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FAQs about Rays, Skates, Guitarfishes Systems

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 Selection, 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,

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>
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>

Cownose Ray, sys. mostly    3/10/13
   I hope all is well.  I have a few questions regarding captive care of Cownose rays.  I have an interest in them but I would like to be as informed as possible before hopping into that species.  I currently have a 7ft x 7ft x 3ft tank.
<Mmm, really will need a much larger space than this... these are open water species>
 I house a few sharks and other small fish.  I am currently looking at building a larger tank but not sure when that will happen. I would like to know the following. 
1.  What is the smallest species of Cownose ray? (If there is more than one species)
<Mmm, well, THE Cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus) is one of 42 species of the family Myliobatidae>
2. What sex is smaller, male or female?
<About the same... size for one, weight for the other...>
3.  What are the minimum tank requirements for the smallest species of Cownose ray?  (Assuming there are multiple species.)
<Maybe multiples of tens of thousands of gallons... are used in touch tanks about the planet...>
4.  What is the success rate with these rays?
<Can be kept>
5.  What is the max size of the Cownose ray?
<Mmm, about a meter across the pectoral fins... See even just Wiki re: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cownose_ray
Thanks for the help.
Shea Bailey
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Banjo shark help...   2/17/11
Hi guys,
I have a bit of a strange request for help. I was in an LFS yesterday and to my dismay they had on offer 2 banjo sharks,
<... ? aka the Fiddler Rays, of genus, Trygonorrhina, guitarfish, family Rhinobatidae? These coldwater animals are NOT easily kept in captivity. Require huge volumes...>
approx 2 feet long, I know this cause they were housed in a 2 x1 1/12 foot tank
<... dismal>
where they couldn't move sideways or any other ways. I decided to quiz the guy to see what he knew about these beautiful animals and surprise surprise he knew squat. He actually tried to sell me the 2 sharks and the tank they were in saying how great they would do in this "large" tank setup in my lounge room. Here come the sucker bit. I felt so sorry for these animals I bought one to try and save it after giving the sales guy a spray, I just wish I could have afforded both. So anyway now the shark is in my 8ft setup (it's to big even for my 2000ltr setup imho)
while I try to decided what to do with it. 2 questions. 1 am I correct to assume it will survive short term on shrimp and whitebait? (I feed this to my port Jackson shark)
<Oh, yes. I will assume they are housed in a chilled water system>
and 2nd seeing as I would be very hesitant to put him on the ocean due to me not knowing much about where they come from, do you think one of the public aquariums would take him?
<Do call them>
Or should I let him go free?
<No... there is always a chance of a non-indigenous pathogen being vectored... a biological disease/agent from being housed w/ tropicals... let alone the ill-effects of introduction of a non-native species. Am sure we don't have to call up examples here>
I am a dive instructor and have seen plenty of this species in our area just not real sure if it is the same sub species ( Sydney Australia)
Finally any tips on anything special I need to know for a short term housing would be great or just treat him like any other shark.
<I know naught unfortunately. The "Banjo Sharks" I've seen and heard peoples' lack of success accounts of... but little positive>
Btw yes my skimmers are going nuts right now.
<I'll bet>
Any help or leads would be appreciated
Kind regards
Jamie Illistom
<Please do relate your further experiences. Bob Fenner>

