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FAQs about Rays, Skates, Guitarfishes Disease/Health

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

Related FAQs: Batoids 1, Batoids 2, Batoid Identification, Batoid Behavior, Batoid Compatibility, Batoid Selection, Batoid Systems, Batoid Feeding, Batoid Reproduction, Shark, Ray Eggs, Wound Management, Freshwater Stingrays: FW Stingray Identification, FW Stingray Behavior, FW Stingray Compatibility, FW Stingray Selection, FW Stingray Systems, FW Stingray Feeding, FW Stingray Disease, FW Stingray Reproduction,
FAQs by groups/species: Blue Spotted Rays,

Goiter... a common nutritional deficiency syndrome in captive rays and sharks.

Sharks and Rays in Aquariums
Gaining an understanding of how to keep these fishes in captive saltwater systems   

New Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Possible fungal infection on round ray... Actually coldwater organisms mis-placed, killed     4/1/16
Hey Bob, I recently went on vacation for a week to come home and find my two round rays that had been looked after by my maid had a fungal infection.
<Mmm; what re the system here? I take it it's refrigerated; over-filtered... NO ammonia or nitrite, little nitrate; smooth substrate.>

It seems that their is some sort of white goo that's attached to them, it looks stringy in appearance and also looks like some sort of fluff that's attached to them. I physically removed as much as I could. How can I treat them?
<Better; suitable environment really>

They're two small 4 inch California round rays ( Urobatis halleri) that I've had for three months. Would SeaChem's Kanaplex be a good option?
What can I do? Both of the rays refuse to eat.
<.... very bad>
They last ate yesterday. I've been reading on your website but I was unable to find anything on round rays with fungal infections. Thank you for your help!
<Search, read on WWM re these cool/coldwater species. Your answers are archived there. Bob Fenner>

Stingray Urgent; continued; expanded vers.     4/1/16
Dear Bob, I'm afraid my two round rays have contracted a fungal infection. I found them with white fluffy matter attached to them this morning.
Yesterday they seemed normal enough although they only ate about half of what they normally do. From what I've read on your site, I understand that my treatment options are limited. I suspect they contracted the fungal infection from a severe drop in water quality.
<Very common... a source of trouble, the end of cartilaginous fish/es loss in captivity
During the entirety of the past week they were being looked after by a family friend who for some reason would turn everything off at night including the skimmer and circulation pumps.

Now, one of the rays, the one which was covered the most in the sticky cotton-like substance has stopped moving. It just lays motionless on the sand. It's been there all day. It appears to only be able to move its nose,
eyes and tail.
<Get ready to remove this (dead) fish>

I'm very concerned. I haven't been able to check the water parameters, but I know ammonia and nitrite levels were high. The temperature is at 70.
<MUCH too high... I've already mentioned this>
I have had them for 3 months, and they've been fine up until now. The other ray seems okay. It still swims and acts normal, <normally> except for its lack of appetite. Both rays have refused to eat today. Today, as I was
trying to remove the fluff
<No use in doing this>
I moved the stingray with the most fluff while trying to remove it and it turned over and wasn't able to turn over again. I positioned it in a spot with little current. Please help. What can be done?
<The same as last message. Improve their world...>
I've read through the Batoid disease page and couldn't find anything on rays with fungal infections.
<Most likely this is actually bacterial... and opportunistic. Please read

here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm
Till you have a grasp of the interplay twixt initial state, suitability of the environment and pathogen influences....>
I've also done reading on other Batoid faq pages on your site with no luck. Thank you Bob!
<Let's review: Coldwater organisms placed in an unsuitable tropical setting; water quality challenges.... decomposing organisms gaining "the upper hand".... This about sums up what has happened here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible fungal infection on round ray       4/2/16
Yesterday, I searched and read all I could find. It seems they have a fungal infection and there's no medication for saltwater stingrays.
One of them was lethargic to the point that it turned over and could turn back, I helped her 3 times. I don't know if she was suffering and I made it worse, I didn't want her to feel unloved or abandoned.
I was up all night until she died and I had to take her out.
The other is acting just like the first one and I need to save her, please help me.
Is there nothing I can do but watch her die?
<As stated before....>
Yesterday she started turning over and I helped her. They stayed together until one of them died, and she hasn't moved since. She's just breathing with her tail lifted, it's the only thing she seems capable of moving, from on side to the other, but very subtle..
It breaks my heart and no one in Mexico seems to know what's happening, that's why I'm asking you.
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Possible fungal infection on round ray       4/2/16

Hey Bob,
I just read there's nothing that can be done at this point.
<Mmm; improving their world... about it>
And I read the link explaining everything about environment and how to prevent and treat health conditions of our fish.
There's no need to answer,
Thank you very much.
<Anima bona fac (Be of good life). Bob Fenner>

Round ray- nose tilted up    3/7/16
Dear wet web media crew, I have a couple of small round rays. They're about 5 inches in diameter. A lot of the time they like to rest with their noses tilted up, as you can see in the image below. Is this a bad sign?
<Maybe... is this tank chilled? Urobatis concentricus. These fish are not tropical... >
Does it mean anything and if so what could be causing this ? Both are active, I suspect they are bullseye stingrays. They eat silversides, shrimp and fresh marine fish once or twice a day.
<See, as in read on WWM re feeding Rays, and Thiaminase. Don't write back till you do>
The temperature is at a steady 74 degrees
and the water parameters are good. Nitrites and ammonia at 0 and nitrates are at 10. Thank you so much for your feedback! I look forward to hearing from you.
<I look forward to your enlightening yourself. Bob Fenner>

Round rays- frequency of feeding; ID; coldwater    3/8/16
Dear Bob, for some time now I have been doing some reading on WWM. I realize that my stingrays need to be kept in cooler water. However, they currently live with a yellow tang which I am hoping to find a new home for, so right now the temperature is at 74. I purchased my rays around 3 months ago and so far they've been eating very well. I know that they need to be fed a variety of foods to ensure proper iodine and iodide levels are maintained and thiaminase levels are kept under control.
<Ah, good>
My question to you is how often should I feed them?
<Mmm; at this size, temp.... about every other day... just not much... maybe the volume of the end of your pinky digit>
Also, could you help me identify if they are indeed bullseye stingrays?
<Can't tell from your pix... Look for stingrays of California... >
I have some doubts as to what round ray species they belong to. Also, I still haven't found anything about what it means for their noses to be tilted up.
<Likely previous damage... from holding, shipping... in too small a container>
I read through the sharks/rays diseases section of the website but I was not able to find anything.
Your help is very much appreciated Bob. Thank you!
<Glad to help you. Bob Fenner>

Cortez Ray; env., no reading       2/16/16
Hi, how's it going?
<Fine; thanks>
3 months ago, I purchased a small, 4 inch Cortez Ray.
<Not a tropical fish you understand>

It's been doing great. A few weeks ago, I noticed that it has two large bumps on its back. What could be causing those bumps?
<Injury, improper environment most likely
It doesn't appear to be sick and it can't possibly be pregnant
<Too small to be sexually mature>
since it hasn't been exposed to other rays since I purchased it and from the research I've done, it's too small to have reached sexual maturity.
Your help is much appreciated! Thank you
<Search on WWM re Cortez Rays... needs to be kept in cool water. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cortez Ray      2/16/16

Thanks for the feedback!
<Certainly welcome. Am sure you've searched the bb's... some state this fish lives in water up to 82 F... I have dived along both coasts where it occurs... the water is never this warm by more than 10 degrees F>
It's being kept in a 65gallon tank
<Too small... again; please, PLEASE simply search/read on WWM re this species care. WE'RE NOT A CHAT FORUM
with plenty of open swimming space, fine aragonite live sand,
15kg of live rock, a yellow tang and a cleaner shrimp.
<Will eat this>

The temperature is at 79F. What should the temperature range be?
<No more than 70. READ, don't write
. B>
and what kind of changes can I make for it to be more comfortable?
Thank you very much for your help!

