Betta Trading

Head and Tail Light Tetra

The Head and Tail Light Tetra,  Hemigrammus ocellifer is a beautiful, hardy and peaceful fish.  It come from slow moving waters in the Amazon system, but it is not a slow-moving fish.  The common names ‘The Head and Tail Light Tetra’ as well as the variations listed next were given because of the bright pinkish spot round its eye and another one near its tail.   Other names for The Head and Tail Light Tetra are ‘Beacon Fish’, ‘Beacon Tetra’, ‘The Head and Tail Light Fish’ and ‘The Head and Taillight Tetra’.

The Head and Tail Light Tetra is a moderately long-lived fish, and will sometimes live up to 10 years, although the average is less than this.

Temperature and Water

The Head and Tail Light Tetra is a tropical fish unsuitable for unheated aquariums in temperate areas unless they are in a room that is heated all the time.  A thermostat setting in the water of 24̊ C (75̊ F) is suitable.  The ideal water is soft and slightly acid (pH of about 6.8) but The Head and Tail Light Tetra also does well in slightly harder water that is a little alkaline.  For a mixed tank of tropical fish, I suggest a pH of 7 (Neutral) with a temperature of 24̊ C (75̊ F).

This fish does better in a well planted tank.

As with all fish, it is important to remove any Chlorine or Chloramine in the water before the fish are put in.


The Head and Tail Light Tetra is a schooling fish, and I regard six as a minimum suitable number.  Other fish that it is compatible with include the other Tetras, the Danios, White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Guppies, Rasboras, and most barbs, as well as other small fish which are not excessively aggressive.

The Head and Tail Light Tetra is also happy with the Corydoras catfish, and with all the smaller loaches.


The Head and Tail Light Tetra is an easy fish to breed and will occasionally produce young in a community tank that is not too crowded with fish, and is well planted.

If you deliberately want to breed, condition the fish well first, including rich foods and live food if possible.  Wrigglers, bloodworms and Daphnia are excellent live foods, but frozen foods, including frozen bolldworm can be used.

A separate tank is necessary.  Soft, slightly acid water is ideal and a small rise in temperature will often stimulate breeding.  After spawning, remove the parents, and keep the tank in subdued light.  Hatching of the eggs is fast; it takes between half a day and two days.  The babies are slightly bigger than many tetra babies, and will eat the smallest size daphnia or brine shrimp quite soon.
Steve Challis