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Can your fish tank make you sick?

Discussion in 'General Freshwater' started by Anthony8858, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. Anthony8858

    Anthony8858 Hey, fish-face!

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    Keeping in mind the various organisms that do grow in a tank, I can't help but wonder if you can get sick from your tank?

    I ask because my daughter's tank recently developed a sweet smell while going through a cycle. My wife "flipped" into a state of panic when she saw my daughter open the cover and smell the water. She was very worried about inhaling some organism that very well could end up in her lungs.

    Of course there are water born diseases like "legionaires disease" that can be transmitted by simply breathing the infected water droplets.

    Can a fish tank be deadly?
     
  2. PumaWard

    PumaWard In loving memory of Meeko

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    If fish tanks could be deadly than I would long be dead. I've reached into my tank, without even thinking, with cuts on my hands and I regularly smell the tank. I think that there is only a few fish born illnesses that can be transmitted to humans, TB being one of them and it's not very common.

    Point being, I don't think your daughter is going to get sick from smelling the water.
     
  3. Oakley

    Oakley You haven't seen me.

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    legionaires disease as fas as im aware is only caught by breathing in very small particlas of water, such as you would get in a fine spray of water in a shower.
    My brother is a micro biologist that deals with assessing risks to workers in large offices from such things as legionaires disease.
    When i call him i will ask him about any of the possible risks that may be in the home aquarium and i will post his thoughts here for you.
     
  4. OrionGirl

    OrionGirl No freelancing!

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    Viruses will seldom be able to make the leap from fish to human (and vice versa). Some bacteria can, but require specific conditions to thrive, and humans don't supply those--for example, the nitrifying bacteria would not survive long in our systems. While fish TB is transmissable, it's easily avoided by careful maintenance--use gloves, don't stick you hand in if you have cuts and open sores.

    While legionnaires disease is transmissable through water droplets, it must be in sufficient quantity to infect a human. Check here for more: http://www.waterionisation.com/legionella045.html and note that aquariums are not listed as potential reservoirs. The high temp required for optimal growth of the bacteria is well above where most fish tanks are kept.

    IMO, the kitchen and bathroom are more likely to cause an illness than a fish tank.
     
  5. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Reads the Gribble Report

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    IMO Alert!

    In the old days children played in mud, ate worms, and kept dead frogs in their pockets- and were healthy as h3ll.

    Nowadays the nursery is sterile, they have "play dates" at approved childrens centers, and get followed around by Mom's with antibacterial wipes- and asthma has never been more prevalent.

    A healthy immune system is your best defense! Feed 'em lots of fresh veggies and let 'em be kids.
     
  6. Lauren

    Lauren Say hello to my lilttle friends

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    Cearbhaill: you also have to realize that asthma is easier to diagnose now. Plus, when it appears that more people have asthma, it just means that more people are on asthma medicine. Many people with allergies are given asthma medication to help them. So most studies make it seem that more people have it then they really do.

    Your daughter is fine:
    here is the link for if you want to show your wife: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/legionellosis_g.htm
     
    #6 Lauren, Jan 30, 2004
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2004
  7. LMOUTHBASS

    LMOUTHBASS My hypocrisy goes only so far

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    Legionella bacterium - what exactly is it n what will it do to ppl?
     
  8. HarmonyAZ

    HarmonyAZ AC Members

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    There are studies which show much lower rates of both asthma and allergies in populations in rural areas with more contact with animals and with lower sanitation. Asthma rates are exponentially higher in Westernized, developed urban areas, even when the same doctors are doing the diagnosis in both areas. :)
     
  9. Lauren

    Lauren Say hello to my lilttle friends

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    It's a lot like pneumonia.

     
  10. slipknottin

    slipknottin the original legend

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    Like ~35 people die a year from their aquarium. Im assuming 90%+ of them die from electrocution. Those glass heaters and powerheads are very dangerous...

    There are fish and inverts that are deadly, and there are a few diseases that you can catch, but those likely result in the minority of cases.

    There was a thread on RC awhile back where some guys dog died, it licked the water in a bucket where he was temporarily storing some polyps. The polyps emit palytoxin when stressed. Palytoxin is the most deadly natural toxin in the world. Less than 5 micrograms of it is deadly to humans.
     

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