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FAQs about Seahorse & Pipefish Disease, Pests, Predators 1

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

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

"Family; Syngnathidae (Seahorses, Seadragons and Pipefishes) Bibliography"  2005 Edition is Ready! 10/7/05 Hi Everyone The "Family; Syngnathidae (Seahorses, Seadragons and Pipefishes) Bibliography" 2005 edition is ready for e-mailing. Please let me know if you would like a copy e-mailed to you. Jim Forshey The Aquatic Book Shop P.O. Box 2150 Shingle Springs , CA 95682-2150  www.seahorses.com

Big problem for a little seahorse   2/23/06 Hey Bob, First of all I love what you guys do and it has been a tremendous help over the last year that I've been keeping marine species.   <Ah, good> My problem is that I have two yellow seahorses in a 26 gallon tank.  they are relatively small. about four-five inches. <... would be better in larger quarters. And I do wish some of the folks who know much more than I re tube-mouthed fishes husbandry would have picked up your note here... You are aware of the specialty bulletin boards re syngnathids? These are linked on WWM> I have low water circulation coming from a very low-power power-head. (the smallest 'Big Al's' sells) Now this morning one seahorse was stuck in it. <Bad...> I know now I should have had a grill on it, but it's one with the intake tube that zigs and zags and to not grind any fish etc.   <If this can't be masked better, remove it> This obviously wasn't the case as the little seahorse zig then zagged into it.  Upon spotting her, I immediately turned it off and carefully got her out. The side of her head is scrapped quite a bit and is a white colour.  She is breathing very heavy and is having problems swimming as she isn't using the fin on the side that is scratched.  the fin itself isn't ripped but looks scraped pretty bad.  Her colour is still a very bright yellow which is a good sign and she is still actively swimming around the tank.  My question is what do you recommend i do next, besides remove the power-head?  My main concern is infection. The water quality is good (zero ammonia, nitrite. nitrate is around 10 ppm).   Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Luke. <Please read through the Seahorse materials posted on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tube-mfi.htm and the linked files above And write the BB's listed re this situation. Bob Fenner> Seahorse Fry - 01/01/2006 Hi, <Hello Stacy.> I have a question that I hope you can answer, I have  a H. reidi  baby seahorse that is 15 days old today, he is the only baby who lived, the problem is he snicked air, when he was first born, I'm not sure if he is eating, I have him in a separate tank by himself, he is on his side, is there anything I can do for him? <Very difficult situation you've got here.> Please help, I don't want to lose this baby <Your best bet for this would be to visit/consult with   http://www.seahorse.org/ > Thanks Stacy <Best of luck. - Josh> Lethargic New Seahorse 7/4/05 Dear Mr. Fenner <Leslie here this evening standing in for Mr. Fenner.> Just wanted to thank you for replying to my cryptic message the other day. Sometimes its good just to know there are people out there to ask things. <Yes it sure is….very reassuring> Anyway, the day came (last night) when I had to pick the four little reidi's up.  I managed to bring the pH down by doing water changes from my commercial quarantine unit rather than the reservoir (both are separate) and acclimated the seahorses last night at about midnight.  Now they are in and seem fine except one male (I got two of each) who sits on the bottom curled around one of the ornaments, and sometimes sinks his head down.  The others are very active, swimming around happily while this chap seems lethargic   I also reckon he seems thinner than the others too. Do you have any idea what could be up with him? There are only in 12 hours now (it's now nearly midday here in Ireland) I am thinking its maybe just stress from the long journey from the UK but the others seem fine. <It could very well be shipping stress, even though the other 3 are fine. The thinner horse may have not been eating as well as the others and as a result could be more susceptible to the stress of shipping. I would give the horse some time to settle into it's new home. Keep the stress to a minimum. Limit activity around the tank to only what is absolutely necessary and keep the lights off. Hopefully the horse will come around and settle in.> Anyway, thanks again for the advice, sorry for being so paranoid with the original message. Alex Stewart, Ireland. <Your welcome and no worries. Best of luck with your new seahorses, Leslie>

