Saturday, April 22, 2006

Rummy Nose Tetra

Data Sheet

Scientific Name: Hemigrammus rhodostomus, Petitella georgia, Hemigrammus bleheri
Other Name:Red-nose tetra, Firehead tetra, True rummbynose Tetra, False Rummynost Tetra, Brilliant Rummynose Tetra
Family: Characidae
Origin:South America
Adult Size:2.2 inch (5.5cm)
Social:Peaceful schooling fish
Lifespan:5 years
Tank Level: Mid-Dweller

Minimum Tank Size:10 Gallons
Breeding:Egg layer
Care:Easy - after it settled down (1 to 2 weeks). Medium to hard - when first introduced to aquarium.
Ideal pH: 6.0-7
Temperature: 72-79 F (22-26 C)
Tank setup:

Planted tank with some swimming space for this active shoaler.

Males slightly slimmer

Hemigrammus bleheri


The Rummynose has a distinctive bright red area around its “nose” and over its eyes. The rest of the body is a silver/gold color. The caudal fin has horizontal black and white stripes. The red nose will disappear when the fish is stressed.

It was noted that there are three different species of Rummynose tetra. Here I reproduced the chart by Randy Carey in comparing the differences between the three Rummynose Tetra. Click on the image for a larger pic.

SpeciesLower caudal peduncle spotMid-body lineRed reaches well past gillBlack edging on anal finBands on caudal fin
Hemigrammus rhodostomusPresentPresentNoLightNarrow, least amount of white
Hemigrammus bleheri (most commonly available)PresentAbsentYes, when in favorable water conditionsAbsentNarrow
Petitella georgiaeAbsentPresentNoDarkBroad


It should be noted that Rummynose Tetra takes some time to settle down when are first introduced to an aquarium. There are reports of high morality rates for new fish. However, once they settled down (after 1-2 weeks) they tend to survive well, and are easier fish to keep.

Where possible, plants, rocks, and driftwood should be included in the aquarium to help to enhance its natural habitat and provide hiding spaces.

A bright red nose is a very good indicator of this species’ well-being. If Red-Nose does not feel itself comfortable or if it is just introduced to the aquarium and not yet adjusted to its new environment and school mates, the bright red will fade into a dull pink barely distinguishable from its white-gray body color. The checkerboard markings of the tail will fade too. You may have to wait several weeks to see the real potential of this beautiful fish.

Mixing with other fishes:

Rummynose tetra can be mixed with other peaceful fish of similar size (such as neon tetra, cardinal tetra, guppies, swordtails etc). For best results, Rummynose tetra should be kept with at least 5 others of its kind, as it is a shoaling fish.


The Rummy-Nose Tetra will accept many small foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, micro pellet food, and high quality flake food.


There are few cases of successful breeding of this fish, and I assumed that this fish is quite hard to breed. Despite this, I found two published articles on people having successful breed Rummynose Tetra.

In Randy's article, it was noted that Rummynose tends to hang their eggs just below the surface of aquatic plants. In an experiment, Jiri Palicka set the water temperature to 62-68 F, and the ph to 6.6-6.7. Spawning takes place at night, and the female produce less than 5 adhesive eggs each time. Jiri Palicka noted that the eggs will hatch in 18 hours. I am unable to determine which species of Rummynose Tetra Jiri Palikca breeded.

In a separate experiment by Charles Drew to breed Hemigrammus bleheri, he set the ph of the water to about 6.0, and increased the temperature to 80 F. There were 2 males and 1 female in the tank. After spawning, the eggs took about 36 hours to hatch, and the fry took about 4 days to become free swimming.

Photo Galley

Got a photo? Contact me.

References Cited:

1. David Goodwin (2001), The Aquarium Fish Handbook, D & S books, England.
2. Rummy Nose Tetra, [Online], Available
3. True Rummynose Tetra, [Online], Available
4. Rummynose Tetra, [Online], Available
5. Randy Carey, (??) Three Rummynose Tetra, [Online], Available
6. Rummynose Tetra Information, [Online], Available
7. Red-nose, Rummynose Tetra [Online], Available
8. Charles Drew, (2003), Spawning Rummynose Tetra, [Online], Available

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