Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › bacterial infection spreading
- This topic has 4 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 17 years, 1 month ago by Pete Giwojna.
April 22, 2006 at 2:00 am #801NY78Member
Hi. We\’re new to the site but have been keeping shs. for over three years now. My daughter began by keeping dwarves and then went into erectus. She has successfully bred and sold some as juvies and we\’ve now have 4th generation juvies from the first pair of erectus she had. They are all captive bred.
The seahorse tank is a 42 gallon bow front with an eco system type filter. She added a skimmer a while back. Two of the males started having problems with recurring air in their pouches which became more and more frequent. We would pouch evacuate and they\’d be fine for a while and then two weeks later one would be having bouyancy issues again. We pouch flushed with diamox.
About two weeks later we notice a white spot on the tip of one of the male\’s tails. We immediatley set up a hospital tank and began treating him with neomycin sulfate and triple sulfa. We lost him five days into the treatment.
A week later the other male was hacing bouyancy problems again, but this time there was nothing in his pouch to expel. We tried to treat him in the hospital tank with antibiotics and diamox together. He didn\’t make it.
Now sadly, two weeks later our favorite female, the mother of many fry, developed a spot near her neck. We are treating her now and she is on her third day of treatment. I\’ve been adding Vibrance II and Beta Glucan to her food . She ate up until today and I was trying to be hopeful. Is it really ever possible to turn around a bacterial infection once it gets to the point where there are visible spots on their bodies? I am heartbroken that we may lose her too.
My other fear is what can you possibly do in their tank where there are four more juvies to stop this from spreading. The tank is a true reef set up with mushrooms, leathers and other sh. friendly corals. Even if I move the horses out, is there anything you can do to the tank to prevent this from spreading. I can\’t imagine that we may lose them also. They are about 8 months old.
Short of tearing down the tank, which really isn\’t an option, is there anything we can we do? I would appreciate any advice you have. Thanks
HelenApril 22, 2006 at 12:25 pm #2446NY78Guest
I just wanted to add that we’ve done a 25% water change. We didn’t add anything to the tank before this began except a very small piece of live rock that had a small yellow sponge on it from a local fish store. We are very careful and fight the temptation to add new fish, ect. not to introduce bacterias.
I am upping the doseage of neomycin sulfate that I was using on the female after reading a post in another forum which recommends more than the mafunfacturer’s recommended doseage. I was told the powder worked out to be the same as the capsule milligrams that was recommended for shs. but it’s not. Hopefully I can turn her around.April 23, 2006 at 2:48 am #2448Pete GiwojnaGuest
I’m very sorry to hear about the problems you’ve been having with your herd lately.
Yes, it is quite possible to cure bacterial infections in seahorses once the infection has progressed to the stage where localized loss of coloration occurs. The measures you have taken should help. Neomycin sulfate is a very good antibiotic for seahorses and a 25% water change to improve water quality was an excellent first aid measures to take.
Increasing the dosage of the neomycin sulfate is very appropriate. When administering antibiotics, the proper dosage for a marine aquarium is usually at least twice the recommended dosage for freshwater. In the case of neomycin, some seahorse keepers increase the dosage of neomycin sulfate up to four times the recommended dosage for saltwater tanks, or eight times the suggested dosage for freshwater (Keith Gentry et al.).
For best results, consider combining the neomycin sulfate with other compatible antibiotics. For example, treating with neomycin in conjunction with nifurpirinol (the active ingredient in Furanase) and/or kanamycin creates a synergistic combination of antibacterials that is much more potent than any of these excellent antibiotics used alone, as discussed below:
This is a potent broad-spectrum, gram+/gram- 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. Kanamycin can be combined safely with neomycin to further increase its efficacy. Like other gram-negative antibiotics, it will destroy your biofiltration and should be used in a hospital tank only.
Nifurpirinol is a nitrofuran antibiotic that is the active ingredient in many commercial preparations designed for use in the aquarium. It is stable in saltwater and rapidly absorbed by fish, making it the preferred treatment for fungal infections in seahorses (Burns, 2002). Nifurpirinol is photosensitive and may be inactivated in bright light, so use this medication only in a darkened hospital tank.
Nifurpirinol may be combined with neomycin (see below) to produce a potent broad-spectrum medication that’s effective against both fungus and bacteria. Nifurpirinol/neomycin is therefore a great combination to use when you’re not certain whether the infection you are treating is fungal or bacterial in nature.
Neomycin is a very potent gram-negative antibiotic. Most of infections that plague marine fish are gram-negative, so neomycin sulfate can be a wonder drug for seahorses (Burns, 2002). As mentioned above, it can even be combined with other medications such as kanamycin or nifurpirinol for increased efficacy. For example, kanamycin/neomycin is tremendous for treating bacterial infections, while nifurpirinol/neomycin makes a combination that packs a heckuva wallop for treating mixed bacterial/fungal infections or problems of unknown nature. Keep it on hand at all times.
Neomycin will destroy beneficial bacteria and disrupt your biological filtration, so be sure to administer the drug in a hospital tank.
Antibiotics are often most effective when they’re ingested, so the prospects for full recovery are better when the treatment is begun while the seahorse is still eating and the medications can be administered orally via bio-encapsulated feeder shrimp. The next best thing to ingesting the antibiotics is upping the dosage of the medications you add to the hospital tank, which you have already done. The prognosis is poor once the bacterial infection has advanced to the point that tissue erosion occurs in the discolored areas become open ulcers or bloody lesions, and your seahorse has not reached that point, so don’t give up hope, Helen.
