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FAQs about Cool to Coldwater Rays, Skates, Guitarfishes

Related Articles: Saltwater Ray Husbandry By Adam Blundell, Rays, Freshwater Stingrays, Wounds Articles, Sharks, Cartilaginous Fishes

Related FAQs: Batoids 1, Batoids 2, & Batoid Identification, Batoid Behavior, Batoid Compatibility, Batoid Selection, Batoid Systems, Batoid Feeding, Batoid Disease, Batoid Reproduction, Shark, Ray Eggs, Wound Management, Freshwater Stingrays: FW Stingray Identification, FW Stingray Behavior, FW Stingray Compatibility, FW Stingray Selection, FW Stingray Systems, FW Stingray Feeding, FW Stingray Disease, FW Stingray Reproduction,

Yes... there are a few species inappropriately sold as tropicals. They don't live well or long in warm water.
Need chilled water, large volumes...

Sharks and Rays in Aquariums
Gaining an understanding of how to keep these fishes in captive saltwater systems   

New Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Cortez Ray Question       1/25/19
Per your request, my original email is below.
<Thanks Michael>
I’m a somewhat new reefer in the Arizona desert. I have had my 300 gal tank in Phoenix up and running for almost a year with a pair of Cortez rays and their tank mates (pair of clowns, Fox face, BH tang, domino and blue velvet damsel and a radiata lionfish...plus snails, crabs and sea lettuce).
<Okay... the rays aren't "all that tropical"; so, I do hope/trust your water temp. is somewhat middling, and that you have cooling mechanism/s for the hot months there.>
I’ve had the rays in the tank for 7 months or so, and have been adding the rest of the group over time. I’ve had everyone together for about 3 months now, but only recently noticed the fish are starting to nip at the rays’ tails.
Is there anything I can do to stop this?
<Mmm; perhaps arranging more spots where the rays can get under, hide their tails... Maybe adding more/some "ditherfish", like schooling damsels, wrasses et al. to divert attention>
Feed everyone more?
<Could try; but I don't think this will work. Once fishes begin such behavior they rarely quit.>
I feel like my female is feeling the effects, as she is starting to be more docile... also, to be on the safe side, I feed my rays krill and dried shrimp...is that the proper food and approximately how much should I
be feeding them each day?
<I'd feed at most every other day... not good for sharks, rays... to be full, over-full continuously... and a mess maintenance wise. I'd add some whole fish or white-fish based fillet bits... AND either prepared whole-ly nutritious food... Mazuri is a fave; or make your own via soaking what you offer (at the end of a feeding stick or like) ahead of time w/ supplements>
I’ve also been doing a fair amount of research on additional tankmates for the group, as I am always looking to add more friends. Would sailfin/Naso/purple/yellow tangs, orbic/tiera batfish, a red Hawkfish
and/or a snowflake eel coexist with my existing community?
<All these I count as good choices; the Bat will become your aqua dog in short order>
What about additional Damsels, Starfish, Snails, Crabs, Sea Urchins, Sea Hares etc..., or anything else cool!
<Not urchins probably... too easy for the rays, your proposed eel to get stuck. Other general choices mentioned have good selections>
I am sure I will have some follow up questions, but those were the main things I was wondering for now!
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Fwd: Cortez Ray Question       1/25/19

Thanks for the answers earlier. I have attached some photos here of my rays, so you can see what I mean by my female looking docile and thin.
<I do see this; and that you need to address the substrate here. Too large and "scratchy" for rays.... DO please search, read on WWM re Batoid systems>
Follow up to something I forgot to ask you originally...in terms of general tank maintenance. I have some Aiptasia growing here and there...I know that filefish will take care of that...however, will they also pick at the eyes of the ray?
<Not the species usually employed; no>
If not, what would be something suitable that would eliminate the Aiptasia and be ray and reef safe...and the rest of my group?
<.... again, this is all gone over and over on WWM. >
I also have some tubeworms, and I've read that a Copperband Butterflyfish can help with that, but that they are not particularly reef safe, and they generally just don't do well in aquariums. Any experience with those...or recommend something else to take care of it?
<Ah yes; Chelmon rostrata was the pic of the day and posted on FB... READ ON!>
Also, since it is yellow, and a potential sailfin is yellow...and my Foxface is already in there, would
that be an issue with 3 similarly colored fish, as I have heard they can be aggressive if they see a similar species.
I have also heard peppermint shrimp clean up tubeworms, but wouldn't the ray eat them?
In terms of your response earlier...what is the ideal temperature I should be keeping my water?
<....... Read>
For ditherfish...any type of damsel/Chromis? Wouldn't the rays eat them over time?
Aren't wrasses not coral safe? I like them, but I have heard they can pick at the corals and the ray...so I am hesitant...thoughts?
Appreciate the help! I am going to sign up and peruse the forums on the site as well...some good late night Googling!
I think that's all I have for now!
<You're up to half an hour billable time! B>

Re: Cortez Ray Question       1/25/19
I asked about the rays eating the damsels and Chromis because my rays have eaten 6 damsels+chromis and 5 clowns over time...however they are cheap enough...
<Interesting... am wondering re what conditions would lead to them being able to catch the Pomacentrids. B>

Re: Cortez Ray Question; using WWM         1/27/19
Maybe I am missing the suggested articles on WWM...but I cannot seem to find the articles you referenced. I found pages and pages of FAQs, but only links to your books...to the extent you can, please shoot me a link or two to the articles referencing Ray tank mates and water temperature conditions as you mentioned below.
<Try the (Google) search tool (on every page on WWM)... with the words/string "Cortez Ray". BF>
Re: Cortez Ray Question        1/27/19

Unfortunately just found my female ray dead �� male looks perfectly fine...
<... not tropical fishes. Your experience is common. B>

Possible fungal infection on round ray... Actually coldwater organisms mis-placed, killed     4/1/16
Hey Bob, I recently went on vacation for a week to come home and find my two round rays that had been looked after by my maid had a fungal infection.
<Mmm; what re the system here? I take it it's refrigerated; over-filtered... NO ammonia or nitrite, little nitrate; smooth substrate.>

It seems that their is some sort of white goo that's attached to them, it looks stringy in appearance and also looks like some sort of fluff that's attached to them. I physically removed as much as I could. How can I treat them?
<Better; suitable environment really>

They're two small 4 inch California round rays ( Urobatis halleri) that I've had for three months. Would SeaChem's Kanaplex be a good option?
What can I do? Both of the rays refuse to eat.
<.... very bad>
They last ate yesterday. I've been reading on your website but I was unable to find anything on round rays with fungal infections. Thank you for your help!
<Search, read on WWM re these cool/coldwater species. Your answers are archived there. Bob Fenner>

Stingray Urgent; continued; expanded vers.     4/1/16
Dear Bob, I'm afraid my two round rays have contracted a fungal infection. I found them with white fluffy matter attached to them this morning.
Yesterday they seemed normal enough although they only ate about half of what they normally do. From what I've read on your site, I understand that my treatment options are limited. I suspect they contracted the fungal infection from a severe drop in water quality.
<Very common... a source of trouble, the end of cartilaginous fish/es loss in captivity
During the entirety of the past week they were being looked after by a family friend who for some reason would turn everything off at night including the skimmer and circulation pumps.

