Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Rays, Skates, Guitarfishes Stocking/Selection

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

Related FAQs: Batoids 1, Batoids 2, Batoid Identification, Batoid Behavior, Batoid Compatibility, 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,

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>
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

stingray question... stkg./sel.   7/27/17
<Hi there>
I have available a 20,000 gallon concrete pool . I would like to do a touch tank with it. The pool is saltwater. Since in the summer, water temp gets to 80 degrees, which species of stingray would do best in this environment.
<Mmm; where is this pool (geographically)? Are you interested in catching (likely hook and line) your own specimens? Bob Fenner>
Re: stingray question       7/28/17

We are in Tucson. Was planning on buying stingrays for the pond and maybe involve the local high school which has a marine biology unit at the school.
<Mmm; well; as far as stocking/selection, there are tropical freshwater and marine species that could be utilized. Can you afford to heat the water during winter/cold months? I STRONGLY encourage you to get some hands-on experience with keeping a large marine aquarium before attempting this if going saltwater.
Has this concrete pool been treated with metals (for Algicide)? Bob Fenner>
Re: stingray question       7/28/17

Yes it does have a heater, of course days are mild in the winter 60's and 70's. colder at night. with exception to January.
<.... a heater w/ Cu piping? You haven't read... B>

Blue spotted stingray won't eat... other iatrogenic errors        12/13/14
Hi I was referred to you guys by someone I believe is one of your members
he told me that you guys can help me with my problem
<With grammar? You can easily do this w/ the devices software you're writing us with>
I have a blue spotted
lemna? An exceedingly poor species for home/hobbyist use. SIMPLY look up (the search tool on every of the 14k plus pages of WWM) and READ re>
that's roughly about 9 inches around I've had him for over three
weeks I've tried to feed him squid shrimp silversides clams and he's still not eating what should i do
I've even tried and he still not eating I've
tried varying the food and feeding times. There's even a ribbon eel
<... Henry... why have you set yourself up for failure by choosing difficult fishes to try and husband? These two rarely live/make it in captivity>

in the
tank along with two other stingrays
<... What, which species here? Am guessing some coldwater...>

and they're all eating pretty much
anything I throw in the tank Thank you for looking into this and please let me know what I can do my name is Henry
<Data please; and the reading. Bob Fenner>

skate egg wanted       5/27/14
Hi. I know the clear nose skate is a common species and commonly kept and used in research but I cannot find anyone who sells them. I am looking for one for my 325 gallon tank (about 7 ft by 2 1/2 ft by 2 ft). Are these available for sale? Thanks.
<Mmm; yes... when "in season"... I'd have you check with Dr.s Foster and Smith (.com) for them in turn to add your order to their system...
Otherwise you might have luck checking directly w/ collectors, biological supply houses... coldwater aquarium livestock supply outfits.
Bob Fenner>
re: skate egg wanted      5/28/14

Unfortunately all I can find is the "preserved" version which obviously does me no good. When do these guys come in season/when will you be collecting? Thanks.
<The summer to fall for local species.... No longer a collector. BobF>

