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FAQs on Freshwater Stingray Disease/Health 1

FAQs on FW Stingray Disease: FW Stingray Disease 2, FW Stingray Disease 3, FW Stingray Disease 4,  
FAQs on FW Stingray Disease by Category
: Diagnosis, Environment, Nutrition, Trauma, Infectious
(Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic, Social, Treatments

Related Articles: Freshwater Stingrays,

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

Potamotrygonids don't "like" metabolite build-up... poor water quality.

please help 5/5/11
Please help me I need answers! I have 2 freshwater stingrays mine are "A.K.A" teacup or reticulated stingrays! At least that's what the store I bought them from sold them to me as... I have had them for about 8 months with no problems! They were housed in 125 gallon but we updated to a 180 gallon! About 3-4 days after moving them to a bigger tank I noticed white blotches first on the male on his disc below his eyes and that is the only spot on top of him! But under him they r more... 1-2 days later I noticed the female has the blotches all over her top as well as under! I been doing salt water dips
<I would not do this. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Potamotrygonids have a low tolerance...>
(I was told to try by local pet store) which was keeping them from spreading but it don't seem to be healing or clearing up just keeping them from spreading.
<You need to identify and solve the source...>
Needless to say I'm not to sure this is safe for my rays! I been told this maybe a secondary bacterial infection due to an abrasion which in turn has caused these blotches "a bacterial infection"? Is this true?
<Likely so; at least the former>
Also I been racking my brain trying to figure out what would have caused the abrasion!?!
<What is in this system decor-wise? What re the gravel/substrate? Is it soft, smooth? Or the hood/canopy they've been jumping up against?>
From my observation I have noticed there is a chunk of my females disc missing which I have researched and only came up with this happening during breeding. So I believe they might have tried breeding sometime at night (while I was sleeping). Might this be true?
Another thing when I bought my rays and got them home I put them in my tank and they adapted very fast and very well...! They had been very active ray since day one! Very very ACTIVE!!!
<Perhaps stray electricity. I would be checking this as well. Is all aquarium gear that is thus powered wired through GFIs?>
Since I put them in the new tank and they got this funk they have stayed in the sand and wont come out with the light on.
<Something's(') very wrong here... What re water quality tests?>
But in the morning when before I turn on the lights they r out and about?!? I posted a picture of my female who is the worst off. There are 2 of them same picture but in one I have circled the infected area.... PS my rays r housed with 1 black Arowana, 1 discus,
<Social animals>
and 1 clown knife.
<Not really compatible.>
I have 2 very small bristle nose Pleco's
that I got like 2 months ago to clean up algae we had and I have never seen them bother my rays ever... But you never know cause it could happen... Anyway I plan on rehome my Pleco
<... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwraydisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above; particularly systems. Write back w/ data requested. Bob Fenner>

FW Stingrays and Jungle Aquarium Plant Care Solutions - 10/21/10
Hi I've had a stingray for six months and decided that I wanted to plant some plants in the aquarium. I have two Peacock Bass and a Retic. Stingray in the tank, the tank is 90 gall. I will soon be upgrading to at least 180-210 gall, the tank is run by a Fluval FX5 filter. My question is, are Jungle Aquarium Plant Care Solutions fizzing tabs ok to use with the stingray? Because I know rays are touchy about chemicals used in the aquaria and I don't want to do anything rash and hurt or kill the ray. I have searched the web and have come up empty hopefully you guys can help.
<Hello Ron. This is a pretty easy one to answer. Don't use the fizzing tablets. Not only are they pointless so far as plant growth goes -- the CO2 will bubble out too quickly to be much use -- messing about with CO2 will lower pH and stress your fish. It's hard to imagine any situation where the high oxygen, high water turnover conditions stingrays need would be maintained alongside the high CO2, low turnover conditions plants prefer. Plus, stingrays uproot delicate plants anyway, so you're best using epiphytic plants on bogwood roots, such as Java Fern and Anubias, and these couldn't care less about CO2. Likewise, floating plants such as Indian Fern, which would be extremely worthwhile in a stingray tank as nitrate removers, get their CO2 from the air. So far as trace minerals like iron go, you can use liquid fertilisers to add these with each water change, should they be required. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
FW Stingrays and Jungle Aquarium Plant Care Solutions
<PS. You should either have no substrate or a very thin layer of smooth silica sand, and in either case, rooted plants couldn't be grown. Deeper substrates are hard to clean and tend to promote infections on the ventral surfaces of stingrays, at least under aquarium conditions. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Stingrays and Jungle Aquarium Plant Care Solutions - 10/21/10
Thanks Neale,
I was planning to plant on bog wood anyway I guess I failed to mention it. What other plants besides java fern and the Anubias would grow well on the bog wood I have been doing more research on fertilizers that are safe to use with rays then actually the types of plants that I would like to use.
But I have read in my research that everyone uses black cotton thread to attach plants to bog wood, is this just for looks or does it matter if another color is used such as white, sorry for all the tedious questions.
Thanks again,
<Hello Ron. Java Fern (both the regular kind and "Windelov") and the various Anubias species (there are several) are the best bogwood plants. Bolbitis heudelotii is another option, but it's a finicky species that's difficult to grow. Java moss is another epiphyte but when kept with big fish tends to get destroyed, so I wouldn't spend a huge amount of money on Java moss before trying out a small clump first. Because all the epiphytes grow slowly, you almost don't need to use fertilisers; simple water changes, plus the wastes from fish, should produce enough mineral nutrients. Yes, black cotton is used because it isn't noticeable
underwater. You could use red, white, blue or any other colour if you wanted. I've used rubber bands and lead strip as well. Sometimes you can simply wedge rhizomes or stolons into cracks on the bogwood. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Stingrays and Jungle Aquarium Plant Care Solutions - 10/21/10
Much thanks,
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Teacup Sting Ray Sore Near Hump 8/19/10
I have a 125 gallon tank containing Discus (8), Ram (6),
<These both need much warmer water than the Stingray, so either they'll be too cold or the rays too warm.
Remember, the warmer water is, the less oxygen it contains, and the warmer a fish is kept, the faster its metabolism. That's a double whammy because it means the fish has less oxygen available despite wanting more, and because its metabolism is progressing faster than normal, there's more ammonia in the aquarium, meaning water quality worsens more quickly. Even if the filter handles the ammonia and nitrite, you're still getting more nitrate by the end of each week. So the golden rule is to keep fish towards the low end of their temperature range. For most Potamotrygon, the standard 25 C/77 F is perfect. By contrast, Symphysodon spp and Mikrogeophagus ramirezi need warmer water, 28-30/82-86 F. In other words, there's no overlap.>
Stingray Tank (2),
<Not sure what you mean here? Two Stingrays in this tank?>
Bushynose Pleco (1) and Clown Pleco (1).
<On the whole Suckermouth catfish are BAD choices for Stingray tanks;
the risk is that they'll When feeding today, I noticed a fairly large fleshy open sore on my female stingray.
It is a little larger than a quarter located on her back near the hump. I am so nervous and do not know what to do.
<As little as possible. With Stingrays the use of either salt or vet-prescribed antibiotics are generally safe, but everything else -- copper, malachite green, Methylene blue, formalin, tea-tree oil -- should be treated with extreme distrust. Even antibiotics should be used with great caution, and only if you are 100% sure they are safe, which usually requires consultation with a vet or a demonstrably experienced ray-keeper.>
I have searched everywhere and am unable to locate any information about this. She is eating and then stays under the sand (usually very active). I am concerned that the sand will further irritate her wound.
<It could very easily be a bite from the male, since males "hold onto" females with their teeth. If the wound is on the top of the head or the back itself, then that's where I'd put my money. Otherwise, Suckermouth
catfish can and do latch onto Stingrays periodically, whether accidentally or deliberately is hard to say. Injuries are almost impossible to treat, and it's really a question of relying on the fact that these fish heal very quickly given perfect water quality. If water quality is even slightly below perfect, then the wound will likely get worse.>
Yesterday I added a medium sized, flat, semi course rock to my tank (since removed). I am thinking the ray may have grazed against the rock causing the wound/sore and irritation.
<Possible, but does depend on where the injury is. If the scratch is on the belly or possibly the edges of the fins, then abrasive rocks can be to blame. But injuries to the head and upper surface of the disk are almost always caused by other fish.>
Everyone else in the tank is fine. Are there any diseases I should worry about or do you think it was the rock?
<The only diseases to worry about are secondary infections. If water quality is optimal, then the risk is small and the Stingray will heal. But on the other hand Stingrays die very quickly from secondary infections.>
I am concerned with an infection setting in. Do I need to quarantine (I heard rays don't handle tank changes well)?
<Let's be crystal clear, the Stingray aquarium SHOULD BE effectively a quarantine tank. No tankmates are advised. None. Zip. Nada. You will find very few experienced Stingray keepers advising tankmates, and ALL agree that beginners should keep them on their own.>
I am also concerned that treatment will harm my discus (as they are sensitive to chemicals).
<Modern Discus are as tough as old boots compared to your Stingrays.>
Any advise you can give is very much appreciated.
Thank you,
<Do make sure you have read up on the needs of these fish. 125 gallons is too small for Stingrays, and realistically the tank should be at minimum a couple of metres in length and about half that in width, in Imperial units about 6 feet long and 3 feet across. Depth is unimportant. Water volume for two specimens needs to be at least three times what you have. Water quality needs to be superb: 0 ammonia and nitrite obviously, but also near-zero nitrate, and that means you're doing 25% water changes weekly using RO
water or similar with just "Amazon" salts added (or a 10-25% dose of Rift Valley cichlid salt mix as required) for water chemistry around 3-10 degrees dH, pH 6.5-7.5. Almost all Stingrays die within a year because people buy them without the faintest notion how much work they are. If you don't own Richard Ross' excellent "Freshwater Stingrays (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)" or the Gonella & Axelrod "Freshwater Stingrays" then you aren't properly equipped, if you ask my opinion. Either of these books is
as essential as water and a filter. I hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