Marine Fish Respiratory Rates (4-17-05) <Hi Ward, Your most welcome. Leslie with you here today.> I recently started my first salt water aquarium about one and a half months ago and there is only one question I have not been able locate on your web site. <Wow only one... that's great!> What is the normal respiratory pattern of marine fish? <That is a very good question and one there is not a hard and fast answer too I am afraid.> I realize that respiratory rates will change with activity of the fish, the size of fish and the quality of the water. <Yes this is true.> So I guess my question is this what is a normal range for respirations on a marine fish of less than 6 inches in high quality salt water? Say a yellow tang for example.  <As far as I am aware there is no place this information has been documented. It is something I have always wondered myself. My best advice would be to observe your own fish at different times during the day and during different activities and get a sense of what the normal range is , for the rate of gill movement as well as the depth of the gill movement, for your particular fish. This way you will know if and when they are working harder to exchange gasses. My own observations for example, my blennies have all had faster and more pronounced gill movements than any of my other fish, so much so I used to worry about them. My H. abdominalis  Pot Bellied Seahorses had such slow and minimal gill movements that I had to look hard and long to even see them and sometimes they were almost not visible. I have kept several species of seahorses. You would think since they are all the same family of fish their respiratory rates or gill movement rate would be similar however I have found them to vary quite a bit from species to species. Gill movement rate & depth will also change with water temperature. Warmer water has a lower oxygen saturation and you will most likely notice fish in warmer water have a faster gill movement rate than those in cooler water. Which would be the case with my Pot Bellied seahorses. So sorry I did not have a more exact answer for you. HTH at least a little.> Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. <You're most welcome, Leslie>

Seahorse Parasites? Hi <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I HAD 4 seahorses for over a year and recently they started acting strangely, scratching at their bodies with their tails, brushing their bodies in the feather dusters and then they stopped eating and now they have dies off within 2 weeks. I could not see anything on them but now I am noticing itsy bitsy white mite looking creatures on my glass. What are these and what will kill them? They have to be what was itching my seahorses to death. Any ideas? Thanks.., JP <Well, JP- I'd just be guessing here, but I suppose that you could be seeing some form of parasitic isopods, trematodes, or even Cryptocaryon (Marine Ich) killing your fish. As far as the animals on the glass-hard to be sure. However, I'd venture to say that the things that you are seeing on the glass are not causing the trouble. Could just be coincidental...But keep an eye on things. Regards, Scott F

Ich in a Seahorse Tank >We started a salt water tank about three months ago. We have about fifty lbs. of live rock as well as live sand. Everything was going great until we left for Christmas. When we returned our Yellow tang looked as though his fins had been eaten off, one of his eyes was cloudy, and he had a white film over most of his body. Needless to say he died a day later. >>Uh oh.  Starting a new salt system right before you're leaving on vacation isn't a good idea.  As you now know, things can go so bad so fast. >Being new to all of this we assumed the other fish had not been fed enough while we were gone and the other fish ate him. We bought more fish and before we new what was wrong with our tank we lost another yellow tang, flame angel, yellow headed goby, black goby, yellow eyed tang, maroon clown, and a blue damsel. >>Oh my, for a tank so young, this is far too many fish to be in there so soon. >They were all covered with white spots. Also before we found out that it was ick we set up a twenty gallon tank just for sea horses. To help it cycle faster we used a piece of branch rock from our main tank and some of the water when we did a water change. We only have one sea horse in the small tank but I am afraid the tank may have been contaminated. The seahorse seems to have a couple of spots on him but I'm not sure. My question is do sea horses get ick and if so what to do about it? >>If you see any spots right now, it's safe to assume it's ich. As for treatment for a seahorse, I've never treated a syngnathid (sp?), so I strongly suggest you get to http://www.seahorse.org ASAP and question them.  In the meantime do use the resources on our site searching "ich", "Cryptocaryon irritans", "marine ich", "marine parasites", and follow the links within. >Also the only live stock in our main tank now is med. blue tang, two emerald crabs, two cleaner shrimp, and a Chromis. Both fish look sick. WE are treating the tank with Kent marine RxP. Is there something better? WE plan on setting up a hospital tank and letting the main tank go without livestock for a while. Is there anything else we should do? >>Treat ONLY in a hospital tank, never the main tank.  The main should be fallowed (go fishless) for 6-8 weeks, while you treat the fish in the hospital.  There are three treatment options; hyposalinity (in combination with freshwater dips) - needs to be down to 1.010 at the most (again, search our site for more info); copper - requires regular testing, must hit certain dosing levels, be sure you  know which TYPE of copper (chelated or not) you're using; and Formalin - to test available, handle only with gloves, follow directions exactly!  All three treatments are very best done in hospital.  Marina

Kona and Seahorse bubble disease Hi Bob, <Hey Jillian... am hoping to call, come visit with you at NELHA still... my friend Steve who is visiting and I are going to Two-Step tomorrow... would you be around there on Weds?> I'm Jillian from West Hawaii Explorations Academy (I met you at Stockley's Aquariums a couple days ago) I wanted to thank you for your website. It has really been a big help in my school work. I also have a question for you. At the beginning of the school year we had problems with our water quality (because it comes directly from NELHA, which comes from the ocean). The way our tanks were running was an inlet directly from the NELHA water and an outlet to a pipe into the ground. Once we realized there was a problem with the water quality we added several airstones and filters. We believe the problem with the quality was a high nitrogen level, however I'm unsure on that.  <Not hard to test for... and gas-supersaturation and its ill-effects are always a concern where pressurized water and air can get together... best to do what you are doing... aerate/de-gas the water ahead of it getting in with your livestock> Anyways, several sea horses died and the few that survived have gas bubble. We have been treating them for quite some time now, using Maracyn plus and I believe Maracyn two (don't quote me on that) They still all have gas bubble and a few more have died. This is really disappointing to the students involved in the project and we would like some suggestions on other methods of treating these sea horses. Do you know of any other medicines or methods we could try? <Unfortunately no... this is a real problem with tube-mouthed fishes in captivity. But I do have a suggestion as to where to ask next. www.seahorses.org> Your help is, as always, greatly appreciated. You and your crew are doing a REALLY good thing here. I refer people to you all the time. Keep up the good work! Jillian Davis <Thank you my friend. Perhaps in time you will join and help us. Bob Fenner>

