Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Leopoldi Stingrays

I had a request to put up some information on leopoldi stingrays. Leopoldi stingrays are not recommended for beginner stingray keepers mainly because of their price. Due to the ban on export of stingrays from Brazil the price of leopoldi stingrays and other black stingrays has sky rocketed within the past few years. However black stingrays are in my opinion and many others the nicest of all stingrays, they are near impossible to aquire. They reach an adult size of 30" and a tank of at least 8'x4' is required to house full grown stingrays. A 6'x2' tank would make a good temporary grow out tank for these stingrays. A leopoldi's color and pattern intensifes as it gets older.
Young leopoldis:
Older leopoldi pictured in front:

common stingrays

Hi guys,

I decided to start the site by posting some information on some of the more common available stingrays. In previous posts you can read about the 2 most common stingrays-motoros and retics. Most fish stores do not carry freshwater stingrays. If you would like to purchase a freshwater stingray and are unable to find one locally, please contact me through this blog and I can recommend an online store for you to purchase from.

Potamotrygon hystrix

The hystrix stingray can be a difficult species to understand. This is because there are 2 different kinds of hystrix-the "true" hystrix and the "fake" hystrix. The true hystrix is from Brazil. As I stated in previous posts-there is a ban from exporting stingrays from Brazil. This makes it very difficult to find true hystrix stingrays. The fake hystrix stingrays are usually other common available stingrays with some-what similar patterns such as-orbinyi,humerosa and sometimes yepezi stingrays. Fake or false hystrix are from Peru. The true hystrix gets to be around 14", making it one of the smaller species of stingrays. A young hystrix stingray can be kept in a standard 125 gallon tank but as it gets older a tank with a minimum footprint of 6'x30' will be required.
The following picture is of a true hystrix stingray:

Potamotrygon Humerosa
The humerosa stingray is a common stingray. It is not one of the smaller rays and can reach an adult size between 20"-25". A pond would be much better for these stingrays. The minimum size grow out tank for these stingrays would be a standard 180 gallon(6'x2'x2'). A tank for an adult humerosa should have a footprint of at least 8'x6' with a good filtration system. A humerosa's pattern gets more intensified as it gets older.

Potamotrygon Orbinyi
The orbinyi stingrays get to be around the same same as humerosa stingrays. They are often falsely sold as hystrix stingrays. Obrinyis get a lot larger than hystrix.
Below is a picture of one of my orbinyi stingrays that I no longer have:Photobucket

retic stingrays

Retic stingrays are generally referred to as "teacup stingrays" by many fish stores because when stingrays are under 5" it is sometimes hard to identify them. Most of the time these "teacup stingrays" are reticulated(retic for short) stingrays. Retic stingrays can get to reach an adult size of 14"(disk size, when a measurement is given for a stingray it is referring to the disk, not including the tail). Retic stingrays, although cheap and readily available are not good stingrays for new stingray keepers. This is due to the fact that they are usually very unhealthy in fish stores and difficult to get to eat. I would not recommend buying a retic stingray that is under 6" because once the stingray hits 6" it is more stable and more likely to survive. If you find a retic stingray over 6" that is healthy and eating, then I would say it is safe to buy it. The thing about retic stingrays is that although they have a smaller disk size compared to other rays, their tails get really long so they still require a larger tank. Some people say that it is okay to start a retic stingray off in a 75 gallon tank, I would have to disagree. Unless you had a really, really good filtration system and did a ton of water changes-75 gallons is just not a big enough water volume to dilute the high amount of waste that stingrays produce. This is the problem with to many people trying to keep stingrays in tanks that are to small-they end up with an ammonia spike. I would say that a 125 gallon tank is a much more appropriate grow out tank(note that it is only a grow out tank, unfortunetly no stingray can live in a 125 gallon tank for life). A standard 75 gallon tank has a 4'x18". a 125 gallon has a 6'x18" footprint. A 125 gallon tank gives you an extra 2' of length and also an extra 50 gallons. This is a much better start. A 6'x30" tank can house a male retic stingray for life but I would recommend an 8'x3' tank for females. In all species of stingrays, females grow larger.

Pictures(again note that none of these pictures are mine):

motoro stingrays

hello everybody,
I thought that I would post some more information on the motoro stingrays that I talked about in the first post. Motoro stingrays, along with retics are the stingrays that are most available. If you have the space to accomodate a full grown motoro then these are great rays for you. They are hardy, easily available(as far as stingrays go), known to be easy to get eating and they come in many variations and cool patterns. Some of the motoro variations include marbled motoro, chain link motoro, triple spot motoro and blue motoro. Blue motoros lose their color as they age. If cared for properly, stingrays can be expected to live for about 15 years. Smaller motoros can be kept in standard 180 gallon tanks(6'x2'x2') as a "grow-out" tank and can be moved to larger tanks eventually into ponds as they get older. The minimum size tank for a full grown motoro should have a footprint of at least 8'x4'. A full grown motoro will make that tank look small considering that they can grow to have a disk of 30"+ and that is not including the tail. Something 10'x6' would be a lot better. When you purchase a motoro stingray(or any stingray) make sure that you will be able to upgrade the tank because stingrays do grow and quick. A well feed motoro should outgrow a standard 180 gallon in about 1.5 years. As stated in the first post, a pond is much better for stingrays because it allows the stingrays to have a larger footprint. A tank 18" deep will be fine for most stingrays. Try to put minimal decor in a stingray tank to allow for maximum swimming space.

