- This topic has 8 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 17 years, 1 month ago by Pete Giwojna.
April 30, 2006 at 11:15 pm #807jeffgMember
I have a seahourse that has not been feeding well lately. It appears that he injured his snout somehow and can no longer strike at a mysis shrimp with enough force to get it down. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Is there anything I can do? Will it heal before he starves?May 1, 2006 at 9:31 pm #2486Pete GiwojnaGuest
The problem you’re describing is commonly referred to as "weak snick," an ailment that occurs when there is something wrong with the buccal suction pump and/or opercular pumps that generate the powerful suction with which seahorses feed. The buccal pump is the hyoid bone trigger mechanism seahorses use to slurp up food with a sudden inrush of water, while the opercular pumps move the water taken in while feeding or breathing past the gills and out again via a tiny pore that acts as an exhaust port. When these mechanisms are impaired, seahorses may have difficulty feeding and breathing, which leads to an assortment of odd ailments ranging from weak snick to sticky trigger to trigger lock to lockjaw.
These unusual afflictions are sometimes caused by mechanical injuries to this feeding mechanism, or secondary infections that involve the underlying musculature, but are more often due to parasites which invest the gills and gradually spread to the esophagus and buccal cavity, as discussed below in greater detail. Please read through the following information and see if it could apply in your case, Jeff:
Weak snick is an unusual affliction that results when a seahorse is unable to generate adequate suction to feed properly. Seahorses develop weak snick when their sophisticated feeding apparatus, or the muscles that operate it, are incapacitated as a result of injury or infection.
For example, I have often seen it in seahorses as a result of protozoan parasite infections (Amyloodinium, Cryptocaryon, Brooklynella, Uronema, etc.). I tend to suspect that’s the cause when the weak snick is accompanied by rapid respiration and labored breathing, or when more that one seahorse develops the condition, or when the weak snick victim’s tankmates are bothered by odd ailments such as "trigger lock," appetite loss, lockjaw, heavy breathing, or the first signs of snout rot, which all early indications of masked protozoan parasite infections (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). These organisms typically attack the gills first, from which they spread to the throat and mouth (oral or buccal cavity). As their numbers build up in the gills and they spread from within, invading the esophagus and oral cavity, symptoms such as rapid breathing, loss of appetite, weak snick, trigger lock, and snout rot begin to appear (Giwojna, Dec. 2003).
This is how I believe the disease progresses in such cases: the burrowing of the embedded parasites causes hyperplasia of the underlying tissue, and when sufficient numbers of them build up in the gills, we see the initial symptoms of respiratory distress, labor breathing, and huffing (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). During a heavy infestation, the parasites may attack the key muscles that expand the opercular cavity, or sheer numbers of the parasites can clog the gills to the extent that the opercular pump is impaired, resulting in weak snick due to a decrease in suction (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). In severe cases, this will eventually result in death by asphyxiation.
In less severe cases, the parasites will continue to spread from the gills into the throat, buccal cavity, and eventually the snout itself (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). When this happens, the irritation caused by the burrowing parasites and the hyperplasia of the infected tissue can cause loss of appetite or difficulty swallowing and the victim may go on a hunger strike (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). If the swelling and hyperplasia occlude the gills, throat and snout sufficiently to prevent the seahorse from generating adequate suction when attempting to feed, weak snick is the result (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). If the burrowing of the embedded parasites allows secondary fungal or bacterial infections to take hold, the seahorse can develop snout rot (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). When such secondary infection(s) affect the sternohyoideus muscle that controls the hyoid bone trigger mechanism, ailments such trigger lock, sticky trigger, or lockjaw result and again the seahorse is unable to feed (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). Weak snick can be caused in this way as well if the sternohyoideus muscle is affected to the extent that hyoid trigger still operates, but so feebly that the buccal pump can no longer generate sufficient suction to feed (Giwojna, Dec. 2003).
