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May 18, 2009 at 7:11 pm #1686devine110Member
Help my male h.reidi has a swollen anus and it is also a bit red. It looks like a bubble under his pouch 🙁 what should I do?… he is eating and acting normally however his bright yellow colouring has dulled down dramatically!!! All parameters are fine, although nitrate is slightly high at 20ppm.May 19, 2009 at 3:00 am #4816Pete GiwojnaGuest
In male seahorses, the anus is located immediately above the anal fin, which is in turn situated right above the mouth of the brood pouch. So I am a little bit confused about what you are describing when you say that the anus of your Hippocampus reidi stallion appears swollen and "looks like a bubble under his pouch." Can you describe the problem in a little more detail and clarify exactly where the swelling on your seahorse is located?
If there is a bubble-like protrusion at the mouth of the brood pouch below the anal fin, that could indicate a prolapsed pouch, which is typically not a serious problem and will often clear up on its own. But if a blisterlike bubble has formed at the base of the tail beneath the male’s pouch, that could indicate a problem with subcutaneous emphysema, also known as tail bubbles or external gas bubble disease.
On the other hand, if there is swelling immediately above the anal fin at the top of the pouch, where the anus is situated, then it’s possible that your stallion may be constipated. Is he still producing fecal pellets as usual, Devine? If he is eating well but not producing any fecal pellets, then I would treat your seahorse for constipation, as discussed below:
swelling of the abdomen in a seahorse that is eating well but no longer eliminating fecal pellets is an indication of constipation. Constipation is more common
in fishes with laterally compressed bodies such as seahorses and can be
caused by overfeeding, a change in diet, certain medications, stress,
and rarely an intestinal blockage.
The following cures for constipated fish are often suggested, but I
have no idea if they would be effective for seahorses:
(1) Fast the fish for two days.
(2) After fasting, feed the affected fish with live foods such as brine
shrimp rather than frozen foods.
(3) Soak the fish’s food in cod liver oil or place two drops of cod
liver oil directly in the fishes mouth so that it is swallowed.
(4) induce the fish to eat a single grain of Epsom salt.
Here’s what I would suggest, Devine, if you believe your reidi stallion could be constipated:
Stop feeding the seahorse immediately. Fast him for two days and
observe him closely to see if the constipation is relieved and he
produces any fecal pellets.
While he is fasting, obtain some live adult brine shrimp and cod liver
oil. If he is not producing normal fecal pellets after two days of
fasting, soak the live adult brine shrimp in water that you’ve added a small amount of
cod liver oil to for one hour, and then feed the brine shrimp that have
soaked in (and hopefully ingested) the cod liver oil immediately to
your seahorse, being careful not to overfeed. Feed him a strict diet
of cod-liver-oil-soaked brine shrimp sparingly for a couple of days and
see if that relieves his constipation.
If that doesn’t relieve the abdominal swelling and induce him to start
eliminating fecal pellets again, you could try tube feeding him with
two drops of the cod liver oil, injecting it directly into his
esophagus so it’s sure to reach his gastrointestinal tract.
On the other hand, Devine, if there is a bubblelike protrusion from the mouth of the seahorse’s pouch, then I would recommend treating him for a prolapsed pouch, as explained below:
A prolapse or a partial prolapse of the pouch occurs when part of the lining of the marsupium becomes everted and protrudes through the mouth of the pouch. Prolapses can occur during or shortly after parturition as a result of the birth spasms during a strenuous delivery, or when courting males are performing their vigorous pouch displays and pumping water in and out of the pouch, or as a complication of recurring pouch emphysema. .
Treatment involves anesthetizing the seahorse, reinserted the prolapsed tissue with a blunt probe, and follow-up treatment with antibiotics as a precaution against secondary infections. You will also want to keep the male away from female’s while he’s healing so he won’t be tempted to inflate his brood pouch for those strenuous courtship displays. The stallions usually recover nicely following this simple procedure.
Here is an email from Tracy Warland describing how she treats her Pot bellies when a prolapse occurs:
Sounds similar to some horses we have, I’m assuming he has been displaying and some of the lining of the broodpouch has popped out. Last week I had four little pot bellies with a similar problem. All are fit and well, eating and today I saw one display, no problems.
