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FAQs about Rays, Skates, Guitarfishes... 1

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

Related FAQs:
Batoids 2, Batoid Identification, Batoid Behavior, Batoid Compatibility, Batoid Selection, Batoid Systems, Batoid Feeding, Batoid Disease, Batoid Reproduction, Shark, Ray Eggs, Wound Management, Freshwater Stingrays: FW Stingray Identification, FW Stingray Behavior, FW Stingray Compatibility, FW Stingray Selection, FW Stingray Systems, FW Stingray Feeding, FW Stingray Disease, FW Stingray Reproduction,
FAQs by groups/species: Blue Spotted Rays,

A Taeniura lymna in the Red Sea... not a good aquarium species.

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

New Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Keeping Rays 6/6/05 I have a few questions on bat rays.  Today I went to my local aquarium and fed the bat rays.  I really liked how they suck on your fingers.  I wanted to set up a saltwater "Pond" in my basement.  I was wondering how I could get one and how much it would cost.  (a really small one)   <Here is info on building a pond:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i1/pondDIYCalfo/diy-pond.htm.  See here for some basic ray husbandry and species selection tips:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm> and I also wanted to know if it is legal to catch your own and keep it.  If you can please email me back with my questions answered that would be great.  David Moore <Generally, it is legal to collect livestock that is also legal to catch for food or sport as long as you have a fishing license.  Do check with the fish and wildlife department wherever you plan to collect!  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

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

California Stingray Hi I am quarantining two healthy baby 4 inch California stingrays.  Urolophus halleri.  Since its a q-tank there is no sand in there. I would like to know if my rays need sand to survive? Or is glass bottom ok? Thanks Dinesh Patolia <They should, for a/the short-term of a quarantine... but should be provided with a soft, fine substrate for their permanent housing. Bob Fenner>

California Stingray HELP!!  Hey, <Is for horses> I have a round California stingray.  Yesterday I noticed that he started breathing rapidly and his stomach was swollen, not swollen as in he just ate, but looks like a big ball in his stomach. Well I did a 30% water change, new Chemi-pure, checked everything.  Ammonia >0, Nitrite >0, Nitrate = 40, salinity fine 1.024, and pH about 8.2. I work at [an] LFS and asked the more experienced guys and they said it might be a bacterial infection or a parasite (if it I s this how do I treat it??).  I looked on WWM and a guy said his stingray's goiter was swollen due to lack of iodine.  Well I usually add iodine and trace elements according to direction and did so again today. Any ideas, to help him out?  He is breathing rapidly and ate last night, however he ate only 1/4 he usually eats tonight. I am extremely worried... What's up with my buddy?  Chris <Does sound like a goiter... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batoidfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> 
Stingray HELP!! 
Hey Bob, I actually just received your e-mail and you put no comments in or advice except for your name at the end, maybe the e-mail was messed up.. <Think so... or somehow I clipped off the message> ...can you please reply with some advice for the ray? He stopped eating this morning, refusing food and is still breathing rapidly with the swollen abdomen. Thank You Chris <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batoidfaqs.htm re goiter... and cure. Bob Fenner> 

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

Algae Thanks again for the fast reply James, I really appreciate your help!  <You're welcome> After 9 days of not eating, I *finally* got my stingray to eat today! For the last couple nights I have been trying to syringe feed him Selcon and Cyclop-eeze to very little success. This afternoon, he was swimming up to the top of the tank and I put the syringe of Cyclop-eeze and he started chewing on it. I put in a tiny piece of frozen krill and he chewed on that too. He had a hard time eating it, by guess is that he is weak from not eating for so long. I gave him some softened frozen squid, which he ate down nicely. So it looks like things are on the up and up. Next step is to get the critters into the big tank. My 150G tank has been odd lately. The sand and the live rock have become inundated with brown stuff. I'm sure it's just diatom algae, but what confuses me is why it is so bad in this tank. My other tanks never had it this bad. I'm using RO/DI water to take out the bad stuff in the water. I'm also using "MarineMix Bioassay" salt mix, which I read was the least toxic of the mixes available. I'm going to add a canister filter soon, that way I can filter out the sand dust and the free floating algae when the sand gets stirred. The ammonia and nitrites are not zero, but out of the toxic zones, but the nitrates are a bit high still. Perhaps the nitrate cycle is causing this algae outbreak? <Yes>  Looks like I still have a little while before the tank is ready after all.  Thanks again, and I have attached a photo of my critters in the medium sized tank.  <Glad to hear things are improving, Mike. I will post a link here on algae control that you should read. Hopefully it will steer you on the right track. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm  James (Salty Dog)>

- Stingray Problems - Hi we have a stingray who is light brown in color... the last 24 hours from about 1 centimeter above the stinger down to the tip is turning black, including his stinger. We've only had him for about 3 months so we're not sure if this is normal or not. Any feedback would be appreciated. Lori <Would like to know more about the system you are housing this ray in. Most often responses like this are due to environment, so to better answer you question I need to know more about the environment the ray is in. Cheers, J -- >
- Stingray Problems, Follow-up -
He is in a 55 gallon tank which he shares with some community fish.  It is a wet dry filter system that has a spillway which leads to a foam filter and then works its way up and trickles through the blue balls, then pumped through out the tank.  Just recently we had to treat him with some antibiotics that we got from the fish store (not sure of the name) for a white tip on his tail and the very end fell off.  Shortly after that we had an ammonia spike which I believe the biological filter got messed up (which the packaging and fish store say should not have happened).  We weathered the nitrogen cycle once again with only one fish fatality.  The stingray seemed to struggle for a bit but now seems fine.  Last night we noticed what we believe was his stinger (long and white) laying on the bottom of the tank. There is still a black pointy projection in roughly the same spot his stinger was.  His appetite is fine and activity seems normal.  Do you feel this is something fatal or just a change? Your input is greatly appreciated. <Well... I think it's time you fire your local fish store. You've gotten not only bad advice on how to treat this animal, but you've been sold a creature for a system that is much less than adequate to keep this poor animal. You can try to work on water quality, make sure this animal has a soft sand bottom to rest on, but unless you upgrade the size of your tank, this ray will live a short and uncomfortable life. Please consider doing careful research on these animals before you purchase them in the future. At the very least pick up Scott Michael's book Aquarium Sharks and Rays.> Brad <Cheers, J -- >

Ray goiter pic? Looking for image for new reef fishes book Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2005 Bobster... I have a note here to follow up with you on a pic of a Ray with a goiter you mentioned having. Can you check for/scan this image and send it along to Jas/I? thanks, mate Ant- <Yikes... I think the only such pic I/we have is one a querier sent to WWM... I suggest we place this msg. and hope for a response. BobF>

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

Blue-spotted Stingray tank? 12/19/04 Hi, I am planning on building a tank for stingrays  - dimensions - 7 ft long x 3 feet wide x 2 ft high, <hmmm... just one small specimen hopefully. Very little rock in the display too... soft substrates (1 mm sand grain size)... heavy filtration... ozone use too perhaps> how many gallons is this and is this <LXWXH in feet X the multiple 7.4 (galls of water in a  cubic foot) = 310 gallons> sufficient for 1 stingray w/no tankmates to live out his life? <yes... several species could I believe. One specimen only though> It would house possibly Urolophus halleri (cool water?) <eh... I'm inclined not to recommend temperate species... harder to keep. More expensive usually too> but I would really like Dasyatis kuhlii, <an excellent choice!> although I cannot find anybody that sells it. <do put a special request in with rare fish collectors like the LFS oldtownaquarium.com in Chicago. They seek the rarest of the rare every week and ship nationwide.> My LFS has a Taeniura lymna but I think I should look for a different species. <Yikes! What a horrible species for captivity! I'm truly sorry to see it even offered :( Please avoid this one my friend> What is a good ray that would happily live in this tank? Thanks! <your first choice for blue spotted ray was quite excellent. Dasyatis kuhlii is an aquarium-use species of merit and beauty. Pasted below is the caption we will likely use for this fish in contrast to the other dreadful species mentioned above: **What a difference a genus makes! Dasyatis kuhlii (Muller & Henle 1841) is also known as the Blue-Spotted Stingray (or Kuhl's Ray). Like Taeniura lymna, this ray of shared common namesake is also found throughout the Indo-West Pacific, including the Red Sea. Growing somewhat larger, to twenty inches in width (50 cm) with the same electric blue spots, this species on the contrary makes an excellent aquarium specimen. They are reef associated and feed mostly on crustaceans with a tolerance for home-prepared substitutes (cocktail shrimp, packaged krill, etc.). What they lack in number of blue spots compared to the Ribbontail Ray, they make up for in hardiness, survivability and grace. Other common meats of marine origin are accepted readily like fish, Mysids, and squid, as well as commercial frozen shark food formulas and live feeder shrimp and crabs. A Best Bet elasmobranch. Venomous - pictured here off Heron Island, Australia.** [from the Natural Marine Aquarium Vol. 2 part one, "Reef Fishes" by Robert Fenner and Anthony Calfo (2005)] best regards, Anthony>

Stingrays Are stingrays (SW) sensitive to metal like sharks are? <Yes> Also, do you know of any places that sell Dasyatis kuhlii, I can't find this fish anywhere. <Try DrsFoster&Smith, Marine Center, Marine Depot (.coms)> Also, would a 72" x 24" x 30" suit this fish? Thanks! <Only for a small specimen for a short while. Bob Fenner>

Stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii) Hi, I was wondering what ray besides the blue spotted stingray would live happily in a 240 gal for it's entire life (no tankmates)? Also, I cannot find any websites that sell the Dasyatis kuhlii, they only sell the Taeniura lymna. Do you know of any reputable sellers? Thanks! -Alex <I know the companies Dr.s Foster & Smith and Marine Center (.coms) to be honest and competent. I would contact them re what rays they advise, can get. Bob Fenner>

Sting Ray Companions for now? I have a 55 gal "long" aquarium - 48"x13"x20" with 2 reef Chromis in, that finished the cycle period and is now left over ( I am transferring them to my reef very soon) . I have a Round California Stingray (only 3" D baby) in Quarantine in my 20gal. I have Another reef tank so I am pretty experienced with the fish keeping hobby, so imp trying something new. I am upgrading to a 125 later this year and am hoping to put the stingray in there when he gets a little bigger. I am actually asking about what fish would be good partners for the ray? I am thinking of a small bamboo shark that can go into the 125 (later in about march I was thinking to get the new tank). However I want some actual fish in there too. I have seen rays and bamboos do pretty well with a small baby humu. I would just like to know what fish will be a good bet for now, that I might be able to upgrade when they get bigger to my large tank, since that is what I'm aiming for. So I was also thinking about maybe a small yellow tang (I have a LFS that gets in many baby fish, and are much smaller than the other LFS have). So please let me know what is a good addition , even if they do need a bigger tank when they get bigger, since I will provide them with one, no questions asked. Are, they're any good SMALL tangs, triggers (humu is the only "small" one I found) butterflies etc.... just as long as these fish will be good with the ray. Thank you very much Chris >>>Greetings Chris, First, some info on tank size. 125 gallons is a *small* tank. The minimum tank size for any of the cat or bamboo sharks is 6 feet in length, by 24 inches wide. This amounts to a 180 gallon tank. Again, this is the minimum size, not only for the sharks but for the ray as well. You should know that I'm not just quoting numbers from some book, but speaking form experience. I've kept these animals in the past for several years. Secondly, most triggers are very poor tank mates for cat sharks, bamboo sharks, and rays. I've seen them lose eyes to curious triggers on more than one occasion in store display tanks. Appropriate trigger species would be the niger, Bluejaw or crosshatched triggers. Tangs are fine, as are angels, larger damsels, groupers and lionfish. Again, a large tank is needed for some of these fish, larger than 125 gallons. I suggest you budget for at least a 180 gallon tank. Cheers Jim<<<

