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FAQs on Freshwater Stingrays

Related Articles: Freshwater Stingrays,

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

Potamotrygon motoro

Stingray; FW     7/23/17
Hi crew.
I have a newly acquired male motoro stingray and he seems to be behaving weird. I have him in a 220 with a pair of clown knives , an Oscar, a red devil, large albino iridescent "shark" catfish,
<Mmm; you know this fish gets HUGE I take it>
a red tail catfish,

a Lima shovelnose, a Florida gar and a common Pleco. I got him 3 days ago and he is still not eating. I have offered tilapia and cod fillet, chopped market prawns and earthworms, ghost shrimp and some pellets. All items he was
eating previously. I have for the most part kept the lights off to help him adjust. I have a custom built filtration system and do 50 to 80 percent water changes every other day. Tank is bare bottom and the temperature is 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
<Mmm; well; you have a quite an "environmental mix" in fishes here... what are your water parameters in terms of the testing gear you have? Is your water very hard, alkaline?>
He keeps lifting his disc in front of his nose and placing it back down. The cichlids haven't touched him and the red tail catfish just pushed him out of the way and occasionally dog piles on top of him but this is the most extreme I have witnessed. I am aware of how big my fish get and have a suitable home under construction for them. Is this
normal for my ray?
<It is not unusual for Potamotrygonids to not eat for days after being moved; and they really don't like being prodded by other livestock. Do you have habitat where this fish can get out of the light, away from the other fishes?>
What does it mean? How can I get him to eat? Thanks
<I would be patient at this point... keep offering foods via a dowel (wood or plastic), right down in front of this fish daily. It should start taking food w/in a week. Bob Fenner>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

I do know my water has high PH around 8.2 but didn't expect it to be an issue as the water he was in before also had higher ph of around 8.2 , 8.3.
<Mmm; how long was this fish here? This is way too high period. The GH, KH?>
I don't have another set up at this time that would be adequate for him.
Ammonia is 0 and nitrates and nitrites are 0 as well.
<How are Nitrates rendered zip? Highly unusual w/ biological filtration, such large fishes>
I am just nervous as he is my first stingray and I spent years researching before my purchase but assumed since he was 8 inches across he would handle the catfish as he spent his days dog piling with leopoldi Ray's. Is the disc behavior a large concern at this point?
<Not a large concern, but the environment is BobF>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

As of right now the room I keep the tank in is lit by day light through one window and the tank has a small 5 inch LED light bar on it set to a midnight blue on one corner of the tank, where he chooses to be most of the time. I have 2 large pots forming somewhat of a barrier at opposite ends of the tank but nothing to where only the ray can access.
<I would be providing. B>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

He was there for the first year and a half of his life.
<Ah; good. This is a long period to become aquarium-tough>
Nitrates rendered 0 because I just replaced the biological media after a system malfunction during a power outage. It previously sat at 20 which is where I expect it to return to.
I am unsure of KH or GH at this time
<I'd be measuring; lowering if too high (by addition of less hard water).
Bob Fenner>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

What could you recommend that I construct or purchase that only the ray can access?
<Perhaps a raised up few inches PVC pipe array... made of tees or elbows and pipe sections>
An underwater sand box on one corner of the tank to wear he can bury himself ?
<Mmm; no; not necessary to have substrate>
Not too creative with what could be built or bought that only he could enter. I prefer bare bottom so I always know where the barbed venomous fish is and it's easier to clean but I want to make sure he is healthy and happy
<Understood. BobF>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

Have you heard of any other projects that could be built for him to hide?
<Wood and rock suspended overhangs>
I'm not sure if it'll work if the red tail decides to rest on top of it.
Just nervous about his well being. In addition to it being one of a few capstones of a monster fish keeper, and my first ray, they were essentially black listed in my country and now are not allowed to be imported or transferred over state lines. Just want to succeed. Am I likely to have success with this specie of ray with my set up and food I offer?
<I'd try blackworms, grass shrimp...>

Is there anything I could be missing in my set up to make him comfortable in terms of lighting or decor?
<... Please read here:
You're not likely to have success given the mis-mix of species here... The Pleco, other cats... Bob Fenner>
I do have a strong current from the return out of 2 canister filter hoses and another from a sump return and a fourth from a wave maker.

Stingray; and other disastrous mis-matchings; FW large tank stkg.       8/5/15
<Hi there>
I am currently stocking my final tank. I have just moved and want to have a show tank aside from the aquatic monsters in the basement, including a true alligator gar and goliath tiger fish.
<Yeeikes! Need ROOM (thousands of gallons) and all that go with it.... (expensive to run) pumps, heating....>
This is a custom 125 that is 7×2'x 18".
<.... too small by far. The Al. Gar could grow to more than six feet (there are ones in public aquariums bigger); the Hydrocynus and Lepisosteid will kill themselves before long.... from dashing against the tank, top.... THINK here; and change your plans>

I have a 4" reticulated stingray pup. I just got it qnd it is only accepting blackworms, live.
<My young friend.... you need to do some studying, and quick.... re Potamotrygonids... this fish can't live with these others very long or well>

I am not comfortable with this as I want it healthy and accepting a varied diet of assorted worms, shrimps, both frozen and live and Massivore and sinking carnivore pellets by Hikari.
<Oh; good idea. READ on WWM re the family's husbandry>
I also have a 13" florida gar. They both will be in the same tank together. Is it safe to do so now?
<IF the substrate is fine, the water quality a middling reach twixt boths needs>
I also have a 4" Dempsey that is pretty chill
that will also be added to this tank in addition to a school of silver dollars, a "alligator" gar which I believe is actually a spotted, and a pair of Senegal bichirs. When is it safe to add these fish together?
What else that has visible teeth would you recommend for this tank?
<Another tank>

I was thinking H. Odoe (Kafue African Pike).
Would Severums work here, maybe greens, blues and rotkeils?
<These might go w/ the Dempsey, the Dollars, if there's room>
<I don't want to discourage your dreaming; but it is wrong not to temper it w/ encouraging your learning ahead of mis-action. What you state above will NOT work. STUDY for now; and do write back w/ specifics. Bob Fenner>
re: Stingray.... Gar and Tigerfish       8/5/15
The alligator gar is not a part of this tank. He has a 2.5k pool
<..... Ahh; am hoping this volume is sufficiently covered, filtered, circulated.....>
in the basement he shares with the tiger fish.
What would you recommend for this tank to go with the stingray and gar?
<I would not keep these last two in the same setting.... See reference works re their water quality needs.... Not compatible. IF you want to keep freshwater rays, you need to be very careful re what you place with them; and circumspect re the env. DON'T WRITE W/O READING first. Where I've prev. sent you. BobF>
re: Stingray; and skinny Hydrocynus f'      8/5/15

Yes the pool is covered with Plexiglas with a maintenance lid. My tiger fish seems to be getting skinny, what can I do to fix this?
<.... meaty acceptable foods of size, perhaps (see Mazuri.com) vitamins sneaked inside.>
He is about 12 years old. At least that's how long I've had him.
<Ahh! B>
Re Hydrocynus, feeding, chatting re FW Ray stkg. NOT a reader      8/5/15

He has been my pride and joy and he has eaten out of my hand since I got him.
He was feed Hikari when he was little but now can eat an entire bag and still be hungry and I don't have 45$ for 3 times a day for him.
So he gets raw chicken, peas, banana, rice and an occasional rat. The gator gar the same and my arapaima did
as well but he sadly passed. I had him for 32 years.
<I'd look into gathering marine fishes, other meaty items>
So does this stocking for my show tank sound acceptable?
A retic ray
School of silver dollars
A red tailed catfish, which will be transferred to the monster tank when big enough
A few Severums
<The Potamotrygonid will not go here.... the Phractocephalus... will eat all food, likely the Cichlids will bother...>

A huge school of silver hatchet fish, don't care if they are eaten, mine breed like mice
What would you put in here?
<READ (Don't write): http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwraycompfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
re: Stingray; comp.         8/7/15

Ok I have read the information on the link and I now have a better understanding of tankmates. Large peaceful placid tankmates.
<Ah yes>
So would this new stocking work as I didn't see a few of these fish on there.
A school of silver dollars, probably 6
2-3 Severums
2 lima shovelnoses
<Not the two above... for the same reasons as given last times.>

And the "reticulated stingray"
Please let me know on the Severums as I think that they are generally peaceful but I want what is best for my ray.
Would an Arowana work in this set up as a grow out tank before it goes into the 650 gallon and eventually the 2.5k tank? I was thinking silver or black Arowana.
<Likely too messy and disturbing to the Ray>

Thank you for all your help -Finn
<W. B>
Stingray; Neale chimes in        8/7/15

I am currently stocking my final tank. I have just moved and want to have a show tank aside from the aquatic monsters in the basement, including a true alligator gar and goliath tiger fish.
This is a custom 125 that is 7×2'x 18".
<Too small for a Stingray. Bear in mind a Stingray tank needs to have a front to back measurement at least twice the disc size of the adult. Even a small species (18" disc) demands a 3-foot front to back measurement, and most of the commonly traded species are bigger than that, so we're talking a 4-foot front to back measurement. Stingrays are crazy expensive to keep. If the idea of a massive, expensive tank isn't appealing to you, then don't waste your money. Honestly. These fish are not just demanding in terms of skills, they're demanding in terms of $$$. As in "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it" sort of fishkeeping. Buy one of Richard Ross' excellent books for now. Then go to law school, become a partner in a successful law firm, and save enough to retire in your 50s. That's pretty much the recipe for Stingray success.>
I have a 4" reticulated stingray pup. I just got it qnd it is only accepting blackworms, live. I am not comfortable with this as I want it healthy and accepting a varied diet of assorted worms, shrimps, both frozen and live and Massivore and sinking carnivore pellets by Hikari.
<Sounds a sensible diet provided the shrimps are less than 20% the food they get. Much too great a risk of thiamine deficiency otherwise. Earthworms are about the only "good" live food for Stingrays, but quality frozen and pellet foods are a more convenient staple. But since your tank is too small for a Stingray, this is all academic.>
I also have a 13" florida gar. They both will be in the same tank together. Is it safe to do so now?
<Not for long. Florida Gar get big, couple of feet in length, and your 125-gallon tank is too small. Double that and we'd be in the right ball park. I kept mine in a 200 Imperial gallon (240 US gallons) and even that was a hardly generous. Enough space for a few cichlids and catfish alongside him.>
I also have a 4" Dempsey that is pretty chill that will also be added to this tank in addition to a school of silver dollars, a "alligator" gar which I believe is actually a spotted, and a pair of Senegal bichirs. When is it safe to add these fish together?
<Senegal Bichirs are extremely mild mannered fish. Do not mix with cichlids (except perhaps largish dwarfs such as Kribs). I've seen cichlids strip the fins from Senegal Bichirs. They're just too slow to avoid problems with territorial cichlids. For sure your particular JD might be easy going now, but he's hardly full grown (6-8 inches is typical) and could get a lot nastier in time. Keep Bichirs with other mild species of similar size, such as Synodontis, Silver Dollars, that sort of thing.>
What else that has visible teeth would you recommend for this tank?
<You can't really combine pike-looking fish because they tend to be territorial to varying degrees. There are some exceptions, and Gar in particular are happier in small groups. Similarly, if you were keeping Senegal Bichirs in this tank, a school of Ctenolucius (fairly easy to keep) or else Boulengerella (dramatically more delicate/demanding) would work well.>
I was thinking H. Odoe (Kafue African Pike).
<Hepsetus odoe isn't difficult to keep as such, but its sheer size rules in right out of your budget. Adult size is upwards of two feet, and on top of that this species is "jumpy" as well as nervous, making it prone to stress and damage in small spaces. 250, 300 US gallons would be barely enough for this species, even though it's actually quite tolerant of dissimilar fish (large Synodontis, Plecs, etc.). Groups have been kept in public aquaria, but not practical in homes.>
Would Severums work here, maybe greens, blues and rotkeils?
<Severums are okay with Bichirs, but they can become aggressive when spawning, so wouldn't be my first choice, though a singleton should be safe enough. I actually prefer Ctenopoma over cichlids when cohabiting fish with Bichirs.>
<Most welcome. Neale.>
re: Stingray        8/7/15