Ray tank question
Hi Guys,
<Hello Lynn,>
My 15 year old son has been wild about marine life and aquariums his entire life and has wanted a ray tank forever. I've tried your web page and searched as instructed but cannot find the answer to this question. If it's out there, please forgive us.
<Do start here:
What are the minimum dimensions and/or gallons for a ray tank, and what species would you recommend for a tank of that size?
<If you're thinking "minimum", you're going to fail. It's really as simple as that. Stingrays, whether marine or freshwater, are incredibly difficult to maintain. Those aquarists who succeed are [a] very experienced and [b] very rich. Why rich? Because you need a huge tank! Even the smallest marine stingrays will require a tank not less than 2 m/6 ft in length and 1 m/3.3 ft front to back. Such tanks containing thousands of litres, or in US terms, not less than 500 gallons. Basically, we're talking indoor ponds rather than fish tanks. If that sounds unfeasible, then don't even think about a stingray.>
My son is not experienced but is very responsible and highly motivated to give proper care.
<Unfortunately, stingrays are the kind of fish where good intentions don't count for much. Experience and money are much more important.>
We would learn all we need to in advance and likely hire someone to help maintain the tank.
<Before you spend another penny, buy your son a book by Richard Ross called 'Freshwater stingrays: everything about purchase, care, feeding, and aquarium'. On Amazon, a used copy will set you back less than $5. Although about freshwater stingrays, the basics are similar to marine stingrays,
except that marine stingrays are *even more delicate* and need *more space* and *more careful* control of water chemistry. This isn't to say freshwater stingrays are easy. They are not. They are exceptionally difficult fish to maintain, and cannot be recommended to aquarists with less than 10 years experience. Seriously. I'm a very, VERY good fishkeeper, and even I wouldn't try to keep them. I don't have the space, the money, or the access to nitrate-free reverse-osmosis water. All these things are essential.>
Many thanks,
<Do perhaps look at the brackish water soles such as Trinectes maculatus.
These fish are quite widely sold, only get to about 15 cm/6 inches, are tolerant of a range of salinities, and aren't unusually fussy about water quality. Kept in the right tank they are good fun to watch, and though they aren't really compatible with most other fish, they'd make a fine project
for a single-species 20-30 gallon system.
Cheers, Neale.>

Bat Ray Temps 07/13/09
Hey Bob et al.
Thanks again for all the help/info. My shark's doing great - putting on a tiny bit too much weight, so slowing down to every three days feeding.
She seems to have calmed down a lot too now - not constantly searching for a way out. Temp is ~63, pH at 8.3-8.4, nitrates/nitrites under 0.1ppm, and ammonia at 0.
And the really good news - my 1000 gallon tank is cycling now, and I was able to get some "starter" algae and water from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They've been super amazing about helping me out. Anyways, I'd like to put some rays
<Myliobatis californica I take it>
in the tank, and I'd like to get some bat rays. I understand they get HUGE, which is not a problem - my architect and I have devised a 25K tank for my workshop (amazing how fast that grew - first it was going to be 5000 gallons, then 12, then 18, and now 25K gallons... I love this). Just submitted plans to the county to get permits, so if all goes well, I'll have a giant tank in about 18 months.
Obviously, and with good reason, there's limited into on bat rays in private aquaria. The people at the aquarium have been great, but I like to get multiple opinions from trusted sources. I bought Michael Scott's
book, but a lot of the information in that book in terms of space is quite... questionable,
<Yes... way too liberal on the small size>
so I take everything he else he says with a grain of salt. Any link you could provide to big ray care would be great. Most specifically, their acceptable temperature range.
<See Fishbase.org with the scientific name>
Thanks again for all
your help,
Jason Keats
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bat Ray Temps 07/14/09

So, I reviewed Fishbase, and I'm still concerned about temp - they list locales as the gulf of California (even up to Oregon) down to the Galapagos Islands. That's a pretty wide temp range. So is it safe to assume they'll be fine in mid 60s through mid 70s? I'd rather have these guys in the big tank with some black tips reefs and other species, so I want to make sure they'll be ok. But while they're "little" they'll be in the 2000 gallon tank with the smooth hounds.
<Do understand the upper limit reflects summertime temperatures; like all temperate zone fish your coldwater rays will "cycle" between warmer and cooler water with the seasons. Also, during the summer, many fish that prefer cooler conditions will migrate into deeper water, so while surface seawater temperatures might be quite high, the fish themselves will be experiencing conditions a good few degrees cooler. The warmer they get, the more oxygen they need, and the faster their metabolism, and that's a
combination of things you don't especially want in the aquarium. So, keeping them permanently at the high end will cause stress. For something like Myliobatis californica, you're looking at warm-temperate conditions, and that's between about 15-18 C (59 - 64 F) depending on the time of year. It's worth mentioning that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is chilled to a brisk 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Cheers, Neale.> <<Like MickeyD's, I'm lovin' it. RMF>>

