Re:First Post: Weak snick advice

Pete Giwojna

Dear Brownie:

You’re very welcome! It sounds like you’re doing a good job of preparing to treat your H. kuda by adjusting the specific gravity of your hospital tank to the proper level and obtaining the methylene blue. Don’t forget to round up some of the triple sulfa as well, which will be very helpful in treating any secondary infections that may have taken hold.

No, there is no need to treat the snails and brittle stars, Brownie. Simply isolating them while you are treating the main tank will effectively eliminate any of the protozoan parasites they may be carrying. By the time you have completed administering the hyposalinity in your main tank, any parasites that may be on the brittle starfish or snail will have perished due to the lack of a suitable vertebrate host.

And foremost, invertebrates in general are not susceptible to the same pathogens and parasites that plague seahorses and other marine fishes. If they were carrying any of the parasites that could bother seahorses, it would be as hitchhikers, and that’s unlikely because those same parasites normally cannot survive long without a suitable fish host.

Secondly, snails and starfish (and invertebrates, in general) in cannot tolerate the usual treatment methods we apply to marine fishes. For example, many types of snails cannot withstand hyposalinity let alone a freshwater dip. Nor do they tolerate the usual chemi-therapeutic agents we normally use to cleanse quarantined fish of parasites, such as formalin, malachite green, copper sulfate, dylox, Panacur, praziquantel, Parinox, metronidazole, etc.. So there would be very little we could do to treat snails or other invertebrates prophylactically or preventively.

As you know, Brownie, once a new aquarium has cycled, it is standard operating procedure to stock it with macroalgae and aquarium janitors that will serve as the cleanup crew next. Many hobbyists like to wait an additional six weeks after introducing the macroalgae and cleanup crew before they acclimate the first seahorses to their new systems. This gives the new aquarium a chance to further break in and stabilize, and also serves as a de facto quarantine period for the aquarium janitors and live plants. Any parasites they may possibly have been carrying that could pose a risk to the seahorses would require a vertebrate host in order to survive, and after six weeks without any fish in the aquarium, any such parasites should have been eliminated and are no longer a cause for concern.

That is actually what you will be doing by relocating the snail and brittle starfish while you are administering hyposalinity to the main tank, so no further treatment should be necessary for the snail or brittle stars.

Once you have relocated the snail and brittle starfish and reduce the salinity in the main tank, you can complete the regimen of triple sulfa and methylene blue in your hospital tank, and then transfer your H. kuda back to the main tank for the remainder of their hyposalinity treatment.

Best of luck with the treatments, Brownie!

Pete Giwojna

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