Stung by stingray and now I want one   8/23/11
A couple months ago on a trip to Nag's Head, NC I was stung in the hand by a stingray in the hand. After 4 or 5 very painful hours in the hospital I found myself fascinated by them. I searched and searched for the culprit that stung me on the internet and as far as I could tell it was a common Atlantic stingray (brown, about 12-15in across and two rows of spines down its back).
<Dasyatis sabina, an interesting brackish water specialist, with one specific population confined to a freshwater habitat, St Johns River in Florida.>
Anyways I am starting a 55 gal brackish aquarium and would love to have a small enough stingray for the tank and hopefully look something like the one that got me. Is this possible? What species would be a match?
<Unfortunately, there aren't any stingrays this small; at least, none that are traded. I don strongly suggest you get hold of a copy of Richard Ross' "Freshwater Stingrays" book or else "Freshwater Stingrays" by Hans Gonella.
Both of these cover the basics of freshwater Stingrays, generally the "easiest" of the group to keep. Realistically, you're going to need a tank 4 times the size of the one you have, simply because these are big fish. If you get a species with a disc width of 14 inches (which would be a very small species like Potamotrygon scobina) then you need a tank at least 4 times that length from side to side, and 2 times that length from front to back. Remember, with Stingrays, you don't have any latitude with regard to water quality and water chemistry stability, so the size of the tank is as much about buffering against changes as anything else. They're also very expensive animals to keep. My rule of thumb is this -- if spending $10-$30 dollars on a book is something you aren't prepared to do, then there's NO WAY you can keep a Stingray! We're talking a giant tank, a massive external canister filter (if not two), very regular water changes, an RO system (or two, or three) to produce the relatively soft, nitrate-free water they need, and so on.>
Thank you,
<Do perhaps look at the various Flatfish on sale.
While they aren't as busy as Stingrays, at lengths of 4-8 inches depending on the species, they're infinitely easier to house and maintain. They're ideal for certain sorts of brackish water communities, and while predatory, they pose no threat to anything too large to swallow, which in most cases is anything bigger than Guppy fry. Cheers, Neale.>

Blacktip shark and blue spotted stingray compatibility   8/3/11
Hi there,
I have a 2500 gallon aquarium housing 2 Blacktip sharks. I am planning to add 2 blue spotted stingrays but couldn't find any information about their compatibility. Any ideas?
<Not really compatible. The Rays are hard to keep on their own, let alone trying to get food to them past the sharks>
One more thing, my system doesn't have w/d system but more than 800lbs of live rock. Should I add one?
<... I wouldn't rely on either for much of any sort of "filtration"... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sharkfiltr.html
and the linked files above>
Best regards
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Deciding what fish for a 180g. Stingrays    6/3/10
I am upgrading from a 90g reef with a 20g sump/refugium to a 180g single overflow in the back center with 20g sump. I will be getting a SRO-XP3000EXT skimmer to cope with a heavy bioload. I would really like to keep a bullseye stingray
<Urobatis concentricus. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=13274
a cool water species...>
or some other smaller stingray species in the aquarium and would leave almost all of the aquarium open for it.
<Mmm, not really appropriate for this size, shape volume>
It would have a deep sand bed with fine sand and I would only place two pillars of rock in the back corners maybe with some sort of little over hang so fish have more places to hide/ feel safe. My question is would this be OK for a smaller species of stingray.
<I'd look into other species... trouble with mixing tropicals... and boring to have something that is almost all the time on the bottom in such a "show" shape tank>
I have read 180 is the minimum. I would also like to know if I could put a Harlequin tusk fish or three yellow tangs in with it?
<No... these live in much warmer water, may get "stung">
I would like the stingray to come first and build a fish list around that but if it should not happen than I guess I have more room for fish right?!
Thank you for your help guys,
<Better to save up, go visit this fish in the eastern Pacific, Mar de Cortes, or public aquariums. Bob Fenner>

