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FAQs on Freshwater Stingray Disease/Health 2  

FAQs on FW Stingray Disease: FW Stingray Disease 1, FW Stingray Disease 3, FW Stingray Disease 4,  
FAQs on FW Stingray Disease by Category
: Diagnosis, Environment, Nutrition, Trauma, Infectious
(Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic, Social, Treatments

Related Articles: Freshwater Stingrays,

Related FAQs: Freshwater Stingrays, FW Stingray Identification, FW Stingray Behavior, FW Stingray Compatibility, FW Stingray Selection, FW Stingray Systems, FW Stingray Feeding, FW Stingray Reproduction,


Motoro stingrays     11/23/14
I just recently purchased two Motoro stingrays my one has a red spot on the underside and they did look like they were shedding but that has stopped. But now they are inactive and just sitting in the bottom.
Is there something wrong? Please Help
<Going to direct you to some reading first:
Stingrays of all types are EXTREMELY sensitive fish. They need giant tanks, big filters, and keepers for whom money is no object. Not kidding here.
Without any information about your system I really can't pin down the immediate problem. Stingrays almost always get sick because of environmental shortcomings -- the tank is too small, there isn't enough filtration, there's too much nitrate, that sort of thing. Minor injuries actually heal rather well if the environment is good, so a small "bruise" isn't necessarily a disaster if you have the right environment (by which I mean a 200+ gallon tank, several massive external filters, and frequent water changes that keep nitrate below 20 mg/l). On the other hand, once bacteria set into a wound and start an infection, treatment is EXTREMELY difficult. Most fish medications are lethal to them. Forget about popping down to the aquarium shop and buying a bottle of something cheap and cheerful. Such products often contain copper and formalin, and these are deadly to Stingrays. Treatment to injuries is pretty much limited to ensuring optimal environmental conditions, offering a varied diet (no feeder fish, EVER), and waiting for the fish to heal itself. Even if you contact a vet and obtain the right antibiotics (randomly treating with aquarium shop antibiotics is a bit hit-and-miss with Stingrays) and dose
the antibiotics properly (essentially impossible for casual aquarists because they don't know the weight of their fish) there isn't any sort of guarantee the Stingray will heal. So again, to stress, your two new Stingrays are certainly stressed from being moved (they often shed some mucous when exposed to sudden changes, even normal water changes) and quite possibly injured, neither of which you can do much about. But now they're in your aquarium, you absolutely must ensure they have a perfect (not "quite good" or "pretty sweet", but "perfect") aquarium for them. Two specimens will need a massive amount of water, shall we say 300 gallons for a pair of adults? Maybe 200 gallons for a couple youngsters up to a disc width of, say, 20 cm/8 inches. Filtration rated at around 8 times the volume of the tank in gallons per hour turnover, so for a 200 gallon tank, upwards of 1600 gallons/hour (which is equivalent to SIX Eheim 2217
canister filters, or even ONE-AND-A-HALF times the turnover of the gigantic Fluval FX6 which is why Stingray keepers usually end up using marine-grade filters with big pumps and crates of media in a sump under the tank).
Hmm... does this help? Oh, and do rush and buy Richard Ross' book on keeping Stingrays. Essential reading. Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater Stingray Disease - Open Sores Spreading Rapidly      10/31/14
Good afternoon
<Wayne... 8 Megs of pix?>
First off, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my email and helping so many others with our baffling questions.
<You'd do the same, given similar circumstances as ourselves>
I have a Freshwater Hybrid stingray (Marble and Motoro) and she's approximately 11 inches. I've had her for awhile now and just recently I introduced some Java Moss to the tank. This plant was purchased online and
I introduced it to the tank without treating the plants first of any diseases. After a couple days, one of my fishes dies and I didn't think much of it (this fish had been bullied and not eating for awhile). That same week I noticed what looks like a burn mark on the bottom of my ray.
The skin appears to be whitefish with dots of blood....and it looks like
it's healing by itself.
<... petecchia... This symptom can be due to a few causes. Potamotrygonids don't "like" metabolite build-up... poor water quality. This is my first guess... what sort of NO3 here?>

I went out of town for a couple days and noticed this mark begins to spread to other parts of the stingrays underside. I immediately put the stingray into a quarantine tank and began treating it with half the recommended amount of aquarium salt and the full dosage of MelaFix.
<... ridiculous. SEE WWM RE>

