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New Seahorse "sick"

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  • #706
    SEAGAZER
    Member

    Good day all,

    I am extremely concerned about 1 of my sunfires that arrived yesterday.

    He has a patch of white stuff growing on the top of his head. He is trying to itch his tail on the live rock, and his tail seems to be sliming. All three other horses seem fine. I need some help, this little guy is miserable. Can someone help me quickly please?

    I\’ll be watching the website.

    Thanks!
    Nick

    ps, should I try to remove this growth with my fingers?:ohmy:

    #2193
    ecogirl22
    Guest

    are you sure its not just natural coloration? What about heaters? they can burn and cause white scars which then the skin flakes away and look like "growths" it is fuzzy, flacky? How are your water parameters? I know ammonia can cause them to itch, and if they’ve had a long trip, he might be itcing from ammonia irritation from the bag….Just my thoughts, but I’m a beginner too, so definately wait for the experts…

    #2194
    SEAGAZER
    Guest

    Hi,

    My water parimeters are perfect. It’ is a little fuzzy looking. I’ve been reading thru some of the other postings, and it is beginning to sound like "ich". I don’t understand why it is just showing it’s ugly face though. I do have a canary goby, 2 pipefish, and a courtgester goby. No one has been bothered by ich for at least 2-3 months. It doesn’t seem to be effecting the other 3 horses. But boy he is def miserable. I feel sooo bad! I’m going to try to get out of the house, and go buy some "kick ich". Thanks for the input. I’m going to keep an eye on this all day for more feedback. I just can’t stand walking by him and not doing anything.

    Have a great day

    #2195
    Leslie
    Guest

    Hi Sseagazer,

    Sorry to hear about your new Sunfire.

    Did you notice anything on his head yesterday?

    It does not sound like ich. Ich manifests quite differently in seahorses and is not fuzzy. There is something else going on. It could be a bacterial or fungal infection or a combo of both. Please sit tight and I am sure Pete will respond soon. Don’t waste your time or money on kick ick as it will not help this and it will just complicate matters as other medications are indicated.

    In the mean time please provide the following information…..

    Current water parameters in numeric values not descriptions like fine or OK including temp, specific gravity, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrites and pH

    Tank size
    Tankmates
    Other seahorses…. WC or CB

    Can you get a magnifying glass out and get a good close look at his head and this white area. Is it actually fuzzy or is the skin peeling or flaking?

    How big is the area?

    Do you see any pink or red areas?

    Is the white area smooth and even with the rest of the skin? Raised or elevated? Or sunken in?

    Can you possibly post a photo?

    Hang in there…..

    Leslie

    #2196
    SEAGAZER
    Guest

    Working on it now. Will advise soon!

    Thank you!

    #2197
    Pete Giwojna
    Guest

    Dear Nick.

    Excess mucus production and scratching can be an indication of irritation from exposure to high ammonia levels, which can happen during long-distance shipping, are they can be a sign of external parasites.

    For starters, I would suggest treating the irritated SunFire with methylene blue, which is effective against protozoan parasites and fungus, and is the treatment of choice for ammonia poisoning and nitrite toxicity.

    Commonly known as "meth blue" or simply "blue," this is a wonderful medication for reversing the toxic effects of ammonia and nitrite poisoning (commonly known as "new tank syndrome"). Methylene blue also transports oxygen and aids breathing. It facilitates oxygen transport, helping fish breathe more easily by converting methemoglobin to hemoglobin — the normal oxygen carrying component of fish blood, thus allowing more oxygen to be carried through the bloodstream. This makes it very useful for treating gill infections, low oxygen levels, or anytime your seahorses are breathing rapidly and experiencing respiratory distress. It is the drug of choice for treating hypoxic emergencies of any kind with your fish.

    In addition, methylene blue treats fungus and some bacteria and protozoans. Methylene blue is effective in preventing fungal infections, and it has antiprotozoal and antibacterial properties as well, by virtue of its ability to bind with cytoplasmic structures within the cell and interfere with oxidation-reduction processes. However, be aware that it is not safe to combine methylene blue with some antibiotics, so check your medication labels closely for any possible problems before doing so.

    Methylene blue will destroy nitrifying bacteria so it should only be used in a hospital tank (if used in an established aquarium, it will impair the biological filtration and the tank may need to be cycled all over again).

