If you have a big collection of fish in your aquarium, you may have considered getting a stingray.
Stingrays are closely related to sharks. Their skeleton is made of cartilage, which is why they glide through the water.
Perhaps the most important feature of a stingray is its stinger, which needs to be handled with care.
Taking care of a freshwater aquarium stingray is not difficult. In fact, they require some of the same necessities that other freshwater fish do.
If you’re interested in these majestic creatures, look no further. Here’s what you need to know about freshwater aquarium stingrays.
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The 10 Best Freshwater Aquarium Stingrays
1. Eclipse Stingray
The Eclipse stingray is a beautiful freshwater stingray. It has a deep black color, spattered with specks of white spots. Though the patterns vary, these spots can be round or collected in a moon shape.
The Eclipse stingrays can grow to be around 24 inches. It also has many spines along its tail, which is important to note as these carry their venom. The shorter fin on their back is paddle-shaped.
Because this is one of the most popular stingrays, you won’t find it for a cheap price. If you’re willing to spend, this is a great first-time stingray.
2. Black Diamond Stingray
A stingray that’s similar to the Eclipse is the Black Diamond stingray. This ray looks very much like the Eclipse but has a few subtle differences. For starters, it has a much darker body and brighter white spots.
Additionally, this Stingray has white spots around the eyes, as well as a double row of spots on the edge of its disk. Some of the spots found on the Black Diamond even form shapes and letters!
The Black Diamond species is another great option for a freshwater stingray. It’s more affordable than the Eclipse, but is just as fascinating and beautiful.
3. Motoro Stingray
The Motoro stingray is a common stingray found among the tanks of aquarists. This ray has many variations in its spots and colors, plus it’s affordable.
Spots are a common feature on stingrays, and the Motoro has plenty. Its spots are bigger in the middle of its back, while they gradually get smaller closer to the disk’s edge.
The most common Motoro stingray is a sandy color with dark spots. Some spots also have rings of a lighter brown color or darker colors. This stingray is also a bit larger than most, as it grows up to 30 inches.
4. Flower Stingray
The Flower Stingray has the most exquisite designs among stingrays. This stingray commonly grows up to be around 24 inches in captivity.
The Flower Stingray has a darker brown base color on its body. On top of that, there are hundreds of light brown flower-shaped spots all over. It’s definitely a stingray that’s sure to catch your eye.
Although this stingray is beautiful, you still have to be careful with its spines along its tail. These stingrays aren’t known to be aggressive, but they do use their barbs. Just do your best to be gentle with them and not startle them.
5. Mottled Stingray
The Mottled stingray has a unique appearance from the rest of the rays. The adult Mottled stingray grows to only half the size of other stingrays, up to 14 inches.
As for looks, the Mottled stingray has a dark black or brown color. It’s covered with lighter, irregularly-shaped patterns that twist over its whole body. It also has small light brown spots that form a ring around the edge of its disk.
Although this stingray is smaller than others, it still requires a large tank to house its growth. Invest in a spacious tank to give it enough room to swim and hide.
6. Black Stingray
The Black Stingray is a variation of the Eclipse and Black Diamond rays. It has a similar growth pattern of up to 30 inches. This is one of the bigger rays that can still fit into an aquarium.
The Black Stingray is a lighter black color and has large white spots all around that give it a polka-dotted look. The contrast between its base and spots make it a popular choice for aquarists.
The Black Stingray does have spines, but there aren’t as many as some of the other rays. This may be a better option if you’ve never kept a ray.
7. Galaxy Stingray
The Galaxy Stingray is sure to make you feel dreamy with its space-like patterns. This ray has a dark base that can be black or dark brown depending on the ray. It also has a design of small white spots in various sizes.
Unlike other rays, the Galaxy is actually born brown, then transitions into black with age. With time, their dark spots also turn into a whiter variation.
It’s easy to see why this ray is a favorite, since it resembles a starry night sky so much! This ray grows up to be 26 inches at full length.
8. Mosaic Stingray
Most of the freshwater aquarium stingrays you come across are a dark black or brown color. If you’re looking for something different, get a Mosaic ray!
A Mosaic ray has a very light body base, usually a beige color. Covering the white base are brown lines that are arranged in a mosaic pattern. These designs get smaller in size the closer they get to the edge of the stingray’s back.
Mosaic stingrays grow up to be 18 inches in size. However, it’s very unlikely that they grow that much in captivity; they usually reach 14 inches.
9. Marbled Motoro Stingray
The Marbled Motoro stingray is a variant of the Motoro species. This stingray is usually found in the same place as other Motoro rays, which is in parts of the Amazon rivers.
The Marbled Motoro gets its name for its unique marbled design. This ray has the brightest designs from the other rays because it stands out the most. It has a deep blackish brown color with bright orange spots across its body.
At its largest size, the Marbled Motoro can grow up to be 18 inches in diameter, so it’s not too big, and not too small.