My water parameters are all within range as I diligently perform water changes and have it tested.
<Of no use to us... WHAT are the readings?>
I've been treating my ray for approximately 5 days now and it still doesn't appear to be getting any better.
<It'll soon be dead from the Melaleuca exposure>
I hate to say it, but it looks like it's some kind of flesh eating bacteria as some parts of my ray's skin is
getting so thin I can see the outline of the skeleton. Furthermore, wherever the infection is, the ray's skin is peeling off as I can see the dead skin hanging off.
Also, the stingray's quarantine tank is very cloudy and I think this is caused by the shedding and peeling of the ray's skin.
<... the scam API product>
I don't have any filter pads in the tank right now because I'm using Melafix. However, I perform 25% water changes every day hoping that it will help the visibility of my tank but it does not.
<REMOVE the "fix", restore filtration, esp. biological NOW>
And finally, my ray still looks very healthy and has an appetite. I fed it twice in the quarantine tank, but I'm trying to limit the feeding until she gets better.
Please take a look at my pictures and let me know what you think. Thank you
<"Bob" Fenner>


Motoro Ray Problem    5/22/14
Hi, I just stumbled across your website and was wondering if you've ever seen the back of a stingray bubble up like a boil? I work at a pet store and our ray tank has kept rays alive for months before selling them and we usually sell them in better shape than when we got them. I don't have any specific water tests I can tell you but I'll explain the best I can. There are 5 rays in our ray tank, when I left work Monday at 2pm everything was fine. I came to work noon on Wednesday and one Motoro had probably ~15-20% of its back boiled up like a air/fluid filled sack. It deflated and refilled and deflated and refilled, then it popped and it was dead no less than an hour later. Any ideas of what can cause the skin to bubble up and kill so quickly?
<Aaron, there is something called "Gas Bubble Disease" that can happen when the water is supersaturated with (for example) oxygen. Extremely strong filtration alongside a lot of turbulence can cause a higher than normal amount of gases from the air to get dissolved in the water. This isn't often seen in freshwater systems but was/is more common in marine systems and ponds where there's often a lot more air/water mixing, e.g., by waterfalls, fountains, wet/dry filters, skimmers, etc. Very cold water can hold more oxygen than warmer water, which is one reason it's dangerous to add a lot of very cold water to an aquarium or pond because of this.
Anyway, the dissolved gases go into the fish, but then bubble out, damaging the surrounding tissues. With this said, Gas Bubble Disease is rare, and most bubble-like cysts or pockets on aquarium fish are caused by the release of gas by bacteria, usually opportunistic ones that have infected a wound. While you can't be 100% sure, if the bubble on the Stingray was associated with any red or white patches, and especially if there are lots of bubbles on one fish but none on the others, you can probably put your money on a bacterial infection. Since Stingrays are sensitive to all sorts of environmental stresses as well as the usual aquarium pathogens, you will doubtless have a long list of things to review before considering this case closed! Hope this helps, Neale.>