Diagnosis for a stingray      10/14/15
I recently caught an Atlantic Stingray
<.... is this Dasyatis sabina? Has to be kept in a large, soft substrate, chilled... marine....>
from a local river using a cast net.
I noticed that it had some sort of wound on its eye upon his capture. I can't really make out what it is or how to treat it. He is behaving normally and not showing signs of stress. I would just like to know if I can do anything to treat his eye. His disk width is about five inches and is being temporarily housed in a 60 gallon tank until he gets better.
<Not going to get better here. Best to return it or.... Bob Fenner>

Cortez Stingray Fin Issues... Iatrogenic... trop. setting, w/ incomp. tankmates          5/12/15
I have a Cortez Stingray that is about 3.5" in diameter in 225 Gal.
<You know this isn't a tropical fish I take it. Urolophus maculatus is subtropical>

The tank is a FOWLR with tanks mates - zebra moray eel, stars & stripes puffer,
<Not compatible>

two clowns, and two wrasses.
<These Labrids maybe too>
He has been in the tank for about a month and been feeding and doing great with no issues.
<Mmm; no; dying physiologically>

About 3 days ago I noticed the edges of his body is starting to look tattered around the tail area. At first we thought it was another tank mate biting him and one of the wrasses has been chasing him around the tank as of late.
<Would be my first guess as to the start of the trouble here. In fact it is>
The water quality is good with
Nitrite = 0, Nitrate= 25,
<Too high. See WWM Re>
PH=8.2 and the temp is approximately 76.
<This too>

He still has an appetite and is feeding, but is not as active and is hiding low on the glass sides.
I have attached two recent photos of the affected area. I have just started to treat with Melafix.
<Worse than worthless. See WWM re this as well. Go back to where you found how to write us and READ re using the search tool and indices>

I was planning to move the wrasse that seems to be the main culprit from the display tank and put him in the 28Gal QT, as I
thought the ray would do better in the display tank. I have seen online a photo of a ray that looks similar to what our ray has and it recommended treatments: Melafix, Furanace, Furan-2, Maracyn, Maracyn-Two and Maracyn Plus.
<Of no use w/o moving the animal to a subtropical setting, sans the harassing tankmates>

Also, I have ordered Mazuri Shark / Ray Gel to supplement his diet.
Any advice on the how to help my ray
<All needed is archived, searchable on WWM>

would be greatly appreciated. I am
relatively new to the hobby and do not want to lose my ray. Thanks!
All the best, Mike
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Cortez Stingray Fin Issues      5/13/15
Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, the ray died this morning and I just want to make sure I understand and learn from my errors.
<Let's see>
When you say that the ray wasn't tropical do I take that to mean that he was a Cortez,
<... Yes... Urolophus maculatus; subtropical>
but they are not tropical or that it was actually a California Ray and they aren't tropical. I saw several posts discussing the difference between the two.
<Two different species; though U. maculatus IS sometimes called the Ca. ray... the latter is really U. halleri. Easily told apart>
I unfortunately trusted my LFS that did the install and knows my tank /current fish that the ray was compatible.
<Mmm; yes; should have known>
My mistake and I will make sure to do independent research on the fish and not make that mistake again.
Is this forum or do you have another recommendation of a site to ask for advice on compatible tank mates and conditions, so I don't result in unnecessary deaths while I learn this hobby.
<You're welcome to send along ideas for our separate input. DO search, read on WWM ahead of time please>
Thanks again for your help, Mike
<A pleasure to share. Sorry for your tribulations. Bob Fenner>

Southern stingray quarantine tank     9/12/13
<Howsit Jackie?>
Big fan of the site. I work for a small children's science center with a 900 gal stingray touch tank. We keep southerns.  We are expecting new residents to the tank, approx three 6" each. Our tank has undergone renovations since the former residents being moved to a larger facility and I will need to quarantine the newbies for only a matter of days. Three days at most hopefully.
<Mmm, not long enough...
I'd treat for flukes at least... in isolation for at least two weeks... Common protocol w/ wild-collected Batoids, Chondrichthyous fishes period>
 We are city owned and I am on a tight budget when it comes to supplies. I am really in need of advice on how to get an effective quarantine tank set-up and cycled in less than a week before their arrival.
Thanks very much!!!
<Oh! Simple enough. Let's have you read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

California Stingray sick, very concerned. -- 10/28/10
I was given your website by a marine biologist who runs a local fish store I go to. I have a California Stingray who's sick.
<... Urolophus halleri?>
I am not sure what's wrong. He's covered in small black spots and his skin feels like it's coming lose like
it's being eaten away.
<System make up? Foods/feeding...>
He's in a 180 gallon fish tank with a few other fish.
<Chilled, refrigerated?>
He's been doing fine up until I had an ich issue which my other fish caught. I moved them to a quarantine tank and am dosing them with copper to cure the Ick
<But not the ray I hope/trust>
and I was told stingrays cannot catch ich
<... Not so, they can>
so I was advised to leave the Ray in the tank. It wouldn't be copper poisoning would it?
<Could easily be so>
No water with copper came directly in contact with the tank, however I made a mistake in using the
bucket I use to do water changes on the Ray tank and used the bucket on the quarantine tank. There's no chance any copper leached on to the bucket and it some how ended up in the tank when I did water changes is there? Please help I love my Ray, I don't know what I'll do if I lose him.
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/batoiddisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Saltwater rays/Ich   3/29/10
While I usually find everything I need searching through the site, I couldn't find anything specific regarding my situation. Cutting to the chase, my fish have ich. I'm going to take them out and treat them in a hospital tank with Cupramine.
<I would not do this. Chondrichthyous fishes respond poorly to copper exposure>
I was planning on leaving my rays in the display and leaving it fishless for 8 weeks. I've read that rays don't typically get ich. So my question is, do they really not get ich or do they just not show symptoms?
<Batoids can contract Cryptocaryon>
I want to get rid of the ich in my display but don't know if the rays are going to host it while my fish are in treatment. Any suggestions as to what I should do? Thanks for all that the "crew" does to help out.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptshksrays.htm
and the linked files above till you understand your options here. Bob Fenner>

BAT RAY RED EYES  7/14/2009
Hi wwfriends;
<Big W>
I need your help with something i didn´t find on your site, my brother have a 500 gallons circular tank with cold water fishes and a bat ray (Myliobatis californica),
<Will outgrow this container by far>
it is doing fine, eating everyday a variety of fresh sea foods supplemented with vitamins, however since yesterday the ray has both eyes red, still behaving normally but i wonder what this could be?
<Best guess is a physical trauma... This species is a powerful swimmer and jumper!>
water parameters are. ammonia 0 ppt, nitrite 0 ppt, nitrate 50 ppt,
<Way too high... I would keep NO3 below 10 ppm, never allow it to get over 20 ppm>
ph 8.2 and temp 64 degrees, he is planning a larger tank for early 2010 but for now the ray seems to have plenty of space.
I hope Bob or any of the Elasmobranchs experts could answer this one.
thanks again for your time and help.
regards from Mexico city
<No treatment per se other than to address the NO3... There are a few approaches gone over re on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Blue spot stingray quarantine - 6/30/08 Hello, <James> I spotted a Blue Spot Stingray today at the local LFS. It has been there for a while and is eating. I have a lot of space for him in my 900 g main tank and would like to try and give him a better life. This is probably a stupid question but do the same quarantine rules apply My Q tank is only 50 gallons with no sand in it. I don't think he would like it in there for a month. Thank you so much (again), James <Mmm, I would (myself) actually NOT quarantine, nor dip/bath this fish... Taeniura lymna are for the most part very "clean" parasite wise, and the damage, stress of forestalling installing specimens into suitable permanent homes is considerable. I would place straight-away. Bob Fenner>

Strange Southern Stingray Death - cause? 04/22/08 Hello WWM crew, your site has been extremely helpful to me in the past with posted information, but now I'm coming to you with a question. <Okay> We had two female Southern Stingrays in a 600 gallon aquarium that has been established for at least 3 years. We use a 24" sand filter, <Expensive to run, backwash... and subject to induced troubles> sump, biotower, the works. The aquarium uses a substrate of fine crushed gravel (coral? I'm not sure, I did not set it up) <Needs to be fine, roundish sand for such fishes> and is decorated with a pile of basalt rocks in the back corner. <Some of these are problematical as well. Have you ever tested for ferrous metal? I'd run a pad or two of PolyFilter in your filter/circulation flow-path and check for color...> One day we came in to find a dead stingray. Looking back I realize she had been acting somewhat sluggish in the days prior to her death - however she was still accepting food (not as voraciously) and not displaying any very unusual behaviors. The aquarium has maintained a steady temperature of 22 degrees C, Ammonia was at 0.38 at time of death, Nitrite at 0. The pH has remained a steady 8.2 and the only thing that was slightly over normal was the salinity at 34 (but it had been this was for the past several weeks.) The only thing that has happened to the aquarium recently was that roughly 1.5 weeks before the stingray death I snorkeled in the exhibit to scrub the rocks and gravel wash under them. The dead stingray was held in a necropsy fridge for 2-3 days before I was able to perform an exam. I found some secondary rot around the edges of the fins that had not been there in the days before the death, however the things that have me most confused are these: the liver, when autopsied, was completely black. <Mmmm... I have been employed in necropsying Chondrichthyans...> The size and consistency of the liver seemed normal, but I thought that sharks and rays had light brown, fatty livers? <Yes... when in good health> I couldn't come up with any information on what might cause a liver to turn such a color. <Chronic poisoning, other stress> The second unusual thing I found were cysts in her ovaries. All other systems appeared normal. Any ideas on what could have caused her death, or what may have caused her liver and ovaries to show such unusual characteristics in the necropsy? Thanks for all your help! Brittany <Again, I primarily suspect some form of metal poisoning (ferrous) foremost. Maybe the rock, perhaps other (steel?) in the system somewhere. There are definitive tests for such. Did you folks administer vitamins to this Batoid? How, of what kind? If Mazuri (.com), what amount? Bob Fenner>

