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FAQs about Pet-fishing & Human Health: Poisoning (ingested) 

Related Articles: Wounds ArticlesMoray Eels Bite, But Are They Venomous? by Marco Lichtenberger,

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

For products: Contact your poison center... Call the manufacturer, request a link to their MSDS...

Valentini puffer venom? -- 07/04/09
<Hi Wendy.>
I thought I'd done my research on the valentini puffer and just purchased a tiny little specimen to add to my 50 gal tank, but have just found an article calling the valentini venomous, and wondering in what sense? I did read that they are poisonous to eat, and have not planned on eating it, or putting it with aggressive fishes, so thought that would not be a problem.
<You are absolutely right.>
But, is the little cutie dangerous to handle in the tank, say if I'm putting my arm in and he bites me?
<No problem. A bite can be painful and may easily become infected, but there is no venom transferred into your body. However, it is true puffers have toxins such as Tetrodotoxin and are very poisonous when eaten.>
Thank you for your help! Wendy
<Welcome. Marco.>

puffer buried in the garden, human hlth. f'  -- 3/17/09
<Hi there Deedra>
About a year and a half ago, my poor porcupine fish was pestered to death by a regal blue tang. The kids were so distraught that we had a funeral and buried him in the then unused garden. Spring is hopefully on the way and I would like to plant a garden this year. Is there any need for concern about his toxins getting into our produce?
<Ah, no... the toxins are proteinaceous... not assimilable by plants>
Thank you for your help, past, present and future!
<Welcome in all time frames, points of reference. BobF>

Eating sea urchins Sorry I searched all over----just want to know how to tell if a sea urchin is poisonous ( to eat)---I have found several recipes on how to prepare but have  been told some are toxic. < < Good question.  Yes they are edible, and many dishes are made with them.  But yes they are poisonous.  You're the first person to bring this to my attention (can't believe I never thought of that before).  I wouldn't think their is much preparation involved in cooking them.  Best person for this is Bob, I'll pass on this email to him. >> Living on sailboat in western Caribbean--   Respectfully, Carolyn << Blundell- jealous as he lives in a laboratory in the western US >>

Toxic sea urchins Sorry I searched all over----just want to know how to tell if a sea urchin is poisonous ( to eat)---I have found several recipes on how to prepare but have  been told some are toxic. Living on sailboat in western Caribbean--   Respectfully, Carolyn <Am not aware of any echinoids that are toxic to ingest (Uni, their eggs), though there are some that are dangerous to touch... e.g. the family Toxopneustidae. Bob Fenner>

Turtles as a Human Health Hazard (12/12/04) I was trying to get my Fluval pump working for my red eared slider tank, and I stupidly used my mouth to try to siphon the water to get the air out of the pump tubes and some dirty turtle water went in to my mouth. I did spit it out immediately, but am very paranoid and nervous.  Should I be overly concerned?  Should I take any antibiotics?  Please provide your opinions or any links to problems like this. Thank you in advance for your assistance. <I would not lose any sleep right now. Salmonella is the greatest risk, and most cases of this are seldom treated with antibiotics in otherwise healthy adults. Prophylactic antibiotics are not a good idea in this situation. If you get sick (vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, etc), go see your doctor and tell him/her what happened. Learn from this and do not use your mouth to start siphon in the future. Steve Allen.>

