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Large Spot Stingray

(Potamotrygon falkneri)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 18"
• Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons   • Water Conditions: 75 - 84° F, pH 6.0-7.0, KH 2-10
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Amazon, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina   • Family: Potamotrygonidae
• Species: Stingrays   • Aquarium Type: Large-Bottom-Dweller

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Species Information

Large Spot Stingray native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Large Spot Stingray (Potamotrygon falkneri) is a very attractive species of South American Stingray that is found in the Rio Parana and Rio Paraguay basins and surrounding flood plains. Their territory stretches from Paraguay and Brazil in the north down to Argentina in the south. Their habitat is similar to that of other Potamotrygonidae as it inhabits the sand and mud river banks, shallows, slower moving river tributaries and nearby forest flood plains during the annual wet season.

It is not uncommon for the Large Spot Stingray to end up in lakes and ponds that are formed by the receding flood waters. The Large Spot Stingray is considered a peaceful species towards other large predatory fish; however, they are top level predators in their native ecosystems who will prey on any fish, invertebrate or crustacean that is small enough to be consumed as food.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Large Spot Stingray in the home aquarium.

Large Spot Stingray are moderately difficult to keep in the home aquarium; however, if some standard rules for caring for rays are closely adhered to the Large Spot Stingray should be reasonably easy to keep. Aquariums containing rays need to have very clean water that is low in dissolved solids and allows for consistent stable water parameters with minimal fluctuations in pH & nitrates, along with ammonia and nitrite that are kept at non-detectable levels.

Strong mechanical, biological and chemical filtration will need to be supplemented by regular water changes in order to keep nitrate levels consistently low. Rays eat quite a bit and are a large bodied fish that will put out a size able amount of waste for the filtration system to keep up with. Therefore, a properly running filtration system will generate a good amount of nitrates in response to the heavy bio-load.

Typically frequent water changes are used to keep nitrates low, but other methods like nitrate removing aquatic vegetation within a sump can also be used in conjunction with water changes to keep nitrates low. The aquarium decor should be designed with the ray in mind, which means a soft sandy substrate and a large amount of swimming room with minimal rock, wood and plant decor. Large Spot Stingrays can sometimes be difficult to begin eating when introduced into the aquarium.

In this case it is best to substantial dim or turnoff the aquarium lights, then offer earthworms or black worms to help stimulate feeding. Once feeding, Large Spot Stingrays are known to be very aggressive feeders that will consume a large variety of meaty offerings.

Tank Mates

Proper tank mates for Large Spot Stingray in the home aquarium.

Part of successful ray husbandry is to house them with compatible tank mates that will not harm the ray or become an unwanted food source. Any fish species small enough to be consumed by the ray will at some point be eaten. Rays generally prey on fish while they sleep, enveloping and swallowing them while they are in a semi-conscious state.

Good tank mates for Rays include larger Cichlid and Central/South American fish species that are semi-aggressive in nature and large enough to not become food for the Ray. Top water fish species like Arowana and Cichla are a natural fit to be housed with Rays as they inhabit a different area of the aquarium.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Large Spot Stingray and provide a healthy diet.

In their native habitat Large Spot Stingray feed mostly on small fish, worms, crustaceans and aquatic invertebrates. They are adept at rooting prey out of the substrate and at using their large oval disc to capture small fish and crustaceans.

The Large Spot Stingray has a very active metabolic rate that requires they be fed multiple times per day. It is especially important to get newly added aquariums specimens eating right away to ensure that they do not suffer from lack of nutrition.

Live foods work best to get newly added or picky specimens eating right away. Live worms and feeder shrimp work best to stimulate the Rays appetite. Once they are settled into the aquarium environment and feeding on earth worms and feeder shrimp, they can then be weaned onto a diet of fresh or frozen dead alternatives.

Hobbyists should ideally feed Large Spot Stingray 2 to 3 small meals per day, comprised of a variety of meaty foods including: earth worms, blood worms, glass shrimp, krill, mussels, cockles, prawns, squid, chopped fresh fish and other similar items.

Rays should not be fed mammal flesh like chicken livers or beef heart as they have a difficult time metabolizing these types of food and they will develop unhealthy fat buildup and possible organ degeneration.

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