Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › Freshwater dips for Seahorses › Dear Allan:
Yes, sir, Hippocampus reidi seahorses will typically tolerate a freshwater dip very well. They are not especially sensitive and normally do not have any problems with such a procedure.
However, Allan, you must always be aware that being subjected to a freshwater dip is inherently stressful for a seahorse. Dipping requires the seahorse to be handled, removed from the main tank and its tankmates, and then subjected to unnatural conditions for several minutes. Although most of our amazing aquatic equines tolerate the procedure pretty well, it’s never a good idea to subject the ponies to repeated freshwater dips or to administer freshwater dips on a regular basis prophylactically…
If you notice scratching or itching or any other indications of a problem with external parasites, a freshwater dip can be a useful first aid measure that can provide your seahorses with some quick relief. But dipping is not a solution to a problem with ectoparasites, since it will cleanse the seahorse of any such parasites it may be carrying, but the pony will be quickly reinfested once it is returned to the main tank if there has been an outbreak of external parasites in the aquarium…
So if the seahorses are displaying symptoms of a parasitic infestation, you might perform a freshwater dip once as a first aid measure to provide them with a little relief and buy you time to go to your local fish store and obtain a good medication that you can treat the main tank with, Allan, but you don’t want to be administering freshwater dips to the ponies daily or anything like that in order to try to control such a problem.
Rather, it’s best to treat the main tank with a good antiparasitic that will not have an adverse effect on the biological filtration, such as metronidazole or praziquantel, or a medication that includes both metronidazole and praziquantel, such as General Cure by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals:
General Cure by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals
* Anti-parasitic fish medication rapidly treats a wide variety of parasitic diseases
* Effective fish medication for use in fresh and saltwater aquariums
* Treats diseases such as gill & skin flukes, hole-in-the-head disease, anchor worm, velvet, and fish lice.
Easy-to-use fish medication contains metronidazole and praziquantel in quick-dissolve powder form. Treats a wide variety of parasitic diseases – including velvet, anchor worm, fish lice, hole-in-the-head disease, and gill and skin flukes. Will not color water. For use in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. Each packet doses 10 gallons. Economical 850 gram bulk jar doses up to 3,270 gallons and includes a 1 tsp scoop.
Active Ingredients: 250 mg Metronidazole and 75 mg Praziquantel per packet.
Directions for Use: For best results, remove activated carbon or filter cartridge from filter and continue aeration. For each 10 gallons (38 L) of water, empty one packet directly into aquarium. Repeat dose after 48 hours. Wait another 48 hours then change 25% of the aquarium water and add fresh activated carbon or replace filter cartridge.
This package treats up to 100 gallons. Two doses required for full course of treatment.
Gill & Skin Flukes: Very common fish parasites. Can be found on the gills, scales or skin. Not visible without the aid of magnification. Symptoms may include: darkening of skin, clamped fins, excess mucous. Fish may also swim erratically or become emaciated.
Hole-in-the-Head Disease: Symptoms include pitting and erosion of skin and muscle tissue around the face and side of body. Many infected fish exhibit poor appetite, weight loss and nervousness
Anchor Worm: These worms penetrate the skin and embed an anchor-like attachment into the fish. Often a thread-like appendage is all that is visible. Fish tissue is often red at the point of attachment. May be difficult to see without magnification.
Velvet: Heavy infestations cause a golden, velvety appearance or small, white spots on the sides of fish. Gill infestation may cause labored breathing and scratching on objects in the aquarium.
Fish Lice: A parasitic crustacean that can easily hide under the scales or other parts of fish. Fish lice pierce the skin, sucking blood and tissue fluids. Magnification is typically required to see fish lice.
Another good option for a persistent problem with external parasites would be to administer hyposalinity in the main tank for a period of several weeks.
Please let me know if you’re ever having the problems with a parasitic infestation in your main tank, and I can provide you with detailed instructions for administering the metronidazole and/or praziquantel safely, or for treating the main tank with hyposalinity, Allan.
Best wishes with all your fishes, sir!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support