Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How To Breed Rummy Nose Tetras

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

rummy nose tetra

Rummy nose tetras are some really beautiful fish, no doubt! These fish are very colorful and bright, so they are one of the more beautiful tropical freshwater fish to have in an aquarium. These fish live all around the Amazon river, can grow to around 2 inches in length, and live to a maximum of 5 years old.

You need to keep rummy nose tetras in schools of at least six, and they require a 20-gallon tank. Now, in terms of care, these fish are quite simple and low maintenance. However, breeding the rummy nose tetra is a bit of a different story. We are here right now to talk about how to breed rummy nose tetras.

aquarium plant divider

Mating Rummy Nose Tetra Fish

The problem with rummy nose tetras fish is that they are notoriously hard to sex, or in other words, to determine whether they are male or female. Generally speaking, females will be a bit larger than the males, having a much fuller body, thus being a little heavier and potentially a little longer too. Other than that, it is kind of a luck and trial and error type of thing.

There is no other way of telling if a rummy nose tetra is male or female, but you can always get professional consultation if you have the time and money for it. If you want to breed rummy nose tetras, we would recommend confirming their status as male or female as soon as you buy them, just so you are sure that you have at least one pair adequate for breeding.

One of the other ways to tell if a rummy nose tetra is a female is if her belly starts to get big when she reaches around 8 months to 1 year of age. The big belly means that she has eggs inside of her that are ready to be laid. Rummy nose tetras are egg layers, so the eggs build up inside of the female before she lays them.

two rummy nose tetras
Image Credit: Grigorev Mikhail, Shutterstock

The Breeding Tank

The first thing that you need to do to get these fish to breed properly is to set up the breeding tank. Yes, you probably have a school of fish in your aquarium, but you probably don’t want to breed with all of these rummy nose tetras.

You need to identify the males and females, particularly one pair, that appear as though they are ready to mate. You need to place the female and male in a separate breeding tank, but not before you have properly set it up.

Setting up a good breeding tank is important if you want them to mate and if you want the most amount of fish fry possible. First off, you need to get yourself a separate tank that is about 10 gallons in size. Any smaller than that is not good, but you can always go larger if you like.

Water Conditions

The water conditions also need to be adequate for breeding. Just in case you did not know, the water conditions for their normal living aquarium are not the same as they should be for the breeding tank.

To create an ideal breeding tank, the water needs to be a little warmer than it normally would. The water should be fairly warm, between 82 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 27.7 to 30 degrees Celsius.

As you can probably tell, this is very warm. Furthermore, you want to have the water fairly acidic. The pH level should be between 6 and 6.2, with 6.1 being the ideal (we have covered increasing pH in this article and lower pH in this article). The water should be slightly to moderately hard, with a DH level between 4 and 6.

Rummy Nose Tetra
Image Credit: Mircea Costina, Shutterstock

A Good Filter Set Up

You should also make sure to have a really good filter set up in the tank because good water quality is a really important factor. You can always use some aquarium-safe peat for filtering, especially because rummy nose tetras don’t mind murky water for breeding.

Furthermore, you need to provide them with clumps of spawning mops, java moss, or some other kind of item on the bottom where the rummy nose tetra female can deposit her eggs for safekeeping.

Mesh Net Helps

A special breeding and spawning mesh net does work fairly well for this too. The mesh needs to be small enough to keep parents out while being big enough to let the eggs through. Remember, folks—tummy nose tetras might eat the eggs or the fry, so it is important to provide the eggs and/or fry with a layer of protection from the parents.

Image Credit: Przemek Iciak, Shutterstock


Finally, you will want some big and leafy plants present because females like to drop their eggs under them, plus the mating usually happens under some kind of cover, like a big leaf. As long as you have this all well set up, you should have no problem breeding rummy nose fish.

Your Turn

Now you need to get your breeding fish. Some people only use one male and one female, but to increase the chances of successful mating, having multiple pairs works best.

How To Breed Rummy Nose Tetras: Process

Once you add the fish into the breeding tank that you have just set up, they should start spawning in the first 2 days. If they do not start spawning within 2 days, drop the temperature by a couple of degrees on the third day, then raise it back up on the fourth. The change in temperature should spur the spawning process on.

The male rummy nose tetra will harass the female until she gives in. The female will swim under a leaf, usually one at the water’s surface, one that is up top of the breeding mesh or chunks of breeding mops.

The male will bend and turn the female over, effectively fertilizing the eggs. The female rummy nose tetra will then drop the eggs, usually between 5 and 8 fairly large eggs. They will fall down past the breeding mesh or into the breeding moss.

After spawning has been completed, the female will usually turn very pale in color and hide among leaves and plants. This is how you know that it is time to remove the parents from the breeding tank. You need to remove them because rummy nose tetras are notorious for eating their eggs and the fry that hatch.

Rummy Nose Tetras in tank
Image Credit: DMITRII STARTCEV, Shutterstock

Taking Care Of Rummy Nose Tetra Fry

The incubation period for rummy nose tetra fry is about 24 hours. After this, they will hatch, but they won’t swim yet. The rummy nose tetra fry are comparatively larger than other fish fry of the same size fish. They will begin actively swimming around after about six days after hatching.

At first, feed them specialized fish fry food until they get large enough to start eating small chunks of food from the normal rummy nose tetra diet. Other than that, there is not much that goes into caring for the fry. Once they have reached near adult size, you can put them into the main tank.

aquarium plant divider


As you can see, it does take a fair amount of effort, time, and resources to breed rummy nose tetras. However, as far as we are concerned, the results are well worth the effort.

Feature Image Credit: Grigorev Mikhail, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database