Max Size: 5cm

Head and Taillight Tetra (Hemigrammus ocellifer)

Head-and-tail light Tetras are some of the best Tetras for the general community aquarium. These fish are lively, somewhat colourful and peaceful. The Head-and-tail-light Tetra is very adaptable and will flourish in most aquariums providing they are kept in groups of six or more individuals. These Tetras are a shoaling species by nature; therefore, they will fare much better when in the company of their own kind, and they look far more effective. These Tetras are relatively hardy, making them ideal for the beginner aquarist as well as the experienced aquarist.

Although peaceful, as with other Tetras of similar shape, they may nip at the fins of long-finned or slow-moving fish. These Tetras do well in planted aquariums or a biotope setup. These fish's ideal tank mates include most Livebearers, Danios, Rasboras, other Tetras, and peaceful bottom dwellers such as Corydoras or smaller Loricariids. You can also keep these with the majority of commonly available Gouramis and dwarf Cichlids. However, they will not be safe with larger species that may see them as food, such as Angel Fish.

The Head-and-tail-light Tetras have two unique markings, one near the head right behind the eye and one next to the base of the caudal fin that seems to flash as they swim and turn in the aquarium catching the light at the right angle. They also present a dark lateral line that runs across half of their body, and the background colouration of these fish is reflective silver.


Head-and-taillight Tetra
Head-and-taillight Tetra
Quick Facts
Scientific NameHemigrammus ocellifer
Other NamesBeacon Fish, Beacon Tetra
OriginsBrazil, Guyana, Peru, Suriname
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH5 - 20
75 - 82℉
23.9 - 27.8℃


In the home aquarium, the Head and Taillight Tetra will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

You can sex the Head-and-tail-light Tetra by examining their swim bladder, which is somewhat visible through these fish' transparent skin. The swim bladder narrows to a point in males but is rounded in females. Adult females are also slightly more extensive and more heavy-bodied than males that are smaller and slimmer.

Other Tetras of interest

African Moon Tetra(Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)
African Red Eyed Tetra(Arnoldichthys spilopterus)
Arowana Tetra(Gnathocharax steindachneri)
Black Darter Tetra(Poecilocharax weitzmani)
Black Line Tetra(Hyphessobrycon scholzei)
Black Neon Tetra(Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)
View all Tetras
Date Added: 23/06/2021 12:50:57 - Updated: 22/11/2021 17:44:43