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FAQs on Freshwater Stingray Disease/Health 3  

FAQs on FW Stingray Disease: FW Stingray Disease 1, FW Stingray Disease 2, 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,

Freshwater stingray advice needed      8/30/19
I am writing on behalf of my employer. She is an avid stingray hobbyist, owning very many freshwater rays, half of which are black diamond. She is having problems breeding the diamonds though and asked me to reach out to anyone who might be more knowledgeable about ray breeding. I know it might be a long shot to ask for advice but I am a bit desperate.
<Mmm; have read quite a bit, written some re FW rays, Potamotrygonids>
The rays seem to be having pups fine, but the pups only last about two weeks before losing some color, curling and then expiring. She gets maybe one or two out of every 20 that actually makes it.
<Yes... need to know, have information re mainly water quality (and maintenance therein) and nutrition here. How do folks treat the source water and what is its make-up? What foods are being employed and are they supplemented?>
Any advice at all would really be appreciated, thank you for your time.
<Data please. Bob Fenner>
Re: freshwater stingray advice needed      8/30/19

Thank you Bob for replying,
<Thank you for sharing Holly>
She has a large setup. It's a 2000 gallon system consisting of three large oval concrete tanks, 2.5 feet deep, connected to a small hatchery consisting of multiple 50 gal tanks.
<Ahh! Am wondering, concerned with the accumulation of metabolites here>
fresh water source is well water which flows in constantly.
<Ah, very good>
There are 5hp submersible pumps which feed into sand filters then degassing towers. There are aerators throughout and a bio ball filter before the pumps.
<Wow! Some electrical cost now!>
parameters are normally around or close to : Ammonia - 0.25
<Aye; this NEEDS to be zero, zip, nada. This value alone might account for the trouble here. I'd look into using contactor... resin, carbon... to eliminate all NH3/NH4OH>
nitrite - 0
nitrate - fluctuates between 5 and 20, rarely as high as 40

<This too needs to be addressed. I'd keep NO3 concentration below 10 ppm at all times>
and PH - between 8.2 and 8.4.
<And this is way too high for wild-collected Amazonian rays>

The temp ranges between 81 and 83 Fahrenheit.
The well water was just tested for heavy metals, all came back looking fine.
My employer's friend keeps insisting it could be bubble sickness so she ordered a TGP meter. I tested all over and have seen it up to 95.4 % O2 and 103.7 % residual TGP in the concrete tanks. I can't seem to find much about what levels rays can tolerate but the more I look into it the more I don't think that is it. The rays don't look like they have any visible tissue damage.
<Gas/embolism is not a problem w/ these values. Supersaturation is... and with the use of the towers, likely most all excess gas is released>
I separate the baby rays from the adults into floating baskets when i find them. i have also tried moving them to their own hatchery tank as well but same results. I have tried feeding finely chopped earthworms, live Tubifex worms and finely chopped fish but they are reluctant to eat.
<Mmm; I would further experiment, and provide the young with softer, more acidic water. Do see, read on the Net, Fishbase.org re their natural waters. Quite different than what they're being exposed to here. There are simple/r, inexpensive means to modify water quality. The young will be better off kept in the 50 gallon systems either separate from the recirculated water or very slowly dripped/overflowed>
Thank you again,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: freshwater stingray advice needed      8/30/19

thank you very much, you have been extremely helpful. I'll relay all of this to my employer and try setting up a separate tank for the pups.
<Ah, good. I've visited a few Potamotrygonid hatcheries... your issue here is not uncommon, and easily solved. Bob Fenner>

