The Rummy-nose Tetra Hemigrammus bleheri is real striking in a community aquarium. This is a beautiful fish with a bright red nose, a black and white striped tail fin, and it only reaches about 1 3/4 of an inch (4.5 cm) in length. It makes a great fish for a community aquarium because it's not only nicely colored, but is peaceful with its tank mates and is not shy.
The name Rummy-nose Tetra is what you'll find this species called in most pet stores. However it is actually just one of three species of Rummy-nose. To distinguish it from its close relatives, it is more properly known as the Firehead Tetra or Brilliant Rummy Nose Tetra. It is also known as the Rednose Tetra and Blehers Rummy Nose Tetra.
This Firehead Tetra is very similar in appearance to its "Rummynose" cousins, the “true” Rummy-nose Tetra or Banded Rummy-Nose Hemigrammus rhodostomus and the "false" Rummy-nose Tetra or Black-fined Rummy-Nose Petitella georgiae. This species, H bleheri, was actually considered to be H. rhodostomys for many years,until it was finally described as its own species by Géry in 1986. The differences between these three characins are extremely slight, but H. bleheri is the only one that can have the red of its nose can extend beyond the gills.
All three of these tetras are occasionally available. But because of its superior color, the Brilliant Rummy Nose Tetra H. bleheri is the primary species of Rummy-Nose found in pet stores. It has also been selectively bred by commercial breeders for a "golden" variation. This color morph is sometimes available.
A school of Rummy-nose Tetras will thrive in a well established, well planted aquarium. In the right conditions they will provide you with lots of activity and glowing noses.They are a 'black-water" fish, so need a softer water that is acidic. It is also unwise to introduce these fish into a new system as they will not do well with the unstable water conditions. They are highly sensitive to water pollution and by extension are more susceptible to ich.
These fish are robust if kept in very precise conditions. However if your Rummy-nose Tetras are unhappy or stressed, their discontent is easily recognized. If things are not well suited to them they will lose most of their color and hardly look like the same fish. Keep in mind that this is when you first bring them home, as this will happen then too. After you introduce them to their new tank, you will need to give them a couple of days to get their full color back.
The Rummy-nose Tetra Hemigrammus bleheri was described by Géry and Mahnert in 1986. This species is not listed on the IUCN Red List. They occur in South America in Rio Vaupes in Columbia and in the Rio Negro in Brazil. This species is said to be confined to black water tributaries which are noticeably upstream off the Amazon. Their waters are usually stained brown from decaying organic material and very acidic. Other common names it is known by are Firehead Tetra, Brilliant Rummy Nose Tetra, Rednose Tetra, and Blehers Rummy Nose Tetra.
The H bleheri is very similar in appearance to two of its "Rummynose" cousins, the “true” Rummy-nose Tetra or Banded Rummy-Nose Hemigrammus rhodostomus and the "false" Rummy-nose Tetra or Black-fined Rummy-Nose Petitella georgiae. The differences between these three are extremely slight. The H. bleheri is the only one that can have its red nose can extend beyond the gills. Because of its superior color, this species is the primary Rummy-Nose found in pet stores.
The two Hemigrammus species can be distinguished from P. georgia by a black blotch on the bottom lobe of the caudal fin, which is missing from P. georgiae. Some distinctions between the Hemigrammus species are that the thin lateral line is bolder on H. rhodostomus and less bold to none existent on H. bleheri, and that the H. rhodostomus is more stocky and less elongated than H. bleheri.
The Rummy-nose Tetra is a full-bodied elongated large tetra species. This fish will generally reach about 1.75 inches (4.5 cm) in length and has a lifespan of about 5 - years. It has a silvery color that picks up flashy neon highlights. Their most distinguishing characteristics are the bright red nose, thus the name 'rummy-nose', and the striped black and white tail fin.
Size of fish - inches: 1.8 inches (4.50 cm)
Lifespan: 6 years - They generally have a life span of about 5 - 6 years, though some have reportedly lived for up to 8 years.
Fish Keeping Difficulty
The Rummy-nose Tetra is a bit difficult to keep and is best suited for an aquarist with some fish keeping experience. It is robust if kept in very precise conditions. It is highly sensitive to water pollution and by extension is more susceptible to ich. It is unwise to introduce Rummy Nose Tetras into a new system as they will not do well with the unstable water conditions. Yet these tetras are very adaptable and in well insulated homes can do well without a heated aquarium.
Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Difficult
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate - This fish is more sensitive to aquarium conditions than most other tetras.
Foods and Feeding
Since they are omnivorous the Rummy-nose Tetra will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance give them a high quality flake food everyday. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat. This tetra has a small mouth so make sure the food is small enough for them to consume. These tetras like several feedings a day, but offer only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less at each feeding.
Diet Type: Omnivore
Flake Food: Yes
Tablet Pellet: Yes
Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
Meaty Food: Some of Diet
Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day
Rummy-Nose Tetras are very sensitive to water condition changes, so pristine water is a plus. Make sure to have a testing kit on hand. Aquariums are closed systems and regardless on size all need some maintenance. Over time decomposing organic matter, nitrates, and phosphate build up and the water hardness increases due to evaporation. To combat these ever changing conditions water should be replaced on a regular basis, especially if the tank is densely stocked. At least 25 - 50% of the tank water should be replaced every other week.
