Rummy Nose Tetra 101: All You Need To Know (March 2023)

By: Martin McAdam
Updated: January 5, 2022

The Red Phantom Tetra has a large eye and an unmistakable coloration. It is not known to be a very common fish in the hobby. Hence, it can command a price slightly above other tetras.

The Rummy Nose Tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus) gets its name from the red patch at the base of its caudal (tail) fin.

It has a wavy lateral line which gives it an almost "scaly" appearance. The fish is silvery-golden overall with two distinct black lines running horizontally across the body, one just behind the eye and another further back, near the dorsal fin.

They were first discovered in the Amazon River by H. E. Hildebrand in 1894, who referred to them as "Serrasalmo emarginatus."

In 1903 they were redescribed by Eigenmann and Kennedy as Ptereleotris rhodostoma, which was later determined to be a synonym for Hemigrammus rhodostomus of H. E. Hildebrand.

Characterstics Of Rummy Nose Tetra

Origin Of Rummy Nose Tetra

The Rummy Nose Tetra originates from South America, specifically Brazil. They are found among aquatic vegetation in slow-moving rivers, small tributaries, swamps, marshes, or lakes.

The substrate is normally sand or gravel, with some areas containing mud. They like the environment to be heavily planted.

They are commonly found in rivers and streams, ponds and lakes, as well as in ditches and canals. They inhabit areas with dense vegetation where they take cover amongst the leaves and branches.

Also Read: Silver Tip Tetra Guide

How Do Rummy Nose Tetra Look Like?

Rummy nose tetras are beautiful fish that get their name from the red patch at the base of their caudal (tail) fin. They have a wavy lateral line which gives them an almost "scaly" appearance.

This is an attractive fish with its striking red coloration. It is slightly smaller than the Neon Tetra, growing only to two inches in length. Its appearance is very similar to the Neon Tetra except for the red blotch on its tail.

Rummy Nose Tetra

They have a combination of fine, thread-like, and medium-sized teeth that help them to nibble on very small food items. Their body color can range from a brilliant red to various shades of pink. Their dorsal and anal fins are transparent, with the last few rays being deep red or nearly black.

Pale silvery-blue dorsally fading to white ventrally; two distinct black stripes run horizontally across the body, one just behind the eye and another further back near the dorsal fin.

The black stripe on the caudal peduncle extends onto the base of the upper caudal rays. Dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins orange-red with black tips; pectoral fins transparent with dusky margins.

A black bar runs vertically through the eyes to the middle of the snout. It also has two black vertical bars on its body.

When born, the young fish are slightly different. They possess small dark spots along the upper edge of the lateral stripe, which fades as they mature.

A male differs from a female in its anal and dorsal fins. The caudal peduncle of the male is also more slender than that of a female and sports a thin dark line running along its length. When in breeding dress, the red coloration on the tips of the ventral fin increases

Temprament of Rummy Nose Tetra

The Rummy nose tetra is a schooling fish that prefers to be with its kind. They should not be kept in mixed-species tanks, and they cannot be kept with other types of small fish such as the cardinal tetra or neon tetra because they will usually eat any smaller fish from time to time when they are feeding.

Rummy Nose Tetra Temprament

They are peaceful fish that can be kept with other types of tetra like neon, cardinal, or glowlight. They also get along well with most livebearers and danios.

Other common species to be housed with them include Kuhli loaches (cool water loaches), ottocinclus catfish, and dwarf corydoras. They are not very aggressive and can be kept with most species of small fish that cannot fit into their mouths.

What about other types of fish? When choosing tank mates, the Rummy nose really should not be kept with any fish larger than half an inch long because they may become lunch for larger tank mates.

They are best kept with other small fish. Larger tankmates are likely to eat them, so put them in a mixed community tank that has lots of plants for hiding places.

Also Read: Best Ruby Tetra Guide: Explained in Details

Breeding Of Rummy Nose Tetra

Breeding this species should be quite simple. They will form monogamous pairs, and they are egg layers. The only potential problem one might encounter is when breeding them in a community aquarium; if their chosen mate gets eaten by other fish, the pair may never recover.

Rummy Nose Tetra breeding

There is no special trick to breeding these fish. They are easy to spawn, and the fry is quite hardy. When spawning, simply provide a tank with plenty of plants, and add two or three pairs of fish. The adults will take care of the eggs and fry.

The breeding process involves the female laying about 300 eggs among the plants. The eggs will be adhesive and yellowish-orange. When this process is complete, the adults should be removed from the tank; if not, they will eat their own young.

The eggs hatch in about three days but do not free-swim for another four days. Once they are free-swimming, they can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp or micro worms.

Growth Of Rummy Nose Tetra

The maximum size for this fish is 2 inches (5 cm), and they weigh about 0.4 ounces (11 grams). The male is usually slightly smaller than the female.

