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Old 04/06/2018, 06:13 AM   #1
The Reef Addict
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Seahorse: Gas bubble advice

Hello,

I know this topic has been covered many times before but I need some help. As seen in the photo my seahorse has "binocular eyes" although the eyes themselves look ok. Also to me - it appears that the pouch is slightly enlarged as well.. Opinions/thoughts gladly welcomed.

I believe I may have caused the gas disease(s), just by stirring up the tank during a clean up and water change.. Which caused a spike in Nitrate (60-80ppm). I havent checked on that in the last couple days but I have been performing water changes. Im thinking another small powerhead may be necessary for proper flow. All other paramaters are perfect.

Im wondering what you all think I should do, as Diamox is going to be nearly impossible for me to get from local vets.. Would you advise popping the bubbles, or just maintaining water quality? Also I need some opinions on the pouch.. THANK YOU!!


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Old 04/06/2018, 08:55 AM   #2
rayjay
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I most certainly DON'T recommend popping the bubbles, and, I don't see a problem with the pouch at this time.
This is a water quality issue that usually develops over a period of time; not something that occurs rapidly even though you may only have seen the results very recently.
The water quality issue is due to the natural feeding habits of seahorses in that they are very selective in their choices of the pieces they eat, leaving other pieces to decay. Also, when they snick their food, the masticate it and particulate matter passes out through the gills and into the water column.
Depending on your particular filtration methods, husbandry protocol, and seahorse to volume ratio, the quality would probably been degrading anywhere from months to even over a years time.
This water quality CANNOT be measured using test kits available in the hobby as it is a measure of how conditions support the expansion of nasty bacteria in the system where the decaying crap is providing food and bedding for such proliferation.
The most common effects on seahorses of poor water quality are bacteria lesions, gas bubble disease and organ failure.
You will need to treat the seahorse in a hospital tank, preferably with Diamox but you will more importantly have to fix the water quality of the display tank, locating the cause of the water degradation and then updating your husbandry protocol to prevent this from happening again.
In the immediate timeline, a MAJOR water change needs to happen, but first dislodge any seen and UNSEEN detritus and uneaten food with a turkey baster or hand held powerhead, allow to settle and siphon out with the removal of water for the large water change. Any mechanical filtration should also be cleaned and then done on a much more frequent interval than you have previously been doing.
You need to REMOVE any of this decaying product BEFORE it decays much so that the nasty bacteria can't get to plague proportions. Keeping temperature of the water at 74 or below will also help.
My own protocol is to clean out my powerhead filters and return socks about every 3 days with large water changes and proper cleaning of the system at no more than 7 day intervals.
Husbandry needs to be aggressive BECAUSE there is no way to determine this water quality so proactive rather than reactive means are best.
I'm in Canada with much stricter laws on meds but I've come across from time to time, US hobbyists posting that Diamox has been available from online sources in the US, perhaps through Amazon.
If all searching for Diamox fails, go to Facebook page for "seahorse keeping made fun" and while it is UK based, MANY US hobbyists are posting there and you can inquire as to what they find for availability of Diamox.


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Old 04/06/2018, 12:04 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply rayjay.

I will admit I could (and will) be doing more water changes. I have always stayed on top of tank paramaters but I noticed detritus does build up rather quickly even though I have 2 seahorses, a peppermint shrimp, and mandarin to help with clean up.

I use a 20g hex with a reef octopus hob skimmer, and a small fluval skimmer for filtration as well as chaeto. How do you feel about stronger flow in seahorse tanks? Ive always read they prefer low flow, but I have seen otherwise.. My seahorse love jumping in front of the powerhead like a jetstream!

Anyways, thanks for your input.. Im going to look into your suggestions and continue doing daily water changes for now.. Hoping for the best