Fungus on Reticulated Stingray     8/8/13
Picked up new pair of Reticulated (Teacup) Stingrays, the female developed a small fungus on the barb. There were no caps used at the LFS they were purchased from, however it could have already been there just unnoticed when purchased.
They are currently in a 55 gallon quarantine tank, once fungus is removed they will be moved into a 225 gal with a fx5 canister and 55 gallon sump.
My question is, how to treat this fungus outbreak? I've done what I feel to be inferior research, even though its been extensive. I've never owned rays before this. I started a Pimafix regime, read online it was ray safe. Been 4 days and there has been no improvement visible to the naked eye. Can I continue usage and add salt? Should I finish the week of Pimafix, and if not better try salt?
What are your recommendations?
Thank you for your time, hopefully you can help me,
<Hi Devin. Since you're keeping stingrays, money is presumably no object, as you already (hopefully) know that these fish are very expensive to keep well. Basically, prevention is 99% of what you can do so far as stingray health goes. Once they're sick, then you really can't rely on anything bought from an aquarium shop -- including Pimafix. On the plus side, if you can get these fish into optimal conditions immediately, and by that I mean your 200+ gallon system (with mature filter, naturally) then your stingray may well heal spontaneously. That's often what happens with very minor wounds. Paradoxically, most fungal infections happen secondarily to bacterial infections, so the recommended treatment (e.g., by Richard Ross, whose book/s you must surely have read) is injectable antibiotics that get rid of bacterial infection so the fungal infection can fade away. That's where the money no object aspect comes in. Call a vet specialising in fish, because you'll need reliable advice here. Obviously you can't randomly add antibiotics to the water because these have the real potential to cause stingrays harm. Again, Richard Ross goes into all this. You can't use traditional medications like Methylene Blue or Malachite Green either as these tend to be quickly toxic to stingrays. As for Pimafix and Melafix,
some folks have used them successfully, others find they do more harm than good (WWM owner Bob Fenner for one), and as a very general comment, time wasted with these sometimes-useful, sometimes-harmful medications is time you could have used something with a much higher probability of working at less risk, so on that basis alone I'd skip them. The use of salt is an interesting idea. The Potamotrygonidae have some tolerance for salt, likely given their marine ancestry, as evidenced by laboratory work as well as
aquarium hear-say, so in itself it shouldn't cause any undue harm to these strictly freshwater rays. Salt can and does slow down the spread of fungal infections (though rarely bacterial infections) and may provide some degree of support to a fish with an otherwise functional immune system that can drive off a mild infection given that little extra help. But salt is rarely a "silver bullet" in itself, so do review aquarium environmental conditions and any potentially damaging objects in the tank (including tankmates), and act accordingly. But as I say above, at the end of the day calling a qualified vet is the best/only reliable approach for medicating stingrays, and something you presumably budgeted for before purchase, so the minor expense shouldn't phase you (and in any case, will be trivially small compared to the cost of those thousands of gallons of reverse-osmosis water you're going to be getting though during water changes every year!). Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Fungus on Reticulated Stingray (Bob, is Pimafix/Melafix useful on Elasmobranchs?)<<Is not. RMF>>
Without explaining too much into detail, lets just say the area I'm located isn't... stingray friendly.
So vets aren't an option unfortunately. I may be able to call in a favor to a friend who works at a aquarium.
<Ah, next best thing. As I said, provided conditions are optimal in the aquarium, minor wounds can/will heal under their own steam, but if the infection spreads/shows no sign of clearing up, then treating stingrays is troublesome. As Bob says in the subject line of this message, Melafix and Pimafix are not reliably useful when treating this group of animals.>
Thank you for your time, I appreciate the rapid response.
<Most welcome. Do also procure Richard Ross' book; will be money well spent. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fungus on Reticulated Stingray (Bob, is Pimafix/Melafix useful on Elasmobranchs?)     8/8/13
I found a copy of the book, will be purchasing. Didn't know the literature existed till I found this website.
<Good purchase. Richard Ross is "the man" when it comes to stingrays.>
Again I appreciate your time and your response, I have one more question for you. Promise, this will be the last.
<No need for promising such; we're happy to help.>
The LFS I purchased the rays from has done their best to help me. I called them yesterday about possibly procuring some injectable antibiotics and overnighting them to me, and she didn't know what I was talking about. I explained to her what you had sent me in previous emails, and what I had found online (which contradicted her original treatment plan -Melafix/pimafix), should sent me an email a few hours later talking about a treatment called Maracyn 2.
<Yes. Widely sold in the US, not necessarily elsewhere. In any case, it's simply Minocycline (Maracyn 1, if you're curious, is Erythromicin, while Maracyn Plus is Sulfadimidine and Trimethoprim. Both Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 are relatively mild and seem well-tolerated by most/all fish, and worth a shot, though can't promise anything.>
I looked it up and found some personal reviews by other ray keepers on monsterfishkeepers.com. Was wondering what your thoughts were before I might try this treatment is pimafix and salt prove to be unsuccessful (as of this morning still no signs of improvement).
<I would rate Maracyn 2 far above Melafix and Pimafix; you can certainly use the Maracyn 2 alongside salt if needs be.>
The 225 is not quite cycled, or they'd have been moved already, should be another few days at the least before that tank is ready.
<Sounds like you have a game plan. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Fungus on Reticulated Stingray (Bob, is Pimafix/Melafix useful on Elasmobranchs?)     8/8/13

