Dear Diane:

Pete Giwojna

Dear Diane:

Okay, as long as Galene handled the transfer to your hospital tank well, then I agree with the treatments you have begun, Diane. The kanamycin sulfate is a good aminoglycoside antibiotic that dissolves well in saltwater and that is absorbed readily through the skin and gills of the fish, and aminoglycosides can be combined safely with the sulfa antibiotics to form a more broad-spectrum combination of medications.

Together with the Seachem Paraguard, you have all the bases covered in case this problem is bacterial, fungal, or viral in nature, or the result of external parasites.

As you know, Diane, aldehydes such as formaldehyde are effective in combating ectoparasites and disinfecting external infections because of their ability to cross-link proteins and nucleic acids, essentially disrupting the DNA of the parasites and microbes they come in contact with; certain dialdehydes have this same cross-linking ability with long-chain polymers and acids, but without the harmful human effects that require formaldehyde to be used so carefully, so the Paraguard was actually a good choice for a situation in which you are unsure exactly what is affecting the seahorse.

The SeaChem Paraguard is not simply an antiparasitic, but is also said to be effective in treating fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. I believe it is the cross-linking ability of the aldehydes it contains that can interfere with the replication of the DNA molecule that makes it effective in treating ectoparasites, bacteria, and viruses, whereas combining it with malachite green gives it the ability to control fungal infections as well.

At any rate, Diane, the Paraguard should be safe to use with seahorses, and I know Bob Fenner recommends this product, which is good enough for me.

However, the SeaChem Paraguard is only effective in treating external parasites and external infections of the skin. The metronidazole is an antiparasitic that can be helpful with some girl parasites and internal parasites and it can be used safely with the antibiotics you mentioned, Diane. I am less certain if it is safe to use with the Seachem Paraguard, but I know metronidazole is one of the active ingredients in some of the combo medications that include malachite green so I think is probably alright to include the metronidazole at the same time as the other medications.

It’s difficult to say if the slimy white strand you found is an example of the white, stringy, mucoid feces that are indicative of intestinal parasites, Diane, but if you noted cysts and amoebae in the sample under the microscope, it would be a bad idea to use the metronidazole as well.

At this point, I am less certain that the loss of appetite is due to internal parasites, however. If Galene is as unresponsive as you have described, with no eye movement or awareness of her immediate surroundings, that in itself would account for her lack of appetite…

In any case, I trust your judgment as an experienced seahorse keeper and first-hand observer a great deal, Diane, so if you feel it is warranted, go ahead and try the metronidazole as well.

If you think Galene can withstand it, a very brief dip in concentrated methylene blue may also be helpful, but again I will leave that to your judgment.

Good luck!

Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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