motoro rays... Fdg., nutr. dis. 7/13/10
Greetings Crew,
I have two Male Motoro rays. They are about 10' disks now. Both have lived in a 1200 gal tank since they were 4" disk. They have a complete Life support system, reservoir, sand filter, chemical filter ,bio filter, R.O., UV sterilizer, chiller the works! I Back wash the system 2-3 times a week.
They live with discus and an Arowana and a few Blood Parrots they are in an aquarium we custom built in a local Casino. Within the last week they have slowly lost their appetites. They seem to have lost their desire to swim.
One has been bumping into walls and is now showing a lot of trauma to his disk.
He swims upside down and has been puffing from the top. All my water tests are perfect.! They eat krill, bloodworms and any small schooling fish they can catch. I feel the bloods are taking advantage of them. Though the owner doesn't want to let them go! Ughh! To my question...I retrieved the Rays last night and isolated them in their own tank. I don't know what to treat them with. They are swimming about a little more today but the white (picking) areas look bad. And still not eating. Any and all suggestions are much requested.
Thank you
<Hello Ginger. The reasons why Stingrays refuse food are varied. As you correctly surmise, environment is the commonest issue. So yes, checking water quality, water chemistry, and water temperature are all important.
Consider any possible toxins: paint fumes, insecticides, etc. Make sure no-one has been doing anything silly to these Stingrays like feeding them human food "treats". Next up, the use of feeder fish. This cannot be
stressed too strongly. If you have predatory fish and you want them to die, feed them feeder fish. Never, EVER use store-bought feeders.
Goldfish and Minnows are the worst because they not only contain parasites but they also contain large amounts of Thiaminase and fat, and used regularly will cause [a] vitamin B deficiency and [b] damage to the internal organs. Thiaminase is common in some types of seafood and fish, notably prawns, shrimps and mussels. Use Thiaminase-rich foods no more than once or twice a week, and all the rest of the meals must be Thiaminase-free foods. Until quite recently most aquarists had never heard of Thiaminase, but it is now reasonably clear that this is a major source of ill-health and premature mortality.
If you've been using feeders or not taking care of the Thiaminase issue, the damage may be done. A vet trained in handling cartilaginous fish may be able to offer some help, but otherwise there's little you can do. Next up, there's monotony. Stingrays need a varied die, and surprisingly, it needs to include some green foods for fibre. Cucumber, cooked peas and lettuce leaves are nibbled on by hungry Stingrays, and whether they're a major source of nutrients isn't clear, but their value as fibre does seem helpful. Zoos often create mixes with things liked cooked brown rice and carrots! If they won't take greens, then live earthworms are nearly as good, having guts filled with decaying leaves. Finally, there's harassment. Stingrays generally mix poorly with other fish, and Suckermouth catfish in particular can harass them. As for their injuries, if these are nothing worse than scratches, these should heal fine assuming water quality is good. There are no completely reliable medications for treating Stingrays, which is why avoidance of sickness is so important. Potamotrygon spp. tolerate salt quite well, at least for periods of a few weeks, so in some instances slightly saline water may be helpful for external parasites, but generally that isn't necessary. If the Stingray can recover, it will do under its own steam. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: motoro rays [RMF, any ideas on medications?] <<Furan cpd.s RMF>> 7/13/10
Thank you, unfortunately I lost one of them earlier today after writing to you. The other fellow is still struggling with himself. I have offered bloodworms twice to no avail. Is there no treatment to help the healing I could add to his tank?
<No. As stated, a vet who treats sharks and rays may be able to help, but adding "potions" as you'd do with regular fish won't have any positive effects at all. An antibiotic might be used safely, but you'll need to check with your vet or the manufacturer first.>
I have him now isolated in a 500 gallon holding tank. With a soft sandy bottom. The wounds are pretty much all white and some dark patchy areas on his upper side. Thank you for your time with me.
<As stated, if you have ever used feeder fish, you've basically thrown all your chances out of the window. Feeder fish are hands-down the single best way to kill predatory fish short of hitting them over the head with a priest. If you've offered Thiaminase-rich foods too often, again, the damage is already done. It really comes down to this: if water quality is excellent, and the internal organs haven't been damaged by Thiaminase or parasitised by the use of feeder fish, sick Stingrays can get better under their own steam. But if the damage is done, there's really nothing left but praying to the Fish Gods. Cheers, Neale.>

Help. Bruised FW Ray... reading 5/28/10
I recently purchased a Motoro stingray. Had ghost shrimps Monday and Tuesday blood worms wed thurs'¦
This am I noticed it had a spot this afternoon I noticed it had another one in its body'¦
Everything is in range ph temp and water is new Tried your search engine but cant find anything similar
<Hello Ty. Can't help without more information. Yes, this looks like physical damage, and yes, this could very quickly kill your Stingray should the infection spread. So let's be sure you have the right environment for your Stingray, namely: an aquarium measuring well over 200 gallons, a filter operating with a turnover not less than 8 times the volume of the tank per hour, zero ammonia and nitrite levels, nitrate below 20 mg/l, and water chemistry that is extremely stable. One last item you MUST have is Richard Ross' book on keeping pet stingrays; if you haven't spent the ten dollars on that, then everything else you're spending money on is a total waste. I cannot stress too strongly how crucial that book is to successful stingray keeping, given how 90% of the stingrays sold get killed by their owners within a few months of purchase. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Help 5/28/2010
Awesome advice!
Will get with the pet shop today
Crossing my fingers on this one
Thanks Neale
<Glad to have helped. Good luck! Neale.>

Motoro Stingray Internal Parasites 1/5/10
Hello WWM Crew,
First off I would really like to thank you for the database of information you have on this website - it has been invaluable.
I have had my 4-5" Motoro pair for roughly 3 months now. After a couple of weeks of ownership, I have found that the smaller male had white stringy feces. The larger female had the signature earthworm looking (a.k.a. healthy) fecal matter. I did not give much thought to it but kept an eye on the situation. However, in the past month the situation has gotten worse. I have started treatment with Prazi for the past two week and the problem still persists.
This is the regimen for Prazi that I am currently using as per thegab.org's instructions:
Remove carbon.
Add 2.5 milligrams per liter of water.
If you are using the powdered version, it is difficult to dissolve.
Predissolve in tank water by shaking it up in a small container.
Day 1 -- remove carbon, perform water change with vacuuming, and add Prazi to tank
Day 2 -- add Prazi
Day 3 -- do nothing
Day 4 -- do nothing
Day 5 -- do nothing
Day 6 -- add Prazi
Day 7 -- add Prazi
Day 8 -- normal partial water change with vacuuming
Day 14 - normal partial water change, then add Prazi
Day 21 - normal partial water change, then add Prazi
Day 28 - normal partial water change, then add Prazi
Day 35 - normal partial water change, add carbon, treatment is complete
The rays have a black Arowana as a tank mate and it appears as if he has HITH and also Finrot that I cannot rid of.
<Tackle this nutritionally, and...>
I have used Binox Nitrofurazone on the black Arowana with no resolve. I also have two NTT Datnoides and have observed extremely white stringy feces from it as well. Water parameters are pristine with zeros across the board and weekly 50% water changes.
I am beginning to think that these issues are all related to Hexamita.
The only problem is that all the fish in my 240G tank are eating live Blackworms with the exception of the black Aro, who currently eats the Hikari Carnivore sticks. I'm not sure how I would administer the Metronidazole to them.
<Via the food... shaken in a bag... altogether>
I can soak the Blackworms but I'm sure a lot of the medication will be lost in the water. I also figured that dosing the entire tank will not be as effective in entering their digestive tract.
<Enough will get into them to effect a cure>
How do you think I should approach this matter? I am running out of options.
I have heard others recommend Panacur, but have also heard a lot of horror stories associated with them.
Any help would be greatly appreciated as my options are exhausted; as am I.
Thanks again!
A long time patron eagerly awaiting your response,
Jeff L
<Use the food/s. Bob Fenner>
Re: Motoro Stingray Internal Parasites 1/8/10

Good Evening WWM Crew,
<AM here now Jeff... power outage. Sorry for the delay>
Thanks so much for the prompt response. I have some follow up questions in regards to the Metronidazole dosing.
1) What would you recommend the ratio of Blackworms to Metronidazole?
<Mmm, not really important... If the drug is in capsule form, just tip out "a little" (maybe a quarter capsule) per "feeding portion", mix together w/ the worms 5-10 minutes ahead of feeding. If the drug is in a tablet, use a pill splitter or single edge razor blade to chop into quarters and grind that bit down per feeding...>
2) What is the frequency that I should feed them the medicated worms? I am currently feeding them twice a day - morning and night.
<I would feed at both times for... Please read here:
3) Also, since I am feed them the medication and not dosing the entire tank,
would I still need to perform a water change after a 24 hour period?
<I would, yes>
Medicating through ingestion for fish is completely new to me. You help and information is always greatly valued.
Thanks in advance for your time and help!
Jeff L
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Motoro Stingray Internal Parasites, & Flagyl use f' 1/11/10

Good day WWM Crew,
I read over the Metronidazole page that you provided me and I still have a few questions that need some attention.
<Go ahead>
Quoting the web page:
*Soaking frozen or live foods in 1% solutions for a few hours in a refrigerator is a very good idea. Actual dosages are best at about 0.25% Metronidazole fed at a daily rate of 1% of body weight. Feed just once usually, no more than thrice.*
Does that mean that I would complete the Metronidazole treatment after feeding my fish the medicated food three times?
<Yes; this is the S.O.P., dosing>
Or does it mean that it
would complete one of the three courses of treatment. in a three day treatment period?
This is what I mean is this:
Day 1: Feed Metro laced food 2-3 times a day
Day 2: Water change.
Day 3: Feed Metro laced food 2-3 times a day
Day 4: Water change.
Day 5: Feed Metro laced food 2-3 times a day
Day 6: Water change.
Sorry if I am scrupulous with the details, but I love my rays. Thanks in advance for all the help!
Jeff L
<Mmm, to paraphrase (Whaley & Francis-Floyd, 1991), there's evidence that one time oral administration of Metronidazole may be just as effective as three water-borne treatments... No more than the three should be done. Bob Fenner>

FW Ray... hlth. 12/30/09
Hey guys I was checking around your site for some information before wasting your time with questions so I'll keep it short. I have a P. reticulata ray and it seems to have lost a lot of its tail during transportation (the stingers are basically a cm from the tip of the tail).
It's not injured any more, but I was wondering if the tail would ever regenerate?
<Often times can/does... "if" the area is not "too" decomposed back>
The specimen is still small around 5 inch disc diameter. The other question was I need to design a final custom tank for her and had a few questions. I've heard acrylic was lighter than glass but hard to work with,
<Not hard, just different to cut, anneal (rather then glue)... have done extensive work w/ both>
plus I like the no shattered glass aspect. Are acrylics hard to seal?
Would you recommend acrylic or glass for a large shallow ray tank 6'x3'x18"?
<Acrylic over glass myself>
Finally would a tank this size be able to be supported by a standard floor (1st or second story) due to the surface area spreading the weight or would I be better off on the concrete basement floor?
<Yes... think of the weight per square foot, inch of a lady in high heels... may need to have the stand/base shimmed to level. See WWM re both material use in tank construction and stands...>
.....Thanks in advance for your time.
Sorry I just remembered one more thing...Does Potamotrygon reticulata possess 2 stingers or is the second one a replacement for the 1st as it is shedding off?
<... One... are you referring to claspers? Bob Fenner>
Re: ray...sorry last email was an accident... Acrylic tank const. 12/31/09

