Tetra tank as they help remove excess nutrients, waste, and toxins. Here's a suggested routine for water maintenance:

  • Weekly water changes: Replace 20-25% of the tank water every week to maintain water quality.
  • Test water parameters: Regularly check pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness levels to ensure they are within the appropriate range.
  • Use a gravel vacuum: During water changes, clean the substrate using a gravel vacuum to remove debris and waste.
  • Dechlorinate the water: Treat tap water with a water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines before adding it to the aquarium.
  • Match temperature and pH: Ensure that the temperature and pH of the new water match the existing tank water to avoid shocking the fish.
  • Acclimate the fish: Give your Rummy Nose Tetras time to adjust to the new water conditions after water changes to minimize stress.

In addition to routine water maintenance, consider the following tips to ensure the health of your fish and the overall appearance of your aquarium:

  • Monitor lighting duration: Keep track of the duration of your aquarium lights, aiming for a consistent 8-10 hour photoperiod each day. Excessive light can lead to algae growth.
  • Plant maintenance: Regularly trim live plants to maintain their health and appearance. Remove any dead leaves or decaying plant matter to prevent water quality issues.
  • Filter maintenance: Clean or replace the filter media as recommended by the manufacturer, usually every 4-6 weeks. Avoid replacing all filter media at once to preserve beneficial bacteria and prevent disruptions in water quality.

Diet and Feeding Schedule

Rummy Nose Tetras are omnivorous and require a diverse diet to thrive. Here are some feeding guidelines:

  • Flakes and pellets: Feed them high-quality flake or pellet food specifically designed for small tropical fish.
  • Frozen and live foods: Occasionally offer treats such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, or mosquito larvae to provide variety and additional nutrition.
  • Vegetable matter: Supplement their diet with blanched spinach, zucchini, or cucumber for added nutrients.
  • Feeding frequency: Feed your Rummy Nose Tetras modest portions two to three times a day, avoiding overfeeding. Monitor their feeding habits and adjust the amount accordingly to prevent uneaten food from accumulating in the tank.

Stress and Diseases

Rummy Nose Tetras may experience stress from various factors, including poor water quality, aggression from tank mates, or unsuitable tank conditions. It's important to identify and address these stressors to ensure the well-being of your fish:

  • Watch for stress signs: Keep a close eye on your Rummy Nose Tetras for any unusual behavior, such as hiding, lethargy, loss of color, or rapid breathing, as these may indicate stress.
  • Check water quality: Regularly test your aquarium water to ensure it meets the ideal parameters and perform water changes as necessary to maintain a healthy environment.
  • Monitor tank mates: Ensure that your Rummy Nose Tetras are not being harassed or attacked by other fish in the tank. If necessary, remove aggressive tank mates to create a more peaceful environment.
  • Create a suitable habitat: Provide plenty of hiding spots, appropriate lighting, and a properly sized tank for your Rummy Nose Tetras to reduce stress and promote their well-being.

While Rummy Nose Tetras are generally hardy, they can be susceptible to common fish diseases. Here are a few to watch out for:

  • Ich (white spot disease): A parasitic infection characterized by the presence of white spots on the fish's body and fins, along with lethargy and loss of appetite. Treat Ich with aquarium salt or anti-parasitic medication and raise the water temperature to around 82°F (28°C).
  • Fin rot: A bacterial infection that causes frayed or discolored fins and tail. Treat fin rot with a partial water change, aquarium salt, and antibacterial medication containing erythromycin or tetracycline.
  • Velvet disease: A parasitic infection resulting in a yellow or brownish velvet-like coating on the fish's body. Treat velvet disease with anti-parasitic medication containing copper sulfate or formalin.
  • Swim bladder disease: A condition that affects the fish's ability to swim upright. Treat swim bladder disease by fasting the fish and offering them blanched peas. In severe cases, consider using an antibacterial medication.

Preventive measures such as maintaining excellent water quality, avoiding overfeeding, providing a balanced diet, and quarantining new fish before introducing them to the main tank can help minimize the risk of diseases in your Rummy Nose Tetras.