Skinny Stingray    4/21/18
My motoro stingray is a pretty active stingray but parameters in the tank are normal (no nitrates, nitrites, ph levels are normal)
<I would prefer the values rather than a statement! To recap, nitrite should be zero of course, and nitrate as low as practical, though zero nitrate is in practical terms very difficult to achieve. If you are honestly getting a zero reading for nitrate, I'd double-check you're using the test kit right, because a zero nitrate reading in a tank with a large,
predatory fish is so unlikely. While the precise pH value isn't critical, it should be stable and not too high, and ideally, hardness and pH would be towards the soft water end of their respective ranges; maybe 2-15 degrees dH, pH 6.5-7.5.>
and there is no chance of infection or parasites.
<How can be you be so sure? Even at the retailer there's some risk of exposure.>

There are constant water changes and filter changes with at least 25% changed. He is fed everyday or every other day with more food (this does not happen often, but there are issues that come up as they do in life, but not enough for there to be leftovers in the tank).
He has been in our tank for over a year and a half and has been growing steadily, so we are pretty sure there is no stress, and as he has survived this long and continues to grow.
<I agree, this is promising.>
Our substrate is a soft gravel that My parents used years ago with another ray who lived a long life (obviously rinsed thoroughly with water).
<I am sure you're aware of the debate surrounding the use of substrates in ray aquaria. There are arguments in favour of soft sand substrates, and arguments in favour of no substrate at all. I wouldn't say it comes down to personal taste, but the latter approach is perhaps easier and safer.>
He is a very happy ray in all searching through gravel, finding Blackworms, swimming around all normal ray things. My problem is that he is too skinny.
He is fed a good diet of shrimp, Blackworms and live fish (who have been quarantined by fish store for at least a month usually more) but he will not gain weight.
<Live fish is already one major risk factor. Let's be clear, unless you're home-breeding thiaminase-free fish from parasite-free parents, then any live fish are dangerous. End of story. For a start, cyprinids (goldfish, minnows, and their relatives) contain thiaminase and simply should never be used as live food. No scientifically sound argument can be made in favour of using those types of fish, and store-bought "feeder" goldfish and minnows are simply parasite-bombs. If you've used those, then right there is one very probable reason for the ill-health of your Stingray. Thiaminase is an enzyme that breaks down thiamin (vitamin B1) and when used regularly the predatory fish can/will develop all sorts of vague, but potentially lethal, health issues. There's a BIG scientific literature out there on this subject, but let me direct you to Marco Lichtenberger's summary here at WWM, written specifically for aquarists:
Next up, the feeder fishes bought at pet stores will almost certainly have parasites of some sort in them, and quarantining them only means those parasites aren't killing the host fish. Get those feeders inside your predatory fish and things become more complicated. A goldfish might, for example, have a degree of resistance to a certain parasite because they evolved together over thousands if not millions of years, but South American Stingrays may never encountered parasites common in Eurasia, and would have no resistance at all to that parasite. Do you see the problem here? It's not a definite explanation, but the use of feeders is just such a wildly risky chance to take, that it is very difficult to rule them out. Given Stingrays aren't obligate fish-eaters in the wild, there's no real reason to feed them live fish anyway, and most if not all experienced Stingray keepers and breeders avoid them. Instead focus on invertebrates, particularly worms, as well as more mixed, vegetable-rich food items that offer vitamins and fibre. Gut-loaded earthworms and river shrimps are a good way to get vegetables into your Stingray! Alongside these, a good
quality Stingray pellets will help round out their diet, and arguably could make up their entire diet if you're on a budget.>
He also completely refuses to eat things like smelt, nightcrawlers and even wild caught shrimp (as in once he smells it on your hand he will not come near you the rest of feeding time he hates them that much) and we have tried countless times to introduce him to other foods.
