Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Pet-fishing & Human Health 1

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

Related FAQs:  Petfish & 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... Stingrays

Hazardous Marine Animal tank in Oahu Public Aquarium.

Zebra Danios With TB  12/05/2005 Hi, We have 10 gallon tank and have started the tank 4 months from now. We bought 3 Danios to start with, and they did very well for first 2.5-3 months. We used to do weekly water change. Our local pet store suggested to not to change water for first month to have fully cycled tank. We stopped the water change. I am not sure if this is the cause or something else, but we lost our smallest fish during this time.  Rest two fishes has lived fine for some time and they started slowing down. They used to eat a lot and swim around in whole tank that is filled with natural plants. They stopped eating with that eagerness. They stopped playing. We noticed that their spine is also got curved.  First we were thinking that they are getting old. After reading FAQ section in your website, we are scared about fish TB.  I have been touching the water to clean up the tank. Though I don't have any wounds, but still I am scared and wanted to know what measure we can take to diagnose if we got infected or not. About the fishes, now they both are dull and during the night they lie down on the bottom of tank. Actually till light is off mostly they lie down on the bottom. If light is on, they try to swim. We can see they have hard time swimming. They most stand still at one place. I have also read on internet somewhere that when they are at the end of their life cycle, then also they develop curve in their spine. So how do I know if my fishes have TB or they are just old. In summary these are questions I have. 1) What measures can we take to find out if we have infected ourselves with the fish TB? < Fish TB is very very rare. If people were getting infected and it was a problem I think you would see warnings all over the place. As a precaution I just wash up after having my hands in an aquarium.> <Rare in people, yes....  but I have seen many, many cases in fish lately - many of which were Betta splendens....  -SCF> 2) how do I find out if my fish's spine is getting curved because they are old or they have fish TB? < More than likely your fish are getting old. Usually these little guys don't last more than a couple of years tops and the contouring of the spine is one of the signs of a fish getting older.> 3) In case of fish TB, how do I sterilize the whole tank? Do we have to start from scratch for the new fishes? < I think you fish may have gotten ill due to poor water quality. Check the nitrates. The lower the better. These little guys like clean well oxygenated water.-Chuck>

Netting fish with spines Hello- <Hi there> I've been an avid reader of all the info on WWM for about 8 months now.  It's been a great help while I try to get my 75 gallon bow front up and running.  My question is about fish with spines or even venomous spines (specifically tangs and Rabbitfish).  I've seen it mentioned that these fish need to be netted with caution.  Is there a specific net you recommend?  A specific technique? <A couple things... do use two nets (much better than chasing fishes around with just one), and thick rubber gloves to cradle the caught specimens if they have such spines (many fishes and quite a few non-fishes do)> Thanks for your help and keep up all the great work on WWM, it's such a great resource for all of us just starting out! Danielle <A pleasure to serve, share. Bob Fenner>

Zoanthid compatibility Hi,     I recently purchased a very nice yellow polyp rock which is very densely populated with these beautiful Parazoanthids.  But, I am very worried about them because there is a brown polyp reaching around from the underside of the rock which seems to have come in contact with a few of the yellow polyps, as they are remaining closed.  Is there anything I can do to get rid of him? <Yes... most directly, chip off the base where this polyp is attached and either move or remove it> I'm extremely paranoid about the toxins produced by Zoanthids, as I have a heart condition and may not fare well if exposed to something so powerful.  Do people die from this poison? <Mmm, some have gotten very sickened>   I've been searching the web but I haven't found too much detail about these guys.  I've read many books but I have never heard that these guys were poisonous until recently. thanks, Chris <Wear gloves while handling... wash them before removing... Bob Fenner>

