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FAQs about Seahorse & Pipefish Disease, Pests, Predators 2

Related Articles: Seahorses & their Relatives, Brooklynellosis, Fresh to Brackish Water PipefishesSeahorse Care Guide

Related FAQs: Seahorse Disease 1, Seahorses & their Relatives 1, Seahorses & their Relatives 2, Seahorse Identification, Seahorse Behavior, Seahorse Compatibility, Seahorse Selection, Seahorse Systems, Seahorse Feeding, Seahorse Reproduction,


Sick Seahorse mystery     10/11/17
<... 24 megs of pix, what?>
Hi,
<Georgina>
I have a sick female fuscus seahorse, she presented with a white belly and lost interest in her food.
I have been treating her in a hospital tank for the last 6 days using triple sulfa and furan 2.
<Of no use here>

My male is also being treated as he had a white patch on his side.
The male has been very perky and frisky the last couple of days and she seems to have perked up too. I've not seen either of them eat for days but I have been loading the tank with live food.
While my female was dancing for me I was horrified to notice she has lots of spots! They look and feel like blisters and when I was feeling one a bit came away, it may have been skin so I didn't rub anymore.
<Appears to be Glugea to me>

She has no swimming issues at all, in fact she looks the healthiest she has in some time (swimming-wise that is).
She does not seem phased by the spots at all, she's not trying to scratch or shake them off. They don't look like parasites and don't appear to have moved. I thought maybe she had a few more when I took a photo just now but
it may just be that she sat still in a good spot for me to photograph her.
A friend pointed me in your direction as she and many other seahorse experts are stumped as to what this is. Can you help?
<Are these wild-caught animals? Please use the two words: "Glugea Seahorses", and read on WWM, the Net; and soon. DO write back if you have further questions. SANS huge files... am out in Mexico and can't download
easily>
Many thanks in advance,
Kind regards,
Georgina
<And you, Bob Fenner>

re: Sick Seahorse mystery     10/12/17
Thanks for your quick reply Bob, especially since you are in Mexico.
<Welcome. Can't download these pix either.... Hundreds of Kbytes, NOT megs>
I have looked up Glugea and am not convinced that this is what she has and on reading it seems that there is no cure if it is so I truly hope it isn't that.
I did think it may be a fungal infection but on closer inspection today the spots seem quite flat, unless this just means they have a burst, in which case I fear the male is now infected also.
<... bad news>
The male was a pony that I rescued from a shop and although it was sold to that shop as tank bred I was always suspicious. The female came from a breeder, Nigel Christie. I wanted to get him a new mate asap as his previous one died of snout rot.
<Ahh>
In hindsight I think perhaps I shouldn't have mixed true captive bred with an uncertainty.
<Yes; agreed>
Today the marks have kind of merged together. They are very flat and clean looking. To the point that I had a crazy idea that they were just clean patches appearing. She was this bright white before she got "grubby" in my
recently problematic tank (Cyano bacteria issues).
<Perhaps the seahorse issue is more directly an environmental manifestation>
Attached are pictures from today. They do look like lumps in the pictures but don't feel lumpy today. That is probably a bad sign :(
I guess I'm a dreamer. Is there anything at all that I can try to save
her/them?
<Have you read over this bit on WWM:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seahorsecare.htm
She really isn't behaving irritated by this at all, my priority right now is getting some food into her maybe with a canella.
Thanks again,
Georgina
<Welcome. No more large files... we've exceeded our webmail capacity (50 megs...) Folks are getting bounced. BobF>
re: Sick Seahorse mystery     10/12/17

Thanks again Bob. Massive apologies for sending such large files, I must see if I can shrink my pics before sending, I didn't realise they were so big.
<Ahh; I thank you Georgina>
Thanks for the link to the seahorse guide, I most likely have seen it before but it's always worth a reminder (clearly!)
<Good>
I thought I was doing the right thing ensuring that I got him a captive bred seahorse of the same breed but if he turned out to be wild caught maybe not so much of a good idea. I never intended to EVER buy from my LFS
as I know they don't get them from a reputable source. I only ended up with that pair as he had gas trapped in his pouch and was sure to die if I didn't. He has been doing great since I got rid of the gas and has been living with me. Unfortunately his mate died unexpectedly a few weeks after I got them and I panicked he would pine away.
<I see/understand>
My other seahorses are Erectus from Tom Hornsby and they are in a separate system. I have had the females 2 years and recently got them boyfriends.
They are all doing very well together I'm pleased to say, definitely worth getting them from a reputable breeder such as Tom.
<Indeed; agreed>
I have had some issues with the other setup recently so wouldn't be surprised if that's where the infection came from. Too long a story to add here but needless to say I will be doing my best to eradicate said issues before any seahorses should return.
<A wise approach>
I am a stickler for water quality so would be devastated if my husbandry caused this. I believe it was new sand that I put in that caused a bloom, wish I'd never done it.
Thanks so much again and so sorry for blocking your emails with my files.
Georgina.
<Cheers dear. B>
re: Sick Seahorse mystery     10/12/17

Cheers dear :)))) thanks for giving me a well needed chuckle Bob :)
<Welcome Lil G. B>
re: Sick Seahorse mystery     10/12/17

Hi Bob,
<Georgina>
Just thought I'd let you know that sadly I lost the girl and am quite concerned he has it too.
<Am sure you're right. This issue IS pathogenic>
Someone suggested Vibrio....any thoughts? One whole side of her ended up completely white like her original healthy colour and the other side just had big patches (2 or 3) not individual spots anymore. I won't send pics lol
<Vibrio is a possibility>
So so upset that this has happened. Many tough lessons learnt though and I doubt I'll be rescuing anymore from shops after this awful experience sadly
:'(
Thanks for all your help.
Georgina
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Punctuation and question. Seahorse... Quarantine sys. maint., hlth. f'        3/19/15
I apologize the other day for lousy spelling and grammar. Tough to type and read on a cell phone.
<Oh yes; I know>
Quick question: I currently have my 5 seahorses along with 4 fish in my practically bare bottom 80 gallon tank. (100 total water with sump.) I have taken out all sand and left in about 5 lbs of live rock for filtration, along with about 8 feet of cut up pvc pipe.
I am using. .5 Cupramine, to treat ich. My SeaChem alert badge yesterday started reading "alert" .05 free ammonia.
<Mmm; yes; a common positive correlation... the copper suppressing nitrification... The copper is also being rapidly absorbed by the extant rock... Do read re: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
scroll down to quarantine...>
I have been adding in stability bacteria, and doing water changes every 3days.
<Might well need to be done daily... PLUS testing for, reading the Cupramine once, twice a day>
What else can I do to lower this .05 ammonia level?
<Read where you've been referred to please>
With Cupramine, I
can't use any ammonia blocker or reducer . I also can't run carbon.
Thanks
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sick seahorses? Env. dis... rdg.       6/5/14
im not sure if you can help but as of yesterday my seahorses (2 out of 3) started w swollen eyes , one of them is just one eye and it looks like they have a white thing over it. What can I do for them ?
<... something likely to do w/ water quality...>

I had my water tested today and all was good except my ph was 7something and I had a little nitrites...
<?! Giant trouble>

ive added buffer and quick start to it since then, also prime and stability yesterday. Attached is a picture hope u are able.to see it . Im not sure how well it will show but its white around his entire eye and very
swollen. Thanks for any help
<Peruse all archived on WWM re Seahorses. Bob Fenner>

Seahorse died suddenly     4/5/14
My seahorse died suddenly this morning with its tail around its neck. He's active for 2 months now and he just died. I almost thought he committed suicide or something. :(
I just want to know if that's possible for them to choke on their own tail around their neck.
<Not choking... but dying w/o apparent cause; quite common. See WWM re Hippocampines. Bob Fenner>
Re: Seahorse died suddenly    4/7/14

I think now I know it might be because of air bubbles
<Possibly... B>

Strange growth on a seahorse      8/20/13
Dear crew,
<Jim>
I have 6 Hippocampus Erectus in a 55 Gallon tank with 2 cardinals, a smattering of seahorse safe corals, about 60 lbs of live rock and a robust clean-up crew. A few weeks ago one of the horses developed what looks like a pimple on his head. It has continued to slowly grow. Pictures can be
found here, https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4o564fatqgdi0ff/9ZpMcRm-TC
<This link does not come up for me>
Can you tell me what it might be and what, if anything, I should do about it?
<A guess is the all-too-common Uronema... DO search/look at images on the Net re... Was this a wild-collected seahorse? Have you inadvertently introduced this parasite? Do you have access to a simple microscope for viewing samples of skin scrapings?>
All seahorses are showing normal behavior and eating well. Water parameters are good - 0 ammonia and nitrites, nitrates between 2 and 5 PPM, chiller keeps the water 74-75. Tank is about 6 months old and I have had the seahorses for about 5 months.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<Do please send along further images, information. Bob Fenner>

Re: Strange growth on a seahorse      8/21/13
Bob,
Thank you for the quick reply, hopefully the included image is helpful.
All the seahorses were captive bred from Ocean Rider and the images I found of Uronema do not seem to match. The "pimple" has been slow growing, and I believe the seahorse looks otherwise healthy.
<My guess is still the same; and still requires examination for confirmation... However, IF one specimen is thus afflicted I'd "expect" all to be. Perhaps this is a physical injury, or "just a pimple"... Some sort of internal to external physical manifestation. Where, where in doubt, I would not treat. BobF>
Strange growth on a seahorse: reasonable sized picture this time      8/21/13

Bob,
Thank you for the quick reply, hopefully the included image is helpful.
<Ah, better sized for sure!>
All the seahorses were captive bred from Ocean Rider and the images I found of Uronema do not seem to match. The "pimple" has been slow growing, and I believe the seahorse looks otherwise healthy.
<I know, am friends w/ Craig and Carol of OC/Kona; their animals are clean, healthy... Again, and to reinforce/reemphasize, I would NOT treat the fish, system here. B>

Re: Strange growth on a seahorse: reasonable sized picture this time      8/21/13
Would you still not medicate the horses (not the tank) via food given that the live rock, cardinals, CuC and corals came from a LPS?
<Not w/o confirmation for whatever treatment from sampling, micro-exam. More damage to be done than good otherwise. READ B>

Seahorse Problem... too crowded w/ incomp. tankmates   3/19/11
Hi,
<Hello there>
I hope you might be able to offer us some help with our new, little seahorse.
We have had our marine tank set up for a year and a half now. We started off with 2 Kuda seahorses and a goby. About 8 months ago our female seahorse died (we are not sure why, seemed perfectly happy and eating, etc) we watched our male carefully but he has been fine and has grown into a real beauty :)
<Mmm, were these animals captive-produced, i.e., not wild-collected?>
In our tank now we have our 2 seahorses, a cleaner shrimp, a goby, 2 cardinal emperors, a 6 line wrasse and a brittle starfish. Our tank is 95 litres.
<Yikes... hard to keep such small volumes stable, water quality optimized... and this mix of fishes and depending on the species of the shrimp... are trouble>
About 3 weeks ago we brought another female Kuda. She seemed to be settling in fine and eating well. 3 days ago my husband came home to find her trapped upside down in a plant, she seemed quite distressed, he managed to free her but since then she has not been right.
To begin with it looked as if something had attacked the fin on the side of her head and it looked white around it.
<Yes... could be the shrimp, wrasse, Pterapogon kauderni or even the Brittlestar! All of these could be potentially picking on the new Kuda Horse... or it might have "come in" with a pathogen, or just be "beat from the ride"... In other words, I can't discern better than these
possibilities from the data presented. But.. this mix, in this small volume, is untenable>
This now seems a bit better but the tip and bottom of her tail has now turned white, she has another white tip on her chest and her back fin also looked like it has a white patch around it.
We thought maybe she might have made herself sore if she was trying to free herself when trapped but now we are not sure.
She is now not eating and although she is swimming round the tank still, she seems more lethargic, and is clinging to things in more of a curled up ball. She was breathing quite fast on the first day but this seems to have calmed down now. I have done lots of research on your great site and on the internet in general and I don't think it looks like white Ich or flesh rot (from pictures I have seen) but I could be wrong.
We went to the fish shop where we go regularly and from where we purchased her and they have given us something called eSHa TRIMARIN, but I'm not sure if this was because they just didn't know what else to recommend?
<Mmm, really, another system to place either the Horses, or everyone else>
I just don't want her to be suffering. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks, Gemma
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

5 new seahorses (RMF, feel free to comment)<<RMF>> -- 12/20/10
Hello, my name is Janine,
I bought 5 new seahorses yesterday, 2 males and 3 females, from the port Adelaide seahorse farm SA that is shutting down, I have the gravity correct and the temperature is at 23c degrees we have a air pump. we do have a light on the top on the tank but we don't have it turned on, as it have natural sunlight. The seahorses were swimming as normal then they were first put into the water, one of the females was laying on the floor still with its tale still wrapped around an about in the tank. this morning when I checked them one of the males was dead on the floor of the tanks the female still laying on the floor but still breathing. The other seahorses are hanging with there head down lower then where they are wrapping with their tales. I'm not sure what is wrong and I was hoping for some help.
Janine
<Hello Janine. Seahorses are tricky animals to keep, though farmed ones should be easier than wild ones. There are a couple of issues to check. The first is whether these are tropical, subtropical, or coldwater Seahorses. Since you're in South Africa, there's a very good chance local species might be subtropical ones, 
<<They are indeed... H. abdominalis: http://www.saseahorse.com/first.html
Won't live w/o a chiller... RMF, sorry to hear/read of this facility's closing. Met these folks at Aquarama some 10-12 years back>>
 the waters around South Africa being relatively chilly, as I'm sure you know. Tropical species do best around 23 C, subtropical ones around 18 C, and coldwater ones around 15 C. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, Seahorses seem to do best in captivity when kept towards the cooler end of their temperature preference, and overheating them causes stress, perhaps because there's not enough oxygen
in warm water to keep them healthy. As you can see by watching them, they have tiny gill slits, and that may well limit the amount of water they can pump through their gill cavities. So do review temperature, lower it if necessary, and raise aeration if you can to provide more circulation in the tank. Floating a block of ice inside a one-litre Tupperware or similar will help to cool down a tank if air temperature prevents the tank cooling down quickly. Next up is travel. Seahorses ship rather badly, the males especially being prone to air bubbles in their pouches. It's important to move Seahorses as carefully as you can, taking care to minimise exposure to air, ideally scooping them into jugs underwater in the one tank, placing them into a bag of water, moving them to their new home, and then once again scooping them out rather than using a net to carry them to their new tank. Check over your Seahorses, and while there's not much you can do to
remove air bubbles without veterinarian help, you can at least look to see if they appear damaged or are swimming at odd angles. One last thing, while diet is an issue with Seahorses, farmed ones should be eating frozen foods readily, and I don't think starvation is likely the issue here. There's a good summary of their needs at Seahorse.org, here:
http://www.seahorse.org/library/articles/SeahorseFactsAndInfo.pdf
Cheers, Neale.>