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 >

Cortez Sting Ray, sys., comp.    2/18/09 Dear Bob, <Chris> I have a friend who wants to give me a Cortez Sting Ray as a Birthday gift. It is eating quite well in his tank. I own a 250 gallon tank with lots of rock and sand bed. The ray is about 4 inches in diameter. I was thinking give it a 10 inch width of sand 8ft long to play. <Mmm, will need more room than this in time... and this is a "cool-water" species... not tropical> The tank is 8ft by 2ft by2ft. I own a lot of snails and hermit crabs. Will Mr. Sting Ray eat those critters or will he be lazy and eat only the food I provide him (Krill, etc)?? <Likely both. BobF> Look forward to your response. Christopher
Re: Cortez Sting Ray   2/18/09
Thanks for your response. So your experience with these guys are that they tend to eat those critters (snails, crabs)? Are they a long lived animal if feeding well? <Urobatis maculatus... see Fishbase.org... elsewhere... Can be long-lived. BobF>

Sharks, rays, tangs, lionfish, and tangs... stkg. a large SW pond  - 07/19/08 hi WWM, I am in the process of building a circular indoor pond and would be interested in putting some saltwater fish. my question is : would I be able to have a black banded cat shark (the "not true" cat shark), a lion fish radiata or Volitans?), <Umm, no... too likely the Shark will consume any Lion species> a sohal tang and a ray or eagle bat ray. <...?> How big would the pond need to be? would 6,000+ gallons be enough (because of the bat ray) and would I be able to keep a bat ray at all with the rest of the tank being more tropical?. <... What species? There are tropical Myliobatids: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_ray> I am planning on making the pond about 18 feet across by about 52" deep (again circular). would the tang nip at the fins of the bat ray? <Doubtful in a volume of this size> Have you guys had success at keeping bat rays? <Not in residential settings, but in "public aquarium ones", yes> and if I cannot keep a bat ray (I would really love to have one), what other ray/fish would you recommend. <? Are you joking?> I am in the middle of researching the fish I plan to put in the pond and want to get all the info I can. <...?> There will be live rock. (I don't know how much yet), but no corals. Also are bat rays even legal to own? <As far as I'm aware, yes... at least in the U.S.> The only reason I ask this is they have one for sale at this LFS on 6Th and clement in San Fransisco CA and some of my fish friends say they like the place because they have some nice illegal corals. I am not a coral person but if they have illegal corals they could have illegal fish. thank you for all your help and info!!! sincerely, will <Keep studying and planning Will... Bob Fenner>
Re: sharks, rays, tangs, lionfish, and tangs 07/20/2008
thanks for the info bob!! regarding the rays. <Willie... please... the beginnings of sentence, proper nouns like names... are capitalized> Would Myliobatis californica be tropical or cold water? <Colder water> because when I went to Hawaii as a kid I was pretty sure I saw these rays, <Mmm, no... http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=2582&genusname=Myliobatis&speciesname=californica Am out here/Kona right now... likely you saw Aetobatus narinari (Euphrasen, 1790)> and that's where lions and tangs and other tropical fish are. <...> If they are "not keep-able" in a tropical environment, would a common eagle ray have enough room in a 6000+ pond? <For some period of time, yes, if/when small/ish> As for the statement "what fish do you recommend?" I was asking what are some of your favorite rays/fishes that would be compatible with a bate ray or common eagle ray. thanks again, will <Take a look on the Net re the public aquarium exhibits with these fishes... the animals kept with them. BobF> Re: it's about guitarfish~!    6/22/08 thanks for your reply~! i think it may be the "Rhinobatos cemiculus "filter: upper filter & bottom filter (sorry, i can't find the word) size: the tank is 60" x 22" x 26" there is Brown Banded Shark x4 , Ell x2 ,Remora x1,Grouper x5 <These all need MUCH more room than this... several times. BobF>