Stingray possible food poison?   2/5/08 I had a small to medium Sea of Cortez stingray that I purchased months ago, <Mmm, do you know which species? Some are rather cool-water organisms> living in a 200 gallon custom tank that I built several years ago. The system is a Monaco system which is powered by two large volume powerhead with no stray electric volts. The water quality is pristine and temp stays at exactly 74.5 deg.s and has never been treated with copper. <Okay> I have done extensive research on husbandry of this stingray! And built the tank to suit his lifestyle and needs. Friday I purchased H20 life aquarium food clams on a half shell and with in an hour and a half to two hours the stingray started acting funny and died. <Yikes!> I am wondering if food poison is a common factor in stingray death. <Mmm, not generally, no> And what kind of testing can I do at a lab that would prove that it was the food and not my error in husbandry. <There are some very standard tests done in this regard... concerning the sale of such bivalves for human consumption... to avoid shellfish poisoning...> If it is my mistake I would like to learn from it and educate others so that other stingrays do not need to suffer from eating dinner. Thanks, John Loffer <Could be just a coincidence... did you necropsy the ray? Still have it? If so, I'd freeze the body... do call around if there is a "local" college with a bio./zoo. dept. and ask them re whom you might contact re shellfish poisoning... testing, necropsying the animal... to check for gut blockage, et al. Bob Fenner>

California rays, hlth.    12/9/07 Hi I have a 150 gal saltwater ray tank I have 3 Babies 4"s <...?> I checked all water parameters nitrites 0 nitrates 10-20 <Trouble> ammonia 0 ph 8.0 they are swimming and twitching. It almost looks like they are being shocked. <Good description> The temp is 60 degrees. I unplugged everything and they are still doing it I have a canister filter and a nitrate reductor <Evidently not working> which has a power head could it be leaking? Or am I lacking anything? I also have a chiller in the sump with Chaetomorpha alga and a protein skimmer Please help. Nicole <You might try unplugging all the electrics systematically, testing/measuring for stray voltage... even employing a device for drawing off said potential... But very likely the measurable nitrates are what are at play here. Need to be zip, zero... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm the second tray down, on Cartilaginous Fishes, Rays... Systems, Health... Bob Fenner>
Re: California rays 12/10/07
I know the problem may be or is nitrate I Did a 25 percent change Wednesday and another one Friday am I doing too many should I do one every day 25percent <Mmm, no... serial dilutions won't "do it" here...>
Re: California rays, not following directions, reading WWM  12/10/07
Can I do a 50 percent water change? Should I get more filtration ur link isn't working just waiting on u <...> To do water change <Please... follow instructions... Learn to/use the search tool, indices before writing us... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm the third/yellow tray... on Nitrates... BobF>

Black spot on Urobatis halleri, vitamin use...  -- 11/20/07 Hi I was looking at my rays the other day and in certain lighting there seems to be a black spot? <Mmm, can you describe this? Size, shape, placement> I have 2 Urobatis halleri in 60 degree water in a 150 gallon tank soon moving to a 300 gallon. I put Mazuri vitamins in their squid, shrimp everyday. Sometimes they go down other times they are on to me and chew around the vitamin. I wanted to get Mazuri Shark/Ray gel to insure the proper nutrition, but I am concerned with the minerals. It says there is copper, ppm in the ingredients. How can this be safe for the rays? <There is very little of this material... a preservative in this case... and actually a micro-nutrient in small concentration. Not to worry> Is their other things I can supplement with or add? <Mmm, yes... vitamins, HUFAs... Available as commercial prep.s for pet-fish... e.g. Micro-Vit, Selcon...> I tried typing in the goggle search on WWM only black tail rot came up? A quick answer will be greatly appreciated. What is causing the black spot on the body? <Might be a natural marking... have seen this species many times (live, have lived in S. Cal. for decades, diving here...). Bob Fenner> Thanks MM

Stingray, too late? Coldwater, improper env., reading...  10/1/07 90G w/sump remora and EuroReef skimmers AquaClear for running carbon <Products names are capital nouns, capitalized...> 75F No Ammonia/Nitrite PH 8.0 Nitrates high @ 60ppm <Trouble> Just did 1/3 water change tankmates yellow tang/fimbriated moray 5" diameter round California stingray <Coldwater animal... is the system?> eating exceptionally well, voracious appetite He has been so healthy and active but now I noticed around his mouth is slightly red and he is trying to jump out of the water. He also keeps his nose pointed up. I know this behavior is a bad sign but how do I remedy this. If he still has a great appetite, is there hope? Anything else I can do but water changes? Please advise... All thanks <Is it too late to read? See WWM re Nitrate, Ray Systems, health... Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Cortez Ray with hole in stomach   8/3/07 I have a 75 gallon reef tank with about 30 pounds of live rock, and a dwarf Cortez stingray <Mmm, what is this... specifically? Not on Fishbase as such... but Urolophus maculatus? http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=13276&genusname=Urobatis&speciesname=maculatus> along with: Yellow tang One firefish <Food> Two yellow tail blue damsels One Anthias Nitrates, nitrites, ammonia - zero The stingray has developed a small pin size hole in the stomach that you can see into. This developed about two weeks ago and the ray has not eaten since. All of the other fish are fine. Is this something that you have heard of before and is there anything that can be done about it? <Mmm, please send along some highly resolved images of this if you can. You have read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/batoiddisfaqs.htm and the linked files above? There are no such animals as "dwarf" rays... Yours could be suffering from a number of complaints; from environmental, nutritional to just simple over-stress. Bob Fenner>

Cali. sting ray losing balance; poor English, no useful data  -- 5/14/07 Hi I've had a California stingray for about 2 months, he been eating good until he's been a pain to get to eat and he's not hiding in the sand anymore also he's losing his balance am worried , i have looked every where on wet web. and cant find anything   i thought it was goiter . if it is how to do i treat the iodine , just put it in the water ??? please help !!! <...? What re the system this animal is in... it's set-up, maintenance, water quality tests/history... foods/feeding... Bob Fenner>

Cortez Stingray. Sting Ray Confusion....Care Issues, ID, parasites...  - 05/02/07 I have a couple of questions that i <I> can not seem to find anywhere. <I'll do my best to point you in the right direction there chief.> First I supposedly had Sea of Cortez Stingray but looked nothing like a cortez. <Just to clarify we are talking about Urobatis maculatus, right?> It looked more like a Round Stingray, (California Stingray). Is it possible it was a Cortez? <Well I would suggest using google and comparing pictures, animals are from different locals and in my opinion are shaped nothing alike.> Next question is i <I> seen Copepods are a common parasite does that mean all the copepods on my live rock are going to infect a stingray once i <I>put one in my tank?  <There are many different species of copepods, some parasitic though most are not. In general the species you find on liverock are not....now perhaps you meant isopods? That's another story.> I own the Scott Michaels Sharks and Rays book and it said that the Round Stingray water temperature is between 54-72 degrees Fahrenheit.  <Yes is a temperate animal.> Could the Round Stingray thrive in my tank that normally gets up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer? <Absolutely not, oxygen levels are too low. Adam J.>