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

About a very small stingray Hi, Sorry to bother you again, since I told you in my previous e-mail that I am going to have a 180gal tank all set up in the begging of February. Could I put a small ray in my 55gal,until I get the 180 all set up? <Not likely... for these fishes, nothing that is at least three times their diameter in tank width, and twice (six) times it in tank length is adequate. Bob Fenner>

Ray poisoning from fried powerhead? - 9/8/04 Please help, I have a 150 gallon saltwater tank. I recently had a powerhead (pump) burn up very bad (submerged) and now my ray is very sick. <Crap! Sounds like copper poisoning. Have you checked copper levels? If you have a quarantine tank move the ray. Massive water changes need to be in effect here. I would change more water ASAP!!! Likely there is some copper used in the sealed portion of the powerhead. So if it cracked, there could have been some exposure.> I have tested all I can on water quality and can find no problems. I am changing my water 10 gallons at a time as we speak. <Excellent> I am in Florida, in the middle of a hurricane, so I can not contact my local aquarium shop. Please advise or let me know if you need more info. <Not sure what else it could be> Any suggestions to save my baby would be a great help. <Be sure to supplement your rays diet with vitamins as well. You could try vita-zu from Mazuri. (www.mazuri.com) Sorry for the delay, Wes. I hope your water changes have helped. ~Paul>                 Thanks, Wes

Yellow Stingray Hi Bob, I found out what that stingray was, a yellow stingray like I thought.  I would have gotten it too if I was for sure.  I was just wondering if you know how active yellow stingrays are?  Are they nocturnal?  Also do you think it would be more active then a bamboo shark? Thanks Adam Siders <Yellow stingray? Urobatis jamaicensis? http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Urobatis&speciesname=jamaicensis Likely so... not active... spend almost entire time still, setting on top or just under the substrate. Bob Fenner>

Ray question, and tank repair/bracing Hi,  I was at my LFS recently and there was a ray there.  I asked what kind and they said  it was a Bluespotted Ribbontail.  I didn't think it was but I thought I guess they are right.  It was white with a lot of dark whitish spots on it.  I was thinking it was a yellow stingray or possibly a Cortez stingray.  But the question is are ribbontailed rays white when they are born?  This one probably had a 4-5" disc width and I can't get any pictures of it either. <Mmm, the only Ribbontail ray, Bluespotted or otherwise that comes up on fishbase.org is Taeniura lymna, http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Taeniura&speciesname=lymma go see there, click on the one pic, look at the others... then look up this animal on www.WetWebMedia.com, not a hardy aquarium species.> I also have another question.  The support beam on the top of my aquarium has fallen in on one side (one side is in the water).  The other side is barely hanging on.  We called around and my LFS said that my aquarium is shot (all the water would fall out).  We immediately started draining the tank. <Good idea... for safety's sake. The brace can be repaired, re-installed...>   Right now there is about 6" of water in it.  It is a 200 gal. tank so I estimated there is probably about 40 gal. left in it.  I took my eel to the LFS and they are going to take care of it for me.  I currently have a bamboo shark egg and some snails in it.  The shark still has a few months before it will hatch.  Nothing is on in the aquarium right now.  I was wondering will the shark be ok with no water flow or anything? <Not likely. Better to set up filtration like a canister or sponges with air or powerhead drive...> Also we are going to try to repair the beam.  What do you think our chances are that it will still work and not break? <Very good if done "properly"... I would "double up" the current brace... with either more glass/pieces on top, bottom or along the two sides at the top. Bob Fenner> Thanks Adam Siders

California rays in a commercial aquarium environment I am currently looking at buying a commercial aquarium/museum here on the Pacific Northwest (U.S.) coast. The owners previously had two seals - full grown- in a very large "pool" - the dimensions would be close to 20ft long - 8 ft wide made of concrete. <A small/dismal world for Phocaena or Zalophus...> I am not considering reintroducing seals but filling the tank with gravel and then sand (the proper sand per your web info I have read) and putting in a few pacific water rays in there. Something that the visitors could interact with (pet and possibly feed). The water is pumped directly from the ocean, into a sand filter and then into the 19 tanks and the seal tank and then pumped back into the ocean - so the temperature of the water is that of the local waters. My questions would be as follows: What type of ray is it that one of your writers had said was a very social ray? <... maybe Myliobatis... all rays in this application take some acclimation to these circumstances...> Also, if we didn't debarb them and just let them be on display (no petting/feeding) would it be ok to put them into the ocean in the winter if we shut the aquarium down- and then repurchase some in the spring? <Should be, yes> Or are they hardy enough that we might be able to work out a "loaner" program with one of the big aquariums on the west coast (Long Beach/Monterey/Sea World) and ship them?? <You could ask, look into this, but I strongly suspect that the respective costs of shipping the animals, versus buying locally (likely through fishers) will be prohibitive> Any input, even if the question wasn't asked, would be helpful. This business venture is more of a career change and I would like to be informed as much as possible if this could be an attraction vs. me thinking it could be. Thank you in advance... and thank you for all the info on wetwebmedia. It has been very helpful. Eden   <I am cc'ing a cohort, Paul Mansur here, who volunteers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in the hope that he will in turn send your note on to Dave Cripe, others... for input. Bob Fenner>

Where Can You Find Information On Cortez Rays? I've just about exhausted my resources looking for info on keeping these stingrays. I've looked through books and online and can find nothing. If you could point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it ... <Have you tried Scott Michael's classic "Sharks and Rays?" It's a great reference. You may need to look outside the hobby literature, and do a search on fishbase.org or other scientific sites for more data. use the scientific name for more detailed results. Good luck with the search! Regards, Scott F.>

Bluespot with golf ball up its butt - 4/28/04 Hi, My 12 in Bluespot ray had for 2 yrs. has a blood ball on his anus! It is 1 inch in diameter, like if you put a golf ball in the ray's anus.<Sharks and rays have the ability to invert their intestine out their anus. No science as to why, but likely that it is trying to evert shell pieces, fish spines, calcium, and other theories stuck in the intestine. This could be what the ray is doing.  If it is doing this, it should retract it without any problem. Keep an eye on it. It should not last too long. (48 hours at most in our past experiences with this)> Water is fine, and I have fed him his normal foods: / shrimp/fish/ crab/ squid/ yesterday he did not eat as aggressively like normal. Today, I noticed he did not eat at all. <Hmmmmm. Simply not enough here to tell you what is going on.> The ray is not moving much. Tankmates are zebra eel and a epplt shark. <How big is this tank?? Are you sure water quality is not an issue> I have no idea of what to do. <Nor do I. To be honest, would it be possible to send a few pics of the ray and the affected area to my attention?? This will help me to diagnose a little better> or what it is. Please help . <Need more info. Sorry I couldn't be of more help ~Paul> thanks Bart

Brazilian Electric Ray in captivity - 4/15/04  Hello guys, quick question for you. I have a friend who has a 300 gallon tank with a couple of Banded Sharks about 14" long and a couple of tangs. Temp. is set at 78. He just recently added a ray but was not sure what type it was and was getting different information as to the species from different people. I took a look at it and was not having much luck either but I finally came across a picture of the ray on your website and it was described as the 'Brazilian Electric Ray'. A few questions, on the description of this ray it said it was subtropical, is it okay at 78 degrees? <Hmmm...The range of this species, if this is what it really is, is quite extensive. It ranges from Florida/South Carolina throughout the Caribbean and down to Brazil. Tropical temperatures should be fine.> Another question, do you actually need to come in contact with the ray to be shocked or by just simply putting your hand in contact with the water? <Close or direct contact with the ray may cause shock and the shock can be quite severe.> Are the other fish safe with this ray in the tank? Specially the sharks? <The sharks should be fine, but the tangs could become dinner. That all depends on the size of the tangs and the size of the rays. The electric rays (genus Torpedo) that we have worked with are notoriously difficult to get to feed in captivity.> Should any special precautions be taken when putting hands in the water? <Always. Simple as that!>  Thanks, information on this ray does not seem readily available, any info. you can provide would be greatly appreciated. <Again we have had a hard time getting the electric rays to feed in captivity and it may also be a problem with members of this genus. They likely will need live food (fish - make sure they are marine fish) as a major component of their diet, at least initially.> 

Atlantic Guitarfish in captivity - 3/28/04 I have a 6'Wx3'Lx2'H tank. I am considering an Atlantic guitarfish as a single specimen for this tank. <The tank is not big enough for this animal. Ideally a 10'Wx8'Lx4H would be ideal. I like Wider rather than high and the length should be a minimum of 8' Long> Can you advise? Is this size appropriate? <Not in my opinion at least not for long term success> From research I see they get 2.5' long, eat crustaceans and fish, need a non-abrasive sand bottom to bury (can you suggest a sand that would be appropriate without causing a constant sand storm?). <Oolitic would be fun> I am unsure what temperature they require. <75-78 would be within their range depending on where they are collected.> Since they are found off Florida I was thinking around 75F. <Should be fine> What salinity would be appropriate? <Natural seawater chemistry of 35ppt 1.025> Any other advice? <Be sure to feed them fresh human quality foodstuffs> I don't want to keep an animal I can't care for, but I think I might be able to provide an appropriate environment for this animal. <I would try to get my hands on a bigger tank for long term success, if you can. Thanks for the wait. ~Paul> TIA. --- Ralph

Bat Ray? Bob,     I wish to purchase a bat ray (4-5"'s) for my home 180 gal tank.  Please email me with specifics             Bo Siryj <Specifics? I have never seen a bat ray offered for sale that was less than eighteen or so inches wide... these animals get too large for your system. Bob Fenner>