California rays, hlth.    12/9/07 Hi I have a 150 gal saltwater ray tank I have 3 Babies 4"s <...?> I checked all water parameters nitrites 0 nitrates 10-20 <Trouble> ammonia 0 ph 8.0 they are swimming and twitching. It almost looks like they are being shocked. <Good description> The temp is 60 degrees. I unplugged everything and they are still doing it I have a canister filter and a nitrate reductor <Evidently not working> which has a power head could it be leaking? Or am I lacking anything? I also have a chiller in the sump with Chaetomorpha alga and a protein skimmer Please help. Nicole <You might try unplugging all the electrics systematically, testing/measuring for stray voltage... even employing a device for drawing off said potential... But very likely the measurable nitrates are what are at play here. Need to be zip, zero... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm the second tray down, on Cartilaginous Fishes, Rays... Systems, Health... Bob Fenner>

I have a question about rays... and SeaChem Products   9/2/07 I've never had any medical issues as yet, but I like to be prepared in case something arises. I know my way around fish in general, but I'm having a hard time getting good info about rays in this regard. I use Seachem products, I don't know how available they are elsewhere so you may not know much about how suitable they are. I trust them well with my other fish, but lack of info on rays does have me concerned. If you can at least point me in the right direction I'd appreciate it. Carol Scott <I have used the Morin's co.s products for decades... and am very familiar with their fine line. They are to be trusted... as being scientifically investigated, continuously researched... With Rays or other captive aquatics... What little we have archived re Batoid fishes can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm near the bottom of the second tray. Bob Fenner>

California Ray Death, cold animal in hot water... not for long    2/25/07 I purchased a California Stingray from "Living Sea" in Park Ridge, IL on November 25. The "ray" starting taking food from hand within 2 days and I had been hand feeding it since then. I noticed the other night the ray did not eat any food from me, but was still it's active self swimming around, but bumped into the live rock a couple of times. Yesterday afternoon, the ray stayed on the bottom but was not moving around. I picked it up and it did not move even though it was still alive. Within 20 minutes it died, (I was heart broken for when I purchase a fish, I intend to keep it for a long time). The tank is 125 gallons with a Bio-Rocker filter, Nautilus skimmer and another Eheim filter (2028 model). The tank mates are a 2-Clowns, 2-Blue Tangs, Long Nose Butterfly and Blue Spotted Puffer. <Okay here is the firs indicator of a problem...these animals listed are tropical animals while the California ray....hailing from: that's right California (not a very imaginative name huh?) is a temperate animals...likely the temperatures in a tank of this size, with decreased oxygen is at least to blame. I would also be interest in the acclimation process of the animal...> Could the "ray" died from stress because the Butterfly and one of the Tangs were constantly chasing the "ray" and "nipping" its tail. <Yes.> I will be buying Scott Michael's book, Aquarium Sharks and Rays . <Very good.> Any possible reasons for the "ray" passing so soon. <Improper Environment.> It was about 3 inches in diameter. <Quite small.> Also, I did notice that the "ray's" coloring was fading along it's spine. <Indicative of poor diet/environment. Adam J.>
Re: Ray Death  -- 2/25/07
The aquarium has been up and running for 3 1/2 years. The diet was Krill and Mysis shrimp and about once a month, live ghost shrimp. <Not as much variety as I like for Elasmobranchs but not bad either.> As for the acclimation, the ray was put in a Styrofoam container, about 3 ft square and 2 ft deep. The ray was left in the container and was not transferred until the salinity level and temperature were exactly the same. <Was this into the display or quarantine?> The temperature in the tank is 76-77 degrees. <Too hot!!!> After the ray passed, I tested the water with the following results: Ammonia was 0 Alkalinity was high Nitrates was 2.5 ppm Nitrites was .1 ppm Ph was 8.0 Temp was 76 <That is okay for a tropical tank but not a temperate animal.> Thank you very much for your assistance. <Of course.> Scott <AJ.>