<The golden rule with fish remains this: they'll eat when they're happy and healthy. If they're not eating, it usually means there's a problem. It's very rarely the food itself that's wrong, but something else. Could be water quality or chemistry, could be the lighting (Stingrays hate bright light), could be the tankmates, if any (Stingrays are best kept alone). But as we've discussed, there could be a deeper problem if live feeders have been used, especially goldfish or minnows. Nobody keeping a fish as valuable and as delicate as a Stingray should be giving them live feeder fish.>
We have even hidden some in the foods he does enjoy and he spits out the food he doesn't like once he figures out it is there.
<Classic food refusal.>
He is too skinny but as I said he is still growing outwards so he is still healthy but I hate seeing him so skinny.
<I would be thinking along the lines of internal parasites, if he "eats but stays thin" but I'd also be worried about thiamin deficiency.>
Are there any fattening foods that I can safely feed a ray?
<See above; your Stingray doesn't need more calories, but he does need his appetite back. You need to review that aspect, and act accordingly.>
I've seen people suggest clams, muscles, and worms.
<Clams are good. Mussels can be used sparingly -- again, they contain thiamine. Earthworms are good and safe; bloodworms and especially Tubifex worms substantially more risky, and best avoided.>
We can try other fish but I'm not sure how he will react. Any tips or suggestions will be much appreciated!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Lymphocystis and Potamotrygon (RMF?)<I totally concur w/ your stmt.s>     9/9/17
I recently found white cauliflower like white tufts on the side of one of my CA cichlids. Upon much research I've 99% concluded its Lympho. Now my whole 340g system is infected.
<Let's be clear about Lymphocystis -- although there is a pathogen involved, it is almost certainly triggered by the environment rather than being contagious. Some type of stress is usually involved. For example, maintaining Scats in freshwater rather than brackish water, or exposing bottom-dwelling fish to a substrate that isn't kept properly clean. In the wild, heavy metals and industrial pollution are believed to be the main reasons Lymphocystis becomes common in some lakes and seas.>
I was going to rearrange some fish, one of the being some Marble stingrays into the 340 and cichlids to another system. My question do I have to break the 340 down and clean it or will the virus disappear upon removal of the infected fish?
<There is no cure for Lymphocystis, and because it isn't contagious, it isn't something that needs to be eliminated. Treatment is really all about optimising living conditions (and probably diet, e.g., with a vitamin supplement and/or fresh green foods) and waiting for the fish to get better by itself. Lymphocystis tumours will take months, even years to subside, though vets will sometimes surgically remove tumours from big, expensive fish such as Koi. I think you'd be surprised how often Koi receive high-end medical care comparable to cats and dogs! For more mundane fish, time is the great healer when it comes to Lymphocystis. Do remember that Lymphocystis is unsightly but usually not life-threatening (unless the tumour obstructs something important like the mouth, gills or vent).>
Can Potamotrygon even catch the virus.
<Exposed to the wrong conditions for a long time, sure, it's possible. But the virus is probably latent in most aquaria, and not something we normally worry about being "catchy". Killing viruses in aquaria is virtually impossible anyway, though again, some treatments do exist for the high value Koi which are subject to viral infections of various types.>
What steps should I do to clean the system after removal of contagious fish and setup?
<Think about what inorganic stress factors (such as heavy metals, like copper) might be present in the system. Think about the cleanliness of the aquarium generally -- the quality of the water, the frequency of water changes, and the turnover rate of the filter. Low oxygen levels can easily stress big fish like Stingrays and South American cichlids. Diet is probably a factor too, especially when you're keeping cichlids -- most are omnivores in the wild, but aquarists frequently neglect the green content of their diet, and fresh greens are probably important sources of vitamins that help support their immune systems.>
Thanks, Don
<Cheers, Neale.>