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Old 04/06/2018, 01:01 PM   #4
rayjay
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Much oversized skimmers are probably the best addition to a seahorse set up that you can add.
HOWEVER, the MINIMUM recommended tank size for ONE pair of standard sized seahorses is 30g. Bigger if other tankmates are added.
This means that even if you are doing normal water changes and husbandry for a 30g tank then you are a way behind the game right off the bat.
Just take a small powerhead and hold in hand to blow all areas of the tank and SEE just what all of a sudden comes into the water column. THIS is what degrades the water quality for seahorses. It provides food and bedding for the nasty bacteria that affect seahorses so much even though other marine fishes are quite capable of handling it.
As you will find out, the shrimp and mandarin, or any other cleanup crew you choose, do NOT take car of all the crap so it has to be done with other means.
Low flow for seahorses has NOT been recommended by experienced keepers now for a decade or more although it WAS the recommendation when I started about 15 yrs ago. Minimum would now be 10X flow but most hobbyists would now be closer to or above 20X flow.
The thing to consider when setting up is to be sure that no flow is hard enough or direct enough to blast a seahorse against something and damage it. Be sure to have hitching in low, medium and high flow areas so they can choose where to hitch at any given time.
Seahorses will get in water flow or even bubbles if you have them as it gives them relief from ever present parasites.
I don't know what you use as a primary mechanical filter, but you need excellent tank flow to be able to keep crap in suspension long enough for it to be captured by the filters to be cleaned out every 3 to 7 days depending on type of filter. As I said previously though, that STILL won't removed a lot of the detritus seen OR unseen in the tank. Only experimenting with each seahorse system can we know what is needed for that particular system for detritus/food removal.
Water changes should be done no less than weekly and I'd suggest you will need probably 50% changes especially due to the small tank.
Best if you could upgrade to a 30g tank with overflow and use the 20g for a sump although that might not be feasible with a hex.
FWIW, other than first starting up a system, I NEVER test for the water parameters one tests for in reef tanks. I make sure at the start that ammonia is totally under control (meaning always zero) but nitrates have no bearing on anything IMO when it comes to seahorses, especially with the larger and more frequent water changes and husbandry.
While there are MANY ways to succeed in this hobby, all still require the best water quality possible.


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Old 04/06/2018, 01:03 PM   #5
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Forgot to add a link to pledosophy's post number 5 on this thread. http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2274878
It's about temperature and is well put and much better than I could say it.


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Old 04/07/2018, 05:23 AM   #6
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Oh I have definitely seen what lingers on the sand bed after just a few days. This last time I was particularly thorough and really got a lot of crap in the skimmer - which is rated for a 180g IIRC. Thank you for clarifying the flow situation, there is still a lot of info out there that is misleading, or flat out wrong. Definitely going to get another powerhead in there to stir up the sandbed.

I would love to move these guys over to my 75g reef when I eventually upgrade.. But that might be a while. Thanks again for your input!! Now im gonna read that link you posted


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Old 04/07/2018, 08:11 AM   #7
rayjay
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First of all, a skimmer is designed for removal of "dissolved organics", not for removal of particulate matter. You need something to remove that particulate matter BEFORE it gets to the point that SOME of it is dissolved organics.
If your skimmer is indeed rated for 180g then installed on a 20g hex it must appear massive.
Lastly, PLEASE DO NOT MOVE THE SEAHORSES TO YOUR REEF TANK!!!
Seahorse needs are VERY different from that of a reef tank starting with temperature.
Next to bacterial problems, seahorses fall victim to pathogens that they haven't grown up with but are introduced by other livestock.
In addition, many reef tank inhabitants are NOT seahorse compatible such as anemones, stinging corals, clams, coral banded shrimp, just naming a few.


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Old 04/30/2018, 12:02 PM   #8
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Also, how tall's the tank? I read that seahorses need their tank to be at least 20" tall as the pressure of the water helps to keep the gas bubbles in their blood stream dissolved or something like that. Any less than 20", and bubbles can start to form in their bodies.


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Old 04/30/2018, 12:31 PM   #9
rayjay
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Sorry, but wherever you read that, it's hogwash IMO.
In my 15 yrs of keeping/breeding seahorses I've found no difference in using my 40g breeders compared to the 37g tanks for most of my other seahorse tanks other than the 90g for the H. abdominalis.
In terms of actual pressure, each inch you go down is only roughly .04 psi (rounded up) and for an extra 4 inches depth you only increase the psi by .15
Then, to keep them at a higher psi you would need to put something in the tank to keep them from going upwards in the tank where the psi gets to near zero as just because you have .75 psi at 20", its not that higher up in the tank.
The REAL reason IMO for gas bubble disease is as stated, water quality conditions.
If you are a seahorse keeper yourself then you might benefit from reading the Articles page on seahorsesource.com and fuzedjaw.com as they have more up to date information on a lot of seahorse keeping topics.


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