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Seahorses still sick 30 days+ what to do now?

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farms and Tours | Kona Hawaii Forums Seahorse Life and Care Seahorses still sick 30 days+ what to do now?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Pete Giwojna 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #35099

    evelynmonroy83
    Participant

    Good day,

    Its been more than 30 days and my 2 seahorses are still ill despite treatment.

    They are 2 seahorses in a 65 gallon tank, they are the only inhabitants therein.
    The water quality is perfect, 0 NH3, 0 NO2 and NO3, 0.04 Phosphate, SP 0.026.

    They are captive bread. They seem to be suffering a bacterial infection, probably brought on by the stress of the move from their store tank. They have been treated with Furan2 for 7 days and Kanaplex for 7 days. the Furan2 did halt the infection for some time but did not stop it completely. I can clearly see white ‘patches’ of skin deterioration and a lump under the skin of the big male. they have trooped through this treatment, the poor souls, still eating a few shrimp a day but they cannot shake the infection. I went to the fish store to see their siblings and they are as happy as can be.

    I have set up a separate tank for them and have just placed them there last evening, I see little improvement after 2 weeks of treatment, the deterioration has stopped but not healed, they are still very dark in color.

    ….What to do now?

    Many thanks,

    E

    #36597

    Pete Giwojna
    Moderator

    Dear Evelyn:

    I apologize for the lateness of this reply but I was unable to respond any earlier because of a prolonged illness.

    If the Furan2 seem to be helping, that suggests that treating the affected seahorses in isolation with more potent antibiotics for a more extended treatment period is needed.

    I would recommend using wide spectrum antibiotics such as chloramphenicol, enrofloxacin (brand name Baytril), doxycycline, kanamycin, oxytetracycline (orally), neomycin sulfate, sulfonamide or streptomycin, or Furan2 or Nitrofuracin Green (only in mild cases that are detected early for the latter two). As with other bacterial infections, lowering the water temperature during the course of treatment can help a great deal. This is your best course of action when you are confident that the problem is due to a bacterial infection, such as Pseudomonas or Vibriosis (Giwojna, Nov. 2003).

    Chloramphenicol is the treatment of choice for this sort of problem, Evelyn. It can be given orally or used as a bath (Prescott, 2001c). Therapeutic baths lasting 10-20 hours are administered in a chloramphenicol solution consisting of 40 mg per liter of water (Prescott, 2001c). If the seahorse is still eating, the chloramphenicol can also be bioencapsulated by gut loading feeder shrimp or ghost shrimp with flake food soaked in the antibiotic solution. Even if the affected seahorses does not eat, feeding medicated shrimp to its tankmates is a good way to help prevent this contagious disease from spreading to the healthy seahorses (Prescott, 2001c).
    <Close quote>

    All things considered, Evelyn, I would say that chloramphenicol (i.e. Chloromycetin) is the treatment of choice for problems like this, including ulcer disease (i.e., flesh-eating bacteria) and most Vibrio infections, in general. It is effective both as a bath for prolonged immersion or when administered orally. If the affected seahorses are no longer eating, then administering the chloramphenicol to the treatment tank would be a good option for you if your other seahorses develop any symptoms of this disease.

    The treatment protocol for Chloramphenicol or Chloromycetin is as follows:

    Chloramphenicol can be used to treat Vibriosis at 40 mg/ litre of water (which comes out to about 150 milligrams per gallon) in a bath for 10-20 hours. It is important to watch the quality of the water, and if it starts to become turbid, the water must be changed. It is best to treat in a separate tank. In stubborn cases, a series of such baths may be necessary to resolve the problem, in which case a complete water change should be performed before the medication is redosed.

    Chloramphenicol can also be used as an additive to the feed, if the fish are still eating (all to often in a major infection they will refuse to eat, but this treatment may be most useful in preventing the horizontal spread of the infection). When used as an addition to the feed use 500 mg per 100 gram of feed. (In the case of seahorses, the flake food medicated with chloramphenicol in this way would first be bio-encapsulated in live feeder shrimp, which would then in turn be fed to the seahorses.)

    If you do obtain the chloramphenicol, be sure to be very careful when handling it. Remember, in a few rare individuals exposure to chloramphenicol can cause a potentially fatal side effect (aplastic anemia). These are rare cases and almost always involve patients who were being treated with the medication, but I would use gloves when handling it as a precaution and if you crush crush up tablets of chloramphenicol, be very careful not to inhale any of the power.

    Because of this side effect, which affects one in 100,000 humans, chloramphenicol is no longer available as a medication for fishes and can therefore be difficult to obtain. If you find that is the case, your next best alternative is to obtain doxycycline and kanamycin from National Fish Pharmaceuticals and use them together to form a synergistic combination of antibiotics that is often very effective in treating such infections.