Thank you for your valuable input Neale
The stingray is a confirmed P. Reticulatus. Its max size is a 14" disc size so wouldn't the 2ft width be enough?
<Potamotrygon reticulatus is a synonym of Potamotrygon orbignyi. It is indeed one the smaller species. But small is relative here! Adult size around 35 cm/14 inches, so we're still talking a front-to-back measurement of over 2 ft being recommended. Depth is relatively unimportant of course, but still, I can't see anything smaller than 6 ft x 2ft x 2ft being acceptable in the long term.>
Its a male if that would have help.
<Not that I'm aware of. I don't believe one sex is smaller than the other.>
I have Richard Ross' book and it a priceless insight into these wonderful creatures.
The stingray was a birthday gift by my mother. Im not sure how much she paid for it.
<A generous gift indeed. But one with many strings attached!>
So the terms of tankmates are peaceful and placid and no bottom dwellers?
<Stingrays are best kept (especially in tanks borderline big enough) on their own in tanks without a substrate or any other clutter. Such tanks are easy to clean and easy to service. While good for Stingrays, the lack of cover will make them less than pleasant places for most catfish, while upwelling light from the bottom will annoy cichlids. Honestly, every tankmate you add to a Stingray tank makes it more likely your Ray will get sick or damaged. There are no situations where tankmates improve things, and certainly beginners to Stingrays would do well to focus all their efforts on keeping the Stingray in 100% perfect water conditions.>
So a school of silver dollars
A few Ctenopomas
And then my family and a lot of people in my area have bad success with Cichla as tankmates.
<What does "bad success" mean?>
Would my tem. be a good tankmate?
<Cichla spp. can cohabit with Stingrays in really big systems, but Cichla pump out massive amounts of ammonia, which is the one thing you don't want.
To stress the basic point: Stingrays will keel over and die at anything beyond the merest whiff of nitrate, and nitrite and ammonia are immediately toxic to them. You're already likely to be doing a crazy number of water changes keeping nitrate below, say, 20 mg/l just with the Stingray. Why complicate things by adding some big-ass predator that's going to double or
triple the number of water changes needed?>
If so I would also like to add a few ocellaris bass, which will all be transferred to my pool in the basement with my tiger fish and gator gar once 15".
<Cichla spp. cohabit well with (non-brackish) Datnoides spp., and also Lepisosteus spp., assuming adequate space and shelter for all concerned.>
Any other species you would recommend would be great.
<Personally, I think Lepisosteus work best as the sole midwater fish, looking great in groups and placing few, if any demands on the aquarist beyond simple swimming space. They are tough and hardy animals. I'd be looking at interesting benthic fish that aren't too demanding. Giraffe Catfish for example, Fire Eels, that sort of thing. L-numbers of course, some of which are carnivores (Acanthicus spp. for example) and make a nice change from common Plecs! Gar-type fish are too likely to snap their snouts (or at least bend them) when kept with active midwater fish, though very docile "gentle giants" such as Osphronemus could work. Do also look at some of the overlooked characins and barbs. These are often very tough animals
once settled, though some, like Leporinus can be nippy. Distichodus sexfasciatus is a classic (if variable in temperament) characin for jumbo communities.>
Thank you Neale
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Stingray; comp./stkg.       8/8/15

Have had success with Cichla. Sorry typo on that.
<Didn't notice it! So no worries.>
Wouldn't the other fish in this tank pick of tetra and such?
<I'm not suggesting tetras. But characins. The big species. A mean Leporinus can take apart an Oscar, and Distichodus have the bulk and power to become dominant fish in jumbo communities. These are extremes, but there are species out there well worth considering. Some of the smaller Pacu for example, or the larger Silver Dollar relatives. Various African characins. Ctenoluciidae. A bunch of stuff you might have overlooked.>
I have a pond filter on this tank and 15% water changes are done every day.
<Just the start when it comes to Stingrays. Truly, these fish are very demanding. I'd recommend, strongly, maintaining the fish alone for the first 6 months at least, until such time as it has put on solid growth. By then you'll have a good handle on its needs. After that, then have a read through what Richard Ross says about tankmates and choose accordingly. I know he isn't a fan of L-numbers, though I suspect the strict herbivores (such as Panaque) would actually be okay.>
So a school of silver dollars
<Some of the larger species, yes, with non-aggressive predatory fish that aren't big enough to eat them.>
Not my florida gar for too long. Just a temp home while my 230 is finished being built.
A Ctenopoma
<Ah, but which one! See what's available. Ctenopoma acutirostre is the pick of the bunch, but at 8 inches and very docile (as in, quieter than an Angelfish) it's a good companion of Bichirs but not for cichlids. Ctenopoma kingsleyae is a more robust species of greater size.>
A Cichla ocellaris
Can my baby al. Gar go in here until it can go in to the 635?
<Probably, but once he has trouble turning around you'll know it's time to move him. Gar are extremely docile fish (I love 'em!) but easy targets for aggressive fish and easily damage themselves when alarmed.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Stingray      8/8/15

Ok. So my plan is since these fish are all babies, I will divide the tank in half. The stingray is now eating mollies and other livebearers.
<Why? Under what situation is this sensible? Unless you're breeding Mollies and feeding your Stingray their offspring (not the store bought adults)
then using feeder fish is crazy.>
Keep it this way until the ray is say 5-6" in diameter then let them all be together?
<I've lost track of the tankmates to be honest. But alongside non-aggressive, non-predatory tankmates that don't occupy the substrate, yes, potentially do-able. A bad idea though for reasons gone over before.
Stingrays best kept alone, best kept in tanks without substrates, intolerant of standard fish medications. Nobody, as in, not one single expert on the planet, says adding tankmates makes keeping Stingrays easier.
Nobody recommends adding them either. At the very best, we're talking "yes, this species will cohabit safely, but will mean you'll be doing more work keeping the tank clean".>
In order to keep the water as clean as possible, I plan to have zero substrate,
<So catfish are out.>
a few pieces of rounded driftwood,
<Which means little/no shelter for those that need it: most cichlids, Datnoides spp., etc.>
one that sinks and one that doesn't as my gar like to shove the wood around the surface and hide behind it.
<Gar aren't fussed about substrate or shelter, so can work in this sort of aquarium assuming lighting is subdued.>
So I have a baby blue ocellaris bass. Can he go into my 55 grow up quickly tank as I like to call it, until he is say 5"?
<55 US gallons, 44 Imperial gallons... hmm... I guess for a few weeks maybe, but longer term, not the best idea ever imagined, no.>
There are angels, a bgk, a few cats, a JD, a school of baby silver dollars which will be in this tank when older.
<Angels with a Jack Dempsey? Seems like trouble. Black Ghost Knifefish aren't going to work with an aggressive cichlid either. Do read up on your fish carefully before purchase. A singleton Black Ghost needs an aquarium upwards of 75 US gallons, ideally well over that. These fish get massive if kept properly. Most die prematurely because, yes, you've guessed it, they're kept in tanks too small for them. Highly sensitive to low oxygen levels and poor water currents, as well as the usual dissolved metabolite problems. Youngsters produce less waste so are, in some sense, "easier" to keep. But bear in mind that as an animal doubles in length the amount of bulk in that animal actually goes up eight-fold, so big fish produce far
more waste than you imagine.>
Would a motoro ray be a better stingray for this set up and then be moved to the 635 and then to the 2.5k set up?
<What does 2.5k mean? 2500 gallons? That's a great tank for any Stingray species. But as we've said before, there are no "easy" Stingrays and the slight differences in size among traded species aren't enough to make much/any practical difference.>
The retic ray can go into my 60 until the jardini grows up and goes into the Arowana show tank.
<Are you sure all these fish will grow at a convenient rate? By dad used to say, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him you have a plan".>
I had a flower ray in this tank but he died, a gorgeous ray he was.
<This sentence sums up virtually everyone's experience of Stingrays unless they plan ahead and have everything ready from the get-go. Lovely fish, difficult to keep alive.>

<Cheers, Neale.>

freshwater stingray acting funny. No data, reading        12/5/14
Hi i have a motoro stingray and he seems to be acting very funny he will swim a round then flip over onto his back and start falling he sometimes gets movement back and fixes himself, he even was sitting on the bottom still than flipped sideways can you PLEASE HELP ME
<...? With what? Have you read on WWM re Potamotrygonids? HERE:
the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

help with my FW <not> stingray   6/28/12
i have a question about my fw stingray. i am not sure what the scientific name is for this ray but it does look like a salt water ray color being all brown. i live in Florida and cant have any of the cool looking ones. i have checked the water and the nitrates are 0, the chlorine is 0, ammonia is 0, the water is very soft. according to the test i did the softness is a 30-40. my ph was a little high 7.8. i am using 2 marine land magnum pro filters. one has the outlet facing down to circulate the water and air down and the other has the outlet shooting across the top of the water. i have a 125 gallon tank. i have a few guppies in the tank but that is it besides the stingray. i had no substrate in the tank till a few days ago before the problem started happening. i started to put sand in the bottom. i was using play sand from home depot. i cleaned it by rinsing it out in a bucket a few times. after i placed it in the tank it started to cloud up so i stopped and was going to wait for it to calm down before i added any more. i have had the stingray now for 3 months and every thing has been going great.
just last night he ate shrimp for dinner. today when i got home from work i noticed he was not swimming around like normal and just sitting there. i looked closer and he was still breathing and seemed fine. i used my net handle to try and nudge him but he not move. he normally will take off across the tank when i do this. but he just sat there. i was able to reach in and pick him up and move him as i pleased. he even lay side ways when i moved him. i had a filter die on me so i thought he was not getting enough air so i quickly mad up a tank of new water and him in it to get air if that was the case. he is still just sitting there. now when i try to touch him he starts spinning in circles fast flapping his wings and then stops and sits there again. i have noticed before when he eats he will flap a bit like to work the food around but this is intense flapping and spinning in circles. i have changed the water in the tank cleaned both filters and now added  2 bubble stones to help with air if that was the issue. none of the fish have died in the tank. so i am not sure what is going on or what i should do. i can take a short video if need be to show what he is doing thank you in advance.
Steve and flapjack
<Hello Steve. Do need some information here. Do you have a Potamotrygon species from tropical South America? They're the common species in the hobby, like Potamotrygon motoro and Potamotrygon orbignyi. Look at some pictures. Or do you have Dasyatis sabina, the Atlantic Stingray. This latter species is found along the subtropical Atlantic coastline of the Americas, but some populations in Florida seem to be unusually tolerant of brackish and freshwater conditions. Whether these are genetically different isn't know to me. In any event, they're best treated as brackish water stingrays unless you know for a certainty yours was collected from the St Johns River population (and to know that, you'd have caught it yourself).
As with any brackish water fish, maintenance in freshwater may be tolerated for a while, but long term it's not going to work. Soft water will only make things MUCH worse. Again, look at Dasyatis sabina photos; the shape, especially the pointed snout, is much different to Potamotrygon spp. (i.e., the true freshwater stingrays). There are some Asian species in the trade as well, but they're pretty rare. Most are also brackish water Dasyatis species, though there are true freshwater Himantura species (but most of these, like Himantura chaophraya, are far too big for home aquarists). On top of this, 125 gallons is far too small, regardless of the stingray species. You need 200 gallons for youngsters, and much more than that for adults. This cannot be stressed too strongly! Do yourself a favour and buy a copy of Richard Ross' stingray book, and see what you're not doing. Stingrays are very expensive pets, costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars to maintain per year, so the $10 or so for a book shouldn't bother you. If it does, then you can't afford the stingray -- trust me on that!
Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

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

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

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

AsiaOneNews: More Singaporeans rear exotic stingrays as hobby 8/22/11
This message was forwarded to you from AsiaOne (http://www.asiaone.com.sg) by Perry
Comments from sender:
Getting popular
<Expensive Per! And... IMO boring... Potamotrygonids mainly lay about... and need large systems, good water quality... BobF>
Tue, Aug 02, 2011
AsiaOneNews: More Singaporeans rear exotic stingrays as hobby
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FRESHWATER STING RAY IN SALTWATER? (Bob, anything to add?)<<Nada>> 1/6/11
Hi Guys & Gals,
I hope everyone is in one piece after December holidays (Grin).
<More or less!>
Could someone help me with a question about a stingray?
<Will try.>
Some guy is selling 6 fresh water stingrays, the biggest is about 10" disc wide I think a mature male as I observed the claspers (rigid and thick). My question is: could I acclimate this rays to full saltwater?
<Does depend.>
he said he collected them in the gulf of Mexico in a river that is too close to the coast and the water
<I'm assuming that these are Atlantic Stingrays (Dasyatis sabina). Most of these do indeed come from brackish to marine environments, typically estuaries and shallow coastal waters. So yes, these specimens will do just fine in fully marine conditions (though not at tropical temperatures, so please do understand that these are subtropical animals and unsuitable for life alongside typical tropical marines sold in pet shops). However, there are populations of Atlantic Stingrays confined to rivers, notably St. Johns
River in Florida, and these seem to be fully adapted to freshwater conditions, not making migrations into the sea at all, even to breed.
Brackish water is probably upwards of SG 1.005 at 25 C would be recommended for "normal" Dasyatis sabina, while the "freshwater" populations could be kept in either freshwater or up to SG 1.005 at 25 C. In other words, confirm the salinity of the environment where they were collected, and set up their aquarium accordingly.>
there is brackish but he keeps them in freshwater with a few amount of salt used for FW tanks, I send you 2 pictures (not too clear cause were taken with my cell phone)
but hope you could identify the species.
Thanks as always and Happy New Year to all...
<Do see, for example,
Cheers, Neale.>
<Sorry, these are subtropical animals, and specific gravity varies with temperature. So for the brackish to marine ones you'd be aiming for 1.007 at 18 C, i.e., about 9 ppt, and for the freshwater river ones, up to 1.007 at 18 C. Cheers, Neale.>

