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FAQs about Pet-fishing & Human Environments

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Related FAQs:  Petfishing and Human Health 1Petfishing and Human Health 2, Petfishing & Human Health 3, & FAQs on: Petfishing Concerns: Getting Poked, Spined, Stuck, Envenomized (injected), Bitten, Poisoning (ingesting), Skin et al. Contact, Companion Animal Involvement, Troubleshooting/Fixing, Bacterial Infections, Parasitic Cross Zoonoses, Turn About's Fair Play...


Fire in the tank, powerhead failure  19.01.09
Dear helpers of the fish,
I have had my 120 gallon salt water aquarium for 7 years, all has gone well for the last 5 years. No issues, until tonight. Our powerhead went haywire and exploded in a profusion of bubbles and smoke was billowing out of our tank.
We got everything unplugged quickly and got the powerhead out of the tank. Our whole living room filled with smoke and when we opened the top of the tank it reeked of smoke - we did an immediate 65 gallon water change but of our 6 fish and one starfish the only fish to survive the ordeal is the Maroon Clownfish and the starfish. The Orangehead Sleeper Goby looks very still but is still upright. I called our fish store and they said they'd never heard of anything like this happening.
<Save the burnt out unit... Contact the manufacturer...>
We have no corals, only live rock. Can you tell me what we could have done to prevent this
<Perhaps nothing... but I would have all appliances wired through at least a GFI, possibly a surge protector as well. Read here:
and the linked files above>
- all seemed in good working order until the moment it started bubbling like crazy. Also what do we do to keep the one remaining fish alive?
<Either another set-up or doing what you can to salvage the present one...>
Will our live rock be effected?
<Possibly, but worth trying to keep... Activated carbon, Polyfilter use... IF through assay (your livestock not living), I'd bleach all... and re-use>
Will we be able to add more fish or what would be your protocol to getting our tank back in order. I did take our water in to be tested and the levels all seemed ok but I'm nervous as to the long term ramifications.
What a tragic night - I greatly appreciate any and all help and/or advice you might give me. Not sure of what specs you need: 2 Magnum 350 canister filters, MaxJet1200 powerheads (had 2 now 1 but I'm nervous about leaving it in the tank),
<MaxiJets are generally very reliable... again, I think the maker would like to have this unit to examine>
we had a damselfish, a lipstick tang, a bi-color angel, and a 6 line wrasse in addition to the Sleeper Goby and the Clownfish. We had Astrea snails and some crabs as the cleaning crew.
Warm Wishes,
<I am very glad that no one was hurt, the house wasn't further damaged. Bob Fenner>  

Piano and Aquarium... New FAQ... neg. effects of aquariums on human env.s    9/11/07  Hi. Thanks for the great forum to ask questions. This one's an odd one and I'm not sure where else I would get this answer from without having to go through a lot of nonsense. I have a 125 gallon reef tank in my living room and have had it for about a year and a half. When we (I live with my parents) got it, none of us even thought about the fact that my mom's expensive grand or baby grand piano (I don't know which, but it's beautiful and expensive-as is the reef tank of course!) is in the same room. So, her piano tuner came this weekend and after he did his thing, he reported to us that the piano strings were rusting at a rate to be concerned about. We all know that it is from the tank evaporation, but with the huge task it will be to move one or the other as well as limited places to move either, we are all searching for other options to keep them together first. We have a dehumidifier that we can put in the room, but are not sure how much of a difference that will make. <If it is efficient, this should largely "do it"> Would the dehumidifier also make the aquarium lose even more water than it already does? <Yes, to some extent> Do you have any other ideas of things we can do to alleviate this issue, or do you think this is a lost cause and moving things will be the only option? <Mmm, you could lower the tank temperature... chill the water... would slow evaporation... look for other means to do this> We'd like to try anything and everything we can first. Thanks for any help you can lend and I love your website-you are one of the few places on the internet that I can visit and rely on the information that I find. Thanks again and hope to hear from you soon! Nicholas Sadaka <This and enclosing the tank somehow... with a false or real wall, paneling... venting the moist air outside... Bob Fenner>