Another common cause of weak snick in many instances is a mechanical injury to the seahorse’s hyoid-bone "trigger" mechanism. This sometimes happens when a seahorse accidentally ingests a foreign object when feeding off the bottom. The offending particle is often a piece of gravel or crushed shell. When a hard, sizable foreign object such as this is ingested, it can lodge in the throat or snout, and the seahorse may have difficulty expelling it again. (The seahorse’s feeding mechanism is much better suited for sucking things in than spitting them out again.) When that happens, the seahorse is almost always able to clear the offending object eventually, but sometimes not before it causes considerable irritation or the repeated efforts to eject it cause a muscular strain to the hyoid trigger mechanism. The seahorse then acts as though it has a very bad sore throat. The suction it generates is weak and both the act of pulling the trigger and the act of swallowing appear to be painful. The seahorse feeds reluctantly or halfheartedly as a result, and may eventually stop feeding altogether. Such mechanical injuries can also open the door for snout rot.
Suspect a mechanical injury when the weak snick or sticky trigger is not accompanied by respiratory distress, when only one of your seahorses is affected and exhibiting unusual symptoms, or when you witnessed the seahorse struggling to expel a foreign object. In such cases, most often the problem clears up on its own after two weeks to two months as the injury heals. No treatment is necessary and the key to a successful outcome is keeping the patient eating while the healing takes place. That’s what treatment should concentrate on.
When these feeding difficulties arise, it’s a good idea to try tempting the affected seahorse with live adult brine shrimp. Seahorses suffering from weak snick induced by an injury may have better luck slurping up smaller, lighter, soft-bodied prey like brine shrimp; if so, that will be enough of to keep them going while they heal. You’ll want to enrich the brine shrimp to maximize its nutritional value, and gutloading the shrimp with an enrichment product high in HUFA such as Vibrance is a good way to fortify it beforehand. Brine shrimp are filter feeders that will ingest whatever is suspended in the water with them, so all you need to do is add a pinch or two (or drop or two) of the enrichment formula to a small container of saltwater swarming with brine shrimp at least 30 minutes before you offer the shrimp to your seahorse.
In short, Jeff, if you feel your seahorse’s weak snick is most likely the result of a mechanical injury, you need do nothing more than to keep it eating by offering it softbodied adult brine shrimp you have enriched beforehand. If the seahorse is experiencing respiratory distress or any other indications that suggest the problem could be due to protozoan parasites, there are number of treatment options you can consider.
For example, in that case, you could treat your seahorse with a 10-minute freshwater dip and/or a 30-60 minute bath in formalin. Both those procedures are very effective in eliminating ectoparasites and gilt parasites, and may provide your seahorse with immediate relief. Or you could try treating your seahorse in a hospital tank using acriflavine in conjunction with methylene blue. I will be happy to provide you with instructions for all of these treatment options in case you feel such a procedure or procedures is warranted in your case.
Best of luck resolving your seahorse’s feeding problem, Jeff! Here’s hoping he is soon slurping up frozen Mysis with his usual gusto again!
Pete GiwojnaMay 3, 2006 at 1:14 am #2490jeffgGuest
Thank you for the detailed response. It sounds like the injury is due to some mechanical problem rather than a parasite. His tank mate is showing no signs of feeding difficulties. In fact I have a hard time target feeding the injured male before the female can swoop in and snatch the shrimp. And both do not show any breathing irregularities.
It does worry me that his feeding problems have been going on for about two-three weeks now. But it sounds like there isn’t much I can do to speed that process along. I found smaller sized mysis shrimp that I’ve been feeding them both lately. The injured male can usually gets a few down, after repeated strikes. I’ll just continue with this and look out for snout rot. Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
One other thing, what is the reference on the paper you sited in your response?
