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FAQs on Freshwater Stingray Compatibility

Related Articles: Freshwater Stingrays,

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

Teacup stingray and tankmates, stkg/sel., sys.  -- 12/5/11
Hi,
<Hello,>
I have been trying to do some research on what I can keep with a teacup stingray.
<You mean a juvenile Stingray. There's no such thing as a "teacup stingray"
as such, any more than there's any such thing as a "kitten". You can buy a kitten, but you actually end up with a cat. Same here. Teacup Stingrays are simply smaller, even more delicate versions of the 30-60 cm/12-24 inch disc-width Stingrays kept by very advanced, very rich aquarists.>
I have an 85 gallon fish tank
<Much too small.>
and was looking to populate it.
<You mean with OTHER things beyond the Ray? Not a chance. Even for the Ray, this is, at best, a temporary home for a few weeks while you buy the 200, 300, 400 gallon aquarium you need. Let's be CRYSTAL clear about this.
Stingrays are incredibly difficult to keep alive, and most are killed by their owners within a few months. Unless you have a HUGE amount of money, LOTS of space, and a VERY understanding family, they're not viable pets.
Put it this way: I'm an expert fishkeeper, and I wouldn't touch a Stingray with a bargepole. Don't have the money, space or time.>
I was considering a black ghost knifefish, tire track eel, teacup stingray and possibly a hammers cobalt blue lobster and snails (snails for food and for cleaning).
<Not in this tank. In 300, 400 gallons perhaps the Tyre-Track Eel and the even the Knifefish might work. The crayfish would simply be an unnecessary risk (both ways -- the Ray might eat the crayfish, but just as easily, the crayfish could damage the Ray). Snails, sure, why not. As you say, live food.>
I was going to do a sand substrate or a fine gravel.
<Or no substrate at all, depending on your aquarium. There are arguments both way, and I urge you to review them. If nothing else, what sort of sand or gravel do you intend to use?>
I have a pretty powerful filter (canister).
<"A" filter won't be enough. You're aiming for turnover rates of 8 times the volume of the tank per hour. Let's say you start with a bare minimum 200 gallons, which would be okay for growing out a youngster for a year or two. That means a filter 8 x 200 = 1600 gallons/hour. That's almost twice the 900 gallons/hour rating of the MASSIVE Fluval FX5 filter.>
I also wanted to be able to hand feed my fish.
<Sure. But do be aware of how dangerous Stingrays can be. Furthermore, there's a small risk that chemicals on your skin, e.g., soap, can get into the water and poison your Stingray. Much better to use satay sticks or forceps to lower food into the aquarium.>
I know the teacup and the knifefish can be fed by  hand.  I was also thinking of an Arowana (which I have also seen hand fed).  I just wanted to know if those seemed like compatible tank mates.
<A single Arowana can't be kept in 85 gallons, let alone with a Stingray. I like your choice of fish, I really do. Some great species there. But you need a massive tank for these. A pond, really. Since Stingrays are wildly expensive pets, I'm assuming you're a rich chap. That's great. So, run to your nearest bookstore, and buy one of these two books: Freshwater Stingrays (Complete Pet Owner's Manual) by Richard Ross, or else Freshwater Stingrays by Hans Gonella & Herbert Axelrod. Both will set up back around 10-20 $, but if you can't afford that, you can't afford to keep a Stingray.
After all, you'll be spending at least that much a week on water changes because of the RO filter you need to produce soft, nitrate-free water (tap water is essentially unusable unless you happen to have soft water with less than 10 mg/l nitrate out of the tap, which hardly anyone does).>
I know that some eels will snap at an invertebrate that is in the tank, but the cobalt lobster is pretty big, almost 6 inches. 
<And yet precisely the sort of prey Rays would eat in the wild.>
Than I was thinking if the lobster would snap or pinch the stingray since they're both bottom dwellers?
<Indeed.>
Any feedback would help.
Thank you,
Ramy
<Hope that this isn't too negative! I don't mean to be harsh here, but you're bought an INCREDIBLY difficult animal to maintain, and unless you have many hundreds of gallons of water, even keeping the Stingray alive, let alone the other fish, will be hard/impossible. Best of luck, Neale.>
Re: Teacup stingray and tankmates -- 12/5/11

Thank you very much for your feedback.  I am aware of the teacup term, I just use it out of habit.  I have read that they only get around 12cm around
<Uh, no. Definitely not. These are Potamotrygon species of some sort.
Potamotrygon orbignyi and Potamotrygon reticulatus are two common species.
Both get to at least 30 cm across, which means they need a tank twice that in width front to back, and four times (preferably six times) that from left to right. Depth is largely irrelevant. But that's still an aquarium about 60 cm in width and 120, ideally 180 cm from left to right. That'll be around the 200 gallon mark rather than 75 or 85 gallons.>
and other sites have said that a 75 gal would be the smallest doable aquarium for it.
<Not a chance.>
In regards to my filter:  I think my filter does 250gph, and I already have the 85 gallon aquarium, I'm not going to replace it, I'm going to get what I can in it, if that means a couple substitutions to my list than so be it.
<Substitute what? Filter media?>
To the substrate: I was thinking a sand or a fine gravel, maybe 1.5 inches deep (that was cause I know rays like to hide in it)
<Ah, now, that's the thing. Yes, they like sand, and a couple cm/1 inch would be about right. Enough for them to hide under. But at the same time sand and gravel trap dirt and are difficult to clean. This means you don't see things like faeces and uneaten food, and that in turn means you can't keep nitrate levels low. Plus, sand and gravel can encourage bacteria to grow on the bottom of the tank, and these bacteria can irritate, even infect, the underside of the Stingray. So while you can keep Stingrays in tanks with sand, there's a good argument not to. I'd read what people like Richard Ross have to say before making your decision. As you observe, there are psychological benefits, and ultimately you have to balance them against the potential for problems through trapped dirt.>
I really appreciate your comments they helped, but its so hard when so many different sites say such different things (and by different, I mean opposite ends) some say that rays are not THAT hard to care for,
<Ask yourself who's saying they're "easy". Someone who's kept a Stingray for a few months? A year? Then go read what someone says who's kept them for 12, 12 years; someone who breeds them. I urge you to read one of those two books I mentioned. They're experts in Ray keeping and will tell you the truth.>
others say that a 75 gal is ok,
<Crazy talk. If this was true, we'd all be keeping Stingrays.>
others say a 200 gal is required
<Starting to get realistic, but the surface area of the tank is even more critical than it's volume.>
and the list goes on with discrepancies.
<Really, if you read the solid, reliable stuff -- it's actually very consistent what Stingrays need. A big aquarium, sized as mentioned above, twice the width of the ray front to back, and 4-6 times, minimum, from left to right. A sump is recommended for extra water volume so pH fluctuation is minimised and nitrate diluted. Massive filtration. RO filter for nitrate-free water at water changes. Discus buffer or similar to hold the soft water at a steady pH (actually, you can keep them in moderately hard, slightly basic water successfully, but water quality MUST be excellent). No tankmates ideally, but if you must have tankmates, choose VERY peaceful species that won't cause problems, e.g., Oscars. The problem with Stingrays above all else is that once they get sick, they die. There is very little medication that works, and many medicines kill them quickly, e.g., copper and formalin. So you must PREVENT problems, and that means the biggest tank and the best water quality you can provide. And that's before we even talk about diet!>
I'm sure you're right so I may have to adjust my list a little.
Thanks,
Ramy
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Teacup stingray and tankmates -- 12/6/11