Pictures(none of the pictures below are of my stingrays):

common motoro
chainlink motoro
blue motoro(you can see the blue around the edges of the disk)

Monday, June 23, 2008

First Post!

Hello everybody,
This is the first post on freshwaterstingray.blogspot.com! I'm still trying to get the layout the way that I want for the site-trying to get some cooler colors. I'm going to update this site weekly with pictures and new information so be sure to check back every week!

Below are a few pictures of my old potamotrygon orbinyi stingrays that I no longer have. Almost all freshwater stingrays kept in home aquaria are from the potamotrygon genus. Potamotrygon stingrays are native to the Amazon River in South America.

The smallest species of stingray in the potamotrygon genus is P.(short for potamotrygon) scobina which reach a disk size(not including the tail) of around 13 inches. The reason that P.scobina along with several other species are almost never seen in the united states is because there is currently a ban on exporting stingrays from Brazil.

Large tanks are required to keep stingrays. A lot of people use indoor ponds to house there stingrays because they are 1.)cheaper and 2.)stingrays need a larger foot print which is easier to provide in a pond vs. a tank.

The stingrays that you will see in the pictures below where in a quarantine tank-a quarantine tank is used to make sure that your fish are healthy before adding them to your main display tanks. Also if a fish is required to be treated with medicine the quarantine tank has a smaller volume=less medicine=less money.

Where I live freshwater stingrays are rarely found locally and when they are they are not in good shape. When purchasing a stingray there are several things to look for 1.)make sure that there is not a dent on the forehead 2.)make sure that the pelvic bones are not sticking up, these are both signs of severe weight loss 3.)young rays can be very difficult to get to eat, if you are purchasing the fish locally make sure that you watch it eat 4.)make sure that the ray's disk lies flat and is not curved around the edges, this is a common disease known as the death curl and will most likely(obviously) result in death. and 5.)make sure that there is not a white fungus around the barb.

The most common sold stingrays are retic(short for reticulated) and motoro stingrays. Retic stingrays are generally sold as "teacup stingrays" when they are under 5"-this is extremely incorrect. Retics can reach a disk size of around 14" with larger tails than other species of stingrays. Smaller retics are known to be very hard to get to eat.

When you get your stingrays you should first try feeding them either live blackworms or bloodworms because there strong scent attracts stingrays to them. Other foods for stingrays include earthworms, knightcrawlers, ghost shrimp, shrimp, krill, crayfish, beefheart, clams, mussels, silversides and occasional feeder fish.

Motoros are very hardy(as far as stingrays go) and make great first rays. However they get pretty big, their disk can get to be larger than 30"! This is why a lot of stingray keepers have ponds and not tanks.

A 30" fish needs a big filtration system. A DIY wet dry filter is the best way to go. For more information google DIY wet dry filter and you will get a ton of good info. The best thing about a wet dry filter is that you can customize them to your needs.

Another essential part of setting up a stingray tank/pond is a heater. Stingrays, unlike regular aquarium fish can not sense the heat produced by a heater-therefore you will need some type of guard to prevent the stingrays from getting burnt. I recommend you heat your stingray tank to 82F.

A stingrays disk is very sensitive and you need to be careful of everything that you put in the tank, most people keep bare-bottom tanks because it is easy to clean and you don't risk having your stingray get cut on anything, but if you don't like that look I recommend pool filter sand-it is cheap and doesn't stick to rays another alternative is pea gravel.

The key to keeping stingrays healthy are water changes. Change at least 50% of the water in your tank twice a week. Possibly more depending on your stocking level, size of tank and filtration system. Remember to add dechlorinator and make sure the temperature and ph of the water entering the tank are the same as the water currently in the tank.

As an ending note, stingrays are called STINGrays for a reason-they can sting and it will hurt-badly, always handle your stingray with extreme care. They are venomous animals-respect that. Use heavy gloves when working in a tank with stingrays and try to never lift them out of the water, use rubbermaid containers if you ever have to move them from tank to tank. Try never to use a net as a stingray's barb can get caught in the holes in the net.

To sum everything that you just read up:
-you need a large tank with a large footprint, preferably a pond to keep stingrays
-there are several signs to look for to insure that you are buying a healthy ray
-a wet dry is the best type of filtration for a stingray tank
-you need a heater guard
-you need to do a lot of waterchanges
-stingrays are venomous animals that need to be treated with respect

And now for the pictures of my old orbinyi stingrays: