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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-16-2013, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Skoolz of Fish in Richmond

Stopped by there today while in town. Owner really nice. He wanted to put the word out that he is making a trip to FL to visit his fish and plant suppliers, and if anyone in the area was looking something specific, to give him a call or stop by and he will do his best to see if he can get what you are looking for.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 04:05 PM
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I know this thread is a couple of months old, but I will taking my first trip to Skoolz of Fish today! They're opening an hour later from 4PM - 8PM. I will report back, and maybe take a picture or two?

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-08-2013, 03:07 AM
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I work at a pet store and hear about this place all the time, I really do need to make a trip out there soon.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2013, 04:11 AM
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He's a cool guy and is actually a guest speaker this Wednesday. He'll talk about stingrays and there will be a plant swap and plant auction. Here's a copy of the monthly news letter describing what he'll be discussing and directions to the location.

Hello all,

Enclosed please find your personal copy of the James River Aquarium Society, Inc's (JRAS's) June, 2013 Monthly Meeting Announcement

What: James River Aquarium Society's (JRAS's) June, 2013 Monthly Meeting

When: The 4th Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, from 7:30 –

Where: VDGIF's 4000 Training Room adjacent to the Headquarters' Boardroom, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230 (Note: This is our usual meeting site!)

Get Directions: Use the following link to let Google Maps show you driving directions: ... arters.asp
, or use the old method of cardinal directions found below

About This Month’s Program:

June 2013 Program “Setting Keeping and Husbandry for Freshwater Stingray”:

This month, JRAS club member and lecturer/entrepreneur Rama Sabbakhan of Skoolz of Fish will convey to us his expertise with Freshwater Stingrays, an increasingly popular fish being kept in aquaria, especially over the last 15 years. Ram will contribute to the growing knowledge of stingray husbandry and breeding requirements for these interesting, intelligent, and beautiful fish that can now thrive and reproduce in aquariums

Rama plans on sharing his knowledge about the different types of freshwater sting rays, compatibility with each other and various other tank mates, size and growth, foods eaten, supply, cost and how to successfully set up and keep these interesting animals in home aquaria.

In addition to husbandry topics, Rama will also present information on conservation, legislation affecting stingrays, tank construction and design. It is our hope that this program will answer many of your questions regarding freshwater stingrays, and will also encourage you to appreciate the need for conservation, captive breeding, and responsibility.

About This Month’s Speaker and Skoolzoffish:

About Skoolz of Fish,
: They are anything but your typical fish store. Skoolz operates out of a warehouse, offering more than 1600 sq ft and over 100 aquariums with fish from all around the world. They specialize in exotic freshwater and saltwater aquarium species with freshwater fish being their specialty. Skoolz of Fish has a special emphasis on stingrays and discus and also have multiple suppliers and fish farms with orders made weekly. Skoolz offers special request ordering and low price services including but not limited to freshwater and saltwater fish, maintenance and rental aquarium services, dry goods and free consultations.

Skoolz of Fish has firsthand experience with collecting tropical fish having traveled to Florida and South America for fish collecting expeditions. Rama will be traveling to Peru in 2013 to collect discus and stingrays and other South American fishes from the Iquitos River.

Future Programs / Looking Ahead

For those of you who like to plan ahead, most of our coming meetings will be held at 7:30 PM at this VDGIF's HQ boardroom location on the following dates unless otherwise notified:


Our July 24th monthly meeting program will be John Harris, Fisheries Biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries presenting on Virginia Native Fish, Virginia Native Fish that can be kept in Aquaria, and the laws pertinent to and procedure for setting up our own JRAS Native Fish Collection Field Trip in the Central Virginia area. (This meeting At DGIF)

Our August 28th monthly meeting will be a field trip to one of our newest member’s home/pond in Goochland County. Jose Oseguera, (a Fisheries Management expert from Humboldt State University, California) and owner of PetsPonds, Inc. will give a presentation on Koi Pond Building, husbandry, costs, etc. at his one acre Koi Pond. As an aside, Jose will also show us his extensive collection of turtles as he owns more than 130 different turtles and is very active in herpetology! The Oseguera family just moved to Richmond from California. Join us in welcoming Jose and his family to the Richmond area!
(This meeting will be offsite at Jose’s home and pond in Goochland County- location information to follow.)

Other programs for September 25, October 23, and November 27 are: 1) Barbs, 2) Tetras, 3) Aquascaping.

About This Month’s (First) Plant Swap:

Victor Hyland, our JRAS Native Fish Collection Committee Chair, is also an aficionado of fine aquarium plants. (There are quite a few of us in JRAS that are plant enthusiasts.) Victor thought that getting a disparate group encompassing several local clubs for a plant swap prior to our official JRAS program would be worth trying as a pilot test.

