The Freshwater Stingray

One of my favorite aquarium fish is the freshwater stingray, particularly the ones of the genus Potamotrygon. This fish is not for the beginning hobbyist but if you have some experience this is a fascinating animal. There are many species of stingrays in the wild but you will find just a few species for sale in any local fish store. You can get a wider choice of species from specialized breeders online but they are sold by their common names. Because of this, I will not use the scientific names in this article.

Stingrays are very sensitive to water parameters. They have relatively large kidneys and they produce a lot of ammonia, so make sure you have adequate filtration. The type of aquarium you keep them in very important since they stay at the bottom nearly all the time, a tank with a large bottom area is the best, instead of a taller more narrow tank. Rays get quite large so a tank for an adult specimen must be at least 4 feet by 2 feet, the height can be 2 feet. They are from tropical locations and should have a temperature of around 75° to 80° F. The PH must be maintained at a range between 6.5 to 6.75 and keep the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) below 200.

When buying a new Stingray, stay away from the specimens that have a “curled” disc,this is called the “death curl” since any stingray showing it will surely die soon. A healthy ray always keeps the disc margin flat to the substrate, except when actively moving about the tank. Some people speculate that this is due to kidney failure from over exposing the animal to high levels of ammonia (like when in transit). Other possible signs of sickness are:

- a cloudy or milky film covering the body

- rapid breathing or panting while at rest

- open sores

- showing the pelvic bones, rays in good health should not show this bones.

Make sure its legal to keep Stingrays in your state, some require special permits and some times they are restricted to educational or research facilities. Here is a list of the restricted states:











This is a general guide to classify Stingrays:


Black Rays

Tiger Ray

Motoro Ray

Mantilla Ray

Otorongo Ray

Chocolate Ray

There are a number of Rays being sold as “Teacup” rays while this should be used to determine the size of the ray.

Small-Eyed Rays

China Ray

Antenna Ray

Coly Ray

Ceja Ray

Manzana Ray

Be wary when considering good tank-mates for these fish. Stingrays are usually not aggressive towards bigger fish but don’t mix them with something they can eat since I have lost a few tetras, shrimp and even some cory catfishes. In the other hand I have had plecos that attach themselves to the rays, mostly annoying them but in some cases injuring them.

Feeding is probably the hardest part of ray keeping. When you first buy them is sometimes hard to get them to start eating and here is when I have lost most of my rays. I have found that they like squid, earth worms (still wriggling) and raw red meat. Feed them at least twice per day.

Post time: 12-25-2017