Thanks a lot for your answer Neale, so you say I shouldn't buy them for my marine tank?
<Only if you know it's an estuarine/marine one as opposed to a freshwater one. And even then, not for a tropical marine aquarium. Unless you're keeping subtropical marines, you'd need to set up a tank just for this specimen. That being the case, you'd be setting up a large, shallow aquarium several hundred gallons in capacity and set to a temperature of about 18 C/68 F. Setting the salinity to about 9 ppt should suit both brackish/marine and the freshwater sort. So it's really not a big deal -- it needs its own tank whatever happens!>
Unfortunately I can't verify the salinity of the waters they were taken from as I'm 250 miles away.
<The collector should know. If they're being kept in freshwater or very slightly brackish, then they're presumably from the freshwater population that are happy in low-end brackish conditions as mentioned earlier, but the brackish/marine specimens will adapt to such conditions too. Cheers, Neale.>

Soshiok.com - Stingrays breeding in Upper Seletar. Potamotrygonids let loose in Singapore 3/29/10
> http://www.soshiok.com/article/11013
Thanks Per... "or fish w/ spines?". BobF

please help me and my new stingray... Reading 3/19/10
hello my name is Melissa and me and my boyfriend just got a new "teacup" stingray we have had him for 5 days
<Uhh, how long has this system been up, stable, cycled?>
and we cant seem to get him to eat and know he sometimes flips over
<!? Bad>
and we have to flip him back over. we have tried all different food, like ghost shrimp, blood warms, squid, Rosie reds, shrimp pellets, and scallops.
we also think it has something to do with the size of he's tank we r
trying to get a larger tank, but when we bought him we were not told how difficult it was to take care of and now we love him, so he's is in a 30 gallon tank for now,
<Return this fish... you should study before taking on such a task/responsibility>
please help us I have been looking on the internet to find out as much info as I can and nothing seems to answer my questions. Thank you very much
<... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwraysysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

stingray housing and care- 10/25/09
i currently have a tank 5ft long, 2ft wide, 2ft tall which i used to grow out all of my big fish such as Oscars, mystic sharks and even piranhas and 1 freshwater turtle.
I'm not really sure what the capacity of the tank is but i currently have a almost 2ft long silver Arowana, a 1ft long shovel nose catfish and a tilapia cichlid. the tank is filled about half way until i can get it properly covered. it has 2 in-tank power filters and 2 sponge filters. if i completely fill the tank will it be adequate to house 2 tea cup stingrays with the already existing occupants??
<In a word, no.>
my name is Akeem, i live in Barbados so a heater is unnecessary in the tank since the temperature is constantly warm
<Akeem, bear in mind Stingrays are extremely difficult to keep. Water quality must be excellent, and there's no way that's the case with the fish you have in the aquarium you have. We're talking 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, and levels of nitrate below 20 mg/l. Water turnover must be generous, at least 8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. They need very large tanks, even when kept on their own. There is no such thing as a "teacup stingray" -- that's a name used for juvenile stingrays. All stingrays get big, at least 12 inches in disc width, and in many cases 18-24 inches in disc width. The aquarium needs to be 2-3 times as wide as
the disc width, and 6 times as long. A typical system would be around 400 gallon. Do read here:
Most stingrays die within a few months of purchase. Before you buy a stingray, please, buy a book about them. There's an excellent book by Richard Ross on Stingrays published by Barron's that sells for less than
$10. If you aren't prepared to spend $10 on a book, then you can't afford to keep a stingray. Simple as that. They are expensive to house, expensive to maintain, and extremely difficult to keep healthy. Cheers, Neale.>

how to move a stingray 10/5/09
Hi crew,
I'm in need of some advice. I have a stingray pup (teacup) in a 55 gal aquarium. I've purchased a 240 gal to be its home as soon as i get it placed and cycled.
Do you have any experience/advice on how to capture the little guy when it comes time to move it. I was considering putting a container in the tank large enough for the stingray to swim into, baiting it with food, and
removing it once the stingray enters. I've read that it is not advisable to net them. Do you know how they are captured in the wild?
<Yes... mostly in large fence and cast nets, some on barb-less hook and line. I would use a large, softer netted, metal handled net in your case.
Keep your hands clear. Bob Fenner>
Thank you

Advice for Care of a Freshwater Stingray 8/28/09
Good afternoon...
To begin, I am consciously trying not to waste your time and I have done some research on your website (and others) but there is a lot of conflicting info out there.
<Yes, this is true. But there are some good, inexpensive books on the market. "Freshwater Stingrays: Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals" by Richard Ross costs less than $10 and is very well regarded. It contains all the key information you need to know.>
Thus, I have to write and ask. First a little background...
I had 2 Freshwater Stingrays (6" in diameter, approximately) many years ago, on separate occasions. Both died after having them for approximately 1 year.
<Not an uncommon result.>
The first one died because I introduced Tiger Barbs into the aquarium (very bad advice from my local store) who, I discovered later, pecked at the back to the Stingray, causing him to head to the surface. I took the Tiger Barbs out but the damage was done... he was never the same and died a about a week later. The second one died from what I thought was lack of appetite due to wanting only what he was used to. Both Stingrays were on a diet of live Earthworms (cleaned and segmented) which they ate happily. Actually, they stalked their prey and jumped on them (hilarious to watch). In the winter (I live in Canada), I could not get Earthworms, so I tried switching his food. I bought frozen Ghost Shrimp, frozen Krill and live Goldfish feeders (I even tried crushing them a bit for him)... his response was simple: Not interested. He died about two weeks after he "quit" eating.
<Healthy Stingrays tend to eat anything and everything. Let's be clear that feeder fish ARE NOT acceptable. Besides the ethical issue and the price, and they are also very, very unhealthy. We have discussed this countless times on WWM, and I'd encourage you to review the topic before even thinking about this approach again. Partly, it's about the risk of parasites and the high fat content of Goldfish, and partly it's because they contain a lot of Thiaminase.
Earthworms and various wet-frozen invertebrates should work well, including stuff you can buy from a grocery store.>
Now that I read some articles and your responses, I believe my aquarium equipment was inadequate (more bad advice from my local store). Tank was too small (55 gal), filter too small
<55 gallon tank not even remotely adequate for Stingrays.>
and I used silica for the floor of the tank (which I have read can actually scratch the belly of the stingray - - even though it looked like he liked it and used to bury himself in it from time to time).
<There are two schools of though re: sand; smooth (rather than sharp) silica sand has been used successfully, but if it isn't kept clean, can promote bacterial infections of the underside. A plain glass bottom is easy to clean and therefore less likely to cause this problem. On the other hand, Stingrays unquestionably prefer a habitat where they can "dig in" just as they'd do in the wild. Richard Ross argues that to some degree it depends on the Stingray, the hardier species being fine with sand or even fine gravel, while the more delicate species are perhaps best kept in a glass-bottomed tank. If you do use a substrate, it should be shallow (an inch is about right) and you must keep it scrupulously clean. Strong water movement on the BOTTOM of the tank is essential here, and with fine gravel, a reverse-flow undergravel filter is a VERY good addition to the mix. Plain sand would need to be stirred and siphoned AT LEAST weekly. The aim is to avoid pockets of organic decay; whether aerobic or anaerobic, these allow bacteria to thrive, and increase the risks of opportunistic infections.>
I also had a piece of Plexiglas on the floor of the tank, slightly buried in the sand... He would swim a very graceful lap of the tank and "land" himself by sliding onto the Plexiglas, over and over again whenever I was in the room. In fact, he used to come to the front of the tank when I came in the room ("feed me!"). Yes, I miss him.
<Indeed, these fish can become very tame.>
So, now my questions before I try a Stingray again:
1. Will I likely be more successful if my plan is as follows...
Tank: 90-100 Gallons Filter: 400 GPH (possibly with additional under-gravel filter) Environment: T 22-24°C, pH=6.8-7.4; GH=10; KH=6; NO2=0; NO3=10 (or less) Maintenance: Water test... weekly. New water... 25% of the tank, every 2-3 weeks (adjusted for test, if required)
<It's still a borderline tank. Let's be clear: for even the smallest Stingray, you're after a tank some 6 feet long and 2 feet from front to back. A widely quoted restriction is that the tank should be TWICE as wide, front to back, as the disc diameter of the Stingray, which in most species aquarists keep is something like 30-45 cm, hence the need for tanks 2-3 feet in width. Depth largely immaterial except so far as the more water volume, the better in terms of water chemistry stability. Stingrays are very, VERY expensive to house because of this, and it's the main reason I don't keep them. A smaller tank might work for a few months, but a healthy Stingray grows fast, and eventually you will need a bigger tank, so open that savings account now, and save up.>
2. What should I put on the floor of the tank? Is fine silica really not recommended?
<As I said above, it's argued both ways. The easiest is probably a plain glass bottom, but handled correctly, a smooth silica sand kept suitably clean is more natural and more reassuring to the Stingray. You'll get to see a wider range of behaviours, including foraging and hiding. It's just more work to keep Rays in such tanks. Read Richard Ross' book, and come to your own decision.>
3. Is it ok to feed Earthworms to a Stingray 100% of the time?
<You wouldn't be feeding them on these all the time. Rotate foods from the get-go, initially offering earthworms and live shrimps (these latter containing Thiaminase, so gut load them with flake). Then cycle frozen foods into the mix: whole lancefish, small bits of white fish fillet, mussels (these also contain Thiaminase), cockles, and other types of seafood.>
4. In your experience, what is the typical life-expectancy of a Freshwater Stingray?
<Varies, but wild fish live between 10-20 years, perhaps longer. Hobbyists seem well able to keep them alive for similar lengths of time given adequate care.>
5. Could you suggest a few suitable tank-mates for a Stingray (amicable in both directions, if you know what I mean)? Is it better (or worse) if he has the tank to himself?
<Without exception, they are best kept alone. Advanced hobbyists have mixed them with big but docile midwater fish: Oscars, South American Arowanas, freshwater Siamese Tigerfish species. But every fish you add speeds up the rate at which nitrate accumulates, so makes your fishkeeping that bit harder. Avoid anything that lives on the bottom: catfish, loaches, territorial cichlids, etc.>
6. I plan to purchase "Freshwater Stingrays: everything about..." By Richard Ross. If you are aware of it, do you know if this book is any good? Or can you suggest any others?
<As mentioned already, the Ross book is an excellent book.>
Thanks, in advance, for your assistance... it's greatly appreciated!
- Steve
<Cheers, Neale>
Re: Advice for Care of a Freshwater Stingray 8/28/09

I bet you are busy, so I will keep it short...
A sincere thank-you for sharing your knowledge and insight! I'll be sure to update you if and when I take on another Freshwater Stingray.
<Very good. They are hard work to keep, but rewarding.>
- Steve
<Good luck, Neale.>

Question about Motoros... fdg... hlth.... env. 6/19/09
I have a 8 month old stingray. My question is simple. He ate well this am i feed him ghost shrimp. Tried to change him to live red wigglers this weekend and he ate about 3. But not he seems disinterested in food. This evening i gave him his 10 shrimp and he didn't even bother to catch them. I check the water and everything was normal ph-6.0 am-0 n-0. So i know its not the water. I know they go on hunger strikes but i was wondering should i be worried?. I looked at your web site to see if other people have the same problem but it didn't really answer my question. He does this i notice only when i try to change his food. Is he just spoiled? Or is he sick?.
Don't know what to think hope you guys can help me out a bit. THANKS!!!
<Maria, you absolutely *should not* rule out water chemistry or water quality issues! These are BY FAR the most common reasons Stingrays stop eating or otherwise behave abnormally. Because you have a very low pH, 6.0, your biological filter will be working at a very low efficiency, so nitrite and ammonia spikes through the day are possible. In case you're wondering, biological filter bacteria prefer pH to be in the range 7.5 to 8.5, and the lower the pH goes below that range, the less they work, and below pH 6.0 they don't usually work at all. A very low pH also implies minimal carbonate hardness (what you measure with a KH rather than GH test kit) and that means that pH may well vary through the day, so again, take pH readings several times: before you turn the lights on in the morning, around midday, and sometime in the evening, at least. Ideally, you would be keeping a Stingray in water with a moderate amount of carbonate hardness
(4-5 degrees KH) and a pH around neutral (6.5-7.5). But as you hopefully know, making sudden changes to water chemistry will stress a Stingray, so if you do decide to alter water chemistry, you need to do so very carefully and in small steps. If for some reason your Stingray doesn't particularly want to eat the food you're offering him, then try starving him for a couple of days and see what happens. Besides earthworms and river shrimps, Stingrays should receive a variety of foods so that shortcomings on one are balanced by the others. Frozen seafood often works well, and things like squid and cockles are particularly nutritious and lack the Thiaminase found in mussels and prawns. Small pieces of white fish are good, too, and you can buy frozen lancefish that can be used whole. This said, earthworms and shrimps are favourites, so be critical of environmental conditions and fix them, rather than missing this "early warning" and not realising something
was wrong until the Stingray got sick. Cheers, Neale.>

