I would recommend treating the pipefish with antibiotics as soon as possible, and if it is still eating well, administering the antibiotics orally is the most effective way to treat, as explained below in greater detail:
The antibiotics that work best for most home hobbyists when treating seahorses are Furan2, which can be used all by itself, or 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 NeoPlex and the Focus come with little scoops for measuring out the proper dose of the medication, Ashley, 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 NeoPlex 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 NeoPlex 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 NeoPlex 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, Ashley. For example, if you wanted to prepare 5 tablespoons of medicated Mysis’s at one time, you would thaw out 5 tablespoons worth of your Mysis in advance. Then you would take 5 scoops of NeoPlex (one scoop of NeoPlex 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 NeoPlex 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:
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, Ashley:
“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 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 NeoPlex in the recommended ratio which is 5:1 (5 scoops Focus / 1 scoop NeoPlex). 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.”
Okay, Ashley, 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 got the KanaPlex instead of the NeoPlex, it can be combined with Focus and administered in exactly the same way as outlined in the instructions for the NeoPlex above.
You can feed the medicated Mysis to your pipefish twice a day until it is back to normal again and all is well. Don’t worry that both the pipefish and seahorses will be eating the medicated Mysis because it won’t do any harm for both of them to ingest the antibiotics either, and could actually be beneficial by preventing him from contracting whatever it is that is causing the ulceration on your pipefish.
Just let me know if you obtained the Furan2 antibiotic instead of the SeaChem products, Ashley, and I will explain the best way to administer the Furan2 medication.
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support