-JeffMay 3, 2006 at 9:55 pm #2491Pete GiwojnaGuest
Yes, sir, I agree — judging from your assessment it certainly seems as though the problem is most likely the result of the mechanical injury. It is very difficult to project how long it may take for the injury to heal in such cases. Much depends on whether the injury involved the powerful sternohyoideus muscle that runs from the hyoid bone to the cleithrum and operates the buccal suction pump, or the hyohyoideus muscles and dilator operculi muscles which work together to operate the opercular suction pump, or both sets of muscles, and how severe the injury or strain happened to be in your case. I’ve heard recovery times ranging from a couple of weeks to over two months. Keeping the seahorse eating while it recovers is the key, and it sounds like you’re doing a great job of getting some nutrition into him.
As long as none of the seahorses are experiencing any kind of breathing difficulties or respiratory distress, there is one possible treatment you might consider to help speed the healing process, Jeff. I’ve heard a few anecdotal reports from hobbyists that maintain they have cured seahorses with weak snick or "sticky trigger/trigger lock" using Melafix (i.e., Melaleuca tree oil). It’s a risky treatment for seahorses due to the potential risk of asphyxiation, but it may have some limited application for feeding disorders that affect the seahorse’s suctorial feeding mechanism.
My main concern with Maleluca tree oil, the active ingredient in Melafix, is that it may impair the breathing of seahorses under certain circumstances for a couple of reasons. First of all, it seems to stimulate excess mucous production, and may cause the gills to be coated with a layer of slime. Secondly, it reportedly causes a drop in oxygen (O2) levels during treatment.
The drop in O2 levels is definitely a cause for concern, particularly if excess mucous production is impairing respiration by causing the gills to be coated in slime at the same time. If a thin film of this oil covers the surface of the aquarium, that could interfere with efficient gas exchange at the air/water interface, resulting in a drop in O2 levels and a build up of CO2.
One property of the Maleluca tree oil is that it dramatically reduces the surface tension of the water, causing protein skimmers to go nuts and overflow with copious amounts of wet foam. Skimmers usually need to be shut off during treatment as a result, so maybe that reduces the oxygenation in the aquarium further.
In short, it appears Melafix is contraindicated in cases where the affected seahorse is experiencing respiratory problems. I would say it is never advisable to use Melafix when seahorses are huffing, exhibiting labored breathing, or showing any signs of respiratory distress. And it would certainly be a sensible precaution to increase the aeration, surface agitation, and circulation when treating with this product. Consider adding an extra airstone or two to be safe.
So if you decide to try trading your seahorse tank with Melafix and you notice a change in the seahorse’s breathing — any signs of respiratory distress — I would discontinue the treatments immediately and remove the medication from the water ASAP. Start up your protein skimmer, resume filtration with fresh activated carbon, and perform a water change right away.
Melafix is a mild medication that is reef safe, and its main virtue is that it does not affect nitrifying bacteria or disrupt biological filtration, so it can be used to treat the main tank.
The reference I cited is from a Horse Forum column in FAMA magazine in which I discussed questions related to feeding disorders that impair the seahorse’s suctorial feeding mechanism:
Giwojna, Pete, and Carol Cozzi-Schmarr. Dec. 2003. "Horse Forum." Freshwater and Marine Aquarium.
Best of luck resolving your seahorse’s feeding problem, Jeff!
Pete GiwojnaOctober 4, 2006 at 12:08 am #2925sharon1231Guest
I am new this sight, but I found this when researching problems with my seahorse. I just lost one a couple of weeks ago and now one of my others is starting to have the same problem. This "weak snick" sounds just like what the other one had. Since I have another one with this, I am assuming that it is the parasite problem. I was contemplating trying the freshwater dip, but 10-minutes seems like a long time. I have put a pond fish in saltwater, but that was only for a minute. Please let me know as I would like to try and save this one before it is too late.
SharonOctober 4, 2006 at 3:42 am #2926Pete GiwojnaGuest
I’m sorry to hear about your seahorses’ feeding difficulties. If it is indeed weak snick are one of the related feeding disorders, then it sounds like you have a pretty good gauge of the situation. Such problems are usually due to either a mechanical injury or an infection affecting the seahorse’s hyoid bone trigger mechanism or the underlying musculature with which it generates the powerful suction that it uses when feeding. Such mechanical injuries can sometimes be caused by ingesting a foreign object while feeding, or the problem may be due to protozoan parasites that attack the gills and eventually affect the muscles that operate the buccal suction pump and/or the opercular suction pumps.
