Daisy Ricefish Care Guide: Tank, Feeding & Breeding

Written By Lewis German  |  Tropical Fish  |  0 Comments

What are Daisy Ricefish?

Daisy Ricefish (Oryzias woworae) are a small, egg laying, schooling fish, belonging to their own family called Adrianichthyidae, which contains the many species of Ricefish found within brackish and fresh waters around the world.

Daisy Ricefish are characterised as small 1.5” fish with a typical Ricefish body plan, but the males are dark blue in colour with red tips on their fins and a dark black line going down their back.

Where are Daisy Ricefish from?

Daisy Ricefish are found in streams and pools on Muna Island, just off the coast of South East Sulawesi in Indonesia.

They are found in rocky cliffs and forested areas of the island, usually in slow moving streams and scrapes, ranging from silty and tannic to more clear mineral filled waters found in caves and rocky outcrops.

These days however, Daisy Ricefish are typically bred in captivity, on fish farms in parts of North America and South East Asia where they have been domesticated and brought into the aquarium hobby.

Water Parameters for Daisy Ricefish

The waters they are found in vary in hardness and mineral content, as they are found in karstic streams; those which are formed in dissolved scrapes and cracks of rockwork, as well as within deep forested areas with plenty of leaf litter and substrate.

On the Island of Muna, the rocky cliffs and outcrops are largely composed of limestone, a substance that dissolves in soft water over time and alters the pH, making the pools and streams more alkali and giving them a higher KH content.

They also are found in softer waters within forests, which contain lots of rotting plant debris and have a lower pH. Daisy Ricefish can even adapt to slightly saline or brackish water, as they occasionally come into contact with seawater.

All this is to say that Daisy Ricefish are incredibly hardy and variable when it comes to pH and hardness levels within the water. What they do not like however, is ammonia and nitrites, so maintaining clean water is key.

pH6.5 – 7.8
HardnessModerate KH and GH
TemperatureTemperature: 24C – 26C (75F – 79F)
Ammonia (NH3)0 ppm
Nitrite (NO2)0 ppm
Nitrate<5 ppm
Salinity Level½ a teaspoon per gallon (not always necessary)

Feeding and diet of Daisy Ricefish

Daisy Ricefish are typically quite easy to feed. They are omnivorous and are great opportunists, taking advantage of any food which enters their waters, from insect larvae and small aquatic invertebrates like worms, to algae and vegetable matter.

What’s best is a mix of high protein foods, as well as fibrous plant material, so offering a variety of frozen foods, dry flakes and small pellets, boiled veg and algae wafers is key in providing your Ricefish the best possible nutrition.

Best tank mates for Daisy Ricefish

Daisy Ricefish make model community tank inhabitants. They are peaceful, gracious eaters and are adaptable to a wide range of water parameters. They are also fast and nimble, being able to avoid danger easily.

This does not mean they are ideal for every tank however, as there are still many fish out there that would make a quick meal out of them. This list contains the best fish that make the most ideal tank mates for Daisy Ricefish:


Guppies house well with Ricefish as they are a similar size, are also peaceful and will take a similar diet.

Ricefish are not common fin nippers, so you have little to worry about when housing them with male guppies and no harm should come to their long, flowing tails.

Ricefish can also withstand the higher pH and hardness level that guppies enjoy, and even like a level of salinity the same way. A tank with some blue Guppies and Daisy Ricefish can be a very eye catching setup.

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose are great with Ricefish as they stay along the bottom of the tank, scavenging for food and grazing algae along surfaces.

They interact with Ricefish very little and have no interest in them. There is also no worry that they will eat your ricefish, as despite their large size, their downturned mouthpiece does not allow them to prey on small fish.

Bristlenose are peaceful and adaptable to a wide range of water parameters, so they are ideal tank mates for Daisy Ricefish. Just make sure you are properly feeding your Bristlenose with plenty of algae wafers, green beans, cucumber and Bloodworms.



For the same reasons that Bristlenose make great tank mates for Ricefish, alternatively, Cory Cats also make great additions to your Ricefish tank. They are excellent at scavenging and will clean up any uneaten food that sinks to the bottom of the tank.

Cory Cats however, much like Bristlenose, should also be housed in a larger tank, 20 gallons or higher, as they like to be kept in large groups and need lots of space to roam.

Cherry Shrimp

Cherry Shrimps

Suitable for those smaller tanks, Cherry Shrimp can live alongside Ricefish and will even breed in the same tank as them.

Ricefish are too small to be able to easily kill adult Cherry Shrimp, although it can happen from time to time, with enough cover and enough food, Ricefish will largely ignore Cherry Shrimp and will often allow them to live and populate the tank.

Shrimp are great with small fish like this, they are excellent clean up crew, taking care of uneaten food, algae and help to further break down nutrients for bacteria and plants to utilise.

Cherry Shrimp are great fun to try for planted tanks, and they make suburb tank mates for Daisy Ricefish, so long as you have enough cover for them.

How to Breed Daisy Ricefish

Daisy Ricefish are very easy to breed and are one of the best egg laying fish to start with. They are easy to condition, spawn and raise into adults. To condition Ricefish, feed them well on a vegetable and spirulina heavy diet, and provide them with lots of frozen foods like Brine Shrimp, Daphnia and small Bloodworms.

