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Adonis Tetra Fact Sheet

The “Adonis Tetra”,Lepidarchus Adonis”, is sometimes called the “Jellybean Tetra” or the “Adonis Characin”.   Sometime it is called the African Tetra; this is not very descriptive because there are quite a few tetras from Africa.

It comes from the western coast of Africa from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Côte d'Ivoire.  It is native to the Pra River and the Tano and Volta river basins as well as to some small streams in the same area.


The Adonis Tetra can reach just over 2 centimetres (nearly an inch) long so it is a very small fish, in fact one of the smallest fish normally kept in aquariums.

Water Conditions

The Adonis Tetra is generally considered to be an acid loving fish with a preferred pH of between 5.8 and 6.5.  However some of the rivers it comes from have a somewhat higher pH and this suggests the possibility that this fish could be acclimatized slowly to a pH nearer 7. 

This fish comes from the tropics and needs to be kept in a tropical tank with adequate heating.  A temperature of between 22 and 26 degrees C (between 72 and 79 degrees F) is recommended.

The water should be very soft.

Not a Beginners Fish

This is a fish suitable for experienced aquarists.


The ideal food in an aquarium is very small live food like newly hatched Brine shrimp and screened Daphnia.  Mosquito larvae are also a good food, especially if they are small.  Fine dry food, including dry fry food can be used as part of the diet.


The Adonis Tetra in not a community fish in the normal sense.  It is a peaceful schooling fish, and a minimum of 6 is suggested.  It can be put with other very small fish that also like very soft acid water.  The obvious companions are some of the smaller and more peaceful South American tetras like the Neon Tetra and its relatives.  The smallest species of Rasboras would also fit in well.  White Cloud Mountain Minnows could also be in the aquarium.  The conditions needed for the Adonis Tetra are not ideal for the White Clouds, but the White Clouds are very adaptable fish and should be all right.

Peaceful bottom feeders like the Bronze Catfish would also be suitable companions.


The anal fin of the males tends to be rounded while that of the females is more pointed.


The water conditions are critical for successfully breeding this species.  The water needs to be very soft, preferably well below 2Gh.  It should also be acidic.  A pH of 6 is suitable.  The breeding tank should be dimly lit.  If the water conditions are right, this fish is an easy one to breed.

Only about 20-30 eggs are produced per female.  After spawning, the parents are removed and the tank darkened.

With luck the eggs will hatch in about 36 hours and the babies should be free swimming in a week.

Raising the Fry

The Baby Adonis Tetras are very small.  The will need infusoria for quite a while before they can graduate to larger food.

Conservation Status

The IUCN list shows the Adonis tetra as being “Vulnerable”. 

Indications based on commercial availability suggest that this species is not currently rare.  However there is cause for concern.  The Adonis Tetra is very sensitive to water conditions and the rivers it comes from are subject to severe and increasing pollution.  This pollution is caused both by the rapidly increasing Human population of the area the fish comes from and by industrial and mining pollution including by Mercury because of the extraction of Gold from places along the Pra River.

Common Names in Other Languages

Lepidarchus adonis is called the Adonistetra in Finland and Demark, the Adonissalmler in Germany, and in Mandarin Chinese the preferred name is 亚东雅非洲脂鲤.  An alternative common name in Mandarin is 亞東雅非洲脂鯉.


Fish Base:

pH in Pra river: