Reply To: Young Male Seahorse Off His Food, Hiding, and Darkened Color

Pete Giwojna

Tlskahan –

I am sorry to hear about the loss of appetite in your juvenile seahorse. You have a good assortment of medications on hand, which will be very helpful if the issue is an illness or infection of some sort.

In this case, I would avoid General Cure, which is an extremely effective antiparasitic medication. It is quite safe to use with seahorses, but it is unlikely to be helpful in this case since your juvenile seahorse is not scratching or showing any indications of infection with external parasites.

Furan2 is a good broad-spectrum antibiotic that works well with seahorses, and which may be helpful if the loss of appetite is due to a bacterial infection of some sort.

However, Furan2 is ideally administered orally via gutloaded adult brine shrimp, and this method of treatment relies on the medicated brine shrimp being ingested, which means that it will be problematic for treating a pony that has stopped eating…

For whatever it’s worth, here are the instructions for gut loading live adult brine shrimp with the Furan2, sir, (courtesy of Ann at the org):

FURAN-BASED MEDS (oral) Dosage and Preparation Instructions for a 10g/38L Hospital Tank
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.

In this case, since your juvenile seahorse has stopped eating, I feel your best option will be to treat the pony in a 10-gallon hospital tank using the Triple Sulfa, which can be added directly to the water in the treatment tank, as explained below in more detail:

A 10 day regimen of kanamycin + triple sulfa is appropriate. Here are the instructions for using the triple sulfa, which should be administered along with the kanamycin:

TRIPLE SULFATE (Sulfa/Sulpha) Dosage and Preparation Instructions for a 10g/38L Hospital Tank
Active Ingredient: Sodium Sulfathiazole, Sodium Sulfamethazine, and Sodium Sulfacetamide
Indication: bacterial infection
Brand Names: Triple Sulfa, Triple Sulpha, Trisulfa
Dose per package instructions for 10 days. (Normally ~380mg per day for 10 days). Disregard package
info concerning water changes.
Replace the medication in ratio to the amount of water changed daily as needed to control ammonia.
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.

If the ailing seahorse(s) is/are still eating, tlskahan, then you could also treat them by combining KanaPlex with NeoPlex and Focus, applying this mixture of medications to frozen Mysis, and then feeding the medicated Mysis to the ponies.

The following information will explain how to combine SeaChem KanaPlex (kanamycin sulfate) and Seachem Focus with frozen Mysis which can then be fed to your seahorses as usual, sir:

The antibiotics that work best for most home hobbyists when treating seahorses are a group of medications by SeaChem that can be used together and mixed with frozen Mysis in order to administer the medications orally.

The SeaChem medications that work best for this purpose are SeaChem KanaPlex, SeaChem NeoPlex, and Focus by SeaChem.

The active ingredient in SeaChem KanaPlex is kanamycin sulfate, a potent aminoglycoside antibiotic that is a very broad spectrum, and which can be combined with the neomycin sulfate (another aminoglycoside antibiotic) in SeaChem NeoPlex to create a synergistic effect that is more effective than either of these antibiotics used by themselves.

The SeaChem NeoPlex contains neomycin sulfate, a good aminoglycoside antibiotic that is very effective when ingested, and the SeaChem Focus contains a good nitrofuran antibiotics and is the perfect medium for mixing medications with frozen foods. I will explain more about how to use these two products together for you below.

Both the KanaPlex and the Focus come with little scoops for measuring out the proper dose of the medication, tlskahan, and preparing the frozen Mysis with the medications is actually pretty easy. First, you want to find out how much of the Mysis you are using amounts to a tablespoon. I imagine that several of the cubes of Mysis would be needed to fill a tablespoon after you have thawed it out as usual, if that’s the form of frozen Mysis you happen to have. (It’s important to find out how much of the thawed Mysis constitutes 1 tablespoon because the correct dosage for KanaPlex is one scoop or measure per tablespoon of Mysis.)

Once you have thawed out 1 tablespoon of the frozen Mysis, you then measure out one scoop of the KanaPlex and five scoops of the Focus and mix the two medications thoroughly so that they bind together. (You always add five times as much of the Focus as the amount of antibiotic you are using.) Once you have mixed the powdered KanaPlex and Focus together very well, you then add the resulting mixture to the tablespoon of thawed Mysis you have prepared and very gently but thoroughly mix the powder and Mysis together so that the medications bind to the shrimp. You can then either feed the medicated Mysis to your seahorses immediately or freeze it for later use.

Once you have prepared the medicated Mysis, you feed it to your seahorses twice a day for at least five consecutive days or as long as is takes for the symptoms to clear up.

Of course, you can prepare more than 1 tablespoon of the medicated Mysis at a time in order to make it more convenient, Dustin. For example, if you wanted to prepare 5 tablespoons of medicated Mysis at one time, you would thaw out 5 tablespoons worth of your Mysis in advance. Then you would take 5 scoops of KanaPlex (one scoop of KanaPlex per tablespoon) and 25 scoops of the Focus (5 times as many scoops of Focus as the antibiotic) and mix it together thoroughly with the five scoops of KanaPlex so that they blend together and bind. Finally, you would take the mixture of powders and gently but thoroughly combine the powdered medications with the thawed Mysis so that the medicine also binds with the shrimp.

If you want to prepare extra medicated Mysis in advance, it’s best to spread it out on a piece of Saran wrap or Glad wrap or aluminum foil, or something similar, so that you can cover it completely to protect it from freezer burn until you’re ready to use it.

Here is some additional information on the Focus by Seachem Laboratories, which explains how to use it to combine medication with food:

<open quote>
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.
<close quote>

And here is an excerpt from an e-mail from another home hobbyist (Ann Marie Spinella) that explains how she uses the KanaPlex together with the Focus for treating her seahorses, Dustin that at an:

“When I bought the KanaPlex yesterday I also picked up a tube of Focus. According to the instructions, it says it makes the medication more palatable to fish and 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 Piscine Energetics frozen Mysis. I figured it was softer and smaller. I was thinking along the lines of more surface area for the medication to adhere to, and 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 and rinsed the shrimp thoroughly in a little colander and let it sit on a paper towel to remove as much water as possible.

Then I put in it in a small dish and added the Focus and KanaPlex in the recommended ratio which is 5:1 (5 scoops Focus / 1 scoop KanaPlex). I mixed it thoroughly and added a few drops of Garlic Power.

Then I measured out 5 – 1/4 tsp. servings and 4 servings I placed on a sheet of Glad Press & Seal, sealed them and put them in the freezer, since it says in the instructions that you can freeze what you don’t use right away, and the remaining 1/4 tsp. I split in half and fed to them this morning. The rest I’ll give to them this afternoon and I’ll do this every day with the remaining shrimp that I already prepared and 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.”
Ann Marie

Okay, tlskahan, that’s the rundown on using the KanaPlex together with the Focus so that you could administer the medication in the KanaPlex orally after adding it to the frozen Mysis for the seahorses’ daily meals. If you got the NeoPlex instead of the KanaPlex, it can be combined with Focus and administered in exactly the same way as outlined in the instructions for the KanaPlex above. Or, if you have both KanaPlex and NeoPlex, he can be used together safely and combined with the Focus, so that all three medications can be mixed with frozen Mysis together and then administered orally.

Best of luck restoring your youngster’s appetite to normal again, sir.

Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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