Now, one of the rays, the one which was covered the most in the sticky cotton-like substance has stopped moving. It just lays motionless on the sand. It's been there all day. It appears to only be able to move its nose,
eyes and tail.
<Get ready to remove this (dead) fish>

I'm very concerned. I haven't been able to check the water parameters, but I know ammonia and nitrite levels were high. The temperature is at 70.
<MUCH too high... I've already mentioned this>
I have had them for 3 months, and they've been fine up until now. The other ray seems okay. It still swims and acts normal, <normally> except for its lack of appetite. Both rays have refused to eat today. Today, as I was
trying to remove the fluff
<No use in doing this>
I moved the stingray with the most fluff while trying to remove it and it turned over and wasn't able to turn over again. I positioned it in a spot with little current. Please help. What can be done?
<The same as last message. Improve their world...>
I've read through the Batoid disease page and couldn't find anything on rays with fungal infections.
<Most likely this is actually bacterial... and opportunistic. Please read

here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm
Till you have a grasp of the interplay twixt initial state, suitability of the environment and pathogen influences....>
I've also done reading on other Batoid faq pages on your site with no luck. Thank you Bob!
<Let's review: Coldwater organisms placed in an unsuitable tropical setting; water quality challenges.... decomposing organisms gaining "the upper hand".... This about sums up what has happened here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible fungal infection on round ray       4/2/16
Yesterday, I searched and read all I could find. It seems they have a fungal infection and there's no medication for saltwater stingrays.
One of them was lethargic to the point that it turned over and could turn back, I helped her 3 times. I don't know if she was suffering and I made it worse, I didn't want her to feel unloved or abandoned.
I was up all night until she died and I had to take her out.
The other is acting just like the first one and I need to save her, please help me.
Is there nothing I can do but watch her die?
<As stated before....>
Yesterday she started turning over and I helped her. They stayed together until one of them died, and she hasn't moved since. She's just breathing with her tail lifted, it's the only thing she seems capable of moving, from on side to the other, but very subtle..
It breaks my heart and no one in Mexico seems to know what's happening, that's why I'm asking you.
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Possible fungal infection on round ray       4/2/16

Hey Bob,
I just read there's nothing that can be done at this point.
<Mmm; improving their world... about it>
And I read the link explaining everything about environment and how to prevent and treat health conditions of our fish.
There's no need to answer,
Thank you very much.
<Anima bona fac (Be of good life). Bob Fenner>

Round ray- nose tilted up    3/7/16
Dear wet web media crew, I have a couple of small round rays. They're about 5 inches in diameter. A lot of the time they like to rest with their noses tilted up, as you can see in the image below. Is this a bad sign?
<Maybe... is this tank chilled? Urobatis concentricus. These fish are not tropical... >
Does it mean anything and if so what could be causing this ? Both are active, I suspect they are bullseye stingrays. They eat silversides, shrimp and fresh marine fish once or twice a day.
<See, as in read on WWM re feeding Rays, and Thiaminase. Don't write back till you do>
The temperature is at a steady 74 degrees
and the water parameters are good. Nitrites and ammonia at 0 and nitrates are at 10. Thank you so much for your feedback! I look forward to hearing from you.
<I look forward to your enlightening yourself. Bob Fenner>

Round rays- frequency of feeding; ID; coldwater    3/8/16
Dear Bob, for some time now I have been doing some reading on WWM. I realize that my stingrays need to be kept in cooler water. However, they currently live with a yellow tang which I am hoping to find a new home for, so right now the temperature is at 74. I purchased my rays around 3 months ago and so far they've been eating very well. I know that they need to be fed a variety of foods to ensure proper iodine and iodide levels are maintained and thiaminase levels are kept under control.
<Ah, good>
My question to you is how often should I feed them?
<Mmm; at this size, temp.... about every other day... just not much... maybe the volume of the end of your pinky digit>
Also, could you help me identify if they are indeed bullseye stingrays?
<Can't tell from your pix... Look for stingrays of California... >
I have some doubts as to what round ray species they belong to. Also, I still haven't found anything about what it means for their noses to be tilted up.
<Likely previous damage... from holding, shipping... in too small a container>
I read through the sharks/rays diseases section of the website but I was not able to find anything.
Your help is very much appreciated Bob. Thank you!
<Glad to help you. Bob Fenner>

Cortez Ray; env., no reading       2/16/16
Hi, how's it going?
<Fine; thanks>
3 months ago, I purchased a small, 4 inch Cortez Ray.
<Not a tropical fish you understand>

It's been doing great. A few weeks ago, I noticed that it has two large bumps on its back. What could be causing those bumps?
<Injury, improper environment most likely
It doesn't appear to be sick and it can't possibly be pregnant
<Too small to be sexually mature>
since it hasn't been exposed to other rays since I purchased it and from the research I've done, it's too small to have reached sexual maturity.
Your help is much appreciated! Thank you
<Search on WWM re Cortez Rays... needs to be kept in cool water. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cortez Ray      2/16/16

Thanks for the feedback!
<Certainly welcome. Am sure you've searched the bb's... some state this fish lives in water up to 82 F... I have dived along both coasts where it occurs... the water is never this warm by more than 10 degrees F>
It's being kept in a 65gallon tank
<Too small... again; please, PLEASE simply search/read on WWM re this species care. WE'RE NOT A CHAT FORUM
with plenty of open swimming space, fine aragonite live sand,
15kg of live rock, a yellow tang and a cleaner shrimp.
<Will eat this>

The temperature is at 79F. What should the temperature range be?
<No more than 70. READ, don't write
. B>
and what kind of changes can I make for it to be more comfortable?
Thank you very much for your help!

Cortez Stingray Fin Issues... Iatrogenic... trop. setting, w/ incomp. tankmates          5/12/15
I have a Cortez Stingray that is about 3.5" in diameter in 225 Gal.
<You know this isn't a tropical fish I take it. Urolophus maculatus is subtropical>

The tank is a FOWLR with tanks mates - zebra moray eel, stars & stripes puffer,
<Not compatible>

two clowns, and two wrasses.
<These Labrids maybe too>
He has been in the tank for about a month and been feeding and doing great with no issues.
<Mmm; no; dying physiologically>

About 3 days ago I noticed the edges of his body is starting to look tattered around the tail area. At first we thought it was another tank mate biting him and one of the wrasses has been chasing him around the tank as of late.
<Would be my first guess as to the start of the trouble here. In fact it is>
The water quality is good with
Nitrite = 0, Nitrate= 25,
<Too high. See WWM Re>
PH=8.2 and the temp is approximately 76.
<This too>

He still has an appetite and is feeding, but is not as active and is hiding low on the glass sides.
I have attached two recent photos of the affected area. I have just started to treat with Melafix.
<Worse than worthless. See WWM re this as well. Go back to where you found how to write us and READ re using the search tool and indices>

I was planning to move the wrasse that seems to be the main culprit from the display tank and put him in the 28Gal QT, as I thought the ray would do better in the display tank. I have seen online a photo of a ray that looks similar to what our ray has and it recommended treatments: Melafix, Furanace, Furan-2, Maracyn, Maracyn-Two and Maracyn Plus.
<Of no use w/o moving the animal to a subtropical setting, sans the harassing tankmates>

