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The Case of Amphitrite

 

Amphitrite was a female seahorse belonging to the species of H. Reidi. She was introduced in my Aquarium in 2nd of February 2008 aging about 6 months (estimation). Since then she have presented a normal behavior, with no unusual signs, and she was mate of another H.Reidi with which she was bought together. Her courting behavior was normal and they had breed successfully.

 

 

On 3rd of June 2008 I noticed that Amphitrite, aged approximately 1 year old then, had no appetite eating her usual food, frozen mysis, as she would eat but a shrimp and when she would try to eat, her trigger strength would be weak. Furthermore I noticed that she developed a weird symptom of “chocking” or “coughing” or in other words she would repeatedly trigger her snout for a couple of times, as if trying to eat, ending with her trigger fully contracted and her mouth fully open.
Usually, if such a behavior is observed isolated, and is not continuous, it can be considered normal, owing usually to a temporary irritation e.g. when swallowing sand. However the fact that she presented in addition to this a lasting low interest in food was worrying, as it could be the symptom of something more serious.

Of course the first thing to do was to check all aquarium parameters
Temperature was steady at about 24-25 C / 75-77 F, salinity 1,022-3, pH at  8.2-8.3, Nitrate ion concentration < 1 mg/L ( the least ) but Nitrite ion concentration was at ~0,02 mg / L which was high owing perhaps to a former 8 hour black out.

A partial water change was scheduled and executed within two days.

During this time it was observed that her snout was obstructed and that she had developed an edema/inflammation. Dilated arterioles were also observable. It was also noted that she had become lethargic and would hang from a certain site for hours.

Amphitrite

 

Amphitr

It could be concluded that there was an infection of both the snout and trigger.

On 5th of June a 15 min. Fresh Water dip according to these instructions was also conducted. During the dip she would swim in rounds on the bottom of the container. Her response was not considered as a consequence of irritation.  After the treatment and her reintroduction in the aquarium she became again lethargic. During these days she would not eat by herself and so she had to be forced/induced.

On 7th of June she was moved to a nursery/hospital tank and she started receiving treatment with the antibiotic Furan-2 according to these instructions (under construction). Even if force feeding was used initially so that she didn’t starve, it was noted that she would eat very few big artemia shrimps (not small ones or mysis) a day when presented with a pipette.

All days it was observed that she would try to reject the obstructive object with a protractive reflex expansion motion of her trigger while she would breath deeply. The object was then visible and even if not yet identified, it could be described as a red and relatively smooth formation. It was proposed that it could have been a growth or a lesion.

 

On 15th June, while I was feeding her, she started “coughing” with spasms and this time a small portion of the obstructive object was cut appart and I decided to observe it under my microscope by taking it carefully:

 

m

 

These pictures even if not very detailed showed that the obstructive object was a kind of tissue; however the fact that it was cut from the tissue, was not consistent with the suggestion of it being a growth. On the other hand the presence of hyphen like structures indicated perhaps an at least secondary fungal infection.

However with the end of the therapeutic treatment with furan 2, and the fact that the condition of the seahorse was found to become neither  better (or worse),  it was suggested to continue the treatments with Metronidazol (through food) and Lugol solution.

 

On 28th June, it was noted that a postule had developed on her snout, which was surely an infection :

It could be a Glugeac microsporidian parasite, but there was no means of verification. It was decided that a treatment with both antibacterial and antifungal action should be applied and so Baytril and intrafungol was used. Baytril (5 mgr/ml) was given orally by a dosage 5mgr per kg of seahorse, which was 4 grams, and intrafungol (10 mgr/ml) by 3mgr per kg, which meant much dilation to obtain the proper dosages.

 

Finally, on 10th July, the obstructive object was totally expelled and to my surprise it was found to be a piece of red macro algae. The pustule had also been eliminated but therapy with baytril was continued for another 10 days to eliminate any possibility of relapse and with intrafungol for another 4 days in order to avoid any side effects due to its potential hepatotoxic action.

After that she presented her old eating habits and become more and more active and finally she was reintroduced in the display aquarium where she lived healthy.

A.A.

 

 

I would like to thank both Seahorse.org and Marineaquarium.gr for their great support.