Seahorse changing it's sex? -- 8/24/10
Am sending your query to a fellow who is the expert in this field. BobF
Thanks very much
Pete, this is beyond my expertise, and right up yours:
I have a 34 gallon seahorse tank with 2 pair of H. Erectus seahorses. I've had them for approximately 4 months & have had no problems with any of them until 2 days ago. I fed them as usual in the morning & I noticed that one of my females who was hitched near the bottom front of the tank didn't swim to where I squirted Mysis shrimp. The other 3 fed enthusiastically as usual. I wasn't too concerned though because when I squirted Mysis directly at her she did eat.
That same evening I fed them again & noticed that she was still hitched in the same spot which seemed very unusual especially for a female since they seem to move around more than the males. This time I became very concerned because not only did she not leave her hitch to eat but this time when I squirted Mysis directly to her she still didn't eat.
So I immediately set up a 10 gallon hospital tank running a bare filter, an air stone, heater & a nano chiller & started her on Furan 2.
I purchased this particular seahorse from Seahorse Source so the following day I called & spoke to Dan & explained what was going on. Since she was now isolated in the hospital tank it was much easier to see what was happening with her physically. I noticed no light patches or sores or anything on her skin. The only thing I did notice was slight swelling in her belly area & what looked like swelling on the underside of her tail to the point where if I didn't know she was a female I would have thought she was a male.
Dan's question to me was, "do you think she's growing a pouch?" I didn't know how to answer since I had no idea that could happen. He went on to tell me how in one of his breeding tanks he was having less & less production until it stopped altogether & when he checked the tank he found all males!!
He asked that I send pictures of her which I did & he called me back & his conclusion was that I very likely have a female who is trying to grow a pouch but may also be egg-bound & this would explain the swelling in her belly & also cause infection & this is why she wasn't eating. He felt that because there was likely an infection it was good that I started her on Furan 2. My question was how I could help her release the eggs but he didn't have an answer for me. He said he had a female Kuda who he suspected had the same thing going on & he lost her & was able to confirm what he had suspected after a necropsy. That he in fact had a female who was growing a pouch & was egg-bound.
He gave me some suggestions as far as how to treat her but suggested I post somewhere to see if anyone else has come across this situation & had any luck resolving it.
I lowered the tank temperature to 68 degrees to slow the infection, I'm continuing with the Furan 2 & I've tried several things to entice her to eat with no luck at all.
So what I want to know is if anyone has ever dealt with anything like this & if they have any suggestions as to how I can help her. I would greatly appreciate any help I can get.
Thanks,
Ann Marie Spinella
Dear Ann Marie: I'm very sorry to hear about the problems one of your female Hippocampus erectus seahorses has developed, but this is a very interesting case and I would be happy to share my thoughts on the matter with you.   First of all, let me just say that there is no evidence in the literature to suggest that seahorses are hermaphroditic or that they can change sex the way some other marine fish (e.g., clownfish and certain wrasse) can do under the right circumstances.  And I have certainly never seen a case myself in which a functional female developed anything close to a functioning marsupium. But I do sometimes receive anecdotal reports from hobbyists who have female seahorses that apparently changed sex and developed full-blown pouches. Upon closer examination, most of these instances turn out to be cases of mistaken identity -- late-blooming juveniles that took an inordinately long time to develop a pouch or genuine females that had developed a convincing "pseudo-pouch." One of the things that can confound the issue of gender in Hippocampus is the fact that a certain percentage of females develop a subanal structure that can be easily mistaken for an incipient pouch (Vincent, 1990). This is misleading because the pseudo-pouch seen on many such females is little more than a pigmented patch of skin, not a functional brood pouch or even a pocket of tissue (Vincent, 1990).  Although they are very often presumed to be male, at least initially, females having these subanal structures or pseudo-pouches produce viable eggs, pair off with males, and mate normally just like all the other fillies. However, in recent years, I have had a fascinating report of a female seahorse that subsequently developed a full-blown pouch, as confirmed by necroscopic examination, from a source I consider to be very reliable. And if Dan Underwood states that he has confirmed the same sort of phenomenon in a female H. kuda, I do not doubt it. We still have a great deal to learn about the genus Hippocampus...In your case, Anna Marie, I suspect that your female H. erectus may have become egg bound, which is not commonplace, but is a very well documented condition affecting female seahorses, under certain circumstances.  Although relatively rare, egg binding is nevertheless a well-known affliction that sometimes plagues female seahorses, and this is what I normally advise hobbyists in that regard:<Open quote>The only time we normally see a female seahorse with a distended abdomen is immediately after she has hydrated or ripened a clutch of eggs prior to mating, as discussed below.  Seahorses are fractional spawners and very well adapted for producing clutch after clutch of eggs.  Females maintain a spiraling assembly line of developing oocytes (egg cells) at all times, only a portion of which are fully mature and are released at each mating (Vincent, 1990).  This differs from the reproductive strategy of most fishes, which are multiple spawners that release all their eggs each time they mate and then start over, maturing an entirely new clutch of eggs from scratch for the next spawning.            The structure of the ovaries is unique to syngnathids.  They are paired organs, which join to form a single oviduct (the seahorse's version of a Fallopian tube) just before the urogential pore (Vincent, 1990).  Oocytes spiral out from the center of each ovary, creating a coiled sheet of developing eggs at differing stages of growth (Vincent, 1990).  The earliest or primordial eggs arise from the germinal ridge that runs the entire length of the ovary, and lie at the center of the coil from which they spiral out as they develop so that the fully mature eggs are the furthest from the center of rotation (Vincent, 1990).  Roughly 20-25% of the outermost eggs in this ovarian assembly line are mature, ready to be discharged during ovulation and deposited with the male (Vincent, 1990).  Thus, fully 70-75% of the female's developing eggs are retained in the ovaries after mating, so a new clutch of eggs will mature relatively quickly and lie in readiness for the next mating cycle.            Seahorse ovaries are always active, busy creating and developing new eggs (oogenesis), forming the yolk (vitellogenesis), and resorbing any mature ova (atresia) leftover after mating or at the end of the breeding season (Vincent, 1990).  Eggs in all 4 stages of development can be found in the ovaries throughout the year. The mature ova are normally hydrated in the latter stages of courtship, shortly before the copulatory rise and transfer of the eggs that culminates the mating process in seahorses.  So it would be unusual for a female to retain hydrated eggs for more than a day or so -- ordinarily, if a receptive male is not available to receive the eggs, the female will simply eject them and unceremoniously dump her clutch of eggs on the bottom of the tank. More information regarding egg binding and a possible treatment for the condition are discussed in the following excerpt from my new book (Complete Guide to the Greater Seahorses in the Aquarium, unpublished):Egg Binding: a Health Risk for Breeding Females. Egg binding occurs when a female has ripened (hydrated) a clutch of eggs and is unable to deposit them with a mate or release them for some reason. As more eggs develop, the egg bound female becomes increasing bloated and great pressure begins to build up internally. The abdomen will be very swollen, especially around the vent, and often prolapsed tissue or other material will begin to protrude from the vent as the pressure builds. The affected female will show rapid respiration and may go off her feed. If the pressure cannot be relieved, death results. Tracy Warland describes a typical case in a female Potbelly (Hippocampus abdominalis) as follows: "Went into the shed one morning to find an adult mare, probably fully mature, in distress. She had been living quite happily in the main tank with about 10 males to meet any desire she might have. Anyway she was lying on the bottom of the tank, panting. I removed her immediately and placed her in sick tank, thought it could be parasites so gave her several 5-minute freshwater baths, but these did not seem to help. I had checked all parameters of large tank the day before so I knew the water was pristine, no other horse was stressed. When I was putting her back after a freshwater bath, I was supporting her upright for a few minutes to see if she could hitch somewhere. I applied very slight pressure to her belly, and out shot masses of orange stuff. I collected some and checked under the microscope and it looked very much like roe, but the yolk was almost smashed, with globules of a fat-like substance within the centre. We've had roe before, due to unsuccessful egg transfer, so we picked up some of bottom of tank and checked it out! I put it down to women's problems, egg bound, could not discharge unfertilized eggs, these became rotten within her and therefore caused perhaps fever like symptoms." Egg binding is uncommon in seahorses. Most females have no problem simply dumping their eggs and spilling them on the bottom when a receptive male is unavailable. But there are two circumstances that sometimes promote egg binding. One of them is when breeding seahorses are kept in a tank that's too shallow. Courtship will proceed normally and the female will hydrate her clutch of eggs in due course, but the pair will then be unable to complete the copulatory rise due to the lack of depth. In such a situation, the female is very reluctant too dump her eggs while a receptive male is standing by, eager to receive them. If she retains the ripened eggs too long in hope that they will be able to complete the egg transfer despite the inadequate vertical swimming space, she may become egg bound. The other situation that may predispose females to egg binding is when the sexes are segregated. For example, Heather Hall reports that the London Zoo was so successful in breeding and raising the prolific Cape Seahorse (Hippocampus capensis) that, at one point, they were forced to separate the males and females in order to bring a halt to the population explosion that resulted (Bull and Mitchell, 2002, p 30). However, they were soon forced to abandon their experiment in enforced abstinence because it proved stressful to the seahorses and a few of the isolated females began developing swollen abdomens and experiencing difficulty with egg binding when deprived of the opportunity to breed (Bull and Mitchell, 2002, p 30). There is no ready cure for egg binding and attempts to manually massage the eggs from the body usually only result in internal injuries. However, there is a folk remedy that's commonly used to treat egg binding in freshwater fish. This treatment consists of placing the affected fish in a bath of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) for 10-15 minutes at a dosage of one tablespoon of Epsom salt for every one-gallon of water (Duedall, 2004). The Epsom baths are repeated once a day until the patient recovers (Duedall, 2004).I have no idea if this remedy would have any affect on a marine fish, but many freshwater hobbyists swear by it, and egg binding is fatal if unresolved so you really have nothing to lose by trying it. Epsom salts are certainly inexpensive and readily available. If you want to give it a go, I suggest administering a 10-15 minute freshwater bath with one tablespoon of magnesium sulfate per gallon added to the bath water. Mix in the magnesium salts thoroughly, aerate the container, and observe the usual precautions for any freshwater dip. Repeat once daily as needed. In short, Anne Marie, if your female's abdomen appears swollen, particularly around the area of the vent, then I suspect that she may be egg bound.  The prognosis is poor in such cases, but the condition is not at all contagious and no pathogens of any sort are usually involved, so the rest of your herd should remain unaffected. Prolapses will often repair themselves once the internal pressure has been relieved, so if you can induce your female to release her clutch of eggs, possibly using the Epsom salts as described above, there is a chance that she may recover.  The chances of a good outcome are slim once the pressure from egg binding has reached a point where tissue and compressed ova begin to extrude through the vent.  To give you an idea of how much pressure can build up in these cases, a female will often lose 30% of her weight when she drops a clutch of eggs or transfers her ripened eggs to a receptive male.  If your female is egg bound, the condition has not yet progressed to the point where a prolapse has resulted, Anne Marie, so there is a chance she may yet be able to drop her clutch of eggs...Best of luck resolving this problem.
Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support
<Good gosh! Thank you Pete. BobF>

