Pete is having trouble logging in he asked me to post this for you…..

Dear Nigel:

I am very sorry to hear about the difficulty your seahorse is having. The flaking and peeling of the skin you noticed indicates that your seahorse is suffering from a serious bacterial infection, most likely vibriosis. The abrasions and sore spots are almost certainly bacterial lesions and not the result of a run-in with a bristleworm. Infections of this type (Vibrio) are highly contagious and I suggest that you isolate the seahorse at once and treat it in your hospital tank with the neomycin you have in conjunction with a series of brief hydrogen peroxide dips.

I recommend giving this seahorse a quick dip in a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and then transferring it to your hospital tank for further treatment. The hydrogen peroxide dipping solution is prepared by taking one gallon of dechlorinated water and then removing 10-oz of the water and replacing it with 10-oz of 35% hydrogen peroxide instead. This formula will produce a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide for the brief dip (Kollman, 2003).

Dip the affected seahorse in the hydrogen peroxide solution for no less than 10 seconds and no more than 10 minutes maximum. The hydrogen peroxide dip will disinfect the lesions and abrasions and help promote healing. They have the added benefit of cleansing the fish from some ectoparasites and may help a seahorse’s breathing. The 3% hydrogen peroxide dips can be repeated once a day or once every three days, depending on the severity of the infection.

After the first hydrogen peroxide dip, transfer the seahorse directly to your hospital tank. Adjust the saltwater in your hospital tank to the same temperature, pH, and salinity as your main tank and then begin a regimen of neomycin immediately.

As you know, Nigel, when administering antibiotics, the proper dosage for a marine aquarium is usually at least twice the recommended dosage for freshwater. In the case of neomycin, some seahorse keepers increase the dosage of neomycin sulfate up to four times the recommended dosage for saltwater tanks, or eight times the suggested dosage for freshwater (Keith Gentry et al.).

For example, standard protocol for treating seahorses for suspected bacterial infections with neomycin in a hospital tank is 250 mg/gal (66 mg/L) as the initial dose followed by 50% replacement of the antibiotic each day (125 mg/gal) with a 50% water change daily for a period of 10 days.

For this type of infection, the neomycin is even more effective when it is combined with sulfa compounds, such as the Triple Sulfa that is commonly available at fish stores. Be sure to use the marine dosage of the sulfa compounds and redose the Triple Sulfa as well.

In short, Nigel, give your seahorse a quick dip in a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and then treat it with a full strength regimen of neomycin in your hospital tank. Then go to the fish stores in your area and find some Triple Sulfa, which you can use together with the neomycin to create a more potent synergistic combination of antibiotics. While you are at the fish store(s), see if you can also obtain some methylene blue, which is very helpful as a quick dip for helping seahorses with respiratory distress.

Best of luck with the treatments, sir. Hopefully, you have some 35% hydrogen peroxide in your medicine cabinet at home that you can use to make the 3% hydrogen peroxide dipping solution, as described earlier.

Pete Giwojna

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