Thanks alot
<There's no such word>
for your help..sorry for confusion I accidentally sent the last email
before typing anything. You better be getting paid for answering questions
<Nope. Something of much greater and lasting compensation; the knowledge of having help others of earnest need, desire>
because you obviously know what you are talking about. When you say annealing acrylic tanks I have a few questions. Would this be accomplished with a heat gun?
<No; solvent. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/diyacrylic.htm
and the linked files above>
The FAQs I've read about acrylics involve sealant
<Not sealant... as in, there's nothing "left" between joints>
rather than heat. I'm assuming attaching them by essentially melting them together would create a much better seal (assuming I don't end up creating gross melted uneven corners).
<There is such a process as "sonic welding" of large acrylic panels... as in for large, mainly public aquariums; but in your case solventing is what will be done>
I forgot to ask would a 6'x3'x18" acrylic need center bracing <... depending on the thickness of acrylic used>
or is there enough surface area already?
<Enough for what?>
And finally to clarify "> Sorry I just remembered one more thing...Does Potamotrygon reticulata
> possess 2 stingers or is the second one a replacement for the 1st as it is shedding off?
> <... One... are you referring to claspers? Bob Fenner>"
I meant the stingray is apparently female but has two stingers on it's tail. Is this a species I.D. characteristic or can many species possess more than one stinger during part of the shedding process (i.e. will she lose the second stinger). The further back stinger appears to be partially unsheathed from stinging or maybe the stinger shedding process that I'm not 100% familiar with. Once again thanks so much -Nigel
<Yes to the shedding of multiple stingers. Usually there is one functional, with one more growing to replace it. BobF>

Emergency! My Motoros are in danger :[ (RMF, second opinion?) -- 11/10/09
After probably about a year of reading your site and procrastinating, I decided to purchase some beautiful p. Motoro Stingrays.
<Hope you bought a book first. And a gigantic aquarium. And an R/O filter.
Seriously, only about 1 in 100 aquarists have the funds to keep these fish properly, and the sad truth is that most Stingrays end up dead within a year, often within 3-6 months. There's an excellent book by Richard Ross on Stingrays published by Barron's that sells for less than $10. By my reckoning, if you can't afford this book, you can't afford Stingrays.>
I've owned them for about a year now, and they've been thriving in their 6'x4'x1' tank.
<Cool. But after a year, they're ready for a bigger tank.>
I use 3 "heavy duty" sponge filters, for lack of a brand name on the item.
<Fair enough. But this should probably be augmented with some type of canister filter that can remove solid waste on a continual basis. Organic matter that collects on the substrate is a have for bacteria, and this in turn makes it more likely infections will develop. There's a ongoing argument about whether the tank should even have a substrate, some suggesting a clear glass bottom is easier to keep clean. While that may be overkill (and isn't much loved by the Stingrays) there is certainly much to be said for a canister filter with massive turnover (8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour). This will remove silt and debris quickly.>
I do 30% water changes every 3-4 days, and sometimes a 50% at the same rate, depending on how messy their tank looked.
<Hmm... pre-emptive maintenance is critical here: you clean the water such that there never is any mess in it.>
Perhaps a silly way of doing things. PH 7.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates always low, sand substrate. There are no plants or rocks. Just filters, sand, and fish.
I feed them 1-2 Nightcrawlers a day, and small amounts of Krill at night.
Once every 2 weeks I give them each 2-3 Ghost Shrimp to play around with.
Well on to the subject, sorry for the rambling. I woke up one day, and my tank almost looked like milk.
<Eek! Likely a bacterial bloom thanks to excessive organic material in the water.>
I could see about 5-6 inches into it, but nothing more.
<Can we assume this wasn't silt (from the sand) or a diatom bloom?>
When I finally found my stingrays they were alive, but having a lot of trouble breathing.
<Does sound like a bacterial bloom. Silt and diatoms are harmless, if unsightly.>
I instantly water tested and everything looked fine, but I did a water change nonetheless (it'd been about 2 days since the last one).
<Your water tests don't measure bacterial counts, and that's the issue.>
This seems to have only made it worse. I rushed up to the store who's employees I've trusted for a long time, and they said everything should be fine just wait it out.
<Almost never a good idea with Stingrays. The best approach is to do a series of water changes across the day, maybe 25% every couple of hours, so that you can totally flush out the system. Obviously, water chemistry must be identical, so check the pH of both old and new water. Don't do this if you're using tap water that experiences pH changes after it's been drawn.
If you're using RO water and hardening it with, for example, a small quantity of Rift Valley salts (the ideal approach) then this shouldn't be an issue.>
I come home and my female is floating on the top breathing through her spiracles!
<Not sure they can do this. Do you mean she's gasping at the surface?
Again, suggests a bacterial bloom; bacteria consume oxygen, creating eutrophic conditions, removing oxygen from the water, suffocating the fish.>
At this one I did another 50% water change (2 in one day) and loaded the tank up with dechlorinator. I had feared I wiped out my bacteria colony, because apparently my city adds chlorine at this time of year.
<The RO filter you should be using should sidestep the issues.>
I'm not really sure where to go from here, and I really don't want to lose my stingrays :[
<Indeed. I really cannot stress too strongly that the problem is likely environmental, and more specifically, a tank too small for these fish. In the short term, massive water changes while keeping water chemistry stable
will help, and adding a sump to the tank may increase the volume adequately to get you through the next few weeks or months. But longer term, Potamotrygon motoro needs a much bigger tank than you have, and I suspect eutrophic conditions in the tank are at fault here, and noxious to your livestock. Cheers, Neale.><<I do concur w/ all you've stated Neale. BobF>>
Re: Motoro Stingrays in danger! -- 11/10/09

I really hate to spam you guys, and I apologize for this.
<Not a problem.>
I somehow forgot to add this to my last query. My female Motoro also has a large hump on her rear right side. It's raised higher than the left sides hump, and it appears to be causing her rear to float. She's been
constantly fighting to get back to the sand.
<Can't be specific, but likely a reaction to anoxic, or poorly oxygenated, conditions in the tank. Especially at the bottom of the tank (which is why Stingray aquaria need massive water circulation that pulls water down and across the substrate). Treatment options are very limited with Elasmobranchs generally, so would concentrate on optimising water quality and chemistry. Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Emergency! My Motoros are in danger :[ -- 11/10/09

Thank you so much for the quick and informative reply!
<Happy to help.>
Yes she was gasping at the surface.
<I see. Fish do that when oxygen levels at the bottom are insufficient, and given the cloudiness of the water, there's good reason to assume that there's either insufficient circulation or else something in the tank using
up the oxygen. Bacterial decay is the classic example. Look for organic matter, clogged filters, uneaten food, stuff in the substrate, etc.>
Aside from water changes is there anything else I should be doing? I can afford whatever it takes at this point to keep them alive. Would adding some airstones help?
<Extra circulation, including airstones, would help, but whether they'll fix the problem I cannot say. Your immediate concern is to change the water as quickly as possible without exposing the fish to dramatic water
chemistry changes. You also need to clean the aquarium, check the filter, sift the substrate, and check for any other problems. Cheers, Neale.>

Dying Stingray
Hi There,
My neighbor's house flooded and they had nowhere to keep their 2 stingrays.
They are smaller than my hand. It was an emergency situation and all I had to offer was a 10 gallon. (I have 2 reef tanks and one fresh plant tank).
<My fish ended up in a bathtub when this happened!>
We put the 2 stingrays in the 10 gallon and the female was dead within hours.

<Oh dear.>
We used sand, water, and media from their original tank. This is day two and the male swam up then went upside down. I freaked, flipped him gently back over, and did a 5% water change. He is currently sitting flat, right side up, with labored breathing. (has been this way for about 5 hours now) His skin is patchy white (could be the white sand) I added Amquel and a more powerful filter. My question for you is: I just brought home a 220 gallon reef ready Starfire tank. It is currently brand new, never been used. Should I try and set my 220 gallon up for him or do you think he's just going to die?
<More chance of surviving if the 220 was set up. Sheer volume of water would mitigate against likely problems.>
I would love to save him and give him back to my neighbor in 2 months when he's allowed back in his house. If it's futile, I don't want to set it all up for fresh water since we will be starting to cycle it as a reef tank down the road. I just read up on them and found out how incredibly sensitive they are to ammonia etc... I have not got the water parameters done yet as I am just in the process of getting more chemicals to use for testing. Please, please give me any advice to save this poor little guy.
<Your instincts are sound here: set up the 220, get the Stingray in there STAT, and then plug in filters, heaters as/when you can.>
Thank You SO Much,
<Was away yesterday fossil collecting, so didn't get too read this message until this morning. Hope not too late! Good luck, Neale.>

FW Stingrays: Sudden Death\Neglected Tank\Toxic Water\ Textbook example of
how NOT to keep a stingray 6/27/2009

