The Ultimate Rummy Nose Tetra Care Guide


The rummy nose tetra (hemigrammus bleheri) is a iconic, schooling fish.

There are so many tetras out there; neon tetras, black skirt tetras, cardinal tetras and the list just goes on and on. But, most fishkeepers have heard of rummy nose tetras.

In this article, I’ll talk about all the basics to caring for rummy nose tetras. From their ideal tank size, to possible diseases, to the equipment you will need.

Unfortunately, rummy nose tetras aren’t great beginner fish as they are sensitive to parameter changes even though they’re typically advertised as a beginner friendly fish. So If you’re a beginner, I recommend looking for another fish to keep,


Gray fish with back and white tail and red head
By User:Lerdsuwa – Own photo (400D + 50/1.4), CC BY-SA 3.0,

These popular tetras have a bright red colored head and a gray body. They have clear fins for the most part as most tetras do.

They have tall dorsal fins and don’t grow very large, so they don’t need an enormous aquarium.

Typical Behavior

They are a schooling fish so they enjoy to be in groups. It’s usually recommended to keep in schools of at least six. However, a group of at least 13 is recommended.

Otherwise, the fish could get stressed which is not good for the fish or even you for that matter. If the fish are stressed, this will cause them to be susceptible to sickness which can make you stressed.


You would usually expect smaller to not live as long, but believe it or not, there are many small aquarium fish that can live for many years.

And rummy nose tetras are no exception. These little guys, like chili rasboras, can live for a whopping eight years, even though they’re so small.


These fish only get around 2.5 inches when they’re fully grown.

Remember that even though they aren’t huge, you can still overstock the tank.

Rummy Nose Tetra Care

Remember that if you want them to live a long time, make sure that they stay healthy. Make sure that they aren’t stressed and that they aren’t over or underfed. Over and underfeeding can cause a lot of problems.

Tank Size

I recommend getting at least a 20 gallon long, but a 30 gallon would be better.

The only reason why I say this is because these fish are just really active, so make sure they have plenty of room to swim. Otherwise, they could get cramped.

Tank Mates

Remember that you don’t keep aggressive fish with rummy nose tetras as it might not end well for the them if you know what I mean. Here are some suitable tank mates.

  • Dwarf Gouramis
  • Guppies
  • Mollies & Platys
  • Zebra Danios
  • Celestral Pearl Danios


They shouldn’t be that hard to feed. They enjoy flake foods as well as some bloodworms, baby brine shrimp and daphnia as treats.

Make sure that you don’t add too much food as it can make the tank dirty quicker which is not good for you or the fish.

Water Parameters

Like I stated earlier, rummy nose tetras are sensitive to changes in the water parameters, so make sure that they’re stable.

  • pH: 5.5-6.8
  • Temperature: 75-84 degrees Fahrenheit or 23.8 to 28.8 Celsius
  • Hardness: 2-8 KH

Possible Diseases

Here are some of the diseases that rummy nose tetras can get.

  • Ich (aka White Spot Disease)
  • Dropsy

Ich is a very common parasite that aquarium fish can get. Treat the fish with commercial Ich medicine, or use aquarium salt.

Typical Prices

It really depends on where you buy them at, but online stores I visited sold them anywhere from 2-5 dollars a piece, so expect to pay anywhere from $24-60 US for a group of 12.


Here are some commonly asked questions.

Do Rummy Nose Tetras Nip Fins?

It really depends. I’d make sure that the tank is large enough until you start getting other fish.

Make sure that you don’t get any fish with long fins like bettas; fin nippers love long, flowy fins. So, technically they are reported to nip fins.

Are Rummy Nose Tetras Hardy?

Although some will say that they are hardy, they are sensitive to changes with the water parameters, so they aren’t the easiest fish to care for.

How Long Do Rummy Nose Tetras Live?

Rummy nose tetras can actually live up to eight years if they are taken care of properly.

What Equipment You Need

So, now that you know what their ideal water parameters are and what to expect with these fish, here’s what you need.

  • At least a 20 gallon long
  • A heater
  • A external filter
  • A siphon if you have gravel or sand
  • A fish net

This isn’t everything you’ll need, you are most likely going to need these things. I don’t recommend getting a heater if the room tempature is 75-80 degrees, but you will need a filter.

When it comes to decorations, that’s really up to you, but I recommend getting some live plants to put around the perimeter of the aquarium. Most fishkeepers use gravel, sand or aquarium soil for substrate.

Feel free to also add rocks, driftwood if you want to spice up the tank even more.


First off, you’re going to need a breeding tank. Many fish will need one and if you have bred fish before, then you may already have one.

Set up a 10 gallon breeding tank. The water should be 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit or 27.7-30 degrees Celcius. The pH should be 6.0-6.2 and the water should be hard (4-6 DH).

Make sure that you have a great filter. The water should be vert clean. Live plants and java moss should also be in the tank. Add the pair that you chose and the pair should breed in the next two days.

Once they have bred, release the pair before they eat the eggs.

I recommend checking out this article from It’s A Fish Thing if you want a little more in depth guide.

Are Rummy Nose Tetras For Me?

If you want a medium-sized, peaceful fish, then perhaps they are.

Just remember to never keep these fish with large and aggressive fish. It doesn’t end well for the rummy nose tetras.


Fish Keeping World

Rummy Nose Tetra Care Guide & Species Profile

Tetra Fish Care

Rummy Nose Tetra Care Sheet: Tank Mates, Lifespan, Size, Breeding

It’s A Fish Thing

How To Breed Rummy Nose Tetras

Fish Tank Advisor

Rummy Nose Tetra: Explore this Shoaling Beauty

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