Stingray; FW     7/23/17
Hi crew.
I have a newly acquired male motoro stingray and he seems to be behaving weird. I have him in a 220 with a pair of clown knives , an Oscar, a red devil, large albino iridescent "shark" catfish,
<Mmm; you know this fish gets HUGE I take it>
a red tail catfish,

a Lima shovelnose, a Florida gar and a common Pleco. I got him 3 days ago and he is still not eating. I have offered tilapia and cod fillet, chopped market prawns and earthworms, ghost shrimp and some pellets. All items he was
eating previously. I have for the most part kept the lights off to help him adjust. I have a custom built filtration system and do 50 to 80 percent water changes every other day. Tank is bare bottom and the temperature is 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
<Mmm; well; you have a quite an "environmental mix" in fishes here... what are your water parameters in terms of the testing gear you have? Is your water very hard, alkaline?>
He keeps lifting his disc in front of his nose and placing it back down. The cichlids haven't touched him and the red tail catfish just pushed him out of the way and occasionally dog piles on top of him but this is the most extreme I have witnessed. I am aware of how big my fish get and have a suitable home under construction for them. Is this
normal for my ray?
<It is not unusual for Potamotrygonids to not eat for days after being moved; and they really don't like being prodded by other livestock. Do you have habitat where this fish can get out of the light, away from the other fishes?>
What does it mean? How can I get him to eat? Thanks
<I would be patient at this point... keep offering foods via a dowel (wood or plastic), right down in front of this fish daily. It should start taking food w/in a week. Bob Fenner>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

I do know my water has high PH around 8.2 but didn't expect it to be an issue as the water he was in before also had higher ph of around 8.2 , 8.3.
<Mmm; how long was this fish here? This is way too high period. The GH, KH?>
I don't have another set up at this time that would be adequate for him.
Ammonia is 0 and nitrates and nitrites are 0 as well.
<How are Nitrates rendered zip? Highly unusual w/ biological filtration, such large fishes>
I am just nervous as he is my first stingray and I spent years researching before my purchase but assumed since he was 8 inches across he would handle the catfish as he spent his days dog piling with leopoldi Ray's. Is the disc behavior a large concern at this point?
<Not a large concern, but the environment is BobF>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

As of right now the room I keep the tank in is lit by day light through one window and the tank has a small 5 inch LED light bar on it set to a midnight blue on one corner of the tank, where he chooses to be most of the time. I have 2 large pots forming somewhat of a barrier at opposite ends of the tank but nothing to where only the ray can access.
<I would be providing. B>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

He was there for the first year and a half of his life.
<Ah; good. This is a long period to become aquarium-tough>
Nitrates rendered 0 because I just replaced the biological media after a system malfunction during a power outage. It previously sat at 20 which is where I expect it to return to.
I am unsure of KH or GH at this time
<I'd be measuring; lowering if too high (by addition of less hard water).
Bob Fenner>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

What could you recommend that I construct or purchase that only the ray can access?
<Perhaps a raised up few inches PVC pipe array... made of tees or elbows and pipe sections>
An underwater sand box on one corner of the tank to wear he can bury himself ?
<Mmm; no; not necessary to have substrate>
Not too creative with what could be built or bought that only he could enter. I prefer bare bottom so I always know where the barbed venomous fish is and it's easier to clean but I want to make sure he is healthy and happy
<Understood. BobF>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

Have you heard of any other projects that could be built for him to hide?
<Wood and rock suspended overhangs>
I'm not sure if it'll work if the red tail decides to rest on top of it.
Just nervous about his well being. In addition to it being one of a few capstones of a monster fish keeper, and my first ray, they were essentially black listed in my country and now are not allowed to be imported or transferred over state lines. Just want to succeed. Am I likely to have success with this specie of ray with my set up and food I offer?
<I'd try blackworms, grass shrimp...>

Is there anything I could be missing in my set up to make him comfortable in terms of lighting or decor?
<... Please read here:
You're not likely to have success given the mis-mix of species here... The Pleco, other cats... Bob Fenner>
I do have a strong current from the return out of 2 canister filter hoses and another from a sump return and a fourth from a wave maker.

