Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › I’m Afraid My Dear Galene Is Dying
- This topic has 10 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 9 years, 1 month ago by Pete Giwojna.
April 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm #2042fishteerMember
I am absolutely devastated to find today that my beloved Galene, my champion musical dancer and the sweetest, friendliest pony in my herd, is seriously ill. She has been a little less interested in socializing with me in the past week or so, but until today there were no signs of anything really amiss. This morning she didn’t come to the feeding dish for her breakfast, and when I removed her from her hitching post and got her to hitch on my hand, it was clear that something has gone horribly wrong with her. She is completely unresponsive – no eye contact, breathing heavily, won’t eat, and she’s turned much darker than her normal color. She doesn’t respond to her mate, Zephyr, either. She hitches just fine, but just stays curled up on whatever hitching post her tail finds.
I can see absolutely no external lesions on Galene. There are no signs of being eggbound – no telltale lumps or swellings, and the color near her vent is not bright orange, as it usually is when she has eggs ready to come out. I have not seen her, nor has she given any other indication that she has a parasite. There’s nothing remotely resembling tail rot, and she has had, and still has, no trouble hitching. She has been swimming fine until today.
Galene has been with me for 2.5 years, and in that time, she and her tankmates have never had a single medical issue. They have been healthy, friendly, and vigorous. Everyone else in the tank is still fine, including the invertebrates. No problems whatsoever. The water is fine – all chemical tests, salinity, pH, etc are perfect. The other 5 ponies in her tank are perfectly normal, as are her grown children in my second tank.
I guess I could try to isolate her and start throwing antibiotics at her, but I wonder if that would be an exercise in futility. My experience with my many goldfish that have come and gone over the years is that trying to treat something with no clue as to diagnosis usually just stresses the poor fish to its grave. I don’t want to lose my favorite girl – the undisputed star performer among all my seahorses, who has garnered worldwide admiration for her musical dancing. I love her very deeply. But if it’s just her time to go, I don’t want to make her last moments uncomfortable.
What do you think, Pete?
April 14, 2014 at 7:12 pm #5659fishteerGuest
What am I saying? Of course I’m not letting her go without a fight!
Getting a hospital tank set up, and I will treat it with the Kanamycin, triple sulfa and Paraguard I have on hand. I’ll go buy some Methylene blue and perhaps give Galene a dip later, as her only outward symptom is respiratory distress.
Galene’s tank has been running warmer than ideal for awhile – it’s 76 deg F, so it occurs to me that she may have vibriosis of the gills.
I’ll try my best for her; she deserves nothing less.April 14, 2014 at 9:19 pm #5660Pete GiwojnaGuest
I’m very sorry to hear about this sudden development with Galene, Diane. I know you have given her superb care right from the first and I’ve been fascinated by the amazing dancing ability she has developed under your conditioning and how responsive she has become to the music!
But it’s very difficult to determine what may be wrong when there are no premonitory symptoms of an illness or any signs of an underlying health problem to point the way to the correct diagnosis. Right now the only thing I can say for certain is that Galene was apparently perfectly healthy yesterday and is now in great distress for reasons that are unclear and unknown…
I don’t think that transferring Galene to your hospital tank and treating her with broad-spectrum antibiotics is necessary the best approach to this problem, Diane. Being handled, separated from her tankmates, and transferred to a Spartan quarantine tank amid strange surroundings would be very stressful for Galene, and the last thing we want to do right now is to increase her level of stress. I would try treating the main tank with metronidazole first, as explained below, and if you don’t see clear signs of improvement within three days, then you can resort to antibiotics in the hospital tank, Diane. That would by you time to get the treatment tank up and running and to line up any meds you may need.
A sudden loss of appetite, rapid respirations, and darkening in coloration are all clear indications of stress, but they can be associated with so many different types of problems that they don’t really reveal much about what may be going on. For example, rapid respirations are often associated with gill flukes and protozoan parasites that attack the gills, but rapid breathing can also result from a spike in the nitrogenous wastes (e.g., ammonia, nitrate, or nitrates), which can cause hemoglobin to be converted into a form of the molecule (methhemoglobin) that is unable to transport oxygen, and panting can also be a sign that the dissolved oxygen levels in the aquarium water are too low (or the CO2 levels are too high), and rapid respiration is also associated with stress in general.