Seahorse changing it's sex? Neale's go -- 8/24/10
I have a 34 gallon seahorse tank with 2 pair of H. Erectus seahorses. I've had them for approximately 4 months & have had no problems with any of them until 2 days ago. I fed them as usual in the morning & I noticed that one of my females who was hitched near the bottom front of the tank didn't swim to where I squirted Mysis shrimp. The other 3 fed enthusiastically as usual. I wasn't too concerned though because when I squirted Mysis directly at her she did eat.
<Okay. But do review the needs of these fish. They are basically hardy, but the wrong water temperature and insufficient feeding are the two main reasons they fail in captivity. Hippocampus erectus is a tropical to subtropical species that needs to be kept at between 22-25 C/72-77F, and because it is territorial and forms strong pairs, tends to be kept in matched pairs, ideally each in their own tank. I suspect 34 gallons won't be big enough for two pairs.>
That same evening I fed them again & noticed that she was still hitched in the same spot which seemed very unusual especially for a female since they seem to move around more than the males. This time I became very concerned because not only did she not leave her hitch to eat but this time when I squirted Mysis directly to her she still didn't eat.
<Indeed.>
So I immediately set up a 10 gallon hospital tank running a bare filter, an air stone, heater & a nano chiller & started her on Furan 2.
<Well, I wouldn't hit antibiotics so soon when fish aren't feeding, particularly if they're asymptomatic in other regards. Better to start offering other foods they might prefer, and also to see if social behaviour is the issue, e.g., bullying.>
I purchased this particular seahorse from Seahorse Source so the following day I called & spoke to Dan & explained what was going on. Since she was now isolated in the hospital tank it was much easier to see what was happening with her physically. I noticed no light patches or sores or anything on her skin. The only thing I did notice was slight swelling in her belly area & what looked like swelling on the underside of her tail to the point where if I didn't know she was a female I would have thought she was a male.
<Indeed.>
Dan's question to me was, "do you think she's growing a pouch?" I didn't know how to answer since I had no idea that could happen. He went on to tell me how in one of his breeding tanks he was having less & less production until it stopped altogether & when he checked the tank he found all males!!
<Curious. Not aware of any Hippocampinae changing sex. What is more likely is poor or delayed expression of male characteristics. This is the explanation of why Swordtails were often said to change sex. In fact they don't change sex, but sometimes males look like females for much longer than they should. Usually males exhibit male characteristics once they reach the minimum age for sexual maturity, which in the case of Swordtails is about 3 months old. But sometimes it can take much longer, six months or a year. So female-looking males got put into aquaria as females, and then lo and behold, months after purchase, the surprised aquarist finds he has a male not a female Swordtail. It's much more probable something similar has occurred here with your "female", and that bullying between the male and this female-looking male is responsible for the latter's stress and loss of appetite.>
He asked that I send pictures of her which I did & he called me back & his conclusion was that I very likely have a female who is trying to grow a pouch but may also be egg-bound & this would explain the swelling in her belly & also cause infection & this is why she wasn't eating. He felt that because there was likely an infection it was good that I started her on Furan 2. My question was how I could help her release the eggs but he didn't have an answer for me.
<Indeed. Females cannot grow pouches. It's a unique structure to the male, and not something a female can grow on demand, any more than a male can grow a uterus.>
He said he had a female Kuda who he suspected had the same thing going on & he lost her & was able to confirm what he had suspected after a necropsy.
That he in fact had a female who was growing a pouch & was egg-bound.
<Does not seem at all probable. If there was a pouch, and there were eggs in there, then this is more likely a mistakenly-sexed male assumed to be a female. Blockages of the pouches are not uncommon, particularly if air bubbles get into the pouch. Inbreeding or dietary imbalances may also cause deformities. On the other hand, decaying eggs in the uterus would be something else, and indicative of a female. Egg-biding in female fish is rare, but can happen.>
He gave me some suggestions as far as how to treat her but suggested I post somewhere to see if anyone else has come across this situation & had any luck resolving it. I lowered the tank temperature to 68 degrees to slow the infection, I'm continuing with the Furan 2 & I've tried several things to entice her to eat with no luck at all. So what I want to know is if anyone has ever dealt with anything like this & if they have any suggestions as to how I can help her. I would greatly appreciate any help I can get.
<Seahorses.org has an interesting page on manual evacuation of the male's pouch, which you may find relevant:
http://www.seahorse.org/library/articles/pouchevac.shtml
If the pouch does need clearing, as may be the case here, the tips there should help. There's also a pretty good seahorse-centric forum.>
Thanks,
Ann Marie
<Cheers, Neale.>

Male seahorse Gas bubble trapped. 5/1/2010
Hi,
<Hi Carl.>
I have a male seahorse that I think is pregnant .
<It is possible.>
This today he is swimming upside down .
<Not pregnant.>
His pouch has been getting about three times bigger from Monday when I first seen his fat pouch .
<Definitely not pregnant.>
Could he be pregnant or could he have a air bubble?
<Trapped gas bubble. Read here:
http://www.seahorse.org/library/articles/pouchevac/pouchevac.shtml >
Thank you .
<My pleasure.>
Carl
<MikeV>

Seahorse Disease?  3/9/10
Hello WWM Crew,
I have searched all over the net to find out what this is on my Phillies.
There are no pics or even descriptions of anything like this.
<Mmm, looks to be an algae, or algae and other organisms growing on the exterior>
I have 2 seahorses that have a brown rust colored fuzz growing on their backs. I have just noticed it in a couple small patches on two more starting. I am including a pic of one. I just noticed a possibility of labored breathing, they are eating very well, I see no fin rot or bubbles, no lesions, no nothing.
HELP
????
SCOTT
<Summat is off here, broadly, in terms of water quality, and/or filtration/aeration/circulation... that is allowing this algal growth to proliferate. What re your system, maintenance practices? Water tests? What is your ORP? Bob Fenner>

crop

Something wrong with my banded pipefish  11/25/09
Hello:
<Hi there David>
Something is wrong with my banded pipefish and I'm turning to you quickly in hopes you might have a suggestion. I have a tall 37 gallon tank. It is long established, over 5 years. Inhabitants are 2 Reidi seahorses about 4 inches each, a banded pipefish, 5 Astraea , 2 Strombus snails and 2 oysters which hitchhiked in on live rock I purchased about 6 months ago. I use a Marineland BioWheel filter (just a filter pad and the BioWheel, no charcoal) used primarily because it provides additional gentle water movement, an Aqua C Remora skimmer producing about ½ to ¾ cup per week of light brown skimmate, and a Phosban 150 for phosphate removal.
<Be careful with removing too much/all HPO4>
I have an airstone in each back corner to provide additional water movement and because the seahorses like to play in the bubbles. I use Instant Ocean salt and an RO filter; TDS from the RO filter is typically 1 or 2.
I check water chemistry twice per week. I just did tests and the readings were:
pH -- 8.2 or 8.3
Salinity -- 1.024
Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate all zero, and this is a fresh chemistry set.
dKH -- 9.2
Calcium 400
<Magnesium concentration? I would be checking, test for, assuring it's about 3X that of [Ca]>
I also have a healthy growth of Star Polyps, Halimeda and Caulerpa taxifolia (picture attached because of concern about Caulerpa)
<This might be problematical as well... I would remove a good deal of this algae here>
I feed mysis in the evening, Cyclop-eeze in the morning and supplement once or twice a week with live copepods.
Both the seahorses and the pipefish are aggressive eaters. The pipefish is the newest inhabitant, purchased about 3 months ago. I have no idea how old it is. It eats well and looks absolutely healthy -- no discoloration, colors are bright, no white spots or any noticeable blemishes. Fins are clean and erect. Last night and this morning, he did not eat aggressively and tonight he ignored food completely, even the copepods which he normally devours. He normally constantly hunts for food but tonight is hovering near the bottom. Breathing does not appear to be labored and other than the fact that he is not eating and not hunting, he does not appear stressed in any other way.
Back to the Caulerpa. It has been in the tank for about 2 months. I added it for all the "good" reasons and only recently became aware of the of the potential for toxicity.
<Yes, and spread. Either bury in the ground (not flush down), or freeze and place in the trash bin>
I noticed a few white tips (see picture) and thought the problem might possibly be toxicity from 'going sexual.'
<Mmm, no... just general metabolism. If this family does go the sexual route it is sudden and obvious... all water turning green>
I think I'm stretching because the seahorses appear completely normal. I removed the Caulerpa
<Ah, good>
did a 50% water change and put a filter with charcoal in the Marineland filter. These are the only things I can think of to do immediately. I don't have a quarantine tank but could set one up.
Any other thoughts? I really appreciate your help.
Thank you,
David
<I would just wait for now. Gasterosteiform (tube-mouthed) fishes can go long whiles sans food. You have done what I'd advise, which is take steps to improve water quality... and could do more (add a pad of Polyfilter to the HOB in addn. to the carbon for instance), but I would not move the fish/es, add "medicine/s" here. When, where in doubt, do nothing... perhaps other than water changes. Patience my friend. Bob Fenner>

Black Seahorse... Possible Gas Bubble Disease 4/29/09
I have a black seahorse that is acting weird. He will rise to the top and float up to the back where my water intake is. I have a 54 gallon corner drilled tank so the suction isn't that forceful, but I am worried he will get stuck and cant get loose.
<I would recommend building some type of mesh wall near the overflow to prevent the seahorse from being stuck onto it with suction. Please remember to clean the mesh often since it is in front of intake.>
I use a bamboo skewer and hold next to his tail, he wraps around it and I move him back down. He is alert and eating good.
<He sounds like he is doing okay if he is still eating, alert, and taking part in your rescues to the bottom of the tank.>
I have a protein skimmer going and all parameters are okay. just as they have been.
Any ideas as to what is going on?
<Assuming that parameters are in fact okay, and that I can assume your seahorse is a male, based on your use of 'he', my first though would be gas bubbles. Seahorses can get bubbles underneath their skin, in the case of the male often inside the brooding pouch. I would suggest you do a search for similar issues on www.seahorses.org , try both the names Gas Bubble Disease and Pouch emphysema.>
Many thanks
<Good Luck
Josh Solomon>

Seahorse with apparent damaged eye...  2/16/09 I have a Brazilian seahorse (reidi) which has one eye that looks it has lost the pupil and now has the appearance of a small white tube. There seems to be still some movement of the eye itself. Any suggestion on what this can be? Regards Jessie <...? On the basis of what is presented here, I'd say your seahorse may have lost an eye... From? A mechanical injury? A tankmate? W/o data on the set-up, water tests, maintenance... there's nothing more I can venture. Oh, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/tube-mfi.htm and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>

Id help--Picture included   1/29/09 Hi, it's very tiny and I found it crawling around on one of my CB seahorses. <Unusual...> Is it a peanut worm? <Might be, but the pic is so small, unresolved, I can't tell you with any confidence what phylum this speck belongs to> http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v330/Bbella/?action=view&current=P1281076.jpg *[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v330/Bbella/P1281076.jpg[/IMG] Thanks, Liz* <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

A Hirudinean? RMF.

Pipefish/Health 1/24/09 Hi there! <Hello Cai> I had two Corythoichthys sp (probably intestinalis). When purchased they seemed healthy, and as I placed them in my 128 litre (appr. 30 gallon) tank they were the only fish in there. I have had the tank going without fish for quite a while and it has a very good pod population. The pipefish were actively eating, until about the fourth or fifth day I found that they had changed the behaviour pattern. From being actively swimming around they were laying on the sand or LR and then sporadically swam around very fast for a short while after which they again settled on the sand. The next morning one of them was dead, to be followed by the other two days later. One of them was on its back upside down before it died, which I do not think is natural for pipefish. There were no marks on their bodies on either of them. I have come up with two possible theories on their deaths (btw the water is fine, I tested it afterwards). 1) There is a pistol shrimp, Alpheus sp. I have seen it and it is about1,5 cm in length. Could it have defended its cave with snapping and thus brought some inner damage for example to the swim bladder that caused the behavioral change before death. <Is quite possible.> 2) They were so hungry from having a fairly sterile tank in the LFS and when they got in my tank they simply ate themselves to death. This could also explain the behavioral change, though I have not found any references of this on the web. <Pipefish are relatively slow eaters due to their small tubular mouths and is unlikely they died from overeating as most folks recommend a constant supply of pods in their tank and here is where a refugium can be beneficial. This in turn will help simulate nature as they do forage for food continually. They are relatively easy to keep providing proper food and system requirements are met. Outside of the possibility of the pistol shrimp causing any harm, I really do not have an explanation. If the swim bladder was affected, they likely would have a hard time staying on the bottom. Other crew members may chime in here with their input. Should you decide to have another go at pipefish, do read the link below. You may find the information beneficial on your next attempt should you so decide. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-04/hcs3/index.php Thanks, Cai, Kirkkonummi, Finland <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Sick seahorses   1/10/09 I was hoping you could help me. <Will certainly try> I have done a lot of web searching and not been able to find the answer. I have had a 12 gallon nanocube tank with three seahorses (captive bred, h. erectus, one yellow, two black) <Mmm, this species needs more room than this... this, these small volumes are very hard to keep sufficiently stable, optimized> since Nov. It was properly cycled before adding the seahorses, I do my weekly water changes, and take a sample of water to the fish store weekly to have tested, and they have been healthy and active until last week. One started getting white spots on it (picture attached) it looked like it was shedding a little. <"They" do this> It was still eating good, but was not very active. Sunday night it didn't eat, and Monday morning it was dead. The next day one of my black ones started getting white spots on it and looking like it was shedding. It quit eating Wednesday night and was dead Thursday morning. The one that is left still looks good, is still active, but I am worried that I will lose it too. The only thing I could find was that maybe it was flesh erosion disease? How do I treat that, and how do I keep my last one for getting it? Thank you, Krista Payne <Mmm... if you had a microscope, easy access to one, you could take a look/see at this material... try to discern if this is parasitic... but given the peak of your photo, the presence of the "Polyps" (Clavulariids) here... I am more inclined to believe that these fish are suffering from environmental stress... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/seahorssysfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Seahorses -- 6/4/08 Hi there <Hello Samantha, Brenda here!> I have 4 seahorses in a 50L tank and have had them for 5months but 2 of them are really sick. They have turned white and won't eat. <What are you feeding? > The white stuff on one will come off but he looks clear and see through his eyes are shut and he's only just moving... the other one I think is dead. <Did you quarantine?> Please help me work out what I've done wrong as I won't be getting anymore till I know how this has happened. I honestly thought I was doing well as this is the first time I've ever owned seahorses. Samantha <Unfortunately, I can't be of much help to you. If your horses were wild caught they need to be put through a series of medications to rid them of disease. I suggest purchasing captive raised horses in the future. Please visit the folk over at www.seahorse.org for the best information available on Seahorse care. Brenda>
Re: Sick Seahorses -- 6/11/08
Hi there Samantha here again. <Hello Samantha! > My seahorses are not from the wild I bought them from the pet shop. <Most Seahorses sold in pet shops are wild collected. Were you specifically told that these were captive raised? > The only thing I was told to feed them is frozen brine shrimp. <Brine shrimp is not enough, try some Mysis shrimp. > I only have one Seahorse left as all the others died so yeah it is quarantined. I have been to the website that you suggested and can't find much help. <Try posting in the emergency section. Brenda>

... Seahorse bubbles, algae troubles, glass tank colors  - 05/31/08 Hi everyone, I have a few question. I have had seahorses for a while now. Lately though I have lost 2 of them due to bubbles on them. <?> I just the other day. These are beautiful creatures and really hate to lose them. I read somewhere that when they get them you have to pop the bubble and release the air. I have done that and still I lose them. My questions are: What do I do when they do get them? What can I do stop this from happening again? <Mmm, you should take a look through Ocean Rider (.com)s site... their search tool re> And what causes this? Different subject now is in my other tank I am starting to get a lot of green hair algae. I have read in your website that it is caused by Phosphate, Nitrates or too much lighting. <These are principal possibilities; there are others> Its in a 24 Aquapod. Im doing water changes every week to get this under control but nothing. I have media in there for Phosphates and Nitrates and I am also using Algone and nothing seems to be helping. I drilled the top hood to run plumbing so I can have a sump in the bottom stand where I have my Protein Skimmer and UV light and filter. Im losing here on this tank. What else can I do. <... need more data. You should read on WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm scroll down to Marine Algae...> Its mostly coral in there and reef fishes in there. Last subject. I have a 55 gallon. Friend on mine got rid of his 250 gallon and gave me his Tiger eel. Its too big for my 55 so I got a 125 the other day. The kid that had it has a snake in it. <Warning! This tank may not be made to hold water... the glass may be too thin... I urge you to measure the thickness before filling> The glass is kind of stained on the back. Its a real smooth stain when you can barely feel it with your nail. Not even a razor blade will take it off as it is too smooth. Don't want to run anything rough as I don't want to scratch it. LFS told me to use vinegar and salt as the abrasive and that might work. Do you have any other ideas??? Thanks Bill M <... see WWM re cleaning tanks... the vinegar and salt should do it. Bob Fenner>

