Rays: unusual fishes closely related to sharks

Though they look nothing like sharks they are closely related to them, both have a skeleton composed of cartilage instead of hard bone.
Stingrays carry a very sharp venomous barb in their tail which they use for self defense.Rays can be found throughout the world’s oceans and most are bottom dwellers while some are free swimming.

Ray tank


Most Rays also have a very flat, round shaped body with a long slender tail. Their gill slits are located on the underside of their body and their eyes are located on the top or sides. Some species are plankton feeders while others will eat fishes, crustaceans and mollusks.

Rays vary in size with the smaller types growing to about a foot in body diameter and the largest, the awesome Manta Ray, having a wing span of over 20 feet.

Although Rays can be fascinating to observe, they really should not be kept in home aquariums unless they can be provided with an appropriate sized tank and specialized care.

Even the smallest species need a lot of space to maneuver in and require very clean uncontaminated water and a fine sandy substrate. Rays often refuse to eat at first and may need to be offered live foods such as shrimp or crab. Once they are eating, they should be fed a variety of meaty foods such as fish, squid, shrimp, clams, etc.

Rays do best in a species only tank – smaller fishes may be eaten and larger fishes may nip at them and cause undue stress and damage.

Rays reproduce through internal fertilization. Males can be recognized by the claspers near their pelvic fins. After mating, the female lays fertilized eggs that are encased in a leathery shell. The young emerge after several months fully developed. In some of the larger species, the female carries the eggs and gives birth to live young. Rays have been bred in captivity in large facilities under expert supervision.

TankConditions: 72-78°F; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4; dKH 8-12

Compatibility: Live rock, sand.


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