I mean to say 12 inches ~ 30cm  (I'm American, sorry, we use the SI not metric).  I understand what you're saying about the size, yeah my tank is about 122cm by 55cm (area of bottom).
<Which will be fine for a Ray up to about, what, 27 C/11 inches disc width.
At least, in terms of "square footage". Volume will still be a problem. Do understand the real issue you'll have keeping nitrate low (below 10 mg/l) and pH stable.>
And I meant substitutions to my fish list.  I may have to erase the stingray (so sad) and the Arowana.  If that's the case I'll just get the knife fish and the fire or tire track eel and maybe a puffer.
<Not in the same tank, I hope! Puffers are one fish, one tank animals in almost all cases. On the other hand, the African Brown Knifefish, Xenomystus nigri, is an exceptionally good choice for tanks in the 50-100 gallon range and can be kept with Spiny Eels of appropriate size, e.g., Mastacembelus favus.>
Im glad I got your advice first, I would love to have a stingray and an Arowana; however, I'd be heartbroken if they died.
Thank you
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Teacup stingray and tankmates  12/6/11

Would the spotted puffer cause trouble to an eel or something much bigger?
<The Green Spotted Puffer, which is the one you see in the shops, is a brackish/marine fish. It should not be kept with anything except, perhaps, other GSPs.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_1/cav1i1/green_spotted_puppies.htm
Pet shops sell them as freshwater fish, but they're not. It's a lie!!!
Cheers, Neale.>
What about the SAP?  12/6/11

<What about it? Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/ColomesusartNeale.htm
A small, nervous, hyperactive and quite gregarious species that looks best kept in groups in planted tanks. Not entirely community-safe, but can be kept with fast-moving barbs, Danios, etc., as well as catfish that hide away a lot (not Corydoras!). Too small to be kept with anything aggressive or substantially larger. One of my favourite fish, but approach with caution. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Teacup stingray sys.   12/6/11
If I told you my tank specifications would you be able to tell me what I'd still need to buy in terms of setup:
<Sure.>
I have an 85 gal tank:
an Eheim canister filter (250 gph) - Should I buy one of those little Hob filters to compliment it?
<Honestly, I'd get another external canister filter, even a generic one, but it's up to you. You've got a turnover rate of about 3 times the volume of the tank per hour. That may well be adequate if the tank isn't heavily stocked, but I'd go with 4 times turnover rate for small fish up to, say, about 8 cm/3 inches, and 6 times for bigger fish that produce more waste (both solid waste and ammonia). Canister filters are useful because you can position them anywhere in the tank, and thereby get optimal water circulation. Have one spray bar at one and, another spray bar at the other, a sucking-in pipe at the bottom, and a sucking-in pipe higher at the other end of the tank. Hang-on-the-back filters largely limit you to one position. They can be good value, and they do aerate the water nicely, but they do mean you have a big opening at the back of the tank through which jumpy fish (such as Spiny Eels, Loaches and Puffers) will surely escape.
Internal canisters can be a good compromise, and some of the heavy-duty ones are very convenient. They're super-easy to clean, can be placed anywhere in the tank, and they only require a small opening for the power cable, easily blocked with filter wool if you're worried fish might escape.>
2 heaters - 200 watts each 12" I think  (do I just need one?)
<Depends on the temperature of the room. But these two should be easily adequate together, whereas one might have to work too hard, which will increase the chances of it failing. Consult the aquarium size guide on the packaging that came with the heaters, or Google aquarium heater wattage or some such to find tables published online.>
Do I need an air pump or would the canister filter do a good job at agitating the water enough? I initially thought they were mandatory than research told me otherwise.
<Quite so. If you have adequate water circulation from the filter, i.e., water is sucked up from the bottom of the tank and sprayed out at the top, an airstone isn't essential. Try without it, and if the fish seem lethargic or hang around the surface of the tank too much, add the airstone. In a correctly filtered tank, airstones aren't usually needed, so I tend to spend the money on an extra filter, even a little clip-in internal canister filter, than on an air pump and airstone.>
Also, what type of media do I put in my canister?  I just read that you said carbon is basically worthless if you're doing water changes,
<In freshwater aquaria, yes, this is so. Carbon removes dissolved organic chemicals that acidify the water and turn it yellow. In a well-run aquarium you'll be doing water changes every week or two that will remove these chemicals anyway, so the carbon does little of use. Plus, carbon needs replacing every couple weeks. In practice, carbon left in the filter for a few weeks becomes a rather good biological filter, hosting the bacteria, but you can use sponges or ceramic noodles for that. If you have the carbon, go ahead and use it, but do understand that it isn't likely to be doing what you think it should be doing.>
I was going to order mechanical (ehfimech) and biological media (ehfisubstrat pro), so what should I put in the third level, the blue pad? 
or should I do wool and sponges for all 3?  What do you think?
<Any combination sounds good. The Eheim media are excellent. In my bigger community tank, I simply fill the Eheim 2217 with blue sponges and the Fluval with ceramic noodles.>
I haven't decided a 100% what I'm going to put in my tank, but I was thinking of getting some fine gravel (rounded edges) incase I get a bottom dweller?
<Sounds good. There are pros and cons to gravel, but a fairly fine, smooth grade is a good default substrate. The only fish I'd avoid keeping with gravel on principle are Spiny Eels, but otherwise most fish, even medium to large Loaches, will prosper in a tank with this substrate.>
Also, would i be able to use a siphon to clean the gravel if its fine or will it come up the tube with the water?
<Some will, but it ends up in the bucket and you can just pour it back in.
With a bit of care though, you'll find this isn't really a problem.>
And if so what can you use to clean fine gravel?
<Ideally, you stir the gravel with a stick first (a chopstick or bamboo cane is ideal) and then as the dirt comes into the water, you siphon out the water. You'll never remove all the dirt this way, but you will remove enough, and some of the silt is helpful in providing nutrients for plants such as CO2 and providing a substrate for filter bacteria (though neither of this benefits is a big deal). You can get gravel vacuum attachments to stir the gravel as you siphon, and these do help keep the gravel cleaner, but I don't find them particularly good value. Or at least, in a well-filtered tank, the sediment that accumulates in the sand (I rarely use gravel) doesn't seem that big of a deal.>
Thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Teacup stingray and tankmates, sys. UV use     12/11/11

Hi Neale,
<Hello!>
It's me again, I just bought another canister (cascade 1000) so my 85 gal tank is now up to about 6 times turnover per hour.  I did want to ask you what you think about the in line UV sterilizations add-ons for canisters? I heard they do pretty good work and was wondering if you think they're worth purchasing?
<If you have the money, yes, they can be useful. They reduce certain types of algae (diatom and blue-green algae blooms in particular) and also reduce the risks of, but do not cure or prevent completely, certain types of infection (for example, Whitespot). UV filters don't do any harm, and while expensive to install, if you only run them when you need to (e.g., after adding a new fish or if you have a bloom of diatoms) the UV tubes will last a long time (switched on continuously, they last about 12 months). On the other hand, outside wholesale and retail, where they are essential, UV is a luxury rather than a necessity, so if money is an issue, there are better ways to spend your money.>
Thanks,
Ramy
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Teacup stingray and tankmates    12/11/11

Wow that was the fastest response I've ever got, thanks.
<Most welcome.>
Is 6 times per hour too much, is there such a thing as too much filtration?
<Not really, no. You can have too much current for certain types of fish, e.g., those from ponds rather than streams, but big, riverine fish like Stingrays appreciate strong currents and can do well with 8, 10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. Do avoid supersaturating the water with oxygen though. Circulation is good, but turbulence isn't necessarily good. Cheers, Neale.>

FW Ray fdg.   9/13/2011
Hey guys quick question
I feed my motoro this AM and tonight she pooped out a part of undigested night crawler that was feed to her in the AM should I be concern? This has never happen to any of my rays. Thanks again
Maria
<This is not unusual and not a problem. Cheers, Neale.>

