Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teacup Stingray

This post is dedicated to my reader, Tracy. Thanks for dropping an email about this blog. :)

Data Sheet

Scientific Name: Potamotrygon Reticulata

Other Names: Reticulated Stingray, Teacup Stingray

Origin: Amazon Basin, South America

Adult Size: 30-35cm (15 inches) disc, not including length of tail

Social: good, but will eat smaller fishes

Lifespan: ?

Tank Level: Bottom Dweller

Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons

Diet: Carnivourous. Eats shrimps, or any fish small enough to fit in it’s mouth. Accepts worms and krills.

Breeding: Tough - in aquarium

Care: Medium - Difficult

Ideal pH: around 6-7 is usually optimal

Temperature: 78-82 degrees F

Tank setup: ideally with thick sand substrate for it to hide itself

Sexing: A male has 2 so called claspers on the bottom side of the disk.


The Teacup stingray is olive color with dark markings resembling a net. They have a white underbody. The tail is about half to three quarters the length of the body. Teacup stingrays can be distinguished from other freshwater stingray species based on its unusually long, pointed tail, flatter body shape, and smaller eyes. Their color pattern usually consists of numerous small, indistinct, light-colored blotches on a darker base color. As they grow older, the web pattern seems to diminish. At full maturity, these stingrays reach up to about fourteen inches in diameter, obviously not including the length of the tail.


A minimum aquarium of 125 gallons is required, although larger tanks are preferred. I do recommend anything smaller than this.

Teacup stingrays are great for aquariums with other fish as long as they are too large for the stingray to consume. They are very peaceful and spend most of their time ignoring other fish. However, males may be a bit aggressive toward other rays occasionally, especially during mating. Ensure that extremely aggressive fish are not housed in a community tank with your stingray or they may attack your ray, causing it severe harm or even death. Moreover, with their preference being the bottom of the tank, you will rarely see these rays venturing to the surface. Also, some plecos have been known to suck off the stingray’s mucus coating on their disk and they will eventually succumb to disease and die. Therefore, I do not recommend having other plecos in the same tank.

Teacup stingrays prefer water that has a pH around six or seven with a temperature being near the upper seventies or lower eighties (Fahrenheit). Even though they are relatively hardy, these stingrays are not recommended for those that are not familiar with caring for more than your average aquarium fish. One reason is due to their diet. These rays tend to eat worms (earth worms, black worms, blood worms) as well as small live fish that are within the aquarium.


Teacup stingrays are carnivorous and their diet usually consists of benthic invertebrates such as crustaceans and worms, and a limited amount of vegetable matter. In an aquarium, they will accept live worms, bloodworms, cut shrimp, krill, crayfish, cut white fish such as pollock or smelt, and other meaty items.

Some literature noted that it is difficult to wean Teacup Stingrays off of live blackworms and earthworms once they are large enough to eat other foods.

It is essential to understand that the teacup stingray, like all freshwater stingrays, is capable of stinging and have venom within its tail. Although this venom is not fatal it is very painful and requires medical assistance for proper treatment. If stung make sure you immediately apply pressure but avoid placing a bandage on the affected area. Submerse the stung limb or area within hot (but tolerable) water. Be sure to disinfect the area after following the procedure above. Again, make sure you seek medical attention to ensure that the venom is extracted from the area.


Teacup Stingray is one of the several species of freshwater stingray that has been known to breed in captivity.

As in all species of freshwater stingray, fertilization is internal. During mating, the male will grab hold of the female's disc with his mouth and attempt to roll underneath her, where he will subsequently insert one of his claspers into her cloaca and deposit sperm.

Freshwater stingrays are matrotrophically viviparous, giving birth to one to seven live young at a time after a gestation period of several months (dependent on species).The uterus is formed from the expansion of the oviduct. The embryos obtain nourishment from their yolk sacs early in their development. During the later stages of pregnancy, small, filamentous appendages called trophonemata develop within the uterus and penetrate the spiracle of the embryo, supplying it with a nutrient-rich fluid called histotrophe that feeds it until it is born.

Gender Differences:
Males display elongated, rolled copulatory organs called claspers on the insides of their pelvic fins. Females lack claspers and are generally larger than the males.


Teacup stingrays are highly vulnerable to argulus - commonly called Fish Lice. The small parasites attach themselves to the stingray’s disk and extract nourishment by piercing the flesh with a pointed organ called a style. The wound can cause bacterial or fungal infections. Although one or two may not cause a serious problem, a serious infestation can be fatal. To remove the argulus, one can carefully remove it with tweezers.

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References Cited:

1. TeaCup Stringray, [Online], Accessed on 12 June 2008 [Available]


2. Potamotrygon reticulata, Teacup Stingray, [ Online ], Accessed on 12 Nov 2009 [Available] http://aquaticpredators.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=26168

If you know of any good source of books or online sites, please do let me know.

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