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Old 07/23/2006, 12:14 PM   #1
TamiW
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Gas Bubble Disease Polls

Gas Bubble Disease is an affliction that affects syngnathids, mostly seahorses. Gas forms in the seahorse's body; either just below the surface of the skin, inside the body cavity, or in male seahorses, the accumulation of gas in the brood pouch.

There is much speculation about the cause of Gas Bubble Disease, with very few answers. Its been speculated to be caused by air stones, gas supersaturation, water quality, and much more. Currently, there is much speculation about protein skimmers causing it.

There is very little evidence to back this up one way or the other. Currently, the only other survey is on seahorse.org, and it only encompasses the conditions of the aquarium at the time Gas Bubble Disease occurred. Public aquariums have also have done work regarding it, though very little about what causes it, and most about what doesn't cause it.

The following polls are an attempt to gain more information about the problem.
Please fill them out regardless of if you have had gas bubble disease occur.
This will help gauge what kind of conditions it occurs in.

Do you use a skimmer on your seahorse system?

Gas Bubble Disease and Skimmers

Disclaimer: It is important to note a few things. These polls are just looking for correlation between one possible cause of gas bubble disease. Correlation does not equal causation. What that means is just because a & b are found together does not mean a causes b. The only want to know for sure would be to test the link once there is enough data to support it as a possible cause.

This poll also only encompasses a limited population. The population of people reading reefcentral.com may or may not be more predisposed to using skimmers. This could skew the answers.

The point of the disclaimer is no poll or survey should be taken as the definitive answer. Finding the cause and ultimately a way to prevent it will take much more information and testing.


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Old 12/10/2006, 07:03 PM   #2
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FishGrrl,

I will be watching these results very closely! I am in the process of getting my seahorse tank up and running and as I did with my Reef tanks, I am reading my butt of. One thing I did come across is GBD has happened to people both running skimmers and those who do not.

I myself think a skimmer is a way to go, and think water quality remains much better with an efficiant skimmer running.

Just my 2 cents..

Good luck with your poll and I can't wait to see the replies.
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Old 06/23/2007, 12:09 AM   #3
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its not a disease.

Its the bends. rapid expansion of compressed gasses in the blood that expand when brought up too fast, i.e not properly decompressed.


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Old 03/27/2008, 02:29 AM   #4
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So with the data collected by the poll we see that many do and many dont use skimmers... I took them off my seahorse tanks and all seem better for it... pouch problems suck! You feel like the most horrible person in the world trying evacuate air pockets from a tiny seahorse! I tried medicinal treatments on the first male and used the hands on approach when a second male devoloped it... and thats when I removed the hang on skimmer... also moved them up a tank size too... so if it is rapid expansion or the bends why is it developing in specimens that have never left the tank in over a year... ??? Water column ascents too fast in the mating courtship? The biologist at oceanrider sent me a very detailed reply and I think unless in a baffled sump filter, over oxygenation of the water supply could lead to problems and if a hang on the back could even possibly comprimise the health of a living animal should be questioned and inspected for use.


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Old 12/21/2008, 11:50 AM   #5
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I know this thread hasn't been replied to in a while, and this is somewhat off topic, but do you feel this can happen to other fish as well? I have 2 black and white clowns in my tank and there were tons of micro bubbles getting in through my skimmer and I had heard this could be harmful


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Old 06/23/2009, 04:39 PM   #6
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I like sea horses better than pipe fish =]


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Old 02/17/2010, 07:48 AM   #7
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Gas

Just this morning i had to " rub out " my males pouch because of the build up of gas. he had he couldnt swim right and in the past couple of months ive had to do this to him because it keeps comeing back. I am a student and against my wishes ive had to hang a skimmer directly into my tank instead of a sump setup. The skimmer likes to spit out bubbles into the tank on a regular basis so i strongly beleive that skimmers can also be a cause of this to happen.