FW ray compatibility   1/22/11
hi I'm going to get a 300g tank 78"x28"x28" it will have a 50g sump with a 5k gph pump I was thinking Amazon blackwater with discus tetras est and was thinking about a ray p Reticulata or p Hystrix and was wondering how they would do with discus and cardinal/Rummynose tetras I know rays eat smaller fish but I would have 200+ tetras and was wondering how much damage a ray would do
<Hello. Is this your first ever Stingray? If it is, can I strongly advise you NOT to keep anything with it. Not for at least a year, anyway. There are dozens of reasons for this, but the prime ones are these: Firstly, adding tankmates increases the chances of getting Whitespot and similar in your tank, and the medications for these are deadly to Rays. Secondly, other fish may peck at your Stingray, and in doing so you risk Finrot, and again, medications used for these are stressful even deadly to Rays.
Finally, maintenance of Stingrays requires extremely good water quality, not least of all near-zero nitrate levels. The more fish you have, the more difficult this will be. Assuming you're using an RO filter to produce nitrate-free water, and then a suitable mineral salt mix to raise the hardness and pH to a safe level, there's a massive expense involved in water changes. So why make things even worse by increasing the number of water changes? Before you do anything else, buy one of the Stingray books -- the Barron's one by Richard Ross is excellent. If you can't afford the $10 for that book, you can't afford to keep a Stingray, end of story. Hope
this helps, Neale.> 

Freshwater Stingrays, comp.   6/8/10
Hey, how's it goin? I was hoping to get a little advice on tankmates for a freshwater stingray.
<Hope you have a gigantic aquarium!>
I had kept them with Silver Arowana's but they grow very fast and I would like to switch things up.
<Meaning what? You're rehoming the Arowanas? That's good, because Osteoglossum bicirrhosum is not really suitable for home aquaria. It's far too large.>
I really like Frontosas.
<Not a good choice here.>
Would it be possible to keep one of these gentle giants with a ray?
<No.>
I know they have different ph requirements.
<It's not the pH, it's the hardness. That you're talking about pH worries me, because that's a "newbie" level of comprehension, if you don't mind me saying so. Fish don't mind about pH, but they do mind about hardness, both
general hardness and carbonate hardness. I'm assuming you're keeping your Stingray in fairly soft water, up to 10 degrees dH. Cyphotilapia frontosa needs water that is much harder, and in particular needs a much higher level of carbonate hardness so that the pH is steady at around 8. There's really no overlap between what the Cyphotilapia needs and what the Stingray needs.>
But I was told the stingray can adapt to a higher ph.
<Told by whom?>
If this is not possible can you steer me in a better direction?
<Before you spend one more penny, run to your nearest bookstore and buy a copy of Richard Ross' excellent 'Freshwater Stingrays' from Barron's. If you can't afford the less than $10 for book, you can't afford to keep a
Stingray. Simple as that. Do remember almost everyone who buys a Stingray kills it prematurely. The mortality rate among these animals is horrific.
Maybe one in ten survive the first year. All experts agree that they are best kept alone, and if you have a burning need to spend money, then you'd be better off buying a larger aquarium, bigger filter, and preferably an RO unit for producing nitrate-free tap water.>
I appreciate your time and knowledge. Thank you, Aaron
<You are most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Freshwater Stingrays  6/8/10
The tank is a 180 gallon.
<Far too small for Stingrays.>
I just converted from saltwater back to freshwater. I have not bought anything except some Danios to cycle the tank.
<Okay.>
I have kept the stingray and Arowanas combination in the past.
<Can work, though some Scleropages are highly territorial, e.g., S. jardinei, in which the combination is very risky.>
Yes, I had to rehome two of the Arowanas.
<I see.>
Which is why I do not want to go that route again.
<Wise.>
I had kept my stingray alive and healthy for a good two years and decided to try saltwater.
<Did you give away the Stingray? Seriously, 180 gallons, especially 180 US gallons, is far too small for an adult Stingray. It's not so much the gallons as the square feet. Remember, a Stingray aquarium needs to be 4 times as long as the Stingray's disc width, and at least twice as broad (front to back) as the disc width. For a common Stingray like P. motoro, we're talking a 45 cm/18 inch disc width, in which case the aquarium needs to be 6 feet long and 3 feet broad. That's a huge aquarium! Even the "small" species P. reticulatus isn't much smaller than that, over 30 cm/12 inches across.>
Was not too impressed.
<Nor was I, which is why I stick with freshwater!>
Really wish I had kept the ray. I had been reading a forum and they were discussing the combo I asked about. I figured it wouldn't work. I am not a newbie. Don't mind you saying so.
<Cool.>
Have been keeping fish for 15 years or so. Everyone has a different opinion as to what is right and wrong.
<Which is why I really recommend that Richard Ross book. It's very, VERY good.>
Very hard to find a good LFS. Which is why I prefer your info. Any other suggestions?
<Tankmates for Stingrays are tricky because [a] each fish of similar size doubles the rate at which ammonia, nitrite and nitrate accumulate; and [b] even relatively docile fish, such as Plecs, can cause physical damage to the Stingray, and treating any subsequent infections is very difficult.
Among catfish, that standout species is Sorubim lima, a very peaceful species best kept in pairs or trios. Quiet South American cichlids such as Oscars and Rotkeil Severums can also work well, the latter being particularly colourful as well as herbivorous, so there's limited competition for food. If you can find them, Canara Pearlspots would probably work well, too -- but you'll pay a pretty penny for these beauties! Bichirs are sometimes kept with Stingrays, but I'd be wary about this because both compete for living space at the bottom of the aquarium.
Medium-sized tetras, like Congo Tetras and Silver Dollars can work nicely if kept in a big school, but you have to choose species too big to be eaten while not so aggressive they're a hazard to the Stingray.>
Thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Freshwater Stingrays   6/8/10
Yeah, I gave the stingray back to the store. I know my tank will not house a stingray as it gets bigger.
<Mine neither. But there are some excellent oddballs you could keep in an aquarium this size. Look at Bichirs for example, especially Polypterus ornatipinnis and Polypterus delhezi. Among the medium to large sized predatory characins are Ctenolucius and Boulengerella, both of which are very peaceful towards fish they can't actually eat. If you know where to look, you can find some stunning Loricariidae, such as the bizarre colour-changing whiptail Pseudohemiodon apithanos, a species that lives on sand and pretends to be leaf litter. Schools of Anostomus anostomus are exceptionally beautiful, but if you want a challenge, what about Pike Cichlids, Mormyrids, Fire Eels or Tetraodon lineatus? Really, the list of unusual freshwater fish is inexhaustible, you just have to be prepared to
shop a little harder.>
I had what the store calls a teacup. I know they are only referring to size when they say teacup.
<Indeed, but is commonly P. reticulatus these days.>
But I was able to keep him for two years and could have had him even longer if I didn't decide to make a dumb decision and try saltwater.
<Oh.>
I may decide to go in another direction, who knows. Just trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with the tank. I may go the route of African Cichlids again.
<Can be a great choice, but many people end up with a mish-mash of fighting, hybridised cichlids. Do spend some time reading here and elsewhere before embarking on this. Planning is crucial.>
Thanks.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Fish (Potamotrygon and Balantiocheilos; cohabiting)   1/18/10
Can Bala sharks live with rays if in correct tank size? Thanks
<In theory, yes, but unless you're running the Shedd Aquarium it's hard to imagine you'll have a tank the correct size. I mention this because Stingrays need huge tanks to do well, a tank twice the disc width of the species front to back, and at least three times its disc width from left to right. This would be about 6 feet long and 4 feet wide for the "small" species usually sold, like Potamotrygon Motoro that get to 18-24 inches in disc width. Let's say you start with a tank 6 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 2 feet deep, that's 48 cubic feet, or 360 US gallons. Oh, you say to me, surely most people keeping stingrays don't have tanks that big? Indeed not.
And most people keeping stingrays end up with dead stingrays. Very, VERY few people keep them alive for anything like their natural lifespan, often losing them within the first year. Let's say a group of three or four Bala Sharks needs another 125 gallons on top of that (a conservative estimate, given their adult size and need for company of their own kind). We're then looking at a tank nearer 500 gallons. To be sure, you could get by with less volume if the filtration was extremely robust and you did massive water changes, but given the cost in RO water to reduce nitrate levels, plus the minerals you'd need to harden the RO to the appropriate water chemistry, it's still very expensive. So, think VERY carefully before embarking on a project like this. If you haven't already bought Richard Ross' excellent (and very cheap) book "Freshwater Stingrays", do so NOW; it's the best $9 you'll ever spend. If you can't afford that book, you can't afford to keep a stingray. Cheers, Neale.> 

