Head and Tail Light Tetra

Published August 6, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
Social Media: FishLore on Social Media

The Head and Tail Light Tetra gets it's common name from the way two small areas on the body seem to reflect light. One area on the Head and Tail Light Tetra is right behind the eye and the other area is at the base of the caudal fin. It may be hard to see this in tanks with lower lighting levels.

Hemigrammus ocellifer Hemigrammus ocellifer


Like other tetras, the Head and Tail Light Tetra likes to be in small schools of 6 or more. They are generally peaceful fish and do really well in live plant aquariums. Water should be kept slightly on the acidic side. Since they come from the slower moving waters in the Amazon Basin it may be a good idea to give them a slower current in the home aquarium as well.

Breeding them in the home aquarium is possible but requires pre-conditioning with live and premium fish foods. You will need a separate breeding tank for the spawn and then to raise the fry in. Water must be on the soft and acidic side with low lighting levels. Parents should be removed after you see the eggs.

It's always a good idea to keep any new fish in a quarantine tank for a few weeks for monitoring before introducing them into your main tank.

They will accept most fish food including flakes, frozen, freeze dried and live foods.

Hemigrammus ocellifer Hemigrammus ocellifer Hemigrammus ocellifer Hemigrammus ocellifer

Head and Tail Light Tetra Care

Scientific Name : Hemigrammus ocellifer

Common Names : Head and Tail Light Tetra, Beacon Fish

Care Level : Easy

Size : Up to 2 inches (5 cm)

pH : 6 - 7.5

Temperature : 72°F - 80°F (22°C - 27°C)

Life span : 3 - 5 years or longer

Origin / Habitat : South America, Amazon Basin

Temperament / Behavior : This is a generally peaceful fish and does well when kept in a small school of 6 or more.

Breeding : They have been bred in captivity and are egg layers. Requires acidic water conditions, low lighting levels and pre-spawn conditioning with live foods.

Aquarium Size : 20 gallon minimum

Tank Mates : Similar or smaller sized species that are comparable in temperament to the Head and Tail Light Tetra. Does well with other tetras.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease

Diet / Foods : An omnivore - provide a varied diet with live food, frozen food and they should accept flake food.

Tank Region : Middle to Top

Gender : Female is more robust than the male, may only be noticeable when ready to spawn.

Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk

Site References :

Fish Lore Forum : Head and Tail Light Tetra Forum

Still have questions?
Jump on the forum and ask your question!
Go here: Tetra Forum

More Tetra Fish Profiles
Lemon Tetra
Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis
Lemon Tetra
A tetra, like others that needs to be kept in schools of 6 or more. A 10 gallon tank but preferably larger is needed.
Neon Tetra
Paracheirodon innesi
Neon Tetra
Has to be one of the most popular of the tetras. This freshwater fish is a very pretty blue and red and appears iridescent. Take your time when acclimating this fish to your tank.
Penguin Tetra
Thayeria boehlkei
Penguin Tetra
Has a lot of common names including the Blackline Tetra, the Penguinfish and the Hockey Stick Tetra.