Seahorse trouble   4/4/08 Dear WWM, <Albert> I set up a 56 gallon column tank for seahorses. I cycled it and filled it with live rock and fake gorgonians. I have ozone and UV set up on this tank. I have a Remora C protein skimmer and I have a box attached to the output as to prevent bubbles from being introduced to the tank. I stocked the tank with some blennies, cardinals, and gobies first. They are all fine. Then I purchased 4 black Kuda seahorses that were tank raised from my local LFS. <Really? Progressive> They were fine for one week eating frozen mysis. After that they got ill and eventually they had their tails turn white then the body. They all died. I tried to research on the web and thought it could be Costia or Vibrio or both. <Yikes!> So I waited a month thinking the UV and ozone would do the trick. I then purchased some erectus seahorses from an online vendor. <Mmm... your system itself may be infested...> Again they were captive raised and again they contracted the same disease. I am worried that the only way I can have seahorses is to tear down the tank and bleach everything and start it up new. <This, decidedly extreme course, is often best> But I am not up to that. Is there any way to kill what is in my tank without destroying all of the beneficial bacteria. <Mmm, not w/o knowing what the actual causative organism/s are> I thought some products like Aqua Pro-Cure and/or Revive might work. They are made by FishVet and contain Water 88 - 91% CAS #: 7732-18-5 Formaldehyde 4 - 6% CAS #: 50-00-0 <... a biocide. See WWM re> Methyl Alcohol <1 - 2% CAS #: 67-56-1 Acriflavine Hydrochloride <2% CAS #: 8048-52-0 9-Aminoacridine <2% CAS #: 52417-22-8. It should kill Protozoans and gram negative bacteria like a Vibrio strain. Also is there anything I should look for in the water? <Mmmm> I have a high powered microscope. My erectus seahorses are dead and dried. <Mmm, need to be "fresh dead" to sample...> But is there a way I could get some type of sample to look at under the scope to see what I am fighting. <I strongly encourage you to invest in a copy of Ed Noga: Fish Disease, Identification and Treatment> I would really like to get some seahorses but I am afraid of what is in my tank. Any input would be great. <Too much to relate here> As for my tank, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate, 0 phosphate, 76 degrees, 96 watts of compact fluorescent lighting, and ORP of 350mV. I perform water changes regularly with tap and instant ocean salt mix. Thank you very much, Al <Bob Fenner>

Albert Jackson on Seahorses again   4/4/08 I forgot to tell you I did quarantine them for 2 weeks before adding to the system. Thanks <Helpful, but... do take a long read on OceanRider.com's site re PeteG's disease archives... BobF>

Female seahorse 911  3/23/08 My female seahorse has a white object coming out where her tube for egg transfer or her where she discards waste would be. and it has been that way for thee days and I don't think she is eating is this normal or is there something I can do? <Yes... log in to OceanRider.com and peruse PeteG's logs re Seahorse disease. Bob Fenner>

QUESTION CONCERNING FEMALE SEAHORSE  3/26/08 Pete, Bob Fenner suggested I email you concerning one of my female seahorses. She has a white, reddish object where her waste is suppose to come out and it has been there for three days. She has not eaten anything during this time. Do you know what this is and is there something I can do for her? I would appreciate any information that you think might help. Thank you, Mark Goodwin <Dear Mark: I'm very sorry to hear about the problem that your female seahorse is developed. It is difficult to determine exactly what is troubling your female but I would be happy to share my thoughts on the matter with you. As I understand the situation, your female has a white, reddish object protruding from her vent, and has been in this condition for the past few days. The seahorse's vent is the cleft formed by the combined openings of the anus and urogenital pore. It is the simple recessed passage located just above (cranial to) the anal fin in females.. Three things are normally expelled through the vent: fecal pellets, urine, and gametes (ova or eggs, in the case of females, and spermatozoa, in the case of males). My best bet is that your female has become egg bound, Mark. I suspect the white material protruding from her vent is prolapsed tissue, while the reddish mass may be some of the congealed red-orange ova beginning to protrude. More information regarding egg binding and a possible treatment for the condition are discussed in the following excerpt from my new book (Complete Guide to the Greater Seahorses in the Aquarium, unpublished): Egg Binding: a Health Risk for Breeding Females. <quote> Egg binding occurs when a female has ripened (hydrated) a clutch of eggs and is unable to deposit them with a mate or release them for some reason. As more eggs develop, the egg bound female becomes increasing bloated and great pressure begins to build up internally. The abdomen will be very swollen, especially around the vent, and often prolapsed tissue or other material will begin to protrude from the vent as the pressure builds. The affected female will show rapid respiration and may go off her feed. If the pressure cannot be relieved, death results. Tracy Warland describes a typical case in a female Potbelly (Hippocampus abdominalis) as follows: "Went into the shed one morning to find an adult mare, probably fully mature, in distress. She had been living quite happily in the main tank with about 10 males to meet any desire she might have. Anyway she was lying on the bottom of the tank, panting. I removed her immediately and placed her in sick tank, thought it could be parasites so gave her several 5-minute freshwater baths, but these did not seem to help. I had checked all parameters of large tank the day before so I knew the water was pristine, no other horse was stressed. When I was putting her back after a freshwater bath, I was supporting her upright for a few minutes to see if she could hitch somewhere. I applied very slight pressure to her belly, and out shot masses of orange stuff. I collected some and checked under the microscope and it looked very much like roe, but the yolk was almost smashed, with globules of a fat-like substance within the centre. We've had roe before, due to unsuccessful egg transfer, so we picked up some of bottom of tank and checked it out! I put it down to women's problems, egg bound, could not discharge unfertilized eggs, these became rotten within her and therefore caused perhaps fever like symptoms." Egg binding is uncommon in seahorses. Most females have no problem simply dumping their eggs and spilling them on the bottom when a receptive male is unavailable. But there are two circumstances that sometimes promote egg binding. One of them is when breeding seahorses are kept in a tank that's too shallow. Courtship will proceed normally and the female will hydrate her clutch of eggs in due course, but the pair will then be unable to complete the copulatory rise due to the lack of depth. In such a situation, the female is very reluctant too dump her eggs while a receptive male is standing by, eager to receive them. If she retains the ripened eggs too long in hope that they will be able to complete the egg transfer despite the inadequate vertical swimming space, she may become egg bound. The other situation that may predispose females to egg binding is when the sexes are segregated. For example, Heather Hall reports that the London Zoo was so successful in breeding and raising the prolific Cape Seahorse (Hippocampus capensis) that, at one point, they were forced to separate the males and females in order to bring a halt to the population explosion that resulted (Bull and Mitchell, 2002, p 30). However, they were soon forced to abandon their experiment in enforced abstinence because it proved stressful to the seahorses and the isolated females began developing swollen abdomens and experiencing difficulty with egg binding when deprived of the opportunity to breed (Bull and Mitchell, 2002, p 30). There is no ready cure for egg binding and attempts to manually massage the eggs from the body usually only result in internal injuries. However, there is a folk remedy that's commonly used to treat egg binding in freshwater fish. This treatment consists of placing the affected fish in a bath of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) for 10-15 minutes at a dosage of one tablespoon of Epsom salt for every one-gallon of water (Duedall, 2004). The Epsom baths are repeated once a day until the patient recovers (Duedall, 2004). I have no idea if this remedy would have any affect on a marine fish, but many freshwater hobbyists swear by it, and egg binding is fatal if unresolved so you really have nothing to lose by trying it. Epsom salts are certainly inexpensive and readily available. If you want to give it a go, I suggest administering a 10-15 minute freshwater bath with one tablespoon of magnesium sulfate per gallon added to the bath water. Mix in the magnesium salts thoroughly, aerate the container, and observe the usual precautions for any freshwater dip. Repeat once daily as needed. As always, prevention is the best cure. If you provide your seahorses with a reasonably tall aquarium and avoid separating the males from the females, there is a very good chance you will never see a case of egg binding. <end quote> In short, Mark, if your female's abdomen appears swollen, particularly around the area of the vent, then I suspect that she may be egg bound. The prognosis is poor in such cases, but the condition is not at all contagious and no pathogens of any sort are usually involved, so the rest of your herd should remain unaffected. Prolapses will often repair themselves once the internal pressure has been relieved, so if you can induce your female to release her clutch of eggs, possibly using the Epsom salts as described above, there is a chance that she may recover. But the chances of a good outcome are slim once the pressure from egg binding has reached a point where tissue and compressed ova begin to extrude through the vent. To give you an idea of how much pressure can build up in these cases, a female will often lose 30% of her weight when she drops a clutch of eggs or transfers her ripened eggs to a receptive male. So the reddish mass that is protruding from her vent now is really just a fraction of the tip of the iceberg, so to speak... If your female is not egg bound, the only other possibility that occurs to me is that the objects protruding from her vent may be intestinal parasites, particularly worms of some sort, which is something that should be considered seriously if she is a wild seahorse. I have occasionally seen reddish worms protruding from the vent of wild-caught seahorses, although these are typically visible only sporadically, rather than for days at a time. In the unlikely event that the objects protruding from her vent our intestinal parasites, they should respond very well to treatment with Fenbendazole (brand name Panacur), which is an anthelmintic or deworming agent, or with an antiparasitic such as Praziquantel. Let me know if you feel such treatments are warranted in your case, sir, and I would be happy to provide you with complete instructions for administering the Fenbendazole or Praziquantel. Best of luck treating your ailing female, Mark. Respectfully, Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support <Thanks much Pete. BobF in Kota Kinabalu>

Hippocampus capensis aka Zulu Lulu Seahorses -- 07/30/07 Bob did a great job with your query. There are just a couple of things I would like to add and reinforce. 10g is to small for all the usual reasons small tanks are not recommended as well as I believe they need more space. 20 would be good and 30 even better. They seem to be bottom dwellers and love to cruise around along the substrate and IMO a bigger footprint would be better for them. Since they do spend so much time on the substrate a softer finer sandy substrate would be best for them'¦.anything rough or sharp is a potential risk for cuts and scratches that could get infected, because they actually drag their tails and bellies on the substrate. The information about capensis doing well at higher temps and showing prettier colors is very dated information. The pretty colors are not worth the risk of their health IMO. Please do not attempt to keep them at 77 to 78 degrees. This is a certain death sentence for them. They are adorable little creatures no matter what color they display. They do not do well at warmer temps it will more than shorten their life span. Everyone I know of including myself who attempted this quite a while ago lost their capensis to tail infections and as a matter of fact some of those people were able to "cure" them for a while by lowering the temps. They are indeed a temperate species and most definitely need a chiller. They should be kept in the 66 to 69 degree range. I would not even attempt 72, which is the upper end of the documented range for them. I hope this helps. Leslie>
Re: Hippocampus capensis aka Zulu Lulu Seahorses... sel., hlth. -- 07/30/07
<Hi there, I apologize for not checking my mail box and answering this in a timely fashion. I do have a little additional info to add to Bob's response to your query. You can find info on the use of Pancur for treating hydroids on the www.oceanrider.com web site. As for capensis being able to eat the Hawaiian red feeder shrimp, you would be surprised they can. They are actually quite determined little eaters. If their food is to big to go down in one snick they will keep snicking until it is gone. I have seen them tackle some good sized mysis. Yes female seahorses can get subcutaneous and generalized gas bubble disease. They however do not seem to be as prone to it as the males are, in my experience. Hope this helps. Leslie>

Seahorse Loss 7/5/07 Hey guys!!! <Hi Bill, MacL here with you tonight.> Wanted to know what I did wrong. Have a 24g AquaPod reef tank. Have 2 seahorses, 2 Blue Reef Chromis, PJ Cardinal, Firefish Goby and a Mandarin Dragonet. I pulled my 2 seahorse out and put it in my 55 gallon where I have another seahorse and 1 Chromis and that's its. Been working on the smaller tank so I don't have much in the bigger yet. Anyways, I pulled them out cause I needed to redo my live rocks cause I have about 8-9 different corals and it was getting kinda sloppy in there. The next day I notice ONE of my seahorses acting weird by laying against a rock. Now when I moved them they didn't touch air. The whole move was done under water. So I pulled her out of my tank and put her back in hers thinking she was home sick. I know these seahorses stress real easily. So that night she was acting even worse. She would not use her tail and would bounce off of it like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. So I looked at her tail and it was starting to peel its skin and you could see the white. <Do you have a heater in either of the tanks where she could have grabbed onto it? I've seen this happen when the seahorse grabs the heater and gets burnt badly.> So then I knew something was wrong. The other seahorses are fine. The next day (4th of July so I couldn't go out to buy her meds) her whole tail was peeling its skin and by the end of the night she was dead. <Unfortunately this sounds just like what I saw with a friends seahorse after it got burnt by the heater.> WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED?!?!? It happened so quickly. Everyone else is doing just fine. I tested the water and everything checked within specs Thanks Bill M

Re: Seahorse homicide, hlth, sys  -- 07/18/07 <Hey Bill, sorry about the delay in response. Unfortunately life is kicking me in the pants lately.> I didn't think of that but the only tank that has a heater is the 55 which is the tank I put her in when I was doing the move but the heater barely ever turns on and my other seahorse is always attached it and nothing has happened to him. <I always recommend not having internal heaters or having the heater placed behind something with a seahorse because all it takes is one time for it to turn on while the seahorse is holding on and they are just such tempting things for the ponies to grab onto.>(knock on wood). Can it be something else or do you think she was more sensitive than the other seahorse? <I really believe it turned on and got her. I'm sorry for your loss. But on the bright side that is something that is very correctibly for your tank and the safety of your babies. Good luck, MacL>

