Re:Bloated Sunburst!

Pete Giwojna

Dear Kris:

I’m very sorry to hear that your female didn’t make it. It’s unfortunate, but when a seahorse becomes so ill that it develops generalized swelling it is very difficult for them to recover again. All my condolences on your loss.

I suspect that your female may have had a serious internal bacterial infection that either resulted in kidney failure or became systemic. It would not really be advisable to try to treat your aquarium for such a problem without knowing the sensitivities of any bacteria that may be involved, since the wide spectrum antibiotics you would need to treat with in such a case would destroy the biofiltration in the aquarium if used at an effective dosage. That would mean you would have to cycle the aquarium over again and the resulting ammonia and nitrites spikes would be very hard on the current residents of the tank. So that is something I would try to avoid.

A better approach would be to perform a major water change and judicious cleanup of the aquarium to restore optimum water quality, and then to gradually reduce the water temperature as far as possible, which can potentially render any pathogenic bacteria that may be present inactive by slowing their growth rate and turning off their virulence genes.

Aside from the cooling tips we discussed in my previous post, here are some additional suggestions on cooling down your aquarium from Renée at the org that you may also find helpful:

Some summer tips are:

· Use computer fans (you can wire them to AC adapters… we are making some this weekend for our tanks).

· Use a big ol clip-on-fan or a fan on a stand that you can set close. (Just be mindful of water evap.)

· Float ice containers in the tank (Use water/liquid that you wouldn’t care if it sprung a leak. Those blue lunch/picnic type cooling things are not acceptable IMO…. what if it leaks? It will kill everything. I would recommend using bottled ice water because it will stay frozen even longer than fresh water….. but if you do use fresh water make sure it is water you wouldn’t mind spilling into the tank…. good ole tap water is not acceptable.)

· If you have a hood or canopy on the tank…..keep it off or lifted.

· Cool down the room the tank is in by using a portable or window AC unit. The window units can be pretty cheap.

· If the sun really heats up this room, look into some window tinting. This is what I did when I lived in South Texas. It dropped the room temp TEREMENDOUSLY! (If ya wanna go the cheap method, foil was used in many windows in the city I lived in… wasn’t the prettiest method but it saved many people lives who lived in places without central AC and couldn’t afford well working window units.)

· Shorten your photoperiod…. if possible don’t have the lights on in the hottest past of the day. But at any rate, shorten the amount of hours the lights are on for.


In addition, Kris, if you refer to my earlier post to Suzanne titled "Re: Sick seahorse — please help," there is a good discussion of the sort of factors that are often associated with bacterial infections and other disease problems, including GBS, as well as some of the measures you can take to help prevent such problems in the future. You can find it at the following link:

Click here: OceanRider : Message: Re: Sick seahorse-please help! <;

Please read through the discussion on disease prevention and control in the thread above to see if any of those measures could be useful in your case, Kris. If you can apply any of those preventative measures, or eliminate any of the common aquarium stressors that may have played a role in this infection, that would make an excellent place to start when rehabbing your main tank after an outbreak of disease.

The female’s mate may be off his feed temporarily because he is distressed at the loss of his partner. If he does not resume feeding normally soon, or shows any other symptoms of a health problem, I would suggest treating him in isolation as previously discussed with regard to your female, while you are rejuvenating the main tank. When he does get his appetite back, be sure to feed him Vibrance-enriched Mysis so that he gets his daily dose of beta-glucan.

In addition to making sure your display tank is in tiptop shape, Kris, you may also want to consider installing an ultraviolet sterilizer on your seahorse tank. That’s always a wise precaution when you have had a problem due to a suspected bacterial infection.

Best of luck rehabbing your main tank after this disease outbreak, Kris! Here’s hoping your male is back to his old self again soon.

Pete Giwojna

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