Fenbenzadole as hydra killer

SludgeMunkey

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As I was browsing through older posts on the forums I noticed a lot of "ARGH! Hydra!!!" comments in various threads. I would like to share some information on a safe and inexpensive method of hydra elimination in freshwater aquaria. I personally lost many, many small fish fry and larval axolotls to the effects of Hydra, not to mention the sheer waste of daphnia and vinegar eels that went into thre wrong hungry mouth!

I have had great success in the past in treating Hydra infested Daphnia tanks, and hydra infested rearing tanks for both axolotls and numerous freshwater fishes. It also wipes out planarians, nematodes of all sorts and both black and tubifex worms. With Fenbenzadole (trade name: Panacur). I have also used it successfully in treating gastrointestinal parasites in reptiles, specifically various Monitor Lizards and Chameleons. (with supervision and a prescription for a vet)

Fenbenzadole is an FDA approved dewormer for horses and dogs. While not FDA approved for use in cats, reptiles and amphibians, it has been used with great success and no ill after affects in these animals.

Just a few of many References:

http://books.google.com/books?id=2C...r7zlBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Rx_Info_Sheets/rx_fenbendazole.pdf


Anyone else heard of this? Any herp vets with more details? I have lost touch with my vet from those days (I no longer reside in that state)
 

Darkmaverick

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Hi Johnny,

I am not specialised in exotics but am familiar with the use of fenbendazole as an anti-helminthic in many species of animals, both small and production animals. Just hope to share whatever i know of the drug and hopefully be of help to you. I have only personally dosed axolotls in clinical practice so am not very sure of its efficacy in treating against hydra. i have not come across any reference with regards to its use in treating hydra or planaria.

The antiparasitic action of Panacur with active ingredient fenbendazole is believed to be due to the inhibition of energy metabolism in the parasite. Fenbendazole is effective in treating nematodes such as the following - pentastomids, strongyles, roundworm, pinworm , lungworm, liver flukes as well as hookworms. That said, i can see theoretically why fenbendazole may have an effect on hydra, planaria and worms such as tubifex or blackworms. They do share similar metabolic pathways as nematodes.

When i am deciding on dosing axolotls, i prefer to do a faecal egg count first to qualitate as well as quantitate the parasite load. Fenbendazole can then be used to treat nematodes 'off-label'.

Efficacy is dependent on the correct dose level based on body weight over the appropriate treatment period. When possible, animals should be weighed to determine body weight accurately, otherwise weights can be estimated. It is essential to administer fenbendazole orally by mixing into food for optimal absorption. I personally administer fenbendazole by injecting it into an earthworm to offer to the axolotl providing the axolotl is not inappetant. Otherwise, it is possible to manually drench the axie but i must admit i am not very confident in terms of skill.

Generally for adult axolotls, i would dose 50mg/kg per oral route once every 2 weeks. Textbooks has suggested up to 100mg/kg but i tend to be more conservative. In axies with very high parasite load, a high dose of fenbendazole can cause a nematode massacre that would result in gross intestinal blockage and gastrointestinal inflammation. The inflammation itself can be fatal. Some vets might use an anti-inflammatory in conjunction to fenbendazole dosing.

Fenbendazole has a generally high safety margin, compared to other drugs such as levamisole or ivermectin, however correct dosing, frequency and route are still paramount to prevent things like resistance or toxicity (can still happen if overdosed) to occur.

Like i mentioned before, i am not familiar with the use of fenbendazole to rid of planaria or hydra. However, i can see some potential difficulties that may occur. Unlike dosing an individual animal which you can monitor closely, i can only see adding fenbendazole to the tank water as the only way to potentially get rid of the hydra/planaria. This itself makes accurate dosing difficult. If you have a filter running as well, it would further complicate the total effective concentration in the water. In general, it is not encouraged to add chemicals/drugs to the home environment of an aquatic species as they cannot 'escape' and move away from the water. Incorrect dosing can also result in resistance in parasites. Assuming all the above is settled, how do we then effectively rid the tank water of existing fenbendazole residue without disturbing the cycling process?

I must say this idea is really interesting though. Please keep me updated (message or post here) if you have further information i can learn from.