If there had been a spike in the ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate levels, or an outbreak of parasites in the aquarium, or if the dissolved oxygen levels were too low or the levels of dissolved carbon dioxide were too high, all of the seahorses in the aquarium would be affected to one degree or another, and that’s not the case in this incident, Diane.
We know you’re water quality parameters are optimal, so for now I’m going to concentrate on Galene’s loss of appetite instead. One thing that can cause a seahorse to go off its feed with no outward indications of a problem is internal parasites, especially intestinal flagellates, which are normal intestinal flora that are naturally found in the gastrointestinal tract and reproductive system of fish in low numbers. They only cause a problem when their numbers get out of control, which can happen for a number of reasons, including chronic stress, and it’s quite possible for only one seahorse to be so affected.
Metronidazole is a very safe medication that can control such internal parasites, and which can be used to treat Galene in the main tank where she is the most comfortable. It won’t harm the biofilter or disrupt the biological filtration and it is perfectly safe for seahorses, so it’s a form of treatment that may be helpful in a case like this and will not increase the stress level for Galene.
Metronidazole is very effective in treating intestinal flagellates and other internal parasites, which are the most common cause of loss of appetite in otherwise healthy seahorses, and it can be safely used in the main tank since it will not damage the beneficial nitrifying bacteria that perform biological filtration.
It’s a good antiparasitic that is is perfectly safe to use in a typical seahorse tank, although you may want to relocate sensitive invertebrates such as decorative shrimp or starfish during the treatment period. You’ll need to remove activated carbon and other chemical filtration media beforehand, and turn off UV sterilizers or ozone generators when treating the tank with this medication.
Here is some more information explaining how to use metronidazole to treat problems such as this, Diane:
Intestinal flagellates are microscopic organisms that move by propelling themselves with long tail-like flagella (Kaptur, 2004). Such flagellates can be found in both the gastrointestinal and reproductive tracts of their hosts. In low numbers they do not present a problem, but they multiply by binary fission, an efficient means of mass infestation when conditions favor them (such as when a seahorse has been weakened by chronic stress), Kaptur, 2004. When they get out of control, these parasites interfere with the seahorse’s normal digestive processes such as vitamin absorption, and it has difficulty obtaining adequate nourishment even though it may be eating well and feeding heavily (Kaptur, 2004). Suspect intestinal parasites are a work when a good eater gradually wastes away despite its hearty appetite (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). Their presence can be confirmed by examining a fecal sample under a microscope, but they can be easily diagnosed according to the more readily observed signs described below (Kaptur, 2004).
The symptoms to look for are a seahorse that’s losing weight or not holding its own weight-wise even though it feeds well, or alternatively, a lack of appetite accompanied by white stringy feces (Kaptur, 2004). When a seahorse stops eating aggressively and begins producing white, stringy feces instead of fecal pellets, that’s a clear indication that it’s suffering from intestinal flagellates (Kaptur, 2004). Treat the affected seahorse(s) with metronidazole at the first sign of either condition (Giwojna, Dec. 2003).
Metronidazole is an antibiotic with antiprotozoal properties that is very effective in eradicating internal parasites in general and intestinal flagellates in particular (Kaptur, 2004). It is ideal for this because it is rapidly absorbed from the GI tract, has anti-inflammatory effects in the bowel, and was designed specifically to treat protozoal infections and anaerobic bacterial infections by disrupting their DNA (Kaptur, 2004).
When administered properly, metronidazole is wonderfully effective at eliminating intestinal parasites, and there should be signs of improvement within 3 days of treatment (Kaptur, 2004). The seahorse’s appetite should pick up, and as it does, those characteristic white stringy feces will return to normal (Giwojna, Dec. 2003).
Intestinal parasites are typically transferred from their host to uninfected fishes by fecal exposure, and good tank management and hygiene can therefore go a long way towards limiting their spread (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). You don’t want seahorses eating frozen Mysis that may have become contaminated from laying on a dirty substrate (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). Using a feeding station can help prevent this as can vacuuming the substrate regularly.
