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FAQs on Freshwater Stingray Identification

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

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

Re: stingray question, ID, sex   5/22/07 Thank you very much. <Welcome> Here are the pictures. Let me know if you need more. <Thank you... this is a female... and... though I can't be sure, appears to be a Potamotrygon reticulata... now synonymized with P. orbignyi... though the one pic (dorsally) almost appears to be P. marinae (only found in Fr. Guyana...). BobF>      Stefanie
Stingray question, FW, ID, sexing...   5/22/07 Hello <Morrow> I was wondering if I would be able to send you a couple of pictures. <Certainly> I purchased a teacup stingray from a local pet store, which I believe to be a motoro. Wondering if you could confirm. I also think "it" is a girl, but would like to know for certain    :) <Sure... just send a few pix showing the underside...> I really enjoyed reading your article on wetweb media and have bookmarked it for future reference. Have a wonderful day  ;) Stefanie <You as well. Bob Fenner>

Good substrate choice and useful ceramic plate/feeding station

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>>

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

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

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

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

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