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Old 02/17/2010, 08:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquaticpaul View Post
Just this morning i had to " rub out " my males pouch because of the build up of gas. he had he couldnt swim right and in the past couple of months ive had to do this to him because it keeps comeing back. I am a student and against my wishes ive had to hang a skimmer directly into my tank instead of a sump setup. The skimmer likes to spit out bubbles into the tank on a regular basis so i strongly beleive that skimmers can also be a cause of this to happen.
Did you also know that the global decline in pirates caused global warming?




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Old 02/17/2010, 06:04 PM   #9
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Not really following the last post about the pirates


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Old 02/17/2010, 07:39 PM   #10
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It shows that you can correlate any two things, but it doesnt mean they are related.


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Old 02/17/2010, 10:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishGrrl View Post
Did you also know that the global decline in pirates caused global warming?

Didn't you start this whole poll process?

At some point you have to use common sense and apply some other sources of information/experience to your conclusion IMO.

At one point the point was adamantly defended that salt water was the cause of GBD because it was present in all cases. IMO this is an example that anything can be taken to an extreme and facts twisted to suit the twister.

In reality the cause of GBD is not so simple. There are multiple factors involved which makes the solutions more complex. Since this thread was originated more is understood about Gas Bubble Disease, and it is my opinion there are multiple triggers, not all related.

IME removing a Remora Pro protein skimmer can alleviate GBD, adding the skimmer caused a reoccurance, which was again alleviated by removing the skimmer. Adding the skimmer again followed another reoccurance, which was again alleviated after removing the skimmer. For a year after the skimmer was removed for good, there were no more cases of GBD. Similar experiences have been reported by others, including public aquariums, zoo's, and university's. Others have reported no change after removing a skimmer and after multiple treatments of Diamox antibiotics had to be used to alleviate the reoccurring conditions.

I do not think it is the skimmer alone, but I do think under certain conditions that protein skimmers can be contributing factors. IMO this may have to do with C02 levels, O2 levels, and at some point pH levels. IMO it is likely some cases of GBD have little to do with Co2/O2 levels.

Since there are cases of GBD where no skimmer is on the system I do think it is fair to say at this point that a protein skimmer is not the sole cause of GBD. Since many seahorses keepers do keep seahorses with protein skimmers and do not experience GBD I do think it is safe to say they will not definitely cause GBD. Since to my knowledge there are no reported cases of GBD in the wild, I would think it is something unique to aquarium life that is the cause. It is however possible that there are cases in the wild and these seahorses are not long for the world, easy prey for a passing bird or many fishes.

There is still very much we do not know.


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Old 02/18/2010, 12:09 AM   #12
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ChadTheSpike hits the nail on the head. Correlation doesn't equal causation.

Pledosophy, I don't disagree with what you're saying at all. My only point is that a single anecdote that aquaticpaul listed should not be enough to convince him one way or another. Or anyone. I could have said that, but how many times can it be said? My example is more fun.


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Old 02/18/2010, 01:06 AM   #13
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You know how I love pirates.



I don't think it's fair to call it a single anecdote when it has been repeated by so many people over so many years. I just don't think we know enough to determine what the link is. We might never know, it could be very complex, it could be incredibly simple.

I say run the skimmer, if the GBD shows up treat it. If it keeps reoccuring treat it and remove the skimmer. If the GBD stops, wait to make sure it is better, and then add the skimmer back. If it reoccurs after an absence without a skimmer, I would probably pull the skimmer at that point. If the GBD does not come back with no skimmer, well the skimmer might have been it, if it comes back then it might not have been the skimmer after all. Something like that.

GBD isn't the hardest thing to treat if your prepared for it to happen. You just have to order the stuff in advance if your in the states because you have to get it shipped here from out of the country or get a vet's prescription.

Personally I like my equipment in my sump, I just don't want to see it. Can you imagine my Asm G2 in the display? Would be different for sure.


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Old 02/18/2010, 01:40 AM   #14
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The plural of anecdote isn't data. Even the polls, at most can say people with or without skimmers have or have not had occurrences of gas bubble disease. It would be great for designing a controlled experiment, and that is pretty much it.

The problem with the skimmer-cause-hypothesis is that it discounts the cases where adding a skimmer has solved gbd. You cited public aquariums having trouble until they removed skimmers above, but I know of a few I talked to the staff at directly that had trouble until they added skimmers (but in many cases it was part of a system redesign, so who knows).

