polkadot stingray

Polka Dot Stingray -A Freshwater Stingray, Lifespan, Food, Growth Rate, Care Guide, and Price

Did you know that the Polka dot stingray is the world’s second most expensive fish?

What makes this stingray so popular and so demanded by fish hobbyists worldwide is its unprecedented beauty.

PolkaDot stingray is a freshwater stingray. This Xingu river ray is famous for its venomous nature and beautiful white blotched appearance. All you need to know about this amazing creature will be covered in this article.

Freshwater Stingrays in their true beauty. Let’s not wait any longer and get started with this freshwater stingray.

Freshwater Polka Dot stingray

Origin and History

Scientific namePotamotrygon leopoldi
Size (Length)3ft, 3in (1 meter)

Moreover, it was also seen in the basins of Brazil. Xingu stingray prefers to live in the rocky bottoms and depths of rivers.

It is the freshwater ray that can also be kept in an aquarium. They were the first inhabitants of seawater, but lately, they evolved themselves for freshwater. This feature of stingrays makes them unique and special in the aquatic world.

Close relatives

Polka dot stingray is a dangerous inhabitant of the Amazon and is closely related to 34 other stingrays. This freshwater stingray also resembles shark and sawfish.

Several stingrays are closely related to the Xingu river ray. Following is a list of other stingrays.

1-Bigtooth river ray (having yellow smaller spots)

2-Orange spotted Ocellate ray

3-Porcupine river ray (having brown and black spotted)

4-Tiger ray (extensively patterned)

Slightly Different Rays

Two species of the Potamotrygonidae family are quite different from the polka dot stingray.

1-Chupare stingray (it lives in seawater, coral reefs, and river estuaries)

2-Southern stingray (mostly found in the Gulf of Mexico)


Xingu river ray is known as Polka dot stingray for its appearance. It has characteristic white blotches all over its body. Due to this distinct pattern on its body is also called a “White Blotched Stingray”. 

It has a disc-shaped body with a size of 33 inches in length and 16 inches in width. Its net weight is approximately 15-20 kg.

It has a velvet-like surface, that’s why it is also known as “Velveteen River Ray”. It has a unique spaceship-like shape that facilitates its movement. As it lives at the bottom of the river, its only movement can be felt by its slightly twitching eyes.

They have tiny spiracles behind their eyes, and these help the stingray breathe while being buried in the sand.


Numerous interesting names are associated with this freshwater stingray. It is known as “Polka dot stingray potamotrygon” or “stingray potamotrygon leopoldi” in scientific terminology.

Some people also refer to it as “Black Diamond stingray”. Above all of them, it is most commonly known as the “Xingu river ray”. Besides, as it is an inhabitant of Brazil, it is also called the “Brazilian stingray”.

In addition to this, due to their venomous nature, they are also referred to as “Death Ray” or “Black Devil Stingray”.

Interesting facts

When it comes to some interesting and fun facts regarding this beautiful stingray, there is like a bunch of them. So, let’s take a look at a few fun facts.

  • Firstly, they are venomous and deadly. They have a secret weapon upon the upper surface of their body. Their dentine spine contains a large quantity of venom inside it.
  • The venom gets less toxic as the ray increases in age. Still, it can prove fatal for its enemies. Generally, adult stingrays lack venom.
  • Secondly, their body gets more strengthen with advancing age; as they get older, their jaw’s strength, grip, and stiffness increase. Moreover, their bones get mineralized greatly for catching prey.
  • One of the most interesting things about the Xingu river ray is its ability to camouflage. According to some experts, white spots on the surface of their bodies resemble the sun’s rays striking the river bottom. As they are bottom dwellers, they get benefitted from this. This pattern enables them to hide from predators.
  • Xingu river ray is entitled as an endangered species. Its export is banned all across the world. But, all such efforts are still failing to stop smugglers from illegally keeping the fish in captivity.
  • Lastly, polka dot stingray is data deficient. It means that nobody has a correct idea about the number of this stingray as these freshwater stingray lives in the river depths so they are hard to find and their camouflage ability makes it even harder to find.
  • Their venomous nature is responsible for several injuries to human beings. These freshwater stingrays injure more humans than any other Amazon creature. Its venom can prove fatal if injected into any vital human organ.
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Life span

Freshwater stingray is a hardy creature and can live a healthy life for quite a long period. It is tough for them to survive in the wild.

