Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › juvenile seahorse stopped eating
- This topic has 3 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 6 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
November 3, 2014 at 3:14 am #2068snevolaMember
One of my juvenile seahorses has stopped eating. He/She is 10 weeks old and was eating frozen Hikari mysis. It hasn’t eaten for the last 3 days. In looking closely at his tiny body today, I see what looks like a tiny glass ball on his back by his fin. It looks like an air bubble is stuck to his body, but it’s not an air bubble. It doesn’t look like anything under his skin, it is definitely on top of it. I don’t know if this is anything, but thought I’d mention it. Also, I have been having some issues with ammonia where I need to add Amguard every day to keep it under control and will continue to do so until my biological filtration kicks in. All other parameters are good. Any thoughts on why he stopped eating? It is going to break my heart to lose a baby I’ve nurtured for 10 weeks!
SherryNovember 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm #5741Pete GiwojnaGuest
I suspect that your 10-week juvenile seahorse is not eating because he is not feeling well. It sounds like he has developed a case of subcutaneous emphysema, which is a form of gas bubble syndrome (GBS) that manifests itself as air bubbles that form just beneath the skin. In the initial stages, the subcutaneous emphysema appear like upraised blisters, but in the advanced stages, they appear just as you describe – as discrete air bubbles that seem to be sitting atop the skin, but which are actually attached.
Either the rearing tank is experiencing a problem with low-level gas supersaturation, or the water quality issues you have been having have triggered the formation of these gas emboli, Sherry.
For now, if you’re using a protein skimmer on the rearing tank, I would recommend disabling it (protein skimmers can sometimes contribute to problems with GBS through a couple of different mechanisms).
I would also suggest obtaining some Stability by SeaChem and adding daily doses of the stability to the rearing tank until the problem with ammonia/nitrite spikes has been resolved. The beneficial nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria in the Stability will consume any excess ammonia or nitrite and quickly (within 24 hours) restore the biological filtration in the rearing tank so that can handle the current bioload with no problem. You must discontinue the Amquel before you dose the rearing tank with the SeaChem Stability, however, Sherry, since the beneficial bacteria in the Stability need to utilize the free ammonia in order to proliferate and quickly establish a big enough population to do the job.
Finally, if you can obtain acetazolamide (brand name Diamox) from your family veterinarian, you should treat the nursery tank with the Diamox as soon as possible for at least five days…
Let me know if you are able to obtain the Diamox and I will refresh your memory on the correct dosage to use for cases of subcutaneous emphysema.
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech SupportNovember 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm #5742snevolaGuest
I have been dosing the tank with Stability, but didn’t know that I needed to discontinue the AmGuard so I guess I will do another full treatment. After the full 7 days, should I still add it periodically for maintenance?
It is definitely not a low-level gas issue. I have a sponge filter, two hang on filters (one for filtration and one with just biological media in it. I took some well established biological media out of the filter from my main tank and put it in there) and a bubble bar in the tank. Is it possible he was feeling ill from the ammonia exposure? He ate for the first time last night in 3 days. I think the air bubble may have been just that, an air bubble that was stuck to him. I brushed him with a Qtip and they are gone, thank goodness!
SherryNovember 6, 2014 at 12:42 am #5743Pete GiwojnaGuest
Oh, that’s good news! If you were able to simply brush the air bubble(s) away, then you’re right – they were air bubbles from the water column adhering to the body of the seahorse rather than the subcutaneous emphysema associated with Gas Bubble Syndrome (GBS).
(That’s pretty unusual, since, unlike subcutaneous emphysema, the real air bubbles do not normally persist over a period of hours or days before they burst or float up to the surface of the tank,)
Yeah, the SeaChem Stability is a great product for any tank that is having cycling issues or problems with stubborn ammonia or nitrite spikes, Sherry. But the beneficial bacteria do require free ammonia to feed on in order to start the nitrogen cycle, so treating the tank with Amquel can be somewhat counterproductive and many such situations. Ammonia-sequestering products such as Amquel can sometimes also confuse the issue by leading to false positives, since some test kits cannot distinguish between bound ammonia and free ammonia or free ammonium…
When cycling a new tank with the Stability, it is customary to dose the tank for seven consecutive days using the Stability, and you should provide some sort of ammonia source during this period to feed the beneficial bacteria and allow them to build up an enormous population in the biological filtration media.
I also like to add a monthly booster of Stability by SeaChem to all my tanks, Sherry. For best results, I also add a dose following every partial water change in a normal marine aquarium, as well as whenever I add any new specimens to the tank.
Under the circumstances, I would just continue to work on the water quality in your rearing tank and hopefully your juvenile’s appetite will return to normal again.
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support
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