I suspect you may be right, Sharon — when problems such as weak snick affect more than one of the seahorses in the aquarium, it’s most often due to a problem with parasites. In that case, a freshwater dip can provide some immediate relief from the parasites, and is generally a good first aid measure. As long as you match the temperature and pH of the freshwater to that of your seahorse tank, seahorses can generally tolerate a freshwater dip of up to 10 minutes without difficulty, and it’s a good idea to to extend the dip for that long providing the seahorse is handling it well since it can take 8 minutes in the freshwater for some of the parasites to be affected. So if you can match the pH of the dipping water to the aquarium conditions, and you follow the usual precautions, 10 minutes is recommended. As always, however, Sharon, if you can’t match the pH closely or the seahorse is exhibiting more than the expected momentary distress, then you can cut the dip short.
If you are leery about the freshwater dip, then you can consider performing a formalin bath in saltwater instead. That is also a very effective technique for treating protozoan parasites or ectoparasites in general. I will provide you with instructions and precautions for safely performing a formalin bath or a freshwater dip below
In short, Sharon, if the seahorse is experiencing respiratory distress or any other indications that suggest the problem could be due to protozoan parasites, there are number of treatment options you can consider.
For example, in that case, you could treat your seahorse with a 10-minute freshwater dip and/or a 30-60 minute bath in formalin. Both those procedures are very effective in eliminating ectoparasites and gill parasites, and may provide your seahorse with immediate relief. Or you could treat the main tank with Parinox, depending on whether or not it houses any senstive invertebrates. Or you could try treating your seahorse in a hospital tank using acriflavine in conjunction with methylene blue. I will be happy to provide you with instructions for all of these treatment options in case you feel such a procedure or procedures is warranted in your case.
If you don’t have a clear idea whether her feeding difficulties are due to an injury or to an infection brought on by gill parasites, you might try administering a diagnostic freshwater dip.
A freshwater water dip is simply immersing your seahorse in pure, detoxified freshwater that’s been preadjusted to the same temp and pH as the water the seahorse is accustomed to, for a period of at least 10 minutes (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). It doesn’t harm them — seahorses typically tolerate freshwater dips exceptionally well and a 10-minute dip should be perfectly safe. Freshwater dips are effective because marine fish tolerate the immersion in freshwater far better than the external parasites they play host to; the change in osmotic pressure kills or incapacitates such microorganisms within 7-8 minutes (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). A minimum dip, if the fish seems to be doing fine, is therefore 8 minutes. Include some sort of hitching post in the dipping container and shoot for the full 10 minutes with your seahorses (Giwojna, Dec. 2003).
If you will be using tap water for the freshwater dip, be sure to dechlorinate it beforehand. This can be accomplished usually one of the commercial dechlorinators, which typically include sodium thiosulfate and perhaps a chloramine remover as well, or by aerating the tap water for at least 24 hours to dissipate the chlorine (Giwojna, Dec. 2003).
If you dechlorinate the dip water with a sodium thiosulfate product, be sure to use an airstone to aerate it for at least one hour before administering the dip. This is because the sodium thiosulfate depletes the water of oxygen and the dip water must therefore be oxygenated before its suitable for your seahorse(s). Regardless of how you detoxify the freshwater for the dip, it’s important to aerate the water in the dipping container well beforehand to increase the level of dissolved oxygen in the water. Many hobbyists leave the airstone in the dipping container throughout the procedure.
Adjusting the pH of the water in the dipping container so that it matches the pH of the water in the aquarium is a crucial step. If there is too much of a difference in the pH, there is a possibility the seahorse could go into shock during the dipping procedure. Preadjusting the pH will prevent that from happening. If you will are unsure about your ability to accurately adjust the pH in the dipping container, avoid this procedure altogether or be prepared to monitor the seahorse very carefully and shorten the duration of the tip to no more than about 4 minutes.