The Rummy nose Tetra grows quickly and can reach its adult size in a few months. It is important to note that this fish will not tolerate poor water quality, so regular water changes are necessary for the health of the fish.


The Rummy nose Tetra is an omnivorous fish that will eat most types of food. They prefer small live or frozen food items, but they will also eat flake food and pellets. They eat many different types of food, so they should be able to find something they like in most cases.

In the wild, they feed on aufwuchs, small crustaceans, and insects, while in captivity, they are more easy-going and will eat flake, pellets, or small live food.

They need a diet that is rich in proteins and lipids, so a good quality flake food is recommended. They should be fed at least 2-3 times a day.

A good diet will ensure the fish are in good health. A poor diet will result in malnutrition, which can lead to secondary infections and even the death of the fish.

Also Read: The Best 19 Beautiful Nano Fish For Small Tanks

Tank Requirements?

The Rummy nose Tetra is a small fish and does not require a large tank. A 10 gallon (38 liters) tank would be fine for a school of six. They need plenty of plants to hide among, so make sure to provide a lot of cover in the form of live or artificial plants.

The Rummy nose tetra will accept small pebbles or sand for substrate, but they enjoy having plants in their aquarium.

They should be provided with plants that are dense and relatively tall, as they enjoy the cover they provide. A few floating plants will also help to diffuse any bright lighting that may be used in the tank.

The tank should be decorated with rocks and driftwood to create hiding places, and a moderate amount of swimming space should be provided. The tank should also have a cover as these fish are jumpers.

Water Parameters

As this species is very small and not very demanding about water quality, it can be kept in pretty much any aquarium.

They prefer a water temperature between 68-77°F (20-25°C), so a heater and/or a chiller may be necessary depending on your climate.

The water should be slightly acidic with a pH range of 5.5-7.0 and a water hardness of 5-10°H. The water conditions required for this fish are not as demanding as those of the cardinal tetra.

Unlike some other types of tetra fish, these guys can handle low levels of light well, so any type of lighting is acceptable so long as it does not create too bright of an atmosphere. They appreciate plants with broad, dark green leaves.

The fish will need at least moderate lighting, but they can live happily under more or less intense lighting conditions.

The lighting should be either fluorescent or LED, as these fish can become sensitive to bright lighting such as incandescent.

This type of tetra will need to be kept in at least moderately hard water, with no noticeable amount of ammonia or nitrite.

Water changes should be done every week. It is most important that the tank is well-covered because these fish tend to jump out when startled.

Also Read: 31 Best Low Light Aquarium Plants: Easy Care

Aqua Plants For Rummy Nose Tetra

If you want to plant the aquarium, it is best to choose relatively small plants. These fish tend to swim at the top of the tank most of the time, so taller plants tend not to be very successful.

They can be kept with many different types of plants, but they will eat any that are not eaten by algae after a few weeks.

Some suggested plants are Java Fern, Hornwort, and Anubias Nana. These fish enjoy the cover provided by live or artificial plants, so it is recommended to include several in their tank.

Compatible And Non-Compatible

This species does well in schools of six or more, but it may become skittish if they are kept in too large of a shoal. It is best to keep them in groups of eight or more, as they tend to be less nervous when kept together.

They should be kept in schools that are composed of at least six fish, but they should not be kept with larger fish like gourami, bettas (Siamese fighting fish), or Oscars.

Rummy Nose Tetra

This species is not particularly likely to bite, but they will eat any food that gets in the tank if it happens to look tasty.

It is best to avoid keeping with fish that may be able to swallow them whole. They are fairly peaceful and timid; however, they can be skittish and easily frightened by larger or more aggressive species.

Also Read: Easy Methods To Prevent and Remove Detritus Worms


They are not very susceptible to common tetra diseases, so they can be kept with other types of fish that have a similar resistance.

On the rare occasion that you notice any signs of fungus or bacteria in their tank, you should immediately take the affected fish out and treat the rest of the fish in your aquarium for fin rot.

The common diseases they usually suffer from are ich and fin rot, both of which can be treated with the same medication used for other common aquarium fish.

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If ich is detected in your tank water, you should either treat it with a general ich treatment or remove the affected fish to another container filled with treated water from your main tank.

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If the fish is suffering from fin rot, you should treat the whole tank with a special medication. If this is not done, any fish that are suffering from fin rot will continue to spread it to other healthy fish in your aquarium.


If you are looking for a wonderful species of fish that is not too difficult to care for, then the Rummy Nose Tetra may be perfect for you.

This species of fish is on the list of least demanding aquarium inhabitants, and they are very peaceful and fun to watch, so if these characteristics appeal to you, this may be one of your favorite fish in the future!

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