Shark and ray pond I'm making a shark and ray pond.  The dimensions will be 8X4X2.5 with an arc on one end (the skinny one) being 2 feet.  How many gallons is this? <Let's see... assuming that these dimensions are "square", and multiplying all in feet... I get 80 cubic feet... multiplying 80 by 7.5 (there are about seven and a half gallons per cubic foot), it looks like about 600 gallons> The pond will be somewhere between 3-4 feet of the ground in its special room.  The reason being that for the 4 foot side opposite the arc will be a viewing window a little small than 4X2.5 and I'm not sure how thick to make the glass.  What would you suggest? <Read through the "custom aquarium" (on the marine index) and "pond construction" (on the pond index) FAQs files on WetWebMedia.com> The glass will be part of the wall like a regular window that allows viewing of outside such as your yard, but this will allow you to view the pond.  The idea came upon me while at a public aquarium.  Many of there beautiful displays are set up this way.   <Yep, have built some myself> The substrate will be fine white sand (it is actually sand for a sandbox) will this work?   <Possibly... hopefully this is NOT silica... you want more round, soft carbonaceous substrate... like coral sand... which is sometimes sold as play sand as well... e.g. "Southdown" by Home Depot.> I would prefer to get tropical species.  I plan on having only 1 shark maybe adding another later on down the rode.  The Species I'm deciding from are Coral Catshark, Marble(d) Catshark, or Whitespotted bamboo shark.  Will there be any problem with keeping any of these with rays. <Not likely> If so Pls tell me which one(s), and the problem(s).  Only one ray is to be kept in the tank as well.  I'm not sure which species, because so many sites say different stuff about rays.  It is a real headache when it comes to researching rays. <Keep studying... the headaches will go away when you understand what is factual, useful and which is noise>   Just when I thought I found the right ray, Urolophus halleri, which is said to be a tropical ray... I reed some of your FAQ's about them and you the a cool water species.  Where you referring to a different species? <Please see fishbase.org here... a cool water species> or did I read it right.  If they are cool water species what commonly available species would you recommend for my pound? <Actually, none that are regularly offered... Lymna is about it and has a dismal survival record. My advice is to contact a specialty marine livestock supplier like Marine Center (.com) and ask them to "special order" you a tropical species that doesn't get too large> Also Is a clean-up crew even possible with these species or should i forget the idea? <Not desirable or necessary... the animals will too likely be consumed... Your aeration/circulation, filtration and regular maintenance (water changes, gravel vacuuming) should take care of these arenas> If so what clean-up fish/crustaceans could i put in the tank to help.  I was also thinking of a moray eel later on.  Would it be a thing to look into? <Possibly... if the shark, ray are small enough to allow its presence metabolically. Bob Fenner>

Big Skate Egg Cases Hi, I recently set up my 125 gal. cold water aquarium. <cool, hoping to set up my own in the next few months> Exactly one day after installing the chiller I found three Raja binoculata egg cases on the beach (I live on the northern Oregon coast).  I have found these in the past and have cut them open to determine if the embryos are alive. <why not just place the capsules back into sandy/muddy substrate where the female had deposited in the first place?> All but one of the embryos were intact and all seem to be doing well now.  I have placed the egg cases in an inverted position because I made the cut on the bottom. Do you think this will have an impact on their development? <Most likely yes, the "Cases" are actually Egg Capsules, which typically hold 3-4 eggs in there.  This is there to protect the developing skate not only from predators, but from other harmful parasites and free floating micro fauna that could attack them. It takes about 9 full months after being released from the female for the capsules to release the hatchlings. This fish evolved to have this protective capsule for a reason. If you are asking if the inverted position will have an impact.. an inverted position won't have much of an impact on an intact egg capsule if it is suspended and allowed clean water to give the eggs the oxygen they need. > Do you think hermit crabs will be tempted to crawl into the cases? <doesn't take much for hermits or any other of the clean-up crew to want to do something like that.  all it needs is to smell tasty, and developing eggs most assuredly have the "come and eat me" smell for a hermit.  I'm still not sure why you would want these eggs in your tank.  Aptly named the "big" skate, this species will grow, in about 5 years time, larger than 6 feet in length and weigh 200 pounds.  One of those fish best left were it is found.> Thanks, Cheryl <good luck with the 125 coldwater tank. -Magnus>
Big Skate Egg Cases, Follow-up
Magnus, thanks for the help.  In the past I have only rarely found the embryos still intact and alive after the egg case has been washed ashore. Most definitely I would return the egg cases to the ocean if possible. Getting out beyond the surf at this time of year is very difficult, and I don't have a boat at the present.  They would just get washed up again onto the beach without being able to tuck them somewhere safe in deeper water. <I understand, sorry if I came across a bit harsh on the subject.  I had just been in a rather lengthy discussion with a young man about why he shouldn't just keep taking animals out of the wild and placing them in his tanks.  No use putting yourself in harms way to place the eggs back at sea.  Especially with the way Oregon's coast can be this time of year.> I plan to return the skates to the wild if I am successful in keeping them alive for the 8 months or so they have to go.  I do not see this as taking a living marine creature from the wild, but rather saving the eggs that would have perished on the beach, with the intention of raising them in captivity and releasing them after they have left the capsule. <I'm all for helping animals, I've raised a few baby birds, and random critters to health before releasing them.  Just be careful of what your local laws say on this matter.  Here in NY there are very strict rules on local fish being in your home aquarium.  Hate to see you get into trouble (and possibly heavy fines) for having a caring heart.  If you do manage to have the skates survive and hatch out be sure to record what you did, and other information for possible use later one.  I realize Skates are found up and down the northern pacific shorelines, but it never hurts to have more info on species now a days. Good Luck. -Magnus>

Stingrays Is there a small type of ray that will fit in my 12 inch in diameter and 39 in length?
<No... no... and no... this aquarium is probably less than 55 gallons. You would need at least 30" wide aquarium...that is at least 6-8ft in length to house even the smallest of rays. IanB>

Stingray babies Hi Mr. Fenner....... Just a few lines to let you know that work on the public aquarium here in Mauritius is progressing and we hope to open early in the new year. We have started to collect some specimens which are currently in quarantine. We were pleasantly surprised this morning to find that our stingray ( Torpedo sinuspersici ) had given birth to 6 baby rays of about 3 inches in length. <Neat> The baby rays have been separated from the mother ( she has not eaten for about 3 weeks)...... What should we feed the baby rays on......... Are there any special needs for the rays ( mother and babies) in general? Thanks for all your help and advice. Michael. <Do wait a few days... make sure any "yolk sac" food is absorbed before trying mouth-size (or smaller) chunks of meaty foods (shrimps, scallops, fish...) placed down near the young. Bob Fenner>

A Ray Of Hope? Hi, <Hi there. Scott F. here with you today> I have just acquired a Taeniura lymna.  He is about 6-7" and was at the LFS for  only 4 days before bringing him here.  I place him in a 7" (220 gal) with mostly angels as tankmates. <Yikes! Please be sure to quarantine all new arrivals for a minimum of three weeks before placing them in the display tank...Better for everyone...>   I have looked everywhere and cannot find much info on these guys.  Even on your site, there really isn't much.  I've also heard that Bob has one of these beautiful creature's?? <I don't believe that he does have one...It's one of the worst of a pretty bad family of fishes to keep in captive systems. I don't like to sound negative, but I think that, despite your good intentions, you purchased a fish that really should not be kept in captivity. These fishes almost always starve to death for lack of available food sources in captive situations. They need a huge sand bed area, filled with infaunal life. If you can get this fish to eat prepared foods (like Mysis, frozen Cyclop-Eeze, or the like would be among the better choices), it will still have a very difficult time adapting to captive life...Sure, you might have the one in a million that does, but I'm afraid the odds are not in your favor.> Do you know what he feeds his? how he feeds it, temp he keeps it at etc.  Also, my French is a little nippy with it...is this a big problem?? Can the ray defend himself? Or is this too stressful? <Well, the added challenge of a nippy tankmate is really reinforcing the odds of failure, I'm afraid. At best, he fish may hang in for a while, but if you are going to have any chance at all, I'd recommend a tank of his own...> Thank you so much  I for one have really truly appreciated all the help I've received from you guys.  My French would not be alive today if it weren't for you!!  Hopefully now you can help me with Raymond! Thanks again, Lynn <Well, Lynn- I'm afraid that we cannot be of too much help here. Regretfully, retailers continue to stock these beautiful, but non-viable (for aquarium use) animals. The best thing that we can do for them is to vote with our wallets, and not buy them. Once there is no market for such animals, there will be no reason to import them. I know that you meant well, and I encourage you to do your best with this animal, but please read up and know the odds ahead of time when you decide to purchase ANY animal, especially one with such a difficult reputation. Do your best...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>
A Ray Of Hope? (Pt. 2)
Thank you,  just wanted to let you know that I returned the ray the next day.  He was looking stressed to me, and what little info I found... encouraged me to return him.  After getting your opinion I am glad I did so.  I'll not make this mistake again. Thanks again Lynn <Well, Lynn- I'm glad that you were able to get him back to the dealer. I can only hope that they can find this fish a more suitable home (perhaps a public aquarium?). Despite this unfortunate experience, I think that your compassion and enthusiasm will serve you well in the future...Don't be discouraged...Keep learning and growing in the hobby, and share with others! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Hawaiian Stingrays Or "Do You Google"? Hey guys, WHEA student here again. I have a paper due on Hawaiian Sting Rays and I haven't been able to find ANY websites other than yours, do you know of any? (Love your website, I refer to it for EVERYTHING!) - Jillian >> http://www.csulb.edu/web/labs/sharklab/students/current/dan/flash/project_sting.html http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/default.htm http://www.fishbase.org http://www.google.com/search?q=hawaiian+stingrays&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&start=50&sa=N Marina

Searching For Stingrays... Hey guys, WHEA student here again. I have a paper due on Hawaiian Sting Rays and I have not been able to find ANY websites other than yours. Do you know of any? Love your website, THANKS! Jillian <Well Jillian, I'd go check out Scott Michael's excellent website, www.coralrealm.com   A great source of fish information from world-renowned experts...You do have to pay to become a member and gain access to the material, but it's worth it! A hu'i hou! Scott F.>

Blue Dot Stingray I have a Blue Dot Stingray and I can not get him to eat. I have tried a lot of food clam , shrimp , krill , and fish but he will not eat yesterday he looked like he was eating some krill but he was not I need help please my tank is 150 gal and the water is fine I also have a Snowflake Eel with him and have no problems at all with him eating. I have had him for 2 weeks. Please help what can I try to feed him and how can you tell if it is a male or female thanks again. Thanks again for any help <Mmm, not an easy fish or even group (stingrays) to keep in aquariums. Easily sexed... they have internal fertilization as the closely related sharks... males have claspers (narrow, tubular processes) for pelvic fins... females have more fan-shaped pelvics. Feeding? Perhaps try a feeding stimulant like the supplement Selcon... soaking a mix of meaty foods in this material for fifteen minutes or so before offering down near the animal (on a feeding stick). Please see WetWebMedia.com re Taeniura lymna here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm and the linked FAQs file beyond. Bob Fenner>

Feeding Rays Hi.  I am a graduate student at Nova's Oceanographic Center.  My thesis requires that I hand feed yellow stingrays (Urolophus/Urobatis jamaicensis), but we are having difficulties getting the rays to feed.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <There are feeding stimulants that include vitamins and HUFAs. Liquid prep.s are used to soak food items in a few minutes... What sorts of foods are you offering? Hopefully you are using a feeding "stick"... and placing the food down near the bottom of the system. Bob Fenner>