Also, I have ordered Mazuri Shark / Ray Gel to supplement his diet.
Any advice on the how to help my ray
<All needed is archived, searchable on WWM>

would be greatly appreciated. I am
relatively new to the hobby and do not want to lose my ray. Thanks!
All the best, Mike
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Cortez Stingray Fin Issues      5/13/15
Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, the ray died this morning and I just want to make sure I understand and learn from my errors.
<Let's see>
When you say that the ray wasn't tropical do I take that to mean that he was a Cortez,
<... Yes... Urolophus maculatus; subtropical>
but they are not tropical or that it was actually a California Ray and they aren't tropical. I saw several posts discussing the difference between the two.
<Two different species; though U. maculatus IS sometimes called the Ca. ray... the latter is really U. halleri. Easily told apart>
I unfortunately trusted my LFS that did the install and knows my tank /current fish that the ray was compatible.
<Mmm; yes; should have known>
My mistake and I will make sure to do independent research on the fish and not make that mistake again.
Is this forum or do you have another recommendation of a site to ask for advice on compatible tank mates and conditions, so I don't result in unnecessary deaths while I learn this hobby.
<You're welcome to send along ideas for our separate input. DO search, read on WWM ahead of time please>
Thanks again for your help, Mike
<A pleasure to share. Sorry for your tribulations. Bob Fenner>

Banjo shark help...   2/17/11
Hi guys,
I have a bit of a strange request for help. I was in an LFS yesterday and to my dismay they had on offer 2 banjo sharks,
<... ? aka the Fiddler Rays, of genus, Trygonorrhina, guitarfish, family Rhinobatidae? These coldwater animals are NOT easily kept in captivity. Require huge volumes...>
approx 2 feet long, I know this cause they were housed in a 2 x1 1/12 foot tank
<... dismal>
where they couldn't move sideways or any other ways. I decided to quiz the guy to see what he knew about these beautiful animals and surprise surprise he knew squat. He actually tried to sell me the 2 sharks and the tank they were in saying how great they would do in this "large" tank setup in my lounge room. Here come the sucker bit. I felt so sorry for these animals I bought one to try and save it after giving the sales guy a spray, I just wish I could have afforded both. So anyway now the shark is in my 8ft setup (it's to big even for my 2000ltr setup imho)
while I try to decided what to do with it. 2 questions. 1 am I correct to assume it will survive short term on shrimp and whitebait? (I feed this to my port Jackson shark)
<Oh, yes. I will assume they are housed in a chilled water system>
and 2nd seeing as I would be very hesitant to put him on the ocean due to me not knowing much about where they come from, do you think one of the public aquariums would take him?
<Do call them>
Or should I let him go free?
<No... there is always a chance of a non-indigenous pathogen being vectored... a biological disease/agent from being housed w/ tropicals... let alone the ill-effects of introduction of a non-native species. Am sure we don't have to call up examples here>
I am a dive instructor and have seen plenty of this species in our area just not real sure if it is the same sub species ( Sydney Australia)
Finally any tips on anything special I need to know for a short term housing would be great or just treat him like any other shark.
<I know naught unfortunately. The "Banjo Sharks" I've seen and heard peoples' lack of success accounts of... but little positive>
Btw yes my skimmers are going nuts right now.
<I'll bet>
Any help or leads would be appreciated
Kind regards
Jamie Illistom
<Please do relate your further experiences. Bob Fenner>
Re: Banjo shark help  2/24/11

Hi Bob,
Well no luck with the local aquaria, cause they don't know his history they aren't interested, which is fair enough I guess so I will have to keep him.
He actually seams happy enough at the moment but he won't eat.
<... bad. What foods have you tried? Live, small crustaceans, bivalves partially opened should be accepted. Buying a bag of frozen "mixed seafood" should work in the longer haul>
I have rearranged my tank to give maximum free sand space, and yes it is a chilled system running at 22deg Which has served me well for along time.
<How warm is the water currently in this species range?>
I guess it will be trial and error but I am thinking to treat him like any other ray and see what happens.
If you have any other suggestions or guidance it would be appreciated as my tank was not setup for this, but I get that for being a sucker hey, however I would like to see him survive
<I as well>
Wish me luck
<I ask for your applied learning. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Banjo shark help  3/1/11

Yehaaa Bob,
<Hey Jamie>
Just thought I would share my excitement with you. Tonight I got my banjo shark to eat. 3 rules. Must be after lights out. Must be a fresh king prawn peeled and chopped into little bits and must be fed by hand as they are an agonizingly slow eater and the other sharks will steal his food. Funny thing is he won't take it from the tongs only from my hand. Anyway just thought I would let you know.
<Thank you for this. BobF> 

Cortez sting ray... no reading either   2/4/11
We have a Cortez sting ray for over a year now.
<A temperate water species...>
He is about 6"disk.
He has had a swollen throat it seems for at least C months now.
<Not uncommon goiter...>
He still swims, eats normally.
<What food/s?>
I have found a few items in my tank the last few weeks that I think came from him. They are rocks from the substrate wrapped in a sponge like material. I think he has swallowed rocks and then his body gets rid of them by producing the sponge like material to get rid of it. The last two days however, he is swimming but it seems like he is only nose down and comes the top and is belly up swimming. He is still eating, very active, just not swimming right.
<... ? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/batoiddisfaqs.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/batoidfdgfaqs.htm
And proof your writing ahead of sending... Bob Fenner>
Re: re: Cortez sting ray... keep reading  -- 02/10/11

<A temperate water species...>
He is about 6"disk.
He has had a swollen throat it seems for at least...
<Not uncommon goiter...>
He still swims, eats normally.
<What food/s?>
He is eating PEMYSIS freshwater shrimp, some brine shrimp and if he does eat it dried seaweed.
I have found a few items in my tank the last few weeks that I think came from him. They are rocks ...
<... ? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/batoiddisfaqs.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/batoidfdgfaqs.htm
And proof your writing ahead of sending... Bob Fenner>

Re: re: Cortez sting ray   3/7/11
I finally got some pictures of him. What is that bulge?
<... four megs of pix, no reading... Is a goiter... Use the WWM search tool. B>