Usually, mining and other water and land pollutants greatly decrease their survival rate. Females usually live longer than their male counterparts. Captive-bred species are usually better survivors.

The maximum life span for female stingray: 10-13 years.

The maximum life span for male stingray: 7-9 years.

Freshwater Stingray Aquarium

Developing a home aquarium for a freshwater stingray could be a bit troublesome because of its size and extent of activity.

Besides all the fuss, they are worthy of keeping because of their intelligence and entertaining nature.

Here are a few things you should consider before buying a freshwater stingray and building its aquarium.

Tank size

Based on their size, they require tons of space to feel comfortable. They are bottom dwellers, so the tank should have a greater width than height.

See our Other article on Best Fish Tanks for Beginners | updated for 2020

As per their activity, they hardly calm down. They love to move and play, so they need their space. So, your tank should range from 125-200 gallons. Greater is better, and preference should be the width.

Water parameters for stingrays

The water conditions should be carefully monitored, keeping them close to their natural habitat.

pH: 6.0-7.0

Temperature: 75-82 Degree Fahrenheite

Ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite concentration: 0 ppm

Salinity: Some species require a saline environment

For the aquarium base, you can consider a sand basement or a bare glass basement. It is best for stingrays in a sand-based aquarium, as it is close to their natural habitat.

Moreover, it helps them play around, dig, and get buried in the sand. Meanwhile, it can become difficult for them to find food. The sand aquarium is good for freshwater stingrays to improve their basic instincts.

On the other hand, a bare basement aquarium provides good space for them for playing around. Moreover, it is easy to clean as compared to a sand aquarium.

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Decorating the aquarium with live plants is also difficult as the freshwater stingrays love to move and slide around so that they might hurt themselves.

Water heater

When it comes to water temperature, they require a temperature higher than room temperature. Considering the size of the aquarium, a large size aquarium heater should be used.

Meanwhile, keeping in mind their activity, a heater protection guard should be used. Maintaining an accurate temperature is necessary for their growth and development.

Water filtration

Maintaining water quality is the most difficult task as this Xingu freshwater stingray is huge, so they excrete an enormous amount of nitrogenous waste.

Such a large amount of waste is difficult to get rid of. That’s why an efficient water filter is crucial for their survival. To avoid any change in essential water parameters, almost 20-25% of the water should be changed every week.

To our surprise, the Xingu stingray is quite sensitive toward the concentration of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and other toxic nitrogenous materials.

Keeping this in mind, maintaining a clean environment and a 0 ppm quantity of nitrate and ammonia is essential. A small amount of this waste can prove deadly for the freshwater stingray.

Did you know that stingrays were previously inhabitants of saltwater, and then they moved to freshwater and evolved accordingly? Concerning this, every species of stingray requires a different set of environments for survival.

Freshwater Stingray Tank Mates

when choosing companions for your freshwater rays, you must be very cautious.

This stingray is called black devil for no other reason than being venomous because it can kill or injure its tank mates.

Polka dot stingray is calm and peaceful in nature. Thus, they easily get suppressed by other large fish like cichlids or catfish.

Perfect tank mates for this freshwater stingray are following.

  • Knifefish
  • Arowana
  • Pacu
  • Silver dollar
  • Gouramis
  • Angelfish
  • Other stingrays

Freshwater Stingray Food

Xingu river ray is quite famous for its enormous appetite. They eat a lot and eat constantly. Especially females, during their pregnancies, eat like beasts. So, following their impressive appetite, they accept anything smaller than them.