- Stingray Stings - Thanks for your concern.  The incident occurred last Monday to a friend, an adult male approx 30 in excellent physical condition.  Beach was rocky, thus not expecting stingrays.  ID'd as definitely "Round Stingray" approx 12-in dia.  Wound was a "slash", not puncture, pain and bleeding were instantaneous, bleeding was profuse which helped flush out the wound. While water was heating over a propane flame, wound was irrigated with fresh water and inspected for the barb or any other foreign objects.  Nothing was found.  Within approx 3-4 min.s of immersion in HOT water, pain level greatly reduced.  Kept checking patient for any signs of shock incl anaphylactic. No signs other than somewhat elevated state of excite.  Analgesic in form of Benedryl given orally.  Wound stopped bleeding after about 20 min.s (being soaked in clean bucket), but pressure by walking reopened so applied compress gauze over wound.  Patient had somewhat painful night,  Swelling was only about size of half-dollar, no striations indicative of infection by morning, couldn't keep him out of the water, said "Goodbye!"  Reason for my inquiry was a couple of people on site demanded he soak it in COLD water! Took about 5 min.s to get through to them.  Thanks again, "R.L." <Indeed, hot water is 'de riguer' for venomous stings (or wounds in this case) as the heat breaks down the proteins of the venom. Ice and cold water can wait till later to help reduce swelling, but to address the immediate pain of the injury, you did the right thing. Onward and upward! Cheers, J -- >

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

Mixing stingray species I'm going to get a southern stingray is it compatible with my blue spotted stingray? -Carrie <Should be okay as long as there is sufficient space for both (hundreds of gallons). The Blue-Spotted is not easily kept, mainly due to shipping, handling damage enroute from the wild. Bob Fenner>

Good vs. Bad Blue-dot Stingray Species- what's the diff?   Dear Bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead, my friend> We've been wondering about blue spotted stingrays and were wondering if they are reef compatible <not really. Even if your definition of reef-safe excludes their crustacean (shrimp/crab) diet... you still have to contend with their need for large spacious sand flats. A rockscape is a recipe for disaster with skates and rays (causing abrasions and perhaps leading to their demise) in the confines of captivity> and also what size tank you would recommend for keeping one. <200 gallons bare minimum... and more importantly, the most common species in the trade- Taeniura lymna, is staggeringly difficult to even keep alive (truly for experts and public aquaria only). If you must have a blue spotted ray, please seek the hardier Dasyatis kuhlii... less blue spots but much more likely to survive (small and adaptable). Scott Michael's "Sharks and Rays" is a must have book for you before you proceed too, mate> Look forward to hearing from you soon. Many thanks in advance, Martin & Lynsey <with kind regards, Anthony>

Wanted: sting ray to who may concern i recently have a 150 gallon salt water fish tank. I have a banded cat shark maybe about a foot long i am thinking about buying a blue spot sting ray i would like to know if it is possible to add this sting ray.? i not only have my banded cat shark i also have 1 lunar wrasse,1yellow tang,2 niger trigger, 1 green wolf eel,1snow flake eel, and 2 maroon clown fish  
<This would not work as this tank is too crowded and Bluespot are very challenging to get to live for long.  Cody>

How to buy rays? I have been intensely searching the internet for rays to buy.  Who should I contact? Eager for a Ray, Dawn Bailey <Look at the sponsors sites at wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>

Blue Spotted Stingray health Hi, can you help? i wonder if u could help at all, i have a blue spot stingray in my aquarium at home, it is a female and in the last 2 days i have noticed a small but concentrated red patch right below the start of the tail, right where the rays waste/reproductive openings would be, between the anal fins.  the ray does not seem 2 bothered by this and is swimming normally and feeding well, i am still very worried by this small mark as it doesn't look very pleasant, i am sure it is either some sort of infection as i know these rays can sometimes get (although the ray is totally clear of all redness or infection everywhere else, or perhaps it is some form of sexual thing? <Likely a sore spot, possibly infected secondarily... and does worry me as well> as i had a male stingray b4 for  over a year and it never had anything like this, despite suffering from a short infection which did cause redness. pls can u advise whether this is likely 2 be some sort of sexual/ female trait which occurs naturally or an infection and what i need do about it (if anything)   <Likely resultant from a mechanical injury. Your system is too small for this fish... crowded with other fishes listed> My tank is 150 gallons and also living with the ray is a banded catshark, adolescent, a dolphin wrasse, a yellow tang, clown, Sailfin tang, and some corals and hermits, these are slowly becoming snacks though.  I recently removed and gave away a Regal Tang and Damsel which had started to peck at a sore on the rays tail.  This sore is now healed and in all other respects she is very healthy looking. many thanks  Scott Evans <If you have another system that is at least this large I would move your ray to it. Bob Fenner>

Eagle Ray Hello Sir: <Hello> My daughter is in first grade and has a project about Eagle Rays. She needs to do a flow map describing how the eagle ray looks from birth to adulthood. In addition she has to mention the names it is called.  I have looked everywhere but I can't find what are the names for the baby Eagle rays, young and so on.  We also need to know how the Eagle Ray adapts to its environment.     Can you help us? <Let's see. First off THE eagle ray you are likely concerned with is Aetobatus narinari to science. Go to fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/search.html?server=NRM-Stockholm and insert this scientific name and you will find images, its many names around the world. A more general search on Google with the name "eagle ray" will grant you the rest of the information you seek. Bob Fenner> Thank You, Catherine

Add another California ray? WWM crew, <Hello> Hello!  I maintain and stock the aquariums here at the local science museum and have been asked by several coworkers and patrons if adding another California ray would be possible since the one we have is so popular.  She's very friendly, squirting people with water and doing flips.  The tank is 600gal, short and very very long.  She has been in the tank for 2 years now. I didn't see anything about adding more rays in my ray book or on your site and was wondering what you at WWM think. <Is this a Myliobatis californica? If your filtration can accommodate another specimen I say go ahead. These are social animals, it's a good time of year (water warming here). I would at least administer a 15-20 minute pH-adjusted freshwater dip in the acclimation process of the new animal (to prevent introduction of external parasites)>   I don't want to upset her by adding an "intruder" into her territory, but if you think that the tank is big enough, and she wouldn't mind having some company, then I'd really like to add another.  Thanks! <I would have two myself. Bob Fenner> Rochelle
Re: Add another California ray?
Bob, <Rochelle> Hello again.  The ray is not "Myliobatis californica", she is actually, Urobatis halleri.  Unless she has two scientific names. <Two different rays, families. I take it the "stinger" is removed from your small round ray>   I identified her using the book Aquarium Sharks and Rays by Scott W. Michael. The filtration is pretty good; we have a large refugium, a good size canister filter, wet/dry sump, protein skimmer, and excellent water circulation. We also stock very few fish to keep the bioload as low as possible. Thanks very much for your advice.  I'll add another ray as soon as I can locate one to buy. <Sounds very good> Rochelle P.S.  On a side note, I would like to add that those who have rays might want to consider avoiding the Black and White Heniochus Butterflyfish and the Moorish Idol. I housed both of those fish, at different times, with my ray, both picked mercilessly on my ray until she had huge unsightly sores. They look so innocent and fragile, but they are actually quite vicious toward rays in my experience. <Thank you for this input. Will post on both the rays and these butterflyfishes areas on our sites. Bob Fenner>

Tanks and rays hello u don't know me  but I saw you on the Internet, and read your Q-A page. I noticed that u said a minimum of 100 gal tank was necessary for the smallest rays. And I was wondering why that was, is it because it is necessary to maintain relatively steady water parameters? Or is it because the standard 100 gallon tank doesn't have enough available living space (e.g.. the bottom of the tank measures 18" by 48").<Both> I was asking because I was thinking of building a tank for a ray . That is approx 36" by 48" by 16"( I am a plastic fabricator and can build anything necessary to accommodate a ray) but the gallon cap. Is only 120 gal. would that accommodate a ray or 2 comfortably?
<This could accommodate one ray comfortably but you will need at least 72" long for two.>
Should the sides be taller? I know how they like to go up the sides of the tank to see if the walls r still in place. <This height will be fine but bigger is better> I also noticed that u recommended to one person to put a 55 gallon in line with the filter to keep nitrates to 0. would that be necessary in my tank? I was thinking of filling it with aprox. 2" of bio sand . Also I have had excellent results using live rock in my filters .and using natural sea water in the tank . would that be a good practice to use in a ray tank? I have kept fresh water rays in the past .but what would u recommend for my first tropical salt water ray. I like the guitar skate but I heard they r cold water .Also I live by the ocean (Santa Cruz California) so it is easy for me to get small crustaceans like sand moles hoppers and hermit crabs ( I already go weekly to get hoppers for my sea horses )do rays have a preference? sorry for the ear full .but I have so many Q's . I will include pics of the crustaceans available to me for ID .thanks for listening  .< I would make up your own salt water here and aerate for a couple of days before adding to the tank.  Live rock would benefit this system also.  You are going to want to have at least a 5" sand bed of sugar grain sized sand.  This will help with nitrate and is necessary for the rays.  Please read here for more info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm Best regards, Cody. >

Some dasyatids... in Puerto Rico Robert, I am a graduate student in Puerto Rico in Fisheries Biology and I found your site while searching for species information on freshwater stingrays. The reason I am writing to you is because you made a statement on your website "None are currently utilized in the aquarium interest as far as I'm aware" and I wanted to let you know that I have just recently seen Dasyatidae in an aquarium for sale in a local mall. <Mmm, there are a few dasyatids that are freshwater and brackish... and a few of the Amazonian freshwater rays (family Potamotrygonidae) are used in the hobby> Now, I was perplexed by this because I do not know of this species being in freshwaters here in Puerto Rico. I just thought I would let you know that they are in fact now being sold in the aquaria market. Cheers, Kimberly <Thank you for this. You may be able to identify this to species using fishbase.org (with the country search). Bob Fenner>

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

What species of stingray will live in a 75g tank? None in my opinion... please read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm The smallest "common" species in the trade is 14" as an adult. Your tank is only 18" wide. Please consider other fishes altogether. There are many unique and wonderful choices. Start browsing some of these wonderful possibilities starting here: www.wetwebmedia.com follow the link for freshwater fishes best regards, Anthony