Seahorses... hlth... no data of use    6/21/07 One of my seahorses seems to has developed a problem. The tip of His tail appears to have turned white and he seems to have trouble holding on. He is swimming but does not do so as freely as he always does. Is the tip of the tail turning white a symptom and what can I do to cure it. Grewsh <Doesn't sound/read good... And no useful info. re the system, maint., water quality tests, foods/feeding, tankmates... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seahorsdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above, and review the seahorse health archives on OceanRider.com Soon. Bob Fenner>

Infected Tank???  6/20/07 Hi Crew, <Cindy> Bob, Anthony and Eric. Thanks for all your help in the past. I have successfully, with your assistance as well as the help of a wonderful and financially supportive Husband, built a beautiful Seahorse Paradise over the past year. I find myself once again thrown into a learning curb (hard lesson). I have a 120-Gallon Oceanic with trickle filter and sump system. I use the sump as a refugium, set up with live sand and Chaeto Algae's. I have 100+ lbs. of live rock, 3-4 inch sand and Aragonite mixed bed. Corals include LPS' mostly, few leathers (don't like my nitrate issues) and two plating Montiporas. My water perimeters are Ammonia 0, even with deaths in the tank, Nitrites 0, PH 8.3, Nitrates 20-40, <Mmmm> Only drops below 20 right after water changes. I do water changes of 20% once weekly. I vacuum substrate daily of debris and food waste (which accounts for another 20% weekly). I know the nitrates are high for corals. Bob had improved them greatly with the suggestion of the sump and thickening the sand bed. <May want to add more still> I have a seahorse set-up, which requires extreme feeding circumstances <And hard to accomplish both in large/r systems... getting enough food to the horses...> (any other nitrate lowering suggestions would help). The real problem is the latest additions to my tank were not, AS ADVERTISED, Tank Raised. I find myself losing Ocean Rider Seahorses; <Bunk!> I have successfully kept for a year. Pete Giwojna thinks the tank is possibly infected with Amyloodinium or Uronema. <REAL trouble> My question to you is.... with Corals mentioned above, 8 Seahorses remaining, 12+ Peppermint Shrimp, 12+ Astrea Snails, 12+ Scarlet crabs, 3 Banggai Cardinals, 1 Jawfish Goby and a bio load to die for, How Do I treat the Tank? I am ready to destroy a years worth of work and thousands of $$ to Nuke the tank in order to reset with all fake ingredients for Seahorse safety. I don't know what else to do. I can treat seahorses, corals, live rock and sand all separate if need be, but what will assure me I will not re-infest everything when introducing back to main tank. What should I discard i.e., cleaning crew, Macro's, etc? Please help. I have to get this system back in line before I lose the rest of my stock. I have searched your site and read through all my books (mostly from you guys) but as you can see, I have a pretty isolated problem, which is going to take the expertise of several professionals in different fields. Thanks for being there and for your advice even if it means starting over. Cindy <A bunch of trouble... but I would remove all the fishes to other quarters and treat with (sequentially, one, then the other) an intermediate (moving the fishes to likely two sub-systems... one for the horses, the other for the other fishes... for maint. issues), a pH-adjusted FW bath and formalin immersion (see WWM re) and two weeks later Chloroquine per here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm... We (you, I, PeteG) can/should "chat" re this process if you feel uncomfortable. Bob Fenner>

Infected Tank??? Seahorses f? Bgrd.s   8/15/07 Hi Bob, <Cynne> Thanks for the response. I cannot believe I passed up the opportunity to have a three-way chat with you and Pete. <Heeeee!> That was like inviting a groupie back stage, seeing as how I am a huge fan of you both. I have been very busy trying to treat individual specimens in two separate tanks. I pulled all horses and began treatment for bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections all with no luck. I have only one OR survivor. Everyone lost appetites and slowly gave up the fight. Strangely enough I left all cleaning crew and fish in the main tank and treated it with Rally Reef. <Mmmm> The shrimp, snails, and fish are all fine? <Likely so... this product is a placebo at best> Needless to say the nitrates have diminished alot <No such word> of the corals, or at least I believe that's what caused it. My question to you now is, I would like to tear down this tank and reseal it (using the advice I have found here) as well as paint the background blue. The tank is about 8 yrs. old and currently has the black background. I went through all the archives on building as well as repairing tanks and could not find out if there is a safe way to go about this. <Sure there is...> One of the excerpts I read said that pool paint could be used in ponds. I also found that tub and tile epoxy (baby safe when cured) had been used in some cases on aquariums. The tank is a glass Oceanic; will these materials adhere to the surface and be fish safe? <Mmm, yes... but I would just use a water-based latex paint here> Or should I try to find a Plexiglas material and cover the backing? <Nah> Thanks again for all the time you sacrifice to make this hobby less stressful for others. My plan now is to try my hand at a species only tank with Scorpion fish and Anglers. I will be back in touch when I get to the restocking stages Thanks Again Cynne <Welcome. BobF>

Seahorses SOS 6/15/07 HI, <Hello> I'm sorry, but I have not looked on your website for the answer on my question and I am hoping for a quick response. <Usually quicker to search yourself, often mails can go hours or days without answers.> I have a 30 gallon seahorse tank that has been up and running for 2 years with no problems. I moved the tank to a different location and did a large water change (about 75%). One of my seahorses is laying on the sand bottom not looking to happy and I noticed that the plant that is in the tank is turning yellow and there is green balls on top of the leafs (it looks like the color is being pulled out of the leafs thru the pores). Please help my seahorses I don't want to lose them. Thank you, Diana <Sounds like something is off with the new water. Check its parameters and how it compares to the previous readings. I try to limit any water change to less that 25%, and just do them more often when I need to.> <Chris>

Seahorse problem, no useful data   5/14/07 I have had two seahorses for over a year now with no problems. They eat well, and were doing fine. But about a month ago, I found one dead that was basically white in color, due to the bristleworms eating it. Now, my female, I notice is losing it's tail. It's turning white, as if a parasite is eating it alive. The seahorse is still eating, and from the very beginning I have always done water changes every week. I am not good with knowing what to treat them with, or with medications. I've really never had to before with my other fish, except ich. I read that a freshwater dip works well, but I am afraid of having the fish suffer anymore than it already probably is. Any info would be very appreciated.  Thanks,  Eddie V. <Need much more information here... re your system set-up, maintenance, water test results/history, foods/feeding... I do strongly suggest your joining, browsing one or more of the seahorse BB's... and writing to Pete Giwojna, perusing the archives of OceanRider.com's site. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lugol's Dip and Gorgonians, Pete, will you take a look at, refer? & bacteria f', human dis.   -- 4/10/07 <Yowsa Pete! Thanks as usual for this dissertation! BobF> Dear Mark: Bob forwarded your email to me and asked me to lend a hand with your dilemma.  It's very difficult to say what may have caused the demise of  your H. kuda but I would be happy to share my thoughts on the matter with you  for whatever it's worth, sir. Like all fish, seahorses do occasionally develop various granulomas, malignant neoplasms, tumors and fibrosarcomas associated with certain diseases  or the aging process, but these primarily affect internal organs.   Furthermore, such growths are not characteristic of vibriosis and, judging from  the symptoms you described -- or lack thereof -- it seems unlikely that a Vibrio infection was involved in this case. I am more concerned about the possibility that the tumor may have been a granuloma symptomatic of a Mycobacterial infection.  Granuloma disease is  caused by gram positive, acid-fast bacteria from either the genus Mycobacteria  or the closely related genus Nocardia invading the tissue and internal organs and organ systems. Both of these bacteria can affect the skin as well as the internal organs, causing nodules and granuloma. And both Mycobacteria and Nocardia can be transmitted to man, causing a localized, unsightly skin rash  after entering through a cut or break in the skin. Here is an excerpt from my new book (Complete Guide to the Greater  Seahorses in the Aquarium, TFH Publications, unpublished) that discusses mycobacteriosis in more detail, Mark.  It may help give you a better idea  whether or not the tumor you noticed could have been associated with granuloma  disease: MYCOBACTERIOSIS, A.K.A. PISCINE TUBERCULOSIS Mycobacteriosis is also known by the following synonyms: fish tuberculosis, piscine tuberculosis, granuloma disease, swimming pool granuloma, fish tank granuloma, and acid-fast disease (Aukes, 2004; Leddo, 2002a). Like all fishes, seahorses are susceptible to Mycobacteriosis. It is not uncommon in wild-caught  seahorses obtained from pet stores and is the second most commonly seen  bacterial infection of syngnathids at large public aquaria after Vibriosis (Bull  and Mitchell, 2002, p20). Cause: Fish tuberculosis is caused by pathogenic Mycobacteria, of which two different species are the primary culprits: Mycobacterium marinum and  Mycobacterium fortuitum (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). Unlike most bacteria the plague  fish, these Mycobacteria are gram-positive, and take the form of pleomorphic  rods that are acid-fast and nonmotile (Aukes, 2004). When cultured on solid  media, they form cream-colored to yellowish colonies (Aukes, 2004). Mycobacteriosis is worldwide in distribution (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). All fish species are considered susceptible to it (Aukes, 2004). Although this disease can in fact infect almost all fish, certain species are more vulnerable than others (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). The most susceptible species are freshwater tropicals such as black mollies, all gouramis, Neons and other tetras, all labyrinth air breathers, and most species of the Carp family (goldfish and koi, for example), Aukes, 2004. Mycobacteria are ubiquitous and waterborne, and the aquatic environment is considered the disease reservoir for fish tuberculosis (Aukes, 2004).   Mycobacterium marinum has been cultured throughout the world from swimming pools, beaches, natural streams, estuaries, lakes, tropical fish tanks, city tap  water and well water (Aukes, 2004; Leddo, 2002a). Human epidemics of  granulomatous skin disease have occurred from swimming in infected water, and in  fact, this mode of human infection is far more common than infection from  exposure to infected fish tanks (Aukes, 2004; Giwojna, Sep. 2003).

