For many years, they have been the majestic flap flap of the sea. Now, it could be time to welcome a stingray into your life. If you have a passion for aquatic animals and the time to care for one, could it be time to welcome a stingray as a pet?
Did you know that stingrays are close relatives of sharks? Yes, they are also a relative or guitarfish, skates, and sawfish. Thankfully, they aren’t as dangerous as many people believe they don’t come waving their stingers and usually need to be highly annoyed before someone gets stung. Stingrays also periodically shed their barbs, meaning that owners need to get used to finding discarded ones at the bottom of the tank. They have a special sensor on their head that helps them to detect electrical impulses in the water, so they are ready for anything that swims their way.
Many people believe that stingrays live in saltwater, but they actually live in freshwater. They are very sensitive to certain aspects in the water, such as nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia. They need pristine water conditions to survive, but stingrays don’t help themselves. They produce a lot of ammonia, meaning stingrays need plenty of water changes and filtration in their tank. Stingrays have optimum temperatures depending on their size, with most benefiting from up to 50% water changes each week. As if that wasn’t enough, you can’t use tap water. Owners need to make sure the water is treated before adding it to the tank.
Creating the environment
When it comes to housing your stingray, the general rule is the bigger, the better. As they live at the bottom, you don’t need an overly tall tank unless you plan on keeping other fish with your stingray. 90-gallon tanks can be used for young stingrays, but they should be upgraded to at least 180 gallons as they grow older. Plus, decorations need to be smooth and free from any sharp edges, while fine sand is best for the bottom of the tank. Stingrays are bottom-dwelling fish. They have sensitive skin that can easily be damaged by rocks or other ornaments.
Keep them fed
Stingrays are carnivores. This means they need meat to survive, with many thriving on a diet of blackworms, earthworms, white fish, shrimp, and bloodworms. Amazingly, they can be trained to eat from tweezers or by hand, but they need to settle into their new environments and start accepting the food before they can learn these tricks. If you don’t have access to fresh or frozen food for stingray, there are also several pellets that have been specially designed for bottom-feeding fish.
While it might be easy to think of them out there in open waters, it turns out that you can keep a stingray as a pet, too. They aren’t the easiest of pets to keep, but experienced aquatic enthusiasts could have all the skills they need already.