Help us please... FW Ray dis./losses; no info.   3/14/17
Hi, I have eight black diamonds stingray and some question about their
Now l lost four of them on two weeks ,and i didn't know about its treatment.
The sign of them stress ,breathing very fast, something like flukes on tail and loose appetite in final they live in 2600 l .
Thanks for your response
<Need more information Amir. What re filtration, water quality tests?
Foods/feeding/nutrition? Are there other livestock present? What? The history of this set up please. Have you read on WWM Re? Start HERE: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwraydisfaqs.htm
AND the linked files at top there. Bob Fenner>
re: Help us please... FW Rays... rdg., using WWM      3/15/17

Hi Bob
Thanks for your response.
<Welcome Amir>
I saw than link you mention before . I think it is better to give you more information that you guide me better.
I use volcanic media in aquarium sump
<Mmm; I wouldn't. Please read here re:

and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwraysysfaqs.htm
and i have gold Arowana with them and they grazes Tilapia every day .
<Need more than this>

At least we change the water twice a week around 30% . By the way ,i think its relate to bacterial or maybe fungal diseases . Please give me a remedy to treatment .
<? Did you read where I referred you?>

Thanks in advance for your response
<Can't help you if you won't read.

Potamotrygon, bacterial involvement?     1/6/17
I am trying to find out if Potamotrygon species of stingrays can be infected by Columnaris.
<Mmm; yes... I think so. Try the string, "Potamotrygon and Flavobacterium columnare" and you'll find a few "scholarly articles" linking the two>
A friend recently had new pups appx 7 days ago and now these white spots/patches have randomly started to appear on them. I have treated Columnaris on Scats and cichlids for other bacterial and fungal issues topically with Methylene Blue with great success, but not sure if this would be OK with Stingrays.
<Methylene Blue should be safe; though I don't know how effective>
I also breed them but have never had this issue. Any help would be appreciated, I do have a couple pics he sent.
<I'd do your best to produce and maintain "high quality" water; of low total bacteria count... I.e., massive water changes with soft, acidic new water frequently; over-filtered, uber-aerated... And optimized nutrition.
Bob Fenner>

urgent ...! motoro problems!       5/3/15
I have a problem , big one, I hope you can help me out :/. I got two sting rays motoro, around 15 cm. They are around 45 days in 750 L tank, with discus and 1 cat fish. Recently I noticed that one of my rays has some damage below, bottom side of the disk, and one small part of the disk is
missing, around 5 mm width. After few days, I noticed more of it, similar damage under disk. I moved stingray from the tank, and after few days, I noticed the same on another stingray, the “healthy” one that left in original tank.
Now, I am healing first one with Sera Omnipur, but I don’t see anything going better....please check photos that I managed to make, and help me out :/
thanks in advance
Poštovanje/Best regards
<Greetings! Is the catfish a Plec? They don't cohabit with Stingrays well. Sometimes chew them. Sera Omnipur is similar to eSHa 2000 in being an antibacterial medication but not an antibiotic. So while it can help, it isn't as reliable as proper antibiotics. It's also less safe with Stingrays than antibiotics. In any case: if you do have a Plec, remove it, and optimise water quality. With luck, the Stingray will heal. Consult with fishkeepers in your country as to the best sources of antibiotics if you need them. In Europe, antibiotics are only legally obtainable through vets, but not all vets help fishkeepers! So ask around for one who does. If your Stingray shows no signs of healing in the next couple of days, you really do want to be using antibiotics. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: urgent ...! motoro problems!       5/3/15
Hello, Thanks a lot for fast reply. No, the cat fish is L ..something...picture is attached.
<Yes, it's a Loricariidae family catfish... a "Plec" or "Pleco" in common parlance. Quite possibly the source of the problem. Loricariid catfish are opportunistic feeders, and when they nibble on stingrays, they create little scratches that bacteria can infect.>
I forgot to mention that my tank temp is 31 degrees,
<Somewhat warm for them. Do let me direct you here first of all:
Stingrays are demanding. Not easy to keep.>
because of discus. I am feeding stingrays with , im not sure is this correct translation, but i think its earthworm.
<A good food.>
Both stingrays eat them without problems. Sometimes, when i try to feed them both, i actually put 4,5 inside tank ,and they eat them all. Picture also in attachment.
Regarding water quality, what would be the best? also temperature? Till the ray is inside "healing" tank, should i change water every day or not? I didn't changed it yet, its already 3 days in same water.
<Do change water regularly, as usual. But generally if you add medicine in the morning, and do water change in the evening, the medicine will work fine. The instructions may say something different -- follow the instructions!>
Didn't changed because i wasn't sure what to do...Tank is 100liters.
<100 litres? For a stingray? That won't work.>
The guy who sold stingrays to me, he gave me Omnipur and said to try it, but he is not so experienced with stingrays so ...but anyway, that's all help i could find nearby. Could you advise few best antibiotics for sting rays, also how to use them, please?
<Your vet will tell you what to do. For what it's worth, Nitrofurazone is a popular choice for stingrays. Do you have access to Richard Ross' book/books on Stingrays? Would recommend.>
Our country is really small and inexperienced with stingrays, so i don't think i will be able to find anyone who actually do know how to threat sick stingrays.
<Ah, well, definitely buy something from Richard Ross. He's the expert!>
You think ,this is bacterial infection or something else...?
<I think bacterial, because of physical damage.>
Please help with some antibiotics, please write few in case that i cant find it here so easily.....
<Antibiotics aren't sold to fishkeepers here in the UK, so I cannot offer any specific advice about them. Here we can only get them from a vet.>
Thanks once more for reply, i will be waiting for your reply...Regards Pedja
<Welcome. Neale.>