Cheers
 

Darkmaverick

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Hi all,

Tappers has very kindly showed me a product insert of a similar anti-helminthic drug used in ornamental fish. The active ingredient is flubendazole. This product claims to also eradicate hydra, protozoa and snails among other things.

Flubendazole is a synthetic anthelmintic belonging to the benzimidazole carbamates which acts by inhibiting the microtubular assembly in absorptive cells of nematodes. It acts by binding to tubulin, the dimeric subunit protein of the microtubules. It inhibits microtubular assembly in absorptive cells: i.e. of intestinal cells of nematodes.

The product is administered directly into the tank water and as such the instructions indicate the removal of activated carbon. Interestingly, the product also claims that flubendazole is safe to use with aquatic plants, with the filter (less carbon), under the presence of UV light and also does not affect the general pH or GH of the water.

I am not sure how much of it is supported by scientific evidence or sensationalised by marketing, however, there is no smoke without fire, so i think there must be a degree of truth in it. It would obviously be much better if scientific journals could substantiate the claims.

I want to contrast flubendazole with fenbendazole. Fenbendazole is a broad spectrum benzimidazole anthelmintic, it is bound to the structural protein tubulin. This blocks polymerization of tubulin by inhibiting of celluar transport and energy metabolism, consequently causing damage to integrity and transport of the parasites’ cells. Thus, flubendazole is an analogue with similar chemical properties. Their spectrum of activity against parasites also overlap.

I couldn't find any information of the use of flubendzole in amphibians nor do i know of the safety margins.

If anyone is interested in the article, please feel free to contact me or Tappers.

Regards.
 

SludgeMunkey

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Wowo...great info Rayson, thank you for your insights!

You are correct filtration does in fact create issues here.
To clarify a bit, my vet recommended removing any normal filtration and carbon for this treatment. However in my case, the first three times was in Betta splendens rearing tanks that were explosively over populated by hydra and a few axolotl rearing tanks (think green and brick red shag carpeting on every surface in the tanks) so only sponge filtration was in use. Bad batch of Java moss infected the tanks with them, lots of daphnia helped them and all their progeny flourish.

I suspect my vet "took an educated guess" when he issued me the fenbenzadole and those directions for use. Prior to this I had only used it with reptiles.

At that dosing, the effect on the hydra was amazingly fast. within 5 minutes every one of them had retracted into a little ball. Within a few hours, they started dropping like flies.
The hard part was the clean up. In the case of fragile and tiny Betta fry, I took my chances and added a homemade activated carbon and sponge filter, then did tri weekly 25% water changes as normal. My vet recommened replaceing carbon filtration and a full water change, but I do not think he realized the fragiliity of those fish fry. I will add in here I was afraid the fenben would wipe out the daphnia before the fry got to them, however I did not notice any effects to the notoriously sensitive little buggers. I suspect perhaps the carbon did its job well, or perhaps I was just lucky.

For the axolotl neonates, I followed orders and did a 100% water change and installed yet another of home rigged carbon sponge filter as they are about 4 times the size of the fry and a bit hardier to such things. The hydra removal here was again daphnia related. I was frustrated with having a sickly looking batch of axies, but abosolutely gorgeous crop of hydra.

Interestingly enough, all of those batches of critters had significantly higer numbers past the first 90 days than any of my other batches. I suspect this was due to the ease of feeding the recieved as there was no competition with the hydra.

I have no experience to share with axolotls or other caudates and the effects of this treatment other than the hydra infestation removal. It is my understanding that hydra are actually a bit of a good omen till they paralyse your fry and starve out your axies- much like Daphnia they are excellent water quality indicators, however, my source information on this is anecdotal from fellow hobbyists.

(I'll add in also that I haven't seen a hydra in quite a while, however I am much more paranoid about quarintine and sanitization of plants than I was back then.)

I have the weekend off, so I am going to do some research and see what if any effects activated carbon filtration has on fenbenzadloe
 

Darkmaverick

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Hi Johnny,

Glad some interesting ideas and discussion came out of the topic. I normally do not venture beyond 'axolotls' but am increasing exploring and widening my forum horizons. (And also Jennewt alerting me to this thread ;))

Please keep us informed of any new discoveries from your research.