Pony Predators? (Bristle Worms) Hi guys. <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 6 gallon dwarf seahorse tank that I would like to add some bristleworms to from my reef tank's DSB.  My question is this-Do these worms have any potential to harm my little ponies?  They are not large, they are the typical ones found in home tanks, I would guess....orange/red and an inch in size. I am using a DSB for the dwarf tank as well, so I want to load it with the appropriate fauna.  I know they are deposit feeders that feed in the sandbed, but I'm wondering if they might get a bit frisky at night and try to take down a dwarf.  I assume they are not active predators, or they wouldn't be so welcomed in a reef, so I am thinking I am safe. < I have always looked at them as benign, "earthworm-like" creatures...I suppose that the potential exists...Slow moving fishes like seahorses can be potentially vulnerable...I'd be cautious...> I have searched quite a bit and I haven't seen anything about them preying on live creatures at night, and to be honest, I don't think a dwarf would be small enough for them to bother, but I figured I'd ask, just the same. <Keep a close eye peeled and let me know if you have any losses, and we can formulate a plan to control them...> I decided not to load the tank with amphipods, as my refugium DSB is, because I do not trust them with the dwarfs.   <I would not be overly concerned about them..> Some of those pods get pretty large, as you know, so I am thinking they would  pose a threat, if anything.  All in all, I know both the pods and the worms are scavengers, so I can't see why they would hurt, but just the same.  Any comments would be welcomed :)  Thanks again. <Again- just keep a close eye on things, and be prepared for action if the need arises...Regards, Scott F>

Snout rot - seahorse I am writing in to ask this question at what is probably too far in for help with this animal, but I have been fighting with this for so long, I just was hoping maybe you could at least help me find out what might have cause this? <Steve Allen here, I'll give it a try.> I have been keeping captive bred sea horses <truly beautiful and fascinating creatures> for 3 years with good success, and so far I have lost one animal to a mysterious hole in his side, that I wrote you guys about several months back. I now have another sea horse with a very serious case of snout rot. <so sorry> It started about a month ago when she began to refuse food, her snout began to take on a pinkish hue. I wrote the people of Syngnathid.org and told them what was happening.  They said it was snout rot and suggested I try Neosulfex on her in a quarantine tank. I did, the pink hue went away very quickly, but almost as fast her snout turned a pale  white, so they suggested I follow up by treating her with paragon II. I did, and her snout seemed to change back to normal over the next two weeks. I returned her to her main tank and as I was doing this noticed what looked like a transparent-ish dimple in her snout, within 48 hours it became a very small hole. Within a week it got much bigger, I attached 3 pictures of it, the first when the dimple first became a hole and the others are two days ago, it has gotten much larger than the pictures now, covering almost the entire right side of her snout and in a only two days. Most of her snout is becoming a transparentish white color, if the color is any indication (as it was before) that is where the hole will grow too, she will literally have no snout left. good signs: -she is still very active and moves around the tank, curious what the hermits are doing. -she is her normal yellow color with no other signs of distress. -she is still interested in food. (runs after it as if to eat) bad signs: -she is so skinny her whole chest/stomach area is a complete concave. -she hasn't eaten for at least two days now, and has at best eaten off and on the whole time. -the hole on her snout is enormous and now is appearing to get larger. If she seemed distressed, lethargic, tired, confused, in pain... anything, I would think it was time to let her pass on, but she isn't and it seems safe to say she will only get worse without some sort of different treatment, and even if that works will she be able to eat normally again? I want her to get better so badly, but I have to be fair to her. If you guys do suggest I treat her again, is there anything else I can try, or is the paragon II the only thing I can use? Is there any hope at all or am I just tormenting her by letting her starve to death? Thank you for your time. -Kelly <Kelly: sorry to hear of your woes with this beautiful seahorse. I am sure you are quite attached to her. Very photogenic. Sadly, the pix you sent (though blurry) certainly looks like snout rot. From my readings at seahorse.org, this is obviously a troublesome disease. See here: http://www.seahorse.org/library/articles/diseaseguide.shtml#snoutrot Since this appears to be a recurrence, you are faced with some difficult decisions about how to deal with this seahorse and your tank. I suggest you read & consider the info at the link above. Also, post your problem on WetWebFotos forum to seek the input of others with seahorse experience to seek additional options. I certainly hope things work out. Keep us posted.>

