Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

kelloggi seahorses fin rot

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  • #1784
    gmhunt1
    Member

    Need help with fin rot 1st day I treated with betadine 3 times drip method
    today was the 2nd day stopped eating and just floats around some times hangs head went out could only find maracyn-oxy dorsal fin looks better
    but still will not eat what do I need to do please help!!

    #5042
    Pete Giwojna
    Guest

    Dear hobbyist:

    I am very sorry to hear about the problem that your Hippocampus kelloggi seahorse has developed. If the seahorse is just floating around now and does not hitch, it sounds like the pony is having a problem with positive buoyancy, most likely due to gas bubble disease (GBD).

    Positive buoyancy in a male seahorse is most often due to gas building up within its brood pouch, which becomes swollen and buoyant as a result, but it can also be due to an overinflated swim bladder in some cases, and the concern is that the problem will worsen until the seahorse is floating at the surface of the aquarium unable to swim or feed.

    As in many other bony fishes, the seahorse’s gas bladder functions as a swim bladder, providing the lift needed to give them neutral buoyancy. In essence, the swim bladder is a gas-filled bag used to regulate buoyancy. Because the seahorse’s armor-plated body is quite heavy, this organ is large in Hippocampus and extends well down into the body cavity along the dorsal boundary.

    When the swimbladder is inflated with just the right amount of gas, the buoyancy provided by this gasbag exactly cancels out the pull of gravity, and the seahorse will neither tend to float nor tend to sink. This condition is known as neutral buoyancy, and it makes it very easy for the seahorse to swim and maneuver almost effortlessly. But when the swimbladder is over inflated with gas, the seahorse will have positive buoyancy and must exert a lot of energy when swimming in order to counteract the tendency to float. And if the swimbladder is underinflated, the seahorse has negative buoyancy and must swim hard in order to avoid sinking.

    The first indication of a problem with positive buoyancy is a loss of equilibrium. The seahorse’s center of gravity shifts as excess gas accumulates in brood pouch or its swim bladder, and it will have increasing difficulty swimming and maintaining its normal posture, especially if it encounters any current. It will become apparent that the seahorse has to work hard to stay submerged, as it is forced to abandon its usual upright swimming posture and swim with its body tilted forward or even horizontally in order to use its dorsal fin to counteract the tendency to rise.

    There is an easy way to determine whether positive buoyancy in a male seahorse is due to gas accumulating in its brood pouch or is the result of an overinflated swim bladder. If the stallion’s brood pouch, located at the base of its tail right where its abdomen and tail merge, is bloated or enlarged, then you can be sure that the problem is due to a buildup of gas in the seahorse’s pouch (or marsupium, as it is also known). If the male’s pouch does not appear to be swollen or inflated, yet it is floating nonetheless, then the positive buoyancy is almost certainly do to a hyperinflated swimbladder, or gas bladder, as it is also known. And if the floating seahorses a female, the problem is again most likely due to an overinflated gas bladder.

    If the male’s pouch is swollen and bloated, then you must release the gas that has accumulated within the pouch in order to correct the problem. There are a number of different ways to evacuate the gas from the pouch, and if you search this forum for "pouch emphysema" or "floating seahorse," you’ll find detailed discussion explaining the different ways to release the trapped gas and provide your pony with some quick relief.

    I would also recommend that you try to obtain some of the acetazolamide (brand name Diamox) at this time. As you know, when pouch emphysema or other forms of GBD become a chronic problem, treatment with the Diamox is the best way to cure the condition once and for all.

    Unfortunately, obtaining Diamox (the tablet form of acetazolamide) can often be a Catch-22 situation for hobbyists. It is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor — a prescription drug often used for treating glaucoma, hydrocephaly, epilepsy, congestive heart failure, and altitude sickness in humans, so you have to get it from your Vet or perhaps your family doctor. Unfortunately, Veterinarians are often unfamiliar with Diamox — it’s very much a people med and unless you find a Vet that works with fish regularly, he or she will probably never have heard of gas bubble disease or treating it with carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. Many pet owners are on very good terms with their Vets, who are accustomed to prescribing medications for animals, so it’s often best to approach your Vet first about obtaining Diamox despite the fact they may never have heard of it until you brought it to their attention. Your family doctor, of course, will be familiar with such medications and have Diamox on hand but it can sometimes be difficult to get your MD to jump that final hurdle and prescribe it for a pet. Either way, it can be tough to get the medication you need under these circumstances.

    However, I would exhaust those possibilities first before I considered an online source for the Diamox. Print out some of the detailed information that’s been posted regarding pouch emphysema and gas bubble syndrome (GBS) on the Seahorse Life and Care discussion forum at seahorse.com, and how it’s treated using Diamox, and present that to your family veterinarian and/or your family practitioner. Bring photographs of your floating seahorse and be prepared to bring the pony in for a visit, if necessary. (Veterinarians are prohibited by law from prescribing medications to treat an animal they have not personally seen and examined. If you have had a close personal relationship with your vet over a period of years, they are often willing to bend that rule in the case of fish, but you may well have to bring your stallion in for a quick checkup to get the desired results.)

