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Fish that start with J

Tropical Freshwater Fish that Start with the Letter J

Did you know there are well over 30,000 different species of tropical fish identified? This number continues to rise as more species are discovered.

This article will give you a list of our 7 favourite tropical fish beginning with the letter J.

Some you may have heard of, whilst some I am sure you won’t as they are more unusual. We are using their common names, as who actually uses their scientific names when popping into the local pet shop?! I have included the scientific names as well though for the nerdy types.

For the purpose of variation (and because, quite frankly, some of these letters were hard to research!), we may have included some saltwater fish as well. These are clearly marked, as rule number 1 in the world of fishkeeping is that you can’t mix your freshwater fish with your saltwater fish.

Tropical Fish that Start with the Letter J.

  • Jelly Bean Tetra
  • Jack Dempsey Cichlid
  • Jewel Cichlid
  • Japanese Medaka
  • Jewelfish (saltwater)
  • Jewel Grouper (saltwater)
  • Jack-knife Fish (saltwater)

Jelly Bean Tetra.

jelly bean tetra
Jelly Bean Tetras.

Scientific name: Ladigesia roloffi.

The Jelly Bean Tetra originates from The Yung River in West Africa, which pops up in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

They are one of the little guys, only growing no more than 4cms and they are really placid, although nerves can sometimes get the better of them. They need to be kept in groups of at least 6 as they are shoaling fish. Any less than 6 and they won’t be very happy.

They are nice and lively, so need ample space to dart around the middle of the tank.

where do jelly bean tetras come from
Where Jelly Bean Tetras are from.

Jack Dempsey Cichlid.

jack dempsey cichlid
Jack Dempsey Cichlid.

Scientific name: Rocio octofasciata.

This quite imposing fish hails from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras in Central America. especially around the Yucatan Peninsula.

Looking at the photo, you could get the impression that he might be a bit of a nark. Well, you would be right. The Jack Dempsey Cichlid is both intolerant and aggressive. It actually gets its name from an American heavyweight boxer called Jack Dempsey, whose career spanned from 1914 to 1927, who was well known for his aggression in the ring.

They can grow up to 20 cms in captivity, but in their natural habitat they can reach double the size.

They shouldn’t be put in a tank with any small species and they need plenty of space to hopefully reduce any kick offs.

where do jack dempsey cichlids come from
Where Jack Dempsey Cichlids come from.

Jewel Cichlid.

jewel cichlid
Jewel Cichlid.

Scientific name: Hemichromis bimaculatus.

The Jewel Cichlid originates from West Africa, where they live in dense forested areas in Guinea and northern Liberia.

The Jewel Cichlid can sometimes get mistaken for the Lifalili Cichlid as they both have fine spots which sparkle under the aquarium lights. The main difference is that the spots tend to be more concentrated around the head of the Jewel Cichlid, plus they have 3 black blotches on the sides of their body, although, these are not always prominent.

They can grow up to 15cms in captivity and are generally peaceful if they are happy with their environment, although they can get aggressive when spawning. Having a big enough tank with lots of space for everyone will help prevent that, as well as carrying out regular partial water changes.

where do jewel cichlids come from?
Where Jewel Cichlids originate from.

Japanese Medaka.

japanese medaka
Japanese Medaka.

Scientific name: Oryzias latipes.

It shouldn’t take a genius to work out whereabouts the Japanese Medaka originates from. Yep, off the coast of Japan!

What you may not know is that medaka means ‘with high eyes’ in Japanese. Their eyes are high and very big, in fact they always look a little bit surprised due to them!

Japanese Medakas can grow up to about 3cms and they are placid and social. They love to swim around the upper part of the tank.

I discovered a brilliantly random fact about the Japanese Medaka-they are the first species of fish to mate in orbit (see, I told you it was random..). A brood of healthy fry was hatched on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1994! They were housed in an aquarium on board the International Space Station.

where does the japanese medaka come from?
Where Japanese Medakas originate from.

Jewelfish (saltwater).


Scientific name: Microspathodon chrysurus.

The gorgeous Jewelfish hails from the Caribbean, and can be found anywhere between the coasts of Florida and South America.

They need to be in a lovely big saltwater tank as they can grow to an impressive 20cms when in captivity.

They are part of the damselfish family who are known to be a very hardy fish. They are usually a good choice for being the first fish into a newly established tank. This can lead them to being territorial though as they get more settled and the new kids start moving in.

Their blue colouring will start to fade with age, but their caudal fin will get more yellow as they reach maturity. It is transparent when they are juveniles.

where do jewelfish come from?
Where Jewelfish originate from.

Jewel Grouper (saltwater).

jewel grouper
Jewel Grouper.

Scientific name: Cephalopholis argus.

The Jewel Grouper can be found predominantly in the Red Sea, but also throughout the Pacific Ocean as well.

You need a huge tank for this species as they can grow to a whopping 50cms. Your tank also needs to have a very good filtration system as big fish equals big waste.

They have lovely vibrant colours, with spots all over their body which looks amazing under the aquarium lights. If you notice their colour starting to fade, this is an indication of poor water quality which you must investigate immediately to prevent any illness.

Don’t put them in with small fish as the Jewel Grouper could suddenly get a bit hungry.

where do jewel groupers come from?
Where Jewel Groupers originate from.

Jack-knife Fish (saltwater).

jack-knife fish
Jack-knife Fish

Scientific name: Equetus lanceolatus.

The Jack-knife Fish gets its strange shape because their first dorsal fin is in an upright position. This makes them less streamlined and therefore a slower swimmer than other marine fish.

This black and white fish originates from The Caribbean and can grow to an impressive 25cms in captivity. They tend to get more aggressive the older they get (don’t we all?) so they need to be kept with fish that will mind their own business and not start trying to nip at their big sticky up fin!

where does the jack-knife fish come from?
Where Jack-knife Fish are from.

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