Fresh water stingrays barb 05/21/09
I was wondering if I can trim a fresh water sting rays barb. I have seen on animal planet and discovery channel how some zoo's and aquariums trim the barbs of their sting rays. Will it hurt them? Can I do it? If so how would I do it.
<Hi Carol, Mac here. I'm sure you already know that stingrays have their barbs for their protection and without a barb they are very vulnerable. That being said I have removed a barb from the end of a freshwater stingray when it was ill and had to be handled frequently. Removal simply meant clipping the barb off at the end. But you must be careful while you hold the ray. It really, really isn't something I would recommend though because removal stressed the ray even further. Best to avoid this one if at all possible. These guys are very Non Aggressive. I have never had on try to get me with his barb when I was cleaning the tank. Good luck.>

I bought a baby stingray... 3/16/2007 My boyfriend and I bought a baby sting ray that is brown with black spots. It is almost one inch big <Tiny...> and it is in a 10 gallon tank with goldfish. <A very poor idea> The first day it was swimming like crazy and now it is calm. Can you tell me what kind this is and if it is dangerous? <Mmm, a Potamotrygonid... and...> Also, what does it eat because it is so small. We have done some searches, but haven't come up with much help. If you have any information, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Lynn <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Another FW Stingray Question 12/3/06 Hello again Crew!! Brian here again I wrote several months ago concerning my Motoros and I'll tell you they are awesome animals. I am currently trying to figure out how to build a larger habitat for them but until then I have a few questions. The rays are still in the 220 and still eating the live black worms and the red wigglers. My water is damn near perfect I check it every day and I change the water every other day (only small amounts). <Good> But my problem is my rays have what appears to be a fat behind? Just before the pelvic bone one each side of the spine it looks like two humps about 1/2 inch high and it slopes down as it comes closer to the ribs. The under side or belly seems perfectly fine. They are still active and no temperament changes. They seem perfectly normal. I am just wonder what the hell it is. <Do these bumps just appear on your males?> They are always looking food and they have gone as far as uprooting large pieces of drift wood. So I started feeding them more and they calmed down a bite but they got "fat". Should I just cut back on the feedings and let them continue to tear the tank up? <I would expand their diet... insects, larvae of same...> I have tried larger food like raw shrimp and scallops with no success. Next question is there any benefit to having lunar lights or are they purely for "show". <Some benefit... for you and the animals to see as they might in the wild> My rays are becoming more active at night when the lights are off compared to the day, is this a cause for concern? <No> They are getting larger about 12 inches and they are excellent I am just a bit concerned thank you for the help as all ways. Brian <A larger habitat will solve many of these concerns. Bob Fenner>

Fresh Water Stingray??? 7/30/06 Hi there! <Howdy> I have a simple question concerning my tank. My 250 gallon freshwater tank currently is home to one young stingray (male), a pair of angels, and four smallish starter fish. I have been working with an upscale marine specialty store to obtain a mate (female ray) for my male. Today, they obtained a full grown red-blotched ray from a individual who is no longer able to care for her. She is almost twice the size of my male, but in excellent health. My question is what should I expect to pay for her? They claim they don't really want to make a profit on her, but they gave the previous owner a credit for her, so I would expect to pay what she is worth. She is truly a beautiful creature. <Mmm, not able to say... I would ask them... offer to pay the credit plus...> Also, what should I be aware of when introducing her to tank, any advise? Or precautions? <None that aren't posted on WWM> I am assuming my 250 is suitable as the owner of the store came by today to inspect the tank to ensure she would be going to a good home. Much Appreciation, Amy <For a time. Bob Fenner>

How do you move a 10 inch freshwater stingray from one aquarium to another? 6/28/06 Query: How do you safely move a 10 inch freshwater stingray from one aquarium to another? Dave DuBois <Best to scoop up/direct with a very large, soft net, into a suitably thick, large clear "fish" bag underwater, lift this whole thing up, leaving behind a good deal of the water (don't strain your back!). Bob Fenner>

F/W Stingray Questions 6/20/06 Hello folks got a couple of questions concerning F/W Tea Cup Stingrays. I have been researching these rays for quite some time and I have found a few gray areas if you know what I mean. First I was told a minimum tank size was 25 gallon. I have a 75 gallon. <... at least three times their likely maximum size, at least twice this in width...> Second I was told a Tea Cup is almost impossible to keep in an aquarium with long lasting success. <Mmm, not so> I have raised Salt Water Blue Dot stingrays in a 180 gallon tank with much success( just shy of 4 years and going strong only lost one of 2). Third do these rays like aggressive water movement( 1 magnum 350 canister, and penguin 330 or 350 dual bio- wheel) and how about oxygenation would a air pump be advised. <Do need high DO, not necessarily tremendous water agitation> Fourth tank mates I was told rays should be kept with rays and no other tank mates. <Can be easily kept with other biotopic livestock... hailing from same micro-habitat is best> Fifth this tank was set up for African cichlids (fish are in new tank and doing well) but my question is can I bring my ph down and do a fifty percent water change and leave the current filter media in there to cycle the tank with the new sand or should I just tear it all down clean it well and just start from scratch. <... likely a different substrate...> The dealer I found told me that there rays are eating very well and healthy. My question is the rays are eating live black worms and raw shrimp is this nutritious enough for him. <I would mix in other meaty foods... insect larvae...> I am unable to get the ray for about 2-3 weeks because I am going to the florida to go diving with family and coworkers who are on my fire departments dive team so I am in no big hurry. The stores name is That Fish That Pet Place in Lancaster Pa. Check them out the place is really cool. Check them out at _www.thatpetplace.com_ ( http://www.thatpetplace.com) <Know this business well. Fine folks. Knowledgeable and honest> Hey thanks for the help and next time we speak I will send you some pictures of my blue dot I am currently at work don't got my camera. Brian, York PA <Do send along. And... you have seen our coverage of Potamotrygonids?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm and the linked FAQs file above. Bob Fenner>

Motoro Disease? 4/29/06 My babies are almost three years old and I'm hoping they will breed this next year. I've noted raised spots on the female this week and wonder what it is and how to treat her. <Don't know what these are...> You're invited to view these photos online at Kodak Easy share Gallery! Just click on View Photos to get started. http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=eeke81v.8theg3gj&x=0&h=1&y=-lgfh6t If you'd like to save this album, just sign in, or if you're new to the Gallery, create a free account. Once you've signed in, you'll be able to view this album whenever you want and order Kodak prints of your favorite photos. Enjoy! <Thank you. Have saved to active desktop and will post small copies. What little I know re this species, its family is posted on WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner>

Question about FW ray disease 4/26/06 Hi, I found your website online because I was looking for a diagnosis for my motoro ray. This morning I was looking at and the front part of its disk on top, from its eyes to the front are covered with about 20 white dots/ grows. But the grows don't' look like ich? <... perhaps flukes> the dots seem to have volume, are white, seem to be about 1 mm in diameter. they are just on the top 1 inch front of the ray near its nose which seems weird. Is this some sort of fungus? <Not likely> It seems like it. I was wondering if you knew any sort of treatment, your website basically states that all treatment is harmful to rays. =/ Thanks in advance, Victor <... You will need microscopic examination to determine what this is... and maybe staining as well... There are reference works on fish pathology... I would at least seek out Edward Noga's survey work (Fish Disease; Diagnosis and Treatment) here. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater stingray growth rate - 03/11/2006 Hello I have one question. Can I keep a freshwater stingray in a 55 gallon tank until I have the room and the money for a bigger tank. Thank you >> That depends on the species. Make sure to understand that all but one or two species of freshwater rays get over 3 feet in diameter, and are less than ideal aquarium fish. To keep a small ray in your tank until it grows is possible, but I would not recommend it. Good Luck, Oliver

Freshwater Stingrays (Sand?, Filters?, and Heaters?) - 2/28/2006 Guys, <And gals...> First of all, thanks for your feedback reference my earlier correspondence questioning Freshwater Stingrays. I have decided to increase my filtration to maintain the water quality in the approximately 180-Gallon tank. Have you heard anything good/bad/indifferent with regards to the new Fluval FX5 Canister Filter? <Mmm, no... but this line has been greatly improved over the years... used to be junk... had a few "pop-apart" many years back> They claim that it will pump approximately 925 GPH and maintain a tank of approximately 400 US Gallons??? <Mmm, an over-estimate... akin to the U.S. gov't rating of automobile mileage... once the media is a bit dirty/clogged... I would count on about half this capacity/flow.> My intention is to purchase this filter and add an existing Fluval 404 filled just with BioMax for Biological Filtration (and maybe ammonia reducer)? <Hopefully... these rays are quite massive... and do produce a good deal of nitrogenous waste... and "don't like it"...> I have also purchased a large UV Sterilizer that will be added to the tank to control pathogens and algae. I still don't know what direction to go with the sand bottom. I have read that Estes Ultra Reef Sand and Calci Sand are good selections. <Yes... something fine, non-angular (not silicate based)> What do you guys think? Will 100lbs. of sand be adequate for a 1" thick base on tank dimensions of 7ft. x 2ft. x 2ft.? On more question, I am desperately looking for an inline heater (or two), but cannot find one that will not affect the throughput of the Fluval FX5 Filter. <Not likely... I would add a "closed loop" external recirculation system here... and use the dedicated pump here to drive the water through the in-line heater... OR place these heaters in an external sump, and use this arrangement of pumping. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm and the linked files above...> The filter's input and output hoses are approximately 1" in diameter and the only inline filter that I have found (Hydor) offers a 5/8" connection which would limit the flow of water. <Mmm, and these pumps are not engineered to have any/more resistance. Again, I would not use them to move water through anything else, including your proposed UV> I have purchased online a fiberglass aquarium background that resembles real sandstone and do not want to hide it with heaters, pumps, etc. <These are really neat... gorgeous> As always, I greatly appreciate your feedback and value your opinions. Regards, Steven W. Smith Jr. <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Was Stocking a Brackish Tank, now Potamotrygonids 2/24/06 Ouch... looks like that archer tank won't happen until I get a massive tank. I do want to have at least 6 or so, so until I can afford a 300 gallon or something of the like... Anyhoo, I guess I'll just stick with freshwater for now. Imagine what I could put in 100 gallons! A small school of piranhas...freshwater stingrays (juvenile, of course) etc... anyways, I won't get ahead of myself. Just wondering about reticulated stingrays - do they need a fine sand substrate, gravel, or bare bottom tanks? <Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm Finer is better> My LFS recently got in some teacup reticulated stingrays - 79 bucks (a pretty good deal here in Canada). My guess would be a 200 gallon tank minimum for a full grown adult? <Something like this> I just think rays are really awesome, and would like to look into them soon. I am willing to do 20% water changes every other day, and I think discus would make suitable tankmates (same water parameters, water changes, etc.). By the way, I asked about the 2000 gallon shark tank... apparently, they only do top-ups! Incredible. I've somewhat lost respect for them, though, after finding that they were keeping two white tip and one black tip reef shark in this small tank, along with some kind of bamboo or epaulette shark. Thanks, -Eddy <Be chatting, reading. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Stingrays and the perfect environment? - 2/4/2006 WWM Crew, <Steven> First of all, thanks in advance for your help. I am in the process (well, the contractors are in the process) of refinishing my basement. I intend on adding a Freshwater Stingray tank into my plans and have ordered a custom tank to be built (72" x 28" x 20") (approximately 180-gallons). This tank will be built into the wall in the Pool Room (I am hoping the calming effects of the aquarium help my Pool game:- )). <Heee! Hope no one scratches in the direction of the tank!> I have had Motoro Rays in the past and been quite successful with managing their higher maintenance requirements, but I wanted to make sure that I was on the right track with this design. I will probably purchase two 4"-6" freshwater rays (1- Potamotrygon henlei & 1- Potamotrygon motoro). Do you feel as though the tank will support them comfortably? <At least for a while, yes. Would be better in something larger...> Also, I have little experience with a sand-bottom tank, but want to have the right substrate for their health. Can you recommend a specific type of gravel that would be safe for me to use? <Fine, river sand... something roundish, not too alkaline...> Or should I research sand more closely? My concern with sand is the cleaning process? <Mmm, just rinse in 10-15 pound samples... in running water... in a plastic (pickle) bucket... with a garden hose and your hand... till the water runs clear> Also, I planned on 3 x Fluval 404 Canister Filters for filtration. I always like to err on the side of too much filtration vs. not enough. What do you guys think? <Should work... though if it were me, I'd fit a refugium/sump on here, with RDP lighting, live plants, a DSB... and one or two canister filters. Oh, and make sure I'd have plenty of stored, soft/er, warm make-up water for changes positioned nearby... an R.O.? Bob Fenner> Best Regards, Steve

