Re:sick seahorse? PLEASE HELP

#5193
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear seahorsegirl:

I’m very sorry to hear about the problem that your female Hippocampus erectus has developed. It’s very difficult to diagnose problems like this from afar without even a photograph to work from, but I would be happy to share my thoughts on the matter with you.

I’m going to assume that the pimple-like bump on the snout of your female was actually a pustule (i.e., a pus-filled nodule) because of the ongoing symptoms even after the pimplelike growth has disappeared. If that’s the case, then the temple-like pustule is just the tip of the iceberg, the outward manifestation of an underlying bacterial infection, which is no doubt why the seahorse has now stopped eating. I recommend isolating the affected seahorse in your hospital tank and treating her with an aggressive regimen of potent broad-spectrum antibiotics immediately.

Furan2 is a good combo medication that consist of two nitrofuran antibiotics (nitrofurazone and furazolidone) plus good old methylene blue, and it is most effective for treating mild skin infections. But it is not very helpful in treating infections that have progressed internally, and you need to resort to a more powerful combination of antibiotics for a problem such as this.

I would recommend treating the seahorse with aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as kanamycin and/or neomycin, combined with triple sulfa. Consider treating the seahorse with a 10-day regimen of neomycin combined with triple sulfa. When used together, these two medications form a synergistic combination of antibiotics that is much more effective than either medication used alone, and this combination of medications sometimes works well against stubborn infections such as Vibrio. The appropriate dosages are as follows (courtesy of Ann at the org):

NEOMYCIN Dosage and Preparation Instructions for a 10g/38L Hospital Tank (when used concurrently with Triple Sulfate)
Active Ingredient: Neomycin
Indication: bacterial infection
Brandnames: National Fish Pharmaceuticals, AgriLabs. (Biosol, Neomix, and NeoMed can sometimes be
found at feed supply stores).
Maintain a level of 400mg per day for 10 days
Note: Neomycin is available in both liquid and powder forms. For AgriLabs liquid Neomycin 2ml per 10g is
equal to ~400mg.
Replace the medication in ratio to the amount of water changed daily as needed to control ammonia.
DAY 1 of Treatment
• Mix 400mg of Neomycin with ~1 cup of marine water.
• Pour the mixture into a high-flow area of the hospital tank.
DAYS 2 – 10 of Treatment
• Perform a 50% water change.
• Mix 200mg of Neomycin with ~1 cup of marine water.
• Pour the mixture into a high-flow area of the hospital tank.

TRIPLE SULFATE (Sulfa/Sulpha) Dosage and Preparation Instructions for a 10g/38L Hospital Tank
Active Ingredient: Sodium Sulfathiazole, Sodium Sulfamethazine, and Sodium Sulfacetamide
Indication: bacterial infection
Brand Names: Triple Sulfa, Triple Sulpha, Trisulfa
Dose per package instructions for 10 days. (Normally ~380mg per day for 10 days). Disregard package
info concerning water changes.
Replace the medication in ratio to the amount of water changed daily as needed to control ammonia.
DAY 1 of Treatment
• Thoroughly mix the medication with about 1 cup of marine water.
• Pour the mixture into a high-flow area of the hospital tank.
DAYS 2 – 10 of Treatment
• Perform a 50% water change.
• Thoroughly mix the medication with about 1 cup of marine water.
• Pour the mixture into a high-flow area of the hospital tank.

If the 10-day treatment regimen of neomycin + triple sulfa does not resolve this problem, seahorsegirl, then I would recommend performing a 100% water change in your hospital tank and following up with a 30 day regimen of kanamycin sulfate (brand name Kanacyn) combined with Vitamin B6. As you know, kanamycin sulfate is a potent aminoglycoside antibiotic that is absorbed very well through the skin and gills of the fish, allowing it to attack the infection internally, from the inside out, even if the seahorse is no longer eating:

Kanamycin sulfate

This is a potent broad-spectrum, gram+/gram- aminogylcoside antibiotic. It is wonderfully effective for aquarium use because it is one of the few antibiotics that dissolves well in saltwater and that is readily absorbed through the skin of the fish. That makes it the treatment of choice for treating many bacterial infections in seahorses. Like other gram-negative antibiotics, it will destroy your biofiltration and should be used in a hospital tank only.

If I could only keep one antibiotic in my fishroom medicine cabinet, kanamycin sulfate is the one I would choose because of its excellent solubility in saltwater and effective absorption.

Kanamycin sulfate powder

USE: Gram-negative bacteria and resistant strains of piscine tuberculosis and other bacterial infections. Works especially well in salt water aquariums.

DOSAGE 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gallons of water. Treat every 24 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment. Treat for 10 days. For piscine tuberculosis, use for up to 30 days.

For best results, combine the kanamycin with Vitamin B6 (available at health food stores and drug stores). Use 1 mg of vitamin B6 per gallon of water (so for a 10-gallon hospital tank, crush up a 10 mg tablet of vitamin B6 as fine as possible and dissolve it in the tank water.) Redose the treatment tank with a proportional amount of Vitamin B6 following each water change. (For instance, if you perform a 50% water change, re-dose with 1 mg of Vitamin B6 per 2 gallons of water.)

I would also suggest obtaining some choice live foods to tempt the seahorse to eat during the treatment period, seahorsegirl. Live Mysis or Hawaiian red feeder shrimp or volcano shrimp (Halocaridina rubra) are ideal for this — seahorses find them utterly irresistible! But anything that’s readily available — enriched adult brine shrimp, live ghost shrimp that are small enough to be swallowed, newborn guppies or mollies, Gammarus amphipods, copepods, Tigger pods, you name it — is worth a try.

Good luck resolving this problem and getting your female erectus eating again.

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support


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