California Stingray sick, very concerned. -- 10/28/10
I was given your website by a marine biologist who runs a local fish store I go to. I have a California Stingray who's sick.
<... Urolophus halleri?>
I am not sure what's wrong. He's covered in small black spots and his skin feels like it's coming lose like
it's being eaten away.
<System make up? Foods/feeding...>
He's in a 180 gallon fish tank with a few other fish.
<Chilled, refrigerated?>
He's been doing fine up until I had an Ich issue which my other fish caught. I moved them to a quarantine tank and am dosing them with copper to cure the Ick
<But not the ray I hope/trust>
and I was told stingrays cannot catch Ich
<... Not so, they can>
so I was advised to leave the Ray in the tank. It wouldn't be copper poisoning would it?
<Could easily be so>
No water with copper came directly in contact with the tank, however I made a mistake in using the
bucket I use to do water changes on the Ray tank and used the bucket on the quarantine tank. There's no chance any copper leached on to the bucket and it some how ended up in the tank when I did water changes is there? Please help I love my Ray, I don't know what I'll do if I lose him.
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/batoiddisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake eel and California stingray    8/11/10
I am a big fan of your site and read it very often. However, I can't seem to find the information I need. I have a 75 gallon tank with a 10 gallon refugium (just started). In the I have about 60 lbs of live rock as well as fine sand as a substrate.
I have a small California stingray and a small snowflake eel.
<Not very compatible. See here for Urobatis halleri if this is your ray: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batoidfaqs.htm . The ray is sub-tropical, the eel tropical. One needs a (very) large sandy bottom, the other a reef with many holes to hide in. Both in a 75 gallon tank? Won't work.>
Both are doing great. Their appetites have been really good. The issue I have been having is that when it is feeding time, the snowflake eel becomes very "energetic". Of course I am afraid he will leap from the tank at some point. But the issue is that he at times will nip at the ray and has taken food from the ray's mouth.
<Another reason to not keep them in one setup.>
I have tried using the tong to feed the eel when he is calm in his rock. But as soon as he sees me, he zips to the surface and frantically swims around. The ray does the same. I cannot separate the eel and the ray during feeding time to appropriately feed them. My question is - is there a proper way to feed an eel as to keep them calm?
<No. Have you ever seen morays hunting in the wild? 'Calm' is not among the first descriptive adjectives coming into my mind.>
I do not want to just drop food in in case it goes uneaten. I also like to control the portions.
<Very wise.>
The eel would probably eat until he explodes.
<No, but it would develop unhealthy fat content and liver disease limiting its lifespan.>
The ray would be too busy swimming his laps to even see the food. I realize the eel should not eat daily, but I understand the ray should since he is so energetic. So there are times when I have to feed the ray, but the eel is not due to eat.
<And another reason why they are hardly compatible. Put them into separate tanks and give both the surroundings and feeding protocols they need.>
Is it possible I am not feeding the eel enough and that is why he is so aggressive during feeding time?
<It's his nature. There is no time for manors if you are a hunting eel and want to kill a wild shrimp, crab or fish in the reef.>
Thank you for all the effort you put in your website.
It is comforting to see that other beginners have made the same mistakes I have.
<It's best to only read about the mistakes of others and then avoid repeating them.>
Thanks Greg
<Cheers. Marco.>

Deciding what fish for a 180g. Stingrays    6/3/10
I am upgrading from a 90g reef with a 20g sump/refugium to a 180g single overflow in the back center with 20g sump. I will be getting a SRO-XP3000EXT skimmer to cope with a heavy bioload. I would really like to keep a bullseye stingray
<Urobatis concentricus. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=13274
a cool water species...>
or some other smaller stingray species in the aquarium and would leave almost all of the aquarium open for it.
<Mmm, not really appropriate for this size, shape volume>
It would have a deep sand bed with fine sand and I would only place two pillars of rock in the back corners maybe with some sort of little over hang so fish have more places to hide/ feel safe. My question is would this be OK for a smaller species of stingray.
<I'd look into other species... trouble with mixing tropicals... and boring to have something that is almost all the time on the bottom in such a "show" shape tank>
I have read 180 is the minimum. I would also like to know if I could put a Harlequin tusk fish or three yellow tangs in with it?
<No... these live in much warmer water, may get "stung">
I would like the stingray to come first and build a fish list around that but if it should not happen than I guess I have more room for fish right?!
Thank you for your help guys,
<Better to save up, go visit this fish in the eastern Pacific, Mar de Cortes, or public aquariums. Bob Fenner>

BAT RAY RED EYES  7/14/2009
Hi wwfriends;
<Big W>
I need your help with something i didn't find on your site, my brother have a 500 gallons circular tank with cold water fishes and a bat ray (Myliobatis californica),
<Will outgrow this container by far>
it is doing fine, eating everyday a variety of fresh sea foods supplemented with vitamins, however since yesterday the ray has both eyes red, still behaving normally but i wonder what this could be?
<Best guess is a physical trauma... This species is a powerful swimmer and jumper!>
water parameters are. ammonia 0 ppt, nitrite 0 ppt, nitrate 50 ppt,
<Way too high... I would keep NO3 below 10 ppm, never allow it to get over 20 ppm>
ph 8.2 and temp 64 degrees, he is planning a larger tank for early 2010 but for now the ray seems to have plenty of space.
I hope Bob or any of the Elasmobranchs experts could answer this one.
thanks again for your time and help.
regards from Mexico city
<No treatment per se other than to address the NO3... There are a few approaches gone over re on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Bat Ray Temps 07/13/09
Hey Bob et al.
Thanks again for all the help/info. My shark's doing great - putting on a tiny bit too much weight, so slowing down to every three days feeding.
She seems to have calmed down a lot too now - not constantly searching for a way out. Temp is ~63, pH at 8.3-8.4, nitrates/nitrites under 0.1ppm, and ammonia at 0.
And the really good news - my 1000 gallon tank is cycling now, and I was able to get some "starter" algae and water from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They've been super amazing about helping me out. Anyways, I'd like to put some rays
<Myliobatis californica I take it>
in the tank, and I'd like to get some bat rays. I understand they get HUGE, which is not a problem - my architect and I have devised a 25K tank for my workshop (amazing how fast that grew - first it was going to be 5000 gallons, then 12, then 18, and now 25K gallons... I love this). Just submitted plans to the county to get permits, so if all goes well, I'll have a giant tank in about 18 months.
Obviously, and with good reason, there's limited into on bat rays in private aquaria. The people at the aquarium have been great, but I like to get multiple opinions from trusted sources. I bought Michael Scott's
book, but a lot of the information in that book in terms of space is quite... questionable,
<Yes... way too liberal on the small size>
so I take everything he else he says with a grain of salt. Any link you could provide to big ray care would be great. Most specifically, their acceptable temperature range.
<See Fishbase.org with the scientific name>
Thanks again for all
your help,
Jason Keats
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bat Ray Temps 07/14/09

So, I reviewed Fishbase, and I'm still concerned about temp - they list locales as the gulf of California (even up to Oregon) down to the Galapagos Islands. That's a pretty wide temp range. So is it safe to assume they'll be fine in mid 60s through mid 70s? I'd rather have these guys in the big tank with some black tips reefs and other species, so I want to make sure they'll be ok. But while they're "little" they'll be in the 2000 gallon tank with the smooth hounds.
<Do understand the upper limit reflects summertime temperatures; like all temperate zone fish your coldwater rays will "cycle" between warmer and cooler water with the seasons. Also, during the summer, many fish that prefer cooler conditions will migrate into deeper water, so while surface seawater temperatures might be quite high, the fish themselves will be experiencing conditions a good few degrees cooler. The warmer they get, the more oxygen they need, and the faster their metabolism, and that's a
combination of things you don't especially want in the aquarium. So, keeping them permanently at the high end will cause stress. For something like Myliobatis californica, you're looking at warm-temperate conditions, and that's between about 15-18 C (59 - 64 F) depending on the time of year. It's worth mentioning that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is chilled to a brisk 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Cheers, Neale.> <<Like MickeyD's, I'm lovin' it. RMF>>