Freshwater Stingrays, Sabrina's Envy - 12/15/2005 Around 6 moths ago after 15 years of fish keeping I decided to try freshwater stingrays. <I envy you. Deeply. You've no idea how much I love these animals, wish I could keep, breed.... Not in California. Sigh.> The most frequently available and affordable to were Potamotrygon reticulatus. <Beautiful.> I set up a 6' x 2' x 18" high tank filter using 2 canister filters - an Eheim 2213 and a Fluval 304) with a sand substrate about 1/2" thick. The pH was and still is 7, temp 80degrees C, ammonia zero and nitrates controlled with weekly water changes. <Nitrite, I trust, is zero as well.> About mid June I purchased 2 Retics (only males were available) about (XX)" dia <Unfortunately, portions of your email are garbled.... the lettering I can figure out, but this is impossible for me with your numbering, unfortunately; not sure what happened here.> and settled them into the tank with the intention of getting 2 females at a later date. These 2 males settled within the hour and were eating earthworms the same day. <Wow, excellent!> About the end of October the shop finally got more retics in and I got (XX) <Same trouble....> females again about 2" dia. The males are now about (XX)5"-4" <I'm assuming this is 3.5-4 inches? Blast this webmail....> and the females were added to the same tank. <Yikes! I'd've quarantined the newcomers, to be sure.... there's just SO much that can go wrong with rays....> Although I could see no problems between the rays the 2 new females have not settled like the males and do not seem to be eating anything I put in the tank. <VERY bad news.... At this tiny, tiny size, they may not make it without food urgently....> I have tried blood/earth worm, prawn, mussels, flake, tablet and I have even tried Live deformed Endler's guppies (which is normally a big no no for me) all without success. <Try live bloodworms, failing that, try live blackworms.> I am now at a stage where I have placed a divider in the tank as one female is extremely skinny (hollow in the head and showing pectoral bones) and the other seem not as bad but fear it will go the same way. <Very, very dangerous....> I feel the possible mistake has been adding them at different times and if so then lesson learned as I feel I will lose these 2 females. <I fear you may.... The urgent lesson here is QUARANTINE your newcomers.... Not only to protect your existing, healthy stock, but to help the newcomers chill out and eat.> Sorry for the length of this mail but the more info u <Not 'u', 'you'.... we have to correct these for posting on the site.> have the less speculation you will need to make. <Quite correct. Thank you for the detailed info.> If you can help or advise it would be appreciated. <I would advise removing the females to a separate quarantine system if possible - and NEVER add to your main tank without a four week quarantine for new rays. If these girlies don't make it, I will also *strongly* advise that you start with slightly larger specimens next time, and make the shop owner show you the animals eating prior to purchase - if they don't eat, don't buy.> Thanks, Stuart, Scotland. <Thank you very much for sharing, Stuart - Keep up hope, and try to get some live bloodworms or live blackworms into these girlies. If you get them to eat, keep them eating - get 'em fattened up a bit before you wean them off onto dead or prepared foods. All the best to you, -Sabrina>

I have a sick ray... 12/13/05 Hello, I found your email online and thought you might be able to help me. <Sorry for delayed reply. Have been away> I have a motoro freshwater stingray. about 10 inch disc. He has been healthy for over a year since I've had him. He quit eating 3 days ago, this was the first time he has ever refused food. I checked water conditions and they seem fine, nothing out of ordinary. His stomach seems enlarged on his underside and a little enlarged and uneven on top side. <Is likely a tumor from a lack of nutrient... very possibly a goiter from iodine deficiency> His left clasper also has some sort of white/red thing in/on it... The man I bought him from recommended partial water change (I do regularly) and that was it. Do you think there is anything else I might be able to do to help him? Thanks for any info, and sorry if I'm bothering you Mike Wagner Charlotte, NC <Please search WWM re Ray Health, Nutrition... for marines as well as freshwater. Bob Fenner>

Illegal Rays? - 11/22/2005 Could you tell me if freshwater stingrays are illegal in Georgia? <You will need to find that out through your local (Georgia) wildlife or fish and game department.> If they are what requirements must be met to keep them? <If they ARE illegal to own/sell/etc., again, you'll need to find out through the government body that regulates them. I know in California it's essentially impossible for an "average Joe" (including myself) to obtain a permit for keeping these animals. Major bummer.> Thanks in advance. <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Sting Ray Needs Help... You leave me... breathless, ahhh! 11/21/05 our <The beginning of sentences words are capitalized...> <<I'm correcting.. MH>> sting ray has not been eating for the past two days. we noticed he has a little bite on his tail. so we put some MelaFix <Worthless> in the water to help heal the wound. Also the stingray seems stressed out. <... What re water quality? History, make-up of system?> He is swimming upside down sometimes and really just sits at the bottom of the tank. This is not normal for him at all. He is very lively. He swims up and down the tank splashing water. Very fun to watch. <Whee!> We have had him about 8 months. I have done a water change and carbon filter change and just what him to get better. We lost our hippo tang in our salt water tank 2 weeks ago to ich and it was very upsetting. We want to stop the losing of the fish as quick as possible. Please help <You're joking, right? You haven't even mentioned whether this is a marine or freshwater animal. I suspect it is FW and that you haven't read the materials archived on WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm and the linked file above. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Stingrays, Plants, Substrates.... - 10/21/2005 Hey crew, I was just wondering about freshwater stingrays and live plants. In some of your info it talks about those two working together. I was just wondering wouldn't the f/w stingray knock them down? <Mm, were I to keep the two together, I would probably stick with plants that can be rooted on wood (Anubias sp., Microsorium pteropus / java fern, Vesicularia dubyana/java moss....). Thus I could keep the substrate mostly clear and open for the rays.> Also I use fluorite for my plants instead of gravel. Is that ok for the stingray? <Oh, no. No, not at all.> Or should I put a layer of fine sand down on top of the fluorite for the stingray? <Due to the tendency of smaller, lighter particles to "settle" and larger, heavier particles to be displaced and come to the top, this will not help.... A tank with a substrate of fluorite would be fatal to a stingray.... literally.> Most importantly will my live plants be safe from harm's way <I assure you this is less important than not having harmfully abrasive substrates in a ray's tank....> due to the fact that the stingray lacks a gas bladder and once in motion... stays in motion? <If you stick with plants that can be rooted on wood, or use terra cotta pots for other plants like swords, etc., plants would do excellently. The ray absolutely requires a non-abrasive substrate and a great deal of open space. Keep this in mind if you choose to consider a ray. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

First Freshwater Stingray, Selection - 10/17/2005 I was wondering what ray would be best suited for a beginner and would work in a 110 gallon tank <In my opinion, none are suited to this size/shape tank, if this is a "common" 110 - 48" by 19" footprint, roughly.> and I was planning on housing it with a royal Pleco (Panaque nigrolineatus) and 5 Sorubim lima. I am currently looking at Potamotrygon leopoldi. Any other suggestions would be helpful. <You might possibly get by with something like Potamotrygon scobina, which reportedly stays closer to 12" to 14".... But I would absolutely not, in a system with a footprint anything less than 48" by 24". Preferably larger. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
First Freshwater Stingray, Selection - II - 10/18/2005
The tank that I am buying has the following dimensions 48" long 24" wide and 18" high, if that helps. <Mm, somewhat.... I would not put leopoldi in this system, to be sure, but you might be able to get by with a single P. scobina. It would be better to have it in a larger system, though; after discussing with Bob, he recommends a 72" by 24" tank, so you might consider upgrading in the near future at least. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Freshwater stingray I have a freshwater stingray for 2 months she is eating great. I just saw her swimming upside down and doing weird things . Her breathing is a little rapid what is wrong with her, I like her and don't want anything to be wrong. >> Check your ammonia and nitrite levels. Sometimes rays can swim in strange ways in the current of the filter. Is she doing this all the time? Is she still eating? Thanks, Oliver

Freshwater Stingray She died 8 minutes later. She was eating great. Everyday about 1-2 dozen grass shrimp. She was about 5-6 inches round. I really enjoyed her and want to get another, but I want to know why or what happened so this doesn't happen again. I got her from the local pet shop. She was just gray with the yellow spotted tail. I researched everything and thought I set up good. she would only eat the shrimp, I tried worms, krill, she killed two molly's i had in the tank with her 3 day's before she died (didn't eat them though) Any suggestions, or places to get another one when I am ready (different Kinds of stingrays) . Also, any information to help in the future. Thank You Joy (I live in Florida, I don't know if that has anything to do with it) >>Dear Joy, rays are sometimes a bit sensitive, if the fish was eating well at your place for a while it seems you were doing things right. A ray would not kill fish without eating them, so something in your tank was wrong enough to kill your mollies as well. Maybe they died of ammonia or nitrite poisoning. Feeding shrimp can foul the water quickly. On another note, now that you mention you are in Florida: All freshwater stingrays are prohibited in your state and as far as I know can not be sold in Florida or kept by Florida residents. You may want to research this with your local USFW department. Good Luck, Oliver

Stingray Identification? - 03/31/2005 I am getting ready to purchase my first stingray, but I am receiving conflicting information about the type of ray. The store at which I plan to buy the ray tells me it is a Brazilian teacup ray. I have been look up information on the web and have found that any ray under 5" is considered a teacup. <Agh, I hate common names. I've only ever heard Potamotrygon orbignyi (also known as P. reticulatus) referred to as the "teacup" ray. Do please consult http://www.fishbase.org and enter "Potamotrygon" into the genus area and do a search. Look at all the different rays, and compare with the one you're looking into purchasing. Try to make a positive ID prior to purchase, so you know what you're getting into.> When I first saw the ray I thought it was a flower ray. <Again, common names, especially when dealing with fish as uncommon as the freshwater rays, are worthless.> Is there anything special that I can look for on the ray to help me determine which species it is? <Just as above.> I am planning on putting the ray in a 55gal to start. <I would *strongly* urge against this. Plan for the *adult* size of the fish, and have the appropriate size/shape tank to start with. A 55 is grossly inadequate for housing a fish that will ultimately have a disc size of 14" or so. A 55g tank is only 12" front to back. Please plan on a MUCH larger tank than this.> What is the average rate of growth for stingray? <Very fast, if fed and cared for properly. If you got the ray, at, say, a 6" disc diameter, expect it to outgrow the 55g in less than a year. I wouldn't put a 6" ray in a 55g to start with. Given the cost of rays, you really will be farther ahead to start with a tank that can house them for their lives, not for a few months. It will cost you more in the long run to keep upgrading just to keep them in "adequate" sized housing. Please think seriously before making your purchase; better to wait and succeed than to be impatient and risk losing the fish.> Thanks! <Wishing you and your future charges well, -Sabrina>

A hurt sting ray My sting ray (freshwater) was just recently cut up pretty badly. We have an algae eater in with her because the fish store owner said we should have him. He's big enough so that she can't eat him. We also have a decorative ship in the tank. Sometimes our ray will go inside the ship and it takes her a while to finally come out. She seems to like to go in it. Lately the algae eater is also inside the ship with her. We found her cut up with flesh and blood the other day. We don't know if she got attacked by the algae eater (I've finally read that they can suck on their skin) or if she got stuck in the ship and got scraped up when trying to get out. She's gotten out before, so it's just really hard to tell. Which scenario do you think is more likely? What should we do next to help her? Thank you, Jessica Maurer <I'd remove the ship, and the algae eater... raise temperature to the mid 80's F... and observe the fish for signs of secondary infection. Bob Fenner>
Re: hurt FW sting ray
Thank you for your response. She seems to be doing well. We got medicine for her wounds and she's eating good. She only seems to like to eat ghost shrimp, frozen bloodworms and little fish. <Yes... meaty foods> We've tried other things, she won't eat them. Is it ok if we buy a lot (say around 100) ghost shrimp at a time and just put them in our 85 gallon tank? She eats a lot at a time and we go through them so fast. Will that mess up our tank or will they die easily? <Mmm, would be better to house the food separately... you could even establish a breeding colony... Are hardy animals... am just fearful that your fish/es might eat too many at once> Thanks again for your help. Jessica Maurer <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: hurt sting ray
Thank you. What's too many at a time? Also, how about fish.? How many fish at a time should we put in? She likes the rosy reds. Thanks, Jessica <I would only feed this fish about twice a week... and not to the point where "it's tummy is bulging out". Bob Fenner>