Toxic corals? 9/30/04 Hi please I need help, I am very confused, all corals are toxic right? <hmmm... depends on your perspective/meaning: regarding filter feeding? (stinging nature of Cnidarian animals)... regarding allelopathy (chemical warfare against encroaching organisms)... poisonous nature if ingested or harassed?? what corals are more toxic?, what corals are less toxic?,   <variable as you might guess... and as per the above definitions> can a coral kill a human really?, <yes... more than a few can. Notably... palytoxin in Zoanthids. A historical use by Hawaiian natives, et al when tipping spears for mortal combat> I wont full my aquarium with corals, but I don't wont go to the hospital or die, please help me, what corals you know not are dangerous?, thanks you. <this is a small concern with good husbandry/handling... really. No worries with careful and proper handling as you do household chemicals, medications, fumous agents at work/home, etc. Anthony>

Another Reason to Wear Gloves (9/12/04) Hello, <Hi. Steve Allen with you tonight.> I have had a reef tank for about a year. It is thriving. I recently set up a 2nd tank for a friend following the same procedures I used on the first tank. The new tank has live sand, well cured live rock, 3 mushrooms, a couple different polyps, a hammer head frag from the first tank, and an Alveopora also from the first tank. There is also a lawnmower blenny, snails, hermit crabs, sand star, sea serpent star, a royal Gramma, bicolor Dottyback, and an orange spotted shrimp goby. All inhabitants are doing well and have been in there for over a month. There were two clown fish in there but they both died. The water tests perfectly. Additives and food include all in one, Kent Iodine, Sea Lab block, Marine Deluxe, Zooplex, BioPlankton, Formula One (frozen), and silver sides. The question is that I have painful and swollen fingers. After about a week of this condition I went to the doctor and told her I had a reef tank. She could find no other reason for the injury and put me on antibiotics (Cipro). <I'm not certain that this covers Mycobacterium marinum, which could be the source of your problem. Read more about this in the wound FAQs. You might have your doctor look for recent articles (appeared this year) about this in Annals of Internal Medicine and The New England Journal of Medicine. I believe I previously left references on the wound FAQ page.> I am seeing no change in the condition and am wondering if you have heard or experienced anything like this and what can be done about it. I have been doing some research and ran across something called mycobacterium marinum. <Yup, as above.> Some of what I am reading sounds like hand infections can turn into a very serious problem. I am wondering if this is common in the aquarium industry and what people do about it. <Yes. Smart people wear gloves (long armed-ones are available at local or online fish stores) to prevent it. The rest of us hope we never get it. I can't claim to be among those who use gloves all the time, but I try to remember. ;) It's like using a condom some or "most" of the time--sooner or later something undesirable happens. It is also possible that this is a local allergic or toxic reaction to coral venom (also preventable with gloves), in which case an OTC antihistamine like Claritin might help, but you need to consult your doctor before taking this. Sounds like you need to go back right away if the Cipro hasn't helped.> Both tanks are very clean and meticulously maintained weekly by myself as well as a service technician from my LFS. <This is no protection. Even a "clean" tank is a veritable cesspool of germs. Remember, your animals pee and poop (sorry, pediatrician talk) in it all the time, Would you stick your bare hand in a "clean" toilet bowl? I think not.> I would appreciate any advice you may have. <My primary advice is to go back to the doc and be sure to mention M. marinum and coral venom.> Thanks. <I hope this helps and I certainly hope your hands return to normal quickly and uneventfully.>

Interesting Articles on aquatic animal envenomation Bob & Anthony: Thought you might find these articles for doctors at eMedicine.com interesting: Echinoderrn Envenomations: http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic158.htm Coelenterate and Jellyfish Envenomations: http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic104.htm Lionfish and Stonefish: http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic300.htm Octopus Envenomations: http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic342.htm Stingray Envenomations: http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic556.htm Decompression Sickness: http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic121.htm Steve <Thank you for this Steve. Will post on WWM. Bob F>