Fortunately, intestinal flagellates have virtually no ability to survive outside their host’s body (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). If you detect the problem early and are diligent about cleaning the substrate while the affected seahorse is undergoing treatment in isolation, the parasites should be easily eliminated from your system and chances are good the rest of your herd will remain unaffected (Giwojna, Dec. 2003).
If the seahorse is still eating, administering the metronidazole orally via medicated frozen Mysis is often extremely effective (Giwojna, Dec. 2003) in resolving the problem and restoring the seahorses appetite.
If the problem is due to intestinal flagellates and other internal parasites, it may respond positively to the metronidazole and show improvement within a few days.
Okay, Diane, that’s the rundown on using metronidazole to treat intestinal flagellates and other internal parasites that are commonly associated with a loss of appetite. In your case, you would need to add the medication to the main tank, since Galene is no longer eating.
That’s what I would recommend you try, particularly if you have noticed that Galene’s is now producing white, stringy feces rather than her normal fecal pellets. Metronidazole can also be helpful on the off chance that gill parasites of some sort may be contributing to the problem.
Metronidazole is an antiparasitic that is commonly used to treat problems such as Hole-in-the-Head disease (Hexamita), Chilodonella (body slime), freshwater ich, Malawi bloat (internal Hexamita), Epistylis in pond fish, intestinal flagellates and other internal parasites in aquarium fishes. Your best bet is to call around to the local fish stores and pet stores in your area, and ask them if they carry a medication with metronidazole as the primary ingredient. (It may not be sold as “metronidazole” by name — it may be sold under a brand name instead, such as Flagyl, Hexamit, Hikari Metro+, Seachem Metronidazole Aquarium Fish Medication, or Metro-Pro, all of which are medications with metronidazole as the active ingredient. Any such medication will do nicely.)
Your local fish store should carry a medication designed for aquarium use whose primary ingredient is metronidazole (e.g., Flagyl, Metro-MS by FishVet, Hexamit, Seachem Metronidazole, etc.). Just follow the instructions on the package and be sure to use the marine dose. Temporarily relocate sensitive invertebrates such as decorative shrimp and starfish until after the treatment regimen has been completed.
The only other thing I would suggest is to make sure that your seahorse tank has plenty of surface agitation and aeration to promote more efficient gas exchange at the air/water interface, Diane. That will help to make sure that your dissolved oxygen levels are nice and high and that the levels of dissolved carbon dioxide are low, which may help Galene to breathe easier in the meantime.
The methylene blue is a good thought and is worth a try, but it can’t be used in the main tank and I don’t know if Galene could tolerate a dip right now, so use your own judgment about that.
Best of luck resolving this problem, Diane.
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech SupportApril 14, 2014 at 11:46 pm #5661fishteerGuest
I actually did put Galene in a hospital tank a few hours ago, primarily because she is so unresponsive. Her eyes don’t follow my finger or light or anything else in her environment. I think at this point she isn’t really noticing that she’s not in her home tank. I’ve got her in a mix of Paraguard, Kanamycin, and TMS Sulfa, which is what I had on hand. After 2 hours in there, she did actually raise her head up for the first time today, but her eyes still don’t follow movement or light.
For years I kept every fish med under the sun in ample supply, but recently I threw out a bunch of meds that had expired and haven’t yet replaced them. Wouldn’t you know it?! Normally I would have metro on hand. Fortunately, one of the LFS’s I frequent has it, so We are bout to dash over there and get some before they close.
Since Galene is already in a hospital tank, should I dose the metro in addition to the other meds in there? Or do you think I should put her back in her home tank and dose that? Is metro safe for snails and shrimp?
I wish I knew why this happened. The only tank parameter that is not ideal is the temperature. It was up to 77 today, but that’s not outrageously high. I’m sure the oxygenation is fine, since I have a Reef Octopus skimmer, and the sump has a powerhead agitating the water surface. Anyway, if I can pull Galene out of this illness, I will have to do some serious thinking about what could have gone wrong.
