Home | Aquarium Livestock | Freshwater Stingrays: Points to Consider Before Your First Purchase

Freshwater Stingrays: Points to Consider Before Your First Purchase

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Stingrays – mysterious, beautiful and odd – are difficult to resist, and therein lies their main drawback as aquarium fishes. While not particularly delicate, experience with other fishes does not always serve one well where stingrays are concerned. Their husbandry is not well known, and there are a number of special considerations which must be borne in mind.A marine species (the little skate, Leucoraja erinacea) was the first ray to catch my attention. I was about 7 years old, prowling the stalls of NYC’s famous Fulton Fish Market in the pre-dawn light. Accompanied by my grandfather, we were seeking new pets – octopus, turtles, eels and such – that rarely appeared in pet stores at the time. The skates, while living, were in bad shape, but I vowed to give them a try someday. Eventually, freshwater rays appeared in Manhattan aquarium shops, and I was off and running.

Following are some points to consider before purchasing your first freshwater stingray. Having a handle on these matters beforehand will greatly increase your chances of succeeding with these spectacular fishes.

Medical Precautions
Stingrays are venomous animals. While no freshwater species are known to have caused human fatalities, we know very little about the nature of the toxins they produce, and individual sensitivities may be a concern.

Speak with your doctor and arrange for medical care in the event of an emergency before purchasing a stingray.

Selecting an Individual: Size
The small stingrays that appear in the pet trade are not adults but rather are babies of a variety of large species. Even those sold as “teacup rays” will reach at least 18 inches in diameter when mature (2-3 years), and will require a tank measuring 4′ x 2′ x 2′ if they are to thrive. Adults of several trade species approach 3 feet in diameter.

Furnishing the Aquarium
Stingray skin is easily damaged by ornaments that are safe for other fishes; they do best in a sparsely-furnished aquarium. Even small specimens will quickly uproot plants and dislodge filter tubes, aerators and heaters.

Use smooth stones as a substrate. Typical aquarium gravel is too rough and may cause skin lesions. Substrates designed for marine aquariums raise the pH to dangerously high levels and sand, while acceptable, poses water quality problems (please write in for further details).

Stingrays often alight upon aquarium heaters, but seem not to respond to the high temperatures generated. Heaters must always be shielded by a PVC sheath or heavy rocks.

Personal Observations in the Field
While on a field research assignment in Venezuela, I was happily situated within the range of 4 species of freshwater stingrays. The animals spread out onto the flooded grasslands during the rainy season, and were rather easy to find.

The largest individual I observed was dead and floating down the Orinoco River. Spanning nearly 4 feet across, it easily supported the weight of the black vulture that was feeding upon its carcass.

A Hands-On Experience with Stingrays
Please be sure to visit That Fish Place/That Pet Place in Lancaster, PA (the world’s largest pet store) for a chance to hand feed our friendly marine stingrays.

More to follow next week. Until then, please write in with your questions and comments. Thanks, Frank Indiviglio.

Further Reading
Please check out the book Freshwater Stingrays.

An interesting article on the conservation of South American stingrays is posted at http://www.cites.org/common/com/ac/20/E20-inf-08.pdf.

Image referenced from Wikipedia and originally published by Raimond Spekking.


  1. avatar

    I’m interestd in the oddball fishes and wrote about my frogmouth catfish before(still doing well, thanks). I’m dying to get a stingray, and now a few have come into a store near me. The fish person at my pet store has told me that the stingrays he sells will only grow to a size that is limited to the size of the tank. They will not outgrow the tank, but will stay small. According to him, his son has a freshwater Motoro? stingray that is 2 years old but has not grown at all, even though it eats well. It lives comfortably in a 20L aquarium. Is this on the level? Any ideas, thank you.

  2. avatar

    Hello Susan, Frank Indiviglio here. Nice to hear from you again.

    Although there are a few freshwater stingrays that mature at fairly small sizes, most are little-studied and do not appear in the pet trade. The smallest you are likely to encounter (rarely) in a store would belong to the genus Histrix, and reaches 12-14 inches in diameter.

