Re:Sick seahorse: floating

Pete Giwojna

Dear Don:

It sounds like you were going about the simple method for force-feeding a seahorse the right way, but he just wasn’t cooperating. The technique where you simply insert a piece of frozen Mysis into the seahorses tube snout has one great virtue — it doesn’t require any difficult to obtain equipment or apparatus and is simple enough that anybody can attempt it. The disadvantage to this method, of course, is that it’s pretty hit or miss and doesn’t always work.

Once you have inserted the Mysis far enough into the tube snout, one of two things will happen — it will either stimulate the seahorse to swallow the Mysis reflexively or it will trigger the seahorse’s gag reflex instead, in which case it will be regurgitated. (It’s not a lack of good doctoring, but rather a matter of how that particular seahorse’s reflexes are hardwired.) When the latter happens, then it’s unlikely that this force-feeding technique will work for you, Don, and you would be better off attempting to tube feed the seahorse as an alternative.

You might have better luck like tube feeding the seahorse either without sedation (Leslie Leddo’s technique) or after sedating the seahorse (Marc Lamont’s technique). Rather than repeatedly trying to force feed the seahorse, you might want to consider tube feeding it instead, sir.

Best of luck restoring your stallion to neutral buoyancy and getting some nourishment into him, Don.

Pete Giwojna

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