Thanks, as always, for your help, Pete!April 14, 2014 at 11:49 pm #5662fishteerGuest
I meant to mention: I found just a half inch string of thin, white slime in the tank right after I pulled her out, but I’m not sure it was poop from her. I examined it under my microscope and saw absolutely no bacteria or protists. It might actually just have been some snail eggs; my Nassarius have been climbing up on plants lately, which usually means they’re going to lay eggs somewhere.April 15, 2014 at 12:44 am #5663fishteerGuest
We’re on our way to the LFS. Just before we left, I found some slimy white poop in the hospital tank. I looked at it under the microscope. While there were no Protista in the flagellate state, there were a bunch of cysts and a few amebas. So I do think metronidazole is the right call. I’ll treat Galene in hospital when we return.April 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm #5664fishteerGuest
I’ve lost her. Galene died overnight. I think by the time she revealed there was something wrong yesterday, it was already too late. She was mentally absent from the moment I discovered her illness, so it must have advanced very quickly. She did, I think, show very subtle signs in the previous few days – a slight decrease in activity level, and she didn’t come to dance for me when I sang to her, as she usually did. But on Sunday she came to her food dish and ate as usual, so if I had any premonition of danger, it was buried too deep in my subconscious to warn me.
I wish I had realized something was wrong, but wishing won’t bring her back. I have always been a vigilant aquarist. May this teach me to be even more so.
I am completely crushed by Galene’s loss. Zephyr, her mate, hitched to my hand this morning, as he often does. I know he wonders where his beloved has gone. I tried to tell him she will always be with us, but of course, he doesn’t understand my words. I do think he understands my love for him, for Galene, and for my other dancers of the deep. I hope he can survive her loss.
My challenge and my responsibility now is to protect the rest of my herd. Everyone seems healthy, but Zephyr never eats as much as he should. He is perpetually skinny. Pete, I want to discuss that with you in more detail soon. But for now, I’m thinking I should treat Zephyr (and by default, the other ponies in that tank) with Metronidazole-infused mysis. He might have a low level parasitic intestinal infection, too. Do you agree, Pete? I know there are instructions in your care sheets and forum posts about how to prepare Mysis with Metro.April 15, 2014 at 3:48 pm #5665Pete GiwojnaGuest
Okay, as long as Galene handled the transfer to your hospital tank well, then I agree with the treatments you have begun, Diane. The kanamycin sulfate is a good aminoglycoside antibiotic that dissolves well in saltwater and that is absorbed readily through the skin and gills of the fish, and aminoglycosides can be combined safely with the sulfa antibiotics to form a more broad-spectrum combination of medications.
Together with the Seachem Paraguard, you have all the bases covered in case this problem is bacterial, fungal, or viral in nature, or the result of external parasites.
As you know, Diane, aldehydes such as formaldehyde are effective in combating ectoparasites and disinfecting external infections because of their ability to cross-link proteins and nucleic acids, essentially disrupting the DNA of the parasites and microbes they come in contact with; certain dialdehydes have this same cross-linking ability with long-chain polymers and acids, but without the harmful human effects that require formaldehyde to be used so carefully, so the Paraguard was actually a good choice for a situation in which you are unsure exactly what is affecting the seahorse.
The SeaChem Paraguard is not simply an antiparasitic, but is also said to be effective in treating fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. I believe it is the cross-linking ability of the aldehydes it contains that can interfere with the replication of the DNA molecule that makes it effective in treating ectoparasites, bacteria, and viruses, whereas combining it with malachite green gives it the ability to control fungal infections as well.
At any rate, Diane, the Paraguard should be safe to use with seahorses, and I know Bob Fenner recommends this product, which is good enough for me.
However, the SeaChem Paraguard is only effective in treating external parasites and external infections of the skin. The metronidazole is an antiparasitic that can be helpful with some girl parasites and internal parasites and it can be used safely with the antibiotics you mentioned, Diane. I am less certain if it is safe to use with the Seachem Paraguard, but I know metronidazole is one of the active ingredients in some of the combo medications that include malachite green so I think is probably alright to include the metronidazole at the same time as the other medications.
It’s difficult to say if the slimy white strand you found is an example of the white, stringy, mucoid feces that are indicative of intestinal parasites, Diane, but if you noted cysts and amoebae in the sample under the microscope, it would be a bad idea to use the metronidazole as well.
