Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › I am new to seahorses I have a question?
- This topic has 7 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 14 years, 9 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
August 11, 2008 at 10:45 am #1522jeannal2Member
[b][/b]Hello I am new to this I just got 3 seahorses 2 are female and 1 is a male.Well my question is the male seahorse don\’t seem to know how to swim he either floats on his side or pluges down to the bottom of the tank until he finds something to hang on.Is this normal ? the female\’s swim alright maybe I am just dumb about this or maybe that how it is I don\’t know.So any help would help me greatly Thank you :dry:
Post edited by: jeannal2, at: 2008/08/11 06:47August 11, 2008 at 11:38 pm #4396Pete GiwojnaGuest
Nope, unfortunately the difficulties your male seahorse is having are not normal at all. Difficulty swimming upright and maintaining its normal equilibrium, struggling with positive buoyancy and floating at the surface, and a swollen brood pouch are all indications of pouch emphysema, a form of gas bubble syndrome (GBS).
You will need to release the trapped gas from your male’s brood pouch to provide him with some quick relief and then treat him for chronic pouch emphysema in order to restore him to good health. If you will read the discussion thread titled "pregnant or gas" right below your post, you will find detailed instructions explaining different methods for releasing the gas and treating this particular problem. One of those methods should work well for you, and you need to be aware that this type of problem will worsen and eventually prove fatal if it is left untreated.
Best of luck resolving your male’s buoyancy problem, Jeanna.
Pete GiwojnaAugust 12, 2008 at 2:12 am #4398jeannal2Guest
Ok I will try to do it I just hope that i do it right I don’t want to hurt him.And Thank you for the help.JeannaAugust 12, 2008 at 2:35 am #4400Pete GiwojnaGuest
You’re very welcome!
I know it’s always very intimidating the first time you must perform a pouch evacuation or pouch flush, but once you have performed the procedure successfully it will provide your male with immediate relief and the patient is usually quick to forgive you afterwards. Good luck! Here’s hoping your bloated male is soon feeling much better.
Pete GiwojnaAugust 13, 2008 at 5:29 am #4404jeannal2Guest
Hello I don’t think i am doing it right the gas thing so far he fights and I can’t get a good hold on him and by the time i do get him to hold still his body is not the way I want it to be.lol and I don’t want to hurt him.can anyone tell me a good way to do it the right way.I keep stressing him by doing all this please help if you can.Thanks Jeanna
Post edited by: jeannal2, at: 2008/08/13 01:32August 13, 2008 at 6:04 am #4406Pete GiwojnaGuest
Okay, if you are having difficulty locating the opening to the pouch or inserting a catheter through the tightly closed opening, or your male is simply too uncooperative to accomplish such a procedure, your best bet may be to obtain a fine needle and syringe and release the trapped gas by performing a needle aspiration instead. Many times a needle aspiration is much easier on both the seahorse and the aquarist, and it is a painless procedure that can both remove gas from the bloated pouch as well as administer a pouch flush, as described below.
It is also very practical to aspirate air from a bloated pouch using a small hypodermic needle and a syringe. The pouch can easily be penetrated from side and is not harmed by the entrance of the needle. It causes the seahorse surprisingly little discomfort and is often less traumatic that massaging the pouch and other methods for evacuating gas. It is a quick and effective technique and is often easier on the seahorse keeper and his patient than other approaches.
Remember, when you perform a needle aspiration, you are not penetrating the seahorse’s stomach, but rather the brood pouch that is slung beneath its belly at the base of its tail.
You cannot release the gas that has built up in your male’s pouch simply by perforating the side of his pouch with a small needle. That’s not what the term "needle aspiration" means. Rather, you need a hypodermic needle and syringe in order to perform a needle aspiration. You must first depress the plunger on the hypodermic syringe to empty all of the air out of the barrel of the syringe, and then carefully insert the hypodermic needle into the side of the pouch, just far enough to penetrate into the central cavity of the pouch, and then gradually withdraw the plunger again, which will extract the gas from that area of the pouch.
You may need to perform this procedure twice, once from the left-hand side of the pouch and once from the right-hand side of the pouch, since male seahorses in breeding condition develop an septum or internal membrane that divides their pouches roughly into left and right hemispheres. So you may need to aspirate air from the left side of the pouch, and then repeat the procedure with your hypodermic needle on the right side of the pouch in order to remove all of the trapped gas from your stallion’s marsupium. But do not penetrate the pouch of your male with a hypodermic needle more than that; if aspirating the gas once from each side of the pouch is not sufficient to deflate the pouch and eliminate the problem with positive buoyancy, then you will need to flush out his pouch instead or release the gas using another method.
I know that a needle aspiration sounds like an intimidating procedure, but it’s actually much easier on both the seahorse and the aquarist than some of the other methods you may have tried, such as burping his pouch or opening of the aperture with the aid of a bobby pin, and it can be more effective in extracting the gas that builds up within the pouch. It’s definitely the way to go if the affected male is pregnant, and it will stress him out much less than other techniques. I can assure you that it’s a perfectly painless procedure for a pony.
In addition to aspirating trapped gas, the hypodermic can also be used to flush out the pouch thoroughly either with sterile saline or a medicated solution (an antibiotic or Diamox dissolved in saltwater). Here’s how another hobbyist describes this procedure:
dear pete, it was time to give the antibiotics due to recurrent swelling of his pouch and i had small iv catheters but i was unable to intubate the opening. either too small or voluntary tightening by the horse. only choice left was an injection with a needle. i used a 29g insulin syringe and first removed whatever air i could. then reinjected approx .5cc mix of neomycin sulfate plus bifuran until distended then withdrew approx half of that and left the remainder in his pouch. a couple of lethargic days followed with little food intake. then he started eating live brine shrimp then the usual mysis. it is now 5 or 6 weeks later and all seems well. before that a diamox bath didnt do much but i stopped the diamox due to what seemed like unfavorable side effects. hard to believe the antibiotic injection worked so well. i gave only one injection as it seems to have worked. thanks again for all your help. he was certainly a goner without the intervention and we are most grateful. best regards sg
Best of luck performing the pouch wash, Jeanna! Here’s hoping it produces the desired results.
Pete GiwojnaAugust 13, 2008 at 9:18 am #4407jeannal2Guest
Thank you for all your help pete,I tryed the using a bobby pin and got it to work a bout 10 bubbles came out he is swimming happly now thank you JeannaAugust 14, 2008 at 5:58 am #4410Pete GiwojnaGuest
Well done! No doubt your stallion is feeling much better now that you have released the excess gas from his pouch and he can swim and eat normally again.
However, you should bear in mind that this may only be a temporary fix and not a permanent cure. Pouch emphysema tends to recur unless you correct the conditions in the aquarium that are conducive to problems with gas bubble syndrome (GBS).
If you will read through the discussion titled "can’t swim upright? sick??," you will find a good explanation of how to help prevent problems with GBS by making some minor modifications to your aquarium and water quality parameters, Jeanna. That would be a good place for you to start. If you copy and paste the following URL into your web browser, it will take you directly to the right information:
This would also be a good time for you to line up some Diamox in case the medication is needed to treat recurring problems with GBS. The same discussion thread explains how and where to obtain the Diamox.
Best wishes with all your fishes, Jeanna!
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