Re: stingray question, health, sys.    1/17/06 Thanks for the info.     Here's some more...The total population consists of 1 leopard ray(20"), 4 southerns (2-3', 2 16") and 4 bat rays (18").  The only animals with red marks are the two large southerns.  We monitor NH3, NO2 and NO3.  NH3 is 0 as well as NO2.  We recently did a large water change and dropped NO3 from near 100 to 25mg/l. <Good> Although we buffer often to reach 8.0 the pH wants to stay around 7.5. <You may want to suggest looking into a source of soluble carbonate to blend in with (your presumed use) of bicarbonate... applying this as a slurry...>      The tank is empty except for substrate which is coral sand.  From reading on WWM it is probably too coarse but we're stuck with it for now.    <Mmm... yes... not likely an issue here if the other Rays are fine>   It is my understanding that when the tank was first set up there was a heavy metal problem. <Very common... in a "previous life" I necropsied cartilaginous fishes as a "consultant"... mainly in public aquariums... Many animals lost to "re-bar" exposure... other sources of metal contamination> I was told this was no longer an issue.  I'm not sure what we would test for and in what quantities.      <I'd test the water, or have it tested... use a pad of Polyfilter in your water flow... if nothing else... to steadily monitor (by color) such presence...>   The primary diet is whole capelin with occasional feeding of peeled shrimp.    <... and vitamin et al. supplementation I hope/trust... Are you familiar with Mazuri(.com)?>   It was suggested to try Baytril (Enrofloxacin) which we have but I'm dubious about effect.    <Mmm, I would not... And feel very uneasy re discussing this on-line...>   Thanks for your input!   <Glad to cooperate. 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 Environment 9/13/06 Hey Crew, <Hi> I have a question. My pet store has a round stingray in and it's in warm water (82 F). I tried to tell them that it's a cool water species but they told me it was caught in Baja and was found in warm water. Is it possible for this ray to actually live in warm water? They said it was a Cortez but looked nothing like that species and was clearly a Urolophus halleri species. Thanks For your time, Ben <Baja is a very dynamic environment, water temperatures can vary quite a bit depending on time of year, depth, location, and "El Nino" occurrences.  Having dove there I can tell you it can get quite warm, close to 80 degrees at the end of summer, but can be 10 degrees colder in late winter/early spring. What I'm getting at in a very long winded and round about way  is that it is possible it was caught in warm water, at least at the surface, however I agree with you that it is a cooler water species and does best at lower than tropical temperatures.> <Chris>

