Freshwater Stingray Types – 10 Varieties of Potamotrygon

Stingrays are certainly among the most magnificent aquatic creatures ever. They look spectacularly, are extremely intelligent, and feature some mysterious presence.

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Definitely, a unique pet to showcase to your friends, but also one to really get affected to. When it comes to freshwater stingrays, there are more types from which to choose, and we are sharing ten of the most interesting below.

1. Ocellate River Stingray (Potamotrygon Motoro)

The Motoro stingray is one of the most common choices among aquarium enthusiasts today, as they make quite the hardy pets once settled in. They feature amazing looks, with a dark brown basic surface followed by interesting yellowish or orange spots all over their body.

This species originates from some parts of Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil.

Even though all stingrays require massive tanks to be housed in, this particular species needs even more. Indeed, they can grow up to 36 inches in diameter during their fully grown phase, so be prepared to provide them a large enough home if you decide to adopt one or two.

Also, male specimens are well known for becoming extremely aggressive during breeding, so you should take extra care in monitoring the couple during those days, and ideally to even separate them occasionally.

2. Porcupine River Stingray (Potamotrygon Hystrix)

The porcupine river stingray is not a common addition to private aquariums. Indeed, being found mostly around the Parana and Paraguay river basins of South America, it is protected by law and often not allowed to export.

They feature somehow lighter coloration which transfers to extremely pale pink parts among the ventral side. Additionally, they are quite small when compared to other stingrays.

They usually grow no more than 16 inches in diameter, so are suitable for slightly smaller tanks. Although, there have been reported cases of specimens growing up to even 20 inches.

3. Xingu River Stingray / Black Diamond (Potamotrygon Leopoldi)

The black diamond is surely one of the most majestic fish one can ever own, and their prices usually go along with that feeling. Therefore, they probably make one of the most wanted stingray species nowadays.

They originate from the Rio Xingu basin, but they can be also found in Rio Fresco in Brazil. And with Brazilian laws being quite strict when it comes to the export of these creatures, they can sometimes be a real trouble to purchase.

These mesmerizing creatures feature pure black coloration with white stains all over their body. And with being able to grow up to even 24 inches, the ˝wow˝ factor is certainly obtained by just observing them.

This stingray species tend to be overly sensitive to water parameter oscillations, so it is often recommended as a pet for more experienced keepers. 

4. Bigtooth River Stingray (Potamotrygon Henlei)

Quite similar to the black diamond variation, this is often referred to as the original polka dot stingray. It also features a black basic coloration along with irregular white or yellowish stains across the body, so these two species actually get confused pretty often. Adding to that, they are also remarkably similar in size, both growing up to 24 inches in disc size.

This species is endemic to Brazil, more precisely to the Rio Tocantins basin. Being less rare, they are also less expensive to purchase, so they certainly make one of the most wanted additions to large enough aquariums.

5. Pearl Stingray (Potamotrygon Jabuti)

The pearl stingray is an amazing choice for beginner keepers. Even though it grows to fairly large size of even 30 inches, it is among those stingrays which are easier to take care of. Therefore, a great first choice if you do not have tons of experience.

They originate from the Tapajos river system across the Amazon, and they feature particular coloration patterns. On top of a light brownish base, they have amazingly decorative mottled circular patterns in an orange coloration.

6. Smooth-back Stingray (Potamotrygon Orbignyi)

The smooth-back variation of freshwater stingrays is another popular choice among first-time keepers. First of all, they are fairly small when compared to other stingray species.

Adult specimens rarely exceed 13 inches in diameter. Therefore, a 100-gallon tank should be more than a suitably sized home for these amazing creatures.

They make quite the hardy pets and are extremely timid. The texture of their skin does seem quite smooth and different from others, so this is why they get such funny nicknames.

These stingrays are native to South America, especially the parts around Venezuela and Brazil, but also Bolivia and Guyana.

7. Otorongo Ray (Potamotrygon Castexi)

This is one of the largest species available and specimens can reach up to 24 inches in size, without the tail. Therefore, they consequentially require lots of space to move around freely among their captivity homes.

They are currently banned for export from Brazil, but they can be still found across other areas of the world. Indeed, the otorongo ray can be naturally found across the river basins of Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.

An interesting fact with the Potamotrygon castexi is that there are different varieties available according to their coloration patterns. That is why it can be further classified into the following types:

  • Jaguar ray, really popular among aquarists today and featuring widely spaced spots in light coloration.
  • Tigrinus ray, remarkably similar to the Jaguar ray but with the exception of having the spots placed much closer together, usually towards the center of their body.
  • Motelo ray, again terribly similar to the first one but featuring patterns which are somehow grouped between them.
  • Estrella ray, with smaller coloration spots which resemble much to a starry night sky (this is exactly where they got their name from).
  • Carpet ray, an amazing pattern of irregular broken circles which are pretty dense.

8. Large Spot Stingray (Potamotrygon Falkneri)

The large spot stingray, although being quite small and being able to grow up to 18 inches in diameter, are very well-known for their beauty. Indeed, they are considered to be one of the most beautiful stingrays around the planet.

They usually feature a dark (sometimes even black) color base with amazing yellowish or gold irregular patterns all over their body.

The Potamotrygon falkneri is native to the rivers basin of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. They prefer somehow warmer temperatures when compared to most freshwater stingrays, ideally raging to 84-degrees Fahrenheit.

9. Mosaic Stingray (Potamotrygon Scobina)

The mosaic stingray is certainly among the most lightly colored freshwater stingrays. Moreover, if you place it on a sandy substrate, you may sometimes barely even notice your pet. When it comes to hunting experiences, this is surely a huge advantage for these creatures.

They are relatively small in size and barely reach a diameter of 18 inches during their adult phase, meaning that they can save a lot of tank space to the humans who decide to keep them.

However, you will not be seeing this species a lot among private aquariums. Actually, they are naturally limited to the areas of Brazil, meaning that they can currently not be exported at all due to their stricter regime.

If you do manage to find one or a couple anyways, prepare yourself to spend a fairly large amount of money to adopt it (or them).

10. Short-tailed River Stingray (Potamotrygon Brachyura)

Last but not least, the short-tailed river stingray is among the largest stingray species on the planet. And by large, we mean massive!

These spectacular creatures can grow up to an amazing 5 feet, and they can weigh around 500 pounds. And, as you can imagine, they are not common pets due to the overly huge tanks they require to thrive.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, you have managed to recognize the ideal freshwater stingray for your home. Whatever your choice is, we are sure that you will not be sorry for adopting these fascinating creatures.

With a bit of investment and with lots of love, these will make irreplaceable pets.

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