Petitella bleheri – Firehead Tetra

One of the very colorful species from South America for the community tank is the Firehead Tetra or Petitlela bleheri. It likes very clean water!

Petitella bleheri – Firehead Tetra

As the name suggests, Firehead Tetras have a red nose. However, this color extends to behind the gills. There are two other comparable species where this is not the case: Petitella rhodostomus and Petitella georgiae. The rest of the body is elongated and silver/white in color. The rear fin is spotted black and white. When the fish feels good, a thin yellowish stripe runs down the side of the body. Petitella bleheri can reach a length of about 4.5 centimeters.

The difference between males and females is barely visible. The male is said to be slightly slimmer than the female.

Blehers redhead salmon; Hemi means half and grammus is stripe. It owes its surname to its discoverer Heiko Bleher. In 2020, this species was moved from the Hemigrammus genus to Petitella, making Hemigrammus bleheri a synonym.

More about the differences between these three species in the article Rummynose Tetra, Firehead Tetra or False Rummy-nose Tetra.


Petitlela bleheri or Firehead Tetra can be found in the Rio Negro and the Rio Uaupés in Northern Brazil and Colombia, South America.

The Aquarium

For Firehead Tetras you need an aquarium of 100 cm. Set up the aquarium with a dark bottom, locally dense plants and driftwood as shelter, subdued lighting with floating plants. Make sure there is enough free swimming space because they are active swimmers.

Water parameters

Temperature: 24-26 degrees Celsius.
pH: 6-6,5
GH: 0-4

In nature, fish have to deal with fluctuating temperatures. Keeping fish at the minimum or maximum temperature for a long time is not always desirable and can shorten the average lifespan of the animals.


The Firehead Tetra is an omnivore. This means, among other things, that they accept dry food, frozen food and live food. Make sure they get a varied diet! Do not keep these fish together with shrimps, for example. These will become expensive food for the Firehead Tetra.

Breeding Petitella bleheri – Firehead Tetra

Petitella bleheri are very difficult to breed, this is done in a school context. So transfer a school of Firehead Tetra to a breeding tank with very soft, acidic and pure water. Decorate the breeding tank with fine-leaved plants and place it in a dim location. Sunlight may enter the tank at least once a day. Increase the temperature slowly by 2 degrees. They mainly do the spawning in the dark/twilight.

After spawning, remove the parents, otherwise the eggs will be eaten. The eggs hatch after 1 to 2 days. Raise the fry with dust food and paramecium.



Coby – Rickpad

Copyright images

© CK Yeo
Hristo Hristov

Additional information






Hemigrammus bleheri

Common name

Firehead Tetra

First described by

Jacques Géry, Volker Mahnert


Social behaviour

Breeding behaviour


Min. aquarium length in cm







Minimum length


Length maximum


Temperature minimum


Temperature maximum


pH minimum


pH maximum


GH minimum


GH max



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