Reply To: Seahorse Training Program — get certified now!

Pete Giwojna

Dear sllyoliver:

I’m very sorry to hear about the infection that has killed some of your seahorses and puts the rest of your ponies at risk, sir. All my condolences on your losses!

It is unfortunate that you do not have appropriate medications on hand so that you can address this problem in its early stages, when such infections are easier to deal with, but many home hobbyists have good results using nitrofuran antibiotics such as Furan 2, so that it’s a good antibiotic for you to have obtained.

A typical treatment regimen for nitrofuran antibiotics such as Furan2 is 10 days, and even when you’re dealing with the problem that you know normally respond well to nitrofuran antibiotics, it’s not unusual for more than one regimen of the medication to be required to completely resolve the issue. What many people don’t understand is that antibiotic therapy does not cure an infection by killing off or eliminating ALL of the pathogenic bacteria from the fish’s system; rather, the antibiotics merely inhibit the growth of the harmful bacteria and slow down their rate of reproduction, allowing the patient’s overwhelmed immune system to finally gain control of the situation and eventually eliminate the pathogens in that way.

For example, this is what “Use of Antibiotics Ornamental Fish Aquaculture” says in that regard: “Antibiotics are very useful additions to any fish-health managers toolbox, but they are only tools and not ‘magic bullets.’ The ability of antibiotics to help eliminate a fish disease depends on a number of factors: 1) Does the problem actually have a bacterial component? 2) Are the bacteria involved sensitive to the antibiotic chosen? 3) Are the proper dosage and treatment intervals being used? 4) Have other contributing stresses been removed or reduced?

Antibiotics, in and of themselves, do not cure the fish. Antibiotics merely control the population of bacteria in a fish long enough for its immune system to eliminate them.
Before antibiotics are even considered, sources of stress such as poor water quality (including drastic temperature change), nutrition, genetics, and handling or transport must be removed or reduced. Affected fish should also be examined for parasites. Any of these factors may be the primary cause of disease, as bacterial infections are often secondary to such management problems. Contacting a fish health specialist early in the disease outbreak will help identify contributing stresses and the rate of bacterial infection so total losses of fish will be reduced. ”

So a good outcome depends on how strong the patient’s immune system is every bit as much as it depends on using the proper medication to begin with, and it’s challenging to try to predict when you’ll see improvement even under the best of circumstances.

Having explained that, Furan2 has proven to be useful in treating non-ulcerative infections in seahorses in many cases.

Furan 2 can be administered either as a bath by adding the medication directly to the treatment tank or it can be administered orally via gut-loaded brine shrimp.

Here’s how to proceed when adding it directly to the treatment tank (courtesy of Ann at the org):

FURAN-BASED MEDS (immersion) Dosage and Preparation Instructions for a 10g/38L Hospital Tank
Active Ingredients: Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone
Indication: bacterial infection
Brand Names: Furan-2, Furanase, Binox, BiFuran+, Fura-MS, Furazolidone Powder
Dose daily for 10 days. Disregard package info concerning dosing frequency and water changes.
Replace the medication in ratio to the amount of water changed daily as needed to control ammonia.
This product is best administered by feeding it to adult live brine shrimp, then in turn, feeding those animals to the affected seahorse. If this is not an option, it may be administered as follows:

DAY 1 of Treatment
• Thoroughly mix the medication with about 1 cup of marine water.
• Pour the mixture into a high-flow area of the hospital tank.
DAYS 2 – 10 of Treatment
• Perform a 50% water change.
• Thoroughly mix the medication with about 1 cup of marine water.
• Pour the mixture into a high-flow area of the hospital tank.

Many times Furan 2 is most effective when administered orally via adult brine shrimp that have been gut loaded with the medication, as explained below:

FURAN-BASED MEDS (oral) Dosage and Preparation Instructions for administering Furan 2 orally.

Active Ingredients: Nitrofurazone and/or Furazolidone
Indication: bacterial infection
Brand Names: Furan-2, Furanase, Binox, BiFuran+, FuraMS, Furazolidone Powder
Feed adult brine shrimp gut-loaded with medication to the Seahorse 2x per day for 10 days.
• Add a small amount of the medication to one gallon of water and mix thoroughly.
• Place the amount of adult brine shrimp needed for one feeding into the mixture. Leave them in the mixture for at least 2hrs.
• Remove the adult brine shrimp from the mixture and add them to the hospital tank.
• Observe the Seahorse to be certain it is eating the adult brine shrimp.

In my experience, the best way to gutload the adult brine shrimp is to set up a clean plastic pail with 1 gallon of freshly mixed saltwater, add one packet of the Furan 2, add enough live adult brine shrimp for a generous feeding for all of your seahorses to the bucket after you have thoroughly and carefully rinsed them in freshwater to disinfect the shrimp. Leave the adult brine shrimp in the medicated bucket for at least two hours and then feed them directly to the seahorses. Repeat this procedure twice a day for 10 days.

The Ocean Rider seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, sllyoliver, so if you want to participate I will need you to contact me off list at the following e-mail address:

[email protected]

In the meantime, best of luck resolving the infection that is plaguing your seahorses, sllyoliver.

Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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