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Man breeds rare stingrays

December 28th, 2007, 08:45 AM
Not sure if that guy is helping the species, or just wants to make a load of cash.


Fish fanatic Neil Woodward has become the first man in the world to breed rare stingrays in captivity after setting up a breeding centre - in his living room.

Neil, 38, travelled all the way to the Brazilian rainforest to capture the freshwater pearls to be brought back to the UK for breeding in captivity.

The aquatics shop owner spent five years attempting to get his two pairs of stingrays to breed in the specially made tank he kept in the lounge of his three bedroom home.

But this year, two finally started getting down to business - and producing litters of pups.

Neil said: "I was really pleased to see them breeding after five years.

"They're really beautiful creatures, and I find them fascinating to watch. They have live babies too instead of just producing eggs.

"People think it's strange that I keep them in the house but they have a special tank and doing really well.

"They're not at all dangerous. They even come and feed out of your hand."

Neil, a fish fanatic since his teens, harvested the fish, which have swum the rivers of South America since pre-historic times, from the Tapajos river, a tributary of the Amazon.

The trip was one of many he has made to bring exotic breeds of fish back to his shop, Pier Aquatics, in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

He said: "It was a tough trip. These fish don't breed anywhere near major towns or urban areas so we were in really remote areas.

"Our jeep turned over and we were nearly struck by lightening.

"I've been to other places in South America before and I'm planning a trip to Thailand soon. It's worth it to get the fish back to the UK."

The stingrays are born at four inches long, and can grow to be up to 2ft long.

Neil owns two breeding pairs, which are fed on specialist food from bought from a Chinese wholesaler. He pumps specially softened water into the tank which measures 7ft long and holds 500 gallons of water heated to 82F.

He takes the babies into his shop, where they attract a lot of attention amongst the 600 tanks of up to 15,000 other breeds of fish.

Neil said: "They're growing bigger all the time and we're going to move house so we can fit a bigger tank in. My wife, Adele, loves them too.

"They breed once every hundred days or so. In the wild they can have litters of up to 14 pups. One pair had five just last week.

"They are very hard to come by so they are quite expensive to buy. We sell them sell well via the shop. I'm about to ship some out to Malaysia.

"The adults are priceless, because it is no longer possible to export them from South America. I'm very lucky to have them."

December 28th, 2007, 11:17 AM
*shrugs* who knows?? this whole fish keeping thing breeds nuts all over *raises hand in admission*

if i had the chance/money to farther challenge myself with a 200g discus biome or a regional reef habitat... i woudl do it. i can think of more than half a dozen amazing fish who are not breeding for hobbiest for whatever reason that are on a short road to extinction. im sure if i could dedicate a 200g river set up to breeding zebra plecos or some of the other misplaced damed up fish in South America. perhaps a 150g heavily planted tank for raising the new found fad of 'galaxy rasbora' for re-release in the wild? if i had bottomless pockets.... :)

a ceph tank. so totally a cephlopod breeding tank. if i could breed cuttlefish... yep. octopus are just too intelligent for me to cage. short lived.... but cuttlefish.... amazing. if i had the money.... id have cuttlefish.

ok..... back to the point.... which is there are tons of people in the fish keeping world who would do it for the challenge. whole clan of folks who have 'monster' fish tanks in the 500g+ range. i mean these folks keep 'tanks' that rival some public aquariums who, i guess, just have money to burn and an obsession for fish keeping.