    If you can obtain the Kordon brand of Methylene Blue (available at most well-stocked local fish stores), their suggested treatment protocol for nitrite poisoning is as follows:

    As an aid in reversal of nitrite (NO2-) or cyanide (CN-) poisoning of marine and freshwater aquarium fishes:
    (a) Remove carbon filter and continue to operate with mechanical filter media throughout the treatment period.
    (b) Add 1 teaspoon of 2.303% Methylene Blue per 10 gallons of water. This produces a concentration of 3 ppm. Continue the treatment for 3 to 5 days.
    (c) Make a water change as noted and replace the filter carbon at the conclusion of the treatment.

    See the following link for more information on treating with Kordon’s Methylene Blue:

    Click here: KPD-28 Methylene Blue
    http://www.novalek.com/kpd28.htm

    I would like to see how your SunFire response to the methylene blue before we resort to any more aggressive treatments, Nick. Let’s see if the methylene blue eases his irritation and puts an end to that scratching, and see how the white stuff on the top of his head responds to the methylene blue. If the fuzzy white patch is not just excess mucus sloughing off, and/or the scratching persists, then it would be appropriate to progress to formalin baths combined with antibiotic therapy.

    Best of luck with your new seahorses, Nick!

    Respectfully,
    Pete Giwojna

    #2198
    SEAGAZER
    Guest

    Hi Leslie,

    I did my chemistry on the 31st, and my results today have really changed. I just did a water change on tues., should I do another? (10%)

    Here is what I have:

    Current water parameters in numeric values not descriptions like fine or OK including temp, specific gravity, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrites and pH
    Temp: 76.8
    Spec Gravity is: 1.0245
    Amonia: 1.5 mg/l
    Nitrites: between <0.3mg/l, and .3mg/l (sw)
    Nitrates: <10mgh
    GH: 20
    My PH was just tested last week, and it was 8.1. When I try to read it looks 8.0, 7.9, I’m adding more marine buffer today. How often should I have to add the marine buffer?

    Tank size 37 gallon (high)
    0Tankmates: canary goby, court jester goby, 2 african pipefish, 2 percula clowns, aprox 20 herm crabs, several snals, pom pom crab, 2 emerald crabs, misc soft/none stinging corals. hypical live rock populations.

    Other seahorses…. WC or CB
    group of 4 purchased & arrived yesterday.

    Can you get a magnifying glass out and get a good close look at his head and this white area. Is it actually fuzzy or is the skin peeling or flaking?

    It looks almost like an old wound with a white fleshy/fuzzy looking stuff coming off of it.
    How big is the area?

    It covers the top of his head

    Do you see any pink or red areas?

    No pink or red.

    Is the white area smooth and even with the rest of the skin? Raised or elevated? Or sunken in?

    Looks maybe a little sunkin, but it’s hard to tell with the coating on the skin.

    Can you possibly post a photo?
    I’m going to try, Haven’t done that yet.

    I’m going to post this, and try to add a picture now. In the future does anyone have a camera tips for taking photo’s of your seahorses?

    Thanks Leslie!

    #2199
    SEAGAZER
    Guest

    Hi Pete,

    Thanks for the update. He is actually starting to look a little better. He resting now anyway. I preparing a freshwater bath for him but I should wait one that right.

    This meth bath? How long does the seahorse need to be in it. I don’t have a hospital tank. This doesn’t sound safe for my reefrock?

    Thank you again, and "Yahoo", finally sent me that notice that your book hadn’t been released yet?

    But I’m on the list!
    🙂

    #2200
    SEAGAZER
    Guest

    Sorry,

    Can’t figure out the picture but I could email one?

    Thanks again

    #2201
    Pete Giwojna
    Guest

    Dear Nick:

    Okay, that’s a positive development that he has settled down and doesn’t seem so irritated right now. But I do think he would still benefit from the methylene blue, especially since your tank parameters are showing a bit of an ammonia spike right now (yes, I would hold off on the freshwater bath for now — that’s a good first aid measure for ich but it’s not helpful for this type of problem).

    Nope, methylene blue will devastate your biological filtration so you don’t want to use it in your main tank. In a pinch, a clean 5-gallon plastic bucket (new and unused, NOT an old scrub bucket!) can serve as a makeshift hospital tank. It should be aerated and equipped with hitching posts and perhaps a heater, but nothing else. This makes a useful substitute when the Quarantine Tank is occupied or in use and a seahorse needs treatment.

    Stay on top of water quality in the hospital tank/bucket with water changes as often as needed during treatment, and redose with the medication according to directions after each water change.