Bullseye Electric Ray (Diplobatis ommata) quick questions. 4/30/10
Hello WWM crew! I have a few questions regarding the Bullseye Electric Ray.
I was poking around on your site and I came across a few posts indicating that it's very hard to get the Lesser Electric Ray (different genus) and Torpedo Rays (also a different genus) to feed. Does this also apply to the Bullseye Ray?
<Pretty much.>
I found a wholesale website with them available and, while I am not a petstore and cannot buy from them directly, this does indicate that they are in the trade and are by far the smallest of the electric rays that I have seen available (less than a foot in length). Would this animal live happily in a standard 250-300 gallon tank?
<Probably not. Do read:
The baseline for marine rays is 500 gallons; bigger tanks are desirable.>
Also, if this ray IS a picky eater like its other electric brethren would it need to eat LIVE marine worms?
<None of the electric rays is an "easy" feeder given the way they forage, detect food. Virtually all electrosensitive fish detect the fields produced by the moving muscles in their prey, and react accordingly. Species that are more adaptable tend to be in the minority. Perhaps you want to start off with a freshwater electric fish like the Electric Catfish or even the Electric Eel, a surprisingly docile animal despite its reputation.>
Or would frozen or freeze-dried ones be acceptable? I found only one website that sells live (marine) worms commercially, and they're located in Australia (I live on the East coast of the United States, so shipping would
be... rough). Also, is it essential that they eat MARINE worms? Or would earthworms of live freshwater worms be acceptable as well?
<There are good arguments for providing marine invertebrates to marine fish. Occasional use of freshwater/brackish water live foods may be viable in some cases, but mostly real success comes from offering the same nutrient composition as they'd get in the wild. For a variety of reasons, marine organisms tend to have distinctive nutrient contents very different to that of freshwater, terrestrial organisms. The scientific literature on
this is copious; track it down.>
Thank you very much for your help!
<Do track down, read 'Husbandry Notes on the Lesser Electric Ray' in the North American Journal of Aquaculture 2005; 67: 58-65. If you don't have the time, resources to locate this paper, you probably shouldn't be keeping electric rays. They are very difficult to maintain. Even public aquaria have, at best, limited success.
Cheers, Neale.>

Electric Ray: Stocking\System No Useful Information. 3/26/09
I have a question about the lesser electric ray.
<Narcine brasiliensis - A very difficult species to keep in captivity.>
I have a lesser ray that is about 5 months old and was doing well until a few days ago.
<Again, a very difficult species to keep, very difficult to get to eat.>
The water quality has been good. <What is good?> the ray eats bloodworms, I give the ray frozen bloodworms every other day since I had him.
<Are you using any supplementary vitamins?, Please also try squid, shrimp, etc.>
The problem that arose is that the ray seemed to be having trouble staying at the bottom of the tank, now the ray can not stay at the bottom of the tank and is now floating at the top. There doesn't seem to much life left in the little guy.
<Likely stress and or starvation.>
I have no clue what could cause this. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them, thank you.
<Need a lot more info - tank size, what is in the tank with him, water quality, etc.>
Please do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batoidfdgfaqs.htm >

Stingrays, sel., reading    11/27/08 Hi, I was curious to know if you could help me identify these stingrays. I have a 300 gallon tank and would like to buy 2 of them. I think they could either be CA stingray, Cortez stingray, or round stingray??? there in this video, here is the URL. Also could you tell me which would be the smallest of these. thanks--James Calvetti www.*YouTube*.com/watch?v=Q-A9iyGQyZY <Mmm, this video is no longer available... You can read/discern these  species, their likely ultimate sizes, by perusing WWM, fishbase.org... For  us start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Weird behavior from an Emperor Angel/General tank issues...  -08/27/08 Yes, I had slacked on my water changes when my RO/DI unit broke. I will resume my normal regiment. <And regimen, about face!> Ok, so it's time to upgrade tanks. I have had my eye on a Ray of some type; maybe the Cali Round one. <Uhh, time to read... this is a cool/coldwater species...> SO if I upgrade tanks, can I go with a 72X24X25 or do I have to go more with a 60x36x27. The population I am envisioning would include my current blue/yellow tangs, Emperor(If he makes it), and bird wrasse.... Thanks so much for your help! <Welcome. B>

