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Warning About Tank Maintenance


xfinchxx

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earlier today I was watching a hospital real-life type program on tv when - by some bizarre coincidence as I don't usually watch those type of things - a man came on along with his five year old son, complaining of an infection in his arm and hand. he had granulomas, or hard swollen lumps, under his skin and all the other symptoms of a bacterial infection (tiredness, lethargy, heat under the skin etc). the nurse worked out where he'd caught the infection when he mentioned that he was a marine biologist. she asked if he kept pet fish at home - it came to light that the week before the symptoms appeared, he'd been cleaning out the biological part of the filter on his son's tropical fish tank. bacteria had entered through a small cut on his hand and spread up the lymph nodes of his arm, resulting in the nasty-looking infection which required him to have three weeks off work and a course of strong antibiotics.

just thought I'd give you guys a heads-up about this ^_^ perhaps we all need to remember to check our hands for wounds before we do any tank maintenance and remember to always wash our hands carefully afterwards. it's easy to forget when you're busy ^_^; and perhaps if your immune system is compromised for any reason, say by a common cold or a long-term illness, it would be best to get friends or family to help you out so you're not exposed to any nasties.

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Yup there is such a real thing. I think the name of the disease is something like zoonosis . So I guess if you have a small nick or any opening in the skin on your hands or arms , then maybe you might want to wear rubber gloves when you do tank maintenance.

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Do you want to know the scary part of this?

I had what a dermatologist termed "allergic dermatitis," though I do think it could have been some sort of bacterial infection in my right hand. I had large, painful, pus-filled blisters that covered 1/4 of my right hand [between the thumb and index finger, and in the palm], and a small patch beginning on the middle finger of my left. Many people said it looked like a staph infection!

And, as I thought back, I remembered - it started after I was treating a koi for severe mouth rot, and had been handling it and cleaning its tank. Of course, it's all just speculation of where I got it, because we also have rodents and birds which could have just as easily caused it.

Just fyi, there is someone on this board who has experienced first hand [no pun intended] the dangers of animal husbandry.

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Uh oh, i totally forgot about a scratch I have on my arm from the dog playing and it is an open wound about two inches long.

I cant believe how stupid ive been. Ive spent 4 hours yesterday doing water changes and had my hands deep in the water moving stuff around and I didnt think once about anything infectious entering my arm. :blink:

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You're most likely okay Sands. With any type of infection, bacterial or viral, the body must have its immune system comprimised for some reason or another (already sick, low white cell counts, things like that). If you're healthy, your body should be able to take care of itself.

I'm bad, and I'll admit, I never wear gloves or anything. They're just too binding and just get in the way if ya ask me.

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I'm with Erika on the gloves thing. I hate them...and they never fit tiny hands right! lol. With any animal there is risk in infections. Snakes and lizards carry salmonella [turtles also]. Birds carry a herpes virus which may or may not be transmittable to humans, and the list goes on. Cat scratch fever, and on and on.

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Yes it can happen!

Also think of fish TB this is quite rare but it will cause lesions on the skin at the site of infection first as a symptom

I am 36 yrs of age and my hand used to look 20 as does my face till I took up fish keeping

now my hand looks 90!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wash hands and rinse 3X every time I do new water for a water change

that is per bucket, I do 5 tanks a week so I do 40 to 50 buckets a week

thats 40-50 hand washes and that even with the clean water!!!

It takes me a day to do it sooooo, I touch things, like I may have smoke, or a drinik, so if I do I wash again, dont wanna put nicotine in my tankis from my hand when I had a smoke.

Basically I wash my hands after touching anything before I introduce into my tanks ( I got 5 tanks so I can not afford to infect them all)

Then after I wash hands and armms up to armpits so I can not pass it on to anything

Maybe I am parionoid? I dont know? but better be safe then sorry

and yes I tryed gloves when i have a cut, but they fill up with water LOL

so...go chemist/pharmasic and order some "Opsite" its a clear dressing that is waterproof

so if you have a scratch or open wound put that on and no water will get into it,

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The possibility of getting a bacterial infection from your tank water is another good reason for having a UV sterilizer on an aquarium. Bacteria are the easiest thing for a UV sterilzer to kill.

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If I recall correctly, fish tuberculosis doesn't manifest as a lung infection in humans. I think it causes lesions on the skin instead? though I haven't heard of anyone getting anything through drinking tb water, just getting stuff through open wounds. :krazy:

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That is interesting and something I have heard of a few times on here. I ALWAYS have cuts on my hands and have worked both on my own tanks and on the pet store's tanks and have never had a problem, so I believe it is unlikely.

However I have cut myself on live coral before (also doing tank maintenance) and that leaves a nasty, swollen cut for a couple weeks. They were never deep cuts but they did swell and get full of pus. Some corals have toxins that can be very dangerous.

Not to get off track though!

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the guy just went home with some antibiotics and still seemed keen about caring for his son's fish :lol:

I really think the risk is negligible unless, as someone already said, your immune system is compromised in some way. maybe sacrifice practicality and go for some gloves when you're run down with a cold ^_^

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We're all generally healthy individuals so the risk of getting an infection, even from a small cut, is fairly low.... I mean thats what your immune system is for!! Unless your immune system is compromised (like erika said) then its a pretty low risk..

Being a nurse i was my hands with harsh anti-microbial soap over 50 times a day (not over exaggerating either, touch patient, wash hands, i have 5 patients) I'm 22 and my hands look like my grandmas! I'm not going to wear gloves or anything in my fish tank, the risk is too low to waste time and effort on gloves.. Sure it does happen, but its pretty rare..

And the risk of TB is even lower, when i got tested for TB (requirement for employment) i was already immune, not having been exposed to TB ever (that i know of anyway), they told me that most people in western countries have gathered a natural immunity from TB being in the air (being an airborne infection). This is comming from our TB centre, so i guess they would know their stuff.

Has anyone else noticed why people (namely children) are allergic to SO many things these days? Studies are being done now to show that kids are too clean, hence why theres been a dramatic increase in childhood allergies. All kids need to do is get down and dirty! Like we all used to do when we were kids, i'm not saying that all allergies are put down to being too clean, but all these extra ones that kids are comming up with are what i'm talking about.

The same principle can be used with the fish tank, if you expose yourself to small amounts of the bacteria in the fish tank, you'll gradually work up the anti-bodies to fight it. If you dont expose yourself your going to have less resistance to fight the bacteria, when you actually are exposed to the bacteria. Hence increasing the chance of infection.

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Has anyone else noticed why people (namely children) are allergic to SO many things these days? Studies are being done now to show that kids are too clean, hence why theres been a dramatic increase in childhood allergies. All kids need to do is get down and dirty! Like we all used to do when we were kids, i'm not saying that all allergies are put down to being too clean, but all these extra ones that kids are comming up with are what i'm talking about.

Yep, it all comes from kids today aren't getting exposed to stuff to keep their little immune systems fighting stuff off. If they're not exposed, they can suffer. I read somewhere the coolest thing. People who "overclean their homes" have children with more allergies. They're not EXPOSED to stuff. Makes me feel a little bit better about my house, LOL!!!

PLUS, kids today dont' romp around outside as much as we use to. TV, video games, play stations and that kind of stuff keeps 'em inside more than they should. Like I tell my child (he's asking me if he can watch TV as I type this!) GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!!!!

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I heard something similar to this awhile back. Anymore, if I have a tiny scratch, I wont put that hand into the tank. Awhile back my fish had ick, and I had just gotten a cut on my hand the day before from a knife. It was small, but I refused to put that hand in the tank. I guess I was worried I would get ick. I typically inspect my hands and arms pretty well before they enter the tank. Im a worry wart. LOL...

But I do have to admitt, I refuse to wear gloves. I hate them. I cant get anything done with them on.

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I wonder if that guy's tank had piscine-TB in it. That sounds a lot like the symptoms I read about. Maybe when he went into the hospital he just hadn't lost any fish yet, or even if he had he didn't think enough of it to mention.

That is scary though. I tried using gloves a while back, it was impossible. To get to the bottom of my tank I have no choice but to stick my whole arm in, even with the large gravel vac. So I was wearing these big bulky full-arm checmical-retardent gloves trying to do a water change... yea, I gave up on that pretty quick :)

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The use of gloves, though cumbersome and akward, is always a good idea. It only takes a microscopic opening in your skin to allow all kinds of nasty germs in.

The over use of antibiotics is another reason people are getting and staying sick! I am always careful around my fish and ANY fish for that matter. My husband came down with a MRSA infection and we were told he got this from getting finned by a mullet.

My son AJ (age 1) has had MRSA twice, although he got it from a hospital. He's been on so many different antibiotics that his doctor now fears he's becoming resistant.

A good practice is, Better Safe Than Sorry!

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Dude i've probably got MRSA all over me, i work with it everyday! As well as acinetobacter which is another multi-resistant organism worse than MRSA that is rampant. These did come about from over using antibiotics though, but the only thing we can do now is to create stronger/different ab's to fight the new bacteria.

If the hospital staff were screened for MRSA and were put off work if they had it, there would be no staff left! Hence why they dont check staff.

We dont even routinely check the patients because we know what the result would be and the hospital system cant cope with that.

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Has anyone else noticed why people (namely children) are allergic to SO many things these days? Studies are being done now to show that kids are too clean, hence why theres been a dramatic increase in childhood allergies. All kids need to do is get down and dirty! Like we all used to do when we were kids, i'm not saying that all allergies are put down to being too clean, but all these extra ones that kids are comming up with are what i'm talking about.

The same principle can be used with the fish tank, if you expose yourself to small amounts of the bacteria in the fish tank, you'll gradually work up the anti-bodies to fight it. If you dont expose yourself your going to have less resistance to fight the bacteria, when you actually are exposed to the bacteria. Hence increasing the chance of infection.

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I agree with that and I quote Bob Geldof (sp?) here "So many kids are falling ill these days 'cause they don't eat turds when they're young".

My fish hygiene is awful, I get a mouthful or two of fish water with every waterchange when I start the syphon. I dont wash my hands after working with the tanks (I do in between tanks) then I'll eat something with fish poop and water on my hands :ignore ..I'm so discusting.. but I'm like that with everything, I'll eat off the floor if I drop something.. I've licked the pavement for a dare before.. But I never get ill!!! I probably have the best immune system going!!

Btw Zoonosis is the word for an animal disease that can be passed on to humans.. like ringworm and TB.

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