URGENT! Medical question: Aquarium related Human Skin Infection (8/13/04) Greetings crew, And greetings to you as well....Leslie here for the crew this evening> I have a quick and urgent question for you. <Sure I will do what ever I can to help that's what I am here for.> I am in medical school and a fellow classmate of mine has a patient that they are following with a rather serious infection. <Utto, sorry to hear that> My colleague--knowing of my avid passion for marine aquariums-- requested my help. It seems their patient cut his arm on some rock (assumed live rock) in their marine aquarium 5 days ago.  It is now a very serious sub-dermal infection taking up the majority of their forearm--serious enough for hospital admission.   Lab results and cultures are pending (won't be ready till tomorrow night at least). The patient is currently on broad-spectrum IV antibiotics. <Well it sounds like your friend's patient is in excellent hands, however enlisting the services of a consulting an Infectious Disease Specialist might be appropriate. > My question to you (that was asked of me) is this:  What microbe is most likely to have infected this patient? <Well the first thing that comes to my mind is Mycobacteriosis caused by the organism Mycobacterium marinum. I am not a Physician but I do work in the medical field as a Registered Nurse and I have had personal experience with this particular infection.........my experience is written up in this article which you may find helpful..... Mycobacteriosis: An Infection You Could Acquire From Your Aquarium which was published in FAMA but can be found here as well http://www.syngnathid.org/articles/mycobacteriumInfection.html> What are the most likely characteristics?    <The articles and references listed below will give you a pretty good picture of the characteristics as well as the clinical course, but basically the organism causes a localized nodule/s typically on the upper extremity. These are erythematous ranging from 0.5-3.0 cm in diameter, may be tender and/or actively draining. I can tell you mine was quite painful. As an addendum to my article I experienced what at the time I thought were premature peri menopausal symptoms with "hot flashes". Well since my infection was not diagnosed until it was almost completely resolved .....in retrospect what was actually occurring were mild low grade fevers of 99.9 to 100.3 with associated chills alternating with diaphoresis, on a regular basis, for over a year and long after the lesion on my arm had almost completely resolved. My annual skin test for TB was always negative prior to this infection.  Now is falsely positive and additional evidence that despite not having the lesion cultured that I did in fact have this infection. > Assuming the aquarium was the source, and it came from the rock, I am assuming it is an aerobic organism.  That is about all I can get from my knowledge.  I have no idea if it would be gram positive/negative, motile, coagulase+/-, etc.    < If M. marinum is the culprit then it is a moderate-growing, non motile photochromogenic, acid-fast bacilli which did not come from the rock as it is a water borne pathogen. > Any information you have on this would be most helpful.    Here are several references I have found interesting and informative..... Mycobacterium marinum: The Fish Disease You Could Catch by Steven Pro:   http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-07/sp/feature/index.htm Mycobacterium Marinum Infection of the skin: http://www.emedicine.com/derm/topic281.htm Mycobacterium Marinum Main Index: http://www.medicinenet.com/mycobacterium_marinum/index.htm Atypical Mycobacterial Diseases: http://www.emedicine.com/derm/topic930.htm http://www.fpnotebook.com/DER129.htm http://www.medicinenet.com/mycobacterium_marinum/article.htm There is a photo here in the New England Journal of Medicine in Images in Clinical Medicine: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/350/9/e8 This article lists a few other aquatic organisms that cause human disease:   http://www.freshwater-aquarium-fish.com/articles/human_aquarium_pathogens.htm Thank you and once again, you (the WWM Crew) are a true credit to the hobby and a wonderful resource. <You are most welcome. I hope this information is useful. Please let us know what the results of your friend's patient's work up reveal and thank you for the accolades. Best of luck to you both in your studies and careers, Leslie.>

Photo Dear Bob, On your site there was a picture (Steve Pro's "owee"...www.wetwebmedia.com/TopicsPIX/Wounds/HandStevePro.jpg) I am writing a medical-biological book on dangerous marine animals and I would like to ask if I can use the picture for the book? With kind regards, John <I am the photographer. Is this book of a commercial nature or more instructional? Bob Fenner>

Re: Photo Hi Bob, Although it is used by a few organizations as a instruction book it is  mainly commercial. It is not supported by the government or something. John <I see. As it is only one image and the topic intended I am inclined to grant its use. Please do credit myself as the photographer and WetWebMedia as the source. Bob Fenner>

Re: Photo The sore was caused by an infection of Mycobacterium marinum.  I wrote  an article about it here http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-07/sp/feature/index.htm  If there is  any other information or if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. Sincerely, Steven Pro <Thank you Steven. I do hope/trust that this writer will ask re disclosing your name in association with the photos use. Bob Fenner>