Yellow spot skate 05/09/08 Good afternoon. I had a quick question that I wanted to ask you. I recently noticed that an online vendor had a yellow-spotted skate in stock. I have always been a fan of stingrays and skates, but I have never had an adequate sized aquarium to house one. I am in the process of setting up a 240g (4'x4'x2') tank, which might work for smaller species of stingrays. I emailed the company and asked for some information on the yellow-spotted skate, but they were not able to provide me with much info. That correspondence can be found below. Do you have any information on this type of skate? <I'm not exactly sure what skate this is. There are different skates from different parts of the world that go by this same common name. Does the company have any pictures of the animal?> I am guessing that they eat crabs, snails, and shrimp. I was more interested in how big they get and whether I could put one in a tank with softies and LPS. Actually, an info you could provide on this species would be greatly appreciated. The only thing I found that might resemble this species is *Leucoraja wallacei, *but it doesn't look similar. <Leucoraja wallacei are not from South America, so it's probably not this one.> Thanks for your help. <We should be able to help you more once we know what type of skate these are. It's likely that you will have to design your tank to accommodate this animal. Skates generally need a lot of open area (flat bottoms, little rock). So you can keep at least that much in mind when setting up this tank.> Brian <Best, Sara M.> ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Atlantis Aquarium <info@atlantisaquarium.net> Date: Tue, May 6, 2008 at 9:43 PM Subject: RE: yellow spot skate Hello, They are from Central America. I am not sure of the care. This is the first time we've seen them. Sorry could not be more help. Thanks Best regards, Mingwei Parks Atlantis Aquarium

Clearnose Skate, sel.  8/3/07 Hello WetWebMedia Crew! <Hi> I have a few questions concerning a species of skate called a "Clearnose Skate". Before I start, I must point out; I am completely unable to care for any Batoid species at this point in time (freshwater or saltwater), and I will not be until I graduate from college, which is a long time away. A website called "Sharksupply.com" is offering the Clearnose Skate at 5" in size for a mere $50, which sounds fantastic since that's the cheapest ray I've ever heard of. Based on some sketchy research I found that this skate gets just a little over 2 ft in length at most (correct me if I am wrong). Judging from that this sounds like a great "first ray" species. I would just like to know how big a tank would be required for one, maybe 2 individuals, as well as preferred temperature and environment. Any guidelines would be appreciated. Also, would this skate be compatible with other Batoid species like Guitarfish? Or do skates prefer only hanging out with other skates? I've always seen in public aquariums eagle rays, stingrays, and guitarfish all hanging out together, but no skates. Is there a particular reason for this? Finally, what is the general behavior of this skate? I'm not so sure if I would care to drop a few grand to set up for a fish that does nothing but sit buried in the mud all day. Does this species spend all of it's time sitting around lazily, or is it at least mildly active and entertaining? <I'd read here and linked files above for information on this. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm? Thank you for your time. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Mmm... Porcupine Puffer fdg., Keeping a Batoid  2/18/07 Hello Gentlemen (and Ladies), <Heeee! Oh, you're not joking... Okay>   I have 10 years as a paid aquarist and have volunteered at several public aquariums across the country.  I would like to think that I have a pretty good amount of experience with marine fish and invertebrates, but I do have a few quick questions that I was hoping you could answer for me. <Will try>    I have a 3 inch porcupine puffer (Diodon holocanthus) in my large fish only tank with live rock.  I have had him for about 3 weeks and thus far I have not been able to get him to accept frozen or freeze dried foods. <Mmm, does happen... as you're likely aware... Puffers of all sorts, sizes... go on feeding strikes often when moved... sometimes for no apparent "reason"> I have fed him live feeder guppies once per week, and he has managed to catch and eat a few.  He is too slow to catch more than one or two per feeding, and my Humu Humu trigger will no doubt eat any live Ghost shrimp or clams that I offer before the puffer can make his move.   <The presence of this trigger may be a large part of the reason for not feeding here...> Any thoughts as to what I can do to get him to begin accepting thawed frozen food or freeze dried krill/plankton?   <An open shellfish... and either removal of the Balistid, or moving the puffer to better psychological setting>   My second question involves aquarium stingrays.  I am setting up a saltwater system for a friend, and he wants to keep a stingray.  I have informed him that they are by no means easy to keep, but he wants one nonetheless.  I am installing a deep, sugar-fine sand bed and minimal rockwork, to maximize space.  The tank is 240 gallons with a sizeable footprint.  There won't be any triggers or puffers in the tank, and the ray would be the last animal added.  Other than adding a few live crustaceans to the sand bed to aid in feeding (and thereby acclimation) is there anything else we can do to increase our chances of success? <Mmm... be careful when picking out species, a specimen...> We are looking at both the Blue Spotted Ray and the California Spotted Ray.   <Both exceedingly poor choices historically... The California will/would require a chiller... keeping only other cool-water species...>   Thank you for your time.  I very much enjoyed reading my copy of "Reef Invertebrates", and I love the work that you guys do. Best regards, Danny Riskam <Do have your friend look over a copy of Scott Michael's "Aquarium Sharks and Rays". Bob Fenner>