Blue dotted stingray urgent! (more info nec.) 3/2/07 <Greetings.> Help as I type my sting ray blue dotted whiptail ray is swimming on his side and bumping into the glass what do I do. He's quarantined and I fed him Selcon and Maracyn. Is there something that fights parasites is that it? or something I can do hurry please! <You didn't mention the size of the system, the water conditions, how long you've kept it successfully, or how long this has been going on. I'm sorry, but the only thing I can think of without this info is to mention that most ray fatalities are due to it's being kept in too warm a system. -GrahamT>
Re: Batoid health, laziness/emotionality... No sale   3/5/07
Hi I had emailed you last week about my blue dotted stingray. He was swimming on his side and couldn't balance himself. Unfortunately he died. I cried for help no one knew. <Mmm... GrahamT did respond to you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batoiddisfaqs.htm You didn't supply further or enough information...> So anyway I was wondering if you could tell me what was wrong with him and if you could make a list for us ray keepers of a medical first aid kit. <This is already posted on WWM...> Containing all of the must haves  to medicate them in their quarantine tank. It was so upsetting to watch him die it was horrible. I don't ever want to go through that again Please tell me what I should have done in case this ever happens again. Thank you Michelle <Apply yourself... learn to/use the indices/search tool on WWM, the Net... Bob Fenner>

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

Re: stingray question, health, sys.    1/17/06 Thanks for the info.     Here's some more...The total population consists of 1 leopard ray(20"), 4 southerns (2-3', 2 16") and 4 bat rays (18").  The only animals with red marks are the two large southerns.  We monitor NH3, NO2 and NO3.  NH3 is 0 as well as NO2.  We recently did a large water change and dropped NO3 from near 100 to 25mg/l. <Good> Although we buffer often to reach 8.0 the pH wants to stay around 7.5. <You may want to suggest looking into a source of soluble carbonate to blend in with (your presumed use) of bicarbonate... applying this as a slurry...>      The tank is empty except for substrate which is coral sand.  From reading on WWM it is probably too coarse but we're stuck with it for now.    <Mmm... yes... not likely an issue here if the other Rays are fine>   It is my understanding that when the tank was first set up there was a heavy metal problem. <Very common... in a "previous life" I necropsied cartilaginous fishes as a "consultant"... mainly in public aquariums... Many animals lost to "re-bar" exposure... other sources of metal contamination> I was told this was no longer an issue.  I'm not sure what we would test for and in what quantities.      <I'd test the water, or have it tested... use a pad of Polyfilter in your water flow... if nothing else... to steadily monitor (by color) such presence...>   The primary diet is whole capelin with occasional feeding of peeled shrimp.    <... and vitamin et al. supplementation I hope/trust... Are you familiar with Mazuri(.com)?>   It was suggested to try Baytril (Enrofloxacin) which we have but I'm dubious about effect.    <Mmm, I would not... And feel very uneasy re discussing this on-line...>   Thanks for your input!   <Glad to cooperate. Bob Fenner>

The Garlic Question'¦.Mixing Sharks and Garlic 1/16 I heard from my LFS that adding garlic to my rays diet can boost his immune system. Is this true or will It kill him? < http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-10/sp/index.php . Please read through this article by Steven Pro'¦in short garlic won't kill him (unless he's also a vampire; hehe), however there's little study or evidence that makes me feel confident in saying it will help. I would personally prefer a proven vitamin supplement like Selcon or other similar products. **AJ.>

Stingray <Health> question   1/4/07 I care for a few southern stingrays at a small aquarium. <Likely Dasyatis americana>   One of them has red wounds along the margin of the fins and has now developed red blotches on the underside as well. <Good observation, description> There are 4 southern rays in this tank (35K gallons) and I read that this is mating season so first thought the wounds were "love bites". <A possibility, yes> I am having trouble finding information on the problem.  (have referenced the Elasmobranch husbandry manual and google) I found on your website a reference to the blotches on a shark and noted that pH and nitrate were factors. <Can be factors, causes> Is this information appropriate for the rays as well? <Yes>   Are there other factors to consider? <Oh yes... any number of "poor water quality" possibilities... Metabolite accumulation, metal presence... and this not the end of probable etiologies... Nutrition, infectious, parasitic disease...> Any information or references are appreciated.  Thank you. <Are any other fishes present in this system? Do any of them show signs of duress? What sorts of measures of nitrogenous waste do you monitor? What is your overall Nitrate profile? Bob Fenner>

New Yellow Ray Parasites? Incompatible Ray Mix, Disease    6/14/06 Hello,     I just got a 5" baby yellow spotted stingray from a local wholesaler. He was caught off the Florida Keys. I have a tank with a full grown Cali ray that I added him to. <... not compatible... one is tropical, the other a cool water species...> He seems to be doing ok, I got him to eat shrimp and krill. The problem I'm having is I don't have a QT tank and he was never QT before I got him and he has some kind of parasites. <Typical... cartilaginous fishes often have worm and crustacean ectoparasites collected from the wild> They look like little black flat worms, kinda like a little leech. I tried to get them off with my fingers, but his back is too slick. I can see him itching with the sides of his discs. There is around 10 or so on him. The move like flatworms. What can I add to the tank without hurting the rays and what can I do to keep them from spreading to my Cali ray (which I've had since he was a baby without any problems)? The tank has a deep sand bed, rock and the 2 rays. Thanks <See WWM re Ray Disease, Ray Systems, Marine Worm Parasitic Disease... Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Stingray, confused attempt at insult    6/26/06
Hello,      Let me first say you guys seem to have alot >/// no such word< of knowledge, however your stingray knowledge is lacking! I emailed you about 2 weeks ago about my new yellow ray and the parasites he had. Needless to say your guys help didn't help much. I have two rays which you guys said were not compatible and was doomed for failure, I disagree. Anyways I used a product called Prazipro and it worked great. My ray is doing fantastic, actually both rays are doing great! Just wanted to thank you guys for the great help. Also if you post this, anyone with a ray needs to look for another source of knowledge, Thanks <One is taught in accordance with ones capacity, willingness and timeliness to learn. Good luck, goodbye, good riddance. Bob Fenner>

Baby Yellow Sting Ray - Possible Parasite In Gills?    3/24/06 Dear Bob: <Sandy> I just recently purchased a pair of baby yellow sting rays.  Last night I noticed the female ray was breathing rather rapidly and on the left hand side of her gill she has two small tentacle sort of skin flaps hanging out. (very hard to describe).  What could this be? <Mmm... perhaps copepod or other crustacean parasites... perhaps just part of the gill arch (branchiostegals)...> I did NOT notice this on her when I purchased her.  She did eat fine, however, I did notice that when she was eating, these skin flaps went back inside the gill and she starts to sort of cough.  Could this be some sort of parasite? <Possibly> I don't want to pull it out for fear that it is attached to her internally?  Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks, Sandy P. <I do strongly agree with your reservations re handling these and all cartilaginous fishes... Easily damaged. Do know that many, if not most to all wild-collected batoids, elasmobranchs have considerable parasite loads. I have yet to examine (I did fish pathology in school and work for a while) sharks and rays that didn't have some species of trematodes, nematodes, acanthocephalans... What to do re these? First (of course) pick out the healthiest specimens/species, secondly, provide the best/better living circumstances... and yes, if necessary, diagnose and treat (chemically) for. If this/these animals are new, I'd just observe them for now. Bob Fenner>

California round stingray health... lack of info.   1/7/06 I have a California round stingray, <Urolophus halleri? I've kept these> that's 1 1/2 years old.  It's been doing great until recently, it won't eat.  I feed him frozen krill, frozen squid, and sometime small fish, and he also eats crabs.  He used to be very active, but mostly lays on bottom of tank now.  It started about 2 weeks ago.  What is the life span for one kept in a 135 gallon aquarium. <Can live for more than a decade> He looks fine, but won't eat or  hardly swim anymore. I add  iodine weekly, and his food is made for stingrays, so he gets the right nutrition.  PH and ammonia levels are great.  Any suggestions?  Thanks, I hate to lose him, he's great to watch and pet. Julie Turner <Mmm, not much to go on info. wise here... Is this animal in a chilled system? I do hope so... What re water quality? The make-up of the system? Any marks on the animal? Other tankmates? Bob Fenner> Bob Turner

Tail-short Ray  11/14/05 Hi My Blue spotted Rays lost part of its tail will it grow back Thanks Edward <Mmm, possibly. Depends on how much/far the tail is gone, the local conditions (water quality, room, nutrition) of your system. Bob Fenner> 

