After examining the photo you provided, the whitish/yellowish mid-tail pimple-like growth is most likely a bacterial lesion, and my best guess with so little to go one is that the bump consists of pyogranulatomous cyst.
It is important to treat the underlying infection that is causing this lesion promptly, Sean. Such problems can be treated successfully with a combination of Trimethoprim-Sulfathiazole (TMP-sulfa) and Gentamycin, but these antibiotics can be difficult to obtain and are best administered orally rather than adding them to the aquarium water or they cannot get into granulomas and pustules, which are walled off collections of white cells/bacteria without a blood supply.
Gentamycin has a very good synergistic effect when combined with Trimethoprim-Sulfathiazole, and those three antibiotics form a very potent combination for eradicating such bacterial infections. These are powerful antibiotics and this combination of drugs will nuke your biofilter, so treatment must be carried out in a hospital tank. I recommended a bare-bottomed 10-gallon hospital tank half-filled with water, because daily water changes will be required during the first week of treatment, and this will make the small daily water changes manageable.
This is the treatment regimen I recommend, Sean: 1 week of treatment in a hospital tank with Trimethoprim-Sulfathiazole, administered with daily water changes at the dosages described below, followed by another two weeks of treatment with food injected/soaked or gut-loaded with Trimethoprim-Sulfathiazole. For the first 7-10 days of treatment the TMP-Sulfa should be combined with Gentamycin sulfate at the dosage indicated below.
Trimethoprim and Sulfathiazole Sodium (TMP-Sulfa)
USE: Treatment of bacterial infections, both gram-positive and gram-negative. The combination retards resistant strains from developing. It exerts its anti-microbial effect by blocking 2 consecutive steps in the biosynthesis of nucleic acids and proteins essential to many bacteria.
DOSAGE: 1/4 teaspoon of TMP-Sulfa per 10 gallons every 24 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment. 1/4 pound (treats approx. 980 gal.)
Gentamycin Sulfate Powder 100%
USE: Probably the most powerful gram-negative antibacterial on the market today. Effective in fresh and salt water aquariums. Only 1 dose is usually required. One of the few drugs that is absorbed into the blood stream through the gills.
DOSAGE: 1/4 teaspoon of Gentamycin sulfate powder per 40 gallons of water. Only one dose is necessary. Treat one time and leave in water for 7-10 days. If water changes are done, replace the medication according to how much water was changed. (You will be doing daily 25% water changes for the first week, Sean, so you will need to replace 25% of the Gentamycin (i.e., 1/16 teaspoon) the first week.)
Both of these medications can be purchased online or over the phone from National Fish Pharmaceuticals at the following web site:
National Fish Pharmaceuticals
Daily water changes of 25% are required for the first week to prevent toxicity problems and in order to maintain water quality. After the first week you will be administering the TMP-Sulfa orally via gut-loaded or injected shrimp, rather than adding it to the hospital tank water, so you can then make water changes as necessary for water quality and add a sponge filter or two to provide some biofiltration ability for the remaining 6 months of treatment. Or if the yellowish pimple clears up during the hard-hitting first week of treating with the potent TMP-Sulfa + Gentamycin combo, the seahorse can be returned to the main tank for the two weeks of follow-up treatments with gut-loaded (or injected) shrimp. (As I mentioned earlier, granuloma disease is not very contagious; it tends to crop up in sporadic, isolated cases rather than causing epidemics.)
Gut-loading Shrimp: Administering Medication Orally
For the two weeks of follow-up feedings with medicated shrimp, Sean, you will need to bioencapsulate the TMP-sulfa by gut-loading it in live shrimp or injecting it in frozen shrimp or Mysis. To do this, start by dissolving the daily dose of TMP-Sulfa (about 1/4 of a teaspoon) into a tablespoon of hot water. Then soak commercial flake food (I prefer Spirulina flakes for this) in the tablespoon so that all of the medication is absorbed into the food, and feed the medicated flakes to live feeder shrimp (i.e., small ghost shrimp, post larval shrimp, or live Mysis from Sachs System Aquaculture). When the shrimp’s guts are loaded with the medicated flakes (you will be able to see the color of the flake food in their distended guts), immediately feed the medicated shrimp to the ailing seahorse.
Use the medicated flakes to gut load only as many shrimp as the affected seahorse can eat in one day. Each day you’ll have to prepare new antibiotic-soaked flakes and gut load a day’s worth of new ghost shrimp. Keep the seahorse on a strict diet of live shrimp gut-loaded with TMP-Sulfa for at least 6 months. Isolating the patient briefly in a Critter Keeper or something similar when feeding him the medicated shrimp often works well.
As an alternative to gut loading or bioencapsulation of the medication, the resulting TMP-Sulfa solution can also be injected into freshly killed ghost shrimp or even frozen mysids using a fine syringe and then administered by target feeding the ailing seahorse with the injected shrimp. Again, you’ll have to prepare new TMP-Sulfa solution daily and inject enough of the frozen shrimp for a day’s worth of feedings.
National Fish Pharmaceuticals sells these medications in bulk quantities so they can be expensive and difficult to obtain, Sean. If you cannot get the medications that I recommended above for any reason, then you can try kanamycin sulfate and/or neomycin sulfate instead, sir.
Kanamycin and neomycin are both good aminoglycoside antibiotics that can be combined together to produce a synergistic effect that is more powerful than either of these antibiotics used alone. Best of all, you should be able to find a medication that includes kanamycin sulfate or neomycin sulfate as its primary ingredient, such as KanaPlex or NeoPlex by Seachem, at one of your local fish stores or pet stores. They can then be used to treat your seahorses safely in your main tank by administering these antibiotics orally.
