My husband and I have been learning a LOT from your posts, thank you for what you do!
We are only a few months into caring for seahorses, so we are trying to make do as best we can. Whenever we happen upon a wild seahorse that needs rescuing (that's how we started) we nurse them back to health and re-release them where we found them. So far, we've successfully nursed back to health 4 and have been able to re-release them.
Note: We noticed that they actually did better in a slightly dirtier tank - perhaps its because the stream they live in is quite dirty.
Natural habitat: a brackish water stream that occasionally lets out into the ocean.
Species: H. Kuda (I think)
Food: Opae (tiny shrimp) from the stream.
Currently, we have a 20' high tank with sand from the local beach, some live rock, a straw for a hitching post and recently plastic vines for a more natural hitching post. We have one male left that we haven't released because we noticed he couldn't hunt well (from the get go); we'd watch him try to snick at the shrimp but would miss every time. He wasn't eating, so I started hand feeding him with success (sometimes using chopsticks or directly from my fingers.) This allowed me to realize how bad his eyesight was: both the chopsticks and my hand are similar color - he would go right past the shrimp and start swimming right into my fingers.
A few days later, Symptoms include: one eye looked like a yellow cat eye; not sure if it was popeye or parasites. Difficulty eating from (1) poor sight and (2) now his suction seems weak.
He then developed what looked like ICH - white slime on his snout just below his eyes.
We tried desperately to find Formalin 37% as you've described on other posts, but to no avail.
1st treatment attempt: 1 hour Formalin dip using some Ich drops my husband had on hand for his other marine tanks. (no description on bottle). Followed bottle instructions altered with info from your blogs. We then read your warning about expired formalin, oops. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Thank God he actually seemed better right away, started swimming around and I was able to feed him 6 opae! (By this time he was down to 2/day, which took me about an hour per shrimp).
His "recovery" was short lived. By the next day, he again had no energy, just sank to the bottom, hardly hitched, and refused to eat.
2nd treatment attempt: 10 min Fresh water dip in Distilled water; temp matched to aquarium, around 78. Some of the white stuff came off. We didn't see the greyish sesame seed-like parasites we read about. He still wouldn't eat.
I was able to get him to eat 1 opae - took forever. He still misses even at close range from my fingers and then since he initially grabs it sideways, he'd hold it for a few seconds, drop it, track it as it falls to the bottom, then become disinterested - probably because it's now dead.
The next day was his worst: he was bobbing at the top, and I feared GBS on top of everything else. We managed to find some formalin; closest we came was ICH treatment with a proprietary <3% formaldehyde with H2O mix. Since he did not exhibit labored breathing, we kept him in for 30 min. This time, no real improvement other than he seemed to have a little more energy and could hitch to his plants, no longer bobbing at the top. Also, his eyes finally looked better. Still, I can't get him to eat at all. He won't even "lock into" the shrimp; totally ignores it.
Today is 1 day after that ICH treatment, and it looks like he's developed a sore around his snout. It's different from the whitish ICH stuff - looks more like a sore. Poor thing! I dangled an almost dead shrimp to see if he would eat, but he swims away. I kept trying for another hour and used a smaller shrimp, thinking maybe he was intimidated by the size? Not sure if coincidence, but he at least "locked in". When I dropped it, he tracked it, snicked 1 time but couldn't suck it in. He was already at the bottom of the tank, so he was able to track it to where it settled on the sand, but it was dead so he gave up.
Current status: yellow/popeye resolved (not sure if completely), whitish ICH stuff gone. Yellowish patch on snout both sides that looks like a sore.
Is it weak snick? Snout rot?
We scoured the island for remedies, and found this: Fungus Cure by Api, recommended by the pet store. He explained that the antibiotics are heavily policed now, and that's why we can't find them. We don't have time to order online, as I think this Kuda needs immediate help. (We've been waiting to get on to this forum for almost 2 weeks, so we had to improvise in the meantime). My husband just put him into a 5 gal high tank (same temp, 76) following instructions. Active ingredients on box: 3 mg Victoria Green B and 30 mg Acriflavine per packet. We are using 1/2 the water amount, so we only used 1/2 the packet; it turns the water really green. I'm very worried because I haven't heard you mention this remedy and I know nothing about it. He is hitched at the bottom of the tank very still vs during the other remedies he was constantly moving.
I took a lot of pics, lmk if there's a way to send them to you, if that will help. You can see what his eye looked like before it resolved, and his current "sore" on his snout.
Hope to hear from you soon,