Re: urgent ...! motoro problems!       5/3/15
Hello thanks a lot for reply!
Ok, then i will remove L catfish from the tank
So, you suggest Nitrofurazone?
Ok, i will try to find that. Is this antibiotic or something else?
<An antibiotic. Sold under various names. See here:
Other Nitrofuran antibiotics will probably work too.>
Regarding book, i will try to find and order online.
<Freshwater Stingrays (Complete Pet Owner's Manual) by Richard Ross is widely sold and inexpensive.>
About antibiotic, you said "Antibiotics aren't sold to fishkeepers here in the UK, so I cannot offer any specific advice about them. Here we can only get them from a vet." what do you mean, only get them from a vet?
<In the UK (and the EU, and in fact most other countries) antibiotics will only be supplied by a drugstore/pharmacy if you have a prescription from a vet or doctor. There are good reasons for this (including antibiotic resistance, an extremely serious problem). The US is an anomaly, with some antibiotics being sold without prescriptions, including some sold for
aquarists, but even there the tide is turning. Overall this is a good thing for public health, though inconvenient for fishkeepers!>
You can't buy it in some drugstore or similar....?
<Only with a prescription.>
I doubt any vet in my city will know what to provide....any chance you know name or antibiotics, so i can try to find it?
<Within the EU, anyone telling you were to buy antibiotics without a prescription is breaking the law.>
Thank YOU!
Regards PV
p.s. when i said 100 Litres tank, that's just one for healing, tank where i keep my stingrays is 750 litres.
<I would medicate the Rays in a big tank, and isolate the Plec in the smaller tank if necessary. 100 litres isn't healthy for a stingray. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: urgent ...! motoro problems!     5/5/15
thanks for help. Again...
I tried to find Nitrofurazone, of course, without success...
I managed to find Sera Bactopur direct. They told me there is Nitrofuran inside...?
<No. Do read their own website:
Essentially Acriflavine, phenylglycol and Methylene blue.>
What do you think about it?
<Not much.>

Another thing. We spoke about 'healing tank', 100 l. Today is the first day that sting ray is NOT eating at all. Also, she behave strangely, most of the time she is in one corner, breathing faster then usual. It looks like heart beating ....
<Do res my previous messages.>
You told me that I should heal her in bigger tank. The only one I have is my main 700 l tank , where I keep rest of my fish (15 discus, 100 neon fish, 10 Botia and another stingray) Do you think I should return her there?
Also, the filter in smaller "healing tank" is not so good, probably the better filtration is in main aq, because I have two Atman EF4 , canister filters. I must say that other sting ray has similar damage now , below disk.......that’s why I am thinking to bring back first sting ray, to get out L catfish, and put this Sera Baktopur direct inside.....that’s all I can ....!
please advise ,fast thanks
<Antibiotics. Short time span to help your Stingray. Cheers, Neale.>