<Hi Zeep.>
I had a Motoro stingray for roughly 10 months now, and an Arowana as its tank mate for about 7 months.
<I hope this tank is huge...>
They co-existed fairly well for the most part.
<Not the best choice of tankmates. Stingrays are best kept in a species only tank in my opinion.>
The ray got a little nick here and there every now and then, but for the most part she was left alone.
<and stressed...>
She was a very active ray, always moving around, digging in the soft sandy bottom. Every now and then she would swim up the side of the tank. She ate bloodworms from my hand and never showed any signs of death curl. I never had any issues with feeding her either.
<OK. Hand feeding isn't really advised on a ray that is classified as "A dangerous venomous fish".>
As far as I could tell, she showed no signs of illness. Her underside was a very light pink, borderline white.
Nowhere near as red and blotchy as when I first got her, so I figured it was just her normal underside coloring. She had one black spot in the middle of her underside. I cant remember a time that I have not seen this spot, and I have seen a few other pictures of peoples stingrays with the spot before, so I assumed it was normal.
<Could be.>
My tank is set up with a nice Eheim Pro II canister filter which does the trick perfect.
<Hmm.... how big is this tank?
An appropriate sized tank for a Motoro ray needs a lot more filtration that one Eheim.>
I have a UV sterilizer hooked up in the tank as well to help with the water a bit more. Even with the set up however, I still had rather rapid brown algae growth on the sides.
<Excess nutrients.>
However, I figured it was just because of the blackwater extract that I put in there every now and then.
<No, that will not cause excessive algae growth.>
The place I bought her from said they added a little bit of that to her tank every week, and she enjoyed it.
<Likely so.>
I had a few live plants growing over in a corner of the tank. They thrived and she left them alone for the most part. I only had to replant them about three or four times when I first got them. After that, she left them alone just fine.
At first I use to change about 25% of the water every other week. However after a few months of that I got lazy,
<...and the downhill slide starts...>
I know shame on me. I proceeded to do it about once every two months for awhile. Every water change I would add some Seachem Prime, and some Tetra AquaSafe.
<Why both? They perform the same function? Also, stingrays should have soft acidic water.>
Every other water change I would give the filter a little bit of a cleaning as well. I'd give the sponges and media a little rinse. Nothing too much though, just enough to try to keep the filter in check.
<So you produced a nitrate factory.>
I also place a Hagen Phos-X bag in with the media of the filter. I replace that every time I clean the filter. For the past 3 months however, I have been adding small doses of API Algaefix.
After reading your site a bit, I now realize this was toxic, and I shall refrain from using it again, but at the time I knew nothing of it.
<Research before adding anything, particularly for difficult species, like Stingrays.>
Well a little bit ago I hit a real lazy streak and went roughly 4 months without cleaning the tank.
<The downhill slope is getting steeper and we can see the cliff...>
Every now and then I would top off the tank with tap water treated with the prime and aqua safe.
Today was the day I ended that streak and cleaned the tank. At 10 AM I started to clean the tank, and I did about a 40% water change on it. I also did the filter maintenance today, and that includes putting in the new Phos-X bag.
<What else? How did you clean the filter?>
However, I also added one more step into today's cleaning. See, I have always had hard water in my area, and no matter what I tried, I could never fix it.
<Use Reverse Osmosis water.>
So I decided to try the API Water Softener Pillow. It was more of an experiment then anything, I just wanted to see if it would possibly help even a little bit. Not having much hope in it however, I bought the
smallest one I could find, one for a 20 gal tank.
<Not knowing how large your tank is, I cannot say for certain, but this is unlikely the cause.>
I wanna say at about noon I was done with it all, the tank was back up and running and I was done disturbing the waters. Everyone was just fine, she acted normal as she always has. I continued to periodically check up on the tank throughout the day, and everything was fine every time I looked.
I am a night owl who is currently job searching. With that said, when I checked up on them to feed and shut off the tank lights at roughly 2:20 AM, much to my horror she was upside down on the sand and stiff. The last time I Saw her alive was roughly 9 PM, and she still looked just fine.
<...off the cliff and into a free fall.>
I took her out and bagged her up. I examined the body for any sort of clues to her death. The only 'battle wounds' she had were the ones she has had for some time now.
<From the Arowana?>
Nothing too serious, and they were healing up just fine. I failed to find any fungus growth, parasite infestation, or any sort of oddities like that.
<Not likely to find anything like that. There is very little that kills that quickly.>
The only thing I found (which I guess would make me a liar, cause it does qualify as an oddity) was near that black spot on her underside. Her skin had started to turn a tint of green next to that black spot on her underside.
<Could be morbid lividity>
I know my water conditions were nothing desirable, but I did what I could when I could, and she always seemed ok. took a reading of my water shortly after I disposed of her body. NO3 was reading at about 30, closer to 20.
My NO2 was at .5 and ph was sitting at a solid 7.
<So the water was toxic. What about ammonia?>
Like I said before, my water has always been hard no matter what I tried to do. With that said my KH was at 240 and my GH was at 180. However, those are as high as the test strips went, so they very well could have been higher then that.
<Test strips are notoriously inaccurate. Buy a regular test kit>
So with my novel now done, I was wondering if someone could help pinpoint the cause of her death.
<Unfortunately, very easy to determine. Toxic water conditions caused by neglect.>
Was it the water quality that killed her?
Could it have been the water change that did it?
<You likely destroyed the biological filter when you cleaned the canister filter out.>
Did the Algaefix take its toll on her?
<Not likely.>
Do you think one of my plants are toxic and she ate it?
<No, Stingrays are carnivores>
Possibly some of the chemicals I am adding, aside from algae, caused her death?
<They certainly weren't helping, but no.>
I'd like to get another ray, but I'm going to wait for a few more months till we move.
<I would not recommend it. They need huge systems, hundreds, if not thousands of gallons and pristine water quality Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwstingrays.htm and then read every linked page at the top.>
So any advice for next time would be highly welcome.
<Unless you are prepared to invest the time and work required to care for one of these animals, I would go with something easier and more forgiving.>
<Do read the articles on the following pages related to maintenance and biological filtration.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm >
Thanks for any advice, Zeep.

Reticulated Stingray 6/27/09
I have some questions regarding my female reticulated stingray. She is about 5.5-6 inches in diameter.
<Still a pup!>
First off, I should mention that I am the aquatics manager at a local pet shop. I am very knowledgeable about freshwater fish (still learning about salt which I don't have at my store). Water parameters: Ammonia 0 PPM, Nitrite 0 PPM, Nitrate 10 PPM, PH 8.0, using API liquid test kit.
Temperature is 80F.
<All fine, though the pH is a bit on the high side.>
I live in an area where our tapwater is pretty hard and alkaline, (about 140-150 PPM). I will soon begin doing water changes with RO water to dilute that down.
<Very good.>
The tank is a 140 gallon with 2 Aquaclear 70's and a Magnum 350. I don't use any carbon filtration currently.
<While carbon is generally redundant in freshwater tanks, there's probably an argument for using it in Stingray tanks, at least as a precaution, and provided it wasn't used at the expense of biological media.>
I currently have only 2 pieces of driftwood in the tank with fine gravel.
Tankmates include 5 small (for now) angelfish, 3 clown loaches (also small for now), 3 German blue rams, and 1 black ghost knife.
I feed once daily with HBH rainbow color flake food, New Life Spectrum Thera+ 1MM sinking pellets, and my choice of live earthworms, krill (frozen), bloodworms (frozen), and brine shrimp (also frozen). I also put in about 10 or so ghost shrimp and replace them when they are all gone (she really has to work to catch them!) I alternate the earthworms and krill every other day.
She loves the live and frozen both, and I think she may eat some of the pellets, but its hard to tell.
<All sounds very good.>
Ok so on to the question. I ordered her for my store about 4 months ago.
By the time I get fish here, they have already been acclimated to the type of water we have here in MO. I instantly fell in love with her and decided to buy her. It took me 2 weeks to get her eating anything (at the store, where I might add I have almost identical water quality in my systems).
She slowly went from worms only to the variety I have her on now. After about 5-6 weeks, I noticed some unusual bumps had appeared on the top side of her disc.
<Potamotrygon species do develop additional spine-like structures called denticles on their bodies, usually around the middle of the back towards the region where the tail and body disc meet. These denticles look like little teeth and should be arranged in longitudinal rows, making it quite easy to tell these normal structures from the symptoms typical of underweight Stingrays.>
They almost seemed to appear overnight (or in a very short time). They are almost symmetrical only appearing about 1/2 an inch from the outside of the disc on both sides from head to tail. Each bump (about 2-3 MM in diameter)
look to be made up of 3-5 smaller bumps all pushed together (kinda like a bunch of grapes). They are semi-transparent but retain some of her skin color (which I should mention, has always been a little on the pale side compared to some of the other specimens I have seen). These bumps don't ever move and have not increased or decreased in size since I first noticed them. However about 3 weeks ago, another set of bumps (about the same size as the others) appeared just behind her left eye (once again, seemingly overnight). She is a great eater and her behavior has not changed any through all of this.
<Again, I suspect that this is all normal ontogeny.>
She seems as active as I have read they will be, she actively forages for food, and pounces quickly when she finds it. I have had her home for about a month now.
<Usually, lack of appetite is the first sign of problems, so if she's eating, that's good.>
Earlier this week I treated the tank with Quick-cure in the hopes to rule out external parasites. I did 2 treatments, but on the third day I noticed that my water was a little cloudy, and there was no change whatsoever in the bumps. She did however darken in color a little on the second day.
None of the other fish in the tank have shown any sign or symptoms of illness, and if it weren't for the bumps I would call Chloe (that's her name) a perfectly healthy and active stingray. Is this anything you have seen or heard before regarding FW rays (or any FW fish for that matter)?
What can I do to make them go away and improve her color other than get the PH and alkalinity down?
<Before doing either of these things, do make sure you can keep them both stable; Stingrays are more bothered by water chemistry that changes between water changes, rather than the pH not being precisely optimal for the species.>
Is this problem going to threaten to kill her? I thank you very much for your time. I have referred to your website countless times both at work and at home to answer questions that I don't know. I have been researching this problem for months now and can't find an answer. This is the best pic that I could get to turn out. The darker spots closer to the outer edge of the discs are the ones I am referring to.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Reticulated Stingray 6/28/09
How much water would you suggest I change out at a time and how often to achieve my final water, which I hope to hold at about 60-70 PPM with a PH of 6.7-6.8.
<In theory, you can change as much water as you want per water change, provided pH and hardness stay constant. But in practise it's wisest to do relatively modest changes, around 25% per day, one or more times per week, as required to keep nitrate levels at the low levels you're after. If you're also changing the water chemistry from one set of values to another, this is even more important, so do small, frequent water changes that nudge the pH and hardness levels rather than dramatically change them. Cheers,