Snout Rot Sad Follow-Up (12/13/2003) She eventually became lethargic. She was so thin, and so much of her snout was gone, I thought it was best she be put to sleep, before she finally starved to death. -Kelly <So sorry to hear of your loss, but a merciful decision on your part. Do read the info on seahorse.org because it sound like a tank problem that may need dealing with. It's episodes like this that try one's heart and commitment to this hobby. Don't give up. Learn and persevere. Steve Allen.>

- Seahorses with Ich - Hello everyone, you seem like such a funny and friendly crew. I have read all I can find on the site including the ich war FAQ's and they are very helpful but we area little frightened following it because seahorses are a bit different to other fish. No one has replied to us in 911 forum. My son got two little pot bellied seahorses for birthday about 2 months ago, I believe they are about 6 months old. They live in a tank with a drip filter and nothing but a few ceramic decorations and plastic plants, no substrate - we threw it out when the ick moved in (although I have no idea where from) <Probably on the animals themselves.> They are really very tough little critters given our level of inexperience and have been putting up with daily dips into freshwater for two weeks and salinity down to 1.012 ( dropped over about half an hour ) for the past fortnight. Initially they perked up very well although we hadn't suspected they were ill, and we stopped. Tonight they are not eating and there are a few visible parasites again! We thought we had it beat. we hadn't vacuumed the base of the tank after chucking out the sand - a tip I found tonight on website tonight. My son wants to copper the tank as he thinks the baths may be stressing them out too much but I thought perhaps we should persist with the hyposalinity and try vacuuming. Do we also need to remove the filter media and get new ceramic noodles or can I quarantine the noodles for a month in a bucket of salt water? We changed the sponge filters. We visited the seahorse world again and they said the low salinity is ok long-term as they live locally in the river mouth but not conducive to breeding. They do not medicate - they freshwater dip only. Should I take it lower? Tank temp is 18-20 deg I don't want to kill them with over zealous treatment. <Well... low salinity [hypo-salinity] is really not good for seahorses, even though the fish store might insist that is not the case. Likewise, copper really isn't the best treatment for a seahorse either. Even though seahorses are not invertebrates, it's best to handle them as if they were - no copper, no hypo-salinity. In fact, I think your best bet at this point is to bring the salinity back up to the normal range, and start by lowering the stress on your animals. Quite often, avoiding disease is best accomplished by avoiding stress, and the inverse would be that increased stress more is likely to cause or complicate disease. Additionally, you should consider obtaining a separate tank, filling it with new water and giving your seahorses a bath in their existing tank with formalin. Once that bath is complete, move them to the new tank [which should devoid of any parasitic life-stage] where they should be able to recuperate. Then, break down the existing tank and bleach it... preparing it for the next round of baths should they be necessary. Do also look for potential causes for stress. If this is a very new tank, it could be that you have harmful levels of ammonia and/or nitrite in the water, and you should let the tank complete its nitrogen cycle before you add any more life to the tank. Here is some additional reading for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/biological/biofiltr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm > kind regards and thank you so much for this service, Carolyn (who runs another self help mailing list and knows what it's like) <Cheers, J -- >

- Lumps on a Seahorse - My seahorse developed a slightly discolored lump on his body which looked like this: http://www.syngnathid.org/attachments/9055-spot.jpg It eventually went away, and left a tiny white spot that looked like dead skin.  Yesterday I found it looked like the lump had ripped off leaving a white hole on the horse.  This is a bad picture, but the best I could get. It doesn't look like an open sore or gross, very clean smooth and white. http://amokk.org/~sascha/other/hole.jpg  I was instructed to treat it with a broad span antibiotic like Neosulfex. Is this the best idea?  <Well... depending on overall tank conditions, this could heal on it's own. The presence of an antibiotic in the system will help prevent further infection of the wound but may complicate other things because it is antibiotic, it will kill desirable bacteria as well as the undesirable types. If you haven't already, I would isolate this individual to a quarantine tank for treatment.> Is this a disease or a wound or what? <Hmm... hard to say, but seems to be an ulceration of some sort which has broken open. I'd keep an eye out to make sure it's not spreading.> Thanks for you help -Kelly <Cheers, J -- >