    The concept of “not outgrowing the tank” is often used as a selling point, but is an extremely poor way of choosing a species and an aquarium. Many fishes, when kept in inappropriately small or overcrowded tanks, will become stunted (cease growing). The same occurs in natural ponds from which predators have been removed, allowing sunfishes, yellow perch and others to over-populate the habitat. However, this is a stress response and should not be encouraged, as stunting greatly diminishes the fish’s lifespan and quality of life. The species mentioned by the owner, commonly sold as the motoro stingray (Potamotrygon motoro) reaches 36-40 inches in diameter. An animal housed in a 20 gallon aquarium, and which has not grown in 2 years, is being mistreated.

    Please let me know if you need further information to assist you in making a decision. Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    I have a 4000 gallon pond with some ghost koi and gold fish. I would like to know where I could find a freshwater stingray.Any info. is appreciated.

  4. avatar

    Though Stingrays are imported to retailers across the country, you would just have to find a pet store that carries them, as your average petco/walmart stores will not. I do not recommend that it be housed with koi and goldfish as rays are sensitive to water quality issues. They are tropical, so if your pond is outdoors, it would need to have lower pH, preferably <7.0 and temps maintained at 78F or more year round. Not a good mix for with typical pond fish, and generally NOT a good idea for a pond for many other reasons either.

  5. avatar

    ok my mom just got a stingray really not sure what it is but she did eveything the pet store told her to do and this morning when she got up the stingray was dead what could have caused this and could it be something in the tank im not sure. another thing i would like to ask is what kind of sand should we use in the tank they sold us river bottom sand is this ok for a stingray? thanks

  6. avatar

    There are many variables that could have caused the death of the stingray….water chemistry is usually the first thing to check. They need very well-established, well-maintained aquariums and can be sensitive to changes in pH, ammonia, temp, ect. river bottom sand should be ok if it is just fine sand as I suspect. Are there other fish in the tank? How big is the tank and how long has it been set up? Have you tested the chemistry? Did the fish show any signs of stress or have any marks or injuries?

  7. avatar

    My family would love to have a freshwater stingray! How long should we have the tank set up and running before we add our new ray to it? And what size should the tank be? I have read about tank size from many different websites and books and not a one has stated the same size. and could we put two in the same tank? I would not want it to be alone. (that just seems mean to me)

  8. avatar

    Well, if you want to keep a ray you’ll need to have a well established aquarium…that doesn’t just mean up and running, it means a cycled and stable tank. Have you ever kept aquariums before? If not I would suggest that you start with a freshwater community with some more common and hardy species like tetras and barbs until you can have a better understanding of maintaining water chemistry and the other ins and outs of the hobby. Rays are not what I would recommend for a beginner as they tend to be sensitive to changes in aquarium conditions, and I would hate for you to jump in too quickly just to have your pet perish. By starting with a FW community, you’ll also be one step closer to a well-established environment that can accomodate a ray. As far as size of aquarium, it will depend largely on the species you plan on keeping. Some species have a much smaller mature size than others. Rays like a lot of open sandy surface so a shallower tank with a wide floor is probably best. Have you looked at the various common species available? Even the smallest max out at 10 to 14 inches (disc size), so the recommended tank size is at least a 125 gallon. Some will say you can keep smaller specimens in a smaller tank like a 55 or 75, and though they are usually small at purchase size and may do well for a while in a smaller tank, you risk mortality as they outgrow a smaller tank and filtration becomes inadequate for the bio-load. Best to start them in a large, well-filtered, well-established tank. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I’ll be happy to help.

  9. avatar

    Thank for responding so fast. We were looking to get a 150 gallon tank, and I was wondering once we had it up running and knew the pH levels of the enviroment and found it safe for a ray, In that size of a tank could we keep two? And what species would you recommend, for that size of a tank?
    Thank you very much for your imput I just want to go into this endevour armed with as much knowledge as I can.

  10. avatar

    A 150 should be able to house 2 small rays for some time with plenty of filtration and regular maintenance, though larger is recommended. Some of the most popular rays are P. reticulatus, Teacup Rays. They stay smaller in relation to most other species and they are frequently available in the trade for that reason. Do keep in mind that the pH levels are not the only concern…ammonia and nitrite levels (even very low levels) can be lethal to rays, and regular water changes will be essential to keeping nitrates in check. Rays tend to be dirty eaters and substrate vacuuming will be another maintenance necessity. The idea is to create a stable, clean environment with a population of beneficial bacteria that will keep the tank chemistry steady. Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle and getting the tank to that stable point is the first step to successful fish keeping.

  11. avatar

    Hi. Before I get my TeeCup stingray how long do I have to let my tank grow bacteria for?