Observe the horse closely during the dip. You may see some immediate signs of distress or shock. Sometimes the horse will immediately lie on its side on the bottom. That’s a fairly common reaction — normal and to be expected, rather than a cause for concern, so don’t be alarmed if this happens. Just nudge or tap the seahorse gently with your finger if it lies down on its side. Normally, the seahorse will respond to the slight nudge by righting itself again and calm down for the duration of the dip. However, if it does not respond, stop the treatment.
Most seahorses tolerate the treatment well and experience no problems, but if you see continued signs of distress — twitching, thrashing around etc. — stop the treatment.
After you have completed the dip and returned the seahorses to the aquarium, save the dip water and examined it closely for any sign of parasites. The change in osmotic pressure from saltwater to freshwater will cause ectoparasites to lyse (i.e., swell and burst) or drop off their host after 7-10 minutes, and they will be left behind in the dipping water. Protozoan parasites are microscopic and won’t be visible to the naked eye, but some of the other ectoparasites can be clearly seen. For example, monogenetic trematodes will appear as opaque sesame seeds drifting in the water (Giwojna, Aug. 2003) and nematodes may be visible as tiny hairlike worms 1/16-3/16 of an inch long. Other parasites may appear as tiny dots in the water. Freshwater dips can thus often provide affected seahorses with some immediate relief by ridding them of these irritating pests and can also aid their breathing by flushing out gill parasites.
Here are the instructions for administering a formalin bath in case you would be more comfortable with this form of treatment for protozoan parasites rather than a freshwater bath, Sharon:
Formalin is basically a 37% solution of formaldehyde and water. It is a potent external fungicide, external protozoacide, and antiparasitic, and seahorse keepers commonly use formalin to cleanse new arrivals of ectoparasites during quarantine. Formalin (HCHO) is thus an effective medication for eradicating external parasites, treating fungal lesions, and reducing the swelling from such infections. It is a wonder drug for treating cases of Popeye caused by trematodes, and also eradicates nematodes as well as bacteria.
Many commercial formalin products are readily available to hobbyists, such as Kordon’s Formalin 3, Formalin-F sold by Natchez Animal Supply, and Paracide-F, sold by Argent Chemical Laboratories. (Or whatever brand of formalin is available at your fish store should work fine, Sharon.)
A formalin bath simply involves immersing the seahorse in a container of saltwater which contains the proper dosage of formalin for a period of 30-60 minutes before transferring it to your hospital tank. Include a hitching post of some sort in the container and follow these instructions: place the fish in a three-gallon bucket or a similar clean, inert container containing precisely one gallon of siphoned, aerated tank water. Medicate the bucket of water with with the appropriate amount of formalin for a concentrated bath according to the directions on the label. Place an airstone in the bucket and leave the fish in the bath for 30 minutes. If at any time the fish becomes listless, exhausted or loses its balance, immediately place the fish in clean, untreated water in your hospital tank.
I want you to be aware of these precautions when administering the formalin bath:
Formalin has limited shelf life and degrades to the highly toxic substance paraformaldehyde (identified as a white precipitate on the bottom of the solution); avoid using any formalin product which has such a precipitate at the bottom of the bottle.
Formalin basically consumes oxygen so vigorous aeration must be provided during treatment.
Time the bath closely and never exceed one hour of chemical exposure at this concentration.
Observe the seahorse closely during the bath at all times, and it show signs of distress before the allotted time has elapsed, remove it from the treatment immediately.