Stingray sting 8/23/05 My husband and I were on vacation in Corpus Christi Texas and he got stung by a stingray. I took him to the emergency room and they stuck his foot in hot water, took an x-ray, and gave him some antibiotics. It is now 2 weeks later and he is still having some pain in his foot and he is very tired, nauseated, has diarrhea, and sweats a lot even though he is not hot. Could this be because of the sting? Thank you, Amber  <Amber, Sting Rays have one or more barbed stingers and two ventrolateral venom containing grooves that are encased in a sheath, so to speak.  When a victim is stung, such as your hubby, the stinger apparatus then injects a protein based toxin into the wound generally causing immediate intense pain.  The injury may occur without envenomation since many rays lose or tear off the sheath covering the venom gland.  In your hubby's case, sounds like the gland was intact.  And yes, your hubby's symptoms are included along with others listed below. Syncope Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea Diaphoresis Muscle cramps Abdominal pain Seizures, and Hypotension Have hubby keep taking his antibiotics as the doctor prescribed.  Hope he is feeling fine soon.  James (Salty Dog)>

Blue Spotted Stingray... treatment Help, My beautiful lady is ill! I have a pair of 18" long blue spotted Lymna taeniura. The female has started to become increasingly thin. I have had them over a year and I noticed that this started about 5 weeks ago. <A good long time for this species in captivity> She is starting to look quite bad and I can now see that she is a washed out yellow colour with pale spots. More disturbing is that I can clearly see her pelvic bones through her skin. These are non-existent on the male. <yes> What can I treat her with which will be elasmobranch friendly? The male, typical male, is totally unaffected by the whole thing. He is still feeding and acting as normal <If the fish is still eating, I would try a combination of Piperazine and the anti-protozoal Metronidazole/Flagyl... are you familiar with these materia medica? Do you have a way of weighing this animal to calculate dosage? I strongly encourage you to chat with a veterinarian locally (you may refer them to me), and have them provide you with these compounds.> I am assuming that she has some type of worm infestation. Tankmates are only one cleaner shrimp and a star fish, not a problem to re-locate if treatment demands so. Lastly, she has now started going off her food. Rather than the greedy ganet she was she merely picks at small bits of krill. Other foods are prawns, octopus etc. can you help? <You may have to force feed this animal. Or if worse comes to worse, inject it with the vermifuge and possibly an antibiotic... Chloromycetin in a succinic acid base if your vet. has it/can get it... Bob Fenner> Colin

Stingrays again Thanks for taking the time to reply, I'm off to my vets tomorrow with my list. You reckon it could be worms? <There is that possibility.> I smiled at the thought of weighing and force feeding a stingray : ) Bet that's fun. I'll let you know. <Not so much fun... but perhaps necessary.> Hope you see that I am trying my best to treat her and that I shall not be buying a replacement if she dies. I will also discourage others from buying ribbontails. I have successfully kept Potamotrygon laticeps in the past and assumed that this would be the same deal.  <Freshwater are much easier... higher, longer rates of survivability.> You seemed surprised that they are over a year old. I hope I can keep doing something right. Ultimately I would like to encourage them to mate.  <Yes... most Taeniura lymna die enroute from the wild... almost all others within a month of capture. You can see my appraisal of this species, group in captivity on "Cartilaginous Fishes" sections on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com... read the FAQs there> I sent you another email, sorry if I cluttered your inbox! CD <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Stingray help Mr. Fenner, I've talked with you numerous times in the past about my stingray. but now I have a serious problem. he has an air bubble in him somewhere that is preventing him from sinking back to the bottom. He keeps trying but there is just too much air in him. How do I remedy this? (I think it's from the bubble curtain in the tank.) Thanks David. <Actually, not much "to do" rather than wait and see if the animal can/will discharge the gas, or less likely absorb it... maybe lowering the water level will help ease the strain (lay your submersible heater down flat to keep it underwater). Bob Fenner>
Re: Stingray help
Can this kill him? David <Yes, possibly. Bob Fenner>

Blue spotted stingrays update Robert, about a couple of months ago I asked for your help with stingrays. Unfortunately I lost the female but I appreciated your help so wanted to let you know that the male is doing great and he's growing so I hope I am out of the rough bit with him. <Ah, good to hear, read> One thing you may want to know is that they are very sensitive to water changes. Even just 10% really puts them down. I thought he was going to die after a 25% change! He lost a lot of body weight and didn't feed for 3 weeks. <Yes, thanks for reinforcing this fact.> I think stability is the key to these guys. no hassles and they seem to do well. Water changes need to happen real slow and make sure that a dechlorinator is used and that the salt concentration is a perfect match. <Well-stated> I have had nitrate peaks and dips but they seem unaffected. From what I have seen I would guess that most die prematurely due to the changes in water chemistry. esp. from a wholesaler to shop to home. <Agreed. And much damage physically in-between the wild and home... stands to reason such large, messy eaters would be tolerant to waste matters> If anyone else writes to you about these guys, I don't mind if you send them this email address. <Will post it on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com under "Rays" section for alls perusal> Once again, thanks for your help Colin <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue spotted stingrays update
Thanks very much for the reply. I do have one more question though...(groan!) sorry. <No worries> The ray is a bit of a pain when it comes to feeding because HE knows what HE likes and I know what is good for him. It is a battle of wills sometimes.  <Sounds like having children!> A bit like red tail cats and pampered Oscars etc. I used to pack dead feeder fish for my red tail cat with green foods and stuff for roughage. What would you recommend that I can sneak into this rays food without him realizing? <Yes... this is done every day at public aquariums> I use mineral supplements for reptiles I keep, normally inserted into, or dusted onto their food. Is there something I could try for the ray to make sure he is getting a full balanced diet?  <I would insert pelleted foods in its diet that have been soaked in a vitamin complex> I feed him on frozen (defrosted in aquarium water) prawns, octopus, krill etc. already. Thanks in advance, Colin <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue spotted stingrays update
Can you recommend a "ray-safe" vitamin complex? <All the ones sold in the pet-fish interest. Micro-vit comes to mind> What sort of dry food would offer a complete diet for rays? <None that I am aware of. I would soak a dry pellet with the vitamin complex for ease of introduction...placing the dry food in turn within a meaty item> On another note of interest. My ray shares his tank with some other inhabitants which include two cleaner shrimps. He does lie still to let them clean him but the shrimps have just started something really annoying; when the ray is eating they have started sitting on his head and putting their claws into his spiracles and pulling out the bits he is trying to eat! Taking the food straight out his mouth! Ouch, imagine that!? Needless to say these little robbers will be getting removed 1st chance I get. In the meantime I am hand feeding the shrimps to make sure they have full bellies before I feed the ray. Thanks again, Colin <Those shrimp better be careful... your ray could easily include them as a meal. Bob Fenner>

Re: HELP Sick Yellow Ray (Urobatis jamaicensis ) One of it's Spiracles is barely functioning, the other one is pumping.  Does this change any of your advice regarding treatments? <it does sound like parasites have at least set in secondarily. Antibiotics still needed and first course> (I got your sermon on the Quarantine tank)   <excellent, my friend!> I'm using the tank itself as the quarantine tank. <nope... not correct. A QT is a bare-bottomed vessel (no harm to ray bare). What you have is a tank with substrate that allows a new fish that hasn't been QT'ed to bring in parasites that can more successfully execute their life cycle with a fantastic sand bed for larval tomites to fester and develop in and jump up and re-infect the bottom dwelling ray. Substrate with unquarantined fish can be fatal because not only does it encourage the proliferation of pathogens, but it makes medication impossible for the calcareous media absorbing meds like a sponge. The ray can and should be removed for QT... but the display is now contaminated and must run fallow for at least 4 weeks> The sand bottom is sugar sized so I can't see that being the problem.   <an excellent and attractive grade of sand for the ray (although I thought a also saw course rock in the photo you sent). But the problems without QT as per above> I've never seen any of the fish messing with her. <very good to hear> Moved the 3 fish out and it's dark (tank in basement)   <awesome... likely to stay nicely cool for the ray too here in the basement> Planning on using Melafix and Praziquantel.  Any suggestions? <yep... I like the Praziquantel, but the Melafix is snake oil and a complete waste of money in this and most cases. Some aquarists have complained about scaleless fishes like your ray being sensitive to the tea oil in it as well. My advice is to just use proven medications. Best regards, Anthony>