Re: Piano and Aquarium   9/11/07  Thanks so much and if you'd like, I can send the results of how things go when we try different things. <Please do> The reason I offer to do so (and if you're not interested in the topic, that's fine too) is because it's an issue that I haven't heard too much discussion on anywhere-I'm having a horrible time finding any information on this situation at all, so it might be a good "new" subject to have on your site. <Good point Again, thanks so much and it's an honor to get a response from such an expert! Nicholas Sadaka <A pleasure to share, aid your efforts. BobF>

Unshielded DE Metal Halide Bulbs...Danger Will Robinson!!! -- 09/10/07 WWM Crew, <<Rick>> Your FAQs and dailies have been an invaluable resource. My tank and I thank you for the knowledge. <<We're pleased you find the site useful>> I had two Current SunPod HQI metal halide units (14k w/ 150W, total of 3 original bulbs). When I upgraded to a larger reef tank, neither of the units fit the tank. Rather than purchase a new unit, I removed the contents of each fixture and integrated them into a wooden DIY enclosure. <<Neat>> The enclosure utilizes the existing fans found in the original units, as well as an additional and larger fan. The enclosure hangs approximately 13 inches off the tank, with the halides approximately 18 inches off the tank. The tank is adequately covered so as to prevent water splashing onto the bulbs, reflectors or ballast. <<Mmm, usually little concern with this...better to let the tank 'breath' in my opinion>> The fixture has operated safely for two months now, but I fear the UV/radiation dangers that may be posed by this setup. <<Oh?>> My concern is that I have not included any glass/UV shield below the bulbs. <<Yikes! Yes, this is a 'danger'...to you, your livestock, et al!>> Is this a valid concern? <<Indeed...please do install UV shields over these double-ended bulbs. Special 'UV' glass can be obtained, but simple float glass from the hardware/home store will also afford some protection...or utilize the shields that surely came with the original fixtures>> Could the bare light exposure be harmful to humans or corals? <<Not 'could be'...'is'... The fact you have the tank 'covered' to prevent splash is probably why you haven't 'cooked' your livestock before now...but the potential for damage re, as well as to you and your family, is very high. I have seen 'cracked' Mogul-base bulbs do damage to livestock...I can only imagine how hazardous these completely exposed/unshielded DE bulbs must be>> If so, how can I remedy the situation? Thank you, Rick <<Rick, I can not stress enough the potential danger this unshielded fixture poses to you and your family's' health/eyesight. Immediately discontinue use of this fixture until adequate UV shields can be fashioned and fixed in place. Regards, EricR>>

Is Metal Halide Lighting Harmful To My Health? - 06/27/07 Hi!!! <<Hello!!!>> Hope you can answer my question today. <<Let's see then...>> Is being exposed to metal halide lighting bad? <<Mmm, wish I knew what your definition of "exposed" was here...but generally speaking keeping "direct" exposure to a minimum is a good practice>> Is there any negative effects on health? <<I would think any health risks would be very similar to those associated with too much exposure to the Sun>> Anything I should be worried about? <<Do take steps to shield your eyes/your families eyes from direct exposure by using proper lamp housings/fixtures and avoid looking directly at a burning bulb...the occasional/accidental glance is not going to permanently "blind" you in my experience, but it will "dazzle" you a bit...again, much like looking at the Sun. I don't think you need to be "afraid" of metal halide lighting, but it is a very intense light source that produces varying amounts of Ultra-Violet radiation that does indeed require your respect>> Thank you! <<Happy to proffer my non-medical opinion...I hope it helps. Eric Russell>>