    If not — if neither your Vet or family physician will prescribe Diamox — then there are places you can order Diamox online without a prescription, but save that for a last resort. (You can’t always be certain of the quality of the medications you receive from such sources; in some cases, you even need to be concerned about counterfeit drugs, although Diamox certainly shouldn’t fall into that category.) The medications will take a week or two to arrive, which is troublesome when your seahorse is ailing and needs help ASAP. And, as you know, customs officials can confiscate such shipments, although that very rarely happens with this particular medication.

    If you ultimately need to go that route, the following source is the one most seahorse keepers have found works best:

    Click here: Inhouse Drugstore Diamox – online information
    http://www.inhousedrugstore.com/neurological/diamox.html

    They offer 100 tablets of Diamox (250 mg) for around $20 US, but they ship from Canada by mail, which usually takes a little under two weeks for delivery. That’s why it’s best to plan ahead and line up the medication now, before it’s actually needed.

    If you can obtain it, the acetazolmide/Diamox is best administered as a series of baths (prolonged immersion) in your hospital tank, when the seahorse is no longer eating and the medication cannot be administered orally via gutloaded feeder shrimp.

    Acetazolamide Baths (prolonged immersion)

    The recommended dosage is 250 mg of acetazolamide per 10 gallons with a 100% water change daily, after which the treatment tank is retreated with the sole light at the dosage indicated above (Dr. Martin Belli, pers. com.). Continue these daily treatments and water changes for up to 7-10 days for best results (Dr. Martin Belli, pers. com.).

    The acetazolamide baths should be administered in a hospital ward or quarantine tank. Acetazolamide does not appear to adversely affect biofiltration or invertebrates, but it should not be used in the main tank because it could be harmful to inhibit the enzymatic activity of healthy seahorses.

    Using the tablet form of acetazolamide (250 mg), crush the required amount to a very fine powder and dissolve it thoroughly in a cup or two of saltwater. There will usually be a slight residue that will not dissolve in saltwater at the normal alkaline pH (8.0-8.4) of seawater (Warland, 2002). That’s perfectly normal. Just add the solution to your hospital tank, minus the residue, of course, at the recommended dosage:

    Place the affected seahorse in the treatment tank as soon as first dose of medication has been added. After 24 hours, perform a 100% water change in the hospital tank using premixed water that you’ve carefully aerated and adjusted to be same temperature, pH and salinity. Add a second dose of newly mixed acetazolamide at the same dosage and reintroduce the ailing seahorse to the treatment tank. After a further 24 hours, do another 100% water change and repeat the entire procedure until a total of up to 7-10 treatments have been given. About 24 hours after the final dose of acetazolamide has been added to the newly changed saltwater, the medication will have lost its effectiveness and the patient can be returned directly to the main seahorse tank to speed its recovery along.

    One of the side affects of acetazolamide baths is loss of appetite. Try to keep the affected seahorse eating by plying it with its favorite live foods during and after treatment, until it has fully recovered.

    The seahorse usually show improvement within three days. Dr. Martin Belli reports they nearly 100% success rate for subcutaneous emphysema when this treatment regimen is followed for 7-10 days, and most cases clear up in less than a week. For best results, the Diamox should be used in conjunction with a good broad-spectrum antibiotic to help prevent secondary infections, and the antibiotics will also help to clear up the problem with fin rot that you mentioned.

    Kanamycin or neomycin are good broad-spectrum antibiotics to consider, but either TMP-sulfa or 4 Sulfa TMP would also be a very good choice for treating fin rot:

    Trimethoprim and Sulfathiazole Sodium (TMP-Sulfa)

    A potent combination of medications that’s effective in treating both gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial infections. It exerts its anti-microbial effect by blocking two consecutive steps in the biosynthesis of nucleic acids and proteins essential to many bacteria, making it very difficult for bacteria to develop resistance to the medications. TMP-Sulfa may be combined with other sulfa compounds to further increase its efficacy and decrease the chance of resistant strains developing. TMP-Sulfa will knock your biofilter for a loop, so be sure to use it in the hospital tank only.

    These forms of sulfa can be obtained via National Fish Pharmaceuticals at <http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/&gt;.

    I would recommend treating your seahorse in a hospital tank using Diamox along with a regimen of one of the antibiotics recommended. If you don’t have a hospital tank, I would administer the treatments in a clean five-gallon plastic bucket with an airstone and a hitching post. And I would recommend gradually dropping the water temperature in the treatment tank by about 2°F daily for best results. Your Hippocampus kelloggi seahorse will be more comfortable if you can reduce the water temperature to 68°F, which will also reduce the virulence and spread of the fin infection.

    However, I must advise you that the prognosis for a Hippocampus kelloggi seahorse that has developed fin rot in conjunction with positive buoyancy and that has stopped eating is very poor. The H. kelloggi seahorses in general appear to be very disease prone and to have very little resilience when they develop a health problem.