If you can obtain Formalin 3 from Kordon at your LFS, Sharon, these of the instructions you should follow for your formalin dip:
METHOD 2 (DIP) FOR THE PREVENTION OR TREATMENT OF FISH DISEASES
(a) To a clean, non-metallic container (i.e., a plastic bucket), add one or more gallons of fresh tap water treated with Kordon’s AmQuel . For marine fish use freshly prepared saltwater adjusted to the same specific gravity (or salinity) as in the original tank. Make sure the temperature in the container is identical to that in the aquarium
(b) Add 1 teaspoons of Formalin·3. This produces a concentration of 100 ppm. formaldehyde.
(c) Agitate the solution with an airstone and adjust for a moderately strong flow of air.
(d) Remove the fishes to be treated and deposit them in the container for a treatment period of not more than 50 minutes. Immediately after the treatment period, or if signs of distress are noted, remove the fishes to a previously prepared recovery tank. The fishes may be returned to their original tank, but the presence of the original disease-causing agents in the tank water may result in a reoccurrence of the disease condition.
(e) Observe recovering fishes. Make sure that tankmates do not molest them during recovery.
(f) Repeat treatment as needed, every week. Each treatment is very stressful to the treated fishes. Do not reuse the dip solution.
For additional information on treating fishes with Formalin 3 by Kordon, she the following web page:
Click here: KPD-54 Formalin-3
If you get another brand of formalin, just follow the instructions that it comes with for a concentrated bath or dip (not prolonged immersion or a long-term bath).
Be sure to observe the following precautions when handling your seahorses for the freshwater dip or formalin bath, Sharon.
I do not like to use an aquarium net to transfer or manipulate seahorses, since their delicate fins and snouts can become entangled in the netting all too easily. I much prefer to transfer the seahorses by hand. Simply wet your hand and fingers (to avoid removing any of the seahorse’s protective slime coat) and scoop the seahorses in your hand. Allow them to curl their tail around your fingers and carefully cup their bodies in your hand to support them while you lift them out of the water. When you gently immerse your hand in the destination tank, the seahorse will release its grip and swim away as though nothing out of the ordinary has happened.
Composed of solid muscle and endowed with extraordinary skeletal support, the prehensile tail is amazingly strong. Indeed, large specimens have a grip like an anaconda, and when a 12-inch ingens or abdominalis wraps its tail around your hand and tightens its hold, its vise-like grip is powerful enough to leave you counting your fingers afterwards!
In fact, it can be quite difficult to remove an attached seahorse from its holdfast without injuring it in the process. Never attempt to forcibly detach a seahorse from its hitching post! When it feels threatened, it’s instinct is to clamp down and hold on all the tighter. When you must dislodge a seahorse from its resting place for any reason, it’s best to use the tickle technique instead. Gently tickling the underside of the tail where it’s wrapped around the object will usually induce the seahorse to release its grip (Abbott, 2003). They don’t seem to like that at all, and will quickly let go to move away to another spot. Once they are swimming, they are easy to handle.
In summation, Sharon, if your seahorse’s snout problem is due to protozoan parasites, either a freshwater dipped or a formalin bath can provide them with some quick relief.
However, if the main tank is heavily infested with parasites, there is an excellent chance that the seahorses could be reinfested once they are returned to the aquarium after the dip/bath. If the dip provide your seahorse with some relief, or there are indications of ectoparasites left behind in the dipping container (gill flukes are easily visible to the naked eye, but protozoan parasites are microscopic), then it would be a good idea to treat the seahorse tank for parasites as well. This can be accomplished either by hyposalinity (osmotic shock therapy) or with a good antiparasitics such as Parinox that won’t affect your biological filtration (providing there are no sensitive invertebrates that would be adversely affected by the Parinox). If we can confirm that parasites are at fault, I would be happy to discuss such methods for treating the main tank with you, Sharon.
Best of luck resolving your seahorse’s snout problem and feeding difficulties, Sharon!