Electrical Shock/Dancing Aquarist   4/21/06 Hello, <Howdy>  I was wondering if you guys could give me some advice on what could be the cause of every time I put my hand in my refugium I get a jolt of electricity. <You are acting as part of the return path of the circuit, hopefully you will not be the complete path.>  I have a 180-gallon with a 40-gallon refugium below using a dolphin 800 to return water back to the tank and a mag7 to drive my ev180 skimmer. Last week i had somewhat of a flood and after everything was pretty dry i plugged everything back in but ever since the flood the refugium has been shocking me. If you guys could offer any advice it would be greatly appreciated do you think it has something to do with the outlet being moist <Do remove the receptacle cover and point a fan toward it and allow to air dry.> and it is not acting as a ground? <My friend, if you enjoy life on this earth, do put a GFCI receptacle in place of the receptacle you are now using.  If not, you have already been on this earth longer than you are probably going to stay.  Please do a spelling/grammar check in future queries. All 'i's should be in caps.  James (Salty Dog)> Humidity and Human Health (12/29/2003) Hi.... my friend ..who ever is on the other side.. <Greetings. Steve Allen this evening> I little uncommon question for your crew. I have set up my new reef aquarium 600 liter tank, Bob and Calfo's books helped me a lot <excellent works that have helped many, myself included>, because I'm from country were are no marine aquariums at all. <I'm guessing one that was once part of the USSR? Perhaps you will be the start of a larger group of marine aquarists, thus adding the interesting group of people worldwide who share this wonderful hobby and will hopefully have a positive influence on the preservation of the ocean/reef environment.> I was struck buy one on a trip and spent a 2 years of ordering and reading a books, and than a equipment. <Your patience is a good example to marine aquarists everywhere.> Now when I succeed in my efforts I have a problem with my family because they think that evaporation of 5-7 liters per day from uncover tank is too much, actually they think that so much moisture in the air is bad for human health. My question is : can be this the true? <No and yes. Confused yet? Well, a specific amount of evaporation from your tank is not the issue. It is the effect of this evaporation only the relative humidity in your house that matters. If you have a properly ventilated home, there shouldn't be a problem. Don't leave the room the tank is in closed. The humidity will likely rise to near 100% and this will result in mold and damage.> <The optimum range for humidity in a home is 30-60% or so. Some would recommend narrower as in 40-50%. Here in normally dry Utah, the evaporation from my tank actually helps our home. We've noted fewer bloody noses in the family since I started my tank. The drier the air in your house already is, the more evaporation you will notice. I lose 2-5 gallons per day out of my 350 gallons total system volume.> <Anyway, various respiratory ailments are more common both in too dry and too humid air. An additional risk at higher humidity is mold growing in the structure of your home. These cause structural damage and may cause/contribute to a range of illnesses. Here are a couple of links to sites where you can learn more: http://www.healthyairusa.com/kb_humidity.asp http://www.gsenet.org/library/07eng/wntrhome.htm http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/envhs/iaq/temp.htm http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/burema/gesein/abhose/abhose_ce08.cfm http://www.relative-humidity-sensor.com/relative-humidity.htm Please note that I am not endorsing any particular product that may be offered on the sites above that are commercial. I just thought the sites had some helpful information.> <I am also attempting to attach a graph I found at the first site that shows the ranges of humidity associated with various problems. Please pardon this long response. I don't think that this question has been addressed much on WWM before, so I wanted everyone who reads to benefit from a detailed response. If you can get one, it would be good to have a humidity gauge in your home so you can work to keep it in the healthy range. Hope this helps.> Best Wishes, Boris (Same to you as well. We'd love to hear more about your pioneering marine aquarium.>

Humidity and Human Health 2 What can I say .... wonderful information. Can I pull a conclusion that actually there are no need for panic?? <Correct, as long as the relative humidity in your home is not greater than 60%. Also, remember not to close the room with the tank off from the rest of the house--it will get too humid in there without free air circulation with the rest of the house. I know this from experience. My daughter shut the door to my study one morning. When I went in that evening, it was like stepping into a sauna. Door open = no problem here.> Best Wishes and Happy New Year to all of your grew <And same to you Boris!>

Titanium grounding rod DANGER!  Bob, <James> Just something I'd like to pass on to you should a question arise on the www. Do encourage people NOT to use these things.  <I don't, and never have> They are a potentially very dangerous item to have in the aquarium. A friend of mine decided to pull his grounding rod out of the tank to clean the algae off it. Unknowingly, he had a powerhead that was electrically defective as far as insulation goes. Well, he grabbed the rod in one hand and had the other hand in the water, and presto, since he was connected directly to earth ground he got quite a jolt which caused his arm to go numb for some time and also created nervous twitches for about a week.  Regards, James (Salty Dog) <Yeeikes! Bob F>  

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