Acetone Warning
Al Sabetta August 30, 2002

Many of us here have treated for flukes with Praziquantel or flubendazole. One of the ways to get Prazi to go into solution is to use a little Acetone. This works great and seems to have no effect on the fish or the water quality because the acetone is broken down by bacteria in the water.

I have used acetone with prazi for the one time a week for 2 - 3 weeks duration recommended for tapeworm treatments in fish, and it works great (I would not recommend using acetone for a 21 day fluke treatment with Prazi though, just mix the Prazi with water... works fine).

Acetone and flubendazole though is another matter. This is the reason for the post. Flubendazole does go into solution better than acetone, and it does not seem to bother the fish or affect the water quality on day 1 of 21 day fluke treatment. After that there's the potential for a real problem.

I did some experiments to see how the fish took it for a long period of time because I had gotten calls from a few people on it and some problems that may have been associated (this observation wasn't one of them), and had read some posts and literature on it.

I know some books say you can use the combination and they are right, you can, but here's the problem. Something in that combination can cause the worst "bacterial slime" problem I have ever seen (maybe the bacteria feeds on the acetone and sugars or breakdown products in the flubendazole?). This stuff appeared in the cull tank I tried in it between the second and third dose (basically day 5 - 6 of the 21 day fluke treatment, 50% water changes daily). It also occurred in my control tank, a tank that got the same treatment and contains only a Hydro sponge and water but no fish. Stupid me, I forgot to add a tank for just testing the acetone! I never saw this on the many times I mixed flubendazole with water for a 21 day treatment.

This slime (probably a bacteria) coated the filters so bad I couldn't squeeze them clean. It coated everything. Then I noticed the culls breathing hard and turning dark (bacteria on gill surfaces?). I treated the tank with potassium permanganate to see how much organics were in it, and my usual dose for a 4 hour bath turned mud brown within a minute (indicating a huge organic load in the tank). Since then, these fish have developed a skin fungus (opportunistic) and are not doing too well. One is still real dark and they swim kind of funny.

If you are going to use flubendazole for a 21 day fluke treatment I strongly recommend mixing it only in water (works fine), not acetone.

Treat them as follows:
  • 1/4 teaspoon flunbendazole for each 20 gallons of water to be dosed.

  • Mix the flubendazole in a jar to make it a wet slushy.

  • Treat the tank, on the next day change 50% of the water, then the next day change 50% of the water and redose the whole tank.

  • Repeat this for 3 weeks--if you can.

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