At this point, I am less certain that the loss of appetite is due to internal parasites, however. If Galene is as unresponsive as you have described, with no eye movement or awareness of her immediate surroundings, that in itself would account for her lack of appetite…
In any case, I trust your judgment as an experienced seahorse keeper and first-hand observer a great deal, Diane, so if you feel it is warranted, go ahead and try the metronidazole as well.
If you think Galene can withstand it, a very brief dip in concentrated methylene blue may also be helpful, but again I will leave that to your judgment.
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech SupportApril 15, 2014 at 5:48 pm #5666Pete GiwojnaGuest
I’m terribly sorry to hear that Galene was too far gone to recover, Diane! All my condolences for this devastating loss!
If it’s any consolation, I think you did everything you possibly could have under the circumstances, and very likely nothing you could have done would have made much of a difference in this situation.
The prognosis is always very grim once a seahorse is no longer tracking the movements of the aquarist with its eyes. When you have an ailing seahorse that develops the “far look,” a distant stare as if focusing on some faraway object, and no longer response to stimuli in its immediate vicinity, that’s a good indication that the seahorse will not recover and that the end is near…
You still have some of Galene’s adult offspring, so she is still well represented in your herd, and hopefully some of her youngsters have inherited her dancing ability and tastes in music. Perhaps they can pick up where she left off when it comes to the aquarium choreography…
I agree that right now the best thing you can do is to make sure that none of the other seahorses will be affected by whatever may have caused Galene’s demise, Diane, and I agree that administering a regimen of metronidazole is an excellent place to start.
Although it can be safely administered in the main tank, that’s not the best way to use the metronidazole for best results. In order to do so, you need to disable the protein skimmer, switch off UV sterilizer, and remove the chemical filtration media from the tank, so as long as the seahorses are still eating, I much prefer to administer the metronidazole orally instead. That way you can leave the protein skimmer and ultraviolet sterilizer in operation, and continue the chemical filtration media as usual, which makes it easier to maintain optimum water quality. And the metronidazole is the most effective when it is ingested in any case, so that’s what I would recommend in this case.
There are two ways you could administer metronidazole orally, Diane – either by gutloading feeder shrimp with the medication or by mixing Seachem Focus and Seachem Garlic Guard with the metronidazole and then the frozen Mysis, which actually works very well and is the easiest of the two techniques.
So I feel that the best way treat the ponies orally is by combining the metronidazole with Seachem Focus and then mixing it with the seahorses’ frozen Mysis, which can then be fed to the seahorses as usual, Diane.
For the first step, I would recommend a regimen of Seachem Metronidazole to address the possibility that this might be the beginning of a parasite problems. The Seachem Metronidazole is ideal for this because it is designed to be used with the Seachem Focus and Seachem Garlic Guard and then administered orally, as indicated below:
Seachem Metronidazole Aquarium Fish Medication – 100 g
Parasitic and Bacterial infections don’t stand a chance with Metronidazole. When you find your fish infected with such nasty bugs as Ich or Hexamita, grab the Metronidazole and say goodbye to infection. This fast and effective treatment is safe for biological filtration and is easily removed with carbon after treatment. For freshwater or marine fish.
PACKAGE SIZE 100 GRAM
TREATS UP TO 265 TO 530 GALLONS
TYPE OF DISEASE BACTERIA, PARASITE
AQUARIUM TYPE FRESHWATER, SALTWATER
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS METRONIDAZOLE
INVERT SAFE WITH CAUTION
Do not use UV, ozone or chemical filtration during use.
Use 1-2 measures (each about 100 mg each) for each 10 gallons. Measurer included. Repeat every 2 days until symptoms disappear.
To feed, blend 1 measure with about 1 tablespoon of frozen food paste.
Okay, Diane, that’s the rundown on the Seachem Metronidazole, which comes in powder form and includes a little scoop for measuring the doses.
