- Scientific name: Potamotrygon motoro
- Synonyms: Taeniura motoro, Trygon garrapa, Trygon mulleri, Potamotrygon laticeps, Paratrygon laticeps, Potamotrygon pauckei, Potamotrygon alba, Potamotrygon labradori, P01, P03, P044, South American freshwater stingray, Ocellate river stingray, Peacock-eye stingray
- Common name: Motoro Stingray
- Group: Other fishes
- Habitat: South America; Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.
- Size: 90 cm (diameter of body), but smaller in aquarium, usually only 60 cm.
- Biotope: Inhabits a variety of biotopes, usually found in slow-flowing, shallow parts of the rivers with sandy substrate, but they will swim into the flooded forests too.
- Social behavior: Quite peaceful stingray, but any small fish in the tank will be eaten, thus it can be kept with other large sized, peaceful species that swim in the upper parts of the tank. Do not keep with other Potamotrygon species as they can hybridize.
- Diet: Carnivorous; they feed on fish, aquatic invertebrates and crustaceans in the wild. In the aquarium they can be fed with live and frozen meaty foods such as worms and insect larvae when young, but they need larger food, mainly fish and mussels, when adult.
- Breeding: Hard
- Tank: Minimum 800 litres
- Population: 1 pair for 1700 litres
- Decoration: Decor isn’t necessary in their tank, but some large roots or stones can be added that heavy enough to be moved around by the fish. Aquatic plants can be used that can be attached to the decor, but the lighting should be dimmed. Substrate can be sand or gravel, as they like to bury themselves in the sand, but they also can be kept without any substrate.
- Temperature: 24-28 °C
- pH: 6-7,5
- Hardness: 1-12 NK°
- Lifespan: 20-30 years
Description: Potamotrygon motoro is one of the most common stingray among the aquarists. They have highly variable patternings, so for the easier identification all Potamotrygonids have a „P-number” the same way as the L-numbering system for identifying Loricariids. The bofy of the Motoro Stingray is roughly circular in shape and the dorsal coloration is beige or brown, with numerous light orange to yellow eyespots each surrounded by a black ring, with diameters larger than the eyes. The belly is white in the centre and greyish on outer ventral disc margins. Maximum total length has been reported at 100 centimeters and maximum weight at 15 kg.
Stingrays are very dangerous fish, as they have poisonous sting on the top of their caudal fin. When the stingray is in danger it uses its tail in a flailing motion and tries to sting the attacker. The venom causes intense pain and rapid tissue degeneration, so if stung happens palce the wound in water as hot as you can stand to denature the toxic. Most injuries occur when the aquarists try to catch the rays with nets, so instead of nets use some kind of plastic container. Stingrays periodically shed their stings and grow a new one, but the old one is continues to be venomous for a period, so care must be taken when performing a tank maintenance. Still, they aren’t usually an aggressive fish, moreover they can become quite tame, learning to recognise their owner, and may feed from the hands of their owner.
Wild caught stingrays are often in bad condition by the time they arriving to the stores and they are usually very skinny. It is very important to get them feeding as quickly as possible due to their metabolic requirements. In the shops only those stingrays should be purchased that is feeding and is not skinny, as a healthy specimen will rarely refuse food. So in the first time they should be fed with live foods only, and frozen foods can be added slowly to their diet after they are gain some weight. Stingrays should not be fed with beef heart, chicken or similar foods, as the fish cannot properly metabolise these and can cause even organ degeneration to the fish. Good aquarium filtration is also very important for them. A large biological filter is needed to keep their tank clean, as they are eat a lot of foods and produce a large ammount of biological waste. Large regular water changes cannot be neglected!
Motoro Stingray’s sex can be determined fairly easily as males have „claspers”, one on each pelvic fin. These finger-like extensions that extending backwards from the inside of the fin are used to inseminate the female. These can be seen in young males too, but it is much smaller. Potamotrygon motoro can be picky when selecting mate and it can’t be guarantieed that a male and a female will pair up. The best way to get a pair is to buy a group of juveniles, housing them in a huge tank and allowing them to select their own partners. Great patience is also required as Motoro Stingrays become sexually mature at around 3 years of age when the stingrays measures between 30 and 35 centimetres across. When only a single pair can be housed try to choose similarly patterned specimens, and a bigger female than male. The courtship can be violent especially when the female is not in the mood to spawn, so it is important that the female is large enough to defend herself against the male. During the courtship the male will chase the female and bite her, sometimes causing significant injuries. Spawning occur when the male attaches himself to a female by firmly clamping his jaws onto the posterior margin of her disk and slide underneath her and their bellies are facing each other. Most of the damages occur during this time when the male tries for too long without success. It is important to watch a fish carefully during spawning and separate them if needed. Fertilization itself is quite quick, only a few seconds and occurs internally. After the mating the male stop harassing his partner. Gestation period in the aquarium takes between 9-12 weeks, and during this time the female’s appetite will increase significantly. The young rays develop inside the mother and are born live and fully-formed. There are specialised filaments inside the uterus of the female and these are produce a milky substance known as histotrophe which provide a nutrient-rich food for the young fish after their yolk sacs have been used up. Litter size usually varies between 1 and 8. The adults will not harm the young ones, but they should be placed in a rearing tank. After the birth the water in the aquarium is usually cloudy, so a large water change is recommended. They shold be fed several times a day with live and frozen foods. Giving birth is very straining to the female thus a longer resting period must be provided.
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