Tidepool stingray/mangrove tank   3/15/06 Thanks Bob for your answers to my refugium questions.    <Welcome> I now need to ask a much more simple question (I hope.)   I am building a tidepool to keep a couple of yellow stingrays in and a small grove of mangroves.  I will be using the wet/dry I just took off my reef after adding the refugium (along with some live rock, mangroves, and maybe macroalgae if it will grow with the disturbance of the rays.)  It pays to recycle.  No reason to let the wet/dry gather dust. LOL  I also have a heavy duty pond liner left over from an indoor koi pond that I took down years ago so all is falling into place.   <Sounds good> I need to be clear with my terminology here.  I am just calling it a tidepool aquarium because it will be sitting on the floor so the livestock will be viewed from above (it won't actually have tidal action, though, it will have a waterfall.) <I understand> My question is how much sand should I have for the stingrays? <An inch or so... they'll move around, root in it>   Would it be worth trying to get the benefits of a DSB? <Not likely... too much activity, and too much chance of undesirable anaerobic action.>   Since it is my impression that stingrays want their eyes above the sand, I was thinking that they would not dig too deep to disturb the process of a DSB.    <Unless you have the means (an open system... a pipe to/fro the ocean... massive filtration, circulation...) I would not use much more than will barely cover the rays... an inch or so...> I want there to be plenty of sand depth for the mangrove roots <I would grow these in a separate (raised, walled, even blind) area or in the sump/refugium instead> but I don't want to put a 6" DSB in there if it is going to cause problems.   I have wanted to do this for some time.   I love to view stingrays swimming from above and I have been really interested in growing some mangroves to actual small tree height (not the stunted things we grow in our sumps.) Thank you for your help. God bless, Jonny <Reads like a very nice project. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tidepool stingray/mangrove tank   3/18/06
> My question is how much sand should I have for the stingrays? > <An inch or so... they'll move around, root in it> I am thinking an inch may not be enough for them to feel comfortable in.  Plus, it would leave unsightly holes here and there where they had moved the sand and the ugly black liner will show through.   I know that 2 inches is consider the toxic too little and not enough amount, so what do you think about 3 inches? <<If you can provide complete, vigorous circulation through-out the system (no dead spots,  many times turn over per hour (at least twenty)... this should be okay. I would be looking for anaerobic "zones" every maintenance period however, and purposely stirring this substrate with a chemically-inert dowel to prevent these...>> >   Would it be worth trying to get the benefits of a DSB? > <Not likely... too much activity, and too much chance of undesirable > anaerobic action.> Either I am missing something or you are contradicting yourself here. (smile)   If there is too much activity with the sand bed, then there would not be much chance of anaerobic action right?   I would think that that stingrays would keep at least the upper portion of a 6" DSB (what I was originally planning) fairly aerobic. <<I would not seek to make/keep a functioning DSB in the main system here... One could be fashioned/maintained in a tied-in sump/refugium that is tied in with the main/ray system...>> > Since it is my impression that stingrays want their eyes above the > sand, I was thinking that they would not dig too deep to disturb the > process of a DSB.    > <Unless you have the means (an open system... a pipe to/fro the > ocean... massive filtration, circulation...) I would not use much > more than will barely cover the rays... an inch or so...> I will be using a wet/dry that is over sized for the enclosure I am building.   Also, I plan to have strong water flow/turnover using powerful water jets.   I know stingrays can handle the strong water flow because they are all over the shallow water sand beds in Galveston not far from me where the water is VERY turbulent.   <<Yes... do be aware and plan for removing the accumulating nitrates from the wet-dry use... toxic to batoids>> > I want there to be plenty of sand depth for the mangrove roots > <I would grow these in a separate (raised, walled, even blind) area > or in the sump/refugium instead> This would defeat my purpose of building a natural looking environment.  I could wall off an area for the mangroves that would allow for deeper sand but still allow the stingrays access but put live rock over the walled up area (and around it to disguise it) to keep the rays from digging there, though, then there might actually be a chance of anaerobic activity though the mangrove roots might offset that if they breath at all (I don't know about this.)   <<Might work... "Believe what you will till experience changes your mind">> I want the trees to be actually in the stingray enclosure.   The puny little things grown in sumps/fuges is exactly what I don't want.   <<Have seen some (there are some 53 families of plants that are "mangroves") that are several feet tall...>> I want to build a biotope I think it is called where all the life in the enclosure will be from the same area and will mimic the natural area.   <<Sounds very good>> I know the yellow stingrays come from the gulf area because we have them here so I am assuming they range over to Florida where the mangroves are from. <Yes... this is jamaicensis? I have seen in this habitat many times>    I plan to choose some type of colorful mid to upper water fish (maybe schooling) for movement interest when the rays are buried and resting.   They would have to be fairly colorful since they will be viewed from above.   Any suggestions for native gulf/Caribbean fish that might fill that niche? <<See fishbase.org re... best here>> Thanks again for all your help. God bless, Jonny <No gods please. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tidepool stingray/mangrove tank, RMF's take on religiousosity... Petfish on WWM only please 3/20/06
> I am thinking an inch may not be enough for them to feel comfortable > in.  Plus, it would leave unsightly holes here and there where they > had moved the sand and the ugly black liner will show through.   I > know that 2 inches is consider the toxic too little and not enough > amount, so what do you think about 3 inches? > <<If you can provide complete, vigorous circulation through-out the > system (no dead spots,  many times turn over per hour (at least > twenty)... this should be okay. I would be looking for anaerobic > "zones" every maintenance period however, and purposely stirring this > substrate with a chemically-inert dowel to prevent these...>> Yes, I do plan to keep VERY vigorous circulation since I plan on having the enclosure lined with live rock to disguise the black liner. > <<I would not seek to make/keep a functioning DSB in the main system > here... One could be fashioned/maintained in a tied-in sump/refugium > that is tied in with the main/ray system...>> I will try to figure out how to do this.  I know there is a five inch clearance under the bio-material in the wet-dry  I could put a three inch DSB (not very deep) in there but it would not leave much room for critters to live to keep the DSB working well.   I think it is worth a try though. > I will be using a wet-dry that is over sized for the enclosure I am > building.   Also, I plan to have strong water flow/turnover using > powerful water jets.   I know stingrays can handle the strong water > flow because they are all over the shallow water sand beds in > Galveston not far from me where the water is VERY turbulent.   > <<Yes... do be aware and plan for removing the accumulating nitrates > from the wet-dry use... toxic to batoids>> Yes, this is why I am trying to figure out a way to incorporate a DSB.   The mangroves will help a little of course plus lining the enclosure with live rock with good circulation can't hurt. > >> <I would grow these in a separate (raised, walled, even blind) >> area or in the sump/refugium instead> > This would defeat my purpose of building a natural looking > environment.  I could wall off an area for the mangroves that would > allow for deeper sand but still allow the stingrays access but put > live rock over the walled up area (and around it to disguise it) to > keep the rays from digging there, though, then there might actually > be a chance of anaerobic activity though the mangrove roots might > offset that if they breath at all (I don't know about this.)   > <<Might work... "Believe what you will till experience changes your > mind">> >  I want to build a biotope I think it is called where all the life in > the enclosure will be from the same area and will mimic the natural > area.   > <<Sounds very good>> >  I know the yellow stingrays come from the gulf area because we have > them here so I am assuming they range over to Florida where the > mangroves are from. > <Yes... this is jamaicensis? I have seen in this habitat many times> >    I plan to choose some type of colorful mid to upper water fish > (maybe schooling) for movement interest when the rays are buried and > resting.   They would have to be fairly colorful since they will be > viewed from above.   Any suggestions for native gulf/Caribbean fish > that might fill that niche? > <<See fishbase.org re... best here>> > Thanks again for all your help. > God bless, > Jonny > <No gods please. Bob Fenner> There is no reason to be rude. <Rude?> I have the utmost respect for religion haters as I am proud to live in a country where we all have the freedom to believe or not to believe whatever we want. <The declaration of a religion is an indication of intolerance of others... Am not "hateful", just don't want to portray an adherence to beliefs in invisible friends...> BUT, I live in the real world not the politically correct fantasy world.  In the real world some people believe in a certain faith and others don't.   Adults in the real world have the maturity to live and let live.  Those who live in the fantasy PC world expect everyone, except themselves and those they agree with, to keep their beliefs to themselves. <...>   I, like you and everyone else, am a complete person.  I don't check parts of who I am at the proverbial door when I interact in the real world.   Now whether you have a faith or not, a person simply wishing God's blessings (capital "G" singular unless it is your intent to insult and attack a person's faith) <There are many gods...> should not bother you.   If you don't believe, it can't hurt you.   If you do believe, then it can only be a good thing.    <A waste of resource, sheep behavior IMO/E> I guess this will end up on the cutting room floor if this is posted and it probably should since until this little comment I thought you were a gentleman as well as a very knowledgeable man.   I will stick with my original thoughts and just consider this a lapse in judgment.   <Good. Have nothing to do with fantasies> Thank you for your help with this complicated but exciting project.   I will send in some pictures once I get it up and running.  It should be unique at least. As always, God bless you and yours,    Jonny <And may Buddha protect you. BobF>