You've been a wonderful help, I appreciate the feedback.
<Glad to help.>
Good news, water tested out last night, tank was cycled.  I put the pair of rays into the tank and fed slightly on the heavy side. Both ate their fill and I turned the lights off. This morning I went in to check them, the fungus is completely gone.
I'm treating the tank with the Maracyn 2 and some salt to make sure, keeping it at 50-60% of recommended dosage.
<All sounds very positive.>
But, in regards to your reply, for my knowledge bank, you wrote that Maracyn 2 is Minocycline, Maracyn 1is Erythromicin, and  Maracyn Plus is Sulfadimidine and Trimethoprim. What is, doesn't have to be well defined if you can keep it basic, the differences? The Maracyn 2 box proclaimed to treat bacteria which caused certain ailments, are the other two for the same?
<Okay, here's the deal. All these are antibiotics. They kill bacteria. But no *one* antibiotic kills *all* kinds of bacteria. Some kill one sort well, another a second sort, and so on. Kind of like how the air force has a dozen kinds of airplanes, but there's no one airplane good at everything, so depending on the mission, you choose a particular airplane for the task.
You wouldn't use an F15 for a job where a Hercules would be better, or vice versa. The tricky bit when choosing which antibiotic to use is that you cannot say which antibiotic would be ideal without first identifying the bacteria your fish has -- which obviously needs a microscope, a tissue sample, a Petri dish, and about 4 years medical training...! Anyway, aquarists either go with the Maracyn 1 and 2 combination at the same time, which kills off many kinds of common bacteria, or try one and then the other a week later if the first didn't work. Some aquarists will have a hunch about which Maracyn works better for a certain complaint in a certain species, but without a microscope and appropriate study, they really are making educated guesses. I don't personally have any experience with these
because Maracyn products aren't sold in the UK; by law, if you want to use an antibiotic on a pet animal, you need to consult with a vet, which removes the uncertainty but of course limits your range of quick, cheap options. Anyway, going with the Maracyn 2 makes sense if you've found some fish keepers for whom this works well. Hope this makes sense! Cheers Neale.>
Re: Fungus on Reticulated Stingray (Bob, is Pimafix/Melafix useful on Elasmobranchs?)    8/9/13

It did make sense, and again I appreciate your time. No matter how much research I conducted, I still feel as if I have an inferior knowledge base when keeping these beauts.
<They you'll really enjoy keeping these fish and reading Richard Ross' book alongside the aquarium, and a few months from now, you'll be telling me what to do!>
Have a good one! If I ever have any other ray related questions, I will be sure to shoot an email out to you.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Question, Potamotrygonid hlth.  3/8/13
Hey I have a problem with one of my motoro rays that I was trying to find on your site. I couldn't find one that fits what is going on with my ray.
He is his active self but during my routine checkup I notice a major injury on his foot
<On a pectoral fin I take it>
 it started off small and got bigger over the last few days or so and now I see his bone coming out. The tissue is still white like his flesh there is no redness around or in the wound. Should I start medication to the tank?
<? For what?>

And if so what medication ? And is there anything I can do besides normal feeding and water changes.
<Depends on the current water quality, gear...>
He has started to eat less then he does and he try's not to use that foot but its hard for him not to. The tank set up is a 120 gal with two Hang on filters and a canister filter small amount of sand
<Of what sort?>
and that's it's. water parameters are ammonia 0 rite0 rate 30
<30 ppm of NO3 is too much. See WWM re>
 ph 6.0
cannot provide a photo at this time. If you have a article on your site that I must of missed please let me know thank you once again Maria
<... take the long read over what is posted on WWM re the family, and supply the information others have. Bob Fenner>