Bluespot Stingray injury/infection? Please help me.   I recently asked about housing my ray and eels together...now I have a problem with my ray.   My Bluespot ray has what appears to be a tear on the "hump" of her eye.  At first I thought it was debris stuck to her, but one of the blue spots is torn away, but still attached.  The "injury" (only thing I can think to call it) is about 1/8 of an inch in diameter.  After reading FAQs, I am about to assume I should treat with antibiotics, but am very worried about:  which ones to use, how to figure dosing; can I dose in my tank--I'm guessing "no" (180g, 3" DSB, good h20 parameters); how can I avoid her sting if I have to handle her; how the heck do you weigh a stingray--in water?? <I would not administer antibiotics to this fish's water or likely inject it with same> My Q tank is 20g, and bare (no sand)...oh no!   Would a massive water change help?  I would rather not have to dose at all if I can avoid it. <I wouldn't and would not move this animal... too much likelihood of further injury, trauma... being placed in a too small volume>   I just noticed the problem today while feeding her.  Have had her close to a year (9 months maybe?) with no previous problems.  She (so far) still has her typical appetite.    I do NOT want to lose this ray.  I'm worried.  I've consulted my books, various message boards, your site and Google for answers...and am now thoroughly overwhelmed.  Whatever you tell me I will do.  Thank you. <If in good initial health, these fish are tough and have good powers of regeneration. I would augment the fish's diet with vitamins, HUFA and iodide and leave it where it is. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bluespot injury/infection?
Mr. Fenner, So no dosing then.  What if the tear becomes infected? <At that point I would consider a topical... like mercurochrome, Merthiolate... applied with a "Q-tip", lifting the animal gently up to the surface> I am aware how dicey these rays are to keep, and have made deliberate efforts to make sure she is in a healthy environment.  Until yesterday, she looked great.  I'm probably over thinking this.  I soak her food in Selcon normally, will go find the others today.  Thank you. <Glad to help. Bob Fenner> Vicki
Re: Bluespot injury/infection?
Mr. Fenner, <Here> I'm sorry to bother you again.  Have taken your advice on vitamins, and there does seem to be a bit of improvement in the area.  However, it no longer looks like a wound, but a sore. <These injuries take time... weeks, sometimes months to heal>   I'm not quite sure how to tell if the sore is infected.  I have never had a fish with an open sore before.  I should now treat w/Mercurochrome? <I don't think so. If the area seems to be improving I would not likely damage the animal by restraining it.> This IS the red stuff my mom used on me as a kid, isn't it? <Yes>   I don't suppose something like a triple anti-biotic ointment would be useful, or would the petroleum base be bad? <It will not stay on the animal> Another problem: my ray is breathing very hard now (began about an hour before I prepped her to feed).  She is still eating very well, but I am concerned about the breathing.  For some reason my pH dipped to 7.8 (this was after her regular water change Sunday and a test today, previous water change pH was 8.2)...is it safe to buffer right away, or should I do it gradually? <Add it gradually. Ideally don't change the pH more than 0.1 point in a day> I do have a two powerheads and a skimmer in the tank...so I don't think it's oxygenation. All of a sudden everything is falling apart here.  Would she be better off at LFS until she heals and I figure out what the heck happened in my tank? <Not likely. Have faith that you are doing your best here> Thanks again for your initial advice.  I believe it did help. Vicki <You are welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bluespot injury/infection?
Got it.  I WILL try to chill out about this.  Raised the pH .1 today, will continue each day till normal again. <Very good> She looks much better.  Breathing has slowed a bit and she's swimming around again.  Her color is still a bit dark, but her sore looks better.  Cautious optimism. <Keep it up> Thanks so much. Vicki <Bob Fenner>
Re: Bluespot injury/infection?
Mr. Fenner, Quick update on my Bluespot...she's looking markedly better.  Her wound is much less dramatic-looking.  Color is back to normal.  Appetite still good, she's breathing and behaving normally again.  Am keeping a very close eye on her still, but so far we're in OK shape.  My SINCERE thanks for your advice and patience. <Good to hear of the progress. Bob Fenner> Vicki

Stingrays Hi Crew, <Hello Joe> Just a quick one for you.  I have a 220g FOWLR tank, with tangs, clowns and a couple triggers (niger, Humu Humu).  My LFS is getting in a blue spotted stingray and was wondering if it would be compatible with my set-up.  Also, are they a difficult fish to care for ( I was going to make sure it was eating before I buy it), do they have specific needs, will they eat my small perculas, knock over my live rock etc. <Not a good choice. Rarely live for any time in captivity. Please see here re Taeniura lymna: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm> P.S.  The other fish I was considering is either a queen or emperor (juveniles) angel.  I've read on your site that the queen is easier, I have access to an emperor though and was wondering if it is that much more of a difficult fish then I would not buy it.  By the way how long would a juvenile take to get the beautiful colors of the adult. <Depends on several factors w/in (feeding, water changes...) and w/o your control but a few to several months to years from whatever size you're referring to> thanks for your help Joe <Bob Fenner>

- Captive Electric Rays - Dear WetWebCrew, <Greetings, JasonC here...> Hate to be such a bother, but you guys are by far the best source of information I have come across. Just think of me as your unskilled apprentice, always curious. My friend just bought an electric ray to put in his 300 gallon tank. <Ohh nooo... please tell me you are joking.> He's had it set up for quite a while and is running adequate filtration and the water quality is fine and stable. We tried to ask the guy at the pet store some questions, but he didn't seem to really now anything. First off, is there any supplements he should use to better prepare the ray for aquarium life? <None... please consider trying to get this ray back in the sea.> We've already used "Cycle" to help ease the transition. <Cycle isn't made for such things.> I've heard iodine is good, or any other essential vitamins/nutrients? Second, what should be done properly regulate its sleep cycle? Right now, the lights are coming on at 10 am, and are going off at 11pm. <Should be fine.> It was my understanding that rays and sharks are nocturnal so we don't want to mess up anything having to do with his natural rhythms. <Not always, but often their food is nocturnal so...> Also, we tried feeding it both live ghost shrimp and skewered squid, neither of which it was interested in. Is this just because its still getting used to its new home? <It could also be because most all electric rays are not tropical fish and need to be in a chilled tank.> How often should he be fed, I've read twice a week, no more, no less. What is the best method of feeding it? Any other important info you could add would be greatly appreciated, Sincerely, Bob Benson-- <Bob, there just aren't enough ways for me to voice my disappointment. These rays are absolutely inappropriate for anything but the largest public aquariums, and for your friend to have purchased and placed it without knowing the care requirements in advance has likely sealed its fate. Please start by picking up a copy of Scott Michael's book, Aquarium Sharks and Rays - detailed care requirements are contained within. But let me quickly quote his book from the section Captive Care: "Unfortunately, due to their selective food habits, electric rays do not fare well in captivity. They feed primarily on annelid worms, both in the wild and in captivity, so unless you have access to a ready supply of these invertebrates, your chances of keeping an electric ray alive are slim." Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Consider poking your friend to do the research FIRST. Sincerely, J -- >

Eels/stingray cohabitants? Hello! <Hi there> I currently have two tanks housing a 9-10" Bluespot stingray and 2 eels (20" Tesselata and 15" Blackedge) respectively.  I would like to create a habitat for both the eels and ray to live together.  Am thinking of establishing one 300g tank to do this. <Ahh, a good size system>   Have already solved the cave, substrate, surface area and water flow issues on paper and am about to begin creating a working prototype.  What I need to know is:  can these animals live together without menacing or trying to eat each other? <Yes... given attention to feeding, general husbandry (big skimmer, large water changes...>   Some folks say yes, others say "good luck with that!"  Would very much appreciate your expert opinion on the viability of such a venture.   Thank you in advance!   Vicki <Should be a spectacular exhibit... given one or two "piles" of caves, soft, deep substrate for the ray, attention to getting foods to all, a secure top to prevent eel escape...  Bob Fenner>
Re: eels/stingray cohabitants?
Hooray, hooray!  I'm relieved to know I won't be putting my animals at risk (especially my ray).  I should have the new system ready to go no later than the start of summer then.  THANKS for the fast reply. Vicki <And you, for your earnest involvement, enthusiasm for our hobby, life. Bob Fenner>

Catching A Few Rays...Not! Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you tonight> I had some questions on converting my tank: This is what I have - 180 gallon tank,  60 gallon tank converted to a wet/dry (w/ bioballs)  filter, FW  sand , heaters, powerheads.  Question #1 - Can I place the Protein skimmer in the sump? <Actually, in the sump is the best position, IMO. It should be positioned in the sump where it receives the most organic-laden water from the tank> Question #2 - I am very fascinated with the SW stingrays - Do I need live rock and live sand? <Well, these fishes require very good husbandry, large water volumes (like several hundred gallons, IMO), and stable tank conditions. Really not the animal to try in one of your first saltwater attempts...In fact, I think rays should only be kept by advanced hobbyists who have mastered the fundamentals of marine aquarium keeping, and even then, with the best of care> I currently have normal sand for freshwater  Question #3 - I was thinking about having some Live coral or anemone in the tank... Do I need to have live rock in the filter?? and will this affect the stingrays?  Thanks ... Brian <Well, Brian- I really want to encourage you once again to get some experience with more forgiving animals first. A lot of the answers to the basic questions that you're asking can be found on the wetwebmedia.com site! Remember, even anemones require very specific attention to water conditions in order to thrive. Why not get a good book like Bob's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist", which will arm you with some great basic knowledge of marine aquariology, and give you some ideas for tank setups and fishes to try first? If you take it slow, acquire good habits, you'll be ready for those stingrays one day-and you'll be primed for success! Good luck! Scott F.>

Hassling Wrasse! WWM Crew, <Scott F. here tonight!> Hello again.  You guys have been so helpful in the past, I thought I'd pose another question.  The California Ray has been, as I've e-mailed to you before, acquiring sores.  At first I thought it was the substrate and high nitrates (down to 20 ppm now), but I sequestered her until she healed, and rearranged things to where she could bury in the sand rather than the gravel-like substrate.  The wounds reappeared anyway.  The culprit turned out to be the Moorish Idol (I never would have suspected until I witnessed it myself). The Moorish Idol now resides in a different tank.  There is also a cleaner wrasse in the tank with the ray, which ceaselessly attempts to 'clean' the wounds.  Now, the Ray HATES that.  She always hated the cleaning though, even before she had any wounds.  Is it possible the wrasse is hurting her? <Well, the wrasse may not be causing more injury to the ray, but the resulting stress from the "harassment" definitely is not doing her any good!> It doesn't seem to be the case because she's not getting worse, she's healing.  Very rapidly.  But I keep getting complaints (The tanks are here at the museum where I work) that the wrasse is "attacking" the ray.  Am I accurate in thinking the wrasse is not actually hurting the ray, though maybe aggravating her? <Yes- I really think that the wrasse may be causing additional stress to the ray, which is the last thing a recovering animal needs! So-you may want to remove the wrasse> Thanks for your time.  If you say to leave the ray and the wrasse together, I'm just going to post a sign explaining the behavior of these two creatures. Rochelle. <Give the wrasse a vacation! Take Care! Scott F.>

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

Manta ray eggs on Oregon coast? Hi, Answer People! <Whassup, question person?!?> My friend found an egg sac on the Oregon central coast last weekend. She was told it was a Manta Ray egg.   <Ha! Did her date tell her this trying to impress her with the size of his... brain (for lack of a Lincoln with black tinted windows... Ha!)? I sure hope not for his sake... Manta rays are ovoviparous... that is to say: live-bearing. All of the big Elasmobranchs essentially are. Smaller sharks and rays practice oviparity (egg-laying)> She cut open an obviously dead one, and there was albumen-y stuff  with little mushy things that looked like they had yolks inside.  Was it a Manta Ray? <likely a smaller skate or stingray... the egg capsules are rather common certain times of the year. Fascinating reproductive strategy. Tell her to dry out the egg case and make a bizarre amulet out of it <G>> Thanks! Lanita <best regards, Anthony>