Poisoned by Hydrocotyle tea? 8/31/05 Hi Bob, could you help me with some information? My friend  ingested a "strong" cup of Hydrocotyle tea. He's in pretty bad shape; Headache, diarrhea, Fever... Can you advise if there is indeed anything to neutralize effects???  I'd greatly appreciate it ! ED Moscati <Mmm, am hesitant to even mention... but I would immediately call your local "Poison Center", call "911" if you can't find this, and get their input, take your friend down for a visit. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Oscar... human health/siphon Problem   2/9/06    I've been reading the page, very helpful. I have one Oscar that is a foot long and he has hole in the head, I ordered Flagyl and it should be coming in a few weeks. when I was changing the water, I got some in my mouth while sucking on the tube to create suction for the water. does this disease of the one celled organism effect humans also? <Good question... I don't believe so... and unless you have an ulceration in your stomach or small intestine, I don't think you need to be concerned here. I do suggest that you develop a "non-sucking" method of starting siphons though... I hold up the end of the hose, vacuum and get water started down, then dip the end back in to prevent siphon loss. Many techniques... Bob Fenner> Siphoning... TGIF once again Crew, Assuming maybe Jen S. is still answering since I just got an email back from you. <I'm still here... wish I was on a tropical island somewhere, but hey.  I have fun w/ this too!> I just wanted to share something I do for siphoning water since reading that a lot of people use there mouths. <Ick, not me... use an automatic syphon here.  I could never understand why people used to siphon gas tanks with their mouth either.  ick.> I also use to do this but being paranoid I always thought "Hey is my mouth dry, arms a little shaky, little dizzy" so I decided to figure out another way. Many may use this same technique but from what I read a lot don't. Simply go to your local Wal-mart and buy a spare power head or use one if you have access to it in your fishtank. Stick the hose right in front of it and  pump enough water to start the flow take away and your siphon has started. <Very cool!>   Figured I would share this with people that may need a solution to using there mouth. Since finding out about palytoxin today and realizing there is a lot of dangerous stuff in there I am sure to be A LOT more careful in future handling of my aquarium. <Hahaha, yes you should!  Don't want to inhale something that might bite, right?> Thanks for the time, Homerj <No, thank you for sharing!  Excellent.  Have a great night!  Jen S.>

Help - my son ingested Tri-start!! -- 03/13/08 Hi I have a fresh water aquarium and treat my water with Tri-start when I do a water change. Today my two year old son got into my fish equipment cupboard and had a sip of my tri-start. I panicked and called poisons info (I am in Australia) but they couldn't find any information on the ingredients of tri-start. They did eventually find one database that said water conditioners are mostly sodium chloride. I was wondering if you could tell me if that is the case, and if not, what the main ingredients are for Tri-start or similar products. So far my son seems fine but I am worried and surprised that manufacturers do not have to list at least an active constituent. The poor man at poisons agreed as it makes their job very difficult! Thanks a lot. Hope you can help me. Regards Sarah <Sarah, water conditioners -- dechlorinators -- are mostly sodium thiosulphate. That's what you need to tell your medical practitioner. My understanding is that sodium thiosulphate is relatively harmless unless consumed in large amounts, though it is an irritant and emetic, and you should certainly get in touch with your MD. Cheers, Neale.>

Swallowing water Hi Bob, I have a marine tank (46 ga.) that has been up for about 5 months. I houses a blue damsel, percula clown, coral beauty, yellow tang, cleaner shrimp, and a few crabs and snails. During routine maintenance this weekend while siphoning water out for a water change, I guess you could say that I swallowed a bit of water trying to start the siphon. I remember "drinking" some of the ocean water as a kid at the beach, but I'm sure the water in our tanks is a little more "full of waste" than the ocean. It happened 2 days ago. I feel fine. Anything I should worry about? Thanks. <Not really... unless you have ulcerations... open wounds in your buccal cavity... you're more than likely fine... I have swallowed actual gallons of water from fish tanks over the years... though I am the "Jimi Hendrix" of siphoning at this late stage. Bob Fenner> Jason

Tank Cleaning (dangers) Hello Crew, I've been using a gravel siphon to clean my 29 gallon tank. W/o thinking about it, I have been starting the suction manually, using my mouth.  Since I cleaned my tank on Monday night, I have been drastically sick - severe stomach distress, extreme diarrhea, cramping, and dehydration.  I know this might seem like a dumb question to you experts, but I am being fairly stupid for doing it this way? <Have done this myself for decades> I've noted other times when I didn't feel good, with similar stomach and intestinal distress, but never before this week have I been able to tie it to the tank cleaning.  Are there serious parasites in my (freshwater) tank that could be potentially dangerous to the human digestion system? thanks,  Doug, the dumb tank cleaner. <Am concerned for your health here. I would consult with an MD re this possibility. As far as I'm aware, there is little danger of outright infection from ingesting aquarium water... There are a few other ways to "start" a siphon. I suggest you try these: filling the hose either from a tap or in the tank, plugging the siphon hose with your thumb, lowering it into the point of discharge (bucket, drain...). Bob Fenner>

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