My recommendation would be to add nifurpirinol (i.e., Furanase) and/or kanamycin to your treatment regimen along with the neomycin sulfate, and then to decrease the temperature in your hospital tank as much as possible. Reducing the water temperature and cooling down the microbes will slow down their metabolism and rate of reproduction accordingly, and give the seahorse’s immune system a better chance to fight off the disease (Giwojna, Oct. 2003).
A simple way to drop the water temp in your hospital tank is to position a small fan so it blows across the surface of the water continually (Giwojna, Oct. 2003). This will lower the water temperature a few degrees via evaporative cooling (just be sure to top off the tank regularly to replace the water lost to evaporation). Leaving the light off on your hospital tank in conjunction with evaporative cooling can make a big difference and help you knock out this tail infection (Giwojna, Oct. 2003). Tropical seahorses will be fine as low as 68 F providing you drop the aquarium temperature gradually. Most likely you won’t be able to drop the temperature that far without a chiller, but just lowering the temperature a few degrees can make a big difference when fighting bacterial infections.
If you refer to an earlier post on the Ocean Rider Club on Yahoo under the heading "Re: Sick seahorse — please help!" there is a good discussion of the sort of factors that are often associated with such bacterial infections and disease problems in general, as well as some of the measures you can take to help prevent them in the future. You can find it at the following link:
Click here: OceanRider : Message: Re: Sick seahorse-please help! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OceanRider/message/9573
That detailed discussion goes over several things you can do short of breaking down your aquarium and starting over that can help keep this infection from spreading and also prevent the recurring problems with Gas Bubble Syndrome you have been having, so please route read through a carefully.
Best of luck treating your ailing seahorse, Helen. By the way, congratulations on your fourth-generation juveniles! Closing the life cycle with seahorses is quite an accomplishment, and maintaining your homegrown seahorses through several successive generations is all the more so. Hopefully, those preventative measures covered in the link I posted above will assure that your juveniles are not affected.
Pete GiwojnaApril 23, 2006 at 12:44 pm #2449NY78Guest
Thank you so much for answering. Last night the female looked pretty bad, but today she’s hitched a little more strongly and seems to be breathing a little easier. The spot near her neck was to the point of tissue erosion just barely beginning but I think that actually looks a little better since treatment started.
I was also using Triple Sulfa along with the Neomycin, as I mentioned. Should I stop that and add the Furanase?
I do happen to have Furanase in the house (Aquarium products brand) and also ordered Furan 2 overnighted to me yesterday- will have on Tuesday- after speaking to another marine biologist yesterday that deals with shs. I’m assuming the Furanase I have is what you’re talking about even though the ingredient breakdown goes something like this – 2-[3-(5-nitro-2-furanyl)-1-[2-5-(nitro-2-fuanyl)ethenyl]-2-propenylidened], ect. and doesn’t just say nifurpirinol.
The Furanase says to put in 2 tablets for 10 gals. the first day and 1 tab. for the next 3 days. I’m assuming if I start with this and not wait for the Furan 2 I would need to increase this doseage also. Do I double ? The packaging says for fresh and saltwater and only gives one set of instructions. I’m assuming I would double their directions. I only have one package of 10 pills on hand. If you feel I should begin with this I will probably need to get more, but I can work that out.
Do you think I should I stop the Triple sulfa and add the Furanase or keep up with all three? I don’t want to overdue it. Thank you again for your time. It means so much to know we’re doing everything we can to help them when they look so helpless!
Oh no –
I just looked on the back of the Furanase and the expiration is listed as 11/04 – I don’t even think we bought it before 11/04. Do you think it’s even worth trying?
I can’t seem to open that link you posted. Even set up a Yahoo account and all to get into it. I type in message number and can’t get beyond that. I would have liked to have read it.
Post edited by: NY78, at: 2006/04/23 08:47
Post edited by: NY78, at: 2006/04/23 09:03April 23, 2006 at 10:46 pm #2450Pete GiwojnaGuest
You’re very welcome.
Yes, Furanace, Furanase (by Aquarium Products), and nifurpirinol are all synonymous, meaning the active ingredient in all of them is the same. Aqua Furan also uses nifurpirinol as its active ingredient. Any of those medications can be combined safely with neomycin.
However, the antibiotic in these medications (i.e., nifurpirinol) is different then neomycin sulfate. Neomycin is an aminoglycoside antibiotic, whereas nifurpirinol is one of the nitrofuran antibiotics. While it is appropriate to up the dosage of neomycin when treating seahorses, as we have discussed, you should not do that when treating with nifurpirinol. Just use the nifurpirinol or Furanase according to the directions on the package. Follow the instructions the nifurpirinol/Furanase comes with regarding the dosage.
I have never used neomycin combined with triple sulfa and nifurpirinol/Furanase at the same time, so I cannot say for certain whether or not that particular combination of antibiotics is safe. I would not use all three of those antibiotics together. I would either stick with the combination of neomycin + triple sulfa or switch to the combination of neomycin + nifurpirinol/Furanase, depending on how your seahorse is responding to the medications you are using now. If your seahorse seems to be responding well to the nifurpirinol + triple sulfa and is improving, then continue on with the medications you are using now.
However, if the neomycin + triple sulfa does not seem to be helping, then don’t hesitate to switch to neomycin + Furanase instead. However, I would not try the Furanase if its expiration date has come and gone; there is an excellent chance to the medication would no longer be effective.
I’m sorry you couldn’t open the link I referred you to, Helen, but if you will contact me off list at the following e-mail address, I will be happy to e-mail the information to you instead. It’s a long file. You can reach me at the following e-mail address: [email protected]
Best of luck treating your ailing female, Helen! Don’t forget to reduce the temperature in your treatment tank, which can be very helpful when treating bacterial infections.
Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2006/04/23 18:48
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