My Freshwater Stingray has internal lice     7/26/12
I have had a Reticulated Teacup Stingray for about 2 months now.
He's in a 75 gallon tank which I know I have read online that it isn't big enough for him, but he isn't that big and when I got him they said he wasn't going to get much bigger because he wasn't a baby.
<They lied. There's no such thing as a "teacup" stingray any more than there's such a thing as a "kitten". They're both baby versions of bigger animals. You will ultimately need 5, 6, 7 times the volume of water you have now, so you may as well start planning on the upgrade. Stingrays are insanely difficult and expensive fish to maintain, which is why so few people keep them successfully.>
When using a API Freshwater Test Kit his pH is 7.6 (he started at a 8.4 when we got him from the store I didn't want to lower it to fast since he was used to high pH )
Nitrate is 5.0ppm
Ammonia is 0.25ppm
<Dangerous for Stingrays.>
Nitrite is 0ppm
80 Degrees
<A bit too warm. Aim for 25 C/77 F.>
He is alone in the tank with no other fish,  plants, rocks, or ornaments. There is  a Aqua Tech Power Head to give him more air circulation and a Emperor Bio-Wheel 400 Power Filter.
<A pretty poor filtration system for this sort of fish. You really do need serious, heavy duty filtration. We're talking big canister filters, like the Fluval FX5.>
Eats frozen bloodworms and frozen krill. We have tried frozen beef heart, frozen brine shrimp, and live guppies but he didn't like any of them.
<Why were you feeding him guppies? You do realise once a Stingray gets infected with parasites, they're very difficult to medicate? So absolutely everything you put in the tank needs to be parasite-free.>
Today when I went to feed my stingray bloodworms he came up on the side of the tank and I noticed that he had the long line around his under  body, which I had read previously before getting him, was fish lice.
<Really? Never heard that. What are you reading? Forget about relying on web sites, though by all means read them. Since Stingrays cost thousands of dollars to keep, I'm assuming $10-20 on one of Richard Ross' excellent Stingray books wouldn't phase you at all. Buy one, read it, rely on it.>
I called a couple places around my area to see if anyone could help me understand how to get it out and treat it. So when I started doing what they told me  I put him in a bowl with shallow water and flipped him over so I could get to the fish lice. When I did get him on his back  he got really scared and was flapping around, but after a couple seconds  he calmed down. One of the stores told us that when stingrays and sharks are put on their back there is a chemical that releases into their body that makes them be still like a defense mechanism or something.
When I tried to take tweezers and pull the lice worm out I couldn't get to it . I tried in a couple different spots and noticed that it wasn't on the outside of his skin and not like protruding out. His skin was smooth, so I called the place again and they said it was a internal parasite not a external. I asked him what we could do and he told me to try something that has Dimilin in it but not to use a lot only to use a half a drop on his krill since he is  still eating and then wait 3 days before I try another time. I wanted to see if you could please  help me to figure out what kind of medicine I can use to help kill the parasite. I know there are a lot of products out there that are good for killing parasites, but you can't use some of  them on stingrays because they are so sensitive. Can you please help me to save him from dying?
<I do need a photo of this "line" that you suppose has something to do with parasites. Plus, I'm fairly sure the problem here is environmental as much as anything else. Half-starved and/or stressed Stingrays will show all sorts of odd lines underneath that are in fact their skeletal elements or their blood vessels showing through the skin. Just because you're feeding a lot of one or two foods doesn't mean your Ray is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs, so you can easily starve a fish even if it gets lots of calories.>
I don't know if this can be any cause to him getting lice but we were just having problems with his nitrite being very high it was at a 5.0 for at least 2 weeks. I started trying to do a 30% water change every other day to bring down the nitrite, but it wasn't working . Then I read online that one of the problems could have been that I was doing to frequent of a water change.
<Again, rubbish. So long as you do regular water changes (ideally, daily) and keep the pH and hardness of the new water the same as the old water, you are doing good. Obviously you don't use tap water with Stingrays, but water from a reverse-osmosis filter, suitably buffered with Discus Salts. This means that your water changes will likely be limited by how much water your RO filter produces per day.>
My tank had not fully cycled yet because he was the first fish we had ever put in there and was a new bio-wheel filter.
<What?! You are keeping a Stingray in a new aquarium…?>
Also, when I was siphoning the sand I was bringing up more nitrite.  So I stopped doing a water change for about four days and it had just went back to 0 . I don't know if having the nitrite change so fast could be causing this.
<Please go back and read about cycling and maintaining aquaria.>
Also, about a month ago he had scraped his back on something in the tank. We're not sure what it was originally he had scraped it on, but then I noticed the part that takes up the water had been close to the side of the tank and my stingray goes up and down the side of the tank right by it all the time. (Which at first I was worried that him going up and down like that a lot  was a bad thing, but I read online that someone else's stingray does that too and they have had it for a lot longer and is perfectly healthy.) So I put a tube around it to make sure he can't get scratched by it. His wound looks like it has healed up, but you can still see the color change of where it was at. I don't know if this could have made him more prone to getting parasites or diseases. I'm just trying to give you as much  information about him as I can to help you help me. I don't mean to sound rambling.
<You aren't rambling, but you are telling me A LOT of things I don't want to hear! Seriously Colleen, as much as I applaud your obvious enthusiasm and affection for your pet, this is one of those times where you may have bitten off more than you can chew. Short term, do daily water changes, replacing 10-20% each time. Stop feeding while ammonia is not zero, and once ammonia is zero, keep feeding at a low level, and offer a variety of things. If he doesn't eat strips of white fish or squid (both good foods) remove the food and let him starve that day. Earthworms are another excellent, usually irresistible treat. But don't feel compelled to feed him for a few days, and concentrate on water quality more than feeding. Also buy the Richard Ross book, read it cover to cover, and long term, implement all the recommendations he makes. You absolutely cannot keep Stingrays on a budget, so forget about trying. They're wildly expensive pets, and no more practical for folks with limited time, space and money than, say, horses.>
Thank you for all your help!
<Hope this helps and good luck, Neale.>

