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Rummy-Nose Tetras: Differences Between the Three Species
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Tetras
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There are three fish which are called "rummy-nose tetras." Although they look very similar, their ranges of distribution in South America, ability to breed in an aquarium setting, and ease of maintenance are different.

Hemigrammus rhodostomus is the "true" rummy-nose tetra and is sometimes referred to as the "Banded Rummy-Nose." It is found closer to the Atlantic coastline. It is considered to be easier to breed than the other two rummy-nose tetras. It requires quite soft and acidic water.

Hemigrammus bleheri may also be known as the "common" rummy-nose tetra or "Brilliant Rummy-Nose," and is the most common rummy-nose appearing in the aquarium trade. It is found farther inland than H. rhodostomus, and has a much narrower range, basically the middle portion of the Rio Negro in Brazil. Like the "true" rummy-nose tetra, the common rummy-nose requires quite soft and acidic water.

Petitella georgiae is the "false" rummy-nose tetra, and may also be called the "Black-Finned Rummy-Nose." It is also found farther inland than H. rhodostomus, but its range is much broader than H. bleheri and includes Brazil and Peru. Its breeding habits have not been described. P. georgiae can live in water that is less acidic with more hardness (pH 5.5-7.0; hardness up to 8ºKH).

Visual comparison of the three rummy-nose tetras
Species Lower caudal peduncle spot Mid-body line Red reaches well past gill Black edging on anal fin Bands on caudal fin
Hemigrammus rhodostomus Present Present No Light Narrow, least amount of white
Hemigrammus bleheri (most commonly available) Present Absent Yes, when in favorable water conditions Absent Narrow
Petitella georgiae Absent Present No Dark Broad

- adapted from Carey, R. The three species of rummy-nose tetras. AquaNews, March/April 1993.


 
References and Further Reading

Carey, R. The three species of rummy-nose tetras. AquaNews, March/April 1993.

Riehl, R. Baensch Aquarium Atlas, Volume 2. Microcosm, Ltd. Shelburne, VT. 1997.

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