FW Rays... sys., comp.,   12/27/09
Hello,
<Hi.>
I have 2 freshwater reticulated 6 inch diameter rays. Male and female. My tank is 6 feet long by 18 inches wide and 24 tall. I have 300 gallons of filtration
<I'm not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean you have a filter "rated" for a 300 gallon tank? Or you're turning over 300 gallons per hour? These rays are some of the more sensitive rays in terms of making it "through" trauma after shipping, and yours are still quite small. Pristine water conditions are going to be necessary. I would ensure that you're getting 8 to 10 times turnover of your tank's volume per hour for these sensitive fish. In addition, it's best to test regularly with these fish -- when kept well, they eat a surprising amount, and all of that food comes right back out as waste. You'll want to catch any potential problems with the biological filter quickly in order to keep them healthy. Also, frequent water changes are necessary to keep Nitrate as low as possible.>
and will be getting a 200 to 300 gallon tank in about a year or so.
<This sounds good! Do make sure that you pay attention to footprint when selecting the new tank. You're going to want something at least 32 inches wide to allow for their growth to adulthood. Also, volume is your friend when it comes to keeping sensitive fish -- the more water to dilute their waste, the better. This is true with any fish, but especially with rays, as they are so sensitive to Nitrate.>
I was wondering if I can get a Severum, a 3-8 inch silver Arowana depending what's best, or a shovelnose catfish? Whatever's best.
<Well, some fishkeepers have had luck keeping rays with various Cichlids, and some haven't! It really depends on the individual personalities of the fish involved. I would skip these tankmates for now, and allow the rays to get some size on them and become really established without having to worry about picky tankmates. As for the Arowana, the 3-8 inch fish you got right now would likely outgrow this tank within a year. They are very fast growers! This would compound the issues you're going to have keeping this water good and clean for optimal growth from the rays. However, Arowana are often considered good tankmates for rays, since they are primarily top-level fish, so this would be something to think about after the upgrade, if you choose to go with a tank 300 gallons or larger, with the right dimensions, and the right filtration, and he is the only other tank mate for these rays. Silver Arowana usually reach about three to three and a half feet in aquaria, and would need a tank with a pretty large footprint and a heavy-duty, latching top. Lastly, I'm not sure what you mean by "shovelnose catfish," as there are several catfishes with the "shovel" nose, but if you mean a Tiger Shovelnose, this is not a good idea -- these fish grow three to four feet in captivity, and would need a larger tank than you're planning on upgrading to due to the amount of bioload they place on a system -- catfish like to eat! Another problem is getting food to the rays with such a hungry bottom dweller in the tank -- it can be difficult. In addition, the bottom of this tank is going to be crowded pretty soon -- if these rays are six inches in disc length, then they're probably almost double that in total length. I'd hold off on adding tankmates until you have these guys in a bigger system, with robust filtration. This system is likely to be very "crowded" within the year!>
Thanks
--djrock856
<You're welcome. Please feel free to write back if you have any other questions.
--Melinda>

Re: Rays, comp.  -- 12/27/09
Ok thanks, is there anything I can put in there though as a middle or top dweller? Thanks
<It is almost always wise to keep Rays alone. They are extremely difficult to maintain, and the sheer cost of providing the nitrate-free water that they need makes them expensive enough to keep alone, let alone with the
addition of other fish. So anything big enough to thrive with Stingrays is also likely to pollute a lot. On top of that big mess, you'll also have a fish that could compete for food, nip the Stingray, or cause problems in a variety of other ways. So while South American Arowanas, Oscars, and especially Sorubim lima (a superb medium sized catfish for Stingray tanks) work, I'd vote against them. Unless you are an expert Stingray keeper (i.e., have maintained a specimen for several years already) you would be extremely foolish to even think about adding tankmates just yet. Your tanks is far two small for a pair of Stingrays; do bear in mind there is no such species as a "reticulated stingray" but rather this is a trade description for any one of several species, most of which grow to between 30 and 60 cm (12 and 24 inches) in disc width. Save up for the new tank you'll be buying within the year, assuming you keep these two alive (most folks fail, and end up with two dead Stingrays, a point I cannot stress too strongly).
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rays

Yes, mine I've had for 2 and a half years already and they were in a 30 for a few months. They are doing great and eat market chopped shrimp and bloodworms.
<This is all good to hear. There are two schools of thought with regard to tankmates. One is that you can get schooling tetras like Congo Tetras and Silver Dollars. These don't pollute too much, and because they act as
dither fish, they make the Rays feel much more secure. But because Stingrays can eat midwater fish -- though they often don't -- there's always the risk a few midwater fish might get eaten. Since these schooling fish aren't expensive, some folks don't see that the small risk is much of a bother: they just add more, should they want to. The other school of though says you should stick with large fish that are too big to be molested by even a hungry Stingray. The downside here is such fish could damage the Stingray, will certainly pollute the water significantly, and
could compete with the Ray for food. Choices include Oscars, Severums (do look at the superb Rotkeil Severum for example), non-aggressive Arowanas (specifically Osteoglossum spp.), and large, non-aggressive midwater
catfish (Sorubim lima is my favourite here). In public aquaria you'll often see them combined with things like Pangasius catfish, Pacu, Oxydoras spp., and so on, but these fish are really do big to be properly maintained at
home. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rays
So a shovelnose or Oscar are good.
<Some "shovelnose" catfish can be good, but certainly not all. "Shovelnose" catfish are merely large species from the family Pimelodidae. Select your species with care.>
My fish store has blueberry Oscars
<This is an albino form that has been dyed. Dyed fish are more likely to get sick, so avoid for that reason if no other, but please do not support this inhumane practice.>
and lima shovelnose.
<Sorubim lima is an excellent catfish. Keep two or more specimens (they are lonely kept singly) and note this species likes to hide against solid objects, even vertical bogwood roots or piece of slate, so be sure to add something suitable for it to use as its home. They don't hide away as such, but they do like the security of something to rest against. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rays
Ok, so just 3 shovelnose lima and a Oscar with them. What I a good top swimmer?
<The Oscar will spend most of its time at the mid to upper water layers anyway, and the Sorubim lima will be wherever you place their hiding places. If you put these near the top, then that's where they'll be. Since all these fish are predatory, there's nothing much that works as dither fish except for very large barbs, e.g., Tinfoil Barbs. It's perhaps better to think about how big your final aquarium will be for two Stingrays, and then estimate how much latitude this gives you in terms of tankmates. Since Stingrays need enormous amounts of water volume just by themselves, they're more usually the limiting factor. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rays
Ok thanks. Ill get those and what about a fire eel. And maybe a tinfoil or Bala sharks. Thanks a lot
<Welcome. BobF for Neale who is "out">
Re: Rays 12/29/09