- Lumps on a Seahorse, Follow-up - I haven't treated him yet.  Would it be better to treat him with the antibiotics or to leave it alone?  <I'm inclined to leave it alone.> As best I can tell, it is not spreading, when he first developed the lump he had two or three much much smaller ones that went away a few days later. there was a sudden build up of ammonia due to a dead snail that I didn't catch because it died under a rock. The water changes seemed to cause the small ones to disappear. <Makes sense.> I had just moved him to a new tank and it seemed to really stress him out, as well as the ammonia built up in the temporary tank far faster than I had anticipated, so I was also wondering if the bump turning into an ulcer had anything to do with being stressed out or just was running it's course and happened to happen after the move. <I think it probably had everything to do with water quality, stress from the same.> Thanks  -Kelly <Cheers, J -- >

- Brown Lump on Seahorse, Redux - I was just curious how likely it could be that this was flesh eating bacteria?  <Wasn't my first guess, would expect to see this on other life in the tank if so.> Or if you could send me to some good pictures of it.  <Don't have any, sorry to say.>  The ones I found were sketchy at best, and separated into three stages. Stage one never happened to the horse, but the hole looks much like what stage two looked like, and nothing like stage three. Anyway, here are the pictures I found, the one of my own horse is below the line in the first two e-mails I sent. Thanks again for your help. stage 1: http://www.syngnathid.org/ubbthreads/PP/data/612/212feb2Lg.jpg stage 2: http://www.syngnathid.org/ubbthreads/PP/data/612/212feb3Lg.jpg stage 3: http://www.syngnathid.org/ubbthreads/PP/data/612/212feb5Lg.jpg Also what is a typical life span for a wild caught sea horse? -Kelly <I do believe it's one to five years, depending on the size, longer for the larger one. Cheers, J -- >

- Seahorse Lump Getting Worse - I am sorry to continue bothering you guys but when I woke up this morning my sea horse had another strange mark on him. <Not a bother at all.> http://amokk.org/~sascha/other/peel.jpg It looks like a spot where skin might have peeled off. You had mentioned to keep an eye on if it looked like it might be spreading. <Yeah, things don't seem to be any getting better.> I got a slightly better image of the hole finally, if that helps at all. http://amokk.org/~sascha/other/hole2.jpg He is still eating and acting relatively normal, but this is worrying me I am feeling pretty clueless as to what to do. : (  <I would set up a quarantine tank and put any other seahorses you have living with this one all in the same quarantine, and then treat with a Furan II or Paragon II-type medication. Be prepared to perform frequent, medium-sized water changes in quarantine.> Thanks again  -Kelly <Cheers, J -- >

- Seahorse Turns for Worse - My sea horse took a turn for the worse over the last several hours.  He now looks like he is peeling lightly all over his body, powdery white stuff (like the white flakey dead skin stuff humans get from a sunburn). The hole on his side seems to be getting larger, as if a thick part of his flesh is just slowly falling off, and near the spot I just pictured earlier as peeling off, he now has a large spot on his pouch that looks like a light bruise and is peeling.  <Oh, am sorry to hear this.> I have no idea what would have cause such a turn in a few hours, but I am worried he might be suffering. He is swimming around anxiously, crunching up and scratching against things. He looks very uncomfortable and upset. I'm not sure what to do, he looks positively awful. <Sadly, fish are different than other things we know... mostly other mammals. When one's dog/cat or human friend gets sick, there's a marked change in behavior and this generally goes on for a long time before it becomes terminal - in other words, there's plenty of time to address the problem. With fish, they often look just fine right up until their last couple of days, and then start a sudden, rapid decline in health with little to no time to react. I know this is little consolation, and it's hard to watch anything suffer. You can always euthanize it... I choose the freezer, although I see there is some debate about how humane it is, but it satisfies me. Also, if you haven't already, do check in with one of the seahorse-specific forums/websites like http://www.seahorse.org > I am assuming all the dead skin and possibly the enlarging of the hole is from him scratching up against everything he can find.  <Quite possibly.> Is there anything I can do for him at this point? -Kelly <Do try the furan-II treatments I replied about in your other email.  Cheers, J -- >

