Re:puffy eyes

Pete Giwojna

Dear Brad:

Thank you for clarifying the situation, sir. When you say that the area around the eyeball is what is swollen, I have a better idea of what the problem is. It sounds like what you are describing is periorbital edema, which is a symptom of certain bacterial infections. The minocycline in Maracyn-Two is often helpful for treating such infections, so I think we’re on the right track.

If the seahorses whole body was bloated due to gas bubble disease (GBD), Brad, your seahorse would be having difficulties with positive buoyancy, and would be having great difficulty swimming because of the tendency to float. In severe cases where the entire body is bloated due to the buildup of gas within the coelom or abdominal cavity, the affected seahorse is left bobbing helplessly at the surface, unable to swim or to feed. If your seahorse is not having any problems with positive buoyancy, then the puffiness of its body is not the result of internal GBD.

If your seahorse is having problems with GBD and is left untreated, the condition worsens progressively and is ultimately fatal. Diamox is the treatment of choice for gas bubble disease, in general, as well as for exophthalmia or Popeye, sir.

Yes, sir – at mating time, seahorses inflate their brood pouches with water to the bursting point and perform pouch displays known as "Pumping" and "Ballooning" for the benefit of the female they are trying to impress. If successful, and the female is able to transfer her clutch of eggs to the male’s pouch, the male’s pouch can become quite distended over the next couple of weeks due to the fetal fry and embryonic young he is carrying. The photos you saw in the premier issue of Coral magazine no doubt showed courting males performing pouch displays and/or gravid males who were almost ready to give birth. I am thinking that the puffiness in your seahorse is something quite different, Brad, and I would encourage you to treat your pony as we discussed yesterday.

You should be able to obtain Maracyn-Two at one of your local fish stores, and the minocycline in the medication should be helpful in treating the periorbital edema or swelling around the eyes of your seahorse. Likewise, the acetazolamide (brand name Diamox) will help to reduce swelling in around the eyes, and is the treatment of choice for gas bubble disease, in the event that GBD is involved with the Sunburst’s plight.

Best of luck resolving the situation, Brad, and rejuvenating your main tank so you can return it to optimal water quality.

Pete Giwojna

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