Water Changes: Bi-weekly
These fish are fairly hardy and a school of of 7 or more will do best in about a 15 to 20 gallon aquarium. They are more difficult to keep than many other tetras, the water conditions should be kept soft and acidic for them to thrive. Peat filtration is advisable. They need a high quality filter to make sure that the water in frequently turned over to keep the water level stable. These fish will also appreciate an undergravel filter as it will help keep the tank oxygenated as well as filter waste that makes it to the substrate between cleanings. The lighting in the tank should be dim as they come from areas that have dense forest cover.
The aquarium should be an established tank that is well planted but with some open space for swimming. A biotope tank is preferred by the Rummy Tetra. Using a substrate of river sand with a hand full of dried leaves make a good natural feel to the tank. Make sure to remove and replace the dried leaves every few weeks. Woodwork and floating plants will make them feel comfortable. A few hiding places with bogwood or driftwood would be appreciated.
Minimum Tank Size: 15 gal (57 L) - Fifteen gallons or more is needed for a small school.
Suitable for Nano Tank: Yes
Substrate Type: Any
Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
Temperature: 72.0 to 82.0° F (22.2 to 27.8° C)
Breeding Temperature: 79.0° F - A temperature of 77 - 82° F (25- 27.7° C) is best for breeding.
Range ph: 5.5-6.8 - A ph of 6.0 - 6.5 is best for breeding. This blackwater native is very intolerant of harder and more alkaline water. Peat filtration is advisable.
Hardness Range: 2 - 8 dGH
Water Movement: Moderate
Water Region: All - These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.
The Rummy-nose is a peaceful community species. They are one of the tetras that do better, and look their best, kept in groups of 7 - 10 fish. They look great in a planted aquarium with some free space for swimming. The Rummy-nose does not do well with overly boisterious fish. Good tankmates are Smaller rasboras, peaceful barbs, some peaceful dwarf ciclids, peaceful bottom feeder and discus. Tetras will be startled by loud sounds or excessive movement outside the tank, so be sure to have an appropriately placed tank.
Same species - conspecifics: Yes - These fish are more comfortable in larger schools of at least 7-10 individuals.
Peaceful fish (): Safe
Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
Aggressive (): Threat
Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Safe
Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe - not aggressive
Sex: Sexual differences
The male is thinner, while the female is more compact with a larger stomach during spawning.
Breeding / Reproduction
These tetras are egg layers. They are reportedly more difficult to breed than many other tetras. The water must be kept soft and acidic. These are "blackwater" fish, so peat filtration is suggested for breeding as well. They will spawn on the bottom of the aquarium or on pinnate leaves of plants. They may eat the eggs, which will hatch after 36 hours. The fry are free swimming after 4 days and are very small. The smallest foods possible like infusoria, is usually required. see Breeding Freshwater Fish: Characins, and Fish Food for Fry for more information.
Ease of Breeding: Moderate
The Rummy-nose tetra are prone to develop ick if kept the tank water is not kept soft and acidic. They will resist disease as long as the tank is well maintained and stable. Overall they are hardy and disease is not usually a problem in a well maintained aquarium. That being said there is no guarantee that you won't have to deal with health problems or disease. Anything you add to your tank can bring disease to your tank. Not only other fish but plants, substrate, and decorations can harbor bacteria. Take great care and make sure to properly clean or quarantine anything that you add to an established tank so not to upset the balance.
A good thing about the Rummy-nose tetra is that due to their resilience, an outbreak of disease can often be limited to just one or a few fishes if you deal with it at an early stage. When keeping more sensitive types of fish, it is common for all fishes to be infected even before the first warning signs can be noticed. The best way to proactively prevent disease is to give your Flame Tetra the proper environment and give them a well balanced diet. The closer to their natural habitat the less stress the fish will have, making them healthier and happy. Stressed fish are more likely to acquire disease.
As with most fish they are prone to skin flukes, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), ichthyobodo infection, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), bacterial infections (general), and bacterial disease. It is recommended to read up on the common tank diseases. Knowing the signs and catching and treating them early makes a huge difference. For information about freshwater fish diseases and illnesses, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.
The Rummy-nose Tetra is readily available and reasonably priced.
Connor - 2014-10-15 What can I say about rummy noses? what lovely fish they are and how nice they are to other fish and how they swim in shoals with their own and others. I used to have two but one died so he swims with my blood fin tetras and my neon tetras. I am going to get some more so he isn't on his own but he is fine at the moment. I do advise you to get these fish if you want a gorgeous tank.
froody - 2007-03-19 i have 20 of these great fish in a 90 gallon heavily planted discus tank. They are great schoolers and swim around happily in all areas of the tank. I feed bloodworm, good flake, ciclid bits and shrimp in the tank, mainly because this is the discus diet, but the rummynoses love all of it! Excellent fish i would highly recommend them. Great colour if they are happy.
pat - 2012-03-09 Love my rummynoses. They defintly like to school and are very shock sensitive. I got so tired of watching the inexperinced petstore clerk abuse them while trying to catch them I asked for the net and caught them myself and it still shocked them. I had major doubt of there survival took them home put them in with my jumbo neons,glolights and two rams there colors came back and twenty minutes later they were eating like they had been in my tank for months They recovered faster than any other fish I have owned in the last 35 years of aqurium keeping.
emma - 2008-02-09 I have just bred these lovely fish purely by accident, and didn't even know until I saw them swimming around, so they even survived the eggs being eaten! We went away for a week and had someone coming in to feed them for us, looked in when we came home and saw 4 little tiny mights swimming around!