  12. avatar

    They need a well established tank so it is not a process to rush…time frame will vary depending on the size of the tank and the number of starter fish you use. Some tanks willl be cyclyed through in 2 weeks, while others can take months to settle. Monitor your chemistry regularly, after you see a spike in nitrite and a spike in ammonia you chould see nothing but nitrate, at which point you’ll do a water change to bring those levels down. It that point you should be able to add more fish, but contunue to monitor levels to be sure the chemistry is stable. The rays should be the last thing you add, when you’re sure the chemistry is established.

  13. avatar

    Hey Frank, this question is reguarding your article on Fresh Water rays. in the article, you mention that sand is not the preferred substrate and instead I should use large smooth stones and you asked to write in for more details on the subject so….thats what im doing. I cannot find more valuable information than yours on the web anywhere and was just wondering why stones are better than sand?
    P.S. I currently own a 300 gallon indoor aquarium that houses a 14-16 inch clownknife fish and a red tail cat about the same size with no substate. and looking to add 3-4 rays to the tank soon and want to add a nice substrate that the rays will enjoy. I am very interested in the hobby and have been doing it for a few years at an increasingly larger rate, but have never had rays before. Thanks for your reply. Keep posting articles.

  14. avatar

    Hello Gregory, Frank Indiviglio here.
    Thanks for the kind words. Actually, fine sand is okay but it tends to become compacted and can easily become stirred-up and will clog certain filters; but if rinsed with a siphon-based gravel washer regularly it is fine for use with rays and will allow them to burrow within. Rocks or gravel sold as “river rock” is also useful; please click here
    for an example; often sold in garden supply and outdoor pond outlets. Please be aware that even the smallest rays can reach 18 inches or so in 2-3 years; many trade species top out at 3 feet or so (those sold are youngsters, not dwarf species); your tank would not likely support 2 for long. Also, aggression for the catfish might be a problem.
    Please let me know if you need further information. Enjoy and please keep me posted,
    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  15. avatar

    Hey frank, thanks for the quick response. Think im definately going to go with the smooth river stones. I’m sorry to bother you again, but I just had one more question (well maybe 2). The rays that I am looking to add are St johns Florida freshwater stingrays which I’m told should stay relatively small (but that could still be huge). Do you think they would be alright at 2 rays for a few years then transfer to 1500 gallon indoor pond? If so, then what is this “aggression” with the catfish that you’re referring to? Like the catfish could get hurt? Or the other way around? Thanks for all the help frank

  16. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback…interesting fish. It should work, size-wise. Many folks keep them for years in smaller tanks, just not ideal as stunting inhibits survival in the long run.

    Red-tailed cats are tricky…I had some yard-long individuals that did not bother smaller fishes, yet attacked soft-shelled turtles (huge zoo exhibit). Others report no problems at all, but they often eat smaller tankmates sooner or later. With rays, I would worry about non-food related attacks – territoriality or whatever – especially as they share the same part of the tank.

  17. avatar

    hi i have a couple of questions, i seen a freshwater sting ray and very cheap, i have a lot of knowledge in aquarium keeping. i have a 180 gallon fish tank and with in the aquarium i have a small 6in red tailed catfish, a 7in lima shovelnose and two 5in oscars would a 180 gallon fish tank be a big enough tank for the 8in stingray and would he possibly see my other fish as food? ive never had a string ray so i thought id gather some information before i buy and have him stressed out or worse die on me, thanks for the help

  18. avatar

    With the current stock in the tank the 180 will already be stretched to its limit as those fish mature. It is usially recommended that rays be given a large tank to themselves as they too grow large and need the space. The other fish in the tank also pose a threat to the rays as they may harrass the ray if it is exposed. Damage caused to the ray’s tissues will open them quickly to bacterial and fungal infections. I would recommend against the addition of the ray to this aquarium in its current state.

  19. avatar

    I want to buy a Florida freshwater stingray and was told they grow to 14″ I have a 125 gallon and have housed many tropical fish in it like piranha, Florida gar, tiger Oscars ect… So I already know how to maintain the water chemistry I guess what im asking is will my 125 be ablr to house the stingray and if it grows more than 14″ how long from a baby will I be able to keep it? I also have a thin layer of sand at the bottom so I imagine for a stingray I’d have to put a lot more in.