We are, thus, formally inviting anyone interested in a group PLANT SWAP to join us just prior to the start of our JRAS meeting this coming Wednesday, June 26th, at 7:30. Victor will have us all introduce one another / swap plants. Make sure that you bring as much detail on the plants that you wish to swap as possible. Victor Hyland will lead this swap session and send out more details. (Note: We will still have our usual end-of-meeting Auction.)

About This Month’s Auction:

As always, don’t forget to bring your donation items for the auction or as raffle items, if you have any to spare, and let us know what items you might be interested in obtaining. Should anyone like to auction an item, bring your spare plants, fish, fish food, or hard goods that you would like to donate. Thus far, we have had all profits go to JRAS to pay for internal organization cost, speaker fees, etc.

Last month we had about 8 pieces in the auction, mostly plants and, snail specie. Each month the items change. Lee Shadbolt is our official auctioneer. Special thanks, again, to David Sombach / JRAS, Keith Howe of Azalea Aquarium, and Rama Sabbakhan of Skoolzoffish, and Larry Jinks, of the Raleigh Aquarium Society (especially) for donated items.

Research on Stingrays:

1) Stingrays

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Stingrays are a group of rays, which are cartilaginous fishes related to sharks. They are classified in the suborder Myliobatoidei of the order Myliobatiformes, and consist of eight families: Hexatrygonidae(sixgill stingray), Plesiobatidae (deep water stingray), Urolophidae (stingarees), Urotrygonidae (round rays), Dasyatidae (whiptail stingrays), Potamotrygonidae (river stingrays), Gymnuridae (butterfly rays), and Myliobatidae (eagle rays).[1][2]

Most stingrays have one or more barbed stings (modified from dermal denticles) on the tail, which are used exclusively in self-defense. The stinger may reach a length of approximately 35 cm (14 in), and its underside has two grooves with venom glands.[3] The stinger is covered with a thin layer of skin, the integumentary sheath, in which the venom is concentrated.[4] A few members of the suborder, such as themanta rays and the porcupine ray, do not have stingers.[5]

Stingrays are common in coastal tropical and subtropical marine waters throughout the world, and also includes species found in warmer temperate oceans, such as Dasyatis thetidis, and those found in the deep ocean, such as Plesiobatis daviesi. The river stingrays, and a number of whiptail stingrays (such as the Niger stingray), are restricted to fresh water. Most myliobatoids are demersal, but some, such as the pelagic stingray and the eagle rays, are pelagic.[6]

While most stingrays are relatively widespread and not currently threatened, for several species (for example Taeniura meyeni, D. colarensis, D. garouaensis, and D. laosensis), the conservation status is more problematic, leading to them being listed as vulnerable or endangered by IUCN. The status of several other species are poorly known, leading to them being listed as Data Deficient.[7]


A stingray's underside shows its mouth and the ventral gill slits. The pair of claspers (at the base of the tail) identifies it as male.

The flattened bodies of stingrays allow them to effectively conceal themselves in their environment. Stingrays do this by agitating the sand and hiding beneath it. Because their eyes are on top of their bodies and their mouths on the undersides, stingrays cannot see their prey; instead, they use smell and electro receptors (ampullae of Lorenzini) similar to those of sharks.[8] Stingrays feed primarily on molluscs, crustaceans, and occasionally on small fish. Some stingrays' mouths contain two powerful, shell-crushing plates, while other species only have sucking mouthparts. Stingrays settle on the bottom while feeding, often leaving only their eyes and tail visible. Coral reefs are favorite feeding grounds and are usually shared with sharks during high tide.[9]

When a male is courting a female, he will follow her closely, biting at her pectoral disc. He then places one of his two claspers into her valve.[10]

Stingrays are ovoviviparous, bearing live young in "litters" of five to 13. The female holds the embryos in the womb without a placenta. Instead, the embryos absorb nutrients from a yolk sac, and after the sac is depleted, the mother provides uterine "milk".[11]

At the Sea Life London Aquarium, two female stingrays have delivered seven baby stingrays, although the mothers have not been near a male for two years. "Rays have been known to store sperm and not give birth until they decide the timing is right".[12]

Stingray injuries
Main article: Stingray injury

A stingray's stinger (ruler in cm)

Stingrays do not aggressively attack humans, though stings do normally occur if a ray is accidentally stepped on.[13] To avoid stepping on a stingray in shallow water, the water should be waded through with a shuffle.[14] Alternatively, before wading, stones can be thrown into the water to scare stingrays away.[15]Contact with the stinger causes local trauma (from the cut itself), pain, swelling, muscle cramps from the venom, and later may result in infection from bacteria or fungus.[16] The injury is very painful, but seldom life-threatening unless the stinger pierces a vital area.[13] The barb usually breaks off in the wound, and surgery may be required to remove the fragments.[17]