I have a California round and a blue dot sting ray in a 150 gallon  2/18/07 Hi I have a quick question I have a California round and a blue dot sting ray in a 150 gallon. <Mmm, one's tropical, the other sub-tropical... see WWM, Fishbase.org re these species... incompatible> They are on their way to a 300 gal. but when I started the tank I put live rock bio Spira etc to get the good stuff going now I have pulled everything out so they have plenty of room. (this was 5 months ago w/ nothing in the tank they've been fine) Question is how does good bacteria get in there now? <Mmm, with transference of water, substrate, filter media... even the air in time> Will they be ok in there w/o anything? Do they need anything else.? Michelle <Mmm... no way to tell, as you haven't related what "they have" presently... Please skim over WWM re Batoids in captivity... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm scroll down... Bob Fenner>

Urolophus halleri (Round Ray), not eating, not tropical  9/18/06 Hey Crew,   We got a Cali ray that came in to our store last week on Thursday. The ray hasn't eaten yet. It seems like he doesn't want to eat. We have tried frozen squid, krill, gulf shrimp, and live ghost shrimp. None of them have worked. She swims all day and all night and rest for a little bit. Should the ray be eating by now? I've looked at some of the articles on your site and nothing helped. We have been hand feeding and stick feeding.   Thanks,   Ben <... is this fish in "hot water?"... See here: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=2580&genusname=Urobatis&speciesname=halleri Subtropical... likely needs to just be placed in cool/cold water and allowed to acclimate. Bob Fenner>
Re: Urolophus Halleri (Round Ray)... another cold/cool water animal misplaced  9/18/06
Temp is at 78 and going down slowly. Yesterday the water was at 80 and the ray never really rested. Today he has been in the sand for almost the whole day. We'll try feeding her again tonight.   Ben <...Mmm, the temp. of the water where this fish hails from is mostly in the 50's and 60's F... Bob Fenner>