    Unfortunately, the Hippocampus kelloggi that are available nowadays have proven to be very problematic. For the past two years, I have been getting numerous e-mails from H. kelloggi owners urgently requesting help with treating various health problems, so it doesn’t appear to be a particularly hardy strain of seahorses at this stage in its development. I believe part of the problem is simply that H. kelloggi have not been cultured or selectively bred for aquarium life as other species that have been around much longer, and as a result, the kelloggi are just not as well adapted to aquarium conditions as of yet.

    Many people suspect that the H. kelloggi are merely pen raised, and have therefore not benefited from the sort of intensive aquaculture and selective breeding that produces superior captive-bred livestock here in the US. Net pens are a low-tech, low-maintenance method of farming seahorses that basically involves raising them in large enclosures in coastal waters. It is a common practice in Indonesia, many Asian countries, and the Philippines. In some cases, entire lagoons may be fenced off for that purpose. In the simplest form of pen rearing, broodstock are released into these enclosures, and then they and their progeny are pretty much allowed to fend for themselves thereafter. Any offspring that survive to marketable size are periodically harvested from the holding pens or lagoons.

    The benefit of this technique is that it allows seahorses to be raised cheaply, and therefore produces specimens for the aquarium trade that are relatively inexpensive. (It is the low-cost of the H. kelloggi that attracts most hobbyists.) The downside is that pen raising does not strengthen and improve the seahorses generation after generation, making them ever better adapted for aquarium conditions, as does Western-style aquaculture. So the pen raised ponies are not generally as hardy and adaptable as captive-bred-and-raised seahorses.

    Such operations (net pens) are controversial with environmentalists for a number of reasons. Since the enclosures are open to the ocean, there is a real risk that adults or their fry may escape from the pens and establish colonies in the wild that may pose a threat to endemic seahorse populations. The pens are no barrier to disease organisms or parasites, so pathogens and parasites imported on foreign broodstock may spread to fishes in the wild (or vice versa). Wastes from the high density of penned animals are carried directly to ocean on prevailing tides and currents and may have a negative environmental impact on the surrounding area. There is no way to monitor the penned animals, hence no way to determine whether the seahorses they contain are actually born and raised in the enclosures or are merely wild-caught seahorses maintained in holding pens prior to being shipped off to unsuspecting consumers.

    Pen-grown ponies can thus be risky for the hobbyist because of the circumstances under which they were raised. In essence, a mesh barrier is all that separates them from wild seahorses. There is no guarantee they will be disease free. Although many of them learn to accept frozen Mysis, there is no guarantee they will eat frozen foods since they are often accustomed to foraging for live prey. There is no guarantee they will be able to adjust to aquarium conditions since they are essentially raised in the sea. There is no guarantee that they are even captive bred, since the pens are not secure and livestock is introduced and removed from the pens and lagoons on a continuous basis. There is no guarantee they will be friendly and sociable rather than shying away from their keepers, since they are unaccustomed to the human presence. Pen-raised ponies are particularly misleading because they are almost never advertised as such — they are typically called captive raised or even captive bred seahorses, which can lead the unwary consumer to assume that they have been painstakingly raised using intensive mariculture techniques and rearing protocols. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    In light of the health problems so many home hobbyists have been having with their H. kelloggi for some time now, I have been discussing the needs and requirements of this species with advanced aquarists and experts that have worked with H. kelloggi in the past. The consensus seems to be that the current crop of H. kelloggi are being shipped out to hobbyists while they are still too young (the two-inch long juveniles are no more than 3-4 months old) and that they are not well adapted to aquarium conditions because they are likely being pen raised. The tiny H. kelloggi juveniles would fare better if they allowed them to grow up for a few more months and shipped them at the age of around six months.

    However, the primary problem folks have been having with their H. kelloggi may be due to their temperature requirements. The people I conferred with maintained that H. kelloggi is a deepwater seahorse and is therefore adapted for lower light levels than most seahorses and also requires cool water temperatures (Lisa Coit et al., pers. com.). They feel that this species should be maintained in temperate tanks rather than tropical aquaria, and that H. kelloggi will only thrive if they are maintained at a water temperature of 68°F or less (Lisa Coit et al., pers. com.). They report that if the H. kelloggi are maintained at standard aquarium temperatures for a tropical marine aquarium (i.e., 75°F-78°F) they will be plagued by various bacterial infections and suffer as a result. I suspect that is the case with your H. kelloggi seahorse that has developed fin rot and gas bubble disease…

    So there are several problems with the H. kelloggi. They are likely being pen raised in Asia, they are being shipped to the consumer while they are way too young and small to thrive, and they are being kept in tropical aquariums rather than the cool water or temperate tanks that they need. This combination of unfavorable circumstances is quite deadly and is dooming most all of the H. kelloggi that come into this country to an early demise. Heat stress is making the H. kelloggi susceptible to a variety of health problems, but especially bacterial infections, most often Vibrio in one form or another.

    Best of luck obtaining the medications you need to treat the problems your pony has developed. Hopefully he will prove to be an exception and respond well to the appropriate treatments, recovering none the worse for wear…

    Respectfully,
    Pete Giwojna

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