Re: My Freshwater Stingray has internal lice – 07/26/12
Hello again,
Thank you so much for your help so far!
<Most welcome.>
I ordered that book yesterday because I have been trying to find it around my area instead of having to order it online, but I just decided to order it online and stop waiting around.
<Good idea.>
Here are two of the websites that I found that talk about stingrays having fish lice.
<Argulus spp. fish lice are very distinctive.>
This website shows a picture of a stingray with fish lice and it looks almost exactly like what my stingray has.
<You mean you can see the fish lice? You are using a microscope?>
I find a lot of websites that show that stingrays can get it, but they all say you can pull it out with tweezers and I cannot.
<Quite so. Argulus can be removed manually, but doing so leaves wounds that may become infected. There are medications, but many of them are insecticides, and these are toxic to Stingrays. If you think you have a Stingray with an Argulus infection, this is one of those situations where contacting a vet trained in fish health will make a huge difference.>
I attached a picture of my stingray it is the best one I have got so far he kept moving around a lot when I tried to take a picture of him. You can see the line that is a little faint in the picture, but it is the same line that the stingray has in the picture on the website.
<I can't see any evidence of Argulus in that photo. A bigger photo would help though.>
The place we got the stingray from said that they fed their stingray guppies and that he loved them so we thought we would give it a try. We put the guppies in his tank about a week after we got him and we left them in there for a day or two but when we noticed he wasn't even trying to go after them we took them out.
Would the parasite been in there for that long and just attached to him?
<Unlikely, but not impossible.>
I didn't notice this line on him until yesterday and I see his underbody all the time because when I feed him he comes on the front side of the tank and swims all around. We were worried about feeding him live food because of the risk of a parasite, but they had said they feed there's that so I thought he would be fine. The bloodworm package says that it has vitamin supplements in it that is why I thought that it was ok for right now.
<If supplemented with vitamins, yes, should be a good food, though there is some belief bloodworms aren't a safe food because the worms live in polluted water. The best foods are those that come from clean habitats where fish don't live -- earthworms and brine shrimps for example. Marine foods sold for human consumption should be safe too, cockles, squid, prawns and mussels (though do review Thiaminase, and understand that prawns and mussels should be used sparingly because of it).>
Once I get his ammonia down I will go out and get him some earthworms and try that. Is there any type of white fish you can recommend feeding to him?
Is it something I can buy from the grocery store or do I need to ask my seller to try and get it?
<Plain tilapia fillet sold in many stores is perfectly safe and readily consumed. It's cheap as well. Buy fresh, slice into strips, then freeze, ready to defrost as needed.>
I also found that if it is fish lice that a few people have used Melafix and Anchor's Away with Dimilin to get rid of it on stingrays. It isn't anything that my local pet store has so I would have to order it online.
<I would not randomly medicate. My feeling here is the Stingray is basically fine, but perhaps stressed by recent water quality issues. Fix those, vary its diet, and it should perk up. Don't add stuff/medicate until you've read Richard Ross' book.>
Once again thank you for all your help!
<Most welcome, Neale.> 
Re: My Freshwater Stingray has internal lice – 07/26/12

Here are two more pictures of him that you can see the line better. He also has a lot of bumps throughout his body, but in the insides of the lines. I hope these pictures help to be able to see if it is fish lice or not.
<Still not seeing anything obviously parasitic. Can you re-send with a red squiggle or something around the bit you think is a parasite? The off-white lines on the underside are normal. A good clue is if they're more or less symmetrical, i.e., on both sides of the body. If you see the same line on the left and the right side of the fish, they're probably meant to be there.>
Now with the Fluval FX5 should I get rid of my other filter completely or should I still use it with it.
<At the very least, have them running alongside each other for 6-8 weeks so the bacteria in the new filter have time to multiply up to the required amounts. But ideally, keep both. You can never have too much filtration. Do review the needs of Potamotrygon carefully.>
Or if I keep my filter I have in there now can I get a smaller Fluval and use them together?
<If you're thinking about economising on filtration, you're thinking the wrong way. With Stingrays, the basic idea is to use the biggest filter (or the most filters) you can. Adults are extremely messy animals, yet incredibly sensitive to ammonia.>
Thank you again!
<Welcome, Neale.>


Question... FW Ray, env. issues 1/14/12
Hello again my favorite fish people!
<If we were faves, why would you clog our email w/ order of magnitude images, against our policy?>
Just wanted to see if you can identify what my rays skin problem or at least try to . I sent a couple of pictures . OK first the ray is eating well like always. The tank setup is a 120 gal
<Stop. Too small.>

with two hang on filters and a EHEIM professional 3 canister filter the water readings are as follow Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 30 PH 7.6. Notice the skin problem in one spot where she had some sand on her so I tested the water to make sure all is well with Ammonia and Nitrite all was good. Then it went away. All of a sudden when it was feeding time I notice that is was all over most of her body. Not sure what it is she is breathing fine, eating. The larger male does not show any signs of these marks on his body. The sand has been in this tank for about 4 years as well as the larger male. Female is about 1 year and has not shown any signs of distress. Hope you guys can help me out on this one. Thanks once again.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwraysysfaqs.htm
and ALL the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question