Stingray mega system  - 09/07/06 <Hey Dan you are in luck, I've kept some stingrays and have some experiences to share with you.>  After seeing all the great advice on your site, I thought I might tap your brains as well with a few questions on my mega large, stingray system.  I have been in the saltwater hobby for almost 10 years, currently running 3 other tanks, so I know the basics, but this is my first go-round with stingrays.  After seeing something at a LFS, I decided to build my own "lagoon".  The display tank (not counting the filter) is Approx. 1,200 gallons, in the lower level of my house, with a pond liner.  It is roughly 8 foot by 8 foot and 2.5 feet deep.  It is filled with a 1-2 inch deep sand bed made of sugar sized Aragamax, and has a small (30-40 lbs.) pile of live rock in the center.  It is now time to stock the system.  My questions are these: -Should I be worried about the pond liner (40 mil typical outdoor pond liner) being punctured by the stingrays' spines/barbs when they swim around?  <Based on my experiences no. Stingrays aren't usually aggressive unless they are provoked. Meaning they don't go around with their rays ready to puncture all the time.> -I would like to house a variety of stingrays in there, and after doing the research it seems that, in a system this size, I would be able to put 3-5 rays in there total.  Could I maybe do a Bluespot or two, maybe a California round or two as well?  I know Bluespots are difficult to keep, but due to the size of my system, I think many of the problems most folks encounter will be overcome. <My friend kept Bluespots without any troubles. I believe that the major thing with them is that they need to be shipped in healthy and from a reputable dealer. But I don't think you are going to be able to keep Bluespots and California species together because Bluespots need a warmer water tank than the California rays.> -Finally, in a system this size, do you see any problem with adding a big fish or two (like a grouper, something that will not generally pick at rays)?  <You possibly could add some fish but let me warn you RAYS ARE HUNGRY and will eat and or attack lots and lots of other fish and devour them pretty quickly.  Especially, in my experience, the blue dots.> Thanks in advance for the advice, and the past advice to others cautioning them to treat these animals for what they are: living creatures who need to be cared for, not merely a "thing" to be had. <If it was me I would plan on trying to keep a pair of stingrays and I would put any other fish you planned on keeping in first and letting them get establish. Let the system stabilize and get settled as well. Realize that stingrays like other predatory fish are going to produce a tremendous amount of waste and that you'll need to plan your filtration to accommodate them. Realize that most stingrays are going to be larger animals and that's going to require special equipment for changing things in the tank. Realize that you aren't going to want to reach your hand in the tank for many reasons. Figure out other options for cleaning.  Bless Steve Irwin's soul, but these animals do have the potential to kill so keep that in mind as you choose what to do in this system.  Hope this helps and if you have any more questions just let me know. Good luck, MacL>

Stingray laws  - 09/03/06 Do you know in which states in the U.S. it is legal to own a stingray in your home aquarium? <Mmm, freshwater or marine? Only presently aware of the former (Potamotrygonids) being restricted in our State of California> Everyone else I ask just says "don't tell anyone you have one" but I don't want to do that. I want to know. We just got an aquarium, 110 gallons. <Too small for marine Batoids...> We haven't put anything in it yet, the stand is still being built so we're trying to weigh our options and we love stingrays. We are in the military so we move every few years, even if it isn't legal in this state, it may be legal in our next. <Contact the State(s) "Fish & Game"... they will know. Bob Fenner>

Sale of Urobatis jamaicensis  8/8/06 Hello Bob, I saw the aquaria trade article you wrote on webmedia.com and was wondering if you have an idea how to come across the number of stingrays, particularly Urobatis jamaicensis that are sold annually, and for how much. (Any info would be helpful) Please contact me with any suggestions you might have to acquire this information.  Thank you in advance. Cheers, Dan Fahy <Mmm, likely the best place to look is through a roster/listing of saltwater collectors/dealers that are members of the FTFFA... Please see here: http://www.ftffa.com/ There are likely quite a few fisherfolk who could supply this species out of the TWA as well... Good fishing! Bob Fenner> Daniel P Fahy Research Assistant Oceanographic Center Nova Southeastern University National Coral Reef Institute

Sharks and rays ... incomp.  - 05/20/2006 Good day folks. <Noam> I have read through hours of your postings and although the information is invaluable I have not found the answers I seek. <Good> I am currently cycling a 250 gal tank. My goal is to house one bamboo shark, and one ray. I know the California ray is the right size and temperament however it requires colder water temps compared to the Shark. <Yes> Can you please suggest a Ray that is both small in size, and has the same water requirements as the Bamboo shark. Thanks from Chicago. <There are tropical species... not often offered in the trade... and I don't encourage mixing these groups... too much "dust", activity from the Ray... Bob Fenner>