Sick ray Bob, Long time no e-mail. <cheers, mate... Bob is away in the Caribbean and WetWebMedia now has a crew approaching a dozen strong working on the site! Anthony Calfo in your service> I never found anyone with a pair of C. plagiosum over 18inches in length (still waiting).  So I decided to get a ray that according to Scott Michael's book is less difficult to acclimate.  Everything seemed good at first but several weeks later I'm having some problems with female ray. <I already have some concern by the description which leads me to believe that this fish was not quarantined first. If not, it is really critical to QT all new fishes... especially these sensitive (shipping/handling) Elasmobranchs> Here's her symptoms: It appears to have lesions/sores just below her spiracle (gills) on both sides, with some hemorrhaging up to the one eye. <This is quite common... we answer a question on rays with sores almost weekly here. It is likely a bacterial infection causes usually by inappropriate substrate (very fine sand needed... no course sand, gravel or rock ever recommended) or fishes simply picking at these easy targets> She's in a 300 gallon tank with a few  blue-lined snapper (Lutjanus quinquelineatus).  Also I think the sand bottom may be irritating these sores when she buries herself.   <it is the most likely cause> After re-reading Scott Michael's book on Aquarium Sharks and Rays,  it seems to be bacterial and not parasites, <agreed> unless there are parasites only inside her spiracles (gills). Do you know of medication that I could either add to the tank (there's no coral in it)  or should I use a 50 gallon rubber tub to keep her in with a heater/powerhead/airstone for few weeks or only use it to dip her in it? <the latter my friend. This fish needs QT in isolation with antibiotics. Dose carefully for this scaleless fish. If you have access to a vet and better meds, take your vets advice. If you must use hobbyist's meds, begin with Furan based medications (Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone cocktails). Must be dosed daily for at least 5 consecutive days (6 hour life in water). When the fish is taken out of the water, iodine swabs of the lesions may be helpful too> Any information is most appreciated. -Pat <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Sick Ray
I guess my ray may have Monogenetic Trematodes (flukes).  I can't see them with the naked eye but can see hemorrhaging all around spiracles.   <flukes are not uncommon, but they are less likely here and you need to be very sure that they are present before aggressive meds to eradicate them else you may unnecessarily stress or kill the ray. What makes you think it has flukes? Have you seen excessive scratching or glancing, closing one operculum while pumping the other, etc?> I thought initially the ray was digging through the sand looking for food but it may have been swallowing sand.   <not enough to make this diagnosis> I lowered the temperature in the tank.   <slowly I hope> Is this ray Euryhaline?   <ahhh... I don't recall the species from your last e-mail, but surely you did/would have researched this before you bought the animal? This is a fundamental requirement for good husbandry> Should I lower the salinity and do a freshwater dip or formalin bath?   <almost certainly not in this case> Where would I get the ingredients for the latter?   <some pharmacists are friendly enough to order and sell you formalin. Else a chemical supply house. Small batches available  as fish meds from Aquarium Products brand and others>> Do you think Dyacide or Praziquantel is appropriate in this case?  How much would it cost and where could I get Praziquantel? <dispensed by your veterinarian as per his discretion and price> In terms of antibiotics  where could I get them and what would you recommend?  What anesthetics could I use if I needed to force feed the medicine to the ray or if it doesn't eat because it's sick. <wow... you are putting the cart before the horse my friend. I must admit, none of us here including Bob are enthusiastic about most aquarists keeping rays in the first place. Too many folks get into keeping these magnificent but sensitive animals without researching their needs before they buy them, have no QT protocol... simply throw them in tanks with other fishes and then are surprised about the difficulties that ensue. I'm sure that you are an empathetic aquarist... but do consider that you need a prompt, skilled and accurate diagnosis of this fish before you make another move. Knee-jerk reactions will have consequences> If I decide to force-feed the ray food/meds/antibiotics mixed should I clip off her stinger or try to cork it or put Styrofoam over it.  Your advice is most appreciated. <My God... you did just ask us about clipping off the stinger?!?! I can't believe you even considered it?!? I am struggling with your query which is very typical of an ill-advised purchase of an animal that you weren't prepared for. We are here to help aquarists succeed, indeed. But you must help yourself by being prepared for such endeavors before you buy the animal. The ray should have been QT'ed for 4 weeks before it went into the tank. Now that it hasn't and needs one ever so much more, it sounds like your Rubbermaid vessel is not even set up or biologically prepared to handle the mass of a ray. This animal may very well end up paying for your lack of preparation with its life. The best advice I can give you is to get this ray into a quiet and dark quarantine tank. Research on this site and beyond what proper procedure is for QT (4 weeks minimum, small frequent water changes, very stable temperature (2 heaters), etc.). You will also need to find very specific references for the species that you keep. We cannot make a diagnosis on the pathogen from a text description, but I have shared the likely causative agents with you from our experience: bacterial from lack of sugar fine/muddy sand, presence of rock or gravel in the tank, presence of fishes (picking at night often). I am saddened for having to hear of this all. I do wish you and this ray the best. Kindly, Anthony>

Stingray Wounds/Injury Hello to you, WWM crew, <cheers friend> I e-mailed you some time ago with a ray problem (goiter), now, this ray is experiencing an entirely different problem, I have attached a photo.   <thank you... clear and revealing> Anyway, she developed these open wounds, which look like they originate from behind her eyes, right around her gill slits.   <indeed... this is very common with Elasmobranchs... rays especially> More sores are evident on several places on her body, plus some small white spots.  And her veins, or what look like veins to me, look like someone's veins might if they'd been bitten by something poisonous, only they are whitish instead of red.  Most of this is not visible from the photo, but there is a good representation of one of the sores, which I thought would be helpful.   <agreed, yes> I've never seen any of the other fish picking on her until she had these sores, so I really don't think that's it, <that is the second most common cause/catalyst> besides, these sores appeared out of no where (within 2 days).  Do you know what the problem might be?     <yep... pretty sure you have too much rocky substrate. Even fine gravel is too course. If not kept on sugar fine/powdery sand... many rays develop these sores suddenly after weeks or months. We cannot have rock or gravel in the ray aquarium... only fine sand> I couldn't find anything about it in my shark and ray book by Scott W. Michael, but I might have just over looked it.   She has good color, is active and is eating well, so I don't think these sores are bothering her much, <they are in fact extremely dangerous. Can be/become virulent> but I would still like to find out what's going on and treat whatever this infection might be.   As a precaution against the other fish picking at her sores, I have segregated her. I don't know if you need to know the water conditions, but just in case you do: (this is for a 600 gal. tank) pH is 8.3 temp is 73 <both fine> Nitrates 140 (I know this is high, I've been doing frequent changes to get it down, but haven't been successful) <stop the presses! Yikes!!! The first problem is that sharks and rays as you know are quite sensitive to nitrate. The second problem is that any recommendation for nitrate levels (under 60ppm, under 20ppm, under 10ppm etc) are for ionic nitrate concentrations...not(!) nitrate as nitrogen measured by hobby test kits. The actual nitrate level in your tank is a multiple of 4.4X the hobby test kit reading. 140ppm is probably the high end of your kit (where it cannot be measured accurately). But lets assume that this is true: 140ppm on your test kit is about 600ppm of ionic nitrate! It may in fact be higher. This is a huge problem bud. The water changes are great, but what you need is a denitrifying filter ASAP. Deep sand beds can actually bring that nitrate down to near zero in less than a month. Consider tapping a 55, 75, 90 gallon tank inline downstream on the way to the sump filled with sugar fine sand 6-12" minimum. It can be unlit and simply flow through. But please set up ASAP.> Nitrites 0 Sp Gravity 1.024 Thank you SO much for whatever help you can offer now, and for all you've given in the past.   <our great pleasure> Rochelle P.S.  sorry about the poor quality of the photo, I think Norma (the ray) is a bit camera shy. <no worries at all... very helpful. It revealed the hard rocky substrate/decorations too. Please address that issue as well. Best regards, Anthony>

Something is wrong with the California Ray Dear Bob, Here at the Science Museum where I work, we have a very very large tank where we keep various things. A California ray is one of the inhabitants of the tank. I've only been taking care of the ray for about 9 months or so (she's been here for years), and in that time I've noticed she has a strange swell under her mouth. My boss (who like me is not an expert) thinks she's just fat, but I only feed her 3 times a week, so I don't see how that could be. She has also developed a difficulty in eating unless her food is presented to her in tiny portions, where before she could eat nearly any size food (within reason, of course). Do you have any ideas of what this could be or what I should do about it? I've searched and searched, but haven't been able to find any answers. Thanks in advance for your help. Rochelle <Thank you for writing... I share your concern. This sounds too much like a "tumorous growth"... Please ask your veterinarian to autopsy (or if too late, necropsy) this growth (a simple thin "punch tool" as in cork-boring will do)... This area may be coherent, operable, able to be excised. Bob Fenner>