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

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

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

Part of stingray's tail turned white Hi We have a stingray whose tail had a white tip, yesterday about an inch down from the tip we saw another small white area. Today between the two white areas turned white and then fell off. Can you explain to us whether this is normal or if not what do we need to do. He seems to be acting normal and eating fine. Thank you Lori <Mmm, not normal in general... possibly this fish had a part of its tail smashed or picked on by other life in the system. Do keep your eye on it for possible (reddish) infection, consider bolstering its immune system with vitamin-laced foods, and do the requisite check on your water quality. Something is/was amiss here. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater ray, automated water changes Hello, I've been reading through your site and find it very insightful. I've been reading about the freshwater rays for a couple months now, wanting to try them but thinking I did not have the time or money to put into one. My fiancé© recently bought me a surprise...a male P. hystrix! Being it was a surprise, I didn't have very much time to prepare, and it seems my friends and family didn't have much of an idea of what these fish require before they bought him for me. Well, for the time being he is in a 55 gallon tank, peacefully living with an Oscar and eating well. the Oscar, though, is horribly messy, and I'm having to do 75% water changes every week to keep his water conditions under control. I have the materials to build an 8x6x1 foot pond for him, but cannot set it up until I move out of my current residence (my landlord won't allow it). I'm moving out July of next year, so in the time being I have to figure out how to keep my ray healthy. I have some time off work, and was thinking about trying to build a continuous water changing device for my tank. My water is the right quality (soft, neutral to acidic). I want to drill a hole in the back of the tank for the overflow, then use airline tubing connected to a bathroom sink with a sprayer nozzle on the end. I've never had a problem with chlorine before, sometimes even being as bold as to put water straight from the tap in with my hardier fishes. <Be aware that municipalities do not continuously administer the same concentration (generally chloramine, not chlorine) and that you may well "get caught" by their pulsing sanitizer> In your opinion, would the sprayer nozzle be enough to evaporate the chlorine? <No, but you could use a contactor of sorts... chemicals that would absorb...> As a side note, my pond will have a large, 3x3 foot viewing pain on the surface, kind of like a big snorkel mask, I'll also plant two kinds of tropical water lily around the outside to give my ray a sense of security. Could you give me any helpful hints and criticisms before I put money into these projects? thanks! Jon <What specifically are you looking for? I would not go ahead with your continuous water changer as you describe it... too risky, and the chance to siphon/gravel wash the present system would be lost... keep changing the water manually, twice a week if necessary, and look into more filtration, circulation. Bob Fenner> MI Rays hello I live in Michigan and I was wondering whether not freshwater stingrays were illegal or not here please e-mail thanks CJ <Don't know, but do know where to check. Your State Fish and Game. Likely have a website, can contact them through this if they don't have a list of illegals posted... Potamotrygonids are legal in many states. Bob Fenner> FW Stingrays Hi, First I would like thank you for your advice and answers in the past. My question is are FW stingrays legal in Cali? < No, Sorry. And there is a big fine too if you are caught.-Chuck> My former elementary school has an interest in setting up a stingray tank, since it is their mascot. I have own FW and reef tanks but have never owned stingrays and do not know much about them, although I have read the section about FW stingrays on this website. If you don't know then perhaps where could I find this information? Thanks! -Alex

Indoor Pond filtration? 7/29/04 Hello, I really appreciate all the great advice you have given me!! I am now facing the next dilemma. I have purchased 2 Rubbermaid Agricultural 300 gallon stock tanks. I intend to use them side by side in my basement to keep freshwater Stingrays. <Neat> I am at a loss as to what to use for filters. I know these fish demand excellent water, and am prepared to do lots of water changes with RO/DI water. What type of filters should I run? I have heard these fish very sensitive to nitrates. Too bad they are freshwater instead of marine or I could just use live rock. What is the answer for nitrate reduction in freshwater besides water changes? <Good questions... the "real" or "best" answers to nitrate accumulation are likely "person specific" (actually worse, I'm susceptible to offering a very variations myself!). Low stocking density, careful feeding would get mentioned of course... the use of "in-sump" or in tank vascular plants, deep sand beds (same sort of approach as marine DSBs) would certainly work... water changes, perhaps occasional use of chemical filtrants should be cited... More volume ties in with the idea of low stocking density... Okay, I would tie in another Rubbermaid container if it'll fit, use it to grow lots of rapid-growing, floating (maybe some above like Ceratopteris spp. and submerged... Myriophyllum, Egeria...?) plants, a deep sand bed there (five or more inches) and not count on the same areas in the tubs with the rays (as they will stir these up continuously)... get, use large (as you can afford) canister filters (my faves are Eheim brand) and stock them with their media and basically forget them (they won't require much service)... get yet another Rubbermaid container to collect likely reverse osmosis water (or other pre-prepared water you intend to use for water changes) and be very diligent in making BIG (like 25% or more) weekly water changes... stock up on nitrate test kit reagents and check these once a week... And see what develops. Bob Fenner> Stingrays with Oscars thank you for your time. I would like to know if you would know it would be possible to out a stingray with Oscars thank you for your time <Both come from South American rivers so the water requirements should be the same. They should get along as long as they are close to the same size. The Oscar may not let any food sink down to the bottom so you may have to feed the stingray at night to make sure he is getting some food.-Chuck>

Stingrays with Oscars, Follow-up thank you very much are there and stingray that you would recommend for this tank thank you once again < All stingrays get big! They prefer soft warm clean water. Not too many stores carry to many different species so any one would be fine.-Chuck>
Stingrays with Oscars, More Follow-up
ok then thank you very much. so do you think a 5 foot tank would be big enough for one of them < I have seen stingrays in public aquariums get up to 3 feet wide. True they are very old but you have to realize that they will get too big for most tanks. Also keep in mind that there will be some potential for getting hurt when you need to handle these guys. They do have a large barb in the tail and know how to use it.> when you say soft water what do you mean by that neutral water ph and what temp < Neutral to acidic is fine unless you get a really true black water species that needs acidic (pH 6) water at least 80 degrees F.-Chuck> thank you very much
Stingrays with Oscars, More Follow-up
so they all grow that large. what is the smallest of them all do you know. < I don't know of any dwarf stingrays. In the Baensch atlas they list a few that any get a little over a foot but I know I have seen them larger than that in large public aquariums. thanks for he ph all my tanks are neutral and are at 80 degrees f. do you recommend doing it or not. < Stingrays are illegal in some states. I would recommend that you talk to your local fish store to see if they are legal in your area , how much they cost. I would only handle them with a very long handled net.--Chuck> also do you know where I can get them from. how do you handle them if you have to move them with there barb. thanks

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

Freshwater Stingray pc. on WWM, ref.s I recently went to your website, Freshwater Stingrays: Family Potamotrygonidae. I was reading the section labeled Selection>>Coloration. Under this section, you indicated that Potamotrygonids are aquatic chameleons. I am currently do a research project on stingray color variation/polychromatism. Would you know where I could find primary or secondary literature that would support the claim you made. <Mmm, the piece was penned several years back... the input may be somewhere in the pet-fish literature listed, or just a first person observation on my part> I am particularly interested in knowing whether stingray coloration changes based upon river color, genetics, or physiological effects. I have attempted to search the internet and several educational journals on this topic. However, none have offered me the information that I need. Please contact me when you can. -Edna Bonhomme <... If this is an "in depth" search, I encourage you to seek out the posted bibliography along with a current computer search of the group, key terms above. Bob Fenner>

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

Freshwater stingrays (not in CA) I am interested in buying 2 freshwater sting rays...can you help me by any chance but I live in California... any thing near hear?? <As far as I'm aware the family Potamotrygonidae is still illegal to possess (or sell) in California. Bob Fenner>

Help with FW stingrays I have read through your site on FW stingrays and need some information I can not find. I just received two Potamotrygon castexi one is thin and has two wounds on its belly, obviously the distributor should not have sent it to me, but too late for that. <Very common for FW stingrays to "come in" injured> You suggest we do not medicate them with Dylox (which our distributor did suggest) or add salt, but you do not state what you do recommend we do use. <I would use only about a teaspoon per gallon of any salt type here> My second question is...the distributor was feeding them live black (blood) worms, are you aware of any way to adjust them to frozen foods instead of live? Thanks for your attention to this. Kim (Fishy Business, Montana) <I would NOT feed these rays Tubificid worms (e.g. "Black"), but Blood "worms" (actually insect larvae) are fine. Other foods can be substituted by mixing the two together for a few days. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Stingrays and Substrate Hello Crew, <Hello Reader.> I've been reading up on FW stingrays and have noticed most people seem to be trying to keep FW rays in large, rectangular aquariums on a sand substrate. I'm wondering if they can be kept in a smooth (no sand), round, PLASTIC stock tank. <The trend of having them with a sandy substrate is for the aesthetic look for the aquarium owner as much as it is for the stingrays themselves. It's true that these rays natural environment is for them to burrow into the sand and hide. But, many of the large aquariums have barren bottoms on their ray tanks. In fact, the last three I visited that had feeding/petting Marine ray tanks had no sand at all.) I've got a 500+ gallon, 8 foot round one that I use as a turtle pond. The double thick walls help to insulate it and it is easy to drill and plumb. It was also cheap-----$240 . <I'm very jealous! that is quite an impressive find, and would love to have something like that for any one of my fish!> Can one of these be used for a ray tank? (The 6 foot round will roll through a doorway and into a house.) <I have seen these tanks used for shark tanks, and of course for Koi and Goldfish tanks. I believe that this tank could be used for a ray tank. Provided that you do offer the ray places to hide. Be it large pieces of driftwood, or large make shift shelves that the rays could hide beneath. You know that you can purchase a large amount of tropical play sand from your local hardware store (or Home Depot, Lowe's, etc...). Enough to at least offer some sand on the bottom for the fish.> I know that a traditional tank would make viewing much easier, but that big of a tank (300 gallons) is very heavy to move, very expensive, and requires an expensive stand. <When dealing with Stingrays, one of the best ways to view these animals is from the top! It's like watching Frisbees or dinner plates swim, seeing them from the side is still interesting, but the larger viewable surface is looking down on them. As for a 300 Gallon tank you could build your own to save on money. there are many sites online that show people building 1000 gallon tanks into walls (with three sides being solid, and one large glass/Plexi window to view from). In fact I recently gave a fish to a man who built a 650 and 750 gallon tank in his basement using info he found online. Though, they are more of a permanent fixture thus making them not moveable, but it can be less expensive if you build one yourself.> With the prices of the more vividly colored FW rays as high as they are, I'd rather buy more space for less money and get better filtration with the savings. Would a stock tank work? <Considering I have seen this used at many aquariums around the world to hold their Stingrays then I do believe that this will work for you as well. You might want to visit some Stingray message forums and see if anyone has suggestions.> Would a totally bare tank (no sand at all) be too stressful for a ray? <Totally bare yes it would be stressful, but if you sink other objects in there for the fish to hide under (like a make shift shelf, and lots of driftwood and plants) then I could see a stingray being okay. The tank I'm envisioning can not be viewed from the sides... so the stingrays won't see you unless you are over the top of them. So, in actuality they will be quite secure and less stressed since they can't see outside the tank.> Could a sunken tray of smooth sand be used if needed? <The sand will be spread out of the tray in no time, but I do think that this is an option that you should keep open. I've never seen it done, but it might work great for your rays, and offer them another area to feel secure.> Could drift wood with java fern and moss be used to aquascape or would it scrape the ray? <Rays scrape against all that stuff in the wild and it doesn't bother them. Provided you don't have any extremely pointy pieces, or sharp areas then it should be fine. Check the wood over and sand off any areas that look dangerous.> Thank you for your time, Tam Jones <No problem, and I hope the tank works out for you. Look online for Stingray forums and see what others are saying. You might learn a great deal from them as well. Also, if you are going to have a tank that large only viewable from the top you might want to invest in a mask and snorkel! Good luck. -Magnus>

Freshwater Stingray Hello, <Howdy> I have two freshwater stingrays (not exactly sure what kind), male and female. My male is continuingly swimming in circles and has not eaten in two days. Is this normal or should I be concerned? <Not atypical for these fishes to go on periodic hunger strikes... if it doesn't eat for more than a week I'd be concerned, try other foods, soaking them in an appetite stimulant solution. But the swimming in circles is not a good sign. How long have you had these fishes, and how are they housed? Bob Fenner> Roy D. Gray
Re: Freshwater Stingray
Unfortunately the male stingray died 1/16/04. The female stingray I have had about three months, and the male about 2 months. The female seems fine and very active. Roy <Sorry to hear of the loss... these fishes are almost all wild-caught (some public aquariums have had live births that get distributed)... and sometimes die of apparently "anomalous" causes. Have you seen the article and FAQs on the family posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm Bob Fenner>

Possible growth on Fresh water Stingray (URGENT) Hello my name is Thomas Merrill. I have had two Motoro Stingray for about six months now. Everything has been great. Today I noticed a small red sac attached the anus of my male stingray. He is still acting healthy and eats when ever food is presented. Attached are a couple Photos I just took. Do you have any idea what this is, and if not do you know where I might ask? If you do know what it is could you please tell me about it and how I could possibly treat it? Thanks, Thomas Merrill <Thomas, sorry to say the attachments did not make it through (please resend). These "goiters" or tumors are not uncommon in captive freshwater rays... and almost always can be corrected with the addition of iodine/iodide to the animals foods. Please look to the fish stores, online suppliers for such supplements and administer them to the fish's foods ahead of feeding. Bob Fenner>

Possible growth on Fresh water Stingray (URGENT) - Follow-up Thank you so much for your reply. Here are the attached files. <Mmm, on viewing the image, I'm more inclined to think this may be a case of a prolapsed colon... I would cut back on this fish's food and offer it only smallish meaty food items (bite size or smaller). Bob Fenner>

