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Hazards In The Hobby


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#1 humbug

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 09:41 AM

In the light of the interesting events of this week in SA with a family hospitalised after a marine tank clean went wrong, I thought it might be worth starting some discussion about some of the dangers involved with our hobby.
 

With the rise of the internet, many people getting into fishkeeping these days are having less interaction with the well-established shops run by experienced people, or with the clubs of old frequented by experienced hobbyists.  As a result we have the proliferation of newbie-coaching-newbie in the hobby.  I wonder how many of the important lessons are being passed on – those lessons which are too often learnt the hard way by bitter experience. 
 

I don’t find it at all surprising that the event yesterday occurred.  I suspect that aquarium-related incidents resulting in physical harm to people are a pretty frequent occurrence.  Just looking at the comments on threads on fish groups discussing the event yesterday showed the level of “ignorance”.  Before details of what had happened came out, sooooooo many people were suggesting that it couldn’t be the aquarium. Chemicals involved with aquariums are safe – they must be, they don’t harm the fish.  Hmmmmmmm


Just as an example, I’ve heard first-hand of a couple of people receiving bad burns from African cichlids salts.  Here’s the scenario.  Large tank, and need to add salts after a water change.  Grab a big handful of dry powder and place the hand into a bucket of water to dissolve the salts before adding to the tank.  When wet, an “exothermic” reaction takes place – ie a lot of heat is given off.  We don’t usually have any evidence of it when we spoon the powder into water.  The heat given off has no real impact on the large volume of water in our tank.  But against the skin it’s a different story!!!  One case resulted in burns sufficient to badly blister the whole palm of the hand.


I know of at least one product used by some which is a carcinogen (ie cancer causing agent) when inhaled. OK that might not happen too often in everyday interaction with our fish, but this material precipitates out of the water column and collects in the substrate and filters.   At each use, more of the product builds up in the tank.  I personally would be EXTREMELY careful in how I handled dry substrate from a tank in which it had been used.  Even cleaning the filter could expose you to the material.



#2 Peckoltia

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 09:59 AM

Good topic.

 

For me it is a no brainer - the hobby mixes water and electricity, electrocution is a real risk, as is house fires. 

 

Taking water away from the equation - I have seen some shockingly over loaded power-boards, ratty looking extension chords as well as some very cheaply made electrical goods (usually eBay related). House fires are a real risk.

 

I'm sure there are also more than 1 or 2 people who have fallen off chairs and ladders doing maintenance on tanks. It doesn't take a high fall to kill a person unfortunately.

 

My own personal experience - in my younger days I made the mistake of storing some small tanks outside on the bricks. Went to do a water change one night and forgot they were there, walked straight into one. Ended up with 15 odd external stitches and a couple internal stitches. Not life threatening, but a good reminder.

 

I also had a mate many years ago - maybe 15? He worked at a couple aquarium stores at the time and did a lot of combat sports and would often have abrasions on his hands. He ended up getting some sort of bacterial infection from doing maintenance on his tanks - looked pretty serious, big circular lesions on his hands. I can't remember the specifics of the infection (or what it was called).

 

As a stingray keeper I am also very mindful of my rays - not a malicious or aggressive animal, but one that is armed with a dagger and venom sac. Wouldn't probably be life threatening, but would certainly mess your day up. Then again, a good size barb to the right (or wrong) part of your wrist could end up pretty serious.


Edited by Peckoltia, 04 May 2017 - 10:02 AM.


#3 Ageofaquariums

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 10:04 AM

Biggest risk is likely being a hero on fish forums to people and then running into them later in real life.......   lol

 

Sounds like fish TB Peckoltia, gnarly one that takes a lot of antibiotics to get rid of.



#4 chrishaigh82

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 10:11 AM

I'm feeling quite unwell today after eating the plants Mattia was recommending to be used in cooking at the auction :( 



#5 humbug

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 10:21 AM

One that's been a real saga for us in Adelaide is unsafe tanks.  Guessing its more widespread than just here.  For some time we have had at least a couple of tank builders in Adelaide building “budget” tanks which just don’t meet modern practices with regards safety.  As a result, there are a hell of a lot of tanks in the second-hand market which are potential time bombs. When (rather than if) these tanks fail, I can only hope that the only damage they do is to flood a house and perhaps destroy the sound system. 

Large display tank in the living room.  The family’s pride and joy.  Young child playing in front of the tank, accidently knocks the glass.  The front of the tank fails catastrophically, sending a tidal wave of water through the room.  Take a look at some of the tank failures on youtube to see just how devastating this could be . . . . . .

But what to look for when buying a tank is probably a topic for another thread
 



 



#6 malawiman85

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 02:29 PM

Hazardous substances... Just a few to think about:

Methylene blue - http://www.aquasonic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/pdf/MethyleneBlue.pdf 

Malachite green - http://www.aquasonic...achiteGreen.pdf(Not hazardous but... not good for you).

Glutaraldehyde - https://www.chemsupp.../GL0191CHJP.pdf(Stronger than aquarium solutions such as Excel).

Seachem MSDS's - https://www.dropbox....074YoOLmTa?dl=0(US, not Australian but for the purposes of evaluating risk at home they're fine).

Formalin/Malachite - http://www.aquasonic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/pdf/Formalin-Malachite-Soln.pdf 


Edited by malawiman85, 04 May 2017 - 05:54 PM.


#7 bigjohnnofish

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 01:23 AM

Biggest risk is likely being a hero on fish forums to people and then running into them later in real life...

 

fish forums are good... its facebook where all the keyboard warriors come to life.... only been a couple of retarded twats good enough  to make my bucket list of death :)

or you just block them - whichever takes ya fancy at the time..... 

 

besides that aggressive fish can be hazardous - one murray cod took to my finger when i briefly looked away while de-greening inside of his tank... waited for the exact moment of inattention to strike :)



#8 ice

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 07:50 AM

I used to always worry that my old mangrove jack was going to deglove one of my fingers, not to mention shorting the power out in my house by splashing water into my ceiling lights. TBs are fun but certainly come with a few risks :)

 

Other than that flooding your house accidentally by forgetting about a tank filling or stepping/sitting on a glass lid. Being stung by venomous fish, exposure to toxic chemicals, the list goes on!



#9 Chopstick_mike

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 11:02 AM

I used to always worry that my old mangrove jack was going to deglove one of my fingers, not to mention shorting the power out in my house by splashing water into my ceiling lights. TBs are fun but certainly come with a few risks :)
 
Other than that flooding your house accidentally by forgetting about a tank filling or stepping/sitting on a glass lid. Being stung by venomous fish, exposure to toxic chemicals, the list goes on!

are jacks teeth and jaws that powerful ?

#10 ice

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 11:41 AM

Yep.

#11 Delapool

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 03:20 PM

Going back to QLD but was shown external air pumps which people thought should be run internally.....

Myself I found cuts in a power cord (maybe pinched by hood - maybe) which had wire showing. Bit lucky.


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#12 Jules

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 04:40 PM

For me, over the years, fish that bite (had many a close calls with some big fish that bite, spotted gar biting my finger is the best to the day), keeping rays that get pissed off when your hands in the tank levelling substrate or cleaning cover glass (tying to jab you with the barb - tails arked up and the animal gets defensive), large water changes that get left unoccupied flooding the tank, stray electricity in the aquarium and coping some nice shocks when putting my hand in the water (presumed from some shitty eheims I was running). Cutting/slicing hands and fingers finely while carrying and moving tanks and even cover glass. Drinking dirty tank water when getting the good old canister filters going worried you sucked in some algae or other wonderful fish crap.

 

As Alex said water and electricity is the worst combo, then next for me is the beautiful pet you keep that try's to eat your fingers or contains a venom type substance it wants to hit you with :lol:  


Edited by Jules, 05 May 2017 - 04:42 PM.


#13 ice

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 06:50 AM

Had an interesting experience yesterday washing some pilbara rocks to put in my 6x2.5x2.5 that was moved on Saturday and i'm busy rescaping. Somehow the rock broke in my hand and a sharp edge punctured my index finger at the top inner side. I had initially thought that the red colour all over the grass was pilbara dust as I felt no pain, but when I turned my hand over I noticed a roughly 3-4mm stream of blood literally shooting out of my finger about 20cm, turns out there are arteries in your fingers and I managed to bloody punch a hole in one. The wound looks so insignificant its almost comical but the amount of blood that I pissed out on my front lawn gave me a bit of a fright haha. Bit of direct pressure and a band-aid and it was all sorted, happy to report I'm going to live.


Edited by ice, 08 May 2017 - 06:54 AM.


#14 humbug

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 08:55 AM

Ouchhhhhh ! :o


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#15 DFishkeeper

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 07:20 PM

I've had a few incidents over the many years I have been keeping fish :

 

Quite a few times over the years I have fallen off ladders and other things (eg 2 stacked milk crates) I have stupidly stood on to reach high tanks. I haven't managed to seriously injure myself yet, my best effort was to put my knee through the front of a lower tank on the way down resulting in lots of spilt blood and water and a few stitches. At my wife's insistence, I only use stepladders nowadays, but have still managed to fall off them a couple of times. One time the ladder fell away while I was cleaning a high tank and I fell down with my arm going inside the tank and scraped a fair bit of skin off the arm.

 

I've had many minor infections over the years from cleaning filters etc with scratches on my hands, but after seeing a friend get a very nasty infection in the same way a few years ago, nowadays I keep a tube of Dettol antiseptic cream and some waterproof bandaids in the fishroom and have managed to avoid infections for a few years now.

 

Quite a few times over the years I have experienced a brief tingle when putting my hand in a tank before the auto cutoff in the switchboard saved my bacon. Usual culprits were heaters and lights, and the occasional powerhead.

 

Also had some nice glass cuts over the years from sharp edges on bracing bars and lids.

 

And my biggy is slipping in spilt water on the fishroom floor. Its no fun doing the splits when you are 62yo :(


Edited by DFishkeeper, 08 May 2017 - 07:21 PM.


#16 Terry

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 08:35 PM

I have never injured myself while working in my fishroom but once when I worked at Midland Aquarium I fell off a ladder and landed on my back , it knocked the wind out of me and as I got my breath back a young well endowed  lass that worked there leaned over me and said "are you ok". I forget her name but they were lovely.



#17 Westie

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 09:15 PM

Reminds me of the movie Deuce Bigalow where he was purchasing the snails from the bottom of the tank ha ha

#18 bigjohnnofish

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 01:10 AM

I have never injured myself while working in my fishroom but once when I worked at Midland Aquarium I fell off a ladder and landed on my back , it knocked the wind out of me and as I got my breath back a young well endowed  lass that worked there leaned over me and said "are you ok". I forget her name but they were lovely.

 

noelene :) :) :) 



#19 Peckoltia

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:29 AM

When I was working at Malaga Aquariums many years ago - we had a series of open ponds, at one point we had archer fish in one. A good mate of Kev's used to come in, big rough lookin' fella with a bull ring in his nose. The archer fish used to love taking pot shots at him trying to get his shiny bull ring. Absolutely hilarious. Was a real hazard, almost died of laughter.



#20 ice

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 10:04 AM

That same archer fish shot me in the face once, I had one at home that used to go for the eyes and would get me now and then through the split between the bloody lids, they are a good laugh when they get some confidence up.






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