California Stingray

Round Stingray

Family: Urolophidae Picture of a California Stingray or Round StingrayUrobatis halleriPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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Can anyone tell me exactly HOW MUCH/ often they are feeding their California Ray? We had a Cortez Ray several years ago and just brought home a California Ray... (more)  KRISTINA GARDNER

   The California Stingray or Round Stingray, have two plates in their mouth which are used for crushing the shells of crabs, prawns, and molluscs. This ray would take squid and shrimp from our hands so you could feel the plates in the mouth!

   For the first few feedings we impale food on a long pole and placed it very near the mouth to entice the ray to eat. Once they get the idea they readily eat anything meaty like squid, shrimp, and cut up fish.

   The disk of theCalifornia Stingray or Round Stingray is nearly circular. The back of this species is brown, often mottled or spotted, and the underside it is white to orange.

   The California Stingray or Round Stingray is one of six rays found in California waters which have a stinger on the tail. It can be distinguished from the others since it is the only one with a true tail fin. The others have either a whip-like tail or very short tail with no fin membrane.

For more Information on keeping marine fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Actiniform
  • Class: Elasmobranchii
  • Order: Rajiformes
  • Family: Urolophidae
  • Genus: Urobatis
  • Species: halleri
California Stingray, Urobatis halleri

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California Stingray eating

This stingray scored itself a yummy meal! The California Stingray, like other stingrays need a very large tank with a sandy bottom void of rocks and obstruction. They can become quite tame in captivity, however they need a tank that is at least 280 gallons to accommodate their 9" body and even longer tail! They need cooler tanks with temperatures from 54 to 72˚F for long term survival.

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Maintenance difficulty:    TheCalifornia Stingray or Round Stingray is hardy and easy to keep. They become quite tame in captivity.

Maintenance:    Feed all kinds of large meaty foods like small pieces of fish, squid, shrimp, crabs, prawns, molluscs, and live goldfish. Best to feed small amounts several times a day.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    This species, the California Stingray or Round Stingray, occurs from Panama to Humboldt Bay, California, including the Gulf of California. California Stingrays or Round Stingrays are most abundant off southern California and northern Baja California at depths up to 70 feet. They like shallow, sandy areas.

Foods:    In the wild they obtain much of their food by burrowing in the substrate. Their diet includes worms, crabs, snails, clams and small fishes.

Social Behaviors:    Gets along with its own kind and other fish. Watch smaller fish as they could become lunch although they usually leave other fish alone unless they are acting sick or distressed.

Sex: Sexual differences:    Unknown.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Breeding/Reproduction:    Mating occurs from May to June and in December. There are one to six pups, depending upon the size of the female. It takes 3 months for the round stingray young to develop and they are approximately 3 inches wide at birth. Sexual maturity is reached in 2.6 to 3 years.

Temperature:    Best kept between 54 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (12 to 22 degrees C).

Length/Diameter of fish:    California Stingray or Round Stingray adults can grow to 22 cm (9 inches) not including the tail. At 20 cm they weight about 1.5 lbs.

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 75 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    Usually found on the bottom, sifting through the sand. Will sometimes bury itself in the sand.

Availability:    This fish is available from time to time.

Lastest Animal Stories on California Stingray

Can anyone tell me exactly HOW MUCH/ often they are feeding their California Ray? We had a Cortez Ray several years ago and just brought home a California Ray yesterday and I can't remember how much we fed. It is HIGHLY active and already ate a medium silverside cut in half and a small chunk of squid from my hand after acclimating. It has zero interest in clams. It is almost incessantly hunting and I'm trying to ensure the proper balance of food quantity and water condition, as I do not want to cause a nitrate spike by over feeding it.

mike kazma - 2008-08-13
I just got a California stingray. It is the greatest animal I have ever kept. I found it was a good idea to get a couple of snails that bury in the sand. These help to stop unwanted bacteria from growing in the sand and they eat any food waste that would deteriate the water quality. One thing, I cannot find good info about other fish that can be kept with her. I would be interested if anyone has any info on this subject.

  • Sbmarvin - 2013-09-15
    There is a lot of controversy over tank mates. My stingray was the last one added to my tank. But I haven't had any problems. I have a 750 gallon with a skimz 352 protein skimmer, an in line uv filter (controls parasites) refugium and sump that holds almost all my equipment along with some algae. Inside my tank I have some coral and Acropora s. Tank mates includeva school of cromis, maxima clams, 2 solon fairy wrasses, orange shoulder tang, drumfish, 4 urchins, and an Australian Harlequin tusk fish. Many people have said that the round rays leave almost anything prior to their addition alone including shrimps but small additions after them they tend to think is food. Mine is very docile. Fyi I also have a sea grass bed and my ray loves it. Also have multiple marine plants that keep my nitrates way down and increase oxygen levels in tank. Tanks been running for 2 1/2 years, have had the ray for 7 months. So keep peaceful fish and add the ray last for best results.
Liam - 2012-07-30
How do I get salt water? And do I need a special kind of filter for it?

  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-08-01
    You normally mix your own salt water using aquarium salt and a hydrometter to measure the salinity.  Filter depend on size of tank and what you are doing.  A wet/dry system is the norm.
  • person - 2012-11-12
    Exactly how much salt (1,2,3 cups?) do they need, and can u feed them dead/cooked shimp?
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-11-12
    The bag will tell you how much to add.  Make sure to get a salinity meter to assure you have and maintain the right salinity.  You can feed uncooked shrimp.
Mansuper - 2012-04-26
I have my ray for a few weeks now. I can tell it was wild caught. After hand feeding it, it will come up and take food out my hand. It is still a little hand shy but I always try to feed by hand. The next thing is make sure the ray has food on the bottom of the tank for night time. The are pretty active at night and do eat it. The next thing is water quality. I use a protein skimmer and an inline UV light. I also have a sand star. And as far as the ray going after smaller fish and inverterbrates. The ray leaves them alone. I have ample spots in my tank for hidding and use over half the tank for him. I am looking at new tanks. I found one in my local aquarium store that they use for frogs. Its 80 gallons. It is the same size as a 125 gallon but the sides aren't as high. But the same setup as for the skimmer and uv light. And these animals are awesome to have as pets. Great for watching and great for the kids to learn about them.

  • anicemess - 2012-05-04
    What do you use for hiding spots?