If you are thinking of adopting a spectacular freshwater stingray, or if you already own one, you are probably thinking of adding some well-accepted tank mates to its aquarium.
Indeed, with stingrays being fairly large creatures which require massive living spaces, it is natural to wanting to infuse such space with some other aquatic species.
However, not any will be a good fit, so choosing the tank mates for your freshwater stingray carefully is vitally important.
With this unique pet being carnivorous, the first rule to follow is to choose large enough tank mates in order to prevent them from becoming a meal. But not only.
You will also need to avoid any aggressive fish which could provoke or injure your stingray pet. Therefore, fin nippers are a big no.
And finally, you will need to carefully look for those creatures which can share the same water parameters, but we have already done the job for you. Below you may find a list of the possible life companions for your pet.
Arowanas are fairly large carnivorous with a long body shape. They can grow up to 2 feet in length, so there is basically no fear of them being eaten by your stingray.
They are known for being quite aggressive towards their tank mates, but there should be no issue here if you provide them enough living space. And finally, the best part about arowanas is that they are top-level feeders, meaning that they should never get into conflict with bottom feeders.
These fish are famous jumpers, so be sure to adapt your tank so it can feature a safely sealed cover at the top. And of course, always provide enough time to monitor your pets during the first days of their companionship life.
If they do not accept each other well, you will have to intervene and perhaps to even separate them. In case the last happens, you should keep your arowana inside a 150-gallon tank.
2. Banded Cichlids
Also known as severums, banded cichlids are quite small when compared to stingrays, but they can still make a good life companion choice for them. They usually grow up to 8 inches in length, and they also like spending most of their time towards the bottom of the tank.
That said, a few adjustments will probably be required to ensure there are no conflicts between your pets.
Although they are mostly quite the peaceful mates, small space or a lack of hiding spots can easily trigger aggressive behavior among banded cichlids.
Therefore, you should provide your tank bottom with several rocks (smooth!) as well as driftwood. This will provide a sense of protection to them and they will probably not feel the urge to attack.
Another member of the cichlid’s family which is fairly large and can grow up to 11 inches in length. Species belonging to the geophagus gene are extremely peaceful and they make great tank mates for many fish nowadays.
Although they are earth-feeders and will spend plenty of time along with your stingray towards the bottom of the tank, there should be no aggressive behavior if you keep them into a group of at least 5 specimens.
Since geophagus fish are still quite small when compared to massive stingrays, there is always a chance of them being eaten at some point. Therefore, please ensure to keep an eye at their behavior and monitor how they get along.
4. Silver Dollar
Although they are somehow related to piranhas, silver dollars are extremely peaceful and well-behaved fish. They are medium-sized fish and can reach up to 6 inches in length during their adult phase.
So how do they make a good fit for stingrays? Well, mainly because they are top feeders but also because they are schooling fish.
Indeed, if you provide them a safe school of at 6 specimens, they will basically spend their time happily swimming around the top level of your tank and there will be no reason for them to get into conflicts with your stingray.
Since they are omnivorous, they will often nip on tasty plants, so they make the perfect choice for tanks where there is no lush vegetation.
Bichirs are decently sized ancient fish which can grow up to even 30 inches, depending on the species. They are carnivorous bottom-feeders and they can get pretty aggressive.
When kept in community tanks with smaller-sized fish, they will most likely either nip on their fins or even eat them. However, surprisingly enough, they seem to function pretty well with fairly large fish such as stingrays. Therefore, they can be a suitable tank mate for your pet, but caution is required.
6. Giant Gourami
Gouramis are generally known for being quite the peaceful and docile fish, so they are often a safe addition to various community tanks.
And with the giant gourami actually being the largest species of the gourami family, there is certainly no risk for it becoming a meal sooner or later. Indeed, these pale-looking fish can reach a size of 16 inches in captivity.
Furthermore, they are extremely active fish, meaning that they will greatly appreciate the open space you will have to setup around your stingray tank anyway.
As any other male, your giant gourami may become aggressive towards the ray during the initial phase of their shared life, so always make sure to monitor your pets and their behavior.
7. Common Plecos
Relatives to armored catfish, common plecos are well-known fish pets among aquarium enthusiasts and they can be often spotted around tanks. They require low maintenance and will happily collect algae residues across the tank, as well as uneaten meaty food.
During their juvenile phase, these fish are extremely friendly and will get along with almost any other fish. However, as they grow into their adulthood and reach their full size of around 15 inches, they can sometimes develop a slightly aggressive behavior towards their tank mates.
Also, they are bottom dwellers, meaning that they would often encounter your stingray. So, how do these two make suitable living partners? Well, surprisingly enough, it seems that common plecos manage to “calm down” once they bump into another semi-aggressive fish species.
Therefore, there is no big science behind this match, but there are many successful reports about them. Extra caution is obviously required to ensure that your pets get along well.
8. Pacu Fish
Although closely related to piranhas, pacu fish mostly feed on plant matter and on occasional treats consisting out of insects. Therefore, they should be no threat to your ray.
These funny-looking giants can grow up to 24 inches in length, meaning that they can actually surpass your stingray in size, depending on the species. However, this should not be an issue for either of them.
With stingrays spending most of their time at the tank bottom and with pacu fish preferring the mid-levels, these two should not bother each other. However, you will need to provide a huge aquarium in order for your pets not to develop any territorial behavior.
9. Bala Shark
If your first thought was that these two are related, this is not entirely the case. Indeed, stingrays are related to sharks, but bala sharks are actually not sharks at all. However, they do resemble a lot to the kings of the ocean, thanks to their peculiar fin shapes.
Bala sharks are schooling fish which can grow to a decent size of 15 inches. Therefore, they should make a perfect match for a freshwater stingray tank. There is no risk for any of them becoming a meal of the other, and they should not even bother each other.
As long as you keep them in functioning schools and you provide them enough space, there should be no issue.
10. Datnoid Fish
Also known as tiger fish, these fantastic pets will make such a nice addition to any aquarium, as well as become friendly tank mates to large fish such as rays.
Indeed, although they are great hunters and not suitable for smaller fish as they would literally eat them out, they can become quite docile around larger species.
Datnoids usually grow up to 15 inches and prefer living in schools of 6 or more, so make sure to provide them enough space as well as hiding spots. Once this is met, there should be no dysfunctionality among your community tank.
When adopting a majestic freshwater stingray, owners have to setup enormous tanks around their homes. And that is exactly why they often wish to add just a few more fish to such big tanks, for the simple reason of having them “filled”.
Indeed, your ray will mostly stay at the bottom, so there is plenty of room for other species, as long as you choose them wisely.
We have carefully selected the most suitable tank mates for rays, so it is now up to you to pick the most ideal one for your home. And remember, caution and constant monitoring is vitally important.