Despite the potential dangers posed by their venomous spines, stingrays are generally peaceful creatures, and if you treat them with respect and take the proper precautions while interacting with them, you should not need to worry excessively about being stung.

But on rare occasions, accidents do occur regardless of how careful we are. For this reason, I would strongly recommend reading through the following article on the management of stingray envenomations, just in case. It might also be a good idea to print out a copy of it and keep it by your aquarium at all times, as your local emergency room staff might not be familiar with exactly how to handle a stingray envenomation.

Diagram of a stingray envenomation. Originally hosted on http://www.henryfordhealth.org/115982.cfm.


Moving Your Ray

This can be a risky buisness and should be avoided whenever possible because it causes the fish a great deal of stress and greatly increases your chances of being stung. However, in the event that the ray must be transported, here are some tips to make the trip easier for all parties involved.

Equipment

  • Large net with rubber mesh
  • Air pump with airstone
  • Dechlorinator
  • Plastic bucket, cooler, Rubbermaid tub , or other large, durable container

Procedure

Keeping the dissolved oxygen levels high and the temperature constant are the two most important factors involved in this process. If you are moving your ray a short distance (less than one hour), it can be transported in its regular tank water. If the trip takes longer than a few hours, you will need to do a bit more prep work. Fill a couple of buckets with fresh water from the tap, treat it with the dechlorinator, and aerate it overnight to ensure maximum DO concentration. Do not feed the ray at least 24 hours before the trip -- you don't want the bag fouled up with excess feces, especially if you are planning a long-distance move.

The best type of net to invest in is a fishing net with rubber mesh and a long handle. This will prevent the ray from becoming entangled and reduce stress to the animal.

Once you've equalized the temperatures between the tank and the transport container, net the ray and place it directly into the container.

Acclimation is very similar to the procedures used with other fish. Either float the bag, or maintain a slow drip of water via siphon from the new tank to the transport container (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Acclimation to new tank water via a slow drip.

Figure 2. Keep dissolved oxygen levels high using a battery operated bubbler.