Jon –

Pete Giwojna

Dear Sherry:

I suspect that your 10-week juvenile seahorse is not eating because he is not feeling well. It sounds like he has developed a case of subcutaneous emphysema, which is a form of gas bubble syndrome (GBS) that manifests itself as air bubbles that form just beneath the skin. In the initial stages, the subcutaneous emphysema appear like upraised blisters, but in the advanced stages, they appear just as you describe – as discrete air bubbles that seem to be sitting atop the skin, but which are actually attached.

Either the rearing tank is experiencing a problem with low-level gas supersaturation, or the water quality issues you have been having have triggered the formation of these gas emboli, Sherry.

For now, if you’re using a protein skimmer on the rearing tank, I would recommend disabling it (protein skimmers can sometimes contribute to problems with GBS through a couple of different mechanisms).

I would also suggest obtaining some Stability by SeaChem and adding daily doses of the stability to the rearing tank until the problem with ammonia/nitrite spikes has been resolved. The beneficial nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria in the Stability will consume any excess ammonia or nitrite and quickly (within 24 hours) restore the biological filtration in the rearing tank so that can handle the current bioload with no problem. You must discontinue the Amquel before you dose the rearing tank with the SeaChem Stability, however, Sherry, since the beneficial bacteria in the Stability need to utilize the free ammonia in order to proliferate and quickly establish a big enough population to do the job.

Finally, if you can obtain acetazolamide (brand name Diamox) from your family veterinarian, you should treat the nursery tank with the Diamox as soon as possible for at least five days…

Let me know if you are able to obtain the Diamox and I will refresh your memory on the correct dosage to use for cases of subcutaneous emphysema.

Good luck!

Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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