Freshwater Stingrays at Wharf Aquatics
by Richard Hardwick
Amazonian Stingrays have been my passion for almost 40 years. During that period I have kept hundreds of fishes we affectionately refer to as oddballs, but nothing has grasped me in the same way as these majestic fish have - for me they simply have no equal. As the years have gone by my passion has turned into more of an obsession and with this I have spent pretty much my whole life striving to not only keep these fish, but to actually breed them - something that not too long ago was almost never heard of in captivity.
There are currently 3 separate genera (species groups) of South American Stingrays, these are Potamotrygon, Paratrygon and Plesiotrygon. Paratrygon includes the Anntena group and Paratrygon the Ceja (small eyed rays), but for now we will concentrate on the genus Potamotrygon which includes all the popular species such as Potamotrygon motoro, leopoldi, henlei, and hystrix to name just a few.
There is a misconception that these cartilaginous fish are difficult to keep and raise under captive conditions. Indeed, when I was in my teens I had great difficulty keeping them myself but I now know that this was due to lack of information at that time. Thankfully times have changed for the better, we now have the internet where hobbyists can share information more easily, and husbandry techniques have improved due to more advanced equipment now available. Today freshwater rays are no harder to keep than any other tropical fish, though their eventual size (which varies from species to species) makes them slightly more challenging - larger aquariums are needed ultimately, plus very efficient filter systems.
Here at Wharf Aquatics we can offer all of these things. We have been building bespoke aquaruims and filter systems for our customers for over 20 years, these are built with the utmost care and are finished to a high standard. So anyone serious about keeping freshwater Stingrays can not only get the best advice available in the UK, but also have an aquarium built to their own specifications to house their new pet.
Nearly all of our rays are captive bred by ourselves, the quality is second to none as can be seen from the photos; both the Marble Motoro's and the Pearl rays are amongst the very best quality in the world today. These two species are for me the most beautiful rays to come out of South America, and it has taken me many years to produce the quality I have today. You will pay a little more for captive bred, but the benefits are huge; wild rays often arrive in an emaciated state and and are often sold with intestinal worms - these two things alone make the choice between captive bred and wild caught an easy one.
Stingrays are a long term commitment, living in excess of 20 years, so it is important you make the right choice in the first place. Not all Marble Motoro's and Pearl rays are the same, however they unfortunately all look the same as pups (babies). The last thing you want to do is raise your new fish to sub adult only to be disappointed, never buy any of these two species without seeing the parents, in 90% of cases quality produces quality... think long and hard before making your purchase.
All our pups are kept for a minimum 6 weeks to ensure they are not only in the best of health when they leave us, but also to make sure they are feeding on several different foods. In most cases your new ray will be pellet trained, quality pellets provide the best all round nutrition. We use mainly Hikari, this is supplemented with chopped fish, prawn and mussel meat.
On the day you purchase your new baby ray(s) you will be given all the advice needed to keep them. As the weeks, months and years go by that advice will still be available should you run into any problems. I have worked at Wharf for over 25 years; I don't intend on going anywhere, so you can buy these fish with confidence. Unfortunately, many new ray keepers have found that this sort of longer-term back up is simply not available from most sources once money has changed hands.
The links below give more details and pictures of the Stingrays we can offer, including the parent fish and the pups they produce; again all the Stingrays listed have taken many years to produce and are the very best quality available. Currently available are the 5 Star Pearls, both parents carry the 5 star pattern and to my knowledge are the only breeding pair today in the UK.
- King Henlei (big spot)
- AAA Marble Motoro
- Mini Marble Motoro ray
- 5 Star Pearls
- Hystrix (true) - now P. wallacei
Copyright © 2012-2014 Richard Hardwick & Wharf Aquatics