I found out what was wrong with the California ray Bob, After seeking your help about what might be wrong with the California ray, I took your advice and attempted to find someone here who could help identify the problem. No one could give me a definitive answer, which is probably due to the fact that I live in Oklahoma, and we just don't have a lot of marine experts here. So, I looked through books and websites, and finally came across what her problem is. She has goiter.  <Ahhh, not atypical...> Purina, test diet division, has a multivitamin that I'm going to try to use. <If it doesn't include iodide, do add this... through the food> I just wanted to thank you for trying to help and let you know what I found out in case it might be of some use to someone else. Rochelle <Thank you for the follow-up... Will post your findings, intentions on WetWebMedia.com... Over time, you will have saved many losses, other trouble for folks. Bob Fenner>


Sting ray goiter picture WWM crew, A while back I wrote to you about our California Ray's goiter problem.  It's getting a lot better with the addition of Seachem's Iodide treatment just over the last few weeks.  Anyway, I thought your readers might be interested in seeing what goiter looks like, since it seems to be such a common problem with elasmobranches.  This picture is of Norma the Ray at the height of her goiter problem. <Thank you for this pic and progress report Sherry. Good to hear of the improvement. Bob Fenner>

Bluespot Stingray injury/infection? Please help me.   I recently asked about housing my ray and eels together...now I have a problem with my ray.   My Bluespot ray has what appears to be a tear on the "hump" of her eye.  At first I thought it was debris stuck to her, but one of the blue spots is torn away, but still attached.  The "injury" (only thing I can think to call it) is about 1/8 of an inch in diameter.  After reading FAQs, I am about to assume I should treat with antibiotics, but am very worried about:  which ones to use, how to figure dosing; can I dose in my tank--I'm guessing "no" (180g, 3" DSB, good h20 parameters); how can I avoid her sting if I have to handle her; how the heck do you weigh a stingray--in water?? <I would not administer antibiotics to this fish's water or likely inject it with same> My Q tank is 20g, and bare (no sand)...oh no!   Would a massive water change help?  I would rather not have to dose at all if I can avoid it. <I wouldn't and would not move this animal... too much likelihood of further injury, trauma... being placed in a too small volume>   I just noticed the problem today while feeding her.  Have had her close to a year (9 months maybe?) with no previous problems.  She (so far) still has her typical appetite.    I do NOT want to lose this ray.  I'm worried.  I've consulted my books, various message boards, your site and Google for answers...and am now thoroughly overwhelmed.  Whatever you tell me I will do.  Thank you. <If in good initial health, these fish are tough and have good powers of regeneration. I would augment the fish's diet with vitamins, HUFA and iodide and leave it where it is. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bluespot injury/infection?
Mr. Fenner, So no dosing then.  What if the tear becomes infected? <At that point I would consider a topical... like mercurochrome, Merthiolate... applied with a "Q-tip", lifting the animal gently up to the surface> I am aware how dicey these rays are to keep, and have made deliberate efforts to make sure she is in a healthy environment.  Until yesterday, she looked great.  I'm probably over thinking this.  I soak her food in Selcon normally, will go find the others today.  Thank you. <Glad to help. Bob Fenner> Vicki
Re: Bluespot injury/infection?
Mr. Fenner, <Here> I'm sorry to bother you again.  Have taken your advice on vitamins, and there does seem to be a bit of improvement in the area.  However, it no longer looks like a wound, but a sore. <These injuries take time... weeks, sometimes months to heal>   I'm not quite sure how to tell if the sore is infected.  I have never had a fish with an open sore before.  I should now treat w/Mercurochrome? <I don't think so. If the area seems to be improving I would not likely damage the animal by restraining it.> This IS the red stuff my mom used on me as a kid, isn't it? <Yes>   I don't suppose something like a triple anti-biotic ointment would be useful, or would the petroleum base be bad? <It will not stay on the animal> Another problem: my ray is breathing very hard now (began about an hour before I prepped her to feed).  She is still eating very well, but I am concerned about the breathing.  For some reason my pH dipped to 7.8 (this was after her regular water change Sunday and a test today, previous water change pH was 8.2)...is it safe to buffer right away, or should I do it gradually? <Add it gradually. Ideally don't change the pH more than 0.1 point in a day> I do have a two powerheads and a skimmer in the tank...so I don't think it's oxygenation. All of a sudden everything is falling apart here.  Would she be better off at LFS until she heals and I figure out what the heck happened in my tank? <Not likely. Have faith that you are doing your best here> Thanks again for your initial advice.  I believe it did help. Vicki <You are welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bluespot injury/infection?
Got it.  I WILL try to chill out about this.  Raised the pH .1 today, will continue each day till normal again. <Very good> She looks much better.  Breathing has slowed a bit and she's swimming around again.  Her color is still a bit dark, but her sore looks better.  Cautious optimism. <Keep it up> Thanks so much. Vicki <Bob Fenner>
Re: Bluespot injury/infection?
Mr. Fenner, Quick update on my Bluespot...she's looking markedly better.  Her wound is much less dramatic-looking.  Color is back to normal.  Appetite still good, she's breathing and behaving normally again.  Am keeping a very close eye on her still, but so far we're in OK shape.  My SINCERE thanks for your advice and patience. <Good to hear of the progress. Bob Fenner> Vicki

Blue Spotted Stingray health Hi, can you help? i wonder if u could help at all, i have a blue spot stingray in my aquarium at home, it is a female and in the last 2 days i have noticed a small but concentrated red patch right below the start of the tail, right where the rays waste/reproductive openings would be, between the anal fins.  the ray does not seem 2 bothered by this and is swimming normally and feeding well, i am still very worried by this small mark as it doesn't look very pleasant, i am sure it is either some sort of infection as i know these rays can sometimes get (although the ray is totally clear of all redness or infection everywhere else, or perhaps it is some form of sexual thing? <Likely a sore spot, possibly infected secondarily... and does worry me as well> as i had a male stingray b4 for  over a year and it never had anything like this, despite suffering from a short infection which did cause redness. pls can u advise whether this is likely 2 be some sort of sexual/ female trait which occurs naturally or an infection and what i need do about it (if anything)   <Likely resultant from a mechanical injury. Your system is too small for this fish... crowded with other fishes listed> My tank is 150 gallons and also living with the ray is a banded catshark, adolescent, a dolphin wrasse, a yellow tang, clown, Sailfin tang, and some corals and hermits, these are slowly becoming snacks though.  I recently removed and gave away a Regal Tang and Damsel which had started to peck at a sore on the rays tail.  This sore is now healed and in all other respects she is very healthy looking. many thanks  Scott Evans <If you have another system that is at least this large I would move your ray to it. Bob Fenner>

- Stingray Stings - Thanks for your concern.  The incident occurred last Monday to a friend, an adult male approx 30 in excellent physical condition.  Beach was rocky, thus not expecting stingrays.  ID'd as definitely "Round Stingray" approx 12-in dia.  Wound was a "slash", not puncture, pain and bleeding were instantaneous, bleeding was profuse which helped flush out the wound. While water was heating over a propane flame, wound was irrigated with fresh water and inspected for the barb or any other foreign objects.  Nothing was found.  Within approx 3-4 min.s of immersion in HOT water, pain level greatly reduced.  Kept checking patient for any signs of shock incl anaphylactic. No signs other than somewhat elevated state of excite.  Analgesic in form of Benedryl given orally.  Wound stopped bleeding after about 20 min.s (being soaked in clean bucket), but pressure by walking reopened so applied compress gauze over wound.  Patient had somewhat painful night,  Swelling was only about size of half-dollar, no striations indicative of infection by morning, couldn't keep him out of the water, said "Goodbye!"  Reason for my inquiry was a couple of people on site demanded he soak it in COLD water! Took about 5 min.s to get through to them.  Thanks again, "R.L." <Indeed, hot water is 'de riguer' for venomous stings (or wounds in this case) as the heat breaks down the proteins of the venom. Ice and cold water can wait till later to help reduce swelling, but to address the immediate pain of the injury, you did the right thing. Onward and upward! Cheers, J -- >

