Danger in the saltwater aquarium

Make a list of the dangers in your tank

Day 12 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Saltwater Aquarium Challenge

I don’t mean to be a fear monger here, but there are some things in our tanks that can potentially hurt us—lionfish or rabbitfish venom and palytoxin are a few things that come to mind.

You might think that these are no big deal (and for the most part, they aren’t), but what if something happened to you?

That’s a big what if, but it has happened.

If you’re like me, you’re the only one in the house or apartment that knows about the fish and corals in your tank. My family likes to look at them, but they don’t really know what’s going on. Quite frankly, I don’t think they even know what palytoxin is.

Unless you’re super lucky, your spouse probably isn’t into your tank as much as you are, and they probably aren’t aware of the little dangers that exist inside the tank.

Danger in the saltwater aquarium

Take a moment to survey your tank and think about the dangers. There are minor dangers–like the sting  from a bristle worm and larger dangers, like palytoxin. Take 5 minutes today to write those things down, think about how you keep safe (like wearing gloves) and talk to your spouse or roommate about it, in case they have to intervene if you’re ever injured.

Chances are good that you will never need to have this conversation–but as the cliches go, it is better to be safe than sorry. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. and my favorite: a stitch in time save nine…whatever that means.

Be safe. See you tomorrow, where we’ll do something a little more fun.






4 responses to “Make a list of the dangers in your tank”

  1. Dave

    I don’t currently have a dangerous fish, but something is residing in my refugium that can deliver a nasty sting and I can’t figure out what it is. The past two times I’ve been stung I felt a numbing itchy feeling that affects my entire hand. Looks like it’s time to sterilize the refugium.

    1. Yeah, that doesn’t sound good. Have you checked for electrical current? Do you have any zoanthids?

  2. Kate

    So glad to see you mention Palytoxin. My husband and I just had an incident with it in feb (which just happened to occur on my 40th birthday). We didn’t know it was in the tank (hitchhiker with something else) and did some aquascaping bare handed. With in 60 minutes, we both felt like we had come down with the worst flu ever. He had it worse than I did as he had some open cuts on his hand. We both ended up in the ER with in 4 hours. He spiked a 105 fever before the hospital finally took us seriously and contacted a toxicologist. They thought we were detoxing from drugs – and to be fair, in our area of MA, that would have been WAY more likely – and we did look awful in our pjs at 3am. Turns out, all they can do is treat the symptoms – we got a course of steroids, tylonel and motrin for fever, and a z-pack for possible bacterial infection. From what we were told, we were very lucky. With blood contact, you either survive the first 12 hours or you die. I highly recommend that anyone who thinks they have been dosed – GO TO THE ER… and bring some documentation of what palytoxin is. Chances are, the ER Dr will have never heard of it. Be insistant. Be proactive.

    1. Kate, I’m so sorry to hear that. I love your idea of bringing documentation. In fact, adding documentation is a great thing to add to the list recommended here. You’re very right that this is not something the average healthcare provider has anywhere on their radar. Sorry to hear about your challenges, glad to see you’re better now and thanks for the comment!

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