Re: HELP Sick Yellow Ray (Urobatis jamaicensis ) One of it's Spiracles is barely functioning, the other one is pumping.  Does this change any of your advice regarding treatments? <it does sound like parasites have at least set in secondarily. Antibiotics still needed and first course> (I got your sermon on the Quarantine tank)   <excellent, my friend!> I'm using the tank itself as the quarantine tank. <nope... not correct. A QT is a bare-bottomed vessel (no harm to ray bare). What you have is a tank with substrate that allows a new fish that hasn't been QT'ed to bring in parasites that can more successfully execute their life cycle with a fantastic sand bed for larval tomites to fester and develop in and jump up and re-infect the bottom dwelling ray. Substrate with unquarantined fish can be fatal because not only does it encourage the proliferation of pathogens, but it makes medication impossible for the calcareous media absorbing meds like a sponge. The ray can and should be removed for QT... but the display is now contaminated and must run fallow for at least 4 weeks> The sand bottom is sugar sized so I can't see that being the problem.   <an excellent and attractive grade of sand for the ray (although I thought a also saw course rock in the photo you sent). But the problems without QT as per above> I've never seen any of the fish messing with her. <very good to hear> Moved the 3 fish out and it's dark (tank in basement)   <awesome... likely to stay nicely cool for the ray too here in the basement> Planning on using Melafix and Praziquantel.  Any suggestions? <yep... I like the Praziquantel, but the Melafix is snake oil and a complete waste of money in this and most cases. Some aquarists have complained about scaleless fishes like your ray being sensitive to the tea oil in it as well. My advice is to just use proven medications. Best regards, Anthony>

Sick ray Bob, Long time no e-mail. <cheers, mate... Bob is away in the Caribbean and WetWebMedia now has a crew approaching a dozen strong working on the site! Anthony Calfo in your service> I never found anyone with a pair of C. plagiosum over 18inches in length (still waiting).  So I decided to get a ray that according to Scott Michael's book is less difficult to acclimate.  Everything seemed good at first but several weeks later I'm having some problems with female ray. <I already have some concern by the description which leads me to believe that this fish was not quarantined first. If not, it is really critical to QT all new fishes... especially these sensitive (shipping/handling) Elasmobranchs> Here's her symptoms: It appears to have lesions/sores just below her spiracle (gills) on both sides, with some hemorrhaging up to the one eye. <This is quite common... we answer a question on rays with sores almost weekly here. It is likely a bacterial infection causes usually by inappropriate substrate (very fine sand needed... no course sand, gravel or rock ever recommended) or fishes simply picking at these easy targets> She's in a 300 gallon tank with a few  blue-lined snapper (Lutjanus quinquelineatus).  Also I think the sand bottom may be irritating these sores when she buries herself.   <it is the most likely cause> After re-reading Scott Michael's book on Aquarium Sharks and Rays,  it seems to be bacterial and not parasites, <agreed> unless there are parasites only inside her spiracles (gills). Do you know of medication that I could either add to the tank (there's no coral in it)  or should I use a 50 gallon rubber tub to keep her in with a heater/powerhead/airstone for few weeks or only use it to dip her in it? <the latter my friend. This fish needs QT in isolation with antibiotics. Dose carefully for this scaleless fish. If you have access to a vet and better meds, take your vets advice. If you must use hobbyist's meds, begin with Furan based medications (Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone cocktails). Must be dosed daily for at least 5 consecutive days (6 hour life in water). When the fish is taken out of the water, iodine swabs of the lesions may be helpful too> Any information is most appreciated. -Pat <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Sick Ray
I guess my ray may have Monogenetic Trematodes (flukes).  I can't see them with the naked eye but can see hemorrhaging all around spiracles.   <flukes are not uncommon, but they are less likely here and you need to be very sure that they are present before aggressive meds to eradicate them else you may unnecessarily stress or kill the ray. What makes you think it has flukes? Have you seen excessive scratching or glancing, closing one operculum while pumping the other, etc?> I thought initially the ray was digging through the sand looking for food but it may have been swallowing sand.   <not enough to make this diagnosis> I lowered the temperature in the tank.   <slowly I hope> Is this ray Euryhaline?   <ahhh... I don't recall the species from your last e-mail, but surely you did/would have researched this before you bought the animal? This is a fundamental requirement for good husbandry> Should I lower the salinity and do a freshwater dip or formalin bath?   <almost certainly not in this case> Where would I get the ingredients for the latter?   <some pharmacists are friendly enough to order and sell you formalin. Else a chemical supply house. Small batches available  as fish meds from Aquarium Products brand and others>> Do you think Dyacide or Praziquantel is appropriate in this case?  How much would it cost and where could I get Praziquantel? <dispensed by your veterinarian as per his discretion and price> In terms of antibiotics  where could I get them and what would you recommend?  What anesthetics could I use if I needed to force feed the medicine to the ray or if it doesn't eat because it's sick. <wow... you are putting the cart before the horse my friend. I must admit, none of us here including Bob are enthusiastic about most aquarists keeping rays in the first place. Too many folks get into keeping these magnificent but sensitive animals without researching their needs before they buy them, have no QT protocol... simply throw them in tanks with other fishes and then are surprised about the difficulties that ensue. I'm sure that you are an empathetic aquarist... but do consider that you need a prompt, skilled and accurate diagnosis of this fish before you make another move. Knee-jerk reactions will have consequences> If I decide to force-feed the ray food/meds/antibiotics mixed should I clip off her stinger or try to cork it or put Styrofoam over it.  Your advice is most appreciated. <My God... you did just ask us about clipping off the stinger?!?! I can't believe you even considered it?!? I am struggling with your query which is very typical of an ill-advised purchase of an animal that you weren't prepared for. We are here to help aquarists succeed, indeed. But you must help yourself by being prepared for such endeavors before you buy the animal. The ray should have been QT'ed for 4 weeks before it went into the tank. Now that it hasn't and needs one ever so much more, it sounds like your Rubbermaid vessel is not even set up or biologically prepared to handle the mass of a ray. This animal may very well end up paying for your lack of preparation with its life. The best advice I can give you is to get this ray into a quiet and dark quarantine tank. Research on this site and beyond what proper procedure is for QT (4 weeks minimum, small frequent water changes, very stable temperature (2 heaters), etc.). You will also need to find very specific references for the species that you keep. We cannot make a diagnosis on the pathogen from a text description, but I have shared the likely causative agents with you from our experience: bacterial from lack of sugar fine/muddy sand, presence of rock or gravel in the tank, presence of fishes (picking at night often). I am saddened for having to hear of this all. I do wish you and this ray the best. Kindly, Anthony>

Stingray Wounds/Injury Hello to you, WWM crew, <cheers friend> I e-mailed you some time ago with a ray problem (goiter), now, this ray is experiencing an entirely different problem, I have attached a photo.   <thank you... clear and revealing> Anyway, she developed these open wounds, which look like they originate from behind her eyes, right around her gill slits.   <indeed... this is very common with Elasmobranchs... rays especially> More sores are evident on several places on her body, plus some small white spots.  And her veins, or what look like veins to me, look like someone's veins might if they'd been bitten by something poisonous, only they are whitish instead of red.  Most of this is not visible from the photo, but there is a good representation of one of the sores, which I thought would be helpful.   <agreed, yes> I've never seen any of the other fish picking on her until she had these sores, so I really don't think that's it, <that is the second most common cause/catalyst> besides, these sores appeared out of no where (within 2 days).  Do you know what the problem might be?     <yep... pretty sure you have too much rocky substrate. Even fine gravel is too course. If not kept on sugar fine/powdery sand... many rays develop these sores suddenly after weeks or months. We cannot have rock or gravel in the ray aquarium... only fine sand> I couldn't find anything about it in my shark and ray book by Scott W. Michael, but I might have just over looked it.   She has good color, is active and is eating well, so I don't think these sores are bothering her much, <they are in fact extremely dangerous. Can be/become virulent> but I would still like to find out what's going on and treat whatever this infection might be.   As a precaution against the other fish picking at her sores, I have segregated her. I don't know if you need to know the water conditions, but just in case you do: (this is for a 600 gal. tank) pH is 8.3 temp is 73 <both fine> Nitrates 140 (I know this is high, I've been doing frequent changes to get it down, but haven't been successful) <stop the presses! Yikes!!! The first problem is that sharks and rays as you know are quite sensitive to nitrate. The second problem is that any recommendation for nitrate levels (under 60ppm, under 20ppm, under 10ppm etc) are for ionic nitrate concentrations...not(!) nitrate as nitrogen measured by hobby test kits. The actual nitrate level in your tank is a multiple of 4.4X the hobby test kit reading. 140ppm is probably the high end of your kit (where it cannot be measured accurately). But lets assume that this is true: 140ppm on your test kit is about 600ppm of ionic nitrate! It may in fact be higher. This is a huge problem bud. The water changes are great, but what you need is a denitrifying filter ASAP. Deep sand beds can actually bring that nitrate down to near zero in less than a month. Consider tapping a 55, 75, 90 gallon tank inline downstream on the way to the sump filled with sugar fine sand 6-12" minimum. It can be unlit and simply flow through. But please set up ASAP.> Nitrites 0 Sp Gravity 1.024 Thank you SO much for whatever help you can offer now, and for all you've given in the past.   <our great pleasure> Rochelle P.S.  sorry about the poor quality of the photo, I think Norma (the ray) is a bit camera shy. <no worries at all... very helpful. It revealed the hard rocky substrate/decorations too. Please address that issue as well. Best regards, Anthony>

Something is wrong with the California Ray Dear Bob, Here at the Science Museum where I work, we have a very very large tank where we keep various things. A California ray is one of the inhabitants of the tank. I've only been taking care of the ray for about 9 months or so (she's been here for years), and in that time I've noticed she has a strange swell under her mouth. My boss (who like me is not an expert) thinks she's just fat, but I only feed her 3 times a week, so I don't see how that could be. She has also developed a difficulty in eating unless her food is presented to her in tiny portions, where before she could eat nearly any size food (within reason, of course). Do you have any ideas of what this could be or what I should do about it? I've searched and searched, but haven't been able to find any answers. Thanks in advance for your help. Rochelle <Thank you for writing... I share your concern. This sounds too much like a "tumorous growth"... Please ask your veterinarian to autopsy (or if too late, necropsy) this growth (a simple thin "punch tool" as in cork-boring will do)... This area may be coherent, operable, able to be excised. Bob Fenner>
I found out what was wrong with the California ray
Bob, After seeking your help about what might be wrong with the California ray, I took your advice and attempted to find someone here who could help identify the problem. No one could give me a definitive answer, which is probably due to the fact that I live in Oklahoma, and we just don't have a lot of marine experts here. So, I looked through books and websites, and finally came across what her problem is. She has goiter.  <Ahhh, not atypical...> Purina, test diet division, has a multivitamin that I'm going to try to use. <If it doesn't include iodide, do add this... through the food> I just wanted to thank you for trying to help and let you know what I found out in case it might be of some use to someone else. Rochelle <Thank you for the follow-up... Will post your findings, intentions on WetWebMedia.com... Over time, you will have saved many losses, other trouble for folks. Bob Fenner>

Blue Spotted Rays Bob, I have a 10 gal tank with sharp glass for a substrate. I don't like to clean the tank and like fish that naturally live for a long time. Should I get a blue spotted ray? <You're making my morning> Seriously, thanks for your advice, I did have my heart set on one for my 135 gal, but will have a change of heart based on your feedback. Thanks. Jim <Better to try other life that will do better in such captivity. Bob Fenner>

