Re:Best treatment for tail rot?

Pete Giwojna

Dear Tom:

No, sir, bigger is not always better when it comes to a hospital tank. The bigger the hospital tank becomes, the more medication must be added to the water in order to achieve the proper concentration of the drug, which can become costly when you are re-dosing the medication daily following a water change. This can become a big problem when the medication involved is expensive to begin with or difficult to come by, as with prescription drugs such as the acetazolamide (brand-name Diamox) used to treat gas bubble syndrome in seahorses. For this reason, if the only spare tank that is available to use as a hospital ward happens to be a 20-gallon tank or larger, many hobbyists will opt to only fill the tank partially with saltwater (say halfway full for a 20-gallon tank). That allows the available medication to go further and helps to make the daily water changes more manageable.

In terms of water quality, a larger volume of water is more stable and allows a bigger margin for error when it comes to dangerous ammonia spikes, but to achieve any really significant benefits in that regard you have to jump up to one aquarium of 40 gallons or more, which is simply not practical for a treatment tank. I would say that the ideal size for a hospital tank for a seahorse keeper is about 10 gallons, but as long as you are only treating a single seahorse, a five-gallon treatment container should be more than adequate as long as you are diligent about performing the daily water changes and careful to adjust the pre-mixed saltwater to the same temperature, pH, and specific gravity as the treatment.

It would be worthwhile to set up a larger hospital tank if you are treating your whole herd at once for an outbreak of some contagious disease, in which case maintaining optimum water quality in a tank that is housing several ailing seahorses becomes much more challenging.

In this instance, Tom, I think your makeshift five-gallon treatment container is more than adequate. Just be sure to keep it well aerated and to be diligent in performing your daily water changes, and I don’t foresee any problems with regard to your treatment tank.

Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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