Hot Water Fish

Drunk Fish

  • Scientific name:  Hemigrammus rhodostomus
  • Common name: Drunken fish, red-nosed tetra, red-headed tetra, red-nosed tetra or red tetra.
  • Aquarium size:  70 liters
  • Temperament: Calm
  • Temperature:  Between 24º and 27ºC
  • pH: Between 5.5 and 7
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Length:  5 cms



The drunkard fish, rummy-nose tetra is a tetra and as such, belongs to the family of the characids . Like most fish belonging to the Characid family, we are talking about a very calm fish, suitable for a community aquarium, where it can coexist with a wide variety of different species of fish. In addition to Borrachito fish, it is known by other popular names, such as red-nosed tetra, red-headed tetra, red-nosed tetra or red tetra.


The Borrachito fish can reach five centimeters in length and like most of the Characins, it has an elongated shape.
No obvious sexual dimorphisms are detected , except that females have a somewhat rounder body than that of males.
It is easy to differentiate the Borrachito fish (Hemigrammus rhodostomus) from the rest of the tetras, due to its original coloration.
The color of its body is quite typical, silvery gray with slight shades between green and yellow, but its head is a deep red color (hence the nickname «Borrachito») , which goes from the snout to the back of the eyes. .
The tail fin is also quite striking, with horizontal black and white stripes, arranged perpendicular to the body.
Under certain circumstances, such as water that is too alkaline, they lose much of their color.

Distribution and habitat

Hemigrammus rhodostomus is native to the Orinoco River and the lower Amazon basin, between Venezuela and Brazil.
It is usually found in black water rivers, named for the high concentration of decomposing organic material. As a consequence, we are facing very acidic waters.
They like calm waters, with little or no movements.

Aquarium conditions

To reproduce the original biotope of the Borrachito fish, a 70-liter aquarium will be enough . The water temperature must be maintained between 24º and 27ºC, with a pH of 5.5 to 7.
The bottom of the aquarium must consist of a river sand substrate, to which we will add branches or pieces of floating wood, even dry leaves.
You can also add some peat, although it is recommended to keep it inside a net bag, as if we were making an infusion.
The idea is to generate that environment of black water, with a large amount of decomposing material, from which they come.
Usually, in the area where these fish live they do not usually have aquatic plants, so it would not be necessary to add any type of plant, unless they are part of the community aquarium.
This means that they admit different environments, although depending on the conditions of the aquarium, we can see that the coloration is more or less intense.
Partial water changes are recommended every week.

Aquarium decoration

  • Best aquarium sand
  • Best gravel for aquarium
  • Best akadama for aquarium
  • Best Aquarium Ornaments 
  • Best logs for aquariums
  • Best rocks for aquariums
  • Best backgrounds for aquariums
  • Best artificial plants


They are omnivorous fish, they will accept almost any food that we offer them , although to maintain a better coloration, it is a good idea to provide a varied diet.
Live and frozen food can be offered, as well as good quality dry food.
The important thing is to keep in mind that they are small fish, and with a small mouth, the size of the food has to be the right size.

Everything you need to maintain your aquarium

  • Best digital pH meter
  • Best Aquarium Test
  • Best anti-algae
  • Best bacteria for aquarium
  • Best siphoner for aquarium
  • Best Aquarium Water Clarifiers
  • Best reverse osmosis filters for aquarium
  • Best UV lamps for aquariums

Behavior and compatibility

It is a very calm fish, which will have no problem sharing the aquarium with other varieties of fish.
It is a gregarious variety, which is better in the company of more specimens of its species, so it is recommended to have a small group, between 8 and 10 specimens.
Ideally they should be mixed with other varieties of fish Hemigrammus (other tetras), Dwarf Cichlids , Corydoras and also with small Loricarids .
If the aquarium were large enough, the variety of species could be increased, with small Rasboras, Barbels and Anabantoids.

Fish compatible with Tetra drunk

Compatible fish without restrictions

  • Otocinclus
  • Harlequin
  • Barbel Cherry
  • Kribensis Cichlid
  • Boraras fish
  • Ramirezi
  • Molly
  • Ancistrus
  • Gourami Pearl
  • Platy
  • Guppy endler

Compatible fish without restrictions

  • Snail Apple
  • Zebra fish
  • Neon Tetra
  • Guppy
  • Little nun
  • Ax fish
  • Corydora
  • Rasbora Galaxy
  • Chinese Neon
  • Tiger Barbel
  • Female betta

Restricted Compatible Fish

  • Climb
  • Botia Clown
  • Goldfish
  • Telescope
  • Killis
  • Flying Fox Fish
  • Paradise Fish


Borrachito fish reproduction is possible, following the usual guidelines for other species of Characins.

  • Ideally, we need a breeding aquarium, which should be dimly lit and with thin-leaved plants, where the fish will lay their eggs.
  • The base must be covered with some type of mesh, which prevents the adults from reaching the eggs that fall to the bottom, to prevent them from eating them.
  • The water must be acidic, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, with a temperature in the higher range than usual, over 27ºC.
  • We will be at the right time, when the females are slightly more rounded and the males show more intense colors.
  • In the early stages of their life, fingerlings are very sensitive to light. The aquarium should be kept as dark as possible.
  • The eggs hatch between 24 and 36 hours after laying. The fry swim 3 to 4 days later.
  • In the first days, they have to be fed with infusoria, suitable food for fingerlings.

Photos of the drunk fish

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