Stingray- fresh water- URGENT (RMF, any other ideas?)<<Mmm; no>>       2/28/15
Hi there I bought a stingray about 2 weeks ago and he is developing a black/red spot close to his eye. Also I am concerned be caused near his eyes there is a purple/grayish/bluish color. Please let me know what to do. See pictures below. Thank you!!
<These appear to be some sort of damage to the skin, likely exacerbated by the environment. Healthcare of/for stingrays (and Elasmobranchs generally) is 99.9% prevention, and there's virtually nothing you can do in terms of treatment, so let's review the basics.
Stingrays need massive aquaria. Hundreds (plural) of US gallons for adults. More importantly, the bottom of the aquarium should measure not less than 6 feet in length and 3 feet in width (that's about 200 cm x 100 cm in metric). Depth trivially important, provided the volume of the aquarium is upwards of 200, 250 gallons, and the more the better. Success in (slightly) smaller tanks with juveniles might be possible if you use a sump to maintain substantial, 150+ gallon volumes.
Next up, water quality. Zero ammonia and nitrite, obviously; nitrate should be as low as practical, certainly below 20 mg/l. Lots of oxygen including very high circulation rates (again, marine-grade wet/dry filter and sump probably essential). Water chemistry on the other hand isn't too important, though avoid extremely hard water if possible. To get the near-zero nitrate levels most successful stingray keepers use RO filters to remove the nitrate from their tap water, in which case hardness will be low anyway, and they'll be buffering with Discus Buffer mix. But if you happen to have zero nitrate soft water out of your tap (perhaps you live in the Scottish Highlands for example) then your tap water may well be fine. If, and only if you are providing optimal conditions, stingrays usually heal from this sort of physical damage quite well. In less (even slightly less) than ideal conditions, these sorts of symptoms are often the beginning of the end. I don't have to sugar-coat my words here because folk who keep stingrays are usually very rich, because keeping these fish for any length of time is insanely expensive by fishkeeping standards. If you don't already have Richard Ross' excellent stingray book(s), rush and buy a copy, express delivery (again, money no object for a stingray keeper, and the 10-40 bucks on said books won't phase you at all. Hmm... what else to mention... remove any tankmates likely to cause damage of this type (such as Plecs), as always make sure you've used sand or very smooth/fine gravel rather than cheap aquarium gravel, remove rocks/bogwood roots... the usual. Optimise conditions. You'll have done your research I'm sure, and understand stingrays are insanely sensitive to nitrate (let alone ammonia and nitrite), can't be medicated with standard pet store medications (copper and formalin especially are straight out lethal), and won't forgive even the slightest transgressions on your part. If your specimens are still otherwise healthy, eating, and putting on weight, then the outlook is actually good in a gigantic aquarium with superb water quality. No treatment needed on your part IF you can identify the source of damage and remove it. Otherwise, not so rosy. Hmm... do write back with data on the tank, tankmates if you need some feedback on your system (critical or supportive, as the case may be). Hope this helps, Neale.>


Re: Stingray- fresh water- URGENT (RMF, any other ideas?) /RMF       3/16/15
Hi there I have another problem!! The stingray is sideways. See video attached. Does this mean he is dying?!?
<Very bad.... am reading your prev. corr. below.... DO review what Neale has written; as well as the archived article and FAQs files on WWM for the family. The sand is wrong here... and the tankmates... Do you have salt
added to this water? Not advised for Potamotrygonids. IF you have another established system of size MOVE THIS ANIMAL now.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Stingray- fresh water- URGENT (RMF, any other ideas?)       3/16/15

