Re:respiratory distress?

#2532
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear SEAGAZER:

It sounds like you are already doing all you can to manage the situation with water changes, increased flow, reducing your feedings, cleaning up, and adjusting your pH. Watch your seahorses closely for any signs of ammonia poisoning or nitrite toxicity and, if their breathing becomes too labored, be prepared to treat them with methylene blue as described below.

The most obvious symptoms of ammonia poisoning are a loss of equilibrium, hyperexcitability, increased respiration and oxygen uptake, and increased heart rate. At extreme ammonia levels, fish may experience convulsions, coma, and death. Seahorses exposed to less extreme ammonia levels will struggle to breathe. They will be lethargic and exhibit rapid respiration. They may appear weak and disoriented, periodically detaching from their hitching posts only to sink to the bottom.

With proper treatment, ammonia exposure and nitrite poisoning is completely reversible providing the seahorses weren’t exposed to toxic levels for too long. If their respiration becomes too distressed, be prepared to treat them with methylene blue in a hospital tank. Commonly known as "meth blue" or simply "blue," this is a wonderful medication for reversing the toxic effects of ammonia and nitrite poisoning. Methylene blue transports oxygen and aids breathing. It facilitates oxygen transport, helping fish breathe more easily by converting methemoglobin to hemoglobin — the normal oxygen carrying component of fish blood, thus allowing more oxygen to be carried through the bloodstream. This makes it very useful for treating gill infections, low oxygen levels, or anytime your seahorses are breathing rapidly and experiencing respiratory distress. It is the drug of choice for treating hypoxic emergencies of any kind with your fish. However, methylene blue will destroy nitrifying bacteria so it should only be used in a hospital tank (if used in an established aquarium, it will impair the biological filtration and the tank may need to be cycled all over again).

If you can obtain the Kordon brand of Methylene Blue (available at most well-stocked local fish stores), their suggested treatment protocol for nitrite poisoning is as follows:

As an aid in reversal of nitrite (NO2-) or cyanide (CN-) poisoning of marine and freshwater aquarium fishes:

(a) Remove carbon filter and continue to operate with mechanical filter media throughout the treatment period.
(b) Add 1 teaspoon of 2.303% Methylene Blue per 10 gallons of water. This produces a concentration of 3 ppm. Continue the treatment for 3 to 5 days.
(c) Make a water change as noted and replace the filter carbon at the conclusion of the treatment.

See the following link for more information on treating with Kordon’s Methylene Blue:

Click here: KPD-28 Methylene Blue
http://www.novalek.com/kpd28.htm

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna


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