Treatment was a little tricky – anesthesia, I use Benzocaine 1ml per litre of sea water (in a separate bucket obviously – and glove up as this is likely to soak through to your skin) a soluble aesthetic you could use clove oil and get similar results. You will need to work quickly once horse is under, take about 1 minute at most, work with horse under the water, with a blunt probe (sterilized of course) push distended pouch lining back into pouch opening and then massage pouch in downwards direction gently and hopefully it will fall back into place. An isolation recovery tank to revive him, perhaps with some soluble oxytetracycline or similar broad spectrum antibiotic, he should awake within a minute or so and be ready to eat almost immediately. Keep isolated if possible for a few days, changing water and perhaps adding some stress coat or similar product, keep away from females for about a week or so, just in case he gets the urge to display and ruin your handiwork.
I would suggest isolating your male from the females in a hospital tank, Devine, to see if the prolapsed tissue will revert to normal once he is no longer pumping up his pouch. If the prolapsed doesn’t resolve itself, you can then manually reinsert the prolapsed tissue just as Tracey described. There is an excellent description of how to sedate a seahorse with clove oil and tube feed it at the following URL, including photographs of the entire procedure, so you may want to refer to that as well before you attempt to repair the prolapse, Devine:
Of course, you won’t be tube feeding your seahorse, but the procedure for sedating the seahorse using clove oil is exactly the same whether you’ll be tube feeding or repairing a prolapse.
The antibiotics I would recommend following the procedure or kanamycin sulfate or neomycin sulfate. You should be able to find a suitable medication at your local fish store whose primary ingredient is kanamycin sulfate or neomycin sulfate.
Finally, if the problem you are describing is more like a blisterlike bubble at the base of the tail, below the broodpouch of your male, then the appropriate procedure is to treat him for gas bubble disease with Diamox (the tablet form of acetazolamide). Acetazolamide can also be administered orally by injecting a solution
made from Diamox (the tablet form of acetazolamide) into feeder shrimp or the tablets can be used to administer acetazolamide as a 7-10 day series of baths, as explained below:
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 of the tail bubbles within three days. Dr. Martin Belli reports they nearly 100% success rate 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. A good aminoglycoside antibiotic such as kanamycin or neomycin would work well for this.
If you prefer, you can also administer the acetazolamide orally, providing your H. reidi is still eating, which will allow you to treat the affected seahorse in the main tank amidst familiar surroundings and in the company of its tankmates where it is the most comfortable. You get the acetazolamide into the food by preparing a solution of the medication, as described below, and then injecting it into live feeder shrimp or even the large Piscine Energetics frozen Mysis relicta. The medication is deactivated fairly quickly once you prepare the solution for injecting, so you must prepare a new acetazolamide solution each day during the treatment period. Here’s how to proceed:
Administering Acetazolamide Orally
I have found that acetazolamide is often more effective when it’s ingested and administering the medication orally allows you to treat the seahorse in the main tank where he’s most comfortable and relaxed.
If you can obtain a small syringe with a fine needle, the acetazolamide solution can simply be injected into feeder shrimp or even frozen Mysis. Mic Payne (Seahorse Sanctuary) used this method of administering acetazolamide successfully when he had recurring problems with GBD due to maintaining a population of Hippocampus subelongatus in shallow tanks only 16-inches (40 cm) deep:
"Seahorses maintained in this system are susceptible to gas bubble disease. Specimens with bubbles around the eyes or under the epidermis of the tail are readily treated with acetazolamide (Diamox tablets 250 mg). Mix a very small amount of crushed tablet with water and inject it into several glass shrimp that are then frozen. These are then fed to the target animal at the rate of two per day for four days. Bubbles disappear on the second day."
Hawaiian volcano shrimp or red feeder shrimp (Halocaridina rubra) work great for this. If a fine enough needle is used, they will survive a short while after being injected — long enough for their twitching and leg movements to attract the interest of the seahorse and trigger a feeding response.
Leslie Leddo reports that a 1/2 cc insulin syringe with a 26-gauge needle was ideal for injecting frozen Mysis or live red feeder shrimp. They plump up when injected and ~1/2 cc is about the most of the solution they can hold. There bodies will actually swell slightly as they are slowly injected and excess solution may start to leak out. The 26-gauge needle is fine enough that it does not kill the feeder shrimp outright; they survive long enough for the kicking of their legs and twitching to assure that they will be eaten.
Administering the Diamox orally in this way is the least stressful way to medicate the seahorse, so you may want to consider trying that first before you resort to the Diamox baths. If you search the forum for the phrase tail bubbles, you will find a lot more information on the causes, treatment, and prevention of gas bubble syndrome.
Best of luck resolving this problem and getting your H. reidi stallion back to normal, Devine.
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