Cortez Sting Ray, sys., comp.    2/18/09 Dear Bob, <Chris> I have a friend who wants to give me a Cortez Sting Ray as a Birthday gift. It is eating quite well in his tank. I own a 250 gallon tank with lots of rock and sand bed. The ray is about 4 inches in diameter. I was thinking give it a 10 inch width of sand 8ft long to play. <Mmm, will need more room than this in time... and this is a "cool-water" species... not tropical> The tank is 8ft by 2ft by2ft. I own a lot of snails and hermit crabs. Will Mr. Sting Ray eat those critters or will he be lazy and eat only the food I provide him (Krill, etc)?? <Likely both. BobF> Look forward to your response. Christopher
Re: Cortez Sting Ray   2/18/09
Thanks for your response. So your experience with these guys are that they tend to eat those critters (snails, crabs)? Are they a long lived animal if feeding well? <Urobatis maculatus... see Fishbase.org... elsewhere... Can be long-lived. BobF>
Re: Cortez Sting Ray -- 02/19/09
I went thru your website looking for info on Cortez Rays. I own a Yellow Tang, Tomini Tang, Dussumieri Tang, Djardini Tang, Naso Tang, Scopus Tang, 3 Perculas, 1 Mandarin, 1 Foxface. They are all in a 250 gallon reef tank. If I go ahead and accept the Cortez Ray as a gift will any of my fish harm this ray? <Possibly... more likely the Batoid will "sting" the other fishes though...> Or will they get along great? Look forward to your response. Thanks. Christopher Faiola <Let me try being a bit more straightforward here. Were this my system, I would NOT place a cool-water stingray in it. Clear? BobF>

SAND EELS... coldwater ray nutrition   4/7/08 Hi can you tell me if sand eels are a good source of nutrition for California round stingrays? <Mmm, no; not by themselves> My little ray is a finicky eater and I am trying to entice him with something new... I am also trying to get cockle... Any idea where to purchase? Thanks Michelle <Yes... look for Gamma Foods... have your dealer order for you through Quality Marine if you can't find otherwise. Likely can be purchased (in bulk) at an "oriental food store". Bob Fenner>

Stingray possible food poison?   2/5/08 I had a small to medium Sea of Cortez stingray that I purchased months ago, <Mmm, do you know which species? Some are rather cool-water organisms> living in a 200 gallon custom tank that I built several years ago. The system is a Monaco system which is powered by two large volume powerhead with no stray electric volts. The water quality is pristine and temp stays at exactly 74.5 deg.s and has never been treated with copper. <Okay> I have done extensive research on husbandry of this stingray! And built the tank to suit his lifestyle and needs. Friday I purchased H20 life aquarium food clams on a half shell and with in an hour and a half to two hours the stingray started acting funny and died. <Yikes!> I am wondering if food poison is a common factor in stingray death. <Mmm, not generally, no> And what kind of testing can I do at a lab that would prove that it was the food and not my error in husbandry. <There are some very standard tests done in this regard... concerning the sale of such bivalves for human consumption... to avoid shellfish poisoning...> If it is my mistake I would like to learn from it and educate others so that other stingrays do not need to suffer from eating dinner. Thanks, John Loffer <Could be just a coincidence... did you necropsy the ray? Still have it? If so, I'd freeze the body... do call around if there is a "local" college with a bio./zoo. dept. and ask them re whom you might contact re shellfish poisoning... testing, necropsying the animal... to check for gut blockage, et al. Bob Fenner>

California rays, hlth.    12/9/07 Hi I have a 150 gal saltwater ray tank I have 3 Babies 4"s <...?> I checked all water parameters nitrites 0 nitrates 10-20 <Trouble> ammonia 0 ph 8.0 they are swimming and twitching. It almost looks like they are being shocked. <Good description> The temp is 60 degrees. I unplugged everything and they are still doing it I have a canister filter and a nitrate reductor <Evidently not working> which has a power head could it be leaking? Or am I lacking anything? I also have a chiller in the sump with Chaetomorpha alga and a protein skimmer Please help. Nicole <You might try unplugging all the electrics systematically, testing/measuring for stray voltage... even employing a device for drawing off said potential... But very likely the measurable nitrates are what are at play here. Need to be zip, zero... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm the second tray down, on Cartilaginous Fishes, Rays... Systems, Health... Bob Fenner>
Re: California rays 12/10/07
I know the problem may be or is nitrate I Did a 25 percent change Wednesday and another one Friday am I doing too many should I do one every day 25percent <Mmm, no... serial dilutions won't "do it" here...>
Re: California rays, not following directions, reading WWM  12/10/07
Can I do a 50 percent water change? Should I get more filtration ur link isn't working just waiting on u <...> To do water change <Please... follow instructions... Learn to/use the search tool, indices before writing us... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm the third/yellow tray... on Nitrates... BobF>

Black spot on Urobatis halleri, vitamin use...  -- 11/20/07 Hi I was looking at my rays the other day and in certain lighting there seems to be a black spot? <Mmm, can you describe this? Size, shape, placement> I have 2 Urobatis halleri in 60 degree water in a 150 gallon tank soon moving to a 300 gallon. I put Mazuri vitamins in their squid, shrimp everyday. Sometimes they go down other times they are on to me and chew around the vitamin. I wanted to get Mazuri Shark/Ray gel to insure the proper nutrition, but I am concerned with the minerals. It says there is copper, ppm in the ingredients. How can this be safe for the rays? <There is very little of this material... a preservative in this case... and actually a micro-nutrient in small concentration. Not to worry> Is their other things I can supplement with or add? <Mmm, yes... vitamins, HUFAs... Available as commercial prep.s for pet-fish... e.g. Micro-Vit, Selcon...> I tried typing in the goggle search on WWM only black tail rot came up? A quick answer will be greatly appreciated. What is causing the black spot on the body? <Might be a natural marking... have seen this species many times (live, have lived in S. Cal. for decades, diving here...). Bob Fenner> Thanks MM

Stingray, too late? Coldwater, improper env., reading...  10/1/07 90G w/sump remora and EuroReef skimmers AquaClear for running carbon <Products names are capital nouns, capitalized...> 75F No Ammonia/Nitrite PH 8.0 Nitrates high @ 60ppm <Trouble> Just did 1/3 water change tankmates yellow tang/fimbriated moray 5" diameter round California stingray <Coldwater animal... is the system?> eating exceptionally well, voracious appetite He has been so healthy and active but now I noticed around his mouth is slightly red and he is trying to jump out of the water. He also keeps his nose pointed up. I know this behavior is a bad sign but how do I remedy this. If he still has a great appetite, is there hope? Anything else I can do but water changes? Please advise... All thanks <Is it too late to read? See WWM re Nitrate, Ray Systems, health... Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Cortez Ray with hole in stomach   8/3/07 I have a 75 gallon reef tank with about 30 pounds of live rock, and a dwarf Cortez stingray <Mmm, what is this... specifically? Not on Fishbase as such... but Urolophus maculatus? http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=13276&genusname=Urobatis&speciesname=maculatus> along with: Yellow tang One Firefish <Food> Two yellow tail blue damsels One Anthias Nitrates, nitrites, ammonia - zero The stingray has developed a small pin size hole in the stomach that you can see into. This developed about two weeks ago and the ray has not eaten since. All of the other fish are fine. Is this something that you have heard of before and is there anything that can be done about it? <Mmm, please send along some highly resolved images of this if you can. You have read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/batoiddisfaqs.htm and the linked files above? There are no such animals as "dwarf" rays... Yours could be suffering from a number of complaints; from environmental, nutritional to just simple over-stress. Bob Fenner>

Cali. sting ray losing balance; poor English, no useful data  -- 5/14/07 Hi I've had a California stingray for about 2 months, he been eating good until he's been a pain to get to eat and he's not hiding in the sand anymore also he's losing his balance am worried , i have looked every where on wet web. and cant find anything   i thought it was goiter . if it is how to do i treat the iodine , just put it in the water ??? please help !!! <...? What re the system this animal is in... it's set-up, maintenance, water quality tests/history... foods/feeding... Bob Fenner>