    Doxycycline hydrochloride

    USE: broad spectrum antibiotic derived from oxytetracycline. Use for both gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial disorders, including fin and tail rot, septicemia, and mouth rot. Unlike tetracycline antibiotics, it will not be deactivated by the high pH levels found in marine aquaria. Works in a similar manner to chloramphenicol.

    DOSAGE: add 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gallons, every 24 hours for 10 days. Do a 25% water change before each treatment.

    Kanamycin sulfate

    This is a potent broad-spectrum, gram+/gram- aminogylcoside antibiotic. It is wonderfully effective for aquarium use because it is one of the few antibiotics that dissolves well in saltwater and that is readily absorbed through the skin of the fish. That makes it the treatment of choice for treating many bacterial infections in seahorses. Kanamycin can be combined safely with certain other antibiotics such as doxycycline or neomycin (as well as metronidazole) to further increase its efficacy. Like other gram-negative antibiotics, it will destroy your biofiltration and should be used in a hospital tank only.

    USE: gram-negative bacterial infections and resistant forms of piscine tuberculosis (mycobacteria). Works especially well in saltwater aquariums.

    DOSAGE: add 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gallons. Treat every 24 hours and perform a 25% water change before each treatment. Treat for 10 days. (When treating piscine tuberculosis, treat for 30 days.)

    Both the doxycycline and kanamycin can be obtained online from National Fish Pharmaceuticals without a prescription at the following URL:

    http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/products.html

    Enrofloxin (brand name Baytril) is another good antibiotic for treating ulcerative dermatitis and tail rot, but it is a prescription medication that you would need to obtain from your family Vet. It would be your next best option if you cannot obtain the chloramphenicol or the doxycycline hydrochloride + kanamycin sulfate.

    Baytril is a potent new broad-spectrum antibiotic that is effective against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria and is widely used to treat marine fish. Instructions for administering enrofloxin/Baytril are as follows, courtesy of Ann at the org:

    ENROFLOXACIN Oral Dosage and Preparation Instructions
    Active Ingredient: Enrofloxacin
    Indication: bacterial infection
    Brandnames: Baytril
    The following information is based on the most commonly available tablet sizes for Enrofloxacin/Baytril
    available in the US and abroad and an average sized seahorse of approximately 10 grams. Moderators
    are available in the Emergency and Disease and Treatment forums to assist when working with different
    tablet strengths and/or when the exact weight of the seahorse is known.
    Tube feed the seahorse 0.1mg of Enrofloxacin once a day for 10 days.
    Day 1 – 10 of Treatment
    • Crush 1/4 of a 68mg or 50mg tablet into a fine powder.
    • Use a mini-blender or small hand-blender to thoroughly mix the powder with marine water. Mix 1/4 of a
    68mg tablet with 85mL of marine water. Mix 1/4 of a 50mg tablet with 62.5mL of marine water.
    • Fill a small syringe with 0.5mL of the solution.
    • Tube feed the seahorse according to the instructions in the tube feeding drawer.
    • Throw out the unused Enrofloxacin and marine water solution. You will need to make new solution daily
    because Enrofloxacin breaks down quickly in saltwater causing it to become completely ineffective by the
    next day.
    Important Notes:
    Enrofloxacin is available only by prescription from a veterinarian.
    Enrofloxacin International Version – Tablets are produced in 15mg, 50gm, 150mg, & a 2.5% injectable
    solution
    Enrofloxacin US Version – Tablets are produced in 22.7mg, 68mg, 136mg, & a 2.27% injectable solution
    If you are able to ascertain the exact weight of your seahorse you may want to adjust the dosage as
    necessary to get the most benefit from the medication. In such an instance you would dose Enrofloxacin
    at 0.01mg of the medication per gram of body weight.
    A veterinarian who works regularly with small exotics will be familiar with the proper way to dilute
    injectable Enrofloxacin solution to fit your needs.

    If you cannot obtain Baytril, then treating the seahorse with with Furan2 + acriflavine or with Nitrofuracin Green would probably be the next best option.

    Furan2 is a good combo medication that consist of two nitrofuran antibiotics (nitrofurazone and furazolidone) plus good old methylene blue. That gives it both bacteriostatic and bactericidal properties, and makes it active against various gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. The methylene blue stains the water in the treatment tank as and prevents the photosensitive nitrofuran antibiotics from being deactivated by light. Methylene blue is effective in preventing fungal growth, 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. This makes the combination of methylene blue, nitrofurazone and furazolidone very broad spectrum and fairly potent.

    Best of all, Furan2 can be safely combined with Aquarium Pharmaceuticals antiparasitic medications such as acriflavine to increase its effectiveness and guard against secondary infections.