10. Mantilla Stingray
A great stingray that’s both beautiful and easy to care for is the Mantilla. The Mantilla stingray is found naturally in the rivers of Brazil.
This stingray has delicate, but beautiful designs across its back. On either a blue or golden back, the stingray has tiny scribbled markings. You can’t really see them from far away, but up close they look sporadic and spectacular.
The Mantilla is also capable of growing to be very large. They’re often found at a size of 24 inches, but they can grow much larger.
Freshwater Stingray Aquarium Tank Mates
Freshwater aquarium stingrays make good neighbors for many fish. They work best with fish that aren’t too aggressive or fast-paced.
Some tank mate possibilities include many species of Severums, or Cichlids, like the Red-face Gold Severums. Other good neighbors could be many types of Knifefish, such as Clown Knife or Black Ghost Knife.
Freshwater Stingray Aquarium Care
Stingrays require special types of housing and water to live healthily. This makes them more suitable for a seasoned aquarist. However, once you set up their home, they’re very easy to care for.
When you first get your Stingray, make sure that you create an environment that’s free from stress. The less stress your stingray has, the more likely they are to survive their first few days in a new environment. So, get them used to the water in your tank before introducing other tank mates.
As far as sickness goes, it’s very easy to tell when a stingray is sick. They don’t eat their food as much, and they may start to breathe heavily. This behavior is a sure sign of sickness, and you should take them to a vet as soon as you can.
Stingrays’ Natural Habitat
Freshwater stingrays live in Southeast Asia, South America, and Australia. They’re found in the rivers and surrounding drainage systems. Stingrays also have saltwater varieties that live in oceans and seas.
Stingrays prefer a sandy or muddy environment, as they like to burrow under it from time to time. They live in room temperature waters, and extreme climates are unsuitable for thriving.
Water Requirements for Stingrays
As freshwater aquarium stingrays are tropical fish, they require tropical water. They prefer water that’s on the warmer side, so a good temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. A few degrees give or take is okay, but it’s safer to stay close to the range.
As far as pH levels go, stingrays are pretty hearty fish. They can survive in many water types, but the ideal pH is between six and seven. If you’re having trouble softening water, use a bit of driftwood to naturally lighten the pH.
Housing Requirements for Stingrays
Stingrays require a few special items in their home. For starters, they generally need a larger tank than most other freshwater fish.
Because of their large sizes, 70 gallons is the minimum tank size you should use. So, it’s actually better to go with 125-250 gallons. Your stingray tank should also be around five feet long and have a width of 18 inches.
This tank size allows them to grow and swim freely. The more space they have, the happier they are going to be.
Once you have your tank, make sure to fill it with a fine substrate for the stingrays. Gravel and rocks are oftentimes too coarse and cut the stingray’s skin. Avoid this by getting very fine sand to create a smooth and deep substrate.
Because stingrays live on the bottom of the tank, it’s important to note that they are most likely to uproot. Any decorations or plants you have are at risk of being removed by the stingrays. It’s best to just have a plain tank bottom.
Stingrays also take over aquarium heaters, pipes, and another tubing. Though they don’t mind these items in the tank, you can cover them with rocks. This helps keep the objects intact and allows them to stay in place.
The best tank mate for your stingray is the one that isn’t too aggressive or small. Larger fish are a good option because the stingray won’t perceive them as food. This avoids any stingray attacks on the little guy.
You should also avoid putting in fish that are aggressive. They can attack your stingray and put its life at danger.
Other bottom-dwelling fish, such as plecos and loaches, should be added with caution. Because these fish all live at the bottom of the tank, there would be competition for space. More competition means more aggression, leading to fights.
What Does a Freshwater Stingray Eat?
Freshwater stingrays are omnivores in nature. They feed on crustaceans and other invertebrates, as well as small fish in their habitat. In an aquarium, they can feed on shrimp, earthworms, smelt, and the like.
Because stingrays have small mouths, they prefer to eat live small fish. Live shrimp and black worms are the best options for freshwater aquarium stingrays.
Freshwater Stingray Breeding
When it comes to stingray breeding, there are a few things that need to be taken care of. Firstly, ensure that your stingray has reached sexual maturity. This usually occurs around three years of age, but you can also tell by their physical appearance.
Once you have the stingrays that you want to breed, ensure that they have enough space. Tight quarters hinder the process and reduce the chance of healthy mating.
Stingrays produce through internal fertilization. After the female gets pregnant, her babies are nourished inside the mother’s body. After a gestation period of three months, the eggs are hatched internally.
During this time, you might notice that the mother eats a lot more food than she usually does. This is totally normal and is even encouraged for healthy pregnancies.
The female is likely to give birth to anywhere from two to six pups. Younger females usually give smaller litters, while older ones can give up to eight babies at a time.
Stingrays are beautiful creatures that require some special things to keep them healthy. Although they’re not as easy to care for as other fish, they’re just as unique and provide a great look to any tank.
Taking care of your stingray is difficult at first, but your hard work is worth it when they’re happy and healthy.