Cortez Stingray. Sting Ray Confusion....Care Issues, ID, parasites...  - 05/02/07 I have a couple of questions that i <I> can not seem to find anywhere. <I'll do my best to point you in the right direction there chief.> First I supposedly had Sea of Cortez Stingray but looked nothing like a Cortez. <Just to clarify we are talking about Urobatis maculatus, right?> It looked more like a Round Stingray, (California Stingray). Is it possible it was a Cortez? <Well I would suggest using Google and comparing pictures, animals are from different locals and in my opinion are shaped nothing alike.> Next question is i <I> seen Copepods are a common parasite does that mean all the copepods on my live rock are going to infect a stingray once i <I>put one in my tank?  <There are many different species of copepods, some parasitic though most are not. In general the species you find on liverock are not....now perhaps you meant isopods? That's another story.> I own the Scott Michaels Sharks and Rays book and it said that the Round Stingray water temperature is between 54-72 degrees Fahrenheit.  <Yes is a temperate animal.> Could the Round Stingray thrive in my tank that normally gets up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer? <Absolutely not, oxygen levels are too low. Adam J.>

California Ray Death, cold animal in hot water... not for long    2/25/07 I purchased a California Stingray from "Living Sea" in Park Ridge, IL on November 25. The "ray" starting taking food from hand within 2 days and I had been hand feeding it since then. I noticed the other night the ray did not eat any food from me, but was still it's active self swimming around, but bumped into the live rock a couple of times. Yesterday afternoon, the ray stayed on the bottom but was not moving around. I picked it up and it did not move even though it was still alive. Within 20 minutes it died, (I was heart broken for when I purchase a fish, I intend to keep it for a long time). The tank is 125 gallons with a Bio-Rocker filter, Nautilus skimmer and another Eheim filter (2028 model). The tank mates are a 2-Clowns, 2-Blue Tangs, Long Nose Butterfly and Blue Spotted Puffer. <Okay here is the firs indicator of a problem...these animals listed are tropical animals while the California ray....hailing from: that's right California (not a very imaginative name huh?) is a temperate animals...likely the temperatures in a tank of this size, with decreased oxygen is at least to blame. I would also be interest in the acclimation process of the animal...> Could the "ray" died from stress because the Butterfly and one of the Tangs were constantly chasing the "ray" and "nipping" its tail. <Yes.> I will be buying Scott Michael's book, Aquarium Sharks and Rays . <Very good.> Any possible reasons for the "ray" passing so soon. <Improper Environment.> It was about 3 inches in diameter. <Quite small.> Also, I did notice that the "ray's" coloring was fading along it's spine. <Indicative of poor diet/environment. Adam J.>
Re: Ray Death  -- 2/25/07
The aquarium has been up and running for 3 1/2 years. The diet was Krill and Mysis shrimp and about once a month, live ghost shrimp. <Not as much variety as I like for Elasmobranchs but not bad either.> As for the acclimation, the ray was put in a Styrofoam container, about 3 ft square and 2 ft deep. The ray was left in the container and was not transferred until the salinity level and temperature were exactly the same. <Was this into the display or quarantine?> The temperature in the tank is 76-77 degrees. <Too hot!!!> After the ray passed, I tested the water with the following results: Ammonia was 0 Alkalinity was high Nitrates was 2.5 ppm Nitrites was .1 ppm Ph was 8.0 Temp was 76 <That is okay for a tropical tank but not a temperate animal.> Thank you very much for your assistance. <Of course.> Scott <AJ.>

Urolophus halleri (Round Ray), not eating, not tropical  9/18/06 Hey Crew,   We got a Cali ray that came in to our store last week on Thursday. The ray hasn't eaten yet. It seems like he doesn't want to eat. We have tried frozen squid, krill, gulf shrimp, and live ghost shrimp. None of them have worked. She swims all day and all night and rest for a little bit. Should the ray be eating by now? I've looked at some of the articles on your site and nothing helped. We have been hand feeding and stick feeding.   Thanks,   Ben <... is this fish in "hot water?"... See here: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=2580&genusname=Urobatis&speciesname=halleri Subtropical... likely needs to just be placed in cool/cold water and allowed to acclimate. Bob Fenner>
Re: Urolophus Halleri (Round Ray)... another cold/cool water animal misplaced  9/18/06
Temp is at 78 and going down slowly. Yesterday the water was at 80 and the ray never really rested. Today he has been in the sand for almost the whole day. We'll try feeding her again tonight.   Ben <...Mmm, the temp. of the water where this fish hails from is mostly in the 50's and 60's F... Bob Fenner>

Stingray Environment 9/13/06 Hey Crew, <Hi> I have a question. My pet store has a round stingray in and it's in warm water (82 F). I tried to tell them that it's a cool water species but they told me it was caught in Baja and was found in warm water. Is it possible for this ray to actually live in warm water? They said it was a Cortez but looked nothing like that species and was clearly a Urolophus halleri species. Thanks For your time, Ben <Baja is a very dynamic environment, water temperatures can vary quite a bit depending on time of year, depth, location, and "El Nino" occurrences.  Having dove there I can tell you it can get quite warm, close to 80 degrees at the end of summer, but can be 10 degrees colder in late winter/early spring. What I'm getting at in a very long winded and round about way  is that it is possible it was caught in warm water, at least at the surface, however I agree with you that it is a cooler water species and does best at lower than tropical temperatures.> <Chris>

Stingray mega system  - 09/07/06 <Hey Dan you are in luck, I've kept some stingrays and have some experiences to share with you.>  After seeing all the great advice on your site, I thought I might tap your brains as well with a few questions on my mega large, stingray system.  I have been in the saltwater hobby for almost 10 years, currently running 3 other tanks, so I know the basics, but this is my first go-round with stingrays.  After seeing something at a LFS, I decided to build my own "lagoon".  The display tank (not counting the filter) is Approx. 1,200 gallons, in the lower level of my house, with a pond liner.  It is roughly 8 foot by 8 foot and 2.5 feet deep.  It is filled with a 1-2 inch deep sand bed made of sugar sized Aragamax, and has a small (30-40 lbs.) pile of live rock in the center.  It is now time to stock the system.  My questions are these: -Should I be worried about the pond liner (40 mil typical outdoor pond liner) being punctured by the stingrays' spines/barbs when they swim around?  <Based on my experiences no. Stingrays aren't usually aggressive unless they are provoked. Meaning they don't go around with their rays ready to puncture all the time.> -I would like to house a variety of stingrays in there, and after doing the research it seems that, in a system this size, I would be able to put 3-5 rays in there total.  Could I maybe do a Bluespot or two, maybe a California round or two as well?  I know Bluespots are difficult to keep, but due to the size of my system, I think many of the problems most folks encounter will be overcome. <My friend kept Bluespots without any troubles. I believe that the major thing with them is that they need to be shipped in healthy and from a reputable dealer. But I don't think you are going to be able to keep Bluespots and California species together because Bluespots need a warmer water tank than the California rays.> -Finally, in a system this size, do you see any problem with adding a big fish or two (like a grouper, something that will not generally pick at rays)?  <You possibly could add some fish but let me warn you RAYS ARE HUNGRY and will eat and or attack lots and lots of other fish and devour them pretty quickly.  Especially, in my experience, the blue dots.> Thanks in advance for the advice, and the past advice to others cautioning them to treat these animals for what they are: living creatures who need to be cared for, not merely a "thing" to be had. <If it was me I would plan on trying to keep a pair of stingrays and I would put any other fish you planned on keeping in first and letting them get establish. Let the system stabilize and get settled as well. Realize that stingrays like other predatory fish are going to produce a tremendous amount of waste and that you'll need to plan your filtration to accommodate them. Realize that most stingrays are going to be larger animals and that's going to require special equipment for changing things in the tank. Realize that you aren't going to want to reach your hand in the tank for many reasons. Figure out other options for cleaning.  Bless Steve Irwin's soul, but these animals do have the potential to kill so keep that in mind as you choose what to do in this system.  Hope this helps and if you have any more questions just let me know. Good luck, MacL>