Seahorse with white on snout (06/28/03) Dear Bob, or whoever may be helping me with my problem - <Ananda here today...> I have one pair of H. erectus and one pair of H. kuda seahorses in my twenty gal.. set-up. This system has been running nicely for a little over a year and I've had one of my horses for about 6 months. The pair of H. erectus have only been together for a couple weeks put have already been dancing and mating. <Excellent.> Sadly, I lost a male a few weeks ago to what you guys at WWM thought could be a protozoan infection spawning from a wound possibly caused by pesky Aiptasia or bristle worms. (I have two peppermints and "Aiptasia stop" but they are still not completely gone!) <Keep a watch on your nitrates... and the peppermint shrimp should eventually get them.> I keep my tank at my boyfriend's house (he has a 40 and a 110) and therefore am not here to examine them as often as I would like. I just noticed today as I went to feed that my female H. kuda 'Magenta' was hiding in the corner while my other three were happily swimming along feeding. As I examined her I noticed a small white tuft on her snout and now I'm hysterical. <*Anyone* who sees their horses get sick gets hysterical -- hang in there....> It isn't ick due to the cotton sort of texture and it's a larger white spot than the pin head ick spots. It is at the very tip of her snout right by her mouth and I have been watching her for about 20 minutes and have yet to see her eat although she has moved. Like I mentioned I do have an Aiptasia/bristle worm problem and Magenta is my most curious sea-horse, constantly sticking her head in holes in the rock. <Looking for 'pods, most likely.> Do you think this could be damage? Another protozoan infection? Or possibly rot? I do not have a digital camera (my hobby takes all my money) but I'm hoping for any advice/cures/remedies/anything I can do to help her. <Probably damage, a fungus, or possibly snout rot, though I do hope it's not the latter. Do set up a hospital tank for her. The good folks at http://www.seahorse.org have put up a guide to commonly-seen diseases: http://www.seahorse.org/library/articles/diseaseguide.shtml -- check there, and then post in their Emergency forum at http://www.seahorse.org/forums/ ...they  have much experience with helping seahorses.> I will be waiting for an answer, biting my fingernails and pacing! Thank you so much, and I am looking forward to any word back. -Tara <Sorry I couldn't do more to help... --Ananda>

Seahorse and Aiptasia Bob (or whoever else may reply),<IanB here> Hi, I've been 'involved' in the saltwater aquarium scene for about a year now, and after much research, I have successfully set up my 20g seahorse only tank. Included with the seahorses (two hip. erectus) is somewhere around 25 lbs. of live rock, a turbo snail, three margaritas, two sand snails, an emerald crab (he was a surprise in the rock!) and a feather duster. Unfortunately, I bought the tank with about half my live rock through the recycler (I know, I know...stupid!) when I first started out and planned on just keeping it with the three damsels it came with. The more I researched the more I realized what exactly was wrong and what I wanted. My problem is this - I was uneducated on the problematic pests that come with live rock. I soon learned that I had all three pests. Aiptasia, bristle worms, and a newly discovered baby mantis shrimp! After purchasing a raccoon butterfly (before I had the seahorses in there) and a Pseudochromis, I believed that they had successfully eradicated the bristle worms and Aiptasia. I then moved these two into my boyfriends' 40g. and began plans for my seahorse only. Shortly after introducing my new additions I realized our Aiptasia problem has reoccurred and during their daily mantis shrimp feedings the bristle worms began to appear. I have tried drenching the Aiptasia with 'Aiptasia stop' dozens of times (then tried suctioning them out) however very few died and the problem has gotten worse. Every time I see a bristle worm (the trap failed to catch anything besides a baby bristle star) I grab my tweezers and patiently wait as long as it takes until I pluck it out. My question is - my larger male erectus has a white blotch on the side of his neck, with what looks like a scratch or something in the center. Could this be a sting from the Aiptasia? Or could it possibly be a protozoan infection? They were quarantined and I've had them for several months before this has appeared. Water quality is fine with weekly 20% water changes. I change the cartridge in my filter on time, and my power head is also cleaned out whenever is gets too dirty. I use your website as my primary resource and have put off writing you since I know how stupid I must sound. I have tried to educate myself thoroughly on the subject, and this tank purchase has been my only true mistake. Your advice on what this white blotch is and what I can do would be deeply appreciated. Thank you! <I white blotch. what does it look like...like cauliflower? could be Lymphocystis (which is an environmental disease. Do check water quality regularly. Have a pic of the seahorse? I wouldn't be too concerned with the bristleworms (they won't harm the seahorse) Aiptasia I would be concerned with, Maybe the peppermint shrimp will work out. good luck, IanB> -Tara- (P.S. - I purchased one peppermint shrimp, but he didn't touch the Aiptasia and then died. I am purchasing two peppermint shrimp on Wednesday from a man who works at a local saltwater store who kept them in his sump and claims they greedily ate all his Aiptasia.)