Freshwater stingray is carnivores. Being bottom dwellers and carnivores, they prefer food found on the river’s bottom, including worms, oysters, snails, shrimps, clams, and small fishes.

Their particularly favourite food is squids and blood worms.

They are not very picky eaters. They are patient hunters. Freshwater stingrays love to eat. To them, food is everything. They are active creatures, so consequently, they need enormous fuel as well.

 Those interested in keeping freshwater stingray at home can feed them any food live, frozen, or dried. Small fish, cichlid pellets, and brine shrimps are perfect feed for stingrays.

Moreover, One entertaining activity will be giving it live food, so the stingray will love to chase them and then eat it with delight.

See Our Other Article on Asian Arowana: The Dragon Fish and a True Legend

Polka dot stingray Price

When it comes to the price of Polka dot stingray, it proved to be a surprisingly expensive fish. Freshwater stingray cost a lot as they are quite rare and endangered as well.

Thus, this mesmerizing black and white fish has a whopping price tag of $100,000. It is the second most expensive fish after platinum Arowana.

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Considering their intelligence, beauty, and amusing nature, the polka dot freshwater stingray, is worth every penny. Although, such an expensive fish is not a good choice for beginners.

Male vs female Freshwater Polka dot stingray

Although both genders are quite similar in looks and habits, those interested in breeding should know certain differences between the two.

Male Xingu river ray is usually smaller in size with smaller blotches and less shiny skin. In comparison to this, females are more attractive, bigger and have larger blotches.

Furthermore, male stingrays have a specialized pair of anal fins known as claspers for reproduction purposes. Males are known for their habit of biting their partners.

Females lack the characteristic claspers. In replacement to this, they have oviducts around their anal fins. Female stingray has thick skin for protecting themself from being bitten by their males. Plus, females live longer than males and are more active.


When it comes to breeding stingrays, it is quite a difficult and time taking task. Enormous space, extensive time, and a prodigious amount of food are basic requirements for breeding stingrays.

First of all, they need to reach sexual maturity. Stingrays take almost 2 years to reach the required sexual maturity.

Once they become mature, the female can get pregnant as soon as the male is on heat. After pregnancy, it takes almost 3 months of constant food supply, and then here come their babies.

During their time of pregnancy, they need constant food and care. Any drastic change in the water environment can affect their pregnancy.

Stingrays are viviparous. They give birth to live, swimming babies instead of laying eggs.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How much does a polka dot stingray cost?

This rare fish has captured the attention of fish keepers around the globe. Polka dot stingray is one of the most expensive fish seen on this planet. This natural gem has been tagged with a surprisingly insane price of $100,000 in Taiwan.

Aquarists have addressed this fish as “Black Diamonds” or “White diamond river ray” in reference to its blotched appearance. This name appears to justify its price as well.

What is the tank size for a freshwater stingray?

This aquarium fish is basically a bottom-dweller, and they can grow up to 18 inches. Thus a large water tank is necessary for its proper growth. A freshwater aquarium of 75 gallons is initially required. As they reach adulthood and grow in size, a bigger aquarium of 125 to 150 gallons is inevitable.

The aquarium should be more in width to allow space for sufficient movement. These species tend to move around a lot in search of food.

How big do teacup Stingrays get?

Teacup stingray is a freshwater stingray that can reach a maximum size of 13 to 15 inches. They have a wide body and a long tail. Teacup stingray, just like other rays, requires adequate space. So an aquarium ranging from 100 to 125 gallons is necessary.

Interestingly enough, this stingray species is illegal in most of the world for having poisonous barbs. Moreover, their predatory nature closely resembles sharks.


In conclusion, I hope this article provided you with every piece of information you needed for the polka dot stingray.

In the end, we are looking forward to helping you guys in the future too.

Tell us about your favorite freshwater fish in the comment section below.

2 thoughts on “Polka Dot Stingray -A Freshwater Stingray, Lifespan, Food, Growth Rate, Care Guide, and Price”

  1. Pingback: 10 of the Most Expensive Fish Ever Sold - Rarest.org

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