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FAQs on Freshwater Stingray Social Disease  

FAQs on FW Stingray Disease: FW Stingray Disease 1, FW Stingray Disease 2, FW Stingray Disease 3, FW Stingray Disease 4,  
FAQs on FW Stingray Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Environment, Nutrition, Trauma, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic, Treatments

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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,


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.>

Teacup Sting Ray Sore Near Hump 8/19/10
I have a 125 gallon tank containing Discus (8), Ram (6),
<These both need much warmer water than the Stingray, so either they'll be too cold or the rays too warm.
Remember, the warmer water is, the less oxygen it contains, and the warmer a fish is kept, the faster its metabolism. That's a double whammy because it means the fish has less oxygen available despite wanting more, and because its metabolism is progressing faster than normal, there's more ammonia in the aquarium, meaning water quality worsens more quickly. Even if the filter handles the ammonia and nitrite, you're still getting more nitrate by the end of each week. So the golden rule is to keep fish towards the low end of their temperature range. For most Potamotrygon, the standard 25 C/77 F is perfect. By contrast, Symphysodon spp and Mikrogeophagus ramirezi need warmer water, 28-30/82-86 F. In other words, there's no overlap.>
Stingray Tank (2),
<Not sure what you mean here? Two Stingrays in this tank?>
Bushynose Pleco (1) and Clown Pleco (1).
<On the whole Suckermouth catfish are BAD choices for Stingray tanks;
the risk is that they'll When feeding today, I noticed a fairly large fleshy open sore on my female stingray.
It is a little larger than a quarter located on her back near the hump. I am so nervous and do not know what to do.
<As little as possible. With Stingrays the use of either salt or vet-prescribed antibiotics are generally safe, but everything else -- copper, malachite green, Methylene blue, formalin, tea-tree oil -- should be treated with extreme distrust. Even antibiotics should be used with great caution, and only if you are 100% sure they are safe, which usually requires consultation with a vet or a demonstrably experienced ray-keeper.>
I have searched everywhere and am unable to locate any information about this. She is eating and then stays under the sand (usually very active). I am concerned that the sand will further irritate her wound.
<It could very easily be a bite from the male, since males "hold onto" females with their teeth. If the wound is on the top of the head or the back itself, then that's where I'd put my money. Otherwise, Suckermouth
catfish can and do latch onto Stingrays periodically, whether accidentally or deliberately is hard to say. Injuries are almost impossible to treat, and it's really a question of relying on the fact that these fish heal very quickly given perfect water quality. If water quality is even slightly below perfect, then the wound will likely get worse.>
Yesterday I added a medium sized, flat, semi course rock to my tank (since removed). I am thinking the ray may have grazed against the rock causing the wound/sore and irritation.
<Possible, but does depend on where the injury is. If the scratch is on the belly or possibly the edges of the fins, then abrasive rocks can be to blame. But injuries to the head and upper surface of the disk are almost always caused by other fish.>
Everyone else in the tank is fine. Are there any diseases I should worry about or do you think it was the rock?
<The only diseases to worry about are secondary infections. If water quality is optimal, then the risk is small and the Stingray will heal. But on the other hand Stingrays die very quickly from secondary infections.>
I am concerned with an infection setting in. Do I need to quarantine (I heard rays don't handle tank changes well)?
<Let's be crystal clear, the Stingray aquarium SHOULD BE effectively a quarantine tank. No tankmates are advised. None. Zip. Nada. You will find very few experienced Stingray keepers advising tankmates, and ALL agree that beginners should keep them on their own.>
I am also concerned that treatment will harm my discus (as they are sensitive to chemicals).
<Modern Discus are as tough as old boots compared to your Stingrays.>
Any advise you can give is very much appreciated.
Thank you,
<Do make sure you have read up on the needs of these fish. 125 gallons is too small for Stingrays, and realistically the tank should be at minimum a couple of metres in length and about half that in width, in Imperial units about 6 feet long and 3 feet across. Depth is unimportant. Water volume for two specimens needs to be at least three times what you have. Water quality needs to be superb: 0 ammonia and nitrite obviously, but also near-zero nitrate, and that means you're doing 25% water changes weekly using RO
water or similar with just "Amazon" salts added (or a 10-25% dose of Rift Valley cichlid salt mix as required) for water chemistry around 3-10 degrees dH, pH 6.5-7.5. Almost all Stingrays die within a year because people buy them without the faintest notion how much work they are. If you don't own Richard Ross' excellent "Freshwater Stingrays (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)" or the Gonella & Axelrod "Freshwater Stingrays" then you aren't properly equipped, if you ask my opinion. Either of these books is
as essential as water and a filter. I hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

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