Re:Best treatment for tail rot?

Pete Giwojna

Dear Tom:

I’m sorry to hear about the problems your Brazilian seahorse (Hippocampus reidi) has been having, sir. If it’s any consolation, I believe that you are correct about this problem being noncontagious. It sounds very much like you are dealing with a secondary infection that set in at the site where the bristleworm spicules were embedded in your stallion’s tail. The bristleworm spicules are very irritating, but the good news is that the rest of the seahorses should not be affected.

Yes, sir, I know of a number of cases of tail rot that have been cured using the synergistic combination of neomycin sulfate + triple sulfa, Tom, so that is an appropriate treatment regimen. The usual treatment time is a 14-day regimen of the antibiotics, but the actual treatment time can vary anywhere from 7-21 days, depending on how long it takes the tail to heal completely. Treatment should continue until the seahorse’s tail is completely back to normal.

It is recommended that you change 30%-50% of the water in your hospital tank on a daily basis, replacing it with premixed saltwater that you have carefully adjusted to the same temperature, pH, and specific gravity as the treatment tank. You must also redose the tank with neomycin and triple sulfate on a daily basis proportional to how much of the water was changed. For example, if you change 50% of the water in the treatment tank, then add 50% of the recommended dose of neomyacin and 50% of the recommended dose of triple sulfate to the treatment tank after you perform the water change each day. Likewise, if you change about 30% of the water in the treatment tank each day, then you must add 1/3 of the recommended dose of neomycin sulfate and 1/3 of the recommended dose of triple sulfa to the treatment tank after the water change.

To be on the safe side, I would recommend daily water changes of at least 50%, Tom. Maintaining optimal water quality in the hospital tank is one of the keys to resolving cases of tail rot. If the water quality begins to deteriorate, it will be stressful to the seahorse and that will be counterproductive to its recovery. If you have any doubt, use your ammonia test kit to check the levels of ammonia in the hospital tank, and that can help you determine if you’re changing sufficient water to maintain good water quality.

Best of luck resolving this problem, Tom! It’s a good sign that your Brazilian stallion’s appetite has remained good throughout the setback.

Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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