Atypical Mycobacterium and Aquariums (5/11/04) I have been diagnosed as having a rare infection, caused by "atypical Mycobacteria". <Sorry to hear.> (There is a photo posted in the FAQ's - http://wetwebmedia.com/woundfaq.htm - but my case is not as serious as the poor guy shown there). <Thank goodness.> My doctor is giving me special antibiotics, called Minocycline. <Should help, but treatment of this infection may take a long time.> My question for you is: Is it possible that my infection came from my aquarium (freshwater, 150 liter, tetras). <There are many types of "atypical"--as in non-TB--Mycobacteria, some from birds and some from fish. Perhaps the doctor can tell you what species.> How can I treat my aquarium? <I would consult a veterinarian with expertise in fish. Perhaps they could culture the tank. This infection is very difficult to eradicate. It usually requires a complete takedown and disinfection of the tank and its contents. The fish need o be treated with antibiotics effective against Mycobacteria, sometimes by injection. I also recommend never putting your hands in your tank without wearing gloves. Shoulder-length aquarium gloves are available online or at many local retailers. Steve Allen.> 

Coral poison to humans? I know when you agitate corals, some can spew water or perhaps a chemical out to make the agitation stop.  I was recently moving my corals and tank and was pruning some Zoanthid polyps and while removing some of them from a rock, I got "spewed" right in my eye.   <Oh, no> My eye is all red now and I am wondering what if any information you can give me as to what this is or what I can and should do to combat this.  Thanks, as I do not want to go blind!-D <I do not with to sound like an alarmist... and I suspect that you will be just fine. But... get to a doctor promptly. Zoantharians have some of the most potent toxins (including Palytoxin) known to man. More commonly, there are issues with various bacteria simply from the organic/biotic nature of it all. Concerns with Vibrio, mycobacterium. etc. Please see your doctor promptly... take the antibiotics... and later come back to WWM and read here (with both eyes <G>):http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm best regards, Anthony>

Tessalata eel bit me - is he poisonous hello I have a foot and a half long Tessalata eel (Dragon) and he became a little aggressive during feeding time (didn't know where finger ended and food began) and sliced my finger with his teeth.  I didn't know if they are poisonous or not.  I am almost 100% sure they are not but please let me know!! thanks, Jessica <Ouch! Not poisonous or venomous, however moray mouths can be dirty microbially... best to wash the wound site with very warm water and disinfect with what you would for any open cut... Keep the wound clean and dry... and have it checked out if it seems to become infected. Bob Fenner>

Pet-fish owees! Bob: This picture accompanied a brief article about Mycoplasma marinum in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. This is a teaching slide, so it should be acceptable to post as fair use for education our readers.  Steve <Yowzah. Will post... but not near dinner time. Bob F>

Health Concerns (3/17/04)   Hi Crew, <Steve Allen tonight>   I wish to thank you for your help in the past with my evolving for tank into a full blown reef system. <We are always glad to help.> Through browsing your site I came across the sections regarding bacterial and viral infections which could possibly be passed from tank/animals to humans, especially regarding the "various respiratory ailments" mentioned.   Tank specifications are:- 230G marine FOWLR evolving slowly to  reef. (I do siphon water out by mouth for the record) <Many people do. I'd suggest spit & rinse right away after, maybe even with Listerine, but I'm paranoid.>   I'll try to cut a long story short. 1yr 5 mths ago I had what I though was a minor throat infection, the symptoms being a very dry throat and later in the weeks that followed, the feeling of a golf ball sized lump in my throat, bellow the "Adams apple" area. All very frightening until one morning at 2am I found I could hardly breath. I asked my wife to drive me to the hospital ER unit which she did. I was sent home with the diagnosis that I had a sore throat !!!........That's another story!   Later that day I went back to the hospital and was immediately admitted and put on antibiotics IV. The resultant diagnosis was "Epiglotitis" (a swelling of the vocal  chords <actually, its the epiglottis, the lid that prevents food from going down the trachea>) which can be very serious indeed. <Scary