Live foods also help to bring Ricefish into condition, live Daphnia and Mosquito Larvae are great options and will see the best results.

Once they are well fed and have some weight to them, house them in their own tank, provide plenty of live plant cover and buffer the water with a KH powder or crushed coral.

The rise in pH and hardness often triggers them to spawn and the males will exhibit striking dark colours and will appear navy blue, with bright red tips on their fins. The females will look a greenish yellow on the body with bright orange tips on their fins.

You will first however, need a male and female for this to work.

How to sex Daisy Ricefish

Daisy Ricefish are very easy to sex, as they are highly sexually dimorphic, the male and female look quite different from each other and even someone who has never seen the fish before can easily distinguish the two.

  • Male Daisy Ricefish are blue in colour, ranging from a dark teal to navy to almost black, they have a dark band going down their back when in condition and their fins are bright red.

    Male Ricefish have a larger, but more slender body plan with a curved back and have a distinctive shaped dorsal fin, which curves slightly downwards and has more apparent spines, producing a feathered shape as opposed to the clean triangle shape that the female has.
  • Female Daisy Ricefish are typically smaller in size, but have a more round and straight body plan. They are yellowish green in body colour and have bright orange tips on their fins.

The females can also be easily identified when spawning, as you may see a clutch of eggs being held by her pelvic fins.

Rationing Daisy Ricefish

As male Ricefish are larger than females, this gives us an indication that they are competitive when it comes to spawning, and this is true.

Male Daisy Ricefish can be highly territorial when they are in condition and will spar with other males quite aggressively. For this reason, it is best to breed them in a harem, where there are multiple females to one male, much like a rooster or turkey.

They can be bred in communities with multiple males given the room, but anything less than a 20 gallon long will often result in beaten up, exhausted and sometimes seriously injured males.

If you have lots of cover and enough room for them however, multiple males can be housed and bred in the same tank, but it is always best to have more females so that the competition isn’t as fierce.

A 1:3 ratio of males to females is best.

Outside of breeding however, male Ricefish can live together just fine and will show eachother benevolence. They are not fish to bicker, they are just competitive when it comes to spawning.

Daisy Ricefish spawning and fry

As mentioned, oftentimes once the pH and hardness level has risen, Ricefish can be triggered to spawn. The same can also happen after a water change is performed or when the temperature is increased.

For the best chances to induce spawning, a combination of all 3 can be implemented. Ricefish spawn in a very similar way that many Killifish species do, where they hold their eggs and stick them to surfaces, preferably plant leaves and mosses.

Mating usually occurs during the early morning in Ricefish, just as the sun is starting to rise, males will compete for mating rights to females. Male and female copulate and the eggs are fertilised internally.

You can tell when mating is occurring as the males will become extremely dark in colour, will spar with each other often and can be seen dancing/displaying to females, swimming vertically and showing their dark line that goes over their back.

Female Ricefish will release the eggs from their ovipositor around a week or so later and will hold onto the clutch, keeping them around her bottom in a bundle of anywhere around 9 – 20 eggs.

She will search for an ideal spot and will stick the eggs in different places to ensure their safety. After this, the parents should be removed from the tank, or the eggs taken out, as they will often prey on their eggs and young.

After around 2 days, the fry will hatch and will float to the surface as very tiny fry. Feed them infusoria, crushed flakes and fry powder, 2 – 3 times a day and maintain excellent water quality.

After around 3 – 4 months depending on temperature, they will be adults.

What size do Daisy Ricefish need?

Daisy Ricefish can be housed in a minimum size of 5 gallons, although they will do better in anything larger, as they like to stay in big groups and need plenty of room to swim.

  • A 5 gallon will allow you to house 2 – 3 fish, perhaps a trio of 1 male and 2 females.
  • A 10 gallon will allow you to house around 5 fish.
  • A 20 will allow you to house 8 or so.

Anything above 20 gallons will ensure you the best success when keeping Ricefish, as it allows you to keep them more natural, in larger numbers, and gives males enough space to get away from each other when they spar.

In a smaller tank, males will fight more aggressively, so bear that in mind if you decide to house them in anything less than 100 litres.

What are the best plants for Daisy Ricefish?

Ricefish really enjoy densely planted tanks, with lots of flora from which to hide in. They are small fish which inhabit all levels of the tank, but spend most of their time in the middle to upper area.

Tall reeds and grasses work great for adult Ricefish, as well as dense leafy plants and moses down below for them to drop their eggs into.

Ricefish just love plants, so be sure to put plenty in your tank:

  • Java Fern
  • Jungle Val
  • Java Moss
  • Bucephalandra 
  • Lilaeopsis
  • Dwarf Chain Sword
  • Anubias barteri
  • Aponogeton

Tips and tricks for Daisy Ricefish care

Daisy Ricefish are fairly easy fish to keep. They are hardy, peaceful and not fastidious eaters, so they are an ideal beginner fish.

For them to truly thrive however, it is best to have a heavily planted tank. 

Ricefish excel in planted aquariums, as they provide lots of cover, create an ecosystem for infusoria to grow in and keep the water clean.

Clean water is very important for Ricefish as they do not take very well to poor water quality. Plants provide security as they leech excess nutrients and harmful toxins from the water.