Seahorse gas bladder problem (04/10/03) Hi again to the staff at WWM, <Hi! Ananda here today...> I just wanted to say thanks to Scott who answered my previous question about Percs and a carpet anemone...both are doing wonderful by the way (the perc that was nearly trapped by the carpet is fine and eating). <Good to hear!> My question today concerns my seahorse...I have a single ocean rider seahorse that has developed a gas bladder problem.  I do not know if it is due to infection or perhaps she has gulped some extra air (she is always swimming near the top and grasping onto the powerhead or heater)?  Today I noticed that her belly was really enlarged, and sure enough, she is waaaaay too buoyant.  I am rather upset by this, as I am thinking that there is no real cure for this problem...which is why I emailed you guys.   <My first thought is to do a search at www.seahorse.org and the forums there....> I do not think that it is a bacterial infection (I found a website that actually describes the symptoms and possible cures) as there are no other gas pockets present on the seahorse besides its over inflated belly.  She has eaten today, but far less than normal.  I have basically come to the conclusion that my best bet is to increase flow slightly in the tank and to basically keep her well fed (if she accepts food).  Unless you guys have an idea as to how to handle this?  I have searched both ORA and seahorse.org, but have found nothing really in terms of how to cure such a condition.   <I found a few threads in their forums that include a bit of info. From Tami, one of their admins: "There is one medication for Gas Bubble Disease that is considered to be the most reliable. Its a prescription drug called Diamox, generic name Acetazolamide. Most people have a hard time getting it prescribed.... The treatment course is 1/2 250 meg tablet crushed up to 8 gallons of water administered every day for three days. This needs to be done in a hospital tank not the main tank." This problem is also called "Pouch emphysema", so you may have better luck using that as a search term.> Another website suggested a general antibiotic being fed or dosed to a quarantine tank, but I am doubtful that this problem is due to bacterial infection...please help in any way possible...if the condition is indeed incurable, is euthanization necessary?  And if so, how can this be carried out as painless as possible?  I'm sorry for the morbid email, but if there is anything I can do for the poor little one, I wish to do so.  Please educate me. Paul <I would go over and register at seahorse.org and post in their forums. Good luck. --Ananda>

- Course of Action for an Infected Seahorse Tank - Greetings, <And greetings to you, JasonC here...> I have a 20gal dedicated seahorse tank that has been set up for about 1 year.  I have had much success with H. fuscus mating and producing 3 successive broods.  At around the time of the 3rd brood, the babies started to die off quickly after suffering from rapid breathing, lethargy, and eventual mortality. <I am sorry to hear of your loss.> The same applied to the 3 larger adults in the tank. Water parameters were normal, as these seahorses were thriving on frozen Mysis for several months.  As a result of this total wipeout, I let the tank run without seahorses for about 2 months, except for a feather duster and a yellow watchman goby.  I recently purchased 2 male/female pairs (H. kuda) at 2 weeks apart.  After about 6 days in the tank, the first male exhibited signs of rapid breathing, lethargy, and eventually perished 1 day after these signs were observed.  The same happened to the second female today, even though I transferred her to a 4 gallon hospital tank and added ParaGuard from SeaChem to no avail.  She was eating and behaving fine 24 hours prior to the observance of any signs.  I am led to believe that gill parasites may be the cause and not the water conditions, (ph = 8.3 Alk = 9dKH, Nitrites = 0ppm, Nitrates = 15ppm, Ammonia = 0ppm, Phos = .04ppm, Calcium = 340ppm, Temp = 77-78 F, and no possible introduction of foreign chemicals).  I do have good growth of several Caulerpas (grape, feather, and racemosas) and I do have a mild problem with BGA.  I am planning on performing an autopsy on the female's gills to look for any abnormalities.    My question is what to do about the remaining seahorse pair and also the 20 gallon tank? <Well... just on the quick read it sounds like that tank may have Amyloodinium - the speed at which new introductions are overwhelmed and perish sounds like Oodinium to me.> I am thinking of placing the horses in the medicated hospital tank for a couple of weeks to act as a preventative measure against whatever has been afflicting these seahorses. <I wouldn't wait.> However, I am very undecided what to do with the 20 gallon.  Should I sterilize and start from scratch, or should I medicate the tank as is, regardless of the destruction of the bio bed, and then add carbon, do some water changes, and then cycle as usual? <I would.> If I should medicate the tank, what medication do you suggest I use that will be most effective? <I wouldn't bother - break it down, sterilize it and start over again - it's the best way to be 100% sure.> I would appreciate any help (or admonishments for not originally quarantining), that you could give. <Well... I won't rub salt in an open wound. It sounds to me like you know quarantine would have helped a lot - enough said.> Glenn Koenig <Cheers, J -- >