  20. avatar


    It’s a good idea to ask for the fishes’ Latin name, as many different species are often sold under the same common names. However, if the species reaches 14″, it would not do well in a 125 as an adult. In addition to the lack of swimming space, water quality would be hard to control…ammonia levels etc. spike rapidly when a large fish is kept in a small aquarium; filtration may not be able to offset this as the fish grows. You can start the ray off in that tank, and if possible upgrade as it matures (and, as we all do, then put other fishes in the 125!).

    Rays are hard to resist, but you are wise to plan ahead, I hope all goes well, pl let me know if you need more info, best, Frank

  21. avatar

    Hi Frank
    Thanks for your unselfish wisdom on an amazing hobby. I am cycling a 150 gallon for a couple of weeks now. The levels are all good. I would love a ray so should I start with one or should I start with other fish that are suitable and add the ray last. What type of fish do you recommend, how many and which ray do you suggest. I have the capabilities to go bigger in the future but I want to start somewhere. Thanks so much for yourtime..

  22. avatar

    Hello Joe,

    Thanks for the kind words and very sorry for the delay. I missed seeing your comment somehow. I would establish the ray first…much more risky if other fish are in tank. I prefer to keep rays alone, as they are easily stressed, and many fish harass them, if only by their movements, etc. Also, as it will be growing, best to supply with as much room as possible, and limit strain on filter etc. Once it settles in, there are possibilities we can discuss, but I’d hold off on other fishes for now.

    Enjoy and please keep me posted, Frank

  23. avatar

    Hi, Frank
    Im gonna get a freshwater stingray probably a P. Motoro, it will be in a 4 x 2 x 2 tank for a year and then housed in a 10 x 5 x 5 for the rest of its life, is it okay? Or do I need to get a larger tank than the 4 x 2 x 2?

  24. avatar


    4 x 2 x 2 would be appx 55 gallons, I believe; good starting tank…how long it will be suitable depends upon species, diet, temperature and other factors, but you’ll be able to judge as time goes on. Sounds like you are wisely planning ahead – enjoy and please keep me posted, Frank

  25. avatar

    Thanks for the quick reply Frank 🙂
    If the ray outgrows the 55 gallon tank, im gonna buy a new tank for it because I have extra money 😀
    ( probably 300 gallon because i need it for my common snapping turtle in the future) 🙂

  26. avatar

    My pleasure…you like them big, I see! very nice to hear you’ll be providing a proper home for the snapper; one of my favorites, raise 1a hatchling each year for my nephew, always tempted to keep one long term; the brute pictured in this article was under my care at the Bx Zoo – 65-70 lbs.; photo of a 206 lb alligator snapper, and another of the large common snapper, here..is one of these in your future?!

  27. avatar

    My snapping turtle eats a lot, and also poops a lot, lol, he loves superworms, everybody who has seen him says his cute but scary, haha I hope mine will get as big as the one in the pic 😀

  28. avatar

    The heaviest ever recorded was a captive..81 lbs I believe, but they do tend to get obese as adults so be careful. I’ve always fed them and most turtles outside of their main aquarium, in a container that is easily dumped and rinsed. Saves work, filter changes, etc.

    Please keep me posted, enjoy, Frank

  29. avatar

    Hi frank. I recently got a 150 gallon tank and rescued 2 red ear slider turtles. I got the tank mainly so I can get a sting ray! I’m PRETTY SURE this is not possible but I’m wondering if there is any way I can put them together?

  30. avatar

    Hi Joanna,

    Nice of you to rescue the turtles but you’re right…star working towards your next 150, as there’s no way to mix them! Turtles dump huge amounts of ammonia into the water, and chase fish even if too large to eat; also there’s the stress factor of their movements, space that land takes up, need for different temperature ranges etc…please check out this article on slider care and let me know if you need more info. Try to feed them outside the tank…even with a good filter, it’s very hard to maintain water quality if they are fed in the tanks. best, Frank

  31. avatar

    Hi Frank. You mention feeding rays and fish outside of the tank to preserve water quality. How is this possible? Or did you only mean feeding turtles outside of the tank? Thanks

  32. avatar

    Hi Matthew,

    Turtles…yes, that is one of the best ways to maintain water quality. Not possible with rays and other fish, however…I don’t believe it’s been mentioned in a fish article, but if so please let me know so that I can check. Thank you, best, Frank

