Jellybean Tetra (Ladigesia roloffi)
The Jelly Bean Tetra is a peaceful, lively, active and gregarious species; therefore, you should keep them in groups of at least eight individuals as this is essential for this small fish's well-being. However, due to their shy nature and water requirements, it would be best to house them in a species only aquarium. You can keep Jelly Bean Tetras with other small fish species as long as they do not out-compete them for food.
Jelly Bean Tetras are best kept in a well-structured set-up, ideally comprising a sandy substrate plus some driftwood branches and roots.
Adding dried leaves further emphasises the natural feel and offers additional cover for the fish. The leaves will also produce microbe colonies as decomposition occurs.
These colonies can provide a valuable secondary food source for the babies. In addition, the tannins and other chemicals released by the decaying leaves are also beneficial for these fish as they come from blackwater environments.
Jelly Bean Tetras do better under fairly dim lighting. You can add aquatic plants that can survive under these conditions, such as Microsorum, Taxiphyllum or Cryptocoryne. Floating vegetation is also helpful and will be appreciated.
The body of the Jelly Bean Tetra is torpedo-shaped and is usually green in colour. However, the fins are the most charming feature of this species, being that the caudal and dorsal fins have orange central highlights along their length tipped with black and a thin white trailing edge.
|Scientific Name||Ladigesia roloffi|
|Other Names||Sierra Leone Dwarf Characin|
|Aquarium Level||Middle - Top|
|Best kept as||Groups 8+|
|Lifespan||3 - 5 years|
|Temperature||72 - 79 ℉ (22.2 - 26.1 ℃)|
|PH||5.5 - 7.5|
|GH||1 - 12|
Natural Habitat of the Jellybean Tetra
The Jelly Bean Tetra originates from Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Kasewe in the Gbangbaia basin and Sewa River in Sierra Leone in Africa. They inhabit small streams and rivers with decomposing wood and vegetation, which stains the water brown from the release of tannins and is somewhat acidic.
Sierra Leone's climate is wet and hot, with a pronounced wet season between April and May and October and November, and most rivers tend to run perennially.
Over 97 per cent of the country's initial forest has been destroyed, with only a few surviving pockets existing in protected forest sanctuaries. Kasewe is one of the Moyamba district reserves and contains volcanic rock mountains covered by moistened, semi-deciduous evergreen forests.
Other Tetras of interest
What to feed the Jellybean Tetra
In the home aquarium, the Jelly Bean Tetra will accept high quality dried foods such as flakes and pellets of a small enough size. However, you should also provide them with daily meals of small live and frozen foods such as baby brine shrimp, Moina, daphnia and grindal worms, or you can feed them with freeze-dried foods such as tubifex or bloodworms.
How to Sex the Jellybean Tetra
It is somewhat easy to differentiate males from females. The male's anterior anal fin is slightly extended, unlike the female's who remain straight, and in the breeding season, the males are much more vibrantly coloured. In contrast, females are more rounder bodied than males.
How to Breed the Jellybean Tetra
The Jelly Bean Tetra is relatively straightforward to breed, although you will need to set up a separate breeding tank if you would like to increase the yield of fry. The tank should be dimly lit and contain bunches of fine-leaved plants such as java moss. Spawning mops are also suitable and work very well. These mediums will give the fish somewhere to place their sticky eggs. You could also cover the base of the tank with some mesh. This mesh should have large enough holes so the eggs can fall through it but small enough so that the parents cannot reach them.
You can spawn these Tetras in a group of half a dozen individuals containing both males and females. However, spawning should not bestow too many problems if you condition them with plenty of live and frozen foods.
Alternatively, you can spawn them in pairs. Under this process, the fish are conditioned in female and male groups in separate tanks with a high-quality diet of frozen and live foods. The temperature needs to be raised by a few degrees higher than usual in the main tank and somewhat acidic water.
When the females are gravid, and the males present their best colours, pick the healthiest female and the best-coloured male and place them in the breeding tank. The couple should spawn the following day.
In both situations, the adults will consume the eggs if given a chance, so make sure you remove them as soon as you notice some. The eggs will hatch in around 24 to 36 hours, and the fry will become free swimming about a week after that.
It would be better to feed the fry with infusoria type foods for the first couple of weeks until they are big enough to accept baby brine shrimp and microworms.
The fry is very sensitive to fluctuating chemistry, so it will be better to not perform any water changes during their first few weeks of life.