    Thus, when combined with an effective antiparasitic medication, a good combination drug like Furan2 can be the ultimate weapon in your medicine cabinet. It is effective against a wide range of diseases, making it a versatile shotgun for restoring order when trouble breaks out in your tank. When you suspect an infection is at work, but don’t know whether you’re dealing with fungus, bacteria, protozoan parasites or a mixed infection, Furan2 + Aquarium Pharmaceutical acriflavine is an effective combination that produces good results! Furan2 is especially effective for treating mild skin infections.

    However, Evelyn, you have to take special precautions when administering nitrofuran antibiotics such as this because they are photosensitive and can be deactivated by light. That means you’ll need to darken the hospital tank while you treat the seahorse. Do not use a light on your hospital tank, and keep an opaque lid or cover on the aquarium during the treatments. Remove this cover from the aquarium only long enough to feed your seahorse.

    You should also be aware that Furan2 will cause discoloration of the aquarium water, turning it a shade of blue-green. This is harmless and can be removed after the treatments using activated carbon filtration.

    The appropriate dosages for the Furan2 are discussed below, again courtesy of Ann at the org:

    FURAN-2 (immersion) Dosage and Preparation Instructions for a 10g/38L Hospital Tank
    Active Ingredient: Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone
    Indication: bacterial infection
    Disregard package info concerning water changes and duration of treatment. Dose medication daily for
    10 days.
    Replace the medication in ratio to the amount of water changed daily as needed to control ammonia.
    This product is best administered by feeding it to adult live brine shrimp, then in turn, feeding those
    animals to the Seahorse. If this is not an option, it may be administered as follows.
    DAY 1 of Treatment
    • Thoroughly mix one packet of Furan-2 with about 1 cup of marine water.
    • Pour the mixture into a high-flow area of the hospital tank.
    DAYS 2 – 10 of Treatment
    • Perform a 50% water change.
    • Thoroughly mix one packet of Furan-2 with about 1 cup of marine water.
    • Pour the mixture into a high-flow area of the hospital tank.

    FURAN-BASED MEDS (immersion) Dosage and Preparation Instructions for a 10g/38L Hospital Tank
    Active Ingredients: Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone
    Indication: bacterial infection
    Brand Names: Furan-2, Furanase, Binox, BiFuran+, Fura-MS, Furazolidone Powder
    Dose daily for 10 days. Disregard package info concerning dosing frequency and water changes.
    Replace the medication in ratio to the amount of water changed daily as needed to control ammonia.
    This product is best administered by feeding it to adult live brine shrimp, then in turn. feeding those animals to the Seahorse. If this is not an option, it may be administered as follows.
    DAY 1 of Treatment
    • Thoroughly mix the medication with about 1 cup of marine water.
    • Pour the mixture into a high-flow area of the hospital tank.
    DAYS 2 – 10 of Treatment
    • Perform a 50% water change.
    • Thoroughly mix the medication with about 1 cup of marine water.
    • Pour the mixture into a high-flow area of the hospital tank.

    FURAN-BASED MEDS (oral) Dosage and Preparation Instructions for a 10g/38L Hospital Tank
    Active Ingredients: Nitrofurazone and/or Furazolidone
    Indication: bacterial infection
    Brand Names: Furan-2, Furanase, Binox, BiFuran+, FuraMS, Furazolidone Powder
    Feed adult brine shrimp gut-loaded with medication to the Seahorse 2x per day for 10 days.
    • Add a small amount of the medication to one gallon of water and mix thoroughly.
    • Place the amount of adult brine shrimp needed for one feeding into the mixture. Leave them in the mixture for at least 2hrs.
    • Remove the adult brine shrimp from the mixture and add them to the hospital tank.
    • Observe the Seahorse to be certain it is eating the adult brine shrimp.

    Nitrofuracin Green is another combo medication with similar ingredients that is equivalent to Furan2. It is available from National Fish Pharmaceuticals and the instructions for using it are as follows:

    Nitrofuracin Green

    A special formula consisting of two nitrofuran antibiotics (nitrofurazone and furazolidone) + methylene blue and sodium chloride.

    USE: anti-microbial, anti-protozoan, antibacterial, and anti-fungal. Wide spectrum. Good for newly arrived fish in quarantine situations. Also be good for healing wounds and ammonia burns on newly arriving fish. Widely used for shipping or packing water. Works well for sores on fish in Koi ponds.

    DOSAGE: add 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gallons every 24 hours, with a 25% water change before each daily treatment. Treat for 10 days.

    In summation, Evelyn, I would recommend isolating the affected seahorses and treating them aggressively with antibiotics in your hospital tank as soon as possible. The following antibiotics have proven to be effective in treating such infections when they are detected early (I have listed them in order of preference):

    Chloramphenicol (i.e., Chloromycetin)
    Doxycycline hydrochloride + kanamycin sulfate
    Enrofloxin (i.e., Baytril)
    Furan2 + acriflavine
    Furan2 or Nitrofuracin Green

    Best of luck with your treatment regimen, Evelyn.

    Respectfully,
    Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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