  33. avatar

    I have a well established tank with discus and one Ray today I noticed within 3 hours after I fed there was a spot on the Ray about the size of a pencil eraser that the skin peeled off and a spot on the disc on the very edge was white about half inch long all the water levels are in good parameters as I do daily water changes. What could this be and how do I treat it

  34. avatar

    Hello Jon, You mention that you do daily water changes but have you actually tested the water today to verify your levels? Checking water chemistry is always the first step if something unexplained comes up (the same way that the doctor will always take vital signs no matter what you go in for). Assuming that everything there is ok, it sounds like it is probably a wound or bacterial infection from your description. If you can send us a photo, someone here can take a look at it for you to verify (marinebio@thatpetplace.com). For wounds, you can use a topical treatment like a dab of iodine or an ointment like Hikari Bio-Bandage or even OTCs like Neosporin. If you have a quarantine system, you can treat with a water-based anti-bacterial medication as well.

  35. avatar

    Hello Mr. Indiviglio, I have been wanting a stingray for a while now, and I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a freshwater or saltwater stingray. I would like to know what species you prefer and what size tank it should be able to thrive in. Thanks in advance.

  36. avatar

    Hello Caden, Frank is no longer with our blog but I’d be happy to help you out. That is a tough question to answer since everyone has a personal preference. I would recommend that you start with deciding what size tank you are able to have and how much you are able to spend on it as far as both money and time and then go from there to see if a stingray is right for you. A tank for a specialty animal like a stingray takes a lot of time to make sure the equipment, tank setup and water quality is just right for it and can get very expensive very quickly. Some of the most popular stingrays are Teacup and Motoro Stingrays in freshwater and Cortez and Bluespotted Stingrays in saltwater.

  37. avatar

    Thank you for the info, I’ll take that into consideration.

  38. avatar

    Mrs. Daub, if you don’t mind me asking any more questions, I would like to know what the smallest Freshwater Stingray is and what size tank they need, because I have a tight budget for the cost of the tank and the extra accessories that they need to thrive. Thanks in advance.

  39. avatar

    The smallest that you’d see in the the aquarium hobby would be a Teacup Stingray. They can get up to about 12-15 inches across and should have at least a 90 gallon tank, preferably over 120 gallons as adults.

  40. avatar

    nice article, thanks

  41. avatar

    So I was wondering if I got a tank that was 42x30x28 would it be able to house just one teacup Ray or is this still too small of a tank for a teacup Ray?

  42. avatar

    Hello Wyatt, Assuming those measurements are in inches, that may be sufficient depending on the exact species of the “Teacup Ray” and as long as it is well-filtered. It is definitely on the borderline of being small for an adult of some species and “teacup Ray” is a very general term.

  43. avatar

    My “teacup” is 18″ in diameter and kept in a 240 gallon tank which is 8′ x 2′ x 2′. I feel terrible about that it is way too small. I am in the process of getting a tank 450 gallons or bigger. Also like stated above “teacup” is a generic term and could mean 1 of 3 species usually. My “teacup” is potamotrygon reticulatus. I actually have 3 of them. 2 females and 1 male and have successfully bred them.

    I also have mini marbled motors which stay relatively small. Generally maxing out at 13″.

  44. avatar

    I have a 150 gallon which is 48″ x 30″ x 24″. And I was wondering if it could house Montoro stingrays, since they are relatively the hardiest stingray and also much cheaper than other breeds. Also, if it isn’t big enough, is it big enough for teacup rays and how many exactly?

  45. avatar

    Hello Jaraad, Motoro Stingrays can get up to 2-3′ in diameter so that tank would be on the small side for a Motoro. As we mentioned in this blog, a Teacup Stingray should have a tank that is at least 4′ x 2′ x 2′ so you should be able to keep one or two Teacup Stingrays in this tank.

  46. avatar

    How about a hystrix? And which do you suggest going for hystrix or teacup as in reticulate?

  47. avatar

    Hi Jaraad, The Hystrix Stingray (Potamotrygon hystrix) can grow to about 14 inches in diameter with a very long tail and would grow a bit large for the 150-gallon tank you mentioned before. They are also very rare since they are coming from Brazil and the export from Brazil is strictly regulated; most “Potamotrygon hystrix” sold are rarely ever actually that species. A Teacup Stingray (Potamotrygon reticulata) would still be your best bet for a tank that relatively small.