But he is a fresh water stingray are you sure he should be in salt??
<... AM sure it does NOT tolerate salt... but saw a few brackish water fishes in your video. Don't write: READ. BobF>
Re: Stingray- fresh water- URGENT (RMF, any other ideas?)       3/16/15

I read the email. I DONT have any salt in the tank. All the mates in the tank are fresh water
<Ah, B; sending to Neale for his follow-up>
Re: Stingray- fresh water- URGENT (RMF, any other ideas?) /Neale        3/16/15

Hi there I have another problem!! The stingray is sideways.
<A very bad sign.>
See video attached
<Alarming. For one thing, you have freshwater and brackish water fish (i.e., Monos, Scats) mixed together. Among the freshwater fish are hard water specialists (like the Mbuna) with soft water fish (Oscars). Finally, you have some heavy polluters (Pangasius catfish, Oscars) alongside your very sensitive Stingray. So while the aquarium looks quite spacious and
clean, I'd be very, VERY surprised in water quality was good and water chemistry optimal. What's the nitrate level? What's the hardness? If you can't answer these questions instantly, you shouldn't be keeping Stingrays -- honestly, you need a great deal of skill to keep Stingrays, and absolutely must have those "good habits" like weekly water chemistry and quality tests. You really do need to be going beyond pH and nitrite... if you think those are adequate, again, you shouldn't be keeping Stingrays.
Nitrate is critical because it's a measure of "old" water, and needs to be low, realistically, 20 mg/l or less. If you detect any ammonia or nitrite at all, then the Stingray is at severe risk of death.>
Does this mean he is dying?!?
<Certainly this chap needs to be (carefully, gradually) transferred to optimal water conditions NOW. He's not falling apart and doesn't look especially thin, so there's hope. But at the same time, he's unlikely to recover kept in whatever conditions got him to this sorry state.
Do also check copper levels (a common poison used to treat Whitespot, for example, but lethal to Stingrays) and this may include the need to use a chemical adsorbent (such as Poly-Filter) to remove any copper even after doing substantial water changes. In all honesty, I'm a ways off being convinced you've got the skills to keep a Stingray. Your combination of fish in this tank is random, and while it might work for now, that's more luck than judgment. Scats and Monos have some capacity to survive imperfect conditions, and if yours are okay for now in hard freshwater, then you might be luck for a while yet. But the simple fact you've tried to keep them alongside Oscars and Mbuna suggests you didn't do much/any research, and research is the key to keeping Stingrays. Do rush and buy Richard Ross' book on Stingrays (the Barron's one is quite cheap) and read thoroughly.
Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Stingray- fresh water- URGENT (RMF, any other ideas?) /RMF      3/17/15

He died this morning.
<.... environmental>
Re: Stingray- fresh water- URGENT (RMF, any other ideas?) /Neale      3/17/15

He died this morning.
<Ah, that's truly too bad. But I'm honestly not surprised. Tiffany, you really need to sit down the think (Bob would add: "read"). Your tank looks lovely, for sure, but the selection of fish is random... ill-advised... ultimately incompatible. If you put brackish/marine fish (Scats, Monos) in with freshwater fish, it suggests, at best, a somewhat cavalier approach to fishkeeping. Fine with hardy stuff... Plecs, large barbs, maybe even some of the cichlids which genuinely can adapt to less than optimal conditions. But Stingrays offer you ZERO, as in NO, scope for error. They simply won't accept that. Keeping Stingrays is all about the numbers. Test kits, filtration, water changes... it's all crucial. Before you buy another, please, PLEASE buy a book about them. The Rich Ross one from Barron's costs $15... a fraction of the expense required to even BEGIN keeping Stingrays.
Long-term, yes, you'd probably find these terrific fish. But here-and-now, recognise your lack of skill/care/effort is what killed this fish, and until you can get past that, you won't succeed with Stingrays. Does this make sense? Cheers, Neale.>

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