Aquarium Safety Tip: Make a List

I was listening to the Reef Threads Podcast on my way to work and was intrigued by a story Christine and Gary were sharing about a hobbyist who became really sick from palytoxin. Apparently the hobbyist was literally cooking live rock on the stove. Just to be clear to anyone reading this–cooking live rock is a term used casually in forums that refers to the process of removing organic wastes from your live rock before adding it to your display tank. Even though it’s called cooking live rock, if you’re using a stove…you’re doing it wrong.

palytoxin can cause injuries

That said, the point of the story was that everyone in the house got really sick and needed to be hospitalized. Luckily, the family was well enough to communicate to their healthcare providers about the live rock incident–and they were able to research the proper method of treatment.

A few lessons jumped out at me about this story:

  1. There are a lot of potential hazards in and around the reef tanks we keep
  2. Accidents are bound to happen and do happen
  3. If an accident happened to you, would you really want your local emergency room trying to be like Dr. House?

The simple solution Christine proposed during the Reef Threads podcast was to make a list of everything in your tank so that someone who is not as familiar with your reef tank as you are could provide the information to the hospital in the event you were hurt and unconscious.

And while the story focused on the biological/toxic risks from some of the creatures we keep in your tanks–what about the other hazards like electric shock or flooding? How would a loved one know what to do if we were unable to talk with them either because we were hurt or not around.

I know that’s a bit bleak–and the odd of you getting that hurt are statistically improbable–but on the other hand the solution is so simple.

I just wanted to thank Gary and Christine from Reef Threads for this great suggestion, let them know that I’m making my list. I’m going to tell a few family members where the list is, in case of an emergency–and I want you to make a list too. It will just take a second.

I sincerely hope you’ll never need it. But if you do need it, you’ll be glad you did. I put together a quick sheet to help get the process started. You can access it here:

Written by Albert B. Ulrich III. Follow me on  and Twitter

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