Blue Spotted Stingrays Hi, I have a 115 gallon tank that has a DAS system, and I added a UV sterilizer. It has 150pds of live rock along the back wall. I have had the tank running for 1and half year. In side the tank I have a large dragon wrasse, 2 damsels, 2 urchins, and 4 starfish. For my birthday my father purchased a Blue spotted stingray. The person who sold it to him, said it could live in crush coral, but I was told it could not. It would die soon. I cleared a spot for it wear I used 40pds of sand for the ray. Is that going to help. What is a good feeding diet. Right now I feed it shrimp soaked in Zo? and I also feed it squid. Is that ok or do I need to feed it something else. I was wanting to know how can I tell if it is male of female. The ray is about 6in wide, and 1foot long. Can you give me some advise on how to take care of the Ray. What is the Temperature and hydrometer supposed to be. Sincerely, Jon <It is irresponsible to buy something and then try to figure out how to take care of it. Please begin reading here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm and follow on to the linked FAQ files (in blue at the top of the page). -Steven Pro>

California Stingray I am looking into purchasing a California Stingray (Urolophus halleri) from the internet site "Flying Fish Express." I would like to add him to a 75g with a 6 inch porcupine puffer fish and 2 1/2 foot peppered moray eel.  <you can stop right there, my friend. Two problems...one: stingrays are best kept in species specific tanks because of their feeding habits and vulnerability. It is an unwritten rule that never be kept with pecking/toothy browsers like full size angels, puffers, triggers, etc. And two: the sugar fine sand necessary/recommended for the skin health of the stingray will be a sloppy messy field day for Pufferfish species that love to blow puffs of water at the sand in search of crustacea and keep the tank milky cloudy most days of the week. Furthermore... a 75 gallon is really tight quarters even for small stingray species in the big picture. My advice... postpone the stingray for a larger species tank and enjoy a greater diversity of fish in the 75 gallon.> The tank has excellent water parameters (0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, and nitrates stay around 10ppm which I was told was very good). I do weekly - by monthly water changes and think the tank is ok to handle one more fish. Opinions on this? <indeed...as above, no stingray please> Anyway, I owned a f/w stingray a number of years ago (outgrew the tank, gave him away to a friend with a much larger tank),  <the common destiny of most stingrays...if they are lucky and don't simply stunt and die prematurely from complications in crowded undersized aquaria> and would *love* to have another if at all possible. I've found numerous sites that state a 75g is min size required,  <perhaps a minimum without tankmates and still not your best bet/responsible even if true> and the stingray should be ok with everyone in the tank.  <I would advise much to the contrary and politely disagree> I would be hand feeding him so the puffer didn't steal his dinner. The eel is also hand fed with no probs. <hand-feeding none of these species is recommended> Max size of this guy is 9 inches, excluding the tail. The substrate is an aragonite/Aragamax mix, but I'd be willing to change that to pure sand  <pure sugar fine sand would be necessary...else likely lesions and sores in time> or add sand to the mix if that's not soft enough for their sensitive stomachs. Thanks and appreciate your time to answer these questions! <I truly hope you realize your dream again with this beautiful animal in a bigger display without such unnatural tankmates. Best regards, Anthony>

Blue spotted ray (larger questions of knowledge, morality) Why would the store sell something that would die?? <Perhaps they're ignorant of the species historically low aquarium survival. Maybe to "make money"...> don't you think you're pushing the dying fact a little to far.  <Mmm, no. Put yourself in my/our place/s. Having been in the trade for decades, seen, had many of this (and other notorious species) die so easily, it seems only realistic to warn others of their "chances"... perhaps spare a few specimens untimely loss. What would you do? Perhaps a romp through the various marine hobbyist listservs, asking for input of how others have fared would convince you? Bob Fenner> Miguel

Ray question Hi Bob, I am looking for some information on a "clear nose" guitarfish/skate. I don't know the scientific name.  <Maybe give a go on fishbase.org with the common names> I am trying to see if it would be compatible with my system (600 gallons). I was wondering if you knew the water temperature range for this animal, max size and if there are any reasons that this animal would not do well in captivity. <Mmm, this is at least a handful of species... most all coldwater...> I am also seeking the same information on a stingaree (pretty dark blue with yellow spots), i.e. scientific name, temperature, tank adaptability. I was told it was an Atlantic Ray, but I'm not sure I believe the fish store. <Again, another generic term... 42 species listed on fishbase for this...> Thanks for the great web site, Brian <Need more input to have better output my friend. For such an investment, you would do well to read the new Sharks and Rays book by friend Scott Michael. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Spotted Stingray Mr. Fenner <Steven Pro tonight working my shift as part of the WWM crew.> I have a 55 gallon salt water tank. I currently have one Fluval 304, one Penguin Bio-wheel 330, one Penguin Bio-wheel 170, one Seaclone skimmer, and one Penguin power-head. The tank is cycled, the test kit reads the lowest possible amounts for Ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite. My ph is 8.4. My question is could I support a yellow spotted Sting-ray. If so, would it need to be solo in the tank, or could other fish co-exist? Are there any special precautions I need to know about? <A 55 is about ten times too small for any ray.> Thank You, James Hannagan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Re: Yellow Spotted Stingray
So I need a larger tank, no problem, would a 140 gallon be okay? <No, 500+. Is being successful in raising a yellow spotted ray a realistic goal? <I do not know specifically about a "yellow spotted ray". Do you have a scientific name? I could then tell you maximum adult size, etc. -Steven Pro>

Stingray HI..! I will get soon one stingray, meanwhile I'm documenting and preparing its new home, Which is the most suitable sand for a stingray to have? Could I use silica sand? or gravel could be better. <Please read over the Stingray and Skate materials stored on the Marine Index part of WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Thanks Attn. Carlos Gorgon

What did I catch?? Hi there, I stumbled across your web site and found your email address because I have a question I hope you might be able to answer.. <Okay> A few weeks ago I went on a fishing trip to the Coorong a peninsula which is in SE South Australia. <Yes> Anyway we were chasing mulloway and I hooked on to what I thought was a sting ray but when I pulled it out of the water I saw that it had a shark like tail with small spiky lumps all over it and no barb. It was reddish in colour on the top and white on the bottom and measured probably 90cm across.. <A skate, related to rays...> I think it may have been a skate but if you have any other ideas, some info or perhaps a piccy that would excellent! <Perhaps a Raja lempreiri or R. whitleyi... these are the Skates most common to S.E. Australia. You can see their images on fishbase.org.>  Thanks! Mark Adelaide, Australia <Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Caught a Skate?
Thanks for the reply Bob. Fishbase.org is an excellent reference site. <Yes... a treasure of cooperation...> I'm not 100% convinced that it was one of the two skate species you suggested, by that may in part be due to it being a bit dark at the time.. I guess I was kinda hoping id caught some strange and rare exotic fish, who knows perhaps I did! <Agreed and agreed... there are more fish species to be described... crosses...> Since last email I checked out the rest of your site and your resume and saw that you also breed tropical fish (or at least know a bit on the subject), which is interesting because I actually breed angel fish myself (check out my (kinda dodgy) angel fish breeding site http://users.senet.com.au/~mribbans/pages/angel.htm ) <A very nice "page"... do like your descriptions... e.g. how to sex angels...> Anyway another quick question then I'll leave you alone.. In my girlfriends tank (we have one each) she has two bristle nose catfish but a few months ago they have both slowly changed colour from dark brown to an orangey cream colour. I was wandering if this is normal or whether perhaps we have something that isn't a bristlenose?? <Likely are what they are... Bristlenose Loricariids of some sort... maybe shifting into a reproductive color phase.> Thanks again Bob! Cheers, Mark Ribbans <Be chatting mate. Bob Fenner>

My school project Hello, my name is Trevor Harres. I am in 5th grade. I am doing a project at school where I need to spend a million dollars buying something.  <A challenge to your creativity and prudence> We're not really spending money it's just pretend.  <I see> I decided to use my money building an aquarium for bat rays where people could pet and feed them and another one for star fish and other animals like sea urchins that can be picked up and handled by people. I was hoping you could send me any kind of information you might have on the cost of what it might be to do this. Feeding and keeping the fish alive also has to be included. I can't go over a million dollars though. If you can find some time I would be very appreciative. You can check my information by calling my school if you like. Richmond Street Elementary School.......... Thank you, Trevor Harres <Mmm, I would make a list of the "Steps to Completion" of such a project... including design, construction, livestocking... AND a "spread sheet" (sort of like a calendar by months of the year with spaces for listing items of expense) for detailing what things (labor, electricity, water, rent, taxes...) cost every month (estimated by the projected cost of the facility and cost per customer visiting). The design and building part of the project can be worked on using the "Pond Index" part of our site: see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ponds.htm Some input into speculating about the finance parts of your project can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bizfin.htm Do contact me with your concerns, questions, suggestions as you progress. Bob Fenner>

Please reply soon!!! (marine stingrays) I am an amateur but recently saw the stingrays at Sea World Orlando and developed a great interest in the fascinating animals. What is the longest living stingray I can keep in the smallest aquarium with a max. of how many rays in that aquarium?  <Perhaps the smaller dasyatids... one to a hundred gallons or so...> Is breeding easy and will I be able to sell the offspring easily?  <If they were in good health, perhaps> What are some recommended books and species?  <Please read here and beyond: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm Do get, read Scott Michael's latest work cited in the FAQs there> Is it common (or possible) to remove the barbs or trim them in anyway to make the animals more easily handled?  <Yes, both are done by public aquariums, research institutions> What are some dos and don'ts in the aquarium set up - do they need plants, bubbles, etc. What species go with what size tanks?  <Lots of space, not-sharp substrate, good filtration, aeration...> Can you give some prices (I have no clue) I would greatly appreciate a reply at XXXX. Thanks, Timothy <Much to discuss. Let your enthusiasm carry you into discovery here. Bob Fenner>

Please reply soon!! (stingrays in IL) I recently emailed you and thought of a new question. Do you know if stingrays are legal in IL if not do you know of a sight where I can find out? Thanks again, Timothy <Marine Stingrays are not dis-allowed in any U.S. state that I'm aware. Freshwater ones are illegal in some (like California). Please direct your query to the State's Fish and Game agency. These can be found by searching in the Yellow Pages... or on-line via State listings/directories. Bob Fenner>

Saltwater Stingrays Hi I have a 120gallon tank and I wanted to get a saltwater stingray. I would also like to have a lionfish and some other fish is this possible. What kind of stingray would you recommend for my situation. thank you <Please read first here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm then the accompanying FAQs file, on to other cartilaginous fish group materials. Bob Fenner>

Ray recommendation? Bob, I'd like to get a small ray, but I've seen how much trouble many of the species can be, especially when they're inappropriately caught from the wild. What would you recommend for a beginner? (To rays, not to keeping fish in general.)  <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm and the cartilaginous fishes articles and FAQs files linked beyond> I'd like something small (for a ray), that's not likely to die on me in a month or two. I will be buying a new aquarium specially for it, so I'd also appreciate advice on an appropriate corresponding size. (At this point I'm in the research stage, and I'm going to get a copy of Scott Michael's new aquarium shark and ray book, now that it's available.) <Yes... very worthwhile. Bob Fenner> Thanks much, Jen