Here is the corresponding information for the Seachem Garlic Guard:
Seachem Garlic Guard
* For fresh and saltwater fish, planted and reef aquariums
* Contains allicin, the active ingredient in garlic
* Contains ViJamesn C for enhanced health benefits
Whet your fishes’ appetite with the natural healthful properties of garlic. Contains allicin, the active ingredient in garlic with powerful antioxidant properties that can lessen free radical damage to cells – plus ViJamesn C for enhanced health benefits. For fresh and saltwater fish, planted and reef aquariums.
Directions for Use: Shake well before use. Soak food in Garlic Guard before feeding. For enhanced effectiveness against Ich and other parasites use Seachem’s Focus and Metronidazole as follows: Add 1 measure of Metronidazole to 1 measure of Focus per tablespoon of frozen food. Completely soak this food mix in Garlic Guard, refrigerate, and feed once or twice daily for 1-2 weeks.
Garlic Extract 9900 ppm
Allicin 130 ppm
ViJamesn C 1000 ppm
In short, Diane, to administer this medication to your seahorses orally, you simply need to thaw out 1 tablespoon of frozen Mysis and then add one measure of the Seachem Metronidazole powder and one measure of Seachem Focus to the Mysis and carefully mix them together. Then you just soak the medicated frozen Mysis in Seachem Garlic Guard and feed it to your seahorses as usual. You can refrigerate any of the excess medicated Mysis and save it for later use. If you will be feeding more than 1 tablespoon of frozen Mysis at a time, just adjust the amount of Seachem Metronidazole and Seachem Focus you mix with the Mysis accordingly. You’ll find that the seahorses eat the medicated Mysis surprisingly well when it has been treated in this manner.
Continue to feed the frozen Mysis medicated with metronidazole to all of your seahorses once or twice a day for 7-14 days, Diane. (I would do the full two weeks to be on the safe side.) The metronidazole is effective against a wide range of internal parasites, including intestinal flagellates, in particular, and should be helpful in nipping the problem in the bud.
And, of course, one of the benefits of administering the metronidazole orally is that you know will have no adverse effect on any of the invertebrates in the aquarium.
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech SupportApril 15, 2014 at 7:36 pm #5667fishteerGuest
Thanks, Pete. I will follow the Metronidazole/Focus/Garlic Guard protocol. I hope that will prevent any further losses and also help Zephyr with his eating problem. He has a strong snick but a weak swallow. It takes him several attempts to swallow his food, and he often spits out some of it. I wonder if he is afflicted with the same parasites, whatever they are, that killed Galene. Feeding the Metro will hopefully clear out any parasitic infection in his throat or mouth so that he can eat more robustly. He’s still quite vigorous and active, but just so darn skinny.
If Zephyr’s health stays stable or, even better, improves, I may get him a new mate from Ocean Rider. He pursues my two Sunburst females, Doris and Calypso, and I suppose he might bond with one of them. Doris is only loosely bonded to Nereus, and Calypso to Aethon; those two romances are sort of lukewarm. Galene and Zephyr had a much deeper bond. Still, Zephyr does not seem to be plunged in grief. With the arrival of spring, the ponies have all stepped up their romance game. I think Zephyr’s hormones may spare him the worst effect of his loss, since there are two other females to distract him. (And he still loves to dance with me, though, of course, I’m spoken for. 😉 Eventually the skewed sex ration in that tank may become a problem. Time will tell, I guess.
Thanks again for all your help, Pete.April 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm #5669Pete GiwojnaGuest
Yes, if Zephyr’s somewhat weak-swallowing issue is in any way related to a parasite infection, the oral metronidazole should be helpful for him. It’s a good medication for internal parasites of all kinds, not simply the intestinal flagellates or intestinal bugs.
I would keep the ponies on the medicated Mysis for 10-14 days, after which they should be free of any harmful internal parasites, Diane.
What your finish with the regimen of metronidazole, I would shift gears and administer some oral antibiotics as well to protect the seahorses against secondary infections. I like the neomycin sulfate, which is the active ingredient in Seachem NeoPlex, for this purpose, and it should be again combined with the Seachem Focus, which makes the medicated Mysis taste good to the seahorses and includes a nitrofuran antibiotic.
As you know, the neomycin sulfate is a good aminoglycoside antibiotic, which can be safely combined with nitrofuran antibiotics to produce a synergistic effect that makes the combination much more potent and effective than any of the medications used alone.
