Dear James:

Pete Giwojna

Dear James:

I examined the photograph you provided carefully under high magnification, sir, and I could not see anything resembling a horn on the leftmost seahorse or any of the other ponies. I thought perhaps you were describing cirri, which are fleshy filaments of skin that have a spiky appearance and that some seahorses can grow and shed at will, but none of the seahorses in the photograph have any cirri either, James.

The only thing out of the ordinary that I could detect is a very small white growth on the head of the leftmost seahorse, which appears to be slightly upraised and that I could best describe as a pimple. Is that what you were referring to as an incipient horn, James?

The photograph isn’t good enough to properly characterize this tiny blemish with any degree of certainty, sir. It’s possible the small purple-like growth could be an embedded parasite of some sort, perhaps the sporont stage of a protozoan multiplying within a cyst, or maybe metacercariae from digenetic trematodes, or it could be a lesion from a bacterial or fungal infection, a granuloma, or something as simple as a little viral lymphocystis, the last of which requires no treatment and usually clears up on its own.

Under the circumstances, it would probably be a good idea to treat the seahorses as a precaution as long as this can be done safely while the seahorses are in the main tank, James. This can easily be accomplished by administering medication mixed with the seahorses’ food, sir, and since there is no way to determine the nature of the suspicious “pimple” accurately, I would recommend administering a good antiparasitic such as metronidazole in this way, followed by a good broad-spectrum antibiotic. That would cover all of the bases and can be done quickly and easily without stressing the seahorses or impairing the biological filtration.

The best way treat the ponies orally is by combining the medication with Seachem Focus and then mixing it with the seahorses’ frozen Mysis, which can then be fed to the seahorses as usual, James.

For starters, I would recommend a regimen of Seachem Metronidazole to address the possibility that this might be the beginning of a parasite problems. The Seachem Metronidazole is ideal for this because it is designed to be used with the Seachem Focus and Seachem Garlic Guard and then administered orally, as indicated below:

Seachem Metronidazole Aquarium Fish Medication – 100 g

Product Description:
Parasitic and Bacterial infections don’t stand a chance with Metronidazole. When you find your fish infected with such nasty bugs as Ich or Hexamita, grab the Metronidazole and say goodbye to infection. This fast and effective treatment is safe for biological filtration and is easily removed with carbon after treatment. For freshwater or marine fish.


Do not use UV, ozone or chemical filtration during use.
Use 1-2 measures (each about 100 mg each) for each 10 gallons. Measurer included. Repeat every 2 days until symptoms disappear.

To feed, blend 1 measure with about 1 tablespoon of frozen food paste.

Okay, James, that’s the rundown on the Seachem Metronidazole, which comes in powder form and includes a little scoop for measuring the doses.

Here is the corresponding information for the Seachem Garlic Guard:

Seachem Garlic Guard

* For fresh and saltwater fish, planted and reef aquariums
* Contains allicin, the active ingredient in garlic
* Contains ViJamesn C for enhanced health benefits

Whet your fishes’ appetite with the natural healthful properties of garlic. Contains allicin, the active ingredient in garlic with powerful antioxidant properties that can lessen free radical damage to cells – plus ViJamesn C for enhanced health benefits. For fresh and saltwater fish, planted and reef aquariums.

Directions for Use: Shake well before use. Soak food in Garlic Guard before feeding. For enhanced effectiveness against Ich and other parasites use Seachem’s Focus and Metronidazole as follows: Add 1 measure of Metronidazole to 1 measure of Focus per tablespoon of frozen food. Completely soak this food mix in Garlic Guard, refrigerate, and feed once or twice daily for 1-2 weeks.

Guaranteed Analysis
Garlic Extract 9900 ppm
Allicin 130 ppm
(active ingredient)
ViJamesn C 1000 ppm

In short, James, to administer this medication to your seahorses orally, you simply need to thaw out 1 tablespoon of frozen Mysis and then add one measure of the Seachem Metronidazole powder and one measure of Seachem Focus to the Mysis and carefully mix them together. Then you just soak the medicated frozen Mysis in Seachem Garlic Guard and feed it to your seahorses as usual. You can refrigerate any of the excess medicated Mysis and save it for later use. If you will be feeding more than 1 tablespoon of frozen Mysis at a time, just adjust the amount of Seachem Metronidazole and Seachem Focus you mix with the Mysis accordingly.

Continue to feed the frozen Mysis medicated with metronidazole to all of your seahorses once or twice a day for 7-14 days, James. (I would do the full two weeks to be on the safe side, sir.) The metronidazole is effective against a wide range of parasites and should be helpful if in fact the white blemish indicates a potential parasite problem. If so, this regimen of treatment will hopefully nip the problem in the bud.

However, as you know, the suspicious white “pimple” could also be the result of a bacterial or fungal lesions, James, so it would also be a wise precaution to follow-up the regimen of metronidazole by administering a good broad-spectrum antibiotic to the seahorses orally as well.

I would suggest using Seachem Focus together with Seachem NeoPlex for this purpose, James, because the Focus contains a nitrofuran antibiotic whereas the NeoPlex contains neomycin sulfate, which is a potent aminoglycoside antibiotic. This is an effective approach because aminoglycoside antibiotics can be safely combined with nitrofuran antibiotics to produce a synergistic effect that makes the combination much more potent and effective than any of the medications used alone.

The Seachem Focus and Seachem NeoPlex are readily available from any local fish stores that carry Seachem products and it’s very easy to use them to medicate the frozen Mysis to feed to the seahorse so that the medications will be ingested and move efficiently into the bloodstream, where they can be the most effective in combating be potential infection.

In short, I would recommend that you obtain some Seachem NeoPlex and administer it to the seahorses orally by mixing Seachem Focus and the NeoPlex together with frozen Mysis that you have carefully thawed and prepared. The Focus will bind with the medication in the NeoPlex and then bind to the frozen Mysis in a manner that masks the unpleasant taste of the medication and makes it more palatable to the seahorse. The active ingredient in the NeoPlex is neomycin sulfate, a good aminoglycoside antibiotic, so when the seahorses subsequently eat the frozen Mysis, they will ingest the antibiotics and get the maximum benefit they can provide.

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, James:

“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 & 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 PE. I figured it was softer & smaller. I was thinking along the lines of more surface area for the medication to adhere to & 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 & rinsed the shrimp thoroughly in a little colander & let it sit on a paper towel to remove as much water as possible.

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

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

In summation, this should be a very safe way to treat your seahorses as a precaution because it will allow you to treat the seahorses in the main tank, without isolating them from his tankmates. The ponies can stay amidst familiar surroundings in the company of their herdmates, so it will be a very stress-free method of treating your seahorses.

Don’t worry that all the seahorses will be eating the medicated Mysis, James – that’s a good idea in a case like this, since all of the other ponies have likely been exposed to the same thing anyway. Treating all of your seahorses with the medicated Mysis will help to assure that none of the others develop the suspicious bump or pimple-like growths.

Best wishes with all your fishes, James!

Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Training Program Advisor

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