I just bought one that is 10 inches. Its the only one they had. It was $55 bucks.
<Sounds a good purchase. Hope you're able to find it a friend. Cheers, Neale.>
Yes. Is that a good price for one that size. m 

Re: FW Rays, comp.   12/28/09
Will silver dollars and red hook silver dollars be okay with the 2 reticulated rays and the 2 to 3 shovelnose cats?
<Depends on your Stingrays. Let me clarify once more -- there is no such thing a "Reticulated Stingray" -- it's a name applied to a variety of different Potamotrygon species, Potamotrygon orbignyi, Potamotrygon reticulatus, Potamotrygon magdalenae, etc. There's much misidentification in the hobby (and, to be fair, some discussion among fish taxonomists about whether or not these fish are varieties of one species or all different species). But that said, assuming you have a tank big enough for each of these fish on their own terms, then yes, they can work together. I will remind you again that even one Stingray needs a lot of water... let's say a minimum of 125 US gallons each, plus some 55 gallons per Sorubim lima, and another 55 gallons for 6-8 adult Silver Dollars. So we're talking a big tank with heavy filtration. I cannot stress too strongly how important it is to put your Stingray first, and if you have even the slightest doubt about the tank being big enough, don't add any other fish. You haven't mentioned to me yet how big your aquarium is, so I can't say for sure all your choices will get along. In theory they should, but that depends on the tank size. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Rays, comp., fdg.   12/28/09
My smaller ray is 4 and a half inch diameter and my bigger one is 6 inch diameter. I know they will get 14 inches because they are p. Reticula.
<OK.>
Will 7-9 inch long lima shovelnoses be okay with them.
<Yes; though Sorubim lima can, will reach at least 30 cm/12 inches and frequently 45 cm/18 inches.>
My rays are now growing rapidly now on uncooked shrimp rather then bloodworms.
<Do not use shrimp more than a couple of times per week; shrimp, particularly that which has been frozen (even if sold defrosted) contains a lot of thiaminase but little or no vitamin B1. The end result is while the
calories and protein are in these foods, over time you run a serious risk of vitamin deficiency. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
Augment their diet with thiaminase-lacking foods, e.g., earthworms, tilapia fillet, cockles, etc.>
Thanks for all the help!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rays
if not lima shovelnose, what is a few more catfish that will be fine. My LFS barely ever has them in.
<To be honest, I'd take your time and have your retailer order them in.
Sorubim lima really are THAT GOOD as catfish go. Otherwise, some possibilities include Pimelodus ornatus (a rather smaller Pimelodid catfish) and Leiarius marmoratus (a much bigger Pimelodid). Almost all of the larger Loricariidae can work, including things like Panaque nigrolineatus, Acanthicus adonis and Pseudoacanthicus sp. L025, but as ever with the Loricariids, these are territorial and grossly polluting animals so should be mixed with Stingrays only after due consideration for their needs. Catfish like these can damage Stingrays when quarrelling over space, and the resulting wounds can be fatal. So ensure the "footprint" of the tank is big enough for all concerned, and that there are hollow, tube-shaped caves into which the Loricariidae can withdraw and feel secure
away from the Rays. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rays
Ok thanks, ill stick with lima shovelnose.
<Cool. Enjoy your fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Stingrays and eels, FW comp.  -- 05/03/09
Hello, Forgive me I am just getting into this! I have a 250 gallon tank in which I am setting up for freshwater stingrays. Now the man at the store said I can put a fire eel in with the rays, is this true? I want to do this
all right I don't want to take any unnecessary risks with my tank. I was wondering what the best plants I can put in are? The store recommended I get a fire eel, stingray and some Arowanas, is this a smart mix or fish? I was also considering an Oscar. Any other advice for the newcomer? Thanks for your time. Scott
<Hi Scott. The short answer here is that the larger Spiny Eels, such as Fire Eels and Tyre-track Eels, have been kept with Stingrays successfully.
That said, the usual warnings apply. Fire Eels are finicky feeders, and usually do best in tanks where they can be hand fed. Since both Stingrays and Fire Eels enjoy earthworms and river shrimps on the substrate, you want to make sure both are getting enough to eat. There's also the usual problem with Stingrays that if they get scratched, they can get very sick; Spiny Eels are nothing if not scratchy! Spiny Eels also need hiding places; by preference, sand they can dig into, but that's not something we usually encourage in Stingray tanks because of problems with hygiene. So you'll need some hollow ornaments (e.g., PVC tubes) where the Spiny Eel can hide, but that'll take up space from the Stingray. So while it should work, there are issues to bear in mind. Stingrays, Arowanas and Oscars usually get along extremely well. Final advice? Be sure and buy, read a book on Stingrays. These are expensive and very delicate fish, and most people fail. Be prepared! Water quality is the issue, and for the first few months, I'd recommend introducing a single Stingray into a fully cycled tank, and leaving it alone while you feed it and generally get used to managing the low levels of nitrate you need. Remember, every additional big fish essentially means you need to do twice as many water changes, and at some point, this will get annoying! Cheers, Neale.>

Hello... FW Ray comp., algae eater sel.   4/5/09
Hello, I have a 135 gallon tank with 2 reticulated teacup F/W rays, a completely freshwater archerfish,
<? What species?>
and 2 clown loaches. I will be getting 3-5 discus soon.
<Mmm, not recommended with FW Rays... even your species, which is smallish, can get to over a foot in diameter... Are very "messy"... too hard to maintain "decent" water quality, which Symphysodon need... and they may get Steve Irwin/ed>
My tank is 6ftx20in.x20in. I have a Fluval 405 filter, 2 75 gallon bio wheel filters, And 2 100 gallon air pumps. Do you have any idea of any kind of fish that will eat algae that I can put in there?
<Mmm, I'd be looking at the family Loricariidae. Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm
and the linked files above.>
Thanks,
Daniel
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Re: hello
Can I put a Farlowella algae eating fish with my rays, clown loaches, and discus? 4/6/2009
Thanks,
Daniel
<Should be fine if the Rays aren't too large, the Catfish too little. B>

