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Maximum size : 3 cm

Jellybean Tetra - Ladigesia roloffi : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Jelly Bean Tetra (Ladigesia roloffi), with its peaceful, lively, and gregarious nature, is a captivating species that thrives in the company of its own kind. To ensure the well-being of these small yet vibrant fish, it is recommended to keep them in groups of at least eight individuals, allowing them to engage in their natural social behaviour. However, due to their shy disposition and specific water requirements, creating a species-only aquarium would provide an ideal environment for the Jelly Bean Tetras to truly thrive. 
While they may prefer the company of their own kind, Jelly Bean Tetras can coexist with other small fish species as long as they do not out-compete them for food. 

Creating a well-structured setup is key, incorporating elements such as sand substrate and carefully arranged driftwood branches. Adding dried leaves not only enhances the natural aesthetic but also provides additional cover for the fish. As the leaves decompose, beneficial microbe colonies develop, providing a secondary food source for the young Tetras. The tannins and chemical compounds released by the decaying leaves, characteristic of blackwater environments, also benefit the Jelly Bean Tetras.

Creating a subdued lighting environment is preferable for these Tetras, mimicking their natural habitat. However, there are plant species that can thrive under these conditions, such as Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, or Cryptocoryne, adding both visual appeal and enhancing the overall well-being of the fish. The presence of floating vegetation is also appreciated by the Jelly Bean Tetras, providing them with additional shelter and creating a more immersive and engaging aquatic environment.

The Jelly Bean Tetra boasts a sleek torpedo-shaped body, typically adorned in vibrant green hues. However, it is the fins of this species that truly captivate, showcasing striking orange central highlights along their length, accented with black tips and a delicate white trailing edge. This exquisite finnage adds a touch of elegance and charm to these already captivating fish.

Jellybean Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Jelly Bean Tetras is relatively straightforward. During the breeding season, the males exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart. The anterior anal fin of the males is slightly extended, while the females retain a straight fin. Additionally, the males display more vibrant and eye-catching colours compared to the females. In terms of body shape, females tend to be rounder and fuller-bodied in comparison to their male counterparts. These discernible physical differences enable observers to identify the gender of the Jelly Bean Tetras easily.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameLadigesia roloffi
Year Described1968
Other NamesSierra Leone Dwarf Characin
OriginsLiberia Ghana Sierra Leone
Max Size3 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 8+
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH1 - 12
72 - 79
22 - 26

Natural Habitat

The Jelly Bean Tetra can be traced back to its origins in Africa, specifically Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, the Gbangbaia Basin and Sewa River in Sierra Leone. These vibrant fish inhabit small streams and rivers characterized by the presence of decomposing wood and vegetation. It is within this environment that the water takes on a beautiful brown hue due to the release of tannins, creating a beautiful natural setting. 

The climate of Sierra Leone is characterized by its wet and hot conditions, with distinct wet seasons occurring between April and May, as well as October and November. Consequently, the rivers in this region generally flow consistently throughout the year. Sadly, Sierra Leone has witnessed significant deforestation, with over 97 per cent of its original forest disappearing. However, a few protected forest sanctuaries remain, including Kasewe in the Moyamba district. Kasewe is characterized by its volcanic rock mountains and lush semi-deciduous evergreen forests, providing a sanctuary for these remarkable Tetras to thrive.


Breeding the Jelly Bean Tetra is a relatively straightforward process, albeit requiring a separate breeding tank to maximize fry production. To create an optimal environment for spawning, it is recommended to set up a dimly lit tank with abundant fine-leaved plants such as java moss or the use of spawning mops. These provide the ideal surfaces for the fish to deposit their adhesive eggs. Alternatively, covering the tank's base with mesh is another effective method, allowing the eggs to fall through while preventing the parents from reaching them.

When spawning Jelly Bean Tetras, a group of approximately six individuals, comprising both males and females, can be utilized. Ensuring proper conditioning with a diverse diet of live and frozen foods will significantly enhance their reproductive success. Alternatively, a pair spawning approach can be employed, where females and males are conditioned separately in dedicated tanks and fed a high-quality diet. The main breeding tank should have a slightly elevated temperature and somewhat acidic water conditions to simulate optimal spawning conditions. Once the females show gravid signs and the males exhibit their most vibrant colours, carefully select the healthiest female and the male with the best colouration and introduce them to the breeding tank. Spawning typically occurs the following day.

In both breeding scenarios, removing the adult fish promptly after spawning is crucial, as they will consume the eggs if given the opportunity. The eggs will hatch within approximately 24 to 36 hours, and after about a week, the fry will become free-swimming. During the initial weeks, feeding the fry with infusoria-type foods is recommended until they grow large enough to accept baby brine shrimp and microworms. As the fry are particularly sensitive to fluctuating water chemistry, it is advisable to avoid performing water changes during their early development stages to maintain stable conditions conducive to their growth and well-being.

Diet & feeding

In the controlled environment of the home aquarium, the Jelly Bean Tetra readily accepts a variety of high-quality food options. While they will consume high-quality dried foods such as flakes and pellets of an appropriate size, providing them with a well-rounded diet is essential. Therefore, enhance their nutrition by offering daily meals of small live and frozen foods, including baby brine shrimp, Moina, daphnia, and grindal worms. Alternatively, you can opt for freeze-dried options like tubifex or bloodworms. This balanced feeding regimen ensures that the Jelly Bean Tetra receives the necessary nutrients for optimal health and vitality.

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