New Yellow Ray Parasites? Incompatible Ray Mix, Disease    6/14/06 Hello,     I just got a 5" baby yellow spotted stingray from a local wholesaler. He was caught off the Florida Keys. I have a tank with a full grown Cali ray that I added him to. <... not compatible... one is tropical, the other a cool water species...> He seems to be doing ok, I got him to eat shrimp and krill. The problem I'm having is I don't have a QT tank and he was never QT before I got him and he has some kind of parasites. <Typical... cartilaginous fishes often have worm and crustacean ectoparasites collected from the wild> They look like little black flat worms, kinda like a little leech. I tried to get them off with my fingers, but his back is too slick. I can see him itching with the sides of his discs. There is around 10 or so on him. The move like flatworms. What can I add to the tank without hurting the rays and what can I do to keep them from spreading to my Cali ray (which I've had since he was a baby without any problems)? The tank has a deep sand bed, rock and the 2 rays. Thanks <See WWM re Ray Disease, Ray Systems, Marine Worm Parasitic Disease... Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Stingray, confused attempt at insult    6/26/06
Hello,      Let me first say you guys seem to have alot >/// no such word< of knowledge, however your stingray knowledge is lacking! I emailed you about 2 weeks ago about my new yellow ray and the parasites he had. Needless to say your guys help didn't help much. I have two rays which you guys said were not compatible and was doomed for failure, I disagree. Anyways I used a product called PraziPro and it worked great. My ray is doing fantastic, actually both rays are doing great! Just wanted to thank you guys for the great help. Also if you post this, anyone with a ray needs to look for another source of knowledge, Thanks <One is taught in accordance with ones capacity, willingness and timeliness to learn. Good luck, goodbye, good riddance. Bob Fenner>

Sharks and rays ... incomp.  - 05/20/2006 Good day folks. <Noam> I have read through hours of your postings and although the information is invaluable I have not found the answers I seek. <Good> I am currently cycling a 250 gal tank. My goal is to house one bamboo shark, and one ray. I know the California ray is the right size and temperament however it requires colder water temps compared to the Shark. <Yes> Can you please suggest a Ray that is both small in size, and has the same water requirements as the Bamboo shark. Thanks from Chicago. <There are tropical species... not often offered in the trade... and I don't encourage mixing these groups... too much "dust", activity from the Ray... Bob Fenner>

California round stingray health... lack of info.   1/7/06 I have a California round stingray, <Urolophus halleri? I've kept these> that's 1 1/2 years old.  It's been doing great until recently, it won't eat.  I feed him frozen krill, frozen squid, and sometime small fish, and he also eats crabs.  He used to be very active, but mostly lays on bottom of tank now.  It started about 2 weeks ago.  What is the life span for one kept in a 135 gallon aquarium. <Can live for more than a decade> He looks fine, but won't eat or  hardly swim anymore. I add  iodine weekly, and his food is made for stingrays, so he gets the right nutrition.  PH and ammonia levels are great.  Any suggestions?  Thanks, I hate to lose him, he's great to watch and pet. Julie Turner <Mmm, not much to go on info. wise here... Is this animal in a chilled system? I do hope so... What re water quality? The make-up of the system? Any marks on the animal? Other tankmates? Bob Fenner> Bob Turner
Re: stingray question, health, sys.    1/17/06
Thanks for the info.     Here's some more...The total population consists of 1 leopard ray(20"), 4 southerns (2-3', 2 16") and 4 bat rays (18").  The only animals with red marks are the two large southerns.  We monitor NH3, NO2 and NO3.  NH3 is 0 as well as NO2.  We recently did a large water change and dropped NO3 from near 100 to 25mg/l. <Good> Although we buffer often to reach 8.0 the pH wants to stay around 7.5. <You may want to suggest looking into a source of soluble carbonate to blend in with (your presumed use) of bicarbonate... applying this as a slurry...>      The tank is empty except for substrate which is coral sand.  From reading on WWM it is probably too coarse but we're stuck with it for now.    <Mmm... yes... not likely an issue here if the other Rays are fine>   It is my understanding that when the tank was first set up there was a heavy metal problem. <Very common... in a "previous life" I necropsied cartilaginous fishes as a "consultant"... mainly in public aquariums... Many animals lost to "re-bar" exposure... other sources of metal contamination> I was told this was no longer an issue.  I'm not sure what we would test for and in what quantities.      <I'd test the water, or have it tested... use a pad of Polyfilter in your water flow... if nothing else... to steadily monitor (by color) such presence...>   The primary diet is whole capelin with occasional feeding of peeled shrimp.    <... and vitamin et al. supplementation I hope/trust... Are you familiar with Mazuri(.com)?>   It was suggested to try Baytril (Enrofloxacin) which we have but I'm dubious about effect.    <Mmm, I would not... And feel very uneasy re discussing this on-line...>   Thanks for your input!   <Glad to cooperate. Bob Fenner>

Cortez Stingray Care  11/30/05 Hello,  <Jason>  I have a Cortez ray which I've had for many months and he's a really great eater. My problem is I feed him silversides daily, somewhere between 3-7 full size fish cut in half.  <<This animal will not survive long on such a diet - not natural, in the long run not healthy.  Marina>> Anyways my nitrates are very high even with weekly water changes and my refugium. I've read everything I could and can't seem to find any info on feeding rays every other day or every three days to cut down on the waste. Is this possible or is there some other food that sinks to the bottom easily other than silversides that's not so messy? He has a puffer tank mate that's a pig! Thanks for any info you may have. <Let me start out by asking you what size tank the ray is in. James (Salty Dog)>  
Re: Cortez Stingray Care  11/30/05
Hey James, He's in a 125 gallon with a 25 gallon DIY wet/dry/sump/refugium with a emperor 400, Fluval 404, 5 gallons of bioballs in the wet/dry, 80 lbs rock and a 4" DSB. The refugium has Chaeto growing with a BB. The live rock is stacked in the corners and the whole tank is open for him to swim. Both the puffer and ray eat silversides.  <Is this the same as the Thornback or Guitar Stingray? For the waste they produce, a 125 is on the small side. It doesn't surprise me that your nitrates are high. A 300 gallon tank would be more in line. You may want to try using some Chemi-Pure in the Fluval along with changing/cleaning the filter pads on a weekly basis to remove the waste. I see no reason why the ray cannot be fed every other day as they are not that active in small captive systems. James (Salty Dog)>  <<And he's GOT to change the diet he's feeding these animals!!!  Especially for the puffer.  Must, MUST start on shelled animals, krill, crab, shrimp, etc., or both animals will be very short-lived.  Marina>>