Question about freshwater stingray tankmates 1/2/09 Hi. Im just curious if I'm choosing the right tank mates for my soon to be stingray. <Easy: invariably and unarguably best kept alone or with their own kind. Only the most expert Stingray keeper should even begin considering tankmates. If this is your first specimen, keep it alone. Your work is already substantial just maintaining the water quality the Ray will need, without adding another variable to the equation.> Im in the process of switching my fish only 250 gallon saltwater to freshwater. Also, if you have any suggestions on the best way to get all the salt out, feel free to let me know :) <Water changes will do. Salt is not especially toxic to Stingrays, and trace amounts will do no harm. Still, do take time to rinse away any salt/lime deposits on pipes, in filters, and so on.> I have a list of fish I would like to purchase but would love your opinion before I invest over $400 on these fish. <Fire away.> Also if you have any suggestions on stingrays for the size of my tank, that would be appreciated; I'm currently looking at the Hystrix or Motoro Stingray. <Potamotrygon motoro is a widely traded species, but its adult disc size around 60 cm/2 feet shouldn't be underestimated; adults WILL require a tank measuring twice their disc size from front to back. That apart, this species generally does well in captivity. Potamotrygon hystrix is smaller, getting to a bit above 30 cm/12 inches or so in diameter, but is rarely traded and definitely one of the more difficult species to maintain. In all honesty, despite its "small" size, it's best avoided by beginners.> Ok, so here's my list- 3 black ghost knife fish, <I'd not; Apteronotus are difficult to keep at the best of times.> gold dojo loach, <Gregarious, boisterous fish that prefer relatively cool, fast-flowing conditions in tanks with lots of rocky caves; not much overlap between their needs and those of the Stingray.> upside down catfish, <Likely to be too nippy.> 3-5 figure 8 puffers <Needs brackish water; too nippy.> ornate bichir, <Possible; bichirs are sometimes kept with Rays, but it depends on the temperament of both, not to mention the size of the tank. Since Polypterus ornatipinnis is one of the larger species, it could be territorial enough to damage your Rays.> 2 black veil angels, <Viable, but the quality of mass-produced Pterophyllum is often poor, and so quarantining the Angels prior to adding to the tank is essential. I'd probably go for Discus or even Oscars in preference.> 2 electric blue lobsters, <Stingray food.> 2 African butterfly fish, <Possible, providing the Pantodon have suitable hiding places and areas with moderate water flow.> mudskipper, <Brackish water and amphibious; have no place at all in this system.> zebra Pleco, queen Pleco and golden nugget Pleco. <Plecs are best not kept with Stingrays because of the possibility of damage by the catfish to the Ray when feeding or fighting over hiding places.> Im a little iffy on the loach and mudskipper...afraid they'll get eaten. Also iffy on the puffers with the stingray but I'm hoping in this decent size tank they'll be ok. Thank you so much Christina <In all honesty: stick with the Rays for now. Many books on the subject, and a review of one or more of these will reveal good reasons to avoid tankmates. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: question about freshwater stingray tankmates 01/09/09 Thank you so much for responding to my last email with such great advice. <Happy to help.> I thought everything over and need your advice again. I found a stingray I fell in love with- it's called the Tiger Stingray (Potamotrygon menchacai). <According to Fishbase, a variety of Potamotrygon falkneri. A big species: disk diameter of well over 50 cm/20 inches is not exceptional, and consequently you'll need a tank upwards of a meter (about three feet) in width from front to back. Also known to be a relatively shy species that mixes poorly with other fish. As I said before, given your inexperience, you have no business at all mixing your Stingrays with any other fish.> I was wondering if she would be compatible with the butterfly fish, ghost knife and ornate bichir. <With the Pantodon buchholzi surely, and the Eigenmannia possibly, though it's a gregarious and difficult species at the best of time. As for the Bichir, I'd recommend against because of its size and messiness, at least initially.> I also already have the electric blue crawfish :/ and gold nugget Plecos which I know you said might be a problem with the ray but if I do notice even the slightest problem with the Plecos unfortunately they will have to go- I just love the gold nuggets so much. <I really can't stress this point strongly enough: injured Stingrays usually die. Looking out for signs of damage is usually pointless, because by the time you see damage to the Ray, it's too late to save it. Yes, I have seen experienced keepers combine Stingrays with plecs, but if this is your first Stingray, I really can't advise you to do anything other than keep your specimens in their own tank.> And the crawfish are so big (and quick!) I'm just going to hope they'll be able to get away. <Again, this is a variable you likely shouldn't have to consider. Small crayfish are food, while bigger specimens have the potential of causing harm, and certainly stealing food or reducing water quality, should they die.> Plus the ray is only 6inches supposedly- I'm making my decision with this ray Monday- she's a little costly...$300. <This is my point: these are incredibly expensive fish that rely absolutely on perfect (not merely excellent) water conditions. Why risk a $300 Stingray for a $5 crayfish? If you don't have the space or budget to house the crayfish or Baryancistrus catfish on their own, you don't have the space of budget to keep Stingrays. Think of it this way: your Stingray will demand a tank measured in the thousands of litres (mid to high hundreds of gallons) and a constant supply of deionized or otherwise nitrate- and pollutant-free water. So you're going to be spending some $300 on the ray, and at least 10 times that on the tank, cabinet and massive filtration systems, even before you factor in the electricity and water over the 10+ years of the Stingrays life. Do please spend some money on a Stingray book before doing anything else.> Oh yeah, I was thinking about a couple discus fish as well... <Can mix with Stingrays, but best kept in groups of 6+, and that means you'll need to consider water quality issues.> I appreciate any more advice... thank you again! Christina <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: question about freshwater stingray tankmates 01/09/09 Ok. Thanks again. <My pleasure.> I did have a stingray in my saltwater tank which seemed relatively easy but I do understand the high responsibility of this species so maybe I will purchase a book just be sure- any recommendations? <Saltwater makes keeping rays a bit easier: the sodium chloride reduces the toxicity of nitrate, and the use of live rock and skimmers makes management of the nitrogen cycle generally much, much easier. The marine salt mid automatically stabilises the pH and mineral content of the water within narrow parameters, so your ray isn't exposed to much variation. In a freshwater tank, you have to manage ammonia and nitrite via the filter, nitrate through water changes, pH through water changes, and mineral content through water changes. It's a substantially more delicate, finicky process. It's far from impossible, but it is difficult, much more difficult than keeping a reef tank. In terms of books, for under $10 there's a decent Barron's title called "Freshwater Stingrays", while Interpet have a similarly priced tome by the name of "Freshwater Stingray: An In-Depth Survey of These Magnificent Fishes". Either of these would be well worth investing in before doing anything else.> So even though my tank is 250 with a 90 gallon overflow, PH 6.4 (low?), nitrate/nitrite 0% and using RO water with some experience with rays you still wouldn't recommend the Tiger Ray? (Tank measurements 5.5 ft long, 2.5ft deep, 2.5ft tall) <The problem with freshwater stingrays is they're big fish. Tanks that seem huge by any other standards are veritable goldfish bowls when used for stingray keeping! I dare say the tank you have would work just fine and dandy for one of the smaller, "beginner" species (I use the word "beginner" in quotes because no stingray really is easy to keep). But for a fish that has the potential to be almost two feet across its disc, a tank measuring 2.5 feet front to back isn't all that big. Please, sit on your hands a bit until you've had a chance to read one of the books on the topic. The tank you have is certainly viable, but you need to choose your species with care. Better to get a smallish species that has a good chance of surviving than a big, pretty species that dies a few weeks later.> I've had an ornate before, seemed extremely easy to care for and wasn't messy at all. <Bichirs are among my favourite fish, and I'm not dissing them at all! But a 35 cm./14" predator is a whole lot of fish to add to a Stingray aquarium. It's going to be pumping out ammonia, and that's something I don't think you want to be working with right now. The most successful Stingray tanks I've seen either keep them alone, or else mix them with surface dwellers like Arowanas so that there is little to no interaction.> I understand with the Plecos so I will take that into consideration. And I would surely get rid of the crawfish for the ray any day... <Indeed! I hope I'm not being too negative: I really do like rays. But they're a lot of work, and expensive, and potentially dangerous as well. So research first! Good luck, Neale.> Thanks again, I really appreciate all of your advice. Christina

FW Stingray & Catfish Compatibility, sys.  12/30/08 Hi, I am interested in purchasing an Atlantic Freshwater Stingray for a 990 gallon (yes, 990!) round tank. Current tank-mates include some channel cats, red ear sunfish, Plecos, and a small warmouth. There is also a bullhead cat and a spotted cat in there that we will most likely move to another tank. The tank is filled with hard water, plenty of sand and tall plants for hiding, and is filtered with one large biofilter and a UV filtration system. I am wondering if this tank and the fish currently in it are a compatible match for the stingray. <Mmm, likely so... if they are all not too-mis-matched for size> I read that FW stingrays prefer soft, acidic water but what range is safe for them? <Can, do tolerate moderately hard, alkaline water... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Christy