Sand for FW stingrays? (10/19/03) Hi, <Hi! Ananda here tonight> I have had a hard time finding sand substrate for Fresh water stingrays. Right now it is bare bottomed. I know it has to be silica free sand. It also can't raise the Ph of my tank. I called some companies that make play sand. They all have silica in the sand just not in a free dust form. I read about silver sand on a UK website but no one states has heard about it. What do you recommend. <Not silver sand. It's silvery due to mica, which could scratch the ray's stomach. You will probably need to look for sand from a specialist fish store. You might also check with some of the companies that package sand for aquarium use, and have your local shop order some for you (since the companies are unlikely to sell directly to hobbyists).> thanks, john <Sorry I couldn't be of more help! --Ananda>

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

Motoro ray with cloudy eyes Hello, I am first time user of your service and fairly confident in my abilities as an aquarist, but happened to be reading your section on stingrays and thought maybe you could help me in determining whether a film (very light) over my motoro rays eyes could be dangerous.... this condition just appeared today and to most people would not even be noticeable... <Anything that deviates from the norm is cause for concern, or at least research.> I pay very close attention to my fish and as he is one the more expensive fish I am always concerned about his safety... <Understood! And what an incredible animal - one of my favorites.> He is housed in a 100gal tank with a wet dry and a magnum 330 canister he has been in there for about two years and was treated twice for ich due to bad feeder stock that didn't seem to have it when they were introduced into the tank... <Ugh.... Do try to find suitable foods aside from 'feeder' fish - all too often illnesses do move from feeders to the fed - as you have experienced. This is often the death of large predatory fish. Either breed your feeders yourself so you know they're safe, or find suitable alternatives (of which there are many).> Tankmates are an albino Oscar that was introduced very small and has never picked on him a fire eel and a small (new) Bala shark that exhibits no signs of illness <This really is a bit much bioload IMO - and not quite the greatest mix of species, at least for the ray, which does best in a pH of lower than 6.0, to even as low as 5.0, really, too low for the other species you have. Rays really do best in species-only tanks, or at least with fish that tolerate or thrive in such low pH as well.> the water quality is good and the second treatment for ich will be finished in 2 days... neither time he was treated for ich did he actually show signs but it was preventive.... <May I asked what med you used? Rays are scaleless, sensitive fish, and many/most meds are pretty harsh on them. If you never saw ich in the tank, I don't believe it should have been necessary to treat for it. Cloudy/filmy eyes are usually the result of some water parameter being out of whack - specifically, what are your pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate readings? Extremely sensitive animals such as these rays will show effects of environmental factors being out of whack at even extremely low levels. A water change is probably the very best remedy available for you.> as far as Popeye I honestly don't know of that ever affecting a ray but I suppose its possible... I will be paying very close attention to him for the next few days and if there is any information you may have for me it would be greatly appreciated... as I'm sure you well know many common fish medications can harmful to rays and if he does have Popeye do you think a broad spectrum like maracyn2 would be safe for him <I seriously doubt that you're dealing with Popeye. Truly, cloudy eyes usually clear up after a good water change or two. I'm guessing it might be related to a nitrate problem, in this case, as you already mentioned feeder fish and have large predators in the tank. Check your water, fix if necessary. -Sabrina> Thank you.

Questions re freshwater stingrays I have just read your article on freshwater rays and found it very interesting. I would like to keep one my self but was wondering if my tank is suitable, it is 8 foot wide 2 foot top to bottom and 18 inches back to front. The motoro is the one I like and I need to verify that it only gets a maximum 14" wide disc. Also could you suggest suitable tankmates for this species. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Yours Matt Milburn. <This size, shape tank should work out very well. I've seen displays with many types of fishes kept with freshwater rays, including peaceful, slow-moving fishes like angels and discus, and even shoals of small South American tetras (Characoids) of many types. I do encourage you to delve into the popular (and possibly scientific) literature on the habitat and distribution of the species you're interested and definitely select for a "biotopic" presentation (physical, chemical and social/biological make-up mimicking their natural environs). Bob Fenner>

Freshwater stingray disease/injury Dear Sirs I have 6 Motoro stingrays in my home aquarium (I am currently keeping 6 tanks at home). 2 of my stingrays have developed some scratches in the edge of the disk. I have another 2 whose edges have become whitish (the skin around the edges of the disk). <Usually evidence of falling/inappropriate water quality or mechanical injury. Do you have "sharp" gravel or rocks in their tank?> For both cases I have tried adding salt to the water, rising the temperature (from 26 centigrade to 30 centigrade), y also used CHLORAMPHENICOL, MALACHITE GREEN, FUROXONE, etc. but nothing seems to work. They don't get worse; but they don't get well either. <What tests for water quality do you have? I would check pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate for sure. Also, I don't encourage salt additions to these fishes water... not much in the Amazon period> Please let me know which would be the way to cure my stingrays. Or if they will have to live with this problem for the rest of their lives... <Not a good idea to ignore this warning sign. Check your water quality for metabolites... is the water soft, acidic? Have you read the materials posted on WWM re FW stingrays? Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm and the linked FAQs (above, in blue) re this family> Your kind assistance will be highly appreciated Best Rgds, Carlos <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

A minor inaccuracy (Potamotrygonidae id) Hello, I wanted to say that I love the magazine. I also wanted to bring up one thing though. In the May 2003 issue focused on livebearers, in Fenner's article "Livebearing Fishes, For Aquariums... and Not" there is a picture listed as Ocellate river stingray, Potamotrygon motoro. The fish in the picture is actually P. henlei or P. leopoldi, more likely the latter, but from the picture it's impossible to tell. P. motoro is an extremely variable species, but the black body is a tell-tale that it's not motoro. I'm currently keeping a group of 3 Leopoldi's, http://scott.aaquaria.com has some of my pictures of them. Also, I wanted to ask if you were planning any freshwater stingray articles in the next few months, they're quite colorful, and very interesting, and are somewhat overlooked as aquarium fish, in my opinion. S. Allen Greeson Colorado Springs, CO <Thank you for this input. Will check, change in my notes. Bob Fenner> From: "David E. Boruchowitz" <editor@tfh.com> Judging from FishBase, I'd vote for leopoldi. Or is this a case of extreme variability in coloration?<Actually... please see: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=53761&genusname=Potamotrygon&speciesname=henlei Bob Fenner>

FW Stingray ids Robert, Hello. I wasn't quiet expecting a reply that quick, but yeah, most likely leopoldi. They can kind of go back and forth, generally leopoldi is black and white where as henlei is greyish black and gold spots. It varies a lot, and the best trait I know of is that henlei has it's spots extending to the underside of the body, leopoldi doesn't. It may all be a moot point, there are arguments that they're the same species, and that leopoldi is just the regional variant for xingu, since it's endemic. who knows... Stingray taxonomy is in just as much disarray as most south American fishes. Scott <I checked the few pix on fishbase.org and the P. henlei is dark-bodied and similarly spotted to what I have (tentatively) identified on WetWebMedia.com: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm  and FishBase: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=53761&genusname=Potamotrygon&speciesname=henlei...  agreed re the systematics of this family. Bob Fenner>

FW Stingray ids The one on WetWebMedia may or may not be henlei, I'm going off Ross's publication with Schafer, Freshwater Rays, it's by Aqualog and Freshwater stingrays from south America by Ross for my species ID's. It doesn't make much of a difference except henlei is a bit smaller than leopoldi apparently. <Don't know that the arrangement of spots isn't different, but just wanted to state where my identification came from. Bob Fenner>

FW Stingrays & Ich If you can help that would be great. We have a 180 Gallon Tank that we are getting ready to put in 3 freshwater stingrays. <Three may be too many for this tank. It's recommended that you have at least a 100 gallon tank for a single ray so you will probably want no more than 2 in the tank you have. To keep the tank from looking bare you can add some larger mid to upper water column fish that like the same water parameters.> We are trying to cycle the tank now but we have a small problem. The fish that we have in there one of them got Ick and died the others that are in there have maybe one spot on the fin, but they are ok. The water that we have used to set this tank up was stingray water as well as drinking water delivery. We are treating the tank with the Ick medicine and we have been doing this for the last 4 days. We were told that a stingray is immune to this disease, <Unfortunately, you were misinformed. These fish can and do get Ich and once they have it it's very hard to treat successfully. Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm and the related FAQ's for more info.> but what we want to know is if we put the ray in there now with the med would anything happen to him and with the fish having a small dot on him would that be a problem? <Yes, it will be a problem.> We don't want for him to die but since he has a film on him and we are also treating the tank with salt as well. Please help me on your opinion everyone tells us a million different things so what we are looking for is an outsiders thought. <See the above link, it should answer your questions.> Thank you, Suzanne Dubman <You're welcome! Ronni>
Re: FW Stingrays & Ich
Good morning, <Greetings> I'm very sorry for the bother, but I do have other questions for you. We went to the pet store and found out that one of the blk and white cat fishes in the tank was also scratching on the walls as well as very few dots on the Garibaldi's fin... They said to us that all you have to do is scrap it off. <That's not true. The fish need to be treated for Ich, scraping it off isn't going to do the job. With advice like this, I would be finding another store to buy from.> He also did just buy an armored catfish, is there anything that he needs to understand about this fish that is different. <There are a lot of different 'armored' catfishes so I don't know exactly what you have. But you can find a wealth of information on all of them by simply searching the web with your favorite search engine or by using the Google search box at http://www.wetwebmedia.com > Plus, would you happen to know anything on the Asian longtail stingray this is the one that he is buying as well as the Florida one with the pointed nose the eyes are very realistic he is just way to kewl. <See above, you should be able to find oodles of info on these by searching for them.> I have to say with all of the research that I have been doing I will be a pro in stingrays soon... <Ronni>
Re: FW Stingrays & Ich
Thank you Ronni... He is also treating them as well he did a full dose of CopperSafe on Friday and just got the other fish on Sunday so it is ok cause he was in the same tank as the others at the store with the ick.. So now he is being treated as well... Also, what other place in IL has stingrays for sale? I do feel as if we should go to a different place as well but we don't know of any... Can you help me on this one as well? <Sorry, I'm in MT so don't know of any reputable stores in IL. Ronni>
Re: FW Stingrays & Ich
Wow! Thank you for all of your help. So tell me one thing why is Scott's pets shop saying that they are immune to these diseases and why did he say they live in these through their life? <Unfortunately, many stores are only interested in making their profit and will tell a prospective buyer pretty much anything. Many other stores also have untrained staff that will answer a question without actually knowing the proper answer. However, it is true that they live with the disease to a certain degree throughout their life, all fish carry this disease and it's present in every system but only at certain times does a true outbreak of it occur. And unfortunately, there's no way of knowing what is going to bring it on. The best thing to do is fully research (via books, the web, etc.) any prospective purchases before committing to them.> We are using Ick cure for the treatment right now is that ok? <Should be fine as long as the stingrays aren't in there yet.> How long should we treat it? The bottle does say that we go a teaspoon per gal but I was told only do half? <If you have scaleless or small scaled fishes then a half dose is correct. Always treat as long as the bottle says to.> We have the Eheim filter took the carbon out so when we are done treating the tank in which should we treat until gone or only what the bottle says which is 3 days and how should we take the medicine out. <If the fish still have ich after the 3 days then you will need to do a partial water change (25%) and treat for another 3 days. Once the fish no longer have the disease, do another partial water change and replace your carbon.> Should we just put in the carbon filter and let that do the trick and if so how long until we can actually wait to put in the fish? <Even with a water change and replacing the carbon you should wait at least 3 weeks before adding any new livestock to the tank. This is to make sure the ich doesn't come back. And all new additions should be quarantined in a separate tank for 2-4 weeks to prevent them introducing a disease to the main tank.> Should we also consider this part of the cycle? <The three week period between the cure of the disease and the time it's safe to add fish can be considered part of the cycle time. Just make sure your ammonia and nitrites are at 0ppm before adding any new livestock.> Please help me out. .. That web site is great. I told him and he was thankful but mad at the entire situation due to he is getting impatient. <Don't let his impatience rush you into your purchase. Your ultimate goal here is to have a healthy and happy tank that you can enjoy. This won't happen if your LFS rushes you into things. If he keeps pushing let him know very clearly that you will buy and add the stingrays when you are certain that they will be safe and if he continues to push let him know that you can always take your business elsewhere. A store should be concerned with the welfare of their stock above all else.> Any help for the patience.... <Good luck and if I can help more please let me know. Ronni>
Re: FW Stingrays & Ich
Hello there, <Hello> One more question. Will that medicine really hurt the ray and if he does put the ray in now after the carbon filter takes place over night what do you think the chances will be to live. Again it is a brand new tank and he did take the bad fish out when he was sick as the other ones seem fine except for one spot on two of them. That is actually it. So tell me please. He is very frustrated with this whole situation cause he feels as of he got shafted from the place. They should have not given him any other fish that where from a different tank then the stingrays to cycle the tank. Really he spent a lot of money on this. <I certainly wouldn't try putting the ray in this quickly. You are running the risk of the ray being killed by the medication and/or the ray getting ich. Even if the remaining fish only show one spot they are still infected. A healthy fish will not have any ich spots. Patience is the key here. Ronni>
Re: FW Stingrays & Ich
Believe me I do agree with you on that patient work, but he just does not seem to have any at this point. This is something that he really wants and is working towards here but the problems just keep on coming. What else can he put into the tank and maybe help the tank to go faster? <Until the disease is cleared up and has been gone for several weeks it is not advisable to add anything at all. And anything that is added after that should be fully quarantined for several weeks to prevent this happening again. Ronni>