Seahorse Woes Hi, this is my first time to your site and I'm really impressed that there are so many people that love salt water!  <Linda, Anthony Calfo here answering Bob's mail while he is out and about conquering new territories... or at least eating sausage type products in the fine state of Michigan> I have two seahorses, one cleaner shrimp, a chocolate chip star fish and a long armed starfish, 2 hermit crabs, a couple of snails and one live-rock piece about the size of a fist.  <we should talk more about a possible Seagrass display for your seahorses, and at least consider a fish-less zooplankton generating refugium in-line above your main display for an incomparable source of seahorse food> This is all located in a newly set-up 55gal. <that phrase strikes fear in the salt creep covered hearts of many aquarists (smile)> They were in a 28 gal hex. We had that set up ,up and running for about a year. Never any problems except I have lost 3 horses due to health conditions upon purchase. I used live sand, and the old crushed-coral base to start the 55gal so as everyone told me it was safe to put my fish in. <without hearing the rest of the story just yet... fire "everyone" that gave you that advice...hehe> Now ,you have to understand ,my male horse was impregnated on Jan1 and I woke to a tank full of babies on the 14th. I knew they were coming so that was the reason why I wanted the 55 gal up and running. Just before the birth I saw an article on" is he pregnant or is it gas bubbles", so I washed my hands and touched him on the side of his pouch. The next few days I noticed a dark mark on his side and it was spreading. It blistered up and then the skin peeled off exposing a white mark. The outside edges look like the dark spot in the beginning. There is also a small spot a little further up toward his face. I have used law dose of formalin in the whole tank and have been swabbing his body with 1/8 cup of tank water, 10 drops of iodine, 15 drops of formalin 3 times a day. <I don't necessarily disagree with the Formalin... but it cannot/should not be used in a tank with calcareous media (sand, gravel, rock, etc.). Poor labeling if your medicant doesn't say so. Please gently and expediently remove your afflicted animal to a proper quarantine tank... even if that means daily water changes> I am afraid to do to much as he is pregnant again. So I don't want to lose him, and I don't want to poison him either. Do you have any suggestions?  <above: quarantine... temporarily forget about any future babies, you need to focus on the adult that you do have living so that it can live to produce many more in the future... serve the greater good> The babies are doing fine , after 2 days I moved them out of the breeder net holder to a 2 and a1/2 gal with just and air stone. I have only lost a few and they are eating frozen baby brine, brine shrimp food, and a liquid small fry food. <please use Selcon while gut loading the brine before feeding to he seahorses for enrichment...very helpful! And make sure all baby brine fed is very freshly hatched... they are nutritively starved/barren after a matter of hours from hatching> They are eagerly swimming toward the food when I drop it into the tank. The biggest reason why I moved them was the fact that I found 2 pink colored centipede type looking worms in the net holder with them. I never saw them in my tank before and it kinda freaked me out. I thought maybe that was why I lost some of the babies! <unlikely...many worms in marine aquaria...most being harmless or helpful> Also since the birth, I noticed my cleaner shrimp has eggs on her underside. She is constantly fanning and moving them with her legs. How can this be? I only have one cleaner shrimp. <she may simply have an unfertilized clutch of eggs> I feel like the tank is healthy, The female is active, and the star fish are acting normal so does it sound like a ick problem, bacteria, or fungus type problem.  <not an Ich problem... gray patches could indicate a fungal infection... but all difficult to diagnose without more detail/pictures if at all> He is not scratching or not eating , pretty much hangs out like he always has. He prefers his Mysis shrimp frozen verses her live brine shrimp. But I do feed both, so they are both happy. I forgot , I also have a pair of mandarins and 1 feather duster which is attached to the live rock.  <not for long with enough Formalin treatments...eek! Another reason not to treat the main display> As the next brood is due in 14 days , I was hoping to move the older babies to the 55gal, with a divider between the main group of fish, and just have a piece of thin plant on the side where the babies are. <please don't until you determine if the condition on the male is contagious> Will those wormy things crawl under the divider and kill them or was I over reacting?  <probably, but still not an ideal grow out system for vulnerable fry> Or do I set up a 10 gal and get it ready for the first batch. Yes all this depends on my first problem, If I can keep him alive!!!!!I hope you can help me, Thanks Linda <Linda, look up Ocean Rider at www.oceanrider.com or www.seahorse.org  for more animal-specific and expert information. Do be sure to e-mail them the pathogenic symptoms and a digital photo if possible... best regards, Anthony>

Sick Seahorse Hello - first time writing you, excellent column. I had two sea horses the brown ones, and a few months ago one of them appeared to have white discoloration on him almost transparent, (not ich). He had these white markings for a short while, I thought he was changing color, he soon just died. The other seahorse seemed to be not affected by this, however about 4 days ago, I saw a small white patch or something by his pelvic fin, he died yesterday, what's the deal? Also I am converting to a bigger and better tank, do not want to import bristle worms. Can I fresh water dip my rock to kill them off, and not kill my polyps and tube worms? Traps are lame. << Seahorses and their kin (like Pipefishes) are exceedingly easy to kill. Yours had a protozoan infection that they have a penchant for. Try other, more historically hardy species till you have the resources (money & time) for a dedicated set-up with culture facilities for growing their food. On the LR, some freshwater dipping might help rid it of worms, et al., but I wouldn't waste my resources on this activity. If you're really interested, you can whittle their numbers down by doing your own "curing/quarantine" of the rock (very good idea for everyone) by putting together and using a "tub" set-up with new or "water change water", a trigger, crab, shrimps... other worm eaters and leaving the rock spread out over a piece of eggcrate/louver (for access) for a few weeks ahead of placing in your main system. But, be aware this is not a 100% gambit. There are none. Bob Fenner>>

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