Clinical Signs: There is a very severe or peracute form of this disease, in which fish can simply be found dead without showing any telltale signs or symptoms (Bull and Mitchell, 2002, p20), but that is quite rare. In my experience, Mycobacteriosis  is a chronic disease that progresses quite slowly in aquarium fishes (Giwojna,  Sep. 2003). It may take years for an infected fish to develop any symptoms of  apparent illness and much longer before it becomes fatal (Aukes, 2004). The  glacial progression of the disease makes it difficult to diagnose. Some early  signs to look out for include lethargy, fin loss, emaciation, skin inflammation  and ulceration, edema, Popeye, and peritonitis (Aukes, 2004). There may be  superficial skin lesions that take the form of small subdermal lumps or pus-filled nodules of granulation tissue (Bull and Mitchell, 2002, p21). These  are simply the outward manifestations of a systemic infection that may already  involve many of the major internal organs (Bull and Mitchell, 2002, p21). In  later stages, nodules may develop in muscles or skeletal structure and deform  the fish. (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). As difficult as slow-moving TB may be to diagnose while the infected fish  is alive, once the victim expires, postmortem examination will reveal clear, unmistakable signs of Mycobacteriosis (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). The telltale granulomas will appear as gray or white nodules in the liver, kidney, heart  and/or spleen (Aukes, 2004). There is often black, necrotic tissue eating away  at the internal organs, and there may also be skeletal deformities. Diagnosis is then confirmed by the presence of acid fast bacteria in tissue sections (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). Treatment and Control: There is no practical method for treating mycobacteriosis or granuloma disease at the hobbyist level.  As discussed below, good aquarium  management can prevent Mycobacteria/Nocardia from becoming problematic.   Prevention is the watchword for this condition. Transmission: The bacteria can be transmitted through the water from open ulcers, through contaminated food (including live foods such as shrimp or molly fry), via feces  of infected fish, or through the consumption of infected, dead or dying fish in  the tank (although the latter does not apply to seahorses), Aukes, 2004. Contributing factors: This disease is not highly contagious and does not seem to spread from fish to fish readily (Aukes, 2004). However, fish TB it is often associated with poorly kept or dirty tanks with poor water quality (Aukes, 2004). Chronic stress  from factors such as overcrowding, malnutrition, or aggressive tankmates often  plays a role as well (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). Mycobacterium, the causative organism, is believed to be ubiquitously present, making it very difficult to eliminate it entirely. However, if good aquarium maintenance and management is followed, including vacuuming of the  gravel along with good filtration and regular water changes, combined with a nutritious diet and the addition of an enrichment product rich in vitamins, the problem can be minimized and eliminated as a cause of mortality (Aukes, 2004).   Any dead fish should quickly be removed and disposed of properly. Diseased live fish should be isolated and treated in a hospital tank (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). Transmission to Man: The seahorse keeper should be aware that piscine tuberculosis is one of the few forms of fish disease that is communicable to humans (Leddo, 2002a). This transmission usually manifests itself as an unsightly skin rash involving one or  more granulomas on the arms of the fish-keeper (Leddo, 2002a). In severe cases,  these nodules of inflamed tissue can become large and disfiguring. They can  spread and be very difficult to eliminate. The granulomas often take some 2-4  weeks after exposure before manifesting themselves, so the individual is  frequently unaware of how he or she contracted them and the condition very often  goes undiagnosed (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). The Mycobacteria that cause the disease  typically gain entry through a break in the skin such as a cut, scrape, or  abrasion on the hand or arm of the aquarist (Leddo, 2002a). Although unsightly,  the granulomas themselves are not a serious problem and are almost always  localized and most certainly curable in healthy individuals. But for those of us  whose immune systems are compromised by AIDS, kidney disease, diabetes, liver  dysfunction, chemotherapy or the like, the infection can sometimes become  systemic or, on rare occasions, even life threatening (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). Awareness is the appropriate response to the risk posed by fish tuberculosis. The seahorse keeper should be aware of the remote possibility of  being exposed to Mycobacteria via his aquarium, and take appropriate  precautions, but there is certainly no need to be overly concerned (Giwojna,  Sep. 2003). The aquarist should merely remain aware of Mycobacteria and follow the  usual sensible precautions. Nets, aquarium accessories and equipment, and any other items that may come in contact with the fish should be sterilized between uses to prevent cross-contamination (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). Avoid mouth-siphoning of the water in a Myco-positive tank (use a hand pump instead).    Mycobacterium cannot penetrate intact skin -- it only causes infection after  entering through open wounds or source, so make full use of aquarium gloves and  don't place your hands or arms in the aquarium if you have any cuts or scrapes (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). Handle sick fish carefully, dispose of deceased specimens properly, and scrub up afterwards. Do NOT dispose of dead fish by flushing them down the toilet, as this is a prime way to spread disease. Place the fish carcass in a plastic bag or wrap it in some foil and dispose of it with the solid waste of the household. And don't feed dying fish to larger carnivorous fish, since this an excellent way to spread infection (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). One thing hobbyists who are worried about fish TB can do to allay their concerns is to get their seahorses and live foods (crustaceans such as shrimp  are known vectors for Mycobacteriosis) from a High Health facility such as Ocean Rider rather than from their local fish store (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). Seahorses at  OR are routinely screened for pathogens and parasites by independent examiners  from an outside agency (DVMs with the Department of Agriculture), and I know for  a fact that Mycobacteriosis is one of the diseases they specifically check for  (Giwojna, Sep. 2003). Thus far, multi-organ histopathology has found no  granulomas and tissue sections have revealed no acid-fast bacteria -- conclusive  proof that Ocean Riders are free of Mycobacteria. <Close quote> That's the rundown on mycobacteriosis or granuloma disease, Mark. The very similar Nocardia is a gram positive, acid-fast, filamentous bacteria and is even more insidious than Myco. Nocardia is closely related to  the Mycobacteria that cause piscine TB or granuloma disease and, like  Mycobacteria, it can affect the skin as well as the internal organs, causing  nodules, granulomas and pyogranulatomous cysts. And like Mycobacteria, Nocardia  can be transmitted to man, so be sure to take appropriate precautions if you  suspect granuloma disease may have caused the death of your H. kuda. Here is some information from Paul Anderson explaining how professional aquarists typically deal with Mycobacterium/Nocardia: Fellow Seahorse Enthusiasts: Mycobacterium is a genus of bacteria that are ubiquitous in almost all environments. Mycobacterium infections occur in many (if not all) vertebrate  taxa (e.g., mammals, birds, fish, etc.). Some studies that have looked at prevalence of infection of Mycobacterium in wild animals have often found that a small percentage of wild animals are infected, even without clinical signs. The most common Mycobacterium species found in seahorses are M. marinum, M. chelonae, and M. fortuitum. There is currently no cure for mycobacterium infections in fish. The options available are to 1) depopulate and disinfect the system, or 2) maintain the fish but prevent cross-contamination by observing strict biosecurity protocols. The second option is often chosen by public aquaria with long-standing displays, when aquaculture/production of the infected  fish is not an issue. Many mycobacterium spp. can cause disease in humans, especially if the species is a rapidly growing one and/or if the person is immunocompromised. Of  the three species mentioned above, M. marinum is a slow grower, and grows at 25 degrees Celsius incubation, but not at 37 degrees Celsius. The other two are rapid-growing species and grow at both temperatures of incubation. The significance of 37 degrees is that it is human body temperature. While most infections of otherwise healthy people are limited to lesions on the extremities (even with infection by a rapid-grower), there is a greater risk of the rapid-growers to cause systemic disease (especially in immunocompromised  people). In a Myco-positive tank, the best option is not to come in contact with water or fish; wear gloves (sleeved gloves if necessary). Avoid mouth siphoning (use a hand pump). Having said that, in an aquarium situation mycobacterium only  causes infection if it enters a wound; it cannot penetrate intact skin.   Effective disinfectants against mycobacterium include spraying with 70% Ethanol and allowing the equipment to air-dry, and bleach baths (I use 50ppm bleach baths with a minimum contact time of one hour, this has been reported to be effective against M. marinum) followed by sodium thiosulfate neutralization baths. Ultraviolet light sterilization is also recommended in Myco-positive systems. If you've got Myco-positive tanks among other systems, common sense suggests performing husbandry on these systems last in your rounds. A note on ethanol: I have found in my experience that seahorses are very sensitive to ethanol, so I advise being very cautious to avoid overspray into tanks (while we're'¬"¢re on the topic, has anybody else observed this?) Check out the following for more information about mycobacterium infections in fish/aquaria: <_ http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/VM055_ ( http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/VM055) > <_ http://www.mdsg.umd.edu/Extension/finfish/FF9.html_ ( http://www.mdsg.umd.edu/Extension/finfish/FF9.html) > Mainous, M.E., and S.A. Smith. 2005. Efficacy of common disinfectants against Mycobacterium marinum. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 17:  284-288. Paul Anderson Ph.D. Candidate Department of Fisheries and Aquatic  Sciences University of Florida That's the situation when Mycobacteria is confirmed in an aquarium,  Mark. As long as you observe the proper precautions and practice good  aquarium management, it's a problem the aquarist can sometimes live  with...   Nocardia is a different matter.  When Nocardia is confirmed in an  aquarium, the only real recourse is to break down the entire aquarium, discard  the live rock, substrate, and invertebrates, sterilize everything, and start  over from scratch.  The problem is that Nocardia is saprophytic -- it  doesn't require a host to survive and it will persist in your system  indefinitely. These bacteria live off any kind of dead or decaying organic  matter; in nature they are commonly found in soil and wastewater -- in your  tank, Mark, they are no doubt entrenched in your substrate, live rock, filters,  everything -- where they act as a disease reservoir, ready to infect any new  fish and invertebrates (or careless humans) they encounter when the opportunity  presents itself. The risk of cross-contamination of your other tanks and specimens is great, compounded by the fact that human health (primarily yours, Mark) is also at risk  from this organism.  If your H. kuda was infected with Nocardia, then everything in your 25-gallon aquarium has been exposed to these bacteria and is potentially a source of infection. Leading the tank lay fallow indefinitely will  not help with Nocardia whatsoever.  If Nocardia killed your kuda, you must consider all the equipment, decor and specimens in the tank to be contaminated,  Mark -- treat them like you would toxic waste or any other biohazard. Even your  invertebrates are a risk. Your coral, macroalgae, etc,. are all sources of  organic matter, and can therefore harbor Nocardia and carry the infection. Do NOT disperse your live rock, substratum, Gorgonia and soft corals, macroalgae, equipment or accessories from the 25-gallon tank to your other aquaria, Mark, or you will be inoculating them with Nocardia and spreading the infection to all your tanks! And you must be extremely careful to avoid accidentally cross-contaminating your other tanks from your 25 gallon aquarium.  Any nets, hydrometers, or other equipment used in your 25-gallon aquarium should  be sterilized after every use and not placed into or used in any other tanks. Avoid working in infected aquarium with your bare hands, scrub/disinfect your hands and arms thoroughly after working on the tank, and do not place your hands in the 25-gallon tank and then place your hands in another aquarium. These bacteria can even be transferred from one aquarium to another by splashing water  droplets or as an aerosol via the mist generated from a protein skimmer or an  airstone. Be careful! That is what I typically advise hobbyists when Nocardia has been confirmed in their aquaria, Mark.  I hesitate to recommend such drastic measures when Nocardia or Mycobacterium have not been confirmed.  And the tumor that you described is not typical of the pyogranulatomous cysts that characterize Nocardia.  They most often present as greyish-white pimple like lesions on  the skin.   They are often motile when manipulated and may release a cheesy  exudate when compressed.  That does not sound like the hard mass you  detected beneath the skin near the vent of the H. kuda. So you're going to need to use your own judgment, Mark.  To be 100%  safe, you could discard the contents of your 25-gallon aquarium, sterilize everything, and start over from scratch.  Or you could dip the live rock,  Gorgonia, and corals with Lugol's solution as a precaution and then trust to  good aquarium management to keep the seahorses in your 40-gallon aquarium  healthy and happy.  Since Mycobacteria and Vibrio bacteria are virtually  ubiquitous, and normally only become problematic when the seahorses have been  stressed and their immune systems have been impaired, I might be inclined to  take the latter course in your case.  If you can provide your seahorses  with optimal water quality, a nutritious diet, and they stress-free environment,  the chances are good that your livestock will not be affected by granuloma  disease or vibriosis.   Starting out with seahorses from a high-health  aquaculture facility that you obtain directly from the breeder will further  increase your chances for success.  As an added precaution, you may also  want to consider installing an ultraviolet sterilizer on your 40-gallon seahorse  tank after it has cycled completely and the biofiltration is  well-established. Best of luck with your new seahorse tank no matter how you decide to proceed, Mark! Respectfully, Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech-Support

Re: Lugol's Dip and Gorgonians, Pete, will you take a look at, refer?  -- 4/10/07 Dear Bob: <Pete!> I'm always happy to help when I can, sir. <And you do a fine job of it, I assure you> When I receive inquiries from aquarists regarding Mycobacteria/Nocardia, I feel it is very important to provide them with as much information as possible because of the possibility of human transmission and because they may be confronted with the decision as to whether or not it's necessary to depopulate their aquarium, sterilize everything, and start over from scratch.  So I  make it a point to try to arm them with all the facts they need to make an informed decision in that regard. <Yes... and one of the principal reasons for my encouraging the publication of your book, your articles (as well as others... including my own!) to get "complete answers" to folks... in a speedily manner> Hopefully, once we get my new book on seahorses published and into the  hands of the hobbyists, there won't be a need for us to devote so much time discussing these issues on the forums. <Heeeeee! You'll see...> Happy Trails! Pete Giwojna <And to you, Bob Fenner, out in HI, at times visiting with Carol and Craig and their (now four year old!!!) boys, Dylan and Cooper>

Re: Lugol's Dip and Gorgonians, Pete, will you take a look at, refer?  -- 4/9/07 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Mark...> Again an incredible honour that someone so renowned is taking time to answer my primary question about Lugol's solution dips for Gorgonians and other soft corals. <Mmm, Gorgonians are, strictly speaking, not soft corals... Alcyonaceans> My secondary reason for the question is as follows. I would also like to apologize in advance if the same question has been double posted <Yes. Trouble> as I have yet to figure out the WWM system fully, nor have I learned fully how to navigate the site properly. <Mmm, do have to devise some "Welcome, how to use" spiel, post on the Homepage, indices... Is generally covered in "Asking A Question": http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm I suspect though that what you have been asking is "new ground"> As previously stated and which you have answered to very clearly, I know that after a good quarantine that the risk of transferring  parasites and bacteria is minimal. I, however, need to know specifically about bacteria, especially Vibro and Myco bacteria, as well as parasites. Does Lugol's dip have any type of an effect on possible bacterial and or parasitic contamination in an aquarium, and if so would a Lugol's dip help to get rid of any residual bacteria such as Vibrio or Myco bacteria and or parasites which might have been the cause of death to one of the seahorses in my tank. This is a seahorse only tank, no fish. <As stated previously, this form of Iodine is at least mildly antiseptic... bactericidal-static... but will not guarantee absolute non-transference> The reason I ask this is at the moment I have a  25 gallon tank that has been fallow for 6 weeks. The tank had Hippocampus kuda in it, and as I mentioned before I would like to transfer and utilize the live rock and corals which consist of mushrooms a Kenya tree and two gorgonians to a new tank bigger upgrading to 40G with new different filtration and new sand bed). It would be the home to a pair of new Northern Hippocampus erectus. As stated the old tank is fallow at the moment because one of the Kuda passed away from what appeared to be a tumor (we are not sure from what, as a necropsy was not done). The Kuda showed no external signs of infection and she ate and swam up to the day she died, the tumor appeared from one day to the next, and suddenly she was dead. The tumor itself was under the skin not external and was a hard palpable non motile clearly defined mass near the cloacae proximal to the ventral fin, on her left side, no organ involvement was apparent. The other kuda had a fatal accident which was my own stupidity, but was never ill, nor did he develop any signs or symptoms of the other . <Mmm, have you posited any of this experience to the fine folks at OceanRider.com? Am going to ask PeteG again here to chime in> Now to the root of the problem and the reason for asking about Lugol's solution dips for gorgonians and soft corals. I would like to utilize all the coral, macro algae, and live rock from the 25 gallon, adding it a new 40 gallon with the addition of more live rock to make up the difference for biological filtration. This is where the dilemma sets in and things move into a "grey" area. <As previously mentioned, I would go forward with this plan> I have been told a range of things regarding said transfer and utilization of the live rock and corals from the existing tank, ranging from do not use any of the things from the old tank" too risky", to "use at my own risk because it is probably teaming of bacteria and pathogens", <Mmm, not likely very disease-inducing (pathogenic) at this point... Perhaps a short essay on the nature of biological disease...?> to "it is possibly okay to use if I dip everything in a Lugol's dip, live rock included". I would like your professional opinion regarding this situation. The clearest answer that you can give, taking in all the variables that are possible as I know in this situation we are not dealing with a totally exact science. Again it is an honour thank you kindly for your help Mark <I say "go" and use it. BobF>

Help Seahorse with "Webbing"   3/29/07 I am trying to find answers quickly... I pray someone on your forum might have experience or more knowledge of this. <Mmm, am placing this query in Leslie Leddo's in-folder... and sending to PeterG as well... You are familiar with OceanRider.com?> Our Captive bred seahorses have developed spider-web like markings on their bodies. It is not algae - the web is a whitish color that stands out against their dark bodies. It look as if they swam thru a spider web. I was told this is a life threatening disease / parasite that no one knows much about and that the seahorses will definitely die. <Really? I have seen such markings on wild animals... and always considered that it was some sort of growth that bestowed a camouflage to the bearer> I was told that it will wipe out all of our stock we have other adults and babies in different tanks. I can not rule out cross contamination - so I am very concerned. I am hoping someone on your site has some knowledge of it. All of the tank parameters are exactly where they should of been, we have only a small piece of live rock and 4 small hermits to clean messes and a starfish. The seahorses are now in a hospital tank waiting treatment - any advice???? <I do hope Leslie and/or Peter will respond quickly with substantive input here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Webbing on seahorses? Pete, would you lend us a fin?  3/30/07 Dear Mr. Fenner: <Good gosh Pete... a thorough answer as always. Thank you... and your name came up today while visiting with Craig down at Ocean Rider... BobF> Yes, sir, I would be happy to help Debbie with this problem.  I have  seen this condition before in seahorses and it's usually due to a gram-positive bacterial infection (Myxobacteria sp.) that often takes the form of whitish-grayish stringy material covering much of the body.   A white,   slimy coating and/or white lines or a tracery of web-like strings on the body  are very characteristic of this condition. This is primarily an epithelial disease that often presents in one of two ways -- either as grayish-white stringy webbing over the body or as a grayish white film that spreads over the fish's skin, particularly on the head region (Giwojna, Nov. 2003). The whitish plaques spread by radial expansion and may penetrate into deeper tissues, becoming yellow or orange due to masses of pigmented bacteria that stack up in columns forming the haystacks that are characteristic of the condition (Bassleer, 2000). It is commonly referred to as "bacterial fungus" and it is often described as a milky, slime-like film that can be observed with the naked eye (Giwojna, Nov. 2003) or as whitish stringy material radiating over the body of the fish. As with other bacterial infections, stress plays a critical role in the initiation of this affliction. Aside from heat stress, other risk factors for bacterial fungus include physical injury, low dissolved oxygen levels, crowding, high organic loading, parasites, and high nitrite levels (Prescott, 2001b). At the first sign of this condition, I recommend treating the affecting seahorse(s) in a hospital tank using broad-spectrum antibiotics in conjunction with formalin baths (Giwojna, Nov. 2003).  Gradually drop the temperature in the hospital tank during the course of the treatments to as low as 66°F-68°F, if possible. Reducing the water temperature will slow the metabolism and reproductive rate of bacteria in general, making them easier to control and reducing the virulence of the Myxobacteria in the process. The antibiotics I recommend are either Kanamycin sulfate or neomycin sulfate (or both) used in conjunction with various sulfa drugs.  If you can  obtain them, Neosulfex or Neo3 would be excellent choices.  If not, you can achieve the same affect by combining neomycin or Kanamycin with triple sulfa compound.   Trimethoprim and Sulfathiazole Sodium (TMP-Sulfa) would also  work very well for this condition.  Oxytetracycline or tetracycline also  work well but only if they are administered orally (they are deactivated in  saltwater and totally ineffective if used for prolonged immersion or as a  bath). The formalin baths should be administered at a dosage of 250 mg/L. This would equal 1 ml (cc) of 37% formalin per 1 gallon of water. This should be for  a bath of about 45 minutes to an hour, repeated as necessary. Once it's established in the aquarium, Myxobacterial infections are highly communicable, and it is very advisable to clean up and sterilize the main tank as best you can while the affected seahorses are undergoing treatment in the hospital ward (Giwojna, Nov. 2003). Combine a 25%-50% water change in your main  tank with a thorough system cleaning as previously described (Giwojna, Nov.  2003). Debbie contacted me at the Ocean Rider forum (_ http://seahorse.com ) regarding this problem and I  gave her the complete rundown on Myxobacteria or bacterial fungus there as  excerpted from my new book on seahorses, so she should be all set. Respectfully, Pete  Giwojna

LR Removal, and Seahorse input re "webbing"   3/31/07 Hi crew, <Hello> When I decide to remove a rock from my tank I would like to salvage the critters such as mini stars, spaghetti worms etc. Is there a way this can be done? <Not really, they are so small and numerous that it is not really realistic to do.>  What I have done in the past is to do it after a few hours of darkness since many of them will be out prowling but I am sure I am killing many that are snug in their crevices.  <The vast majority probably.> In regards to a question someone posed about spider webs on sea horses. I assume he is not referring to the stringy appendages that many have (I can not recall what they are called) and it actually looks neat (at least I think so). In any case that is normal.  <Thanks for the input.> Thanks <Thank you> <Chris>

Seahorses - Normal Markings or Life Threatening Disease?   3/31/07 I am trying to find answers quickly... <I will certainly do my best> I pray someone on your forum might have experience or more knowledge of this.  Our Captive bred seahorses have developed spider-web like markings on their bodies. It is not algae - the web is a whitish color that stands out against their dark bodies. It looks as if they swam thru a spider web. <White markings are not unusual on many of the CB seahorse species.  Markings tend to be fairly consistent but I have seen some seahorses markings become more or less apparent as they change color especially from light to dark.> I was told this is a life threatening disease / parasite that no one knows much about and that the seahorses will definitely die. I was told that it will wipe out all of our stock we have other adults and babies in different tanks. I can not rule out cross contamination - so I am very concerned. < I bet you are having received the information that you did. I find myself wondering who it was that knew enough to tell you that what you are dealing with is life threatening and scare you half to death but had no additional information. I am not so sure you are dealing with a life threatening disease, at least it is not one I am familiar with and I have seen my fair share of seahorse diseases.  A photo certainly would be helpful as would knowing what species you are keeping. The more information you can provide the better able we are to assist you. Remote diagnosis is difficult at best, but almost impossible without accurate detailed information.   Are they eating? Is their activity normal?  Are they courting? How is their color compared to their normal color?  What is their respiratory effort like?  Does it look labored? Are their gill movements normal, rapid, deep, shallow?  If they are eating, acting normally and have normal gill movements I think you may very well be dealing with a color change issue and not a life threatening disease.> I am hoping someone on your site has some knowledge of it. All of the tank parameters are exactly where they should of been, we have only a small piece of live rock and 4 small hermits to clean messes and a starfish. <In addition to the information mentioned above the numerical values of your water parameters would also help us to help you. 'Exactly where they should be' could mean a lot of different things to different people depending on the source of your information.> The seahorses are now in a hospital tank waiting treatment - any advice? <I would wait and watch, unless they are showing other signs of illness like those mentioned above. Observing them now may actually be difficult since they have been removed from their usual environment to a hospital tank. A change in environment is stressful and can effect eating, activity and color. So, unless they showing other signs and symptoms of illness I would return them to their normal environment. On another note you might want to consider some additional live rock depending on what else you are using for biofiltration. One small piece of live rock is insufficient in my opinion. I hope this helps, Leslie> Attention Leslie/seahorse problem   1/29/07 Hi, <Hi Laura> I apologize for the tardy response. I was out of town and just saw your query in my folder.> I had posted a 911 on the forum and was referred to you.  Don't know what's wrong with my horse.  Yesterday a saw a large bristle worm riding on him. <Utto> The worm fell off, but there are many bristles under horse's neck.  I then noticed what my son says looks like a 'chunk' missing between his eyes. I think it looks more like a divot, or a wound of some kind.  I don't know if he got caught in some rocks or if it's some horse thing that I know nothing about.  Are the bristles toxic? <No the bristles are not toxic but they can cause an infection secondary to a disruption of the integumentary system.  Will they work themselves out? <Possibly> Horse doesn't seem to be eating. <The horse is most likely stressed from the bristle worm attack. It is important you keep him eating if at all possible. Try offering live foods, like enriched brine shrimp. The best option would be the live red feeder shrimp that Oceanrider sells. You can get them here'¦ www.oceanrider.com.> What do you make of this? Laura <I think the horse is most likely stressed from the bristle worm and wound between his eyes. He may have injured himself on some rock and/or may have an infection where the wound is between the eyes. I have emailed an a good friend and associate Pete Giwojna for a medication recommendation in the mean time keep the area surrounding the tank as quiet as possible to limit his stress, try to keep him eating by offering some live food and keep the horses environment as immaculate as possible, in other words do some additional water changes. I will get back to you as soon as I hear from Pete. Leslie>

Seahorse Feeding Problems, env. dis.   12/29/06 I have 7 adult seahorses and all have always seemed to do well, eating heartily, that is until a few days ago. I feed them frozen Mysis shrimp.   They seem to want the food but when they snap at it, they miss. It's as if they cannot see the food well enough to latch onto it. Any  ideas? <Yes... something is amiss here... either nutritionally (which I doubt that all seven individuals would go blind from simultaneously) or the environment (which I DO suspect)... Check your water quality, stat.! And/or at least start a series of good-sized water changes (25%) or so, every few days... Bob Fenner>
Re: Seahorse Feeding Problems  - 12/29/06
Thanks will try the water changes. <Good... and do you read Ocean Rider's listserv? Very valuable info. there from PeteG, LeslieL, others... free to subscribe. BobF> Thanks. Do they have a website? <http://www.seahorse.com/>

Seahorse Problems   1/4/07 I wrote  to you a few days ago about my seahorses seeming to be going  blind. You advised daily water changes. The water tests ok now except the  nitrates are a little high. <... numbers please, not subjective evaluations... More than 10 ppm total nitrate should be avoided>   I'm continuing the water changes. <Mmm, and perhaps considering other means... to prevent further accumulations> My question:  the seahorses are not eating although they are ravenous.  They don't suck up the mysis shrimp, they try to bump at it gently but never  eat. I know they want the food, but for some reason they don't eat it. They see  it because they alert when it is put into the water. I have tried a feeder trough, but they just curiously examine it, they don't eat. <Mmm, perhaps try another source of Mysis (Piscine Energetics is excellent)... and diminish the volume of water of the system, making it easier for these horses to feed...> They seem to be getting very bony, obviously because they are not eating. I don't want them to starve to death and if there is no way to get them to eat, I  would just rather freeze them and put them out of their misery. Tell me if there  is anything I can do to get them to eat, any food I can purchase that maybe they  would filter, anything I can do. If there is nothing, I'll do what needs to be  done. Thanks for your help. <I am directing you (again) to the best source of information on captive husbandry of Syngnathids... Ocean Rider's site, PeteG, LeslieL, many other excellent folks there: http://www.seahorse.com/ see below on their homepage for the link to their Ocean Rider Club... and read, join with them, and write re your concerns. Oh, and please report back re your experiences. Bob Fenner>

My seahorse is refusing to eat   7/28/06 Thank you for your fast reply, but I have yet again been plagued with another problem. My seahorse is refusing to eat. He has never done this before, as he always enjoys his mysis shrimp, but when I went to feed him, all he did was look at the food, and let it pass by. I was looking for something that may be preventing him from eating, and I noticed that his throat just beneath the skin is red. <Good observation, bad sign> I am not sure what could have caused this, but I would like to know if there is anything I can do to get him eating again, or to aid him in this problem that might be in his throat. Also, I checked my water and everything seems to be just fine. I was also wondering, if what you stated could be the problem with my eel, is it possible that this could happen over the span of a couple of days. One day he was looking normal, and two days later, is when I saw what was wrong. Thanks again, Krista <Please take a read over the archives on OceanRider.com's site, and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/seahorsdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above on Seahorse Feeding, Disease... Bob Fenner>

Your seahorse medicine chest piece   6/8/06 In a message dated 6/2/2006 9:40:19 PM Central Standard Time, fennerrobert@hotmail.com writes: Pete, is there a URL we might refer people to for this excellent reference? Bob Fenner. Dear Sir: <Just Bob Peter, please> I apologize for the lateness of this reply, but I was away on a fishing expedition to northern Minnesota this past weekend and I'm only just now catching up on my e-mail. <No worries> Yes, sir, a version of my "Medicine Chest" piece is available online at seahorse.com at the following URL: Click here: Seahorse.com - Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories - Seahorse Meds < http://www.seahorse.com/Frequently_Asked_Questions/Seahorse_Meds/> However, the information is in the form of FAQs which makes it more difficult to read and apply, since you have to click on a lot of separate individual links in order to access and read all the material. <I see> My Medicine Chest recommendations have also been posted online at the Ocean Rider Club on Yahoo and the Ocean Rider Club message board at www.seahorse.com in the "Seahorse Life and Care" discussion forum.  Any of your readers at WetWebMedia who might be interested in that piece could locate it easily by logging into either of those sites and doing a search of the forum using the key words "Medicine Chest."  They would need to register with the Ocean Rider Club on either Yahoo or the seahorse.com site, but membership is free and those are excellent resources for anyone who is interested in seahorses.  The entire piece can be read online at the following URL's, which will take the reader to the threads discussing my "Medicine Chest" suggestions at those sites: Click here: OceanRider : Message: Re: Medicine Cabinet http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OceanRider/message/10066 Click here: Seahorse.com - Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories - Re: Preparing a 1st aid kit http://www.seahorse.com/option,com_simpleboard/Itemid,/func,view/catid,2/id,11 66/#1166 <Very good> The information in the Medicine Chest piece was actually excerpted from my new book on seahorses, which I'm hoping will clear up a lot of the confusion regarding the care and keeping of these amazing animals.  It is devoted entirely to captive-bred-and-raised seahorses, and covers in great detail everything the hobbyist needs to know in order to select both the perfect system and ideal cultured syngnathids that are best suited for his or her needs and interests, set up and cycle a tank that's tailor-made for those particular seahorses, and breed and raise them in the home aquarium. <I visit with Carol and Craig quite often on sojourns to Kona and they've mentioned this tome of yours... is it forthcoming?> Basically, my new book (Complete Guide to the Greater Seahorses in the Aquarium, TFH Publications) picks up where my old Step-By-Step Book about Seahorses left off. Fully illustrated, the unabridged version of the new book will be 400-500 pages in length, making it a great deal more comprehensive than the earlier book.  As an example, the chapter on disease prevention and control is itself, alone, considerably longer than any of the other guidebooks about seahorses that have ever been published. The Complete Guide to Greater Seahorses is crammed cover to cover with the latest information and cutting-edge techniques and technology for keeping, breeding and raising the various species of captive-bred seahorses that are now available to the home hobbyist. <Outstanding> It was due to be released last year (January 2005) but has been delayed and is now long overdue. <Typical...> Dominique DeVito (than the publisher at TFH) commissioned the book from me in 2002, and Brian Scott (then my editor at TFH) proofed the manuscript when it was ready and approved the text, and the book was promptly scheduled for production.  Unfortunately, both Dominique and Brian subsequently left the company, which leaves the book in limbo. <Happens> Christopher Reggio, the new publisher at TFH, inherited the book project from his predecessors, but he wants to conduct further research to better assess the market for an ambitious book on seahorses before he proceeds. He plans to "revisit" my book project sometime this year and decide the best way to handle it then, but after discussing the matter with him, I am none too hopeful. At the moment, Christopher Reggio's impression is that seahorses are very much a specialty market, and his concern is that that market may simply be too limited to support a major book about seahorses. <Perhaps...> If TFH ultimately decides not go forward with the book after all, Mr. Reggio has agreed to let me buy back the complete rights to the book manuscript so I can seek another publisher or pursue other options.  One way or another, Mr. Fenner, I am determined to get the book out in its entirety as soon as possible!  Once it comes out, it will cut down on the time you and I have to spend explaining the basics to new seahorse keepers or discussing rearing protocols for syngnathids with advanced aquarists. Best wishes with all of your fishes, Bob! Happy Trails! Pete Giwojna <Please continue to make known the status of this project. I personally will offer to aid your publishing efforts, and it may be that WetWebMedia can/will offer as well. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Your seahorse medicine chest piece   6/13/06
Dear Sir: Thank you very much for your support and encouragement regarding my new book, Mr. Fenner! <Just Bob, please Peter> I feel is very important that this groundbreaking volume is released in its entirety, full-length and unabridged, and if TFH Publications isn't willing to do that, then I will definitely be looking for another publisher or investigating the possibility of putting the book out myself in one form or another. <I fully understand... and what's more, can and will assist you in what way I/we can/may. WetWebMedia is a media business...> That's a daunting task to say the least since I have no experience with self-publishing or the print media and therefore have no idea where to even begin such a project. <A beginning is a difficult time, but not hard to self-publish given time to learn, the funds to pay for production... folks, agencies to help with fulfillment, sales...> Needless to say, I would be most grateful for any advice or assistance you or wetwebmedia could offer in that regard. <Will gladly conspire with you... It is obvious from reading your postings, input in FAMA, opinions of you through Carol and Craig that your intent/desires are confluent with mine/ours... am glad therefore to aid you/them> There has never been a comprehensive aquarium manual that's remotely like my new book, Mr. Fenner.  Thanks to the new CITES regulations protecting the genus Hippocampus and the recent advent of hardy, easy-to-feed cultured specimens, seahorses are a hot subject right now at the very peak of their popularity with hobbyists and the public alike, and my new book will tap into that wave of interest and help to bring a lot of new people into the hobby. <Yes> I certainly will keep you updated on the status of my book project, Bob.  I have attached a copy of the first chapter of my new book to this e-mail. Please skim through it if you have a chance, since it explains why this is such an important book for seahorse conservation and the aquarium hobby, and why I think it will be so popular with aquarists and non-aquarists alike.  I would value your thoughts and insights on this matter very much. <Will take a look and write back re> All my thanks for your interest and encouragement, sir! Respectfully, Pete Giwojna <A pleasure my friend. Bob Fenner>

Seahorse lethargy/disease question... Over-mis-stocked tiny marine tank... with real (iatrogenic) troubles  - 5/19/2006 WWM Crew- <Shovon> You guys have given me more information over the past year than both of my LFS's, and every other website I've ever read, combined. I just wanted to extend my gratitude for all of your help and valuable info. I'd like to also thank you ahead of time for helping me out with something I'm currently unable to figure out, or find anywhere on your site or other sites. <Okay> I have a pair of yellow Hippocampus kuda's and housed them in a 6 gal tank - with plenty of feather and grape Caulerpa, some stray xenia, and branched LR - drilled to my sump (already attached to another system). They've been fine for a month, eating several SW grass shrimp per day (at times loaded with Cyclop-Eeze, etc). Their only tankmates are two tiny hermits (red and blue legged), a Nassarius snail, and a small mandarin goby. <Hard to keep this last in such a small system... mainly starvation issues> I'm currently attempting to convert the horses to frozen mysis, but it doesn't seem to be working yet. <Takes a while at times...> My problem is that the male has become extremely lethargic, mainly hanging out in one corner of the tank and only moving occasionally. <... have just gotten off the phone with Carol... Cozzi-Schmarr, of Ocean Rider... the company out here in HI that produces seahorses for the ornamental trade... What you have is likely the "cheap" Vietnamese wild-collected kudas... these very often have troubles> He responds to new grass shrimp dropped into the tank, and nips at them if they're nearby - but no longer chases them. He hasn't eaten in 4-5 days, but the female comes by and eats all of the shrimp I put in every day. He appears emaciated (obviously due to the lack of eating), and his face and tail remain a dark color during the day - when both horses usually turn yellow. Ammonia (.25-.5) <... needs to be zero> Nitrates (0) Nitrites (0) pH (8.1) Salinity (1.024) Temp (78.5) Ammonia has always been 0, but recently due to the fact that I have been feeding these two a lot, it has increased. I've been doing 10% water changes biweekly for 2 weeks now hoping to 'clean up' the water, <How to put this... a small system is hard to stabilize, keep stable... the animals suffer as a consequence... not subsequence... "Con"> and will continue to do larger changes over the next few weeks. I added pH buffer to increase it to 8.3-8.4 this morning. <In/with the change water only....> The temp is a little higher than usual because I had a clown goby die of Ich. <...?!> recently and wanted to speed up the life cycle of the parasite and have my UV sterilizer kill the tomates. <... Tomites> *The one strange thing I notice about the seahorse display tank is if I open the top, It smells a little funny - <Another bad sign... but good that you are observant> unlike my sump or main tank, there is a bit of a metal stink. I haven't found any metal or rust anywhere in my tank so I don't know where this smell could be coming from. As far as the different diseases I've been able to research on seahorses: 1. The male hasn't been scratching, so I don't believe it is an external parasitic problem. <Not always indicative...> 2. He's not bloated, and there are no apparent bubbles in him or on him. 3. I haven't noticed "white stringy poop" because he hasn't eaten, so I don't think it is an internal parasite. 4. He doesn't have white nodes sprinkled all over his body, as the goby did, so maybe not Ich. 5. And there is no rotting or flesh sloughing, so I don't think there is a bacterial infection. <... would take microscopic examination, maybe staining of samples, perhaps culture... to identify> The only thing I notice is that there are very small white flecks over his mid-section, but I can't really say that they aren't part of his coloration (I noticed he had black, white, and red 'freckles' all over him from when I got him, and they weren't node-like and never bothered him before). If it is Ich., wouldn't these grow into white clumps/nodes large enough to notice? <Mmm, not necessarily> I'm a microbio major, and learned a lot about Vibrio spp. recently, as well as other marine bacteria. <Can be real problems in captive aquatic systems for sure> I'm worried that there could be a Vibrio infection, but I don't even know how to diagnose for this. <You will> I've also read a lot of posts talking about how an antibiotic called Neo3 (with neomycin and triple sulfa) helps with that sort of problem. Can seahorses become infected from ingesting shrimp whose exoskeletons could possibly be infected with Vibrio vulnificus? <Mmm, possibly... there are a few other inputs here... environmental, genetic, developmental, nutritional...> One LFS informed me that some grass shrimp have worms inside of them that I may have not noticed. Could these have gotten into the seahorse's intestinal tract? <Again, possibly. Much more likely you're, or should I say your Horses are experiencing either flukes (trematodes) and/or a protozoan (Glugea et al...) infestation... from the wild, handling... expressing itself due to unsuitable environmental influences> Lastly, I had a scarlet hermit and an emerald crab die over the past week in my main tank due to unknown causes (not to mention the Ich-ed goby). I have 4 other hermits still alive and crawling around, a serpent star, a cleaner shrimp, a peppermint shrimp, and plenty of snails still alive. I also have a green bubble tip anemone and a firefish that seem healthy. These are all in my main tank. So there are plenty of vert's and invert's healthy and eating. <...> Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to provide as much information as I have been able to put together over the past week. I've been reading everything possible, and asking hundreds of questions to both of my LFSs, and have not found anything particularly helpful. I was told to add garlic to some grass shrimp and hope the kuda will eat them, but to avoid any dips for now. The other LFS said that if my water quality is fine and the horse's diet is fine, I have nothing to worry about - otherwise if he's dying, then he is probably going to die without much anyone can do about it. But I've not given up hope. Please help. -Shovon <Do take a read on the Ocean Rider (.com) site re Seahorse systems, disease. Bob Fenner>

Re: Seahorse lethargy/disease question  - 5/19/2006 It's Shovon again. Sorry about the second email. I wanted to mention that after the lights turned on a little while ago, I took a flashlight and examined the seahorse closely for an hour or so. The little specs look shiny to me when I put a flashlight up to the seahorse. The only thing that I can think of is that they may be tiny bubbles on the skin of the seahorse, possibly from bacteria or algae settling. I hope this might help, but I still don't know what course of action to take. From reading all of the other posts, I don't feel hopeless yet because there isn't an apparent rotting or hugely visible problem - which most of the time I've seen followed by "this late in the game its gone too far to do anything about it." <... I would take these animals "into class"... after reading re making skin/slime smears... use a bit of H and E stain... take a look-see... perhaps with a prof. or two looking over your shoulder> I know you all must be very busy, not to mention the number of emails I'm sure we all send to you guys every day. But I really would like to treat my seahorse with some kind of medical treatment as soon as possible if need be, and I believe the sooner the better if there should be any chance of revival. Please get back to me as soon as you can, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you again, Shovon. <I agree with your stated sentiment... Do consider increasing your chances of success with a better, larger system... quarantine... Bob Fenner>

Sick seahorses lost 2 already possibly secondary infection due to ich or maybe marine velvet... Actually, killing ones livestock and system with presumptions, chemicals    5/2/06 Dear Bob, First thing that started happening was that my 2 males kept getting air bubbles. We had to keep expelling the air from their pouches. <Mmm, and maybe more, depending on the root cause here> At this time we had an out break of flat worms and started treating the tank for that. <... with what?> Then we noticed that  the sea horses were itching and shaking and playing in the water flow a lot. <Uh... not playing> We thought it was because of the flat worms but was told that it was more likely ich. We started treating the tank with ich attack and lost 2 seahorses. <From the frying pan...> Then my male had babies. <...> Again we expelled air from his pouch and he has some bubbles on his tail and his tail swings straight up and he can't swim well at all. All of the females have a white film on them. It covers their eyes as well. I got on the phone and tried to find a vet. I found one that would talk to me but was to far away for me to go see. Anyway with out him taking a scraping from one of the seahorses or being able to see them he thought that they may be stressed do to the ich going into a secondary stage. We are now doing formalin dips. <... no...> The vet recommended straight formaldehyde if I could find some. So what we have done is mixed the 37% formalin with ro water. 2 drops to 3 qt. ro water to get a high % of the formaldehyde. My little babies are scratching them selves with their tails which leaves me to believe that all this week of double dosing the tank with the ich attack has not done much good. <Now you're getting smarter> We have a pipe fish to that we have seen what looks to be the little spots of ich. <Doubtful> We have a UV light hooked up. Should we put the formalin in the tank and or dip them. Please help me save my horses.                                                                                                                             Thanks so much for your time,                                             Cheryl <You have poisoned, are poisoning your system, livestock. Take the time to read re the symptoms, "diseases", chemicals you describe here... on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Quick Seahorse Death ... try reading this Lingua Nonsensa outloud   4/16/06 my pair of mustangs arrived at 5:30 pm on Friday pm they appeared very active in the plastic container they were acclimated per your instructions they were placed into a mature 25 gallon tank the water parameters were checked and were all correct--oxygen was not measured the tank has a 5 inch fine DSB the floor is covered with a heavy growth of C. prolifera there is a live rock structure covered with green star polyps and a nest of cauliflower soft corals small snails and small crabs are present there are 3 cleaner shrimp there is 1 small scooter blenny a hang on protein skimmer small sea clone is running a eco system hand on refugium runs on the back of the tank after being placed into the tank the horses appeared ok but survived for only 4 days-----they would not eat any Mysis shrimp enhanced -----they refused to go down into the tank and would only stay near water surface in the area of water flow frustrated horse owner----what do you think--Larry <Larry, unfortunately some animals, especially those as seahorses, simply don't handle the "process so well." When an animal dies in such a short time after being introduced it can usually be traced back to trauma during transit and acclimation. This trauma causes stress amongst other things and many, many creatures are lost this way in the marine trade.......unfortunately it is just part of the game. They may have been doomed no matter how well planned and executed your plan to care for them wad. My advice? Read a little more, give the tank a few more weeks to compensate for anything "bad", keep testing and....and.....if you have courage, try again my friend. Adam J.>  

Seahorse infection,  3/23/06 Hi from Down under guys, and a cry for help I have 6 potbellied seahorses, and have had them for about 6 months. about 2 weeks ago, one off them, the one that was smallest when we got them, developed what looked a bit like a lesion on his neck, sorry for the blurry pic. He was eating and swimming ok, up until yesterday. He started to swim wobbly, and now he looks like his co-ordination is gone. The lesion is pale with pink or red bits in it. I don't think its an open wound, but it looks like one. What is this, and can I do anything for him?  Thanking you in advance. Dario <<It is very hard to tell from your pic, but this certainly sounds like an infection of some kind.  I would choose a broad spectrum antibiotic and treat as directed on the package in a hospital tank.  In the mean time, do consider if something might have caused a sudden decline in water quality or if your nutrition is up to snuff (good quality Mysis shrimp are one of the only acceptable non-live foods for long term maintenance of seahorses.)  If water quality checks out (Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Salinity, pH), I would still consider a few decent water changes since there are many aspects of water quality that we cannot test for.  Best  Regards.  AdamC.>

Re: Serious Seahorse Problem    3/27/06 Thank you for your quick reply. You were right that only time would tell, and it has given me somber news. My seahorse died in my hands today. I am upset about it, but in a way I find it better for him. His life would have been rather difficult if he could no longer see that well, and now he doesn't have to worry about it anymore. <Once these sorts of complaints escalate to being visible on seahorses, they are very hard to cure...> I may see you guys again if have a problem with my latest tank inhabitant, a  newly hatched white spotted bamboo shark. To give you some reassurance, he is in a 250 gallon tank where he will remain, and he is also doing very well. I thank you again.. Krista
<Real good. Bob Fenner>

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