Sorry I didn't know about your policy of the pictures.
<Can't miss it... It's right before where folks find how to write us:

Sick Marbled Motoro Stingray - White blotches/covering on skin 5/17/11
First of all, thanks in-advance for your feedback. A synopsis of my set-up
is as follows:
240 gallon freshwater tank
2 x Fluval FX5 Canister Filters
1 x Large Airstone/Pump
PH = 5.8 to 6.0
<Mmm, too low to suit me... I'd hedge about mid 6>
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 100
<MUCH too high. The likely related source of trouble here>

GH = 180
KH = 160
Temp = 80 degrees
Substrate = Tahitian Moon Black Sand
Inhabitants = Large Royal Marbled Motoro (16 inches) - 3 x Medium Discus (4 inches)- 3 x Medium Clown Loaches (5 inches)
I have just returned from a business trip and noticed that one of the Fluval FX5 filters had become clogged and stopped working. This, I believe, caused a major fluctuation in my Nitrates and they are now reading around 100ppm. I have performed 40% water changes over the last three days in an attempt to lower the Nitrates.
<I'd employ other means on a continuous basis. Please read here:
and the linked files above re NO3>
For my water changes, I have divided a 125 gallon tank into a water change side (approximately 90 gallons) and a quarantine side (approximately 35 gallons). The water change side of the tank is using a Fluval 405 with the same media as the primary tank (I periodically remove Fluval BioMax from one of the primary FX5 filters to seed the Fluval 405 filter for water changes). I also treat the water being used for changes with Discus Buffer to lower the PH and soften the water before performing water changes on my primary tank. This cycles for around two weeks at a time before I perform 30% water changes bi-weekly.
<Reads as a very nice arrangement>
Now for the problem, I awoke this morning and my stingray is covered with white blotches that were not there the evening prior (see attached pictures). Could this be due to the increased Nitrate levels in the tank?
She (the stingray) has not eaten for two days and I assume it is because of the elevated Nitrates in the tank making her unhappy, but I am unsure about the white blotches. None of the Discus or Clown Loaches are showing any signs of stress/white blotches/etc. and are still eating fine.
<Have different tolerances>
The stingray is inactive and is just lifting the front of its disk and staying fairly stationary in the tank. Does anyone know what these white blotches are and how I can heal my favorite pet?
<Improve its world>
I plan to continue to perform water changes to lower the Nitrates back to an acceptable level and have also dosed the system with Amquel Plus to assist with de-chlorinating the new water being used in the water changes and lower the Nitrates. Any other suggestions to get the Nitrates down quickly (and safely)?
<See the above reading>
I feed the stingray blood worm cubes, silversides, and shrimp and use Mazuri Vita-Zu Shark and Ray vitamins at each feeding (stuffed into a piece of shrimp). There is never food left in the tank after each feeding. I have had the Royal Motoro Stingray for approximately 3 years and have had no problems or issues. She is always active and eating incredibly well (until now).
<Mmm, do add to the alkaline reserve, boosting pH as mentioned... this will encourage denitrification moderately as well>
On a side note, I just purchased the Aquaripure Nitrate Filter and am eagerly awaiting its arrival to set-up on the tank. This will help in the long-run, but will not do anything to reduce the Nitrates until the unit is cycled properly (2-4 weeks).
<In the meanwhile, be very conservative re food/feeding>
I would greatly appreciate any assistance that you could offer.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Marbled Motoro Stingray - White blotches/covering on skin 5/17/11
First of all, thank you for the fast response. I am panicking a bit right now and do not want to lose my Motoro or Discus. A couple things based on your response.......
1. Do you recommend any other way to reduce Nitrates in an emergency situation (except water changes) (i.e. chemical additives)?
<Only in very/real dire circumstances... which this very likely is not. My far fave is AZ-NO3... very effective, safe>
Due to the large volume of water in the tank, I believe it will take quite awhile to get the Nitrates down doing 40% water changes.
<Mmm, not so... unless something is adding to the situation, they should go down tens of ppm w/ each change. You are vacuuming the substrate?>
I only need something to do as an emergency measure and will follow the suggestions/recommendations contained within your link moving forward. I am also hoping that this Aquaripure Nitrate Filter will help long-term.
The reviews of the system seem positive, but only time will tell. :) Have you heard anything about this particular filter?
<Mmm, not really. Have just looked: http://aquaripure.com/
My long-experience (our corporation tried to engineer/make these at one time... with these anaerobe fed (sugar or alcohol) units is that they are unreliable... too prone to "crashing", usually w/o too tremendous negative consequences... but you'll likely "see", be able to report much more re in the not-too-distant future>