  48. avatar

    Thank you Eileen, I really appreciate the quick reply. Good info on stingrays is hard to get, I consider myself lucky.

  49. avatar

    So I visited my lfs and they said they can only bring in Motoros, Pearls and BDs. As BDs are a bit out of my budget, should I consider a pearl?

  50. avatar

    Hello Jaraad, I’m not sure what species you are referring to by “Pearl” and “BD”. If you have scientific names, that would be helpful since common names like those can vary and aren’t standard. For the 150-gallon aquarium that you’ve mentioned before, I would recommend a species that grows no larger than around 18 inches. For a list of all River Stingrays and their maximum sizes, you can look at this Family Potamotrygonidae page from Fishbase.org. The sizes here are in centimeters.

  51. avatar

    By the Pearl I meant the Potamotrygon sp. “Pearl” and by BD I meant the Potamotrygon Leopoldi Black Diamond.

  52. avatar

    Jaraad, a pearl still has the potential to get very large. 26″ or bigger in some cases. Hystrix would be your best bet if you can find them. I have acquired a pair of hystrix and am going to be housing them permanently in a 180 gallon tank by themselves. The do NOT get long tails as mentioned above. They are very hard to come by and might cost you a pretty penny. I will most likely be selling pups if I am that lucky for around $700.00 each.

  53. avatar

    Well to back up my previous statement from 12/7/2017, I have housed my hytrix in a 240 gallon tank with just bichirs and clown knife. So basically just the 2 rays. They have successfully bred and I am currently waiting impatiently for baby hystrix. I am very excited about the whole ordeal. I will keep you all posted with the results of the birth. I expect late April early May for the birth of the pups.

  54. avatar

    My female hystrix had her babies. 2 pups, 1 male, 1 female! To my surprise they are half retic and half hystrix. I will not be selling these two pups. I am just very excited that everything has gone well so far!!

  55. avatar

    All I know is when you go swimming in the lake in Loma Linda, Colombia, we lined up and waded out doing a series of jamming a stick into the sand in an arc in front of us to scare the rays away. Otherwise you end like one of the boys with a quick airplane ride to Bogota for an expensive stay that will hopefully save your leg, which for him was by no means certain, and down there they have experience with ray hits. Rays may have never killed anyone, but neither have a brown recluse spiders. Rays can do plenty of damage and it isn’t like other injuries that heal up without a trace. I have no idea what they sell in pet stores or what size can do how much damage. I’m just saying don’t treat the authors medical precaution as just one of those CYA statements you are so accustomed to seeing and blowing off.

  56. avatar

    Are there any fish you would recommend having in the tank with the little skate?

  57. avatar

    Hi Edmund, Stingrays are best kept alone or with other stingrays only, but if the tank is large enough, they can be kept with larger peaceful fish like Severum, Geophagus, Knifefish, larger tetras and similar mid- to upper-level fish.

  58. avatar

    Hello Edmund. I keep potamotrygon, not skates, but I keep my rays with arowana, peacock bass, datnoids, bichirs, severum, clown knives, payara, and will be putting an mbu in there as well, and I use tinfoil barbs as a cleanup crew since they get rather large.

    I have been keeping my rays like this for 5 years now. I have ad no issues. Just realize that rays are opportunistic hunters and whatever you put in with them could become a potential snack! It’s always a risk so think hard about what you want and how much you want to spend.

  59. avatar

    Thanks! This was very informative. Would you believe I couldn’t find anything on the Internet about my query? It was all just stuff on what not to put into the tank with it.

  60. avatar

    I want a turtle and a stingray together what tank should I get?

  61. avatar

    Hi Anonymous, I really wouldn’t recommend that at all…stingrays and turtles are not compatible tankmates. The turtles would likely get very nippy towards the stignray and the ray could potentially harm the turtle with its venomous barb. If you would like to keep both, set up separate tanks for each with the proper environments and tankmates for each.

  62. avatar


    I have been in the hobby for about 15 years with various types of fish and aquatic animals of varying difficulties. I am currently putting up a 200 gallon with a floor space of 72″ x 24″ which will be run with in sump heating. I also like to use around a #20 sand, but obviously will accommodate substrate to my stock’s needs.

    I’ve always loved the look of rays and I was wondering if there is any species I could keep in my tank that could grow to their full potential size and be happy. I like watching when fish have the ability to act like fish; aren’t maxed out and in an area only big enough to turn around in. I would be stocking otherwise based on what is compatible.