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.>

Possible Motoro Parasite/Feeding Frustrations (RMF, second opinion please) 3/10/09 Hello, <Hello Kyle,> Before I ask my question I think it's important to note that my 7 inch Motoro was purchased and acclimated 3 days ago, so he is still undergoing the typical acclimation stress (and the underside of his disk is reddish). Now that he has become more acclimated and begin scrounging for food, I noticed a small brown spot on the underside of his disk in the shape of a butterfly, with a little raised light-colored bump in the center of the spot. I have attached the best picture I was able to get of the spot (my ray swims fast on the glass), but I was wondering if this could be a parasite that hitched a ride on my ray; and if so, where can I find instruction to remove it as safely and stress-free as possible? <It isn't clear to me what this is, and I'm asking Bob for advice here.> <<Isn't clear to me either, but at largest amplification, cleaning up... and the position of this mark... it appears to be more of a "bruise" to me than anything else. Not parasitic. RMF>> In case it helps, my tank is registering nitrates at 5 PPM, with everything else at 0. I have a fine sand substrate and filtration to turn 10 times the volume of the tank. In addition, I was wondering about feeding. I have read and heard of stingrays on "feeding strikes" or "not accepting food" but mine seems to be very fickle about his food, neither accepting nor rejecting it in any predictable way. He's nearly always blowing the sand around looking for food, but if he does pick up a worm or small piece of raw shrimp, he will sometimes spit it out of his mouth even if he's accepted it from me greedily before... only then to further swim around the tank looking for something else to eat. One example is just an hour ago, I put half a live nightcrawler in there, and he sucked it out of my hand hungrily, then spat it out. For the next half hour he would gnaw at it, spit it out and then swim around the tank, eventually eating it. So far, I have tried bloodworms, red wigglers, nightcrawlers, and ground raw shrimp; all which have been accepted and rejected in an unpredictable fashion. Thank you for your time and advice, I look forward to hearing back from you. Kyle <While these fish are finicky, one key thing about their appetite is stress. So your Stingray may simply be settling in and not ready to feed consistently. But it could equally easy be an issue with water quality or water chemistry stability, so think about these factors too. Review tankmates, and see if there's anything that might be stressing the Stingray. Take care not to overfeed; when we bring home a new fish, it's tempting to keep feeding the new fish to check it's healthy and happy. Cheers, Neale.><<Totally in agreement. RMF>>

Re: More: re: Possible Motoro Parasite/Feeding Frustrations (RMF, second opinion please) 3/12/2009
Hi, guys- thank you for your help and quick responses. I tried to see what might be stressing him, but the water seems stable,
<"Seems"? You don't get this latitude with stingrays; the water MUST be stable. Keeping them in huge tanks helps, as does performing very regular (ideally, daily) water changes so that background acidification doesn't get
a chance to occur. The carbonate hardness should be reasonably high; while soft water fish in the wild, pH variation is much more harmful than moderately hard water.>
he has no tank buddies, and the temp is kept at 80 degrees.
<Too warm. The usual 25 C/77 F is ample for these and indeed most Amazon Basin fish (with a few exceptions, like fish from the Xingu River which do like things a bit warmer). The warmer the water, the more active a Ray will become, but the cost of higher metabolism is increased demand for oxygen and a heavier workload on the filter. Unless you're breeding fish, it's usually best to keep them at the cooler end of their preference range. Not cold, by any means, but verify their preferred temperature range from Fishbase or similar, and work from there.>
And I have decided to call that brown spot a "beauty mark" and will continue to do so until the moment (if and when) it appears to be a trouble spot.
I have noticed since my e-mail before that there is a small amount of regularity in his feeding. He seems to have no trouble accepting one nightcrawler in the morning and evening, but anything after that he will not eat. His belly also appears to be getting less and less red each day (although this may partly be wishful thinking more so than objective observation)... so I am taking that as a sign that he's getting better acclimated.
It's still a little weird to me that he is spending a lot of time blowing sand around looking for food, but won't eat much, and then spends a lot of time swimming in the same pattern around the glass.
<What kind of sand are you using? Anything likely to irritate? Many aquarium sands are too sharp for benthic fish. If in doubt, plain vanilla "smooth" silica sand is fine.>
I actually had to put a book on the corner of my tank, because it appears as though he keeps trying to jump out that corner (I wont worry about a tank cover until I see him trying to jump out anywhere else).
<Normal behaviour if they're stressed. Again, this may stop if the fish settles in, but if it persists, then review conditions and act accordingly.
The usual problems with Stingrays are insufficient water volume,
insufficient filtration (water turnover), and unsteady water chemistry.>
Is it possible, since the tank at the store was decently decorated, that adding some small decorations would help him with his level of comfort, or are rays not as concerned with decor as some other fish?
<Wild fish hide by digging into the sand. Floating plants will certainly be welcomed for the shade they provide, but bogwood, rocks, etc are redundant and indeed undesirable if they trap dirt.>
Well, it seems this 'thank you' has turned into a "holiday mailer" so I will cut it off here. Thanks again for all your help,
<Cheers, Neale.><<Excellent resp. Neale... content, format wise... Have nothing further to add. BobF>>

Re: More: re: Possible Motoro Parasite/Feeding Frustrations (RMF, second opinion please) 3/12/2009
With regard to the substrate, it is a very fine sand. It may be that the granules, although small, are sharp if the sand is an issue.
<Feel the sand; smooth sand feels velvety, sharp sand feels otherwise.>
If upon further investigation of his habits, I determine that the substrate
is causing him irritation, would adding a small layer of a different, smoother sand work?
<Replace all the old sand with smooth sand. No point being cheap here; for the sake of a few dollars' worth of sand, you could end up with an infected Stingray. Dump the old sand in the garden. Mixed with soil, it helps improve drainage. So no waste.>
I am trying to avoid ripping out the bio-colonies in the sand by replacing the substrate altogether.
<No useful bacteria in the sand.>
Perhaps replacing the substrate over time, bit by bit? What would work best for that?
<Replace all.>
Now that I read what I wrote, I realized "seems" doesn't fit what I am observing with the water. That was my way of saying I am checking it daily, levels are fine, so unless there are fluctuations in the water source here in ways I can't measure, then water quality isn't the issue. So, in this case, seems=if something's wrong, it's going to catch me off guard.
<Right, I see.>
Sorry to be such a bother with all these questions and trouble. This is (quite obviously) my first ray, so I am erring on the side of cautiousness, which may not be an err in ray-keeping at all.
<Very wise indeed. Do invest in one of the several books on the topic. Some are inexpensive (like the Barron's one) and will save much money in the long term.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More: re: Possible Motoro Parasite/Feeding Frustrations (RMF, second opinion please) 3/15/09
I thank you again for your assistance. I don't know what the problem could be anymore, because the substrate feels soft and smooth to me, not scratchy like some sands I have used.
<Well, that's good.>
Water quality is fine and I have been changing at least 10 percent of the water every day.
<Define "fine". The thing with Stingrays is that 99 times out of 100, problems are down to water quality and/or chemistry issues. Obviously you need zero levels of ammonia and nitrite, but nitrate also needs to be very low, realistically as close to zero as is practical. The water chemistry should be stable; ideally soft and slightly acidic, but regardless of the hardness level, the pH should be rock steady.>
He simply is refusing to eat anymore.
<Was he feeding at the aquarium shop? What were they feeding him? For all the usual reasons, I'd never recommend buying a specimen that was fed feeder fish, particularly goldfish. But if it was consuming earthworms and other safe foods, it should be in good shape. Assuming he's eating something, and has hitherto taken a meal every couple of days, he can be "starved" for a week or more without problems. But the flip side is this:
Stingrays tend to be greedy feeders for things like earthworms and live river shrimp when happy, but refuse to feed point blank when stressed in some way.>
There seems to be a connection between me coming into the room or near the tank to do maintenance and him going to hide in the substrate.
<Some degree of nervousness is common initially after purchase, but fish generally settle down within a few days to a week. Do review the general environment though: loud televisions, slamming doors, busy corridors can all make fish much more nervous than otherwise.>
I am honestly getting a little frustrated with this guy; I really only try to feed him morning and evening. Maybe I just need clarification on what people mean when they say "feeding strike." Obviously, there's an element of non-eating, but if he's on such a "strike" then why does he spend the whole day searching for food?
<To some degree you must dissociate foraging behaviour with actual feeding; fish will instinctively forage for food all through their day (or night) activity cycle. They don't need to be eating constantly though, and simply because they're foraging doesn't mean they need to be fed.>
Most times, he finds what I give him and greedily begins to suck it down but then spits it out or leaves it, and then goes to hide.
<Maybe he doesn't like it? What are you offering?>
I'm afraid I am going to lose this guy, and it just feels wrong because I have been doing everything that I have been told either by people or by my very deep research (I did get the Barron's book before I bought him).
<My gut feeling here is this: [1] Review environmental/water conditions; [2] Double check them! [3] Turn the lights out for the next few days. [4] Don't feed him for at least 3 days. [5] Get some nice, fat, juicy
earthworms and offer one of them late in the evening on the fourth day.>
I am sorry there wasn't much of a question in this e-mail. I guess I figured I may have said something about his behavior that may show something we haven't noticed before.
<Cheers, Neale.><<I do agree with your probable prognoses... advice Neale... If none of these can be found to be at fault, when-corrected, restore this fish to feeding, I would return it to the store. BobF>>

Re: More: re: Possible Motoro Parasite/Feeding Frustrations (RMF, second opinion please) 3/15/09
Hm... thank you for the distinction between searching and hungriness. That has helped me a little. When I bought this one, I was actually in the LFS looking at another stingray that they tried to feed an earthworm and he didn't go for it, but this guy came speeding up to it and started to eat it down; he looked healthy and obviously hungry so I got him instead.
<An excellent way to choose Stingrays.>
He did have a little trouble eating the whole thing because he's a smaller ray still, but he did (and still does) get the whole nightcrawler down eventually. I have also tried breaking the worms in half or 3 parts but he loses interest or only eats the front-worm part. Thank the Lord I care for an African clawed frog who will eat what my ray rejects. Other foods I used are glass shrimp and raw supermarket shrimp, and red wigglers.
<Do try something very small, like bloodworms. Shrimp are fine up to a point, but because they contain a lot of Thiaminase, it is sensible to use them in small amounts, no more than 25% the weekly food input. Earthworms are very nutritious, in part because they are 'gut loaded' with decaying plant matter and soil. While that sounds icky, it does mean they provide lots of useful vitamins, minerals and fibre.>
I will try not feeding for a couple days. My only worry is that he's already looking very malnourished from his rejection of food (hip bones showing, dent in forehead, etc). I will do that if he can last the couple days without food even like this.
<Well, if he's not eating, he's not eating. So whether you put food in the water or not, it hardly matters. I'd certainly stop offering food he shows no interest in. A day or two starving should make little difference, though I agree, a "skinny" Stingray is at risk.>
Water quality (ammonia/nitrite/nitrate) is still stable, nitrate at 3 PPM and I am going to change 20% of the water again today.
<The nitrate is fine; the nitrite is zero though?>
I honestly do not know about PH... maybe I made an unsafe assumption that using the same water source each time gives the same PH.
<Ah, yes, this matters. A lot of people in the US seem to have water that has been treated in various ways by the water company, presumably to improve its potability. But the chemicals used, such as flocculants, cause the pH to change dramatically within 24 hours of being drawn from the tap.
Try testing the pH of some tap water now, and then leaving the same water for 24 hours and seeing what the pH is then. You might be surprised. Also, do of course remember the basics: don't use water from a domestic water softener, do use dechlorinator, and do use a dechlorinator that treats ammonia and/or chloramine if either are issues with your local water supply. You might also want to check for copper in your tap water supply.
If your pipes are made from copper, it is possible for tap water to become contaminated. Copper is highly toxic to Stingrays, and such water supply will need to be treated with a water conditioner than neutralised copper.><<And copper ion presence would definitely send them off feed. RMF>>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Question about freshwater stingrays 11/6/08 Hi I am new to this site and I had a question. I have two freshwater stingray and a Arowana in a 75 gallon grow out tank with a hydro filter and two penguin bio-wheel 350s. I have had one ray for 4 months the other for 2 1/2 months and the Arowana for about a month. I have noticed odd behavior by the rays they are breathing faster than usual, just sitting upright on the side of the tank and trying to jump out of the tank and they have never acted like this before. The one ray will eat blackworms and chopped night crawlers and the other will only eat blackworms. I have tested the water a bunch on time the ammonia is 0 the nitrates and nitrites are 0 and the ph is 6.5. I do 50 % water changes every 2 weeks. I was just wonder what might cause this weird behavior and the rapid breathing. Thank you in advance. Amber <Hello Amber. Your tank is too small and too poorly filtered for Stingrays, and what you're seeing are general signs of stress. These are indications that it's time to move them to their next aquarium. Even if the only fish you had was an Arowana, the tank would be too small and inadequately filtered. Depending on the Stingray species you have, you'll need at tank at least 90 cm wide from front to back and 200 cm in length from left to right. (The width of the tank should be at least 1.5 times the maximum width of the "disc" of the Stingray species in question; since the common species are 60 cm in disc size, 90 cm is a good baseline width.) Depth isn't critical. Filtration needs to be a serious external canister filter. Hang-on-the-back filters have little value in serious freshwater fishkeeping; they're really only suited to small community tank species. You need something with lots of space for biological media, and offering water turnover 8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So if you use a 200 gallon tank, the minimum for a Stingray, your filter (or more likely, pair or trio of canister filters) will need to be rated at 1200 to 2000 gallons per hour. There's no getting around this fact: Stingray aquaria are insanely expensive to set up. People who try to economize end up with dead Stingrays. Many books on the topic now available; I'd heartily encourage you track down one or two of these at your local library or bookstore. Cheers, Neale.>

A worm question (Horsehair worms; stingrays) 10/17/08 Hello, <Hi,> was just wanted to know I notice some of my ghost shrimp have worms in there intestines are to believe they are Gordian Worm, a.k.a. Horsehair Worms...one died bc the worm killed it but I never notice them b4 on my shrimp I feed these shrimp to my Motoro stingray which I have had for about a week I know they are prone to roundworms and tapeworms but I was wondering if I did feed some shrimp that had these in them can they kill my ray I called the pet store where I got my ray and they never really heard of these worms really and are not sure if they will harm the ray they feed there ghost shrimp to there rays and had no prob but they never looked at there shrimp to see if they had worms so they could be feeding ones that do so I don't know what I should do I don't want my ray to die and I don't know if I should get new shrimp the other ones seem to not have these worms in them..should I continue to feed them to my ray or go and get new ones?????? <Sheesh... not even a period or comma. Do please review our very modest "fee" before writing: we expect e-mails to be spell checked and written with proper grammar. Not much to ask, and the point is that we depend on properly formatted messages so that we can share them with other site visitors. The better Google can index our pages, the more people will view our pages, and the more revenue our advertising generates to pay for bandwidth. It's a simple deal really.> HELP!!! PLEASE KINDA SCARED FOR MY RAY I LOVE HIM!!! <Horsehair worms are not likely to cause your Ray any harm. Most parasites are species-specific, and while they may be harmful to the shrimp, they are unlikely to adapt to the particular anatomy of your Stingray. If you're really that bothered, don't use the shrimps. Earthworms are a very safe food if collected from an area that is "organic", i.e., not sprayed with chemicals. Most rays love earthworms. There's no reason to use live food with most Stingrays anyway, and a varied diet of mussels, prawns and squid is easily provided using foods sold for humans.> thanks Maria <Cheers, Neale.>

Stingray Issue 8/21/08 Hey Crew I recently purchased a 5" Motor stingray. Having the experience from saltwater fish, I asked the LFS to feed the fish in front of me, and waited a week after arrival. Their display tank had large surface area, but not height, so only problem was that while I was there, I never got the chance to see its underside. After taking it home, I found out this. There were reddening parts of the abdomen and parts of the claspers. I immediately thought that this might of been caused by the substrate, but the LFS has only fine gravel in there, no rocks or sharp objects. Can the marks eventually heal? Here is a picture: <None attached> <Mmm, oh yes to the healing... the reddening could easily have been "caused" by other factors... time prior... in collection, holding, shipping... likely "water quality"... Can/will heal in time with your good care. Bob Fenner>

FW Stingray fungus 11/30/07 Hi there, <Hello> I have a problem. I have a 90 gallon freshwater tank with 2 back river stingrays. <A good species for such a size tank: Potamotrygon orbignyi only grows to about a foot across> They are 3 inches long in body width w/ 3 more inches additionally on the tail. My pH is 6.8 nitrite 0, nitrate 0 and ammonia 0. I am using very fine sand along with a small lava rock <Mmm, all reads as good till here... Lava rock is too sharp, may have metal contaminants> setup in the corner. Filtering the system is an Eheim 2128 and Fluval 404. The stingrays are the only fish in the tank. They have been in there for 4 days and have not been eating, however they are active, so active that one of them decided to go into the caves, I presume, and injured/cut his little foot. <? Foot?> I noticed the cut yesterday. I read on your site it's good to raise the temp, which I did and it now sits at 27.2 degrees Celsius. Today he is a growing a white fungus (looks like cotton) on his foot. Also he is curling his fins upward, 95% of the time. He has swam a bit, but mostly to glide along the tank, water and leaps up. I am confused as I do not know what to do as the fish store is telling me to use fungus treatments (use half of the recommended dosage) but I don't want to remove the stingray into a quarantine tank because they are so new and stressed. Please help me.........I can be emailed back at XXXX Thanks again.. <Let's see... it is not unusual for new FW rays to not feed, and these are quite small, likely traumatized in being handled, moved... I am leery of suggesting any "fungus remedy" here as most are outright too toxic, more harmful than helpful. IF you felt it was worthwhile one comprised of nothing but "Sulfa" drugs would be my choice... otherwise, removing the lava rock, placing a pad of Polyfilter (to remove possible metal) in your filter flow path, would be my course of action. Do keep proffering foods... perhaps some small ghost shrimp, live worms... Bob Fenner>

(FW) Stingray lethargic/not swimming properly 11/5/07 I awoke this morning to my stingray in what appeared to be a death curl, turned out he was just resting his fins on the glass and a rock. but I changed 30% of the water as per my usual Sunday regimen, <We share this task, timing in common> but he is extremely lethargic and seems to be dormant after attempting to swim a short distance. He hasn't come up on the side of the glass as he sometimes used to. He seems to be swimming as though he's about to die, like a regular fish with a gas bladder problem would be swimming on its side or upside down on the bottom of the tank. I know he isn't eating as much as he should, he's been extremely thin, but I attempt to feed him at least 3 times a day. The only thing he seems to readily accept is frozen bloodworms. I've been trying live earthworms (both cooked/chopped and live whole/chopped), frozen brine shrimp, fresh cooked chopped mussels, krill, but can't seem to get any acceptance. I suspect the malady aforementioned is directly related to his feeding habits, but what can I do, or is it already too late? <This is a freshwater... Potamotrygonid... I fully suspect goiter... an iodine deficiency here, perhaps other nutritional avitaminoses... Please put the term "ray, goiter, iodine" in the search tool here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm  and read the cached views. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Josh

Stingray issue 7/22/07 Hi there, My question is about my fw stingray. I currently am housing 3 fw stingrays, 2 Motoros and one reticulata (teacup). Motoros are 12 in and 6 in and teacup is 6 inches . I have had them for about a year in a 265 gal with a large Pacu and 14 in silver Arowana. As of late the smaller Motoro has been swimming above where the air bubble wand and filter outtake meet. Its def out of character for her. I am using a Fluval fx5, an emperor BioWheel and Eheim canister for filtration. One of her eyes seems cloudy and closing. I lost the first ray I had a year ago and he showed some similar signs. Ammonia 0 nitrate 0 ph 6.0. Temp about 82. I feed rays jumbo night crawlers I get from bait shop and once in a while feeder goldfish but not to much. I added Pimafix. She also has a little red around her mouth. The swimming funny really has me thinking somethings up. She eats and has not lost any weight. Any helpful hints. I would really appreciate any help your site is the best. Oh and substrate is sand very easy on them. <Greetings. As you probably realize, freshwater stingrays are exceptionally difficult fish that are only suitable for very advanced, highly experienced fishkeepers. When it comes to disease, the problems are that [a] we don't really have a textbook list of stingray diseases yet and [b] many of the medications safe with bony fish are dangerous to cartilaginous fish. Now, as a general rule, when fish swim into the filter current it is usually because this is where the water quality is highest and the oxygen concentration highest. Likewise, when fish show red patches on this skin (signs of irritation) then again, water quality is something to think about. In your case, you need to be reviewing a variety of things. Ammonia and nitrite obviously (you say the former is 0, but how regularly do you test it? try testing over a week and at different times of the day, especially shortly after feeding). Nitrate needs to be as close to zero as possible, which you say is the case. But water chemistry is also important. Stingrays aren't that fussed about pH and hardness, but they are bothered by changes. So if you're manipulating your water supply to get the low pH and hardness levels you have, check to see you're being consistent. Another issue is air or water pollution: it's easy for things like paint vapours and tobacco smoke to end up in the aquarium, and these will irritate/poison the fish. Yet another issue is filter turnover. For a stingray, I'd recommend not less than 8x the volume of the tank in turnover per hour (i.e., marine quality filtration and twice that for regular small community fish like guppies and tetras). Given your aquarium is 265 gallons, that means you need filtration around 2120 gallons per hour, minimum. Your Fluval delivers about 600 gallons per hour, the Emperor 280 gallons per hour, and the Eheim I don't know how much because you don't say the model. But it needs to be *at least* 1240 gallons per hour to even make the baseline your stingrays need. Since even a really big Eheim like the Professional 3 is only producing a "mere" 450 US gallons per hour turnover, your tank is very likely (almost certainly) under-filtered. Some more general advice. Melafix and Pimafix are largely useless as treatments. While they sometimes work for some people under some conditions, they're too inconsistent to be relied on, and therefore of no value with expensive fishes like yours. Another problem is diet. Stingrays feed on a variety of animals in the wild including small fish, but never Cyprinidae. The nearest Cyprinidae are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from where they live. Why do I mention that? Because Cyprinidae -- things like goldfish and minnows -- have high quantities of Thiaminase that breaks down Vitamin B1 over time. They also contain a lot of fat. Fish that eat them in the wild, like pike, presumably are adapted to this, but most other predatory fish do not seem to be, and long term both these issues cause damage. Bob Fenner has written at length on the issue of feeder goldfish and marine predators like Lionfish. Since your stingray is, basically, a marine fish that happens to be living in freshwater because it got trapped on the wrong side of a newborn mountain range, your stingray likely will react the same way to a high fat, high Thiaminase diet as any other marine predator (i.e., poorly). On top of this, feeder fish are the Number 1 best way to introduce parasites and bacteria into your nice clean stingray aquarium. To be honest, whoever advised you to feed cheap "parasite time bombs", sorry, feeder goldfish, to something as delicate and easy to kill as a stingray deserves to spend some quality time on the Naughty Spot. The ideal foods for stingrays are either terrestrial foods (like earthworms), marine foods (like mussels and prawns), or "clean" frozen foods (like bloodworms and lancefish). All these will be safe because they have no chance of introducing parasites or bacteria into the aquarium likely to harm a freshwater stingray. Over here in the UK, live estuarine river shrimp are widely used with success and these match very closely the preferred staple diet of freshwater stingrays in the wild: large crustaceans. As you realize, stingrays have teeth adapted not for catch fish but for crushing shells. Finally, the whole sand issue in aquaria for stingrays is debated endlessly. There's some good evidence that dirty sand can trap bacteria and cause infections. This has been observed on catfish barbels for years (erroneously put down by some people to "sharp" gravel wearing the barbels down). Catfish generally shrug off such infections and re-grow their barbels when conditions improve, catfish being, fundamentally, very hardy animals usually adapted to swamps and other horrid environments. Stingrays do not have this level of robustness. So double check the sand is spotlessly clean. You should be stirring it weekly and siphoning out any detritus. Many stingray keepers prefer to keep their rays in tanks without sand to side-step this issue. Finally, do check the fish aren't able to burn themselves. It is *extremely* common for stingrays to burn themselves against the heater. The heater should be either inside the filter or covered with a plastic mesh of some kind (called "guards" and these often come with the better heaters anyway). Hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>

Another stingray question, beh., no useful info. 6/3/07 Hello again <Howdy> You helped me the other day in confirming that my little stingray is a girl. <Ah yes> I am hoping I can ask you another question. It is so hard to find someone who knows what they are talking about when it comes to the little beauties. <More commonly kept nowadays... but...> Anyways, the little girl was really shy at first, but she has been eating well so far. Over the last few days she has been doing loop-di-loops in her aquarium, wanting me to rub her tummy when she is upside down. This morning she was acting funny, with decreased appetite and it looked like her breathing was a little labored. She is holding the tip of her disc, the "nose" up in the water, higher than usual. It almost looks like she hit something and is sore, but do you have any experience with this? <Yes... can be a bad sign... Indicative of something amiss with the system, water quality, metal-poisoning... the presence of infectious, parasitic disease...> She is still eating, but not quite as much as before. She is moving around, but more slowly and along the bottom. Thank you Stefanie <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Angel stingray -- 06/04/07
She decided to get her wings this morning. She seemed so much better and ate when I got up, but an hour later she had checked out. I still don't know what happened, no fin curl at all, just the apparent injury to the "nose". Thank you for all of your help. Stefanie <Please read where you were referred. BobF>
Re: another stingray question -- 06/05/07
Hello <Stef> Thank you for sending the article. You have an amazing amount of information on your website. I am sure you have saved thousands of wet creatures by teaching their humans the right way. <It is our hope...> The only thing that I can see that was different was the PH. It was running a little high, with 7.6, although I was working on bringing it down with water changes with better water and "PH down" every few days. <Mmm, good... Do look into longer-term solutions here... starting with water of less alkalinity, alkaline reserve... Perhaps an in-home Reverse Osmosis device...> Before I bring another little ray home, I will change out most of the water so that the PH is right, <Mmm, do this slowly... as related...> and let it cycle again with new bacteria. I currently have some snails in the aquarium, and they just gave me a dozen babies. Would you like some snails?? :) <Heee! No thank you> Also, in reading your site, you have suggested some prophylactic meds when bringing home a new ray. Where can I get those meds and what dosage would you suggest? <Mmmm... wish I was a bit more careful here... I do endorse the preventative treatment for "worms" and Protozoans for these (Potamotrygonids) and wild-collected Discus/Symphysodon, and a few other groups, but I would urge you to rely on the "chain of supply" to have done such medicine work ahead of your reception, unless you have adequate, separate quarantine set-up...> Again, thank you for your help. I am still sad the little girl passed away, but I am hoping that it teaches me enough to make sure the next one will live for many many years. Stefanie <Thank you for sharing your efforts, inspiration, experiences. BobF>

Freshwater stingrays getting body slime (water cloudy) 3/28/07 first here's info on the stingray tank: INITIAL TANK SET UP: 125 gallon tank installed on December 15, 2006 with RO water and smooth/fine gravel. Added BioSpira and the following day added around 20 small African Cichlids to cycle tank. <Mmm, mistake... I encourage folks NOT to cycle with livestock... for a few good reasons: Principally the very real chance for introducing pathogens (disease, parasitic organisms). Secondly, the production of fright chemicals there from... And lastly, because it's unnecessary to the tanks development and stress to the life involved...> One month later: Low PH = 6.0; Ammonia = 0; Nitrite = 0; Nitrate = 0 More set up info: 175 gal wet/dry filter, Mag Drive Water Pump 1200 gph, dual T5 Light Fixtures, black magic 12x12 carbon pad, white/blue filter pad, 8W UV sterilizer, 2 ChemiPure, two 250W heaters (hidden) <Good note> set at 82.5 degrees, RO Unit for water changes/top off. <Mmm, the low pH... what was the start? What does your alkalinity test/s show?> Added air bubbles at the back of the tank wall on 3/16 using a Rena Air 400 pump and added 2 plastic plants to hide the tubes. No other decorations in the tank. LIVESTOCK: Removed Cichlids. Added 2 Potamotrygon Motoro Rays (4" and 6") on Monday, Feb 5, 2007. Rays were very active and eating. Added 4" Silver Arowana on March 12. Arowana hardly ate. <Typical... and a bit hard to train to do so in such a large system> MAINTENANCE INFO: I do a 25% water change (30 gal) weekly. I also add 30 ml RO Right and 5 ml Prime during water change (RO water is aged in a 40 gal bucket at 82.5 degrees to match the main tank water). I add 60 ml Waste Control weekly to tank. <I would skip this last... unnecessary and perhaps a source of trouble here> I clean filters and all pads (replace when nec..). <And only do "about half" of these at any given maintenance interval... To preserve nitrifying et al. useful microbial activity> Water was perfect until March 21 when the ammonia reached 2 <More than deadly toxic> and nitrates 40. <Danger... this is way too high, by at least double... your bio-filtration, perhaps circulation are inadequate...> PH is still 6.0 and nitrites 0. Performed 20% water change on 3/21 with 25 ml RO Right and 10 ml Prime. Performed 25% water change on 3/24 with 60 ml of Amquel Plus & NovAqua Plus + 30 ml RO Right. The tank seemed cloudy after the 3/24 water change. <Not good. Likely bacterial... rather than just chemical, physical... From? Excess food? Inadequate circulation, filtration?> Performed another 25% water change with the same additives (60 ml Amquel Plus & NovAqua Plus + 30 ml RO Right) on 3/26. Ammonia went down to 1 <Very dangerous... needs to be zip, zero, nada> and nitrates to 10 but water is still cloudy. On 3/27, water is still cloudy and the stingrays are less active with body slime. I performed a 35 gallon water change on 3/27 with 30 ml RO Right and went back to using 12.5 ml Prime. Rays are a little better but the water is still cloudy hours later. Did I do something wrong by changing from Prime to Amquel Plus and NovAqua Plus? <Mmm, no... but if it were mine, I would not add any of these water conditioners... period. You're using RO water? It has no sanitizer, excess metal et al. in it to remove...> This stingray tank is at my work and my boss was overfeeding the ray a variety of frozen silver sides, prawns, blood worms, krill, shrimp which caused the ammonia and nitrate spike. I instructed him to lessen the feedings to 2 very light feedings a day (recently did not feed the stingrays Sat thru Mon). The Arowana started as a picky eater and we tried live crickets and feeder fish which also might of caused the ammonia and nitrates to go up. We will no longer feed live foods. <Mmm, or move this Bony Tongue fish for a few months into a smaller system, where it will be easier to train to take offered foods... This IS what I would do> What can I do to fix the situation? How can I clear up the cloudy water? <First, stop with the water conditioners, over-feeding... look to (GET AND USE) BioSpira to boost your nitrification, rid the system of measurable ammonia)... LOOK INTO and GET more biofiltration... perhaps a nice large Eheim canister filter... packed with their bio-media... See WWM re... a nice one-time investment...> Should I add Melafix and/or Pimafix for the body slime/fungus? <No... these are worthless "Melaleuca Leaf" extracts... that will do more likely harm here than good... You don't want to forestall nitrification any more...> Am I doing too many water changes and/or adding the wrong additives (RO Right, Prime vs. Amquel+/NovAqua+)? THANK YOU IN ADVANCE! - Michael <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above... And I take it you have read my article on Potamotrygonids archived on the site, and our FAQs files on FW rays. Bob Fenner>
Re: freshwater stingrays getting body slime (water cloudy) 3/28/07
Thank you for replying. <Welcome> I have "Bacter Boost" a Marc Weiss product. I used this in my home tank back in Sept 2005 and kept it refrigerated since then (I don't see an expiration date on the bottle). <I would not use this... or actually any of this companies products...> Can I use this product or should I just buy BioSpira? <Only the Marineland product is endorsed (oh, obviously by me) here> For the product you recommend, do I add directly to the sump or in the tank? <Directly to the sump is best> Should I continue 25% water changes to remove the ammonia or just use Bacter Boost or BioSpira to increase the beneficial bacteria? <Please see WWM re... there is a not too fine line between the benefits of such dilutions versus the stultifying effects on nitrification, other stress caused therein> Are the bioballs in my 175 gal wet/dry not enough where I need to get an additional canister filter? <I would remove the bioballs period... Again, all this, including the rationale is archived on our sites> Thank you again. I'll start reading your article while I await your answer. <Real good my friend. Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater stingray problem 03/22/07 Hi, I raise fresh water stingrays currently in a 400 gal. tank. I have had about five litters of Marbled Motoros in the last two years. <Neat> My problem is with my Leopoldi Rays. Last year I had a large male (14") started to do flips in the tank and then end up upside down. <Mmm, wild-collected...> It would stay like this until I would flip him back over. He did this on and off for about three weeks, then stopped eating and passed away. Now I have another Leo doing the same thing. I need to save this Leo, it is my only male left and you can't get any black rays in the USA any more. My rays are fed every day with a mix of shrimp, silversides, scallop and sometimes earthworms. I do huge water changes once a week. <Good> PH is about 7.5-7.8. <Would be better if the water were more acidic... and likely softer... See fishbase.org re this species water quality in the wild: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=53766 > If you have any comments on what to try would be great, There is not too much information about ray problems in the States. Thanks for your time, Jim <I do suspect some sort of internal parasite problem here... And do encourage you to isolate, possibly (if this were me, perceiving what you have in mind... breeding these species long-term... I would) treat them prophylactically, through quarantine on arrival... for worms and Protozoans... Anthelminthic/s (my choice here: Praziquantel) and anti-protozoal (Metronidazole)... It will cost somewhat, but I would likely treat all in the 400 gallon at this point... Much more on Potamotrygonids, these compounds' use posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater stingray illness 3/20/07 Hello, I read your website often and really appreciate the help you provide. I have researched for over a day and still can't find anything that helps. Local pet stores are completely clueless. I have a Potamotrygon ocellata freshwater stingray (about 6" diameter) that I've had for about a month now. He has been acting extremely weird, turning on his side in the middle of the tank, and even flipping upside down. <Not good...> He does try to eat when I put frozen brine shrimp in, but he seems to struggle moving and is breathing heavily. Obviously he is typically active, swimming up the bubbles and around the walls. I have recently done a 25% water change, and the water is testing pretty normal, except for ph (ammonia and nitrites nil, nitrates around 5 ppm). The ph was way out of whack after the change (a little over 8). <Much too high as you seem aware... these fishes (the entire family) live in soft, acidic settings> I used a small amount of ph decrease to take it down around .4 over the last 24 hours, <Dangerous... such changes need to be made much more gradually... and not in the main system, but by way of water change water that has been adjusted outside...> I know you can't change too much at a time. His skin looks alright, with the exception of a small lighter discoloration between his eyes toward his front. <Also a bad sign> He has some small black dots toward his rear and tail but I believe those have been there (I'm grabbing at straws here). I am 24 and have kept fish almost my whole life, especially freshwater, but I'm totally lost here. If you could provide any help I would really appreciate it. Thanks. Chad <... Something else likely is amiss with the environment here... There is much to discuss, make known... most of it you can surmise by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm and the linked files above. Read... Now. Bob Fenner>