Urobatis jamaicensis in captivity    4/25/06 Hello my name is Riley I have read a lot of  information on stingrays. I currently have a P. reticulatus, but I'm also  interested in marine rays I have researched and found that  Urobatis jamaicensis is the most suitable for life in an  aquarium. I searched your site and found no information regarding this ray other  than ("Urobatis jamaicensis (Cuvier 1816), the Yellow Stingray. Western  Atlantic; North Carolina to Venezuela. To thirty inches wide. Aquarium and Cozumel photos.")  I would like to know the basics and the requirements of   this beautiful animal. <Mmm... you should peruse the article, FAQs on Batoid fishes...> Such as tank size, <Hundreds to thousands of gallons... at least twice the width of the intended maximum size, thrice the length. Height not very important functionally>> eating habits etc. I would also like to  know how to go about purchasing this ray, what sites or sources carry it. Also  what are appropriate tanks mates?  Your help is most  appreciated. Thank you for your time! <Or a referral... to Scott Michael's "Sharks and Rays in Aquariums"... Bob Fenner>

Sting Ray Care  10/4/05 Hi, <Hello, Adam with you tonight.> I Love stingrays and have had very good luck with California Rays (Urobatis Halleri) <Very neat temperate species.> and extremely bad luck with a (Taeniura lymna) Bluespot Ribbontail Ray throughout my aquatic career.  <This is not surprising at all.  Often they die within the first week or two of captive life and rarely accept food.  Even when they occasionally accept food they seem to go on hunger strikes at times and often never resume feeding.  Very rare that this animal is kept successfully long term. This one is best left in the ocean.>  I have been lucky enough to obtain a baby Bali Bluespotted Stingray (Dasyatis Kuhlii) which is currently residing in my 50 gallon quarantine tank. <Ahh yes this 'look alike' species is much hardier. Generally they are easily coaxed into taking frozen fare such as fresh market fish, squid, krill, any meats of a marine origin really.  You should have a fine layer of sand on the bottom of the tank, at least 3' in which t can bury itself when threatened.  Coarse sand will cause irritation to its smooth skin, which can lead to bacterial infections and even death.  You'll also (eventually) need a tank of at least 300 gallons with lots of surface area and minimal rockwork.  Keep in mind that as with all Elasmobranchs this species is sensitive to stray electrical voltages, heavy metals, and high nitrate levels.>  I have tried to search both WetWebMedia and the web and have not found much information on care about this stingray. Please help me learn to provide the best possible atmosphere for this animal. <I also will take this opportunity to plug Scott Michael's book 'Aquarium Sharks and Rays.' It is filled with tons of good general information. However I will say that I disagree with many of the listed tank sizes for some species. I believe all sharks and rays should be treated to X-large spacious tanks (not closets) or left in the ocean.> Obsessed Aquarist Dinesh Patolia
<Adam J.>

My newest addition! Misplaced skate 7/14/05 I acquired my first stingray <Uhh, mistake number one... this is a skate... family Rajidae> Saturday, July 9th;  I have attached a picture of my "Stinger" (my two year old daughter named him).   He is doing wonderfully!  I have done a ton of research online but it is very limited.  I have purchased a few books but have yet to receive them. <Mistake two... too late> I was wondering if I might ask you a few questions? 1.    I bought him at Big Al's Aquarium Superstore, it was described as a salt water ray converted to fresh water (my guess is because I am in Florida and fresh water rays are illegal to own, sell, keep, breed, etc.).  Am I to treat and feed him like a true fresh water ray? <... is not a freshwater species... will be dead soon if kept in such... Mistake three> 2.    I kept the diet that the store had him on-frozen silversides, krill and bloodworms.  According to some articles I have found he is considered undernourished (you can see the "dent" between the eyes).  I started with one block of food twice a day but he still seems hungry so yesterday he got four blocks.  Am I in danger of over feeding! <Nope> 3.    Is it a male?  I see what I consider "claspers" at the stinger base. <Me too... I don't have claspers, but I see these also on the photo> 4.    In 900 gallons I keep four Koi (2 small/2 med size); four large comets (one is in the picture); 6-8 feeder goldfish; and Stinger-is there room for another ray? <... no> I would appreciate ANY advice you can send my way, I am so fascinated with him and it has only been a few days! <What can I say, write? This fish is doomed... of the two hundred or so species of skates, none are strictly freshwater. Enjoy this animal... while you can. Bob Fenner> Thank you,
Ronny Peltcs