Cheers.
 

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Glad i could help,

I can tell you the following based on my own experiences with Flubendazole.

When used in the large recirculated systems that I deal with, it achieved a practically total kill of the Malaysian burrowing snails that were often well-established. This is a beneficial side-effect as they are not the target species.

No discernible negative effects were reported in two amphibian species present - Hymenochirus (Dwarf aquatic frogs) and Axolotls. Packaging designed for home use advises a 50% waterchange after a week and our systems receive a daily change of approximately 15 - 20%.
 

SludgeMunkey

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Very interesting tapper! I was unfamiliar with flubendazole, but did quite a bit of reading on it last night. Thanks to a pug dog with some ingrown eyelashes (!?!?!), I have just returned from our veteranarian with some flubendazole and some fenbendazole to experiment with. Turns out our run-of-the-mill dog and cat vet is a closet herper too! He had actually heard of using both of them for hydra and planarian control- He even lent me a few texbooks to read up even more on these and similar drugs!

I figure for testing I will try out a few commercial "premade" filters, bulk carbon, zeolite, resin based cartridges a UV sterilizer for aquariums I happen to have laying about and just for giggles a potable water filter that claims to remove 99.9% of pharmaceutacals from drinking water.

Can anyone think of any other commonly used filtration types I should try out?

Doc hooked me up with enough for quite a bit of experimenting, and a new dosing regimine to compare to the one I was originally given.

All I have to do now is figure out where to obtain some hydra in the dead of winter in the midwest!

More later...
 

Darkmaverick

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Just a small note guys, experiment away but always make sure you take into consideration welfare and safety. No live animals should be harmed in the process. ;)
 

eyrops

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All I have to do now is figure out where to obtain some hydra in the dead of winter in the midwest!

If it were me wanting them midwinter, I'd order them. As you have demonstrated, hydra can be readily cultured if you have a supply of daphnia to feed them. Here is one source for hydra:

http://www.carolina.com/product/living+organisms/animals/miscellaneous+invertebrates/green+and+brown+mixed+hydra%2C+living.do?keyword=hydra&sortby=bestMatches

It is possible to collect them, but I haven't done it midwinter. I have collected large numbers in very slowly flowing water draining a pond/marsh in west central Wisconsin. I think they were concentrated in this spot because the slow flow was delivering a constant supply of zooplankton to their little tentacles. The method we used was to get water, aquatic vegetation and some debris like sticks land dead sedge stems from the location. Back at the lab we distributed the haul into stacks of glass dishes with a couple inches of the water in each. The next morning hydra could be picked off the sides of the glass and the surface film of the water with an eyedropper. Planarians were present also.

-Steve Morse
 

Coastal Groovin

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Its great to know there is an easy way to kill hydra. But we better remember to remove dead snails and syphon out the dead hyrda and other worms. I know this will foul your water quickly and could cause a huge ammonia spike killing everything with it. Actually will Fenbenzadole kill your good bacteria in you tank and filters?
 

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Good point well made!

Flubendazole is filter safe, I can't comment on other drugs in this group..
 

SludgeMunkey

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Aye, excellent point. Set up a bunch of filtration experiments last night, so I will have a full report on this in a week or so. From experience, I haven't had an bio filtration crashes in the past, but I will set up a few tests using some established filters.

There is a few "holes" in my experimental set up, mainly how to test for the presence of these drugs in water, however a lab rat friend has access to some pretty serious spectragraphy and chromatography equipment and has volunteered to run some samples for me later on this week.
(I am excited about this, never got to see any of that stuff in action before, only got to make repairs on that stuff years ago)


(And for those worrying, I am NOT testing with anything live, not even hydra. I can't justify buying a culture of them to merely have them die for no reason. I have witnessed the effects of fenben on them in the past, Tappers assures me fluben works too. This is strictly experimenting with removal of these drugs from the tank water);)
 

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aargh. From what I read online flubendozol does a better job than fenbendazole. Flubendazol or flubenol is supposed to dissolve easier. I don't think flubendazol is ready available in the U.S.
I use a lot of baby brine shrimp for food. I also keep some fresh water shrimp tanks. Hydra are an occasional problem for me. Last week I had to rout them out of a Triturus larvae tank.
 