    The methylene blue can be administered as either a very brief (10 second) dip at a concentrated dosage or for prolonged immersion (3-5 days) at a reduced dosage. If you go to the following link, it tells you how to administer it either way using the Kordon brand of methylene blue: http://www.novalek.com/kpd28.htmhttp://www.novalek.com/kpd28.htm

    In cases of ammonia poisoning/nitrite toxicity, the prolonged immersion for three to five days is likely to be more helpful.

    Judging from the change in your aquarium parameters since your seahorses arrived, it appears that the increased bioload from adding four new seahorses together has caused an ammonia spike, which may be followed by a bigger spike in your nitrite levels shortly. A water change is recommended to get your ammonia back down to zero as soon as possible, and treatment with methylene blue for the ailing SunFire is advisable under these circumstances.

    Be sure to observe the following precautions when handling your seahorses for the daily bath, Pam:

    Handling Seahorses

    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.

    Be sure to observe the following precautions when handling your seahorses for his treatments, Nick:

    Handling Seahorses

    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.

    Yes, please do e-mail a photograph of the ailing seahorse to me at the following address: [email protected]

    A picture will be very helpful in assessing your seahorse’s condition and determining the best course of treatment.

    Best of luck with your SunFires, Nick!

    Respectfully,
    Pete Giwojna

    #2202
    ecogirl22
    Guest

    you didn’t by any chance release the water from the shipping bag into your tank when you realeased your seahorses, did you? that will cause an immediate ammonia spike such as what you describe (or it could be from increased bioload). At very high levels, ammonia CAN cause "burns"such as you describe. Definately do the meth blue in a hospital tank, but you need to do large water changes EVERY DAY or the ammonia will go high very quickly in a small tank (do I sound like i know what I’m talking about from experience?). Also with ammonia that high, I’d be worried about your other ponies. If any so much as scratch themsleves with their tails I’d put them in the meth blue too. do a large water change to gett ammonia back to 0 immediately. good luck, keep us posted

    #2204
    SEAGAZER
    Guest

    Good morning all,

    Well, he’s back at it again. Pete did you get the pictures? I’m going to try to get out of the house today to get a hospital tank. I’ll try to get the "meth blue". If I can’t find it by chance, is there a back up product?

    Thanks all, your such a stress reducer!

    Wish me luck.

    #2205
    Pete Giwojna
    Guest

    Dear Nick:

    Okay, I got the pictures and the mark on the back of your seahorse’s head is very obvious. But when I tried to enlarge the pictures to get a closer look they quickly became pixelated and I couldn’t make out any detail. I couldn’t tell if there is any scarring or lesion where the white marking is or whether it’s fuzzy and upraised or smooth and flush with the rest of the skin or sunken in.

    As near as I can tell, the white marking on the back of your SunFire’s head appears to be a natural marking that has become irritated for one reason or another. Your seahorse has beautiful markings with a series of regular white blotches and saddles along its back and tail, and the white marking on its head appears to be a part of the SunFire’s natural color pattern, which has developed a problem. There could be a bit of an ammonia burn there or it could be the site of a localized infection (a bacterial or fungal lesion) or the irritation could be from ectoparasites, with excess mucus sloughing off as a result. The pictures aren’t clear enough to rule any of those out.

    I think treatment with methylene blue is still your best option, Nick. Methylene blue should be available at most any local fish store, so I’m sure you won’t have any trouble finding it. If you can’t get the Kordon brand of methylene blue, just pick up whatever brand is available at your LFS and follow the instructions on the label or package.

    If the methylene blue does not resolve this problem, we will try a regimen of antibiotic therapy in conjunction with a series of formalin baths, so for a backup medication you may want to pick up some formalin and some antibiotics when you are getting the methylene blue. Even if you don’t need them for your SunFire right now, those are good medications for a seahorse keeper to have on hand in your fish room medicine cabinet.

    The antibiotics that are most useful for the seahorse keeper are kanamycin, nifurpirinol (brand name Furanase) and neomycin sulfate. They can all be used together at the same time to even greater affect, so it’s a good idea to to pick up all of them if you can. If they’re not available at your LFS, you can find them all online.

    If the irritation and scratching persists and we determine external parasites are the likely cause, then it may be time to consider treating your main tank with hyposalinity, but given the soft corals and invertebrates you have, it would need to be a modified form of Osmotic Shock Therapy (OST). I will provide you with complete instructions if and when the time comes to consider that treatment alternative, Nick.

    In the meantime, work on getting your ammonia and nitrite levels back down to zero and begin treating your SunFire with methylene blue as soon as possible. Please keep me updated and let me know if the methylene blue is having the desired effect or not.

    Best of luck with your new seahorses, Nick!

    Respectfully,
    Pete Giwojna

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