Shark sel. and ray system    2/3/06 Hello, I have done tons of research on sharks and from many websites, including yours, the best shark for a smaller home aquarium, would probably be the marbled cat shark or also known as Indonesian speckled carpet shark, Hemiscylliidae freycineti, closely related to the Epaulette shark.  This shark, not the epaulette, reaches a maximum size of 28 inches, but some sites say 22 to 24 is maximum.  I have recently discovered another type of shark that is not advertised for sale on the internet but was at my LFS, it was the Gulf Cat shark, Asymbolus vicenti, <You've misspelled the name: http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=789&genusname=Asymbolus&speciesname=vincenti> maximum length at 23 inches.  Do you have any info on this particular species? <Mmm, nope. Have never seen it in the trade or captivity> Can I keep it with live rock or is the risk of infection to much.  I thought it should be ok do to its natural habitat is in rocky areas.  One more question, can I keep a blue spotted ribbon tail ray, Taeniura lymna, in a tank that is 4 ft long, and 18 inches wide? <... possibly. Though very few live in captivity in any size system for long. Not a good gamble> The only reason I ask this question which may sound crazy is because some sites say a 75 is minimum, <Get longer than this sized box> people I know say this would be a fine size, and that my local fish store says that it will be ok. These rays in particular mostly lay in the sand unless agitated or frightened, or in times of feeding.   I know they are not the hardiest and don't have the greatest survival rate but in my experience, I have been told that there was no way I could keep a blue ribbon eel or banded snake eel alive, and that the minimum size tank for a banded snake eel was 180 gallons according to Scott Michael's book and I have been successfully keeping both specimens in a 55 gallon tank for over 2 years.  This makes me question recommendations. I know this is a lot to digest, just looking for more info and input. Thank you and your site for continuous help,                                                               Chris <In good hands, care, animals can be kept in smaller confines... are they happy, long-lived? Bob Fenner>