Flowerhorn With Stingray - 02/06/07 Hey! Guys! Keep Rocking! I have a 30 x 15 x 15 tank with a Flowerhorn in it! The guy is around 5".I was thinking of adding a stingray to it! All I need to know is: 1) Do they stay along together? <The Flowerhorn is very territorial and eventually would fight and pick on the stingray.> 2) Does the ray stay in a bare bottom tank or fine golden sand is MUST? < Stingrays come from sandy to muddy bottoms. They like to cover themselves with sand to hide. He would feel stressed in a bare tank.> 3) Is it as hardy as the Flowerhorn or it requires fine water conditions? < The stingray usually do better in soft acidic water. The Flowerhorn doesn't care about water chemistry.> Thanks in advance. Regards < Overall I would not recommend putting these two together.-Chuck> <<Aside from that, this is vastly too small of an aquarium for any species of stingray.  -SCF>>

Cichlids, stingrays and puffers...? comp.  -- 10/28/07 Hello, i have emailed you guys before and you have sent me great advise in return. I am considering buying a tank about 75 gallons in size and i have a particular interest in parrot cichlids. My question is would it be possible to place a teacup stingray in the tank with the parrot who are cichlids but more calm and less aggressive than other cichlids. I would also like to place some type of fresh/brackish water puffers in this community because i plan to place some aquarium salt in the tank for balance. If this is not possible could you please send me something in return in regard to fish that would be compatible with the parrots and the stingray. Also i have an interest in aggressive cichlids such as green/red terrors, jack Dempseys, (maybe parrots and Oscars), red devils. Could you please let me know if a tank of this sort would work out and if so could you give me a comp that could be placed in a 75 to 90 gallon tank. Thanks again. <In short: No. Mixing cichlids of any sort with Stingrays is unwise, and mixing Puffers with Stingrays even more unwise. Adding salt "for balance" doesn't have any scientific grounding at all, and is likely to cause problems. Put enough salt for brackish water Puffers to be happy, and the Stingray will suffer. Produce the soft, acidic water the Stingray needs and the brackish water puffer will die. Anyway, Puffers are 100% incompatible with Stingrays. Any species of Puffer large enough not to be eaten as food will be sufficiently big that it could nip the Stingray. So, discard this idea at once. As for cichlids: please do some more research. Oscars are NOT aggressive cichlids. An Oscar stuck in a small tank with an aggressive cichlid such as Amphilophus citrinellum (one of the "Red Devil" cichlids) is a very unhappy Oscar. Although territorial, Oscars are no more overtly aggressive than, say, Angelfish. Indeed, I've seen Angelfish that were far more problematic in community tanks than any Oscar! Parrot cichlids (by which I assume you mean those hybrid cichlids, not the "real" Parrot Cichlid, Hoplarchus psittacus) are essentially crippled fish, and forcing them to express their naturally territorial behaviour in a tankful of normal fish is unfair. Finally, there's no such thing as a "teacup Stingray". All that means is it is a baby. Given the various traded Stingrays easily reach disc diameters of 60 cm, and sometimes more, you need a huge tank to give them space. The common generic species is Potamotrygon motoro, and that's a fish with a 60 cm disc diameter and a tail that adds at least another 30 cm to that. As a rule of thumb, Stingrays need a tank that has width (front to back) NOT LESS than 150% the disc diameter of the fish. In the case of the commonly traded species Potamotrygon motoro, that means you need a tank NOT LESS than 90 cm front to back. Realistically, successful Stingray maintenance requires tanks measured in the HUNDREDS of gallons, not tens. A 250 US gallon tank of appropriate width and length is probably (certainly!) the minimum if you want the Stingray to have anything like a good chance of success in captivity. Does this sound excessive? It isn't. Of the Stingrays sold as pets, only a tiny fraction last more than a year, because so many people underestimate their requirements. There are many good books on Stingray care: I recommend you sit down with one of these and digest it cover to cover before moving forward. Are they worthwhile pets? Yes. Are they easy to keep? No. In absolute terms, they are significantly far difficult than most freshwater fish, and require a similar level of care to a marine reef tank with delicate invertebrates such as corals. Good luck, Neale>

P. orbignyi compatibility with Redtail Catfish?... A large S. Am. Ray and VERY large Catfish... in a 29?!  Need to read...  02/17/07 Hi, <Kev... we'll skip the epaulettes> I currently have a 29 gallon tank with a  6 inch Redtail Catfish and a few small fish that are there just to take up a little space. <?...> I can assure you that I have no plan on putting any size ray in a tank that small.  I will be buying a all-glass 210 gallon tank(72Lx24Wx29H) within 2 months. <Oh. This will still be too small in time> I will be running 2 Fluval FX5's and sand for substrate.   <I'd use other... posted...> I read that the P. orbignyi and the Redtail Cats are both native to the Orinoce river Basin. <With spelling improvement, yes>   That leads me to believe that they are compatible. <In terms of water quality at least> Here's my question. Would it be advisable to house these animals together? <Mmm, not really> From what I read, my tank will be large enough and I don't think that the filtration will be a problem. <Will be inadequate> I already feed my Redtail Cat bloodworms, feeders and ghost shrimp (at least 10 in the tank at all times).   <The feeders are an exceedingly poor idea... see WWM re> Lastly, where can I find the stingray.  Price doesn't really matter.  I'm just looking for a baby.  I've tried to find them online and I haven't seen them in any local pet stores. Thanx, Kevin from Az <Go to the Internet, Go to the Internet... Bob Fenner>

Compatible fish for freshwater stingrays - 02/11/2007 Hi Bob. <Michael> Looking for your recommendation for suitable companions for my 2 freshwater stingrays. <Mmm, something large enough to not get eaten, that won't bother the Potamotrygonids... that "like" warm, soft, acidic water...> First, here's some info so you can provide the best recommendation: Tank setup: 125 gallon tank, <Mmm, likely too small in time> RO Water, 50 lbs soft/round gravel, Pro Clear 175 gal wet/dry filter, 1200 gph Mag Drive Water Pump, two Visi-therm Stealth 250W heaters (hidden), Dual T5 Light Fixtures, UV (8W) Sterilizer with pump, Black Magic Carbon Pad, 2 Chemipures, no decor. Livestock: 2 Potamotrygon Motoro Rays from Peru. Small female (4.5') is a Blue Motoro. Larger male (6') is a Marbled Motoro. <Definitely too small a volume... see here: http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=6382&genusname=Potamotrygon&speciesname=motoro This species gets more than three feet wide...> Water: Low PH = 6.8; Ammonia = 0; Nitrite = 0; Nitrate = 0 Based on the above specifications, which fish would you recommend to share the tank with the stingrays? <None... there's not enough room for just them...> I've heard conflicting views from other sites so hopefully you can help point me in the right direction. Looking for peaceful/less aggressive fish so they don't pick on the rays, large enough to not be eaten by the rays, and preferably top feeders so they do not take all the rays' food on the bottom. <Bingo> The Silver Arowana is what I am leaning towards but one site said that their Arowana bit their ray. <Possibly... but unlikely> Other sites recommended gars and clown loaches. <No...> Let me know what you think is best.  THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!!! <Maybe some "silver dollars"... Metynnis, Myleus, Mylossomas... perhaps some Juraparoids for contrast... for color, movement... start saving up for that much larger system. Bob Fenner>

Re: compatible fish for freshwater stingrays  2/12/07 Thank you for all your advice! <Certainly welcome> I will look into getting a small Arowana and some Silver Dollars (I heard it's better to get silver dollars in schools so should I get 6?). <Small, odd-numbers are better... 3 or 5...> I will upgrade the size of the tank once they outgrow the 125 gal. <Very good> What minimum size would you recommend down the road when the rays become adults? My research earlier recommended 90 gal min so I went with 125 (almost went with a 150 gal but the only difference in size was the height which is not important for rays). <Mmm... well... as you can appreciate, the wider the better... perhaps a custom or DIY system... at least two feet wide... BobF>