Motoro sting ray... RMF rant on the new trade, poor env., poisoning, lack of useful info. - 02/15/07 Hello, I have a motoro stingray with a sand substrate. <Hopefully not silicate... but smooth...> I was using new Tetra Tec filters with internal heaters to protect the ray but the impellers kept failing. <What is happening with the "new" Tetra? And while we're at it... Aquarium Systems salts? Oceanic Tanks...? What gives with the "consolidation" of the pet-trade anyhow? The big owners are doing a crap job of "managing"...> I switched to Filstar Canistar filters <Am not a fan of...> and had a mild algae bloom. I treated the tank with a small amount of "algae fix" <NO!!! Toxic...> which corrected the algae issue but now she refuses to eat. <Poisoned...> It has only been three days and I have tried bloodworms, ghost shrimp, and krill all of which she used to love. All levels are fine <... worthless> and she seems fine but I would like to know if there is anything I can do to get her back to eating regularly? <...> I do not think that the filter change is the problem because I changed the filter on another ray tank at the same time and that teacup ray is eating normally. I did a water change but she still refuses to eat. Bob Fenner had some great advise which helped in setting up for both my ray tanks and I hope that he or anyone else can help with this question. Please advise, Thanks, Joe <Please take the (re)read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwstingrays.htm and the linked files above. I would do a series of water changes to remove the algicide, make sure the water is warm, soft, acidic per this species requirements... and be patient at this point. BobF>
Re: motoro sting ray 2/18/07
Bob, THANKS! She is again eating and doing well. Joe <Ahh, thank you for this good news, update. BobF>

Sick Stingray, post-Argulus 2/13/07 Hi, Wet Web Crew-- <Erin> The general info and FAQ pages on your site have been really helpful to me! Now I have a specific question about a sick stingray. I'd really appreciate any info that would help me help her! <Will help you in whatever way I can> I've been keeping four freshwater stingrays (P. schroederi, I think) for about a month now--each in a separate 30 gal breeder tank (I'm a grad student doing research on the way they swim). <Ahh!> They have a soft non-silica sand substrate, <Mmmm...> and are kept at 81 degrees F. I'm waiting for my pH decreaser to arrive, since the water's currently too basic at about 7.4. <Mmmm... needs to have been adjusted ahead of their arrival...> Water quality otherwise (nitrates, ammonia, hardness, nitrites, etc) good. The rays came in with a little fungus near their spines, <Very common... shipping damage... from rubbing against each other in transit> but that has cleared up and all were looking great, feeding very well on live blackworms (a pipette-full, about 12 worms, twice a day). Then last week I noticed a couple Argulus fish lice on one ray-- <Mmm... I'd be getting out the Yamaguti references...> looked & looked but couldn't see any on the others. This same ray has also failed to put on weight, and recently is *losing* weight. <These fish were wild-collected but not prophylactically treated?> I removed the Argulus with forceps yesterday, but am concerned as they have left the front of her disc hemmorhagic (I've read this can result from Argulus) and with some (secondary?) fungus. Worst of all, she's holding that part of her disc curled up from the substrate (bad news!!) though she can still bring it down to feed. Yes, she's still eating hungrily! <Good sign> Obviously I'm worried about internal parasites, or a systemic infection causing this emaciation. I'd also like to so something to help the front of her disc heal, but I'm not sure what treatments to use. From what I've read, a salt dip (~4%) could help with any remaining Argulus... <Mmm, not advised... Potamotrygonids don't "like" salts either> I also have access to tetracycline and erythromycin, as well as Methylene blue (which I used to treat the initial tail fungus with some success). <Good safe cures for what they can do> Sorry for the long message, just trying to be thorough! ~Erin <Mmm, do take the long read on WWM re Flagyl/Metronidazole and Formalin (dips/baths)... Rays, Chondrichthyous fishes period do not tolerate copper and other metal salts, nor organophosphates (actually acetylcholinesterase inhibitors period)... Avoid these last two classes of medicants... and consider (seriously) the first two... We'll be chatting, Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Stingray, post-Argulus 2/13/07
Hi Bob, <Erin> Thanks so much for your reply. Her disc is a bit worse today (though not as bad as I'd feared) and she's definitely listless and not really eating. *worries* <Yes> I'm reading up on formalin baths right now, but haven't been able to find good info on dosage for stingrays. <Mmm... in round numbers, one "capful" of 37% per a gallon of system water... for a bath... with you in attendance, brisk aeration...> I'll definitely keep looking, but obviously I'd like to treat her as quickly as possible. I've never done a formalin bath before, so if you can recommend a concentration I'd be most grateful. Thanks! ~Erin <And I would avail myself of a Furan compound (likely Nitrofurazone... 250 mg. per ten gallons of system water)... after. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Stingray, post-Argulus 2/13/07
One source recommends 1mL formalin/gallon for marine ray species... Is that appropriate for freshwater? ~Erin <Yes my friend. BobF>

Hystrix Stingray Not Eating? 1/23/07 To Whom It May Concern, <Okay> I have had a Hystrix Stingray in a 250 gallon tank for approx. 9 months and she has now stopped eating?? <Mmm, you tell me... Potamotrygonids, in fact all cartilaginous fishes do periodically seem to go on feeding strikes... generally no problem> I checked the water quality (ammonia = 0, nitrates = 0)and have even performed two water changes (approx. 20%) over the last 4 days, but to no avail? <Was I there with you?> She was eating shrimp (4-5 per day), <Mmm... I wouldn't feed this much, and not daily> bloodworm cubes, earthworms, salmon, but is no longer accepting any of the above. The water temp is approx 80-82 degrees and the PH is 6.0-6.2. I am unsure what to do, but she has not eaten in approx. 5 days and is looking very thin and weak. <Do you administer vitamins? Iodine/ide?> In the past, she was very aggressive when eating and would accept food as often as I would put it into the tank. Is there some type of medication that I should add to the water? <The aforementioned supplements> Thanks in advance for your help. Regards, Steve <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm The second tray... Batoids Disease, Potamotrygonids Feeding... Bob Fenner>

FW Reticulated Stingray - Eye problem Hi, <Hello there> I purchased a FW reticulated ray from my LFS about 2 weeks ago. He has been doing well, apart from a small appetite. In the last 24hrs I've noticed what looks like a small cotton ball/fuzz (looks like pocket lint) on top of his left eye. At this point I'm not sure if it's ich <No...> since it appears to have grown over night. I've done 25% water changes twice a week and water quality is normal. Any Ideas? Drew <Perhaps resultant from a scratch in capture, moving... Maybe summat to do with the environment... size of the system, what's in it, the substrate... or water chemistry (soft, acidic?)... Likely transient... You have read on WWM re Potamotrygonids in captivity? Bob Fenner>

Motoro ray health 9/28/06 Can you help me with a problem I noticed with my motoro stingray? I've had it for 2 1/2 years, and it's size is approximately 7" round with a 6 or 7" tail. I just noticed a depression in between its eyes (on top of its head). He eats fine and swims fine and haven't noticed any changes other than this depression. There appears no injury to the outside tissue. Any idea what this may be, and is it a big concern? Any help with this is appreciated. Rob <Mmm... most likely an endocrine/nutritional deficiency centered around iodine... Do you supplement this animals foods with such? Use Vitamin inserts in its foods? Please read over WWM re Goiters of Cartilaginous fishes and Mazuri.com's site re. Bob Fenner>

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>>

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 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>

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.

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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

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>

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>

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>

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