Pete GiwojnaOctober 5, 2006 at 12:25 am #2927sharon1231Guest
Thank you so much for the very detailed information. It was a great help in making me feel better. I braved up tonight and have him a freshwater bath for the full 10 minutes. I think my heart was pouniding harder than his. A little while after I put him back, I put in food and he was interested and ate some. He still seems weak, but I am encouraged that he wanted to eat and could get some. I may still have to do the fourmalin dip, but I will see how he does tomorrow. I couldn’t really tell about parasites in the water since some stuff got in when I put in the heater to warm it up and put in the hitching post.
Thanks again a million times. I’ll keep you posted.
SharonOctober 12, 2006 at 2:35 am #2930sharon1231Guest
I am back for more advice. As I mentioned earlier, I did the freshwater bath and he seemed some better and could eat more, but was still not up to par. Last night I did the formalin bath. I am not sure if I made it strong enough. I used the Formalin 3 and used about a teaspoon per gallon. The bottle said two teaspoons per gallon but you mentioned less and I didn’t want to get too much. The guy at the LFS store said not to use too much to. I left him in for 35-40 minutes. He seemed a little lathargic, so I took him out then. He did not appear any better after this. He is still eating some, but he is struggling with it. The other seahorse in the tank seems to be eathing normal, but seems a little less enthusiastic. I really thought the dip would at least initially perk him up, but it didn’t. Should I try treating the tank? I put him back in his regular tank because I really don’t have a hospital tank set up and I don’t know if I can set one up quickly. Don’t want to use water from the old tank if there are parasites. Also, I think it would be very stressful for each seahorse to be alone in a tank. The health one was swimming back and forth when her tank mate was gone.
I do have one sexy shrimp in the tank that I can move. The only other things I have are snails and crabs. I do have some neat starfish in the rocks though (they have very thin string like legs). I also have many bristle worms that I have been fighting for a while. I could move the rocks if necessary to another tank that I have some of the rocks in trying to get rid of worms and put the other rocks that are now rid of bristle worms back in.
Sorry to be long winded, but I want to get all the details in and I really want to get him well!
SharonOctober 12, 2006 at 3:18 pm #2931Pete GiwojnaGuest
Okay, if you suspect that you are dealing with a parasite problem, which seems like a reasonable assumption under the circumstances, then treating the whole aquarium to eradicate the parasites would indeed be advisable to prevent reinfection.
Don’t worry about the length of your post at all, Sharon. A detailed message describing your cleanup crew and tankmates is very helpful, and the additional information is very useful in determining which method of treatment might work best for you.
It sounds like treating the tank with Parinox is probably not feasible in your case, Sharon. It would be hard on the invertebrates in the tank, including the crustaceans (shrimp and crabs), snails, and those neat little brittle starfish you like so much. It might also kill off all of the bristleworms en masse which could result in a dangerous ammonia spikes.
A safer way to eradicate ectoparasites other than Uronema is by treating the tank with hyposalinity or Osmotic Shock Therapy (OST). Basically, all this treatment involves is reducing the salinity or specific gravity of your aquarium to a level most ectoparasites cannot survive but which will not be harmful to your seahorses or their tankmates.
Hyposalinity essentially acts as a continuous freshwater dip, and provides all the same benefits, and since you’re stallion seemed to respond favorably to the freshwater dip, I am thinking that this method of treatment may be your best option for treating him. It allows him to be treated in the main tank along with all of his tankmates, where he is the most comfortable and secure, so you don’t have to worry about separating him from his mate or the rest of the herd, or worry about setting up a hospital tank.
If you think you may want to consider treating your main tank with hyposalinity or OST, Sharon, here is the URL for a detailed discussion that explains all about this method of treatment and how to administer hyposalinity safely. Just copy the URL in the angle brackets below and paste it in your web browser, and it will take you to the discussion that has all the information about this method of treatment:
Click here: Seahorse.com – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:NEED DESPARATE HELP
That earlier discussion should provide you with all the details you need to know about OST, Sharon. Just be sure to observe all of the precautions outlined in that discussion and choose the salinity that’s appropriate for the specimens in your tank and your method for measuring the specific gravity of your aquarium.
Best of luck treating your stallion, Sharon!
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