Well, I would be remiss in my posts if I didn\'t post my losses as well as my few successes, and here\'s a major loss for me:
My little female H. erectus died yesterday.
Yesterday morning I woke up and did the usual tank inspection. The H. reidis are doing well now that the babies are in the breeder tank, they\'re interacting together as usual and...in fact, I think I may have missed it again, but the male\'s pouch looks mildly swollen with eggs. AGAIN! However, my little erectus was acting lethargic, not swimming to the feeding tube like she usually likes to do, and her coloration was a little pale.
I wasn\'t sure what I could do other than observation at the time, I didn\'t see any physical abnormalities other than the skin discoloration and lethargy. I went to work as usual. When I got back yesterday evening, she had taken a major turn for the worse: her skin was now looking like pale-yellow lesions (she\'s a black erectus) and the skin on her tail and back was sloughing off. She wasn\'t hitching now either -- just laying in the leaves of the faux kelp. I immediately pulled out my in-tank isolation chamber for closer observation while I prepped my hospital tank, but it was too late. She literally died in my hand while I was guiding her to the isolation tank. She kicked once, then stopped breathing alltogether and stiffened up. :(
Water tests showed Amm at 0, trites 0, trates at 10 (down from 20 after the skimmer addition from earlier posts) and temp at a solid 74. I didn\'t test pH; I need a new test bottle for that. As we\'ve discussed from past posts, the tank is 37 gallon tall, HOB filtration, and a new skimmer.
I should have taken a picture of her body before I disposed of it, but I wasn\'t thinking about it at the time (yes, I was quite upset over the loss of a seahorse. Sue me.) :) But before she died I was pretty sure from the skin erosion that I was dealing with a bacterial infection, possibly some vibrio bacterium. She had the pale blotches all over her torso and tail. Her snout looked fine, no rot there, and her fins appeared normal at time of death. Her dorsal fin was a little rough, but that area was affected by the lesion-like appearance. I do not believe this was a secondary from ich. Although ich is highly difficult to diagnose in horses, I have other fish in the tank who show no signs whatsoever. I believe that she may have been more stressed than I originally thought with the nitrates and breathing difficulties Pete helped me with earlier, and that stress may have induced an immune deficiency enough to let a pathogen take hold. Right now that\'s my only guess.
Now, finally, we come to the question: should I be concerned about my other horses? I\'m watching them VERY closely today. Is it ever a good idea to treat prophylactically with something like paragon II or furan II if a bacterial disease is suspected? I only ask because of the shocking speed my poor little H. erectus degenerated. Even including the possibility of lethargy 12 hours before I noticed it, that would put the disease progression at about 30-36 hours between healthy and dead. At a speed like that, I don\'t have much time to treat my reidis if they succumb to any bacteria. Of course, I removed the dead horse as soon as it passed away, so there was little chance of the body contaminating the water supply.
As upset as I was over the loss of the first seahorse I ever owned, I want to make sure this doesn\'t become a huge issue for the other two seahorses in the tank. Any thoughts you might have would, as usual, be greatly appreciated.