Re: compatible fish for freshwater stingrays, Discus?   2/20/07 Hi again. <Michael> I went to a local fish store to check out the silver dollars you recommended earlier and the store highly recommended discus as possible tank mates for my 2 stingrays. I like the discus because of their colors. Would you agree that discuss would be suitable mates for my stingrays? <Mmm, no... unless the system is absolutely HUGE... several hundred gallons plus... the Rays moving about will greatly disturb the Symphysodon... do "like" the same sorts of water quality, but are behaviorally incompatible> I read that Discus require the same water conditions as rays (higher temp, low PH, softer water) and are also peaceful (see link). http://aquariumlore.blogspot.com/2006/03/discus-fish.html <When the rays are active... no. Bob Fenner>

Re: compatible fish for freshwater stingrays   2/20/07 Thanks for saving me tons of money since discus are expensive. Would rather get accurate advice from an expert like you instead of relying on the store who probably is just looking to make a profit :) <Happy to render my input. BobF>

Poisonous or not? I was wondering if the Potamotrygon orbignyi stingrays I have just gotten were poisonous or not. <Not poisonous (as in if you eat it you'd be toxified), but these freshwater rays are indeed dangerously venomous... their sharp tail spines are formidable weapons, physically and chemically, much like the many Stingrays of the seas. Bob Fenner> Please Respond, Chad Almquist

Arowana and Ray Biotope Tank Hi, I'm setting up a 225 gallon Arowana tank with Rays. <Even though 225 gallons in rather large, it is still a rather small tank in comparison to the fish you selected. I do not think you could safely stock more than two of each.> I would like to use a few live plants to make them a little more comfortable. <I think the Rays would wreck any live plants.> If I am only using a few plants how much fluorite should be used <I would stick to a sand bottom for the comfort of the Rays.> and what kind of plants. <Perhaps you could grow some Java Fern attached to something. There would be little danger in it becoming up rooted.> Thanks, Dave <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Re: Arowana and Ray Biotope Tank Thanks for the info and the 225 is only for 2 years until we build our dome home where there new tank will be the circumference of 30' by 3' wide 4' tall with a main tank connected at one end 10' x 4' x 4' <Wow! Truly impressive concept. Do send us pictures when done. -Steven Pro>

Freshwater stingray livestock mix Thanks Bob, I was thinking of getting (in the future) a freshwater tea cup stingray to add to my underwater world, I know my LFS can get them but!!! I don't know if they will get along with the morays or the Bichirs what do you think ? <Need to remove the "stinger"... and they do/can "grow back"> I know if I start changing the salinity of the moray tank the stingray as well as the Bichirs may not be able to cope with the change , so another tank will be needed. If I don't need to change the salinity would they coexist or would there be trouble . <I'd like to (so shall) encourage you to display all three types/species in their own "biotopic set-up"... Really, they all look, act, live their best if kept in the type of settings they're found in... all distinct in this case> I'll read up on the brackish info you sent and go from there.   thanks for all your help I'm sure I'll need more before I'm done .I did luck out and get a real good photo of the larger moray , if you want to add it your site photos please feel free.    THANKS AGAIN      DAVE <Please do send it along if you think it will help, inspire others. Bob Fenner>

Tea Cup Stingray Thanks gage, I will do it. Actually I'm curious, are the tea cup rays very hard to keep and what can they be put with if anything? <Tea Cup Rays are difficult to keep, they require excellent water quality, 0 ammonia 0 nitrite, and next to 0 nitrate, they are very sensitive.  They also need a large tank a 4'x4' foot print would be as small as I would go, the height is not as important.  Tank mates would need to be moderately large and stay high in the tank.  There is a book by Richard Ross on freshwater Sting Rays. -Gage>

Freshwater manta - teacup manta ray Can a fresh water manta say with a 4" wing span live harmoniously with (3) 3" Plecostomus in a 30 gal. tank............of curse until I need to upgrade due to size. Would angel fish also do well in the same tank? < By the term freshwater manta ray I will assume you are talking about one of the  fresh water stingrays from South America. All of the freshwater stingrays I have seen get large (Up to 4 feet across). They are predatory on small fishes and invertebrates. usually with these typ of fish if they can't swallow it then they pretty much leave it alone.-Chuck>

Cats and Ray, best friends? Hello I was wondering if my Sorubim lima and a tiger shovel nose catfish (I don't know the scientific name sorry) would be a good tank mates for a Potomotrygon motoro freshwater stingray and what else could I put in the tank < Hope you have a big tank. I have seen pictures of these fish at least 4 feet long. The big cats may be a bit feisty with one another, especially at feeding time where they may take a bit out of each other in an attempt to catch a feeder fish. Other than that, your fish usually will not bother any other fish that it cannot swallow. Think BIG!-Chuck>                                              thanks                                                  CJ

Freshwater stingrays Hello I tried my stingray and shovelnose's compatibility in my 300 gallon tank in my basement and it is working for now, but would it be possible to raise another FW ray in a 85 gallon tank safely without having to move it. <CJ I checked and I think the smallest freshwater ray still gets to about a foot in diameter. I think the 85 will be too small once its full grown. MacL>                                       thanks                                           CJ

Sting Ray with what I got? I was wondering if they would be a good match. I have a 150gal tank with 1 Fire Eel (10") 1 Peacock Eel (4") and an Arowana (5"). I have seen sting rays with the Arowana before but not with eels before. PS Love the site. One of the best ones I have come across! < Thanks for the kind words. The key factor here is size. As long as the fish are either too big to be swallowed or too fast to be caught then any new additions should be fine after a two to three week quarantine period.-Chuck> Thank You, Rodney Powell  

Stingrays with Oscars thank you for your time. I would like to know if you would know it would be possible to out a stingray with Oscars  thank you for your time <Both come from South American rivers so the water requirements should be the same. They should get along as long as they are close to the same size. The Oscar may not let any food sink down to the bottom so you may have to feed the stingray at night to make sure he is getting some food.-Chuck>

 

Stingrays with Oscars, Follow-up thank you very much are there and stingray that you would recommend for this tank thank you once again < All stingrays get big! They prefer soft warm clean water. Not too many stores carry to many different species so any one would be fine.-Chuck>

 

Stingrays with Oscars, More Follow-up ok then thank you very much. so do you think a 5 foot tank would be big enough for one of them < I have seen stingrays in public aquariums get up to 3 feet wide. True they are very old but you have to realize that they will get too big for most tanks. Also keep in mind that there will be some potential for getting hurt when you need to handle these guys. They do have a large barb in the tail and know how to use it.> when you say soft water what do you mean by that neutral water ph  and what temp < Neutral to acidic is fine unless you get a really true black water species that needs acidic (pH 6) water at least 80 degrees F.-Chuck> thank you very much

Stingrays with Oscars, More Follow-up so they all grow that large. what is the smallest of them all do you know. < I don't know of any dwarf stingrays. In the Baensch atlas they list a few that any get a little over a foot but I know I have seen them larger than that in large public aquariums. thanks for he ph all my tanks are neutral  and are at 80 degrees f.  do you recommend doing it or not. < Stingrays are illegal in some states. I would recommend that you talk to your local fish store to see if they are legal in your area , how much they cost. I would only handle them with a very long handled net.--Chuck> also do you know where I can get them from. how do you handle them if you have to move them with there barb. thanks

FW stingrays sorry about this I will be quick but are stingrays  fine with Oscars or not because I really love them but if they are not I will  give them there own tank so please email me on your thoughts about this thank you very much < This is a tough one. I think the Oscars will leave the stingrays alone and vice versa if they are about the same size. The problem I see is getting enough food to the stingrays without the Oscars eating it all. maybe feeding at night will help. If it looks like the stingrays are getting too thin then separating them from the Oscars may be the only option.-Chuck>

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