As food
Rays are edible, and may be caught as food using fishing lines or spears.[18] Stingray recipes abound throughout the world, with dried forms of the wings being most common. For example, in Singapore and Malaysia, stingray is commonly grilled over charcoal, then served with spicy sambal sauce. Generally, the most prized parts of the stingray are the wings (flaps is the proper terminology), the "cheek" (the area surrounding the eyes), and the liver. The rest of the ray is considered too rubbery to have any culinary uses.[19]
While not independently valuable as a food source, the stingray's capacity to damage shell fishing grounds can lead to bounties being placed on their removal.[20]


Southern stingray
Stingrays are usually very docile and curious, their usual reaction being to flee any disturbance, but they will sometimes brush their fins past any new object they encounter. Nevertheless, certain larger species may be more aggressive and should be approached with caution, as the stingray's defensive reflex (use of its poisoned stinger) may result in serious injury or death.[21]

Dasyatids are not normally visible to swimmers, but divers and snorkelers may find them in shallow, sandy waters, more so when the water is warm. In the Cayman Islands several dive sites called Stingray City, Grand Cayman, allow divers and snorkelers to swim with large southern stingrays (D. americana) and feed them by hand.[22] A "Stingray City" in the sea surrounding the Caribbean island of Antiguaconsists of a large, shallow reserve where the rays live, and snorkeling is possible, since the rays are used to the presence of humans.[23]
In Belize, off the island of Ambergris Caye, there is a popular marine sanctuary, Hol Chan, where divers and snorkelers often gather to watch stingrays and nurse sharks drawn to the area by tour operators who feed the animals.

Many Tahitian island resorts regularly offer guests the chance to "feed the stingrays and sharks". This consists of taking a boat to the outer lagoon reefs, then standing in waist-high water while habituated stingrays swarm around, pressing right up against tourists seeking food from their hands or that being tossed into the water. The boat owners also "call in" sharks, which, when they arrive from the ocean, swoop through the shallow water above the reef and snatch food offered to them.[24]

Other uses
The skin of the ray (same in Japanese) is used as an under layer for the cord or leather wrap (known as ito in Japanese) on Japanese swords due to its hard, rough, skin texture that keeps the braided wrap from sliding on the handle during use. They are also used to make exotic shoes, boots, belts, wallets, jackets, and cellphone cases.[25]

Several ethnological sections in museums,[26] such as the British Museum, display arrowheads and spearheads made of stingray stingers, used in Micronesia and elsewhere.[27] Henry de Monfreid stated in his books that before World War II, in the Horn of Africa, whips were made from the tail of big stingrays, and these devices inflicted cruel cuts, so in Aden the British forbade their use on women and slaves. In former Spanish colonies, a stingray is called raya látigo ("whip ray").[28]

Monfreid also wrote in several places about men of his crew suffering stingray wounds while standing and wading into Red Sea shallows to load or unload smuggled wares: he wrote that to "save the man's life", searing the wound with a red-hot iron was necessary.[29]

Barbecued stingray is commonly served in Singapore and Malaysia

Stingray City in Grand Cayman allows swimmers, snorkelers, and divers to swim with and feed the stingrays

Early Eocene fossil stingray Heliobatis radians

Stingray in shallows

Although stingray teeth are rare on sea bottoms compared to the similar shark teeth, scuba divers searching for the latter do encounter the teeth of stingrays. Permineralized stingray teeth have been found in sedimentary deposits around the world, including fossiliferous outcrops in Morocco.[30]

2) New species of dwarf freshwater stingray described

From: ... p?sid=3954

The dwarf freshwater stingray commonly known as the Black tailed antenna ray in the aquarium trade has finally been formally named in a recent issue of the journal Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia.

Marcelo Carvalho and Maíra Ragno name the new stingray from the upper and middle Amazon River drainage Plesiotrygon nana, after its small adult size (Latin nanus=dwarf).

Plesiotrygon nana differs from its only congener, P. iwamae, in a number of ways, including having the dorsal surface of the disc with highly convoluted yellowish lines or small spots composed into very fine rosettes or a combination of spots and irregular ocelli, a circular disc, a broadly rounded snout, very small and less rhomboidal spiracles, a short snout and a narrow mouth and nostrils.

In addition, the denticles on the dorsal surface of the tail are small, scattered, and not forming a row of enlarged spines, it has significantly fewer tooth rows in adult and preadult fish, fewer caudal vertebrae, and a higher number of pectoral radials.

This species also has a very small adult size, probably not surpassing 25cm/10" disc length or width.
For more information, see the paper: de Carvalho, MR and MP Ragno (2011) An unusual, dwarf new species of Neotropical freshwater stingray, Plesiotrygon nana sp. nov., from the upper and mid Amazon basin: the second species of Plesiotrygon (Chondrichthyes: Potamotrygonidae). Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 51, pp. 101–138.