Bluespot with golf ball up its butt - 4/28/04 Hi, My 12 in Bluespot ray had for 2 yrs. has a blood ball on his anus! It is 1 inch in diameter, like if you put a golf ball in the ray's anus.<Sharks and rays have the ability to invert their intestine out their anus. No science as to why, but likely that it is trying to evert shell pieces, fish spines, calcium, and other theories stuck in the intestine. This could be what the ray is doing.  If it is doing this, it should retract it without any problem. Keep an eye on it. It should not last too long. (48 hours at most in our past experiences with this)> Water is fine, and I have fed him his normal foods: / shrimp/fish/ crab/ squid/ yesterday he did not eat as aggressively like normal. Today, I noticed he did not eat at all. <Hmmmmm. Simply not enough here to tell you what is going on.> The ray is not moving much. Tankmates are zebra eel and a epplt shark. <How big is this tank?? Are you sure water quality is not an issue> I have no idea of what to do. <Nor do I. To be honest, would it be possible to send a few pics of the ray and the affected area to my attention?? This will help me to diagnose a little better> or what it is. Please help . <Need more info. Sorry I couldn't be of more help ~Paul> thanks Bart

Ray poisoning from fried powerhead? - 9/8/04 Please help, I have a 150 gallon saltwater tank. I recently had a powerhead (pump) burn up very bad (submerged) and now my ray is very sick. <Crap! Sounds like copper poisoning. Have you checked copper levels? If you have a quarantine tank move the ray. Massive water changes need to be in effect here. I would change more water ASAP!!! Likely there is some copper used in the sealed portion of the powerhead. So if it cracked, there could have been some exposure.> I have tested all I can on water quality and can find no problems. I am changing my water 10 gallons at a time as we speak. <Excellent> I am in Florida, in the middle of a hurricane, so I can not contact my local aquarium shop. Please advise or let me know if you need more info. <Not sure what else it could be> Any suggestions to save my baby would be a great help. <Be sure to supplement your rays diet with vitamins as well. You could try vita-zu from Mazuri. (www.mazuri.com) Sorry for the delay, Wes. I hope your water changes have helped. ~Paul>                 Thanks, Wes

Nematode attack on a ray - 9/29/04 Hi my name is Mike and I have a 300 gal. saltwater tank.  I'm concerned about my California round sting ray that has a perfect circle on its underside, it almost looks as if it is a ringworm.  It is about a half inch in diameter.  I noticed it about two weeks ago and it seems to be getting swollen since then.  I've tried doing some research on it and the closest thing I've found is a cyst or a nematode. <Sounds like a in-cysted nematode or worm creating some scar tissue at the insertion area. It can become infected and scar the animal or worse yet cause the worm to move and start a new area of infection. For treatment try Praziquantel or Droncit tabs (you want tabs not the powder). You need to get it into the bloodstream (internally for organs and tissue treatment). BTW- same stuff that dogs get for deworming).> It doesn't really help because it is a book on fish disease. <Sharks and rays can contract similar issues at times. Especially external (to internal) parasitical infections>  The ray's behavior hasn't changed at all since it has appeared. <Excellent> It eats and is constantly swimming.  I don't know if this would help but I have just recently let my tank go into a fallow for two months because of ich and all I have kept in there were the sting ray and a white spotted cat shark. <Hmmmm....ok>  So there have been no fish in there at all for two months.  Also the night before this ring appeared I was feeding the shark and ray and the ray which is only about 4 inches in diameter took a piece of shrimp that was too big for him to swallow and the shark smelled it and went for it only biting the nose of the ray.  It took a chunk out and turned red.  The next morning there was a ring on its belly away from the bite. <I think completely unrelated>  The ray's nose is fine now and you can't even tell it was bitten but the ring is still there. <Again, these are unrelated>  I don't know what it could be. <Do some research on the web for nematode or parasitical infections of cartilaginous fishes. On a side note, please don't forget to supplement your shark and rays diet with important vitamins. Check out www.mazuri.com. We use the vita-zu shark and ray tabs. I believe (5m24) is the part number.>  Please help. <Hopefully I have helped> Thank you. <~Paul>

Stingrays Are stingrays (SW) sensitive to metal like sharks are? <Yes> Also, do you know of any places that sell Dasyatis kuhlii, I can't find this fish anywhere. <Try DrsFoster&Smith, Marine Center, Marine Depot (.coms)> Also, would a 72" x 24" x 30" suit this fish? Thanks! <Only for a small specimen for a short while. Bob Fenner>

- Stingray Problems - Hi we have a stingray who is light brown in color... the last 24 hours from about 1 centimeter above the stinger down to the tip is turning black, including his stinger. We've only had him for about 3 months so we're not sure if this is normal or not. Any feedback would be appreciated. Lori <Would like to know more about the system you are housing this ray in. Most often responses like this are due to environment, so to better answer you question I need to know more about the environment the ray is in. Cheers, J -- >

- Stingray Problems, Follow-up - He is in a 55 gallon tank which he shares with some community fish.  It is a wet dry filter system that has a spillway which leads to a foam filter and then works its way up and trickles through the blue balls, then pumped through out the tank.  Just recently we had to treat him with some antibiotics that we got from the fish store (not sure of the name) for a white tip on his tail and the very end fell off.  Shortly after that we had an ammonia spike which I believe the biological filter got messed up (which the packaging and fish store say should not have happened).  We weathered the nitrogen cycle once again with only one fish fatality.  The stingray seemed to struggle for a bit but now seems fine.  Last night we noticed what we believe was his stinger (long and white) laying on the bottom of the tank. There is still a black pointy projection in roughly the same spot his stinger was.  His appetite is fine and activity seems normal.  Do you feel this is something fatal or just a change? Your input is greatly appreciated. <Well... I think it's time you fire your local fish store. You've gotten not only bad advice on how to treat this animal, but you've been sold a creature for a system that is much less than adequate to keep this poor animal. You can try to work on water quality, make sure this animal has a soft sand bottom to rest on, but unless you upgrade the size of your tank, this ray will live a short and uncomfortable life. Please consider doing careful research on these animals before you purchase them in the future. At the very least pick up Scott Michael's book Aquarium Sharks and Rays.> Brad <Cheers, J -- >

California Stingray HELP!!  Hey, <Is for horses> I have a round California stingray.  Yesterday I noticed that he started breathing rapidly and his stomach was swollen, not swollen as in he just ate, but looks like a big ball in his stomach. Well I did a 30% water change, new Chemi-pure, checked everything.  Ammonia >0, Nitrite >0, Nitrate = 40, salinity fine 1.024, and pH about 8.2. I work at [an] LFS and asked the more experienced guys and they said it might be a bacterial infection or a parasite (if it I s this how do I treat it??).  I looked on WWM and a guy said his stingray's goiter was swollen due to lack of iodine.  Well I usually add iodine and trace elements according to direction and did so again today. Any ideas, to help him out?  He is breathing rapidly and ate last night, however he ate only 1/4 he usually eats tonight. I am extremely worried... What's up with my buddy?  Chris <Does sound like a goiter... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batoidfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> 

Stingray HELP!!  Hey Bob, I actually just received your e-mail and you put no comments in or advice except for your name at the end, maybe the e-mail was messed up.. <Think so... or somehow I clipped off the message> ...can you please reply with some advice for the ray? He stopped eating this morning, refusing food and is still breathing rapidly with the swollen abdomen. Thank You Chris <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batoidfaqs.htm re goiter... and cure. Bob Fenner> 
Possible goiter in a ray who has stopped eating - 3/7/05, Paul's MUCH better answer
How should I cure it...?  <Well, I am only getting a partial of the information here, and I apologize for that. In most cases if the animal has already stopped eating and is showing swollen organs (throat and or abdomen) then it could be too late. The prescription only relates to preventative actions. You will need to work with a vet to force feed the animal if you do not have a soft tube to force feed the animal. Stabilization of the diet is of most importance. I would either get www.mazuri.com shark and ray tabs and add this as a supplement or something like it. You may have to force feed. Here is a picture of a ray with goiter from our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cartfshsfaqs.htm. Here is an interesting article about Elasmobranches and goiter problems. This should explain a bit about the issue: http://www.susanscott.net/Oceanwatch2002/mar29-02.html and here Hope these help but the bad news is if the ray is not eating and showing signs of goiter there is a high probability that this animal may not make it. Keep water quality high, try various human quality foods and supplement ASAP. Again, you may have to force feed. Good luck and keep me updated. Pictures are always good. ~Paul>

Sharks and Rays in Aquariums
Gaining an understanding of how to keep these fishes in captive saltwater systems   

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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