The Seachem Focus and Seachem NeoPlex are readily available from any local fish stores that carry Seachem products and it’s very easy to use them to medicate the frozen Mysis to feed to the affected seahorse so that the medications will be ingested and move efficiently into the bloodstream, where they can be the most effective in combating infection.
In short, I would recommend that you follow up the metronidazole parasite treatments by obtaining some Seachem NeoPlex and administer it to the seahorses orally by mixing Seachem Focus and the NeoPlex together with frozen Mysis that you have carefully thawed and prepared. The Focus will bind with the medication in the NeoPlex and then bind to the frozen Mysis in a manner that masks the unpleasant taste of the medication and makes it more palatable to the seahorse. The active ingredient in the NeoPlex is neomycin sulfate, a potent aminoglycoside antibiotic, so when the seahorses subsequently eat the frozen Mysis, they will ingest the antibiotics and get the maximum benefit they can provide.
Here is some additional information on the Focus by Seachem Laboratories, which explains how to use it to combine medication with food:
Seachem Laboratories Focus – 5 Grams Information
Focus ™ is an antibacterial polymer for internal infections of fish. It may be used alone or mixed with other medications to make them palatable to fish and greatly reduce the loss of medications to the water through diffusion. It can deliver any medication internally by binding the medication to its polymer structure. The advantage is that the fish can be medicated without contaminating the entire aquarium with medication. Fish find Focus™ appetizing and it may be fed to fish directly or mixed with frozen foods. Focus™ contains nitrofurantoin for internal bacterial infections. Marine and freshwater use. 5 gram container.
Types of Infections Treated:
DIRECTIONS: Use alone or in combination with medication of your choice in a 5:1 ratio by volume. Feed directly or blend with fresh or frozen food. Feed as usual, but no more than fish will consume. Use at every feeding for at least five days or until symptoms clear up.
Contains polymer bound nitrofurantoin.
Active ingredient: polymer bound nitrofurantoin (0.1%). This product is not a feed and
should not be fed directly. Its intended application is to assist in binding medications to fish food.
And here is an excerpt from an e-mail from another home hobbyist (Ann Marie Spinella) that explains how she uses the NeoPlex together with the Focus for treating her seahorses, Tami:
“When I bought the NeoPlex yesterday I also picked up a tube of Focus. According to the instructions, it says it makes the medication more palatable to fish & reduces the loss of the medication once it’s in the water.
So I followed the dosing instructions exactly. I used regular frozen mysis instead of PE. I figured it was softer & smaller. I was thinking along the lines of more surface area for the medication to adhere to & with the softer shell hopefully it would absorb into the shrimp a little better.
I used 8 cubes which came to just about 1 tablespoon. I thawed & rinsed the shrimp thoroughly in a little colander & let it sit on a paper towel to remove as much water as possible.
Then I put in it in a small dish & added the Focus & NeoPlex in the recommended ratio which is 5:1 (5 scoops Focus / 1 scoop NeoPlex). I mixed it thoroughly & added a few drops of Garlic Power.
Then I measured out 5 – 1/4 tsp. servings & 4 servings I placed on a sheet of Glad Press & Seal, sealed them & put them in the freezer, since it says in the instructions that you can freeze what you don’t use right away, & the remaining 1/4 tsp. I split in half & fed to them this morning. The rest I’ll give to them
this afternoon & I’ll do this every day with the remaining shrimp that I already prepared & froze.
In the video you can see that the seahorses are eating it. Yea!!
Thanks for all of your help & I’ll keep you posted.”
Okay, Diane, that’s the rundown on using the NeoPlex together with the Focus so that you could administer the medication in the NeoPlex orally after adding it to the frozen Mysis for the seahorses daily meals, which you can do once you’ve completed the regimen of metronidazole. That’s the best way to use antibiotics safely in the main tank.
I don’t think there is an urgent need for you to replace Galene with a new female, Diane, but it would be a good idea to even out the sex ratio in your herd at some point if you want the ponies to continue to breed regularly and produce offspring. I don’t think there’s any danger that Zephyr’s health will suffer in the meantime…
Best of luck with all of your projects, Diane!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support
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