2. PH levels - I agree with you and want the PH to hedge around 6.5, but I believe the increased Nitrates are causing the PH to drop.
<To some degree, yes>
I have a Milwaukee PH probe on the system that allows me to keep a very close eye on any fluctuations.
<Good... restrict such change to no more than 0.1 pH point in a given day if possible>
3. Do you feel that it is Ok to continue to use the Amquel Plus to assist with lowering the Nitrates?
<Mmm, it really doesn't do this. If you'd like we can discuss some of the chemistry here>
I really hate using chemicals in my tanks.
4. Should I add anything else to the water to help the stingray while I am improving her world (i.e. stress coat, etc.)?
<Mmm, I would not... unless you don't/can't trust the new/make-up/replacement water>
Thanks again as I appreciate your knowledge to help me get through this nightmare. :)
<Am very glad to assist you, help ease your mind. Usually I would wait, have Neale Monks respond, as he is far better versed... but he's presently quite busy teaching in the UK, and felt/sensed it was important to reply soon/er>
<And you, BobF>
Re: Sick Marbled Motoro Stingray - White blotches/covering on skin 5/17/11
<Mr. Smith>
How do we define dire situation? :)
<Behavioral anomalies... more than static appearances>
The white blotches are quite scary. I only have about 1-2 inches of sand in the bottom of the tank and typically don't need to vacuum as the stingray usually stirs the substrate constantly as it searches for food.
<I WOULD vacuum half of the tank each change-out session... left or right, the other half next time>
I was under the impression that messing with the substrate could actually cause my Nitrates to spike?
<A matter of degree... IF there is a "good deal" of "mulm/detritus" accumulated there, much MORE NO3 will be expressed than just a "modicum" amount. Put another way, there can be too little to too much material trapped in ones substrate>
Reference PH fluctuations, I guess I need to be really careful given the weakened condition of the stingray. I typically see a PH fluctuation/increase of around .5 whenever I do a large water change (+/- 40%).
<This is WAY too much vacillation... am sure you understand the pH scale is a base 10 log... Human blood pH range is much smaller... you and I would be dead>
Is that too much and should I decrease the quantity of the changed water?
<Is and not the quantity, but its quality... should be nudged a tenth higher pH point...>
I've attached a couple pics of my two tanks...........240 gallon Stingray/Discus and 150 gallon planted Freshwater.
<Ah, very nice. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Marbled Motoro Stingray - White blotches/covering on skin 5/18/11
<Steve, am also sending you a note/email re your situation from Neale Monks of WWM... after this>
I hope I am not being a bother, but I have a new development. The white blotches seem to be shedding off?
<Yes; not surprisingly>
One of the Discus is also eating the shed skin off the back of the ray?
<Yes, is their nature>
The skin underneath is a bit lighter, but otherwise looks healthy (see attached). Tested the tank earlier and reading 80ppm Nitrates.
<Keep changing the water, stop feeding altogether...>
I am in the middle of another 40% water change right now, but it seems to be working. Should I add some slime coat regen after the water change to help with healing?
<I would not. This addition may well only add to problems here. I WOULD start adding the baking soda... DO read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm
AND the related FAQs linked above, particularly Systems... and in turn elsewhere on WWM re water quality, substrate issues...>
<Hang in there... you're doing what best can be done... in an orderly, appropriate manner. B>
Sick Marbled Motoro Stingray - White blotches/covering on skin 5/17/11
> Hello Bob,
<Ave Neale>
> I do think you're spot-on about the water quality issues harming this stingray. Also, the low pH is certainly reducing the functioning of filter bacteria, which do best above pH 7.0, so unless there's a damn good reason to do otherwise, this aquarist should be keeping the stingray in slightly soft to medium hardness, around neutral water. But I'd add one more thing.
The Tahitian moon sand is a glass byproduct, not a natural sand.
<Yes... not benefitting water quality in the slightest>
It is notoriously abrasive. I wouldn't use it with any fish that habitually sits on the substrate, and Carib Sea notably recommends the same thing. There's some debate among aquarists whether no substrate or a smooth silica sand/very fine gravel substrate is better, but either way, you want to minimise physical damage while also ensuring no organic debris settles on the substrate and starts rotting.
<Ahh, will post, share w/ the querior should he write back in. Had thought to have the writer read through our Potamotrygonids area re this and a few other key items, but sensed/thought he was already a bit overwhelmed. Thank you, BobF>
> Cheers, Neale

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