  63. avatar

    Hi Grace, The most common of the “Teacup Stingrays”, Potamotrygon reticulata (aka the Reticulated Ray) would probably be your best bet. They get up to about 14″ in diameter which would be a bit tight for a 24″-wide tank but if you start it small, it would be awhile before you would need to worry about possibly needing to upgrade.

  64. avatar

    Just FYI again with the “teacup” This terminology was originated by pet stores when they began first importing them. The term was used when they did not know what they had. I hate this term and it should be eradicated from the freshwater stingray world. There is no such thing as a “teacup”. As a ray keeper for about 8 years now and a breeder of reticulated rays, I can promise you they get bigger than 14″. My 2 females were pushing 19″ in diameter. Also take into consideration retics have very long tails. I have stated this before, but if you truly want smaller rays Hystrix, and Scobina are the smallest of rays. I also breed hystrix. My female is maxed out at about 14″ and my one male is 10″ while my other male is 8″ in diameter. Scobina which I don not own yet are even smaller with the females usually maxing out at about 12″. I know all of this from personal experience. I am sorry but there is way to much misinformation out there about freshwater stingrays. I hope I cleared some of that up here.

  65. avatar

    Hi Jeff, We would agree with the “teacup” misnomer as discussed in the Selecting An Individual section of this blog and throughout the Comments section.

  66. avatar

    ?These can be fed with daphnia

  67. avatar

    Hello Ahmaz, Daphnia would be too small for stingrays. Larger meaty foods would be more appropriate. The best food would depend on the size of the stingray but some examples would be worms, clams, shrimp, scallops, mussels, krill or similar foods.

  68. avatar

    Hi im planning a stingray tank with geos my tank diameter is 60LX45WX24H was mondering how many bd rays i can fit in it also how many geo’s?and im planning 2 have 2 external sump filters and 2 overhead filter or maybe 3 is this enough filtration pls advice

  69. avatar

    Hello Vincent, I’m not sure what kind of ray you are referring to. Those dimensions would be a tank size of about 280 gallons. The number of rays and Geophagus you could have would depend on the species of each. Similarly, the filtration would depend on the size of the filters and their capacity. I don’t have enough information here to be able to make recommendations for you.

  70. avatar

    i have changed my mind and my tank size will be 80x48x24 and the filtration will be 4 overhead filters with a flow rate of 1000/h and 2 small sumps 8×824 attached to a simillar powerhead 1000 liter/ hour
    and im changing the geos for frontosas ray i had in mind was a pair of black diamond and a pair of motoro but thats just it im not sure if my tank is big enough and if my filtration is adequate also plan to put 4 biofoams in you see i have a very limited space as i live in a condo

  71. avatar

    8x8x24 size of the sump 2 peaces of it as its a double stand and im afraid if i make the sump taller it will hit the ceiling

  72. avatar

    Hi Vincent, Are those rates liters per hour or gallons per hour? 1000 liters per hour would definitely not be enough; 1000 gallons per hour should be sufficient. Frontosas and rays would not be suitable since they are from different regions and water parameters. That tank footprint would not be suitable for either Black Diamond or Motoros; “Teacup” Rays would be a better choice for that footprint.

  73. avatar

    Ok assuming i go all out and increase the length of my tank to 10ft i have a friend who kept his 2 motoros in a 9 ft tank with 6 5inch frontosa they seem to be peaceful is there other tangyikan cichlid that would be ok with rays in terms of behavior alto?juli?

  74. avatar

    Hi Vincent, I wouldn’t recommend keeping Tanganyikan cichlids with rays. They are from very different environments with very different water parameters, especially pH and hardness. For dimensions, the length you had is fine but the width could be a problem. The rays you mentioned grow to a very large diameter and the footprint you mentioned is very narrow for them. The length is fine but the width should be larger.

  75. avatar

    Hi, i am going to get 2 freshwater sting ray pups soon for my 7’x3’x2.6′ aquarium. i am thinking of getting pisces sugar white aquarium sand (and they claim natural). is this suitable for motoro sting rays? and how deep should the sand bed be?

    let me know

    thank you

  76. avatar

    Hi Joe, That isn’t a brand that we carry in the US but from what I’m seeing, it looks like it should be fine. The depth should be enough to cover your ray but isn’t too important…2-3″ should be enough.

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.