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

Freshwater Tank Set-Up Hi, <Hello!> I have a 180 gallon tank well decorated with large lava rocks and 1/4 inch gravel. There is 12 inches of head room and 12 inches of room in the front of the tank. The reason being is that I raised two silver Arowanas from 2 inches in size with their sacs to over 2&1/2 feet in size easily just making regular water changes. After 5 years one of my Arowanas got sick from some internal illness and died. The other Arowana couldn't handle the change became very jumpy and committed suicide breaking the over head glass ending up on the floor. Because I got rid of all my other fish for the ever growing Arowanas, I found myself with no fish. After a two year break I want to start up a new tank with one Arowana, fire eel, l lung fish, Polypterus (if I find the colorful one I want). The difference being is that I want to add a stingray (small species), I willing to change the gravel to sand and leave 18 inches of space in front of the tank. I'm would like to know if this setup is suitable for the ray, the reason I'm keeping the rocks is I really want eels in my tank. If you don't think the ray will have enough room I'll let the ray go and concentrate on the other fish. <Rick, IMO a ray is a bad choice all the way around. Yes they are gorgeously menacing, but these guys don't live long in captivity regardless of the setup. Keeping rays is an exercise in frustration for most all hobbyist...unless you are really willing to go the extra mile, I suggest...skip the ray. David Dowless> thanks a lot. Rick <You're welcome! David Dowless>

You can call him Ray (FW) cuz' that's what he is I've had my ray for about a month now. He is a fresh water ray from the St. Johns River in Florida. He used to eat from our hand during the first week, however, we can't seem to catch him eating now. It doesn't look like he's touching the stuff we leave in there. We're giving him tetracycline that our pet store ray specialist gave us. We've been keeping the filter off because the medicine, but have been doing 10% water changes every other day. His pH is at about 8, he's got a glass bottom (no gravel). The problem is that he doesn't seem to be eating, and his Left eye is clouded over. He's been on his medicine for about four days now. He looks a lot better than he did a week ago except for his eye and eating problem. Please Help us, thank you. <Hi Luke, Please head over to this link and do what you can to provide the conditions mentioned there. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm Make sure you read down to the bottom of the page to see the disease section. These guys need a lot of room, filtration, low pH (below 7) and are sensitive to some meds. More at the link above. Craig><<This is actually not a permanent freshwater denizen... RMF>>

"Lookin' for (fw) Rays in all the right places..." Can you give me information on where I can purchase a freshwater ray? We live in TN <Mmm, you might get lucky by asking your local fish shops if they can special order you one... Otherwise, there are etailers that deal in odd/rarer aquatics you can contact via the Net. Do read the survey piece and FAQs we have stored on the family here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm Bob Fenner>

Arowana and Ray Biotope Tank Hi, I'm setting up a 225 gallon Arowana tank with Rays. <Even though 225 gallons in rather large, it is still a rather small tank in comparison to the fish you selected. I do not think you could safely stock more than two of each.> I would like to use a few live plants to make them a little more comfortable. <I think the Rays would wreck any live plants.> If I am only using a few plants how much fluorite should be used <I would stick to a sand bottom for the comfort of the Rays.> and what kind of plants. <Perhaps you could grow some Java Fern attached to something. There would be little danger in it becoming up rooted.> Thanks, Dave <Good luck! -Steven Pro>
Re: Arowana and Ray Biotope Tank
Thanks for the info and the 225 is only for 2 years until we build our dome home where there new tank will be the circumference of 30' by 3' wide 4' tall with a main tank connected at one end 10' x 4' x 4' <Wow! Truly impressive concept. Do send us pictures when done. -Steven Pro>

Freshwater stingrays I have just recently gotten some freshwater ray and I was wonder what the affects the rays poison has on human (just in cases). Can you give me some information or guide me to a web site with some info. Thanks, Chad Almquist <Please see here and the references beyond: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm Bob Fenner>

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

Freshwater Stingray... FW Bob, Thank for the info regarding fw porcupine puffer. I will ask the LFS to clarify the species. Another question. fw stingray. I saw these fishes at another LFS. Can it co-existence with fw moray eel? <I would not keep them together. Please see the coverage on these species on WetWebMedia.com> Does it need brackish environment or just freshwater? What steps to follow to pick the right stingray? <Oh, obviously you aren't familiar with WWM. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm Bob Fenner>

Stingray Hi..! I have a freshwater stingray a laticeps one as far as I know, it was OK but yesterday night I saw him upside down, as soon as I saw I took it on the right way and push a little bit by hand in order to have flow on his gills, immediately responded..! My question is: Is it normal to happen or there is something to do about? is similar reaction like happen with sharks? Best regards. Carlos Gorgon <it sounds peculiar and perhaps unhealthy. Can you confirm that dissolved oxygen is high enough? Is the tank large enough too (minimum 90 gallon for a juvenile... much larger for adult. Sand bottom is sugar fine and there are no visible sores on undersize? Do research the archives here on WWM for pertinent articles and FAQs to lend insight. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: Stingray, II (Oxygen Level) Thanks, how should I confirm that dissolved oxygen is high enough? <There are test kits by various manufacturers made to test oxygen levels. Look around the various online sites for them. -Steven Pro> Best regards. Attn. Carlos Gorgon

Stingray, FW, test kit units of measure Hi..! I have three freshwater stingrays, I tested the water before put them in, reading form ammonia and nitrites were low but on your site are referred to ## ppm but I have a scale of mg/ltr so which is the right amount of nitrites in mg/ltr for this stingrays ( teacup ) <The units of measure, milligrams per liter and parts per million are equivalents... the same. The concentration you want is 0.00, none for nitrites, ammonia... and as little measurable nitrate as possible. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwstingrays.htm and the links beyond. Bob Fenner> Best regards. Attn. Carlos Gorgon

Two questions First of all thanks for your last advice and fast response, I will get the PH and nitrite tests. 1) I have a Gymnothorax polyuranodon (freshwater eel) and some times he changes color to a pale one but just happened twice during a month and later he has its original color, is this normal or what could be happening? is eating well, as I see during everyday observation is quite good. <This is normal... seems to have more to do with "mood" than water quality, other external influences... Not necessarily an indication of trouble> 2) I will get a freshwater stingray soon but I can't find written thinks online about injuries caused by the sting and envenomation, what should I do in case of envenomation or being touch by it sting ( accidentally, of course I will take care of this everyday). <Please take a read through the Freshwater Stingray article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwstingrays.htm and Injury piece: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm and we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner> Best regards. Attn. Carlos Gorgon

Freshwater Sting Rays Hi Robert, I am writing from the South West of England and have recently found out about fresh water stingrays in particular the Motoro. Is this a good choice for beginners? <Mmm, not really... venomous... needs quite large quarters (a square meter of bottom space really... subject to damage, bacterial infections. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwstingrays.htm > We have always kept tropical fish but would like something a little less ordinary! I have heard that you need 1 meter square per Ray is this enough? <Wow! I must be getting on... talk about coincidence of "pat answers"> How hard are they too look after? What sort of money is a good price to pay? <I would rather direct you to more suitable, hardier "oddball" aquatic livestock. Please do read through the WetWebMedia.com site here... write if there is a group missing (there are many), and I'll get on to it> If you would be kind enough to help me out with this info it would be much appreciated. Best regards, Nathan Potts. <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

A question of ethics regarding freshwater stingrays... Hello again Bob! I'm sorry I've become such a pest - hopefully you don't view me as such. I had a disappointing experience at Wal-Mart a few weeks ago. They had an empty tank that was labeled "baby freshwater stingrays". <What? I'm very surprised... that this retail chain would carry such animals.> I inquired about them, since I was surprised that Wal-Mart would carry such livestock. The employee said that the stingrays sell so fast, that they're hardly ever in stock (which is good, I suppose, since the tank in which they're kept is about the size of a shoe box). The next week, a co-worker and fellow hobbyist told me she bought one of the stingrays the previous night, on a whim (she had a 40-gallon tank that was ready for livestock). <Arrgghhh!> I gave her my lecture on buying livestock at our Wal-Mart (horrible conditions, at least two dead fish in every tank at all times, and uneducated, unconcerned employees in the pet section), and further expressed concern to her about Wal-Mart stocking these animals (which she identified as Potamotrygon orbignyi after I showed her your article on freshwater rays). Of course it was too late, and the ray happened to die a week later. (Please note that I am not commenting on the Pet Section Employees in ALL Wal-Mart stores, but merely on my numerous experiences with the one store in my area.) <I understand. Friends of mine (the Bailey brothers here in San Diego) told me years back that Wal-Mart was their biggest customer. Will be sending this note off to them as well as WMT corporate... Not smart... touchy, venomous organisms being offered by such an icon of commerce> I really want to do something to influence our Wal-Mart to stop selling these animals. My reasons are these: 1.) In my opinion, Wal-Mart shouldn't sell fish if the employees know nothing about them. These are live animals and deserve to be cared for correctly. 2.) Wal-Mart doesn't provide adequate space to house their fish, and this results in a high death rate. They also buy their fish from apparently less-than-reputable suppliers, and I'd be willing to bet that 25% of their livestock shows up with signs of disease and is still put in the display tanks. 3.) Given the reasons above, if this store can't keep a tank full of guppies healthy, then they shouldn't be selling freshwater rays. 4.) As your article states, freshwater rays are venomous. The employees are not aware of this, and therefore the customer is not informed. I would think the very least they could do is let the customer know that he or she is about to purchase a venomous animal. Not only would it be safer for the customer and allow him or her to make a more informed decision about the purchase, but I would think Wal-Mart would like to cover their own "posterior" in the case of a lawsuit resulting from an injury. People seeing these rays in the store usually know nothing about them, and may assume that they're as user-friendly as most of the other fish sold there. <Agreed, of course... no one should be doing this. Wal-Mart's corporate contact information: : Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611 If you're a customer, call 1-800-WAL-MART If you're an investor or analyst, call 501-273-8446 If you're a journalist, call 501-273-4314 The message I sent them: Are you folks really offering Freshwater Stingrays for sale to the public? Not a good idea on a few counts... they're not hardy, easily lost... and quite venomous. Please see the coverage, FAQs posted on this family of fishes on our website: http://wetwebmedia.com/fwstingrays.htm Bob Fenner> Do I have reason for concern? <You do as a human, citizen, concerned individual, possible shareholder...> What would be the best course of action? <Write, call their offices. This company is blessed with some of the best minds, people in business... It is no "accident" that they are the best, largest companies of their genre.> Thank you in advance for any insight you may have. Sincerely, Gina <Will be investigating. Bob Fenner>

A question of ethics regarding freshwater stingrays... an incident of their sale at Wal-Mart? I spoke with Nevin Bailey (a supplier to WMT, located in San Diego, California). He assures me that Wal-Mart does not, would not sell anything dangerous to the public. They don't offer reptiles, even hamsters/guinea pigs... for this same set of rationale... And definitely the family is illegal to import/export in many States... Bob Fenner
Re: A question of ethics regarding freshwater stingrays...
Hi Bob! Thanks for the update and for taking part in the pursuit of this matter. I'm confused, though - is it possible this store in my area "slipped through the cracks" in selling this particular species? <Very doubtful, but Nevin Bailey (a supplier to WMT) did mention this possibility... These are NOT part of the 89 sku's that are corporate approved... Perhaps some "loose cannon" saw a deal, wanted to wow and zow folks at "their" fish department/location... Real trouble if so.> I plan on pursuing it as soon as I can make a good I.D. on the animal. I may try to snap a picture so I can get your opinion. In the meantime, I am going to make a respectful comment to Wal-Mart's national customer service line about the overall lousy condition of the livestock in our area's store. Once again, thank you so much for your support. Sincerely, Gina <Be chatting... and do look at "Today's FAQs": http://wetwebmedia.com/dailyq&a.htm (hopefully get to soon) re Nevin's input. Bob Fenner>

Info on T cup stingray Hi, I'm considering purchasing a freshwater stingray. Could you give some information on these beautiful animals? I currently have a 50 gallon community tank with Bala sharks, tetras, ghost catfish, a Cory, and 2 Plecos. Thanks Jeff Lawson <Thanks for the prompting... Wrote a review of this group (the family Potamotrygonidae... I'll place this article and the accompanying images on the www.WetWebMedia.com site later today (or tomorrow when I move off this FAQ onto the new (to be made) FAQs pages on FW Stingrays... These South Americans can be gotten and kept... but most get pretty big for captive use... and a fifty is small... and it will be eating your other fishes... Bob Fenner>

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