I think you're right though, it's a complex problem and it's likely to not have a single answer. We don't even know yet what the gas is that is causing the problem. CO2 is the obvious choice considering the effectiveness of diamox. However, O2 would make more sense if it was due to a skimmer, and N2 if its due to supersaturation from cavitation.


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Old 02/18/2010, 09:17 AM   #15
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I was just trying to help by showing a first hand experience of my seahorse haveing air in his pouch, and my setup haveing a skimmer in it. I thought that was what you were trying to find out if it was a cause.


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Old 02/18/2010, 09:20 AM   #16
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And i wasnt trying to say that it was caused only by the skimmer i was just saying i believe that it could be a big part of it happening just tryin to give my 2 cents


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Old 02/20/2010, 09:24 AM   #17
TamiW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquaticpaul View Post
And i wasnt trying to say that it was caused only by the skimmer i was just saying i believe that it could be a big part of it happening just tryin to give my 2 cents
Then I apologize Paul. I misread your statement that you believed a single unconfirmed connection was a direct link to the cause.


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Old 02/21/2010, 12:40 PM   #18
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no reason to apologize


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Old 05/01/2010, 12:03 AM   #19
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I have a SH afflicted with this now. I'm terrified to try the syringe/massage pouch treatment. Anyone have any experience doing this? Willing to talk me through it?


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Old 05/01/2010, 12:50 AM   #20
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Gas bubble disease is different from pouch emphysema which is again different from pouch prolapse.
Do you know for sure what your seahorse is afflicted with?
What medications do you have on hand?
You can start by lowering the water temperature to 68F, but no more than about 4 a day.
I haven't used a syringe for this but instead, use a thumb and forefinger to "roll" the gas from the pouch.
If it keeps returning you may need to do a pouch flush with Diamox.
If it is GBD then that will require a different treatment than pouch emphysema or prolapse.
Do you have a large, low resolution picture clearly showing the problem?


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Old 05/01/2010, 09:37 AM   #21
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Rayjay, I read about all of what you mentioned on Seahorse.org as well as a couple other places. I'm pretty sure it's bloat and not emphysema. But then, this is my first SH and I've only had him a couple months. So, I've never experienced either personally. Was basing diagnosis on what I read and pictures.
Funny, when we do research on a species we want to keep, we look for information on what conditions they live in, what they eat, tankmates, etc....
One point often neglected, yet obviously very important, are health issues or afflictions that may arrise and how to be prepared for them and treat them or better yet, prevent if possible. At least that's one I forgot. Lesson learned, no doubt.
Looking into getting some Diamox to have on hand, should this return and in the future.
Thanks for your input.
Meant to say, as well, I'll start lowering the temp today. It's at about 76 last I looked.


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Old 05/01/2010, 09:56 AM   #22
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I'll post in both threads.
If it is just gas in the pouch then you probably don't have to go all the way down, but most successful hobbyists find it best to keep the temperature at 74F or as low as 68.
The opening to the pouch is at the top of the pouch, just below the anal opening, which makes me wonder if that in itself might be a source of pouch problems.


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Old 06/04/2010, 06:37 PM   #23
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different seahorse tend to suffer different gbd comes tend to get external gas bubble ,barbouri are prone to gas bubble in the tail ,there can be any number of reasons from water condition,to super-gas saturation to retained fetal matter in the pouch ,i tried to correlate this information on a british forum but without success.one thing is known however the lower the salinity the lower the incidences of gbd


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Old 07/30/2011, 05:53 PM   #24
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I saw it on a pipefish in wild so it cannot caused by ps air stones or bad water conditions it can be gas saturation maybe.


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Old 02/10/2012, 02:30 PM   #25
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Has anyone ever considered it being caused by unstable (or rather, erratic) salinity? I've had two erectus that seemed to contract it constantly, and the only weakness I can pinpoint in my system is my keeping up with salinity. Between ro topoff and running my skimmer really wet it's practically a full time job keeping salinity stable.

Oh, and massaging the pouch is *not* recommended.


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