Head and Tail Light Tetra (Hemigrammus Ocellifer)
The Head and Tail Light Tetra (Hemigrammus ocellifer) is a charming and energetic freshwater fish, easily recognizable by its distinctive coloration. They have a silver body with a greenish hue, adorned with two bright red spots—one near the gill cover and another at the base of the tail fin—resembling headlights and taillights. Their relatively easy care requirements make them an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced aquarists.
These tetras reach up to 2 inches in length. It is highly recommended to purchase a group of at least 6 Head and Tail Light Tetras, with a preference for 10 or more. These fish are naturally schooling species and thrive in the presence of their own kind. Keeping them in sufficient numbers enhances their well-being and reduces any potential fin-nipping behavior, as they tend to focus on interacting with each other. The visual impact of a larger school is also quite stunning.
Head and Tail Light Tetras are peaceful fish that may struggle to compete with overly active or significantly larger tankmates. Ideally, they should be housed with other South American species such as Hemigrammus or Hyphessobrycon tetras, pencil fish, Apistogramma and other small cichlids, Corydoras, and Loricariids. In a more diverse community tank, they can coexist with smaller rasboras, barbs, Anabantoids, and West African dwarf cichlids like Pelvicachromis species.
Head and Tail Light Tetras are omnivorous and thrive on a varied diet. They readily accept high-quality flake food and enjoy live and frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms, which contribute to their overall health and vibrant coloration.
The aquarium should have plenty of plants, hiding spots made with driftwood or twisted roots, and open swimming areas. Slightly diffused or dimmed lighting is preferable, with a sandy or fine dark substrate and floating plants to provide the shady conditions preferred by Head and Tail Light Tetras. Include some plants that can tolerate low light conditions, such as Java fern, Java moss, Anubias, or Cryptocorynes, along the back and sides of the aquarium. The true beauty of the Head and Tail Light Tetra will be revealed under these conditions. They enjoy swimming in open areas between aquariums' middle to middle-bottom levels.
The ideal tank habitat for Head and Tail Light Tetras should be at least 20 gallons, with a preference for a 30-gallon community tank. They prefer swimming in the middle to middle-bottom levels of the tank. The aquarium should have plenty of plants, hiding spots, and open swimming areas. Keep the water parameters stable, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5, a hardness of 5-20 dGH (Head and Tail Light Tetras will show their best colors towards the lower end of this range), and a temperature of 72-79°F (22-26°C).
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.