Allergic to fish tank?

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Global Moderator
Staff member
Jan 11, 2013
West Falls NY
Real Name
Good point loach!

High humidity can breed mold. You may not necessarily see it, but it's there and it could be effecting you.
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Apr 2, 2002
New York
I am one of those who is allergic to blood worms. However, I need to feed them. I use frozen rather than freeze dried although many years ago I did use the dried. I have 20 tanks so I mostly buy the slabs of frozen food. However, I will only use bloods in the blister packs. I can pop these put and not touch them. The problem is that only reduces things.

I will still get itchy hands and eyes for a bit more often than mot. But by making sure i do not touch the bloods and then be carefull in defrosting and getting them into the tank. I can handle the milder and short term discomfort. I rinse off my hand s a lot during the food prep.

I believe I am allergic to something in the nitrogen complex. I am pretty sure it is nitrate. I discovered this decades ago before I even planned to keep fish. I used to develop B&W film and make prints. The chemicals in the various tray include nitrate I used to get 100s of awful tiny blisters all over my hands from this. Even holding a hand over the tray would do it. I next got this reactions from plant fertilizers. These often contain nitrate. It took me close to 20 years figure out the cause.

I now protect myself doing tank works with gloves. I am a right and I put a latex exam glove on my right hand and then seal it up with waterproof tape. I use a long sleeved aquarium glove (Aqua Gloves) on my left hand/arm. These gloves are fairly thick on one's fingers and make doing fine work with the left hand difficult, hence the exam glove on the right. I get by this way.

I agree with the possibility of likely needing to consult an allergist. What I would suggest is that you hide the bloodworms and do not open the jar or feed them for a while maybe a week or. If your symptoms lessen and then go away, you likely know what caused them. However, if your symptoms persist after starting this test fur a few days, see a doctor . If they get worse, do not wait, see a doctor sooner. You can even have your mom make an appointment for a week or so from now and if the symptoms stop, she can cancel it. However, I think you should discuss this all with her.

It is better to be safe and see a doctor needlessly than not to see one when you should. I am only telling you how blood worms affected me. This does not mean that is your problem. I am most certainly not a doctor.


AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
SF Bay area, CA
I have a mild allergy to bloodworms & probably molds too. Just itchy skin or a snotty nose but my tanks are not in my bedroom. The underside of tank covers can grow a source of mold or algae. I've gotten itchy skin from changing tank water that I'd fed blood worms. An old LFS owner would not even keep frozen BWs in his shop at all...kind of like you, swollen eyes & maybe breathing issues...NOT!! trivial, get a doctor's help!

Don't take this lightly!! Some allergies can be life threatening!! If a Benadryl doesn't fix your problems, you may need to move the tanks out of your bedroom...or dust & clean more often...or get a new hobby...
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