Stingray HELP!!  Hey Bob, I actually just received your e-mail and you put no comments in or advice except for your name at the end, maybe the e-mail was messed up.. <Think so... or somehow I clipped off the message> ...can you please reply with some advice for the ray? He stopped eating this morning, refusing food and is still breathing rapidly with the swollen abdomen. Thank You Chris <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batoidfaqs.htm re goiter... and cure. Bob Fenner> 

Possible goiter in a ray who has stopped eating - 3/7/05, Paul's MUCH better answer How should I cure it...?  <Well, I am only getting a partial of the information here, and I apologize for that. In most cases if the animal has already stopped eating and is showing swollen organs (throat and or abdomen) then it could be too late. The prescription only relates to preventative actions. You will need to work with a vet to force feed the animal if you do not have a soft tube to force feed the animal. Stabilization of the diet is of most importance. I would either get www.mazuri.com shark and ray tabs and add this as a supplement or something like it. You may have to force feed. Here is a picture of a ray with goiter from our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cartfshsfaqs.htm. Here is an interesting article about Elasmobranches and goiter problems. This should explain a bit about the issue: http://www.susanscott.net/Oceanwatch2002/mar29-02.html and here Hope these help but the bad news is if the ray is not eating and showing signs of goiter there is a high probability that this animal may not make it. Keep water quality high, try various human quality foods and supplement ASAP. Again, you may have to force feed. Good luck and keep me updated. Pictures are always good. ~Paul>

Nematode attack on a ray - 9/29/04 Hi my name is Mike and I have a 300 gal. saltwater tank.  I'm concerned about my California round sting ray that has a perfect circle on its underside, it almost looks as if it is a ringworm.  It is about a half inch in diameter.  I noticed it about two weeks ago and it seems to be getting swollen since then.  I've tried doing some research on it and the closest thing I've found is a cyst or a nematode. <Sounds like a in-cysted nematode or worm creating some scar tissue at the insertion area. It can become infected and scar the animal or worse yet cause the worm to move and start a new area of infection. For treatment try Praziquantel or Droncit tabs (you want tabs not the powder). You need to get it into the bloodstream (internally for organs and tissue treatment). BTW- same stuff that dogs get for deworming).> It doesn't really help because it is a book on fish disease. <Sharks and rays can contract similar issues at times. Especially external (to internal) parasitical infections>  The ray's behavior hasn't changed at all since it has appeared. <Excellent> It eats and is constantly swimming.  I don't know if this would help but I have just recently let my tank go into a fallow for two months because of ich and all I have kept in there were the sting ray and a white spotted cat shark. <Hmmmm....ok>  So there have been no fish in there at all for two months.  Also the night before this ring appeared I was feeding the shark and ray and the ray which is only about 4 inches in diameter took a piece of shrimp that was too big for him to swallow and the shark smelled it and went for it only biting the nose of the ray.  It took a chunk out and turned red.  The next morning there was a ring on its belly away from the bite. <I think completely unrelated>  The ray's nose is fine now and you can't even tell it was bitten but the ring is still there. <Again, these are unrelated>  I don't know what it could be. <Do some research on the web for nematode or parasitical infections of cartilaginous fishes. On a side note, please don't forget to supplement your shark and rays diet with important vitamins. Check out www.mazuri.com. We use the vita-zu shark and ray tabs. I believe (5m24) is the part number.>  Please help. <Hopefully I have helped> Thank you. <~Paul>

Urolophus halleri? Hey guys, I was wondering if Urolophus halleri was a cool water or tropical species? LiveAquaria.com has it as a tropical (72 - 78) but I've heard that it's a cool water also. <It's found from Northern CA, where temps are around 50-55, all the way down to Panama.  Keep in mind though that most individuals in the trade are likely coming from warm waters and may need to be acclimated slowly.>
Urolophus halleri?
Hey guys, I was wondering if Urolophus halleri was a cool water or tropical species? LiveAquaria.com has it as a tropical (72 - 78) but I've heard that it's a cool water also. <See fishbase.org re. This is a cool to coldwater animal. Bob Fenner>

You can call him Ray, he's new and not tropical, but hungry Hi:     I just got a California ray yesterday. It's quite small (the disk size is about 3 inches). The fish looks fine and has been stay at the sand bed. However, it does not move much unless my cleaner wrasse is bothering him. I am wondering how should I feed it? I tried swing a piece of squid/shrimp in front of it, buried the meat underneath the sand near him. He just wouldn't eat. I think later I will get a turkey baster to shoot some brine shrimp in front of him to see if that works. Please give me some suggestion, thanks! regards, Howard <Some suggestion? Likely to return the Ray whence you got it. Do you have a chiller on this system? This is not a tropical fish... it might not be eating simply because it is too warm. A cleaner wrasse? Please take the time to read through (use the marine index or the Google search tool at the bottom of the homepage) of our root web: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ Do yourself and future livestock the simple yet essential "favor" of studying re their husbandry before purchasing them. Bob Fenner>

California Stingray Bob, My local pet shop has a California stingray [Urobatis halleri] Do they get to be two feet in diameter? Also what temp. is it for a cool water species? Thanks Tom Reeder <About this size yes... and yes to this being a cool/coldwater organism. Fishbase.org's coverage here: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=2580&genusname=Urobatis&speciesname=halleri Handle with care. Bob Fenner>

Sting ray goiter picture WWM crew, A while back I wrote to you about our California Ray's goiter problem.  It's getting a lot better with the addition of Seachem's Iodide treatment just over the last few weeks.  Anyway, I thought your readers might be interested in seeing what goiter looks like, since it seems to be such a common problem with elasmobranches.  This picture is of Norma the Ray at the height of her goiter problem. <Thank you for this pic and progress report Sherry. Good to hear of the improvement. Bob Fenner>

"Death Curl" in a coldwater ray Bob, I have a 4 inch California ray that has been in my 90 gallon for about 3 months.  Just recently he started swimming up and down the walls of the   tank restlessly, and popping up out of the water.  Is this common?   <Yes, very> More importantly he is now curling the side fins every time he lays on the  substrate. Water quality is excellent, but I have not been adding  iodine.  Is this the cause of his behavior, or is there something else I  can do to save my favorite aquatic companion.  Thank you, Dan  Getten    Salt Lake City, Utah <Mmm, is the tank chilled? Is the substrate fine, soft/rounded? I do encourage the periodic use/supplementation of cartilaginous fishes diets with vitamins, iodine/ide... Please see WWM re shark and ray nutrition, disease. Bob Fenner>
Re: "Death Curl" ray systems, health
Thanks for your fast reply Bob...no the tank isn't chilled but it is set at about 75 degrees.  is this too warm? <Yes... the water this species is found in is never this warm... more like 55-65 F.> Are trace elements not enough as far as supplements? <No... please read on WWM... Please. Bob Fenner> Thanks again for your info.  Dan
Re: California Ray spots, ignorance
Hey Guys, Just another quick question about California Rays. Mine just developed two small brown spots on the other side of his disc. Ever heard of this? If so, and remedies. Also what is the best temperature for this species? Thanks.  Dan Salt Lake City <Don't write, read... on WWM. The questions you've been asking, need to know, are all posted there. Bob Fenner>

Sharks and Rays in Aquariums
Gaining an understanding of how to keep these fishes in captive saltwater systems   

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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