Ray petting set-up  9/5/05 Dear Wet Web, <Maxwell... also our black labs name...> I own a seafood restaurant in California that uses fish in a sustainable way and stringently follows all best practices guidelines. After recently visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium I was fascinated by the pond where kids could touch a ray. I would like to install a similar exhibit at a new restaurant that I plan to open so that kids can experience the marine life for fun can also hopefully lean about rays as well. I am wondering what type of ray or skate would be good to use on a smaller scale and would also tolerate being  touched? <Mmm, good question... there are limits here, for all species... the best choices get very (too) large... the bat rays (Myliobatids)... and stingrays are out...> What size pond/tank would I need? I would prefer to use a  Pacific breed so that it is from the local area, but any type will do. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much. Maxwell <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm The articles and FAQs files on cartilaginous fishes, rays/skates AND sharks... Much to consider... and an involved project... though worthwhile for sure. Perhaps having some fish stores that do such installs, aquarium service companies bid this job would help you gain insight, perspective, a faster useful education. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Call him, them Ray/s, but don't crowd them 8/28/05 Hey! Love the website and love the Sharks and Ray book. I've been in the saltwater hobby for 9 yrs. And I'm interested in setting up a shark tank and I like your input. The plan  A -A round spotted or a Cortez round stingray. 2 monos, 1 grouper( miniatus or louti ) 2 yellow tangs in a 220. I currently have a 125 just to start the process until I accumulate enough to purchase the 220 In about 18-24 months. The set up now(125g) Wet-Dry for a 125, A UV sterilizer, a turbo 1000 protein skimmer, A fluidized filter up to 300g for the bioload (and for the transfer over in 2yrs with a bigger wet dry, and the 125 turns into the plenum with a heavy-duty skimmer.) <... this tank, and the proposed one are too small for keeping these rays. 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

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>

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>

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

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 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 Zoë, 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>

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.>

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. >

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>

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>

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>

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.>

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>

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>

- 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 -- >

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>

"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>

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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