The best way treat the ponies orally is by combining the medication with Seachem Focus and then mixing it with the seahorses’ frozen Mysis, which can then be fed to the seahorses as usual, Sean.
In short, Mr. O’Brien, I would suggest using Seachem Focus together with Seachem KanaPlex or Seachem NeoPlex for this purpose, sir, because the Focus contains a nitrofuran antibiotic whereas the KanaPlex contains kanamycin sulfate and the NeoPlex contains neomycin sulfate, both of which are potent aminoglycoside antibiotics. This is an effective approach because, as I mentioned, aminoglycoside antibiotics can be safely combined together as well as with nitrofuran antibiotics to produce a synergistic effect that makes the combination much more potent and effective than any of the medications used alone.
The Seachem Focus and Seachem KanaPlex and/or NeoPlex are readily available from any local fish stores that carry Seachem products and it’s very easy to use them to medicate the frozen Mysis to feed to the seahorse so that the medications will be ingested and move efficiently into the bloodstream, where they can be the most effective in combating be potential infection.
In short, I would recommend that you obtain some Seachem NeoPlex and administer it to the seahorses orally by mixing Seachem Focus and the NeoPlex together with frozen Mysis that you have carefully thawed and prepared. The Focus will bind with the medication in the NeoPlex and then bind to the frozen Mysis in a manner that masks the unpleasant taste of the medication and makes it more palatable to the seahorse. The active ingredient in the NeoPlex is neomycin sulfate, a good aminoglycoside antibiotic, so when the seahorses subsequently eat the frozen Mysis, they will ingest the antibiotics and get the maximum benefit they can provide.
Here is some additional information on the Focus by Seachem Laboratories, which explains how to use it to combine medication with food:
Seachem Laboratories Focus – 5 Grams Information
Focus ™ is an antibacterial polymer for internal infections of fish. It may be used alone or mixed with other medications to make them palatable to fish and greatly reduce the loss of medications to the water through diffusion. It can deliver any medication internally by binding the medication to its polymer structure. The advantage is that the fish can be medicated without contaminating the entire aquarium with medication. Fish find Focus™ appetizing and it may be fed to fish directly or mixed with frozen foods. Focus™ contains nitrofurantoin for internal bacterial infections. Marine and freshwater use. 5 gram container.
Types of Infections Treated:
DIRECTIONS: Use alone or in combination with medication of your choice in a 5:1 ratio by volume. Feed directly or blend with fresh or frozen food. Feed as usual, but no more than fish will consume. Use at every feeding for at least five days or until symptoms clear up.
Contains polymer bound nitrofurantoin.
Active ingredient: polymer bound nitrofurantoin (0.1%). This product is not a feed and
should not be fed directly. Its intended application is to assist in binding medications to fish food.
And here is an excerpt from an e-mail from another home hobbyist (Ann Marie Spinella) that explains how she uses the NeoPlex together with the Focus for treating her seahorses, Sean:
“When I bought the NeoPlex yesterday I also picked up a tube of Focus. According to the instructions, it says it makes the medication more palatable to fish & reduces the loss of the medication once it’s in the water.
So I followed the dosing instructions exactly. I used regular frozen mysis instead of PE. I figured it was softer & smaller. I was thinking along the lines of more surface area for the medication to adhere to & with the softer shell hopefully it would absorb into the shrimp a little better.
I used 8 cubes which came to just about 1 tablespoon. I thawed & rinsed the shrimp thoroughly in a little colander & let it sit on a paper towel to remove as much water as possible.
Then I put in it in a small dish & added the Focus & NeoPlex in the recommended ratio which is 5:1 (5 scoops Focus / 1 scoop NeoPlex). I mixed it thoroughly & added a few drops of Garlic Power.
Then I measured out 5 – 1/4 tsp. servings & 4 servings I placed on a sheet of Glad Press & Seal, sealed them & put them in the freezer, since it says in the instructions that you can freeze what you don’t use right away, & the remaining 1/4 tsp. I split in half & fed to them this morning. The rest I’ll give to them
this afternoon & I’ll do this every day with the remaining shrimp that I already prepared & froze.
In the video you can see that the seahorses are eating it. Yea!!
Thanks for all of your help & I’ll keep you posted.”
Okay, Sean, that’s the rundown on using the NeoPlex together with the Focus so that you could administer the medication in the NeoPlex orally after adding it to the frozen Mysis for the seahorses daily meals. If you obtained KanaPlex instead of or in addition to the NeoPlex, you can administer the KanaPlex exactly as described above for NeoPlex, sir.
In summation, this should be a very safe way to treat your seahorses quickly and less expensively because it will allow you to treat the ponies in the main tank, without isolating them from their tankmates. The ponies can stay amidst familiar surroundings in the company of their herdmates, so it will be a very stress-free method of treating your seahorses.
Don’t worry that all the seahorses will be eating the medicated Mysis, Sean – that’s a good idea in a case like this, since all of the other ponies have likely been exposed to the same thing anyway. Treating all of your seahorses with the medicated Mysis will help to assure that none of the others develop the suspicious pimple-like growths.
In addition to the antibiotics, B-vitamins (especially B-6) may also aid the seahorses’ recovery, and are especially helpful in treating granuloma disease. Liquid baby vitamins are a good source of vitamin B-6, and can be added to the aquarium at the rate of one drop per every 5 gallons of water (Aukes, 2004). If administered in a hospital tank, be sure to replace the vitamins after each water change in the treatment tank.
Best of luck resolving this problem, Sean!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support