Salt water stingrays Robert Fenner,  My name is Monique Hellen. I'm writing a report about salt water stingrays for my biology class and there are some things that I would like to know to help me with it. <Okay> What does the water temperature for a salt water stingray have to be?  <Mmm, there are tropical, subtropical, cool to cold and very cold species... so anywhere down to near 0 C. up to the mid 20's C.> For how long can they live?  <Some smaller ones a handful of years, larger ones to decades> Do they use light energy or chemical energy?  <No to light... by chemical you mean like Krebs's Cycle? Oxidative decarboxylation? Yes> How do they reproduce? Do the stingrays mom take care of the babies, or they need to grow on their own? <Some are livebearing, with placental like structures attaching, nourishing the young... some just have internal development, many are egg-layers... there are species that are oviparous, ovoviviparous, viviparous> I would be very, very thankful to hear from you. I will be waiting for your reply. <Please peruse the stingray sections posted on our site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm There are a few reference works listed, mentioned there in the FAQs section you should read over. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Monique.
Thanks very much.
Hi, It's me again (Monique Hellen). I asked you some questions about salt water stingrays and I would like to let you know that the answers you sent me were very helpful. Thank you.  There were some things I forgot to mention. My teacher asked about classification. Then she put like: a) Kingdom; b) Phylum; c) Genus; d) Species. What is meant by that? <Biological classification categories: Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/claslfecma.htm Where are they found and range? <Please read where I sent you last message> - Ocean or  - Intertidal Zone or - Estuary? Where? Which? Depth? Ocean Zone? And, what significance do they have to man, positive or negative? <What do you think?>  My teacher said I could choose 1 or 2 that I would like to talk about specifically, so I'm going to search on the website you gave me the address. <Do so. Bob Fenner> If you could answer to these questions I'd be more than grateful. I'll be waiting for your reply. Once again, thanks for your help. Sincerely, Monique.

Stingray help Mr. Fenner, I've talked with you numerous times in the past about my stingray. but now I have a serious problem. he has an air bubble in him somewhere that is preventing him from sinking back to the bottom. He keeps trying but there is just too much air in him. How do I remedy this? (I think it's from the bubble curtain in the tank.) Thanks David. <Actually, not much "to do" rather than wait and see if the animal can/will discharge the gas, or less likely absorb it... maybe lowering the water level will help ease the strain (lay your submersible heater down flat to keep it underwater). Bob Fenner>
Re: Stingray help
Can this kill him? David <Yes, possibly. Bob Fenner>

Blue spotted stingrays update Robert, about a couple of months ago I asked for your help with stingrays. Unfortunately I lost the female but I appreciated your help so wanted to let you know that the male is doing great and he's growing so I hope I am out of the rough bit with him. <Ah, good to hear, read> One thing you may want to know is that they are very sensitive to water changes. Even just 10% really puts them down. I thought he was going to die after a 25% change! He lost a lot of body weight and didn't feed for 3 weeks. <Yes, thanks for reinforcing this fact.> I think stability is the key to these guys. no hassles and they seem to do well. Water changes need to happen real slow and make sure that a dechlorinator is used and that the salt concentration is a perfect match. <Well-stated> I have had nitrate peaks and dips but they seem unaffected. From what I have seen I would guess that most die prematurely due to the changes in water chemistry. esp. from a wholesaler to shop to home. <Agreed. And much damage physically in-between the wild and home... stands to reason such large, messy eaters would be tolerant to waste matters> If anyone else writes to you about these guys, I don't mind if you send them this email address. <Will post it on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com under "Rays" section for alls perusal> Once again, thanks for your help Colin <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue spotted stingrays update
Thanks very much for the reply. I do have one more question though...(groan!) sorry. <No worries> The ray is a bit of a pain when it comes to feeding because HE knows what HE likes and I know what is good for him. It is a battle of wills sometimes.  <Sounds like having children!> A bit like red tail cats and pampered Oscars etc. I used to pack dead feeder fish for my red tail cat with green foods and stuff for roughage. What would you recommend that I can sneak into this rays food without him realizing? <Yes... this is done every day at public aquariums> I use mineral supplements for reptiles I keep, normally inserted into, or dusted onto their food. Is there something I could try for the ray to make sure he is getting a full balanced diet?  <I would insert pelleted foods in its diet that have been soaked in a vitamin complex> I feed him on frozen (defrosted in aquarium water) prawns, octopus, krill etc. already. Thanks in advance, Colin <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue spotted stingrays update
Can you recommend a "ray-safe" vitamin complex? <All the ones sold in the pet-fish interest. Micro-vit comes to mind> What sort of dry food would offer a complete diet for rays? <None that I am aware of. I would soak a dry pellet with the vitamin complex for ease of introduction...placing the dry food in turn within a meaty item> On another note of interest. My ray shares his tank with some other inhabitants which include two cleaner shrimps. He does lie still to let them clean him but the shrimps have just started something really annoying; when the ray is eating they have started sitting on his head and putting their claws into his spiracles and pulling out the bits he is trying to eat! Taking the food straight out his mouth! Ouch, imagine that!? Needless to say these little robbers will be getting removed 1st chance I get. In the meantime I am hand feeding the shrimps to make sure they have full bellies before I feed the ray. Thanks again, Colin <Those shrimp better be careful... your ray could easily include them as a meal. Bob Fenner>

Clearnose skate Hello Mr. Fenner, I greatly appreciate you giving your time to answer questions for all of us hobbyists. <An honor and pleasure my friend in fish> I have set up and cycled a 70 gallon(4ft. long) tank and I am toying with some possibilities for livestock. I know my tank is too small for sharks or rays, but I was wondering if you have heard of anyone keeping the Clearnose skate?  <Have seen these Ray relatives kept in regional Public Aquarium displays... many do get quite large... most are cool water organisms requiring a chilled system> I have searched the internet extensively but have not come across any information about caring for this animal. If you could please let me know if my idea is idiotic or conceivable, I would appreciate it, thank you. Samir <Very glad to tell you of cohort Scott Michael's forthcoming "Shark and Ray" husbandry book. It should be out in a few months. I would wait for a read through this worthy tome on going forward with your cartilaginous fish plan. Bob Fenner>

Saltwater stingrays Hello Robert, I'm new to the saltwater tank world, but I love SCUBA diving, and have developed a sincere passion for reef life. I'm just getting started by setting up a 75 gallon tank (I can't wait) :) <Great... two fabulous endeavors... that are interrelated!> My goal is to someday setup a habitat to house a saltwater stingray. The Blue Spotted variety sure are pretty, but after reading some of your text online, I may opt to try the California Stingray (Urolophus halleri). <I've kept these... can be done> Let me first say that I am not going to rush out and buy one. I am a very responsible person (I love marine life, and simply will not undertake any venture that I am not ready for). My initial goal is to setup a simple reef ecosystem, read many books, become proficient, then _maybe_ 2 years from now, attempt a Stingray tank. Whether I decide to or not, however, I'm still interested in learning about the species. <Surely> This being said, in order to make a sound decision (and quite frankly, for curiosity) I want to find out as much as I can on this subject. However, good, reliable information is hard to find. Can you point me in the direction of a some good books, and/or other resources that I can use to learn more about saltwater stingrays in aquarium life? Specifically I'm looking for information on: <Yes... Scott Michaels new Shark and Ray husbandry book is soon to be out from TFH/Microcosm...> Size of tank: What is the most suitable to provide the stingray with the appropriate space? <Something large and "flat"... the bigger the better... a hundred gallons minimum> Compatibility: Will the stingray play well with others. Other docile fish, invertebrates, anenomes, perhaps even other predators like a Porcupine fish or Moray Eel? <Yes on the fishes... invertebrates on rocks... with plenty of filtration...> Life span: What is the life span of a stingray in the wild/in an aquarium? <Years in the wild, weeks typically in captivity> Care: What specific needs does a stingray have? Basically I'm just looking for any and all information - but good, solid information. My ultimate goal is simply knowledge, no more. I live near the Minnesota Zoo, where I've done some volunteer work in the past. Would you recommend that I try to contact the people who are responsible for their reef exhibit? <Yes> Thank you so much for your time, <Much more to discuss my friend. Bob Fenner> Ross Grover

Blue Spotted Stingray... treatment Help, My beautiful lady is ill! I have a pair of 18" long blue spotted Lymna taeniura. The female has started to become increasingly thin. I have had them over a year and I noticed that this started about 5 weeks ago. <A good long time for this species in captivity> She is starting to look quite bad and I can now see that she is a washed out yellow colour with pale spots. More disturbing is that I can clearly see her pelvic bones through her skin. These are non-existent on the male. <yes> What can I treat her with which will be elasmobranch friendly? The male, typical male, is totally unaffected by the whole thing. He is still feeding and acting as normal <If the fish is still eating, I would try a combination of Piperazine and the anti-protozoal Metronidazole/Flagyl... are you familiar with these materia medica? Do you have a way of weighing this animal to calculate dosage? I strongly encourage you to chat with a veterinarian locally (you may refer them to me), and have them provide you with these compounds.> I am assuming that she has some type of worm infestation. Tankmates are only one cleaner shrimp and a star fish, not a problem to re-locate if treatment demands so. Lastly, she has now started going off her food. Rather than the greedy ganet she was she merely picks at small bits of krill. Other foods are prawns, octopus etc. can you help? <You may have to force feed this animal. Or if worse comes to worse, inject it with the vermifuge and possibly an antibiotic... Chloromycetin in a succinic acid base if your vet. has it/can get it... Bob Fenner> Colin

Stingrays again Thanks for taking the time to reply, I'm off to my vets tomorrow with my list. You reckon it could be worms? <There is that possibility.> I smiled at the thought of weighing and force feeding a stingray : ) Bet that's fun. I'll let you know. <Not so much fun... but perhaps necessary.> Hope you see that I am trying my best to treat her and that I shall not be buying a replacement if she dies. I will also discourage others from buying ribbontails. I have successfully kept Potamotrygon laticeps in the past and assumed that this would be the same deal.  <Freshwater are much easier... higher, longer rates of survivability.> You seemed surprised that they are over a year old. I hope I can keep doing something right. Ultimately I would like to encourage them to mate.  <Yes... most Taeniura lymna die enroute from the wild... almost all others within a month of capture. You can see my appraisal of this species, group in captivity on "Cartilaginous Fishes" sections on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com... read the FAQs there> I sent you another email, sorry if I cluttered your inbox! CD <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

I recently sent you a question about stingrays. Since writing I have done some more web based research and have found that they are not a species suitable for aquariums. I suppose you just take for granted that if a fish is on sale in a shop it is suitable for an aquarium. Unfortunately that is not the case. <You are right on all accounts> I totally agree with your stand point and they should not be imported. <Ah, good to have company> I would urge people not to support the importation of these fish. <Good> I have had mine for quite a while and everything was great. I think it is probably too late for the female now, but as the male is active, alert, eating and importantly growing I hope he is going to be okay. <Me too> He is in a 150 (imperial) gallon tank with sand, rock work and a cleaner shrimp. He seems okay. Fingers crossed............... <Mine as well. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner> Colin 

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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