Published: Dr Heok Hee Ng Monday 23 May 2011, 12:32 pm

3) References:

Freshwater Stingrays (Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals) by Richard Ross M.D. (Jul 1, 1999)




Freshwater Stingrays from South America (AQUALOG Special) by Richard Ross (Sep 1999)


Hardcover .


Freshwater Stingrays (AquaGuide) by Hans Gonnella and Herbert Axelrod (Feb 28, 2003)




Freshwater Rays (Aqualog-reference books) by Richard Ross, Frank Schaefer, Schaefer Frank and Ross Richard (Mar 31, 2000)




Editor’s Corner:

Club members can send their ad information to
. Please send all trading post items by noon on the Wednesday before the fourth Wednesday of each month in order to get them in that month's newsletter. Don't forget to include your full name and contact information.

Note: As always, if you no longer want to receive these announcements or newsletters, please send an email to
to be promptly taken off the mailing list.

We, again, owe a deep debt of gratitude to both Potomac Valley Aquarium Society (PVAS) and Raleigh Aquarium Society (RAS) who have generously shared their ideas, general and technical counsel, volunteered speakers for programs and provided massive amounts of text for our newsletters and overall efforts. Should our growing organization achieve even a small degree of their accomplishments we will be deeply grateful.

I look forward to seeing you all again on Wednesday, June 26th at 7:30 PM at DGIF!


Dennis Bragg
James River Aquarium Society (JRAS)


Attached: Cardinal Directions to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VA DGIF) in the 4000 training room adjacent to the Board Room of Headquarters Board Room located at 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230 for our October (and all other monthly meetings) Meeting on Wednesday October the 24th, 7:30 pm are:

From the North
I-95 South
Take exit 79 (I-195 South)
Go approximately 1.5 miles
Get off on the first exit (Hamilton/Broad St)
Bear right getting off exit (Hamilton St)
Turn right at light (Broad St)
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries office is on the right
Parking and entrance is at the rear of the building
From the South
I-95 North through the city
Take exit 79 (I-195 South)
Go approximately 1.5 miles
Get off on the first exit (Hamilton St/Broad St)
Bear right getting off exit (Hamilton St)
Turn right at light (Broad St)
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries office is on the right
Parking and entrance is at the rear of the building
From the West
I-64 East
Take I-195 South exit (exit 186); stay on I-195 South
Go approximately 1.5 miles
Get off on the first exit (Hamilton/Broad St)
Bear right getting off exit (Hamilton St)
Turn right at light (Broad St)
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries office is on the right
Parking and entrance is at the rear of the building
From the East
I-64 West
Exit onto I-64 West/I-195 South exit 79
Merge into I-64 West
Bear left onto I-195 South and take first exit (Hamilton St/Broad St)
Bear right getting off exit (Hamilton St)
Turn right at light (Broad St)
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries office is on the right
Parking and entrance is at the rear of the building

*Again, internet directions can be obtained from your location to the site using: ... arters.asp
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2013, 05:09 PM
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Thanks for sharing your newsletter, Amp2020! Just wondering, but is there any specifications to join that mailing list? I'm curious because I Google'd the JRAS and nothing substantial came up, but I'd like to receive it if possible. Also, you reminded me that I forgot about this thread lol.

I did go to Skoolz of Fish on the 3rd. Everything about that store was a positive experience. It was a little hairy to get to the location because it's off of Chamberlayne, but well worth the drive to the city. I pulled up and the owner was blasting metal music (a plus in my book) as he was putting together some tanks. He was friendly, although I wish I had stayed and talked more to him. He really does have the best selection of fish that I've ever seen in this part of VA. Unfortunately, I decided not to buy any fish from him that day because my tanks weren't ready. However, I intend on talking to him about getting some Scarlet Badis or Apisto pairs in the future. He's also really responsive on the SoF Facebook page if anyone has any questions, especially about his stock, before they drive there. Also, he has more than just fish. He has a variety of plants to choose from, as well as some wood, rocks, and substrate. Overall, if you're an aquarium enthusiast in central VA, this place is a must go.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-03-2013, 04:15 AM
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Finally made it out there. His hours are a bit funky, but otherwise probably the best Freshwater livestock dealer in the area. Only thing I wish he had a better selection of live plants and the ones he has were in better health, but as far as fish go, definitely my first choice.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-03-2013, 04:26 AM
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wasn't aware there are some richmond folk on here
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-03-2013, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by dj2606 View Post
wasn't aware there are some richmond folk on here
Haha well here's one. Technically I'm in the Ashland/Mechanicsville area, but I'm close enough to downtown that most of the surrounding towns/cities aren't a far drive.
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