Sorry to say I was duped! Revisiting the "FW" ray... 8/24/05 I bought a "saltwater turned freshwater stingray" at a local fish superstore a few months ago.  I learned the hard way that it was actually a Skate. Anyway I have him in a Koi and comet pond (about 900 gallons) and he has been doing excellent until this morning.  When feeding time nears he porpoises out of the water with excitement.  He will eat four silversides and three small shrimp (twice a day).  Two days ago we introduced squid.  Since then his appetite has dwindled.  This morning he had no interest in food at all and was skimming the top of the water and not the bottom.  I did a small emergency water change and added some aquarium salt (probably not enough to have mattered).  His color is more red than normal and I am scared I will lose him. Any suggestions, PLEASE!!!!! Ronny Peltcs Florida <Am the person who "spoke" with you earlier... this fish must be returned to seawater to have the barest chance of surviving... Bob Fenner>

Re: Sorry to say I was duped! Let the buyer beware 8/24/05 What do I do, local store will not take in outside fish?  I don't have the means to set him free in the ocean... Is there NO possible chance of keeping him? <... not in freshwater> Why would they do this if he couldn't survive in freshwater? <... "a/the perceived bottom line"... sad, but so. Bob Fenner> Re: Sorry to say I was duped! By yourself... 8/24/05 How do I acclimate him back to salt water?  My mother in law live on the intercoastal (Salt/Brackish), how long would it take to make him ready for that water?  I have no clue of what to do, I cannot just sit and watch him die! <... do you recall your initial email? It's posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batoidfaqs2.htm What does it state? What would/should you have done? Investigated before purchasing? Reacted on receiving information re this animals habitat? Bob Fenner>

Ray on the dailies - Dasyatis sabina? 8/25/05 Hey, Bob! Got a question for yah.... On the dailies I saw the fellah with the "ray"/skate, and the link to his prior email which included an image of the animal. Is it possible that this is Dasyatis sabina, the "Atlantic stingray"? <No hon... Look at the rostral area... this is a rajid, a skate> I have read some articles about this species being found in purely freshwater conditions, reproducing and living out their entire lives....  I certainly don't know if this is true, or even remotely accurate.  Here's one of the articles I've read, which includes an image that very closely resembles our querior's animal: http://www.ecofloridamag.com/archived/stingrays.htm . Somewhere along my travels across the web, I have also read that the animals collected and sold as "freshwater" in the hobby are almost always collected in brackish or marine conditions, and few survive long at all.  There goes my dream of legal freshwater rays in CA.  Sigh.  Thoughts? -Sabrina <Few and dismal. BobF>
Re: Ray on the dailies - Dasyatis sabina?  8/26/05
Is it possible that this is Dasyatis sabina, the "Atlantic stingray"? <No hon... Look at the rostral area... this is a rajid, a skate> To be quite honest, I have absolutely no clue what, of the rostral area, can be seen to differentiate a skate from a ray.... <Ahh, sorry re... the "nose" or region just ahead of the eyes let's say... is elongated, flattened... like a... skate! in Skates, family Rajidae... Also the thorny dorsal spines are indicative of the family... distinguish it from the many Ray families of Batoids>   My apologies, in any case.  This whole mess (and so very many others that we see every day in WWM questions) certainly drives home the need for emphasizing one's responsibility to research PRIOR to purchase - I'd like to put something about this in the book, perhaps as a section of its own, under Introducing Fish....  or in the section on compatibility....  or maybe preceding the fish profiles.  What do you think? <An excellent (consistent) idea, plan> In any case, I think I'll type something up tonight, if not for the book, then for posting on WWM, perhaps.  Shall I send it your way for editing/adding-on, if you wish? Thanks, -Sabrina <If you'd like... I am accumulating our notes, articles... on folders on my active desktops... BobF>

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

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

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>

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

- 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 -- >

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

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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.>

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
Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: