Fish keeping is an interesting and educational hobby. There are however, a few hazards not only to the fish but to the fish keeper as well.
Fish in Glasshouses…
Fish tanks are commonly constructed from glass, and though of sturdy construction can be easily broken.
Never set your tank up in a high traffic area. If someone happens to trip and fall, they can easily break the tank getting badly cut by the broken glass. If you hope to place a tank in a high traffic area or buy one for small children consider one of the acrylic tanks. Plastic is much safer in these circumstances.
Always ensure what ever you place your tank on is extremely sturdy. Each gallon of water weighs approximately 8 pounds so there is quite a bit of weight in most fish tanks. If the base you choose collapses, it will basically mean a broken tank, dead fish, and wet carpet.
Never have anything above the tank that may fall on it and smash it.
Always place a sheet of polystyrene underneath the fish tank, this allows for anomalies between the stand and the base of the tank and avoids the base cracking.
Always ensure your tank has a tight fitting cover glass, as this will prevent fish from jumping out of your tank. When working in your tank never place your cover glass on the floor where you may step on it and shatter it.
The hood of the tank, where the light fittings are, should have fluorescent fittings. These run cooler than incandescent fittings. This reduces the risk of burning yourself on the hood, the bulbs exploding from water splash or intense heat from the bulbs raising the tanks temperature.
Air pumps used to aerate the water have their own dangers. If placed below the tanks water level, in a power failure situation water will siphon back through the airline tubing and flood the pump. It is a wise investment to purchase and install a non-return valve in the airline near the pump to stop this happening.
Warming Things Up
If you plan keeping tropical fish, it means buying an aquarium heater. This is a thermostat and heating elements surrounded by a glass tube. Essentially electricity and water separated by a fairly thin layer of glass.
Heaters are delicate and easily cracked or broken when you rummage around in the tank. If this should occur, you most definitely will be electrocuted along with your fish. Always turn the tank heater off when doing work in the tank. Before doing anything in the tank turn the heater off and allow 15 minutes for the heater to cool, if this is not done you could receive an nasty burn from the still hot heater.
NEVER turn the heater, or for that matter power, on before the tank is full. Once water encounters the hot glass of the heater, the heater will explode.
All electrical equipment attached to the tank should have a drip loop in case water runs down the cord. To fashion a drip loop the cable has to be brought down below the power point then back up, any water coming down the cable drips off the lowest point before reaching the power point.
Safe Decorating For Your Fish.
Always use proper aquarium gravel in your tank. Don’t use beach or builders sand as these contain chemicals harmful to your fish.
As tempting as it may initially seem and as decorative as it may appear never use coral to decorate your tank. It will alter the water chemistry, pollute your tank, and kill your fish. The same applies to shells collected from the beach.
Fish keeping often involves the use of chemicals. Cures and testing substances are available to the hobbyist. Ensure these are kept out of the reach of children and wash your hands after using them.
Many pollutants can easily enter your tank and lead to the demise of your fish. Cigarette smoke, air fresheners, deodorants and fly spray can enter your tank via the air pump and will quickly wipe out an entire tank full of fish.
Avoid using any type of detergent if you want to clean your fish tank when you clean it out. Instead, use salt as a scourer and rinse the tank out thoroughly with fresh water.
Cleaners can permeate the silicon rubber that holds the tank together and then leach out killing your fish. The same applies to washing your hands then putting them in the tank. Soap residue remaining on your hands will also quickly kill your fish.
Recent findings indicate that fish tanks are breeding grounds for salmonella, so ensure you wash your hands thoroughly after messing around in your tank.
Do not mess with your tank if you are tired, distracted, or have consumed alcohol this is how accidents occur.
A fish tank will give you relaxation and pleasure if you focus on safety for both you and your fish around the tank.