Breeding Rummy Nose Tetras can be a rewarding experience, although it may require specific conditions and careful preparation. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Step #1: Create a suitable breeding environment by setting up a separate breeding tank with a capacity of 10 gallons or larger. Maintain a pH level of around 6.0 to 6.5 and a temperature of approximately 80°F (27°C). Soft water with a hardness level of 1-4 dGH is preferred. Provide hiding spots like plants and spawning mops for the comfort of the fish.
  • Step #2: Select healthy, mature male and female Rummy Nose Tetras for breeding. Maintain a ratio of two females to one male to prevent aggression and competition. You can determine the gender by observing their physical characteristics and behavior.
  • Step #3: Prepare the breeding pair by providing a high-protein diet of live or frozen foods for several weeks to enhance their strength and energy.
  • Step #4: Encourage spawning by introducing the pair to the breeding tank, gradually increasing the water temperature, and reducing the lighting intensity. Simulate a natural day-night cycle by adjusting the lighting duration accordingly. Include a spawning mop or fine-leaved plants for egg deposition
  • Step #5: After spawning, remove the breeding pair from the tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. Keep the breeding tank in a dimly lit area as the eggs and fry are sensitive to light. The eggs will hatch within 24-36 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming after a few days. Gradually increase the lighting duration as the fry grow. Initially, feed them infusoria or liquid fry food and gradually introduce crushed flake food as they mature.
  • Step #6: Monitor the growth and development of the fry and separate them by size if necessary to prevent larger fry from preying on smaller ones.

Breeding Rummy Nose Tetras requires patience and attention to detail. With the right conditions and care, you may be able to successfully breed these beautiful fish in your aquarium.

Recommended Tank Mates

Here are some suitable tank mates for Rummy Nose Tetras:

  1. Dwarf Corydoras
  2. Neon Tetras
  3. Ember Tetras
  4. Guppies
  5. Bristlenose Plecos
  6. Pygmy Corydoras
  7. Cherry Shrimp
  8. Nerite Snails
  9. Rasboras
  10. Otocinclus Catfish

Avoid large, aggressive fish and predatory species, as they may harm or eat the Rummy Nose Tetras. Always observe the behavior of new fish and ensure they don't cause stress or aggression towards the Rummy Nose Tetras.


In conclusion, Rummy Nose Tetras are captivating freshwater fish known for their striking appearance and peaceful nature. By providing them with suitable tank conditions, a well-balanced diet, and compatible tank mates, you can ensure their well-being and create a visually stunning aquarium. Breeding Rummy Nose Tetras can be a rewarding experience, although it requires specific conditions and patience. Overall, Rummy Nose Tetras are a vibrant and lively species that can bring beauty and fascination to any aquarium.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Rummy Nose Tetras?

A 20-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for a small group of Rummy Nose Tetras. Opting for a larger tank provides more stability and swimming space.

How many Rummy Nose Tetras should be kept together?

Rummy Nose Tetras are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least 6-8 individuals. Keeping a larger group will provide a more natural and engaging environment for them.

What water parameters do Rummy Nose Tetras require?

Rummy Nose Tetras thrive in water temperatures between 73°F and 81°F (23°C and 27°C), a pH between 5.5 and 7.0, and soft to moderately hard water with a hardness between 1 and 10 dGH.

What do Rummy Nose Tetras eat?

Rummy Nose Tetras are omnivorous and can be fed a varied diet. Offer them high-quality flake or pellet food, supplemented with live or frozen foods like daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms.

Are Rummy Nose Tetras compatible with other fish?

Yes, Rummy Nose Tetras are generally peaceful and can coexist with other similarly sized, non-aggressive fish species. Suitable tank mates include other small tetras, rasboras, corydoras catfish, and small plecos.

How can I differentiate between Rummy Nose Tetras and Neon Tetras?

Rummy Nose Tetras have a vibrant red nose that extends the full length of their bodies, while Neon Tetras have a shorter red stripe that covers only half of their bodies.

How long do Rummy Nose Tetras live?

With proper care and optimal tank conditions, Rummy Nose Tetras can live for 4 to 5 years.

How do I breed Rummy Nose Tetras?

Breeding Rummy Nose Tetras can be challenging, as they require specific water conditions such as very soft, acidic water and a dimly lit environment. Use a separate breeding tank and introduce males and females for spawning.

Do Rummy Nose Tetras require a planted tank?

While not strictly necessary, a planted tank is highly recommended for Rummy Nose Tetras. Live plants provide hiding spots, improve water quality, and create a more natural environment that closely resembles their native habitat.

Can Rummy Nose Tetras change color?

Yes, Rummy Nose Tetras can undergo color changes due to various factors such as stress, illness, or changes in water conditions. If you notice any loss of color, it's important to assess the water parameters and monitor their overall health.