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Hi all,

Just a little note. There are different compositions for fenbendazole as well as flubendazole. Make sure the ones you are getting is miscible in water. No point getting an oil based one that cannot dissolve. (Reminds me of the silly time i brought an oil based one to put into chickens' water supply.... it was a priceless stupid moment).

Cheers.
 

SludgeMunkey

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UPDATE!

Results of testing filtration methods in removal of fluben and fenben:

Test samples were taken every 24 hours for one week from three water levels in each test set up.

1. Surface
2. Middle
3. Bottom

Additional samples were taken from the filtration systems themselves after one week.
Actual dosing data withheld to prevent folks from self treating their animals without vet supervision.

Test Set Up:

9 ten gallon (US) tanks filled with 8 gallons(US)bottled spring water UV and RO sterilized.
(yes, believe it our not, I have that many unused tanks laying about;))
2 additional tanks set up with sponge filters

Used Tetra Whisper 10-30i filter units, one in each tank

Tanks 1 - 3 were set up with standard OTS Filter cartridges.
Tanks 4 - 6 were set up with carbon/zeolite cartridges.
Tanks 7 - 9 were set up with no filter cartridge, but had LED based UV sterilizers instead.

One of each tier of tanks was dosed with Fenbezadole, one of each tier with flubenzadole, and the remainder were undosed as controls.

Separate homemade glass pipettes were used to take samples to prevent cross contamination.


Results after water samples were analyzed by a lab rat friend with too much time on her hands:

Fenbenzadole: Surface samples from both tanks tested nil for Fenben after 24 hours
Midrange samples showed the presence of fenben until day 5 in both tanks
Bottom samples were positive for fenben for entire tests on both tanks
Control Tanks tested nil for Fenbenzadole.
I suspected as much as Fenbenzadole is not water soluble. I feel the results, while somewhat lacking, show what we already know. Carbon filtration works, but the Fenbenzadole precipitates to the bottom of the tank and is not removed. It appears UV sterilization had no effect on this drug as tested. No difference noted between carbon and carbon zeolite filters. Sponge filters obviously had no effect either.

Flubenzadole:
Surface samples tested nil after 24 hours in non UV tanks
Midrange samples tested nil after 24 hours in non UV tanks
Bottom samples tested nil after 24 hours in non UV tanks
Control tanks tested nil for entire test. UV sterilizer tanks tested positive entire test. Sponge filters had no removal effect.
Again, this doesn't shock me too much as the fluben is water soluble. These results were as suspected.



So, this isn't the most scientific experiment in the world, but it was fun to MacGuyver it together. (Did you know pipettes are actually hard to make with a torch?)

The question still remains if these drugs are biological filtration safe. Sadly, I do not have the time or equipment to deal with live bacteria. It was hard enough feeding my lab rat buddies that much beer to get them to test my samples for me on their fancy equipment at the university. Well, that and my wife would have kittens and probably accuse me of bioterrorism...

I didn't bother testing the resin based filter that claims to remove 99.9% of pharmaceuticals, as It was a bit expensive and better used for other purposes.
 
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Jennewt

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Quite an impressive experiment, Johnny. I'm always planning scientific experiments in my head, but I'm quite impressed with anyone who actually carries one out! Good work!
 

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Hi Sludgemonkey,

Thank you for conducting that experiment. I am so glad this thread has evoked so much discussion and thought.

Well at least now we know quite surely that fenbendazole is more suitable as treatment for internal parasites rather than into tank water due to the solubility (as we have hypothesized).

And you can consider mass selling torch pipettes now. :D

Cheers
 

Jan

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Johnny,
Nice bit of research you have there. Thanks for conducting the experiment and posting the results.
 

John

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Interesting reading. I seem to recall recently reading a commentary on panacur that came to the conclusion that it's actually a lot more dangerous than we give it credit it for, but that the effects are likely to be quite cryptic. Just as with any medication, I would advise that you only use it if absolutely necessary or indicated by a veterinarian. Having said that, I have an unopened container of it (unused!) sitting in my fridge for the past 18 months.
 

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Aargh! How do I kill the hydrae in my one larvae tank without harming the larvae?
 
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