Stingrays are a class of rays that are closely related to sharks. Most types of stingrays are marine animals. However, there are a few species of freshwater stingrays that mostly live in the Amazon basin and other parts of South America.

Some kinds of freshwater stingrays are kept as pets in aquarium alongside other types of freshwater aquarium fish. They can be bought in-store or through online fish stores. Here’s what to know before you buy freshwater stingrays for sale.

An interesting fact about stingrays is that they actually have one or more barbed stingers at the end of their tails that they use solely for self-defense. The stingers release a poison that inflicts pain. However, not all rays have stingers. For example, the manta ray and porcupine ray do not have stingers.

Habitat

Ever wondered where do stingrays live? As far as geological preferences, stingrays prefer the tropical and subtropical regions. However, they can also be found in temperate oceans. Some species can be found in deep oceans. Freshwater stingrays prefer rivers and streams in similar geological regions.

Behavior

Freshwater stingrays are calm creatures that prefer to dwell at the bottom of rivers usually hiding in the sand or mud. They use electroreceptors to hunt their prey and detect predators since their eyes aren’t useful in this position.

Add that to the fact that most species are nocturnal (active only at night), don’t be surprised if your pet stingray tries to hide at the bottom of your aquarium for most of the day.

Feeding

As for what stingrays eat, crustaceans, worms, and small fish are all part of the menu when in the wild. When in captivity, they aren’t picky eaters and will generally eat what is available. However, try to stick to the recommended diet that the pet store suggests.

Once the stingray acclimates to its new home, frozen bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, raw shrimp or white fish (tilapia), and live earthworms are good choices to geed your new pet. You can try live blackworms to get them eating right away.

Human Interaction

Stingrays do not actively attack humans. However, like most wild animals, if they feel threatened in anyway they will defend themselves. If you aggravate your pet stingray it will try to sting you. Stingray stings cause pain, swelling, and even infection and muscle cramps.

What you Need

Keeping freshwater stingrays as pets requires you to get some special equipment and you need to provide specific care and attention them to ensure that they remain healthy and happy.

A large aquarium (the bigger the better) that has sand is recommended in order to mimic their natural habitat. You can get this at a pet store as well as other decorative items.

A length of 72” to 84” and a depth of 24” to 36” is a good starting point when choosing a tank. Juvenile stingrays can survive in a 75 or 90-gallon aquarium however, a 180-gallon aquarium is a good starting point for keeping adults long term.

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.

The sand should be fine and any decorations used should be smooth (with no sharp edges). Try to keep as much of the bottom as possible open for the rays to swim and bury themselves in the sand.

Place guards around the heaters or put them in a place where your stingrays cannot burn themselves. As for lighting, try to aim for a 12-hour day/night cycle.

Breeding

Breeding freshwater stingrays takes a lot of patience, space, and dedication. The females are bigger than males and have two uteruses. One female can have litters of pups from two different males at the same time.

Males have modified pelvic fins called claspers, which they use to impregnate the females. The pups usually fully develop within the mother which then gives birth to live pups (see, how do stingrays mate?.

Things To Note

  • Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah prohibit private individuals from owning Potamotrygon species, and Colorado and Florida require a permit.
  • Always check local and state regulations before purchasing any animal.
  • Before buying a stingray, be sure that the edges of the disc are not curled upward (known as the “death curl”) and there are no visible injuries.
  • Ask to see the fish eat and avoid any stingray that shows no interest in food.
  • Never buy a stingray that has just arrived in the store; give them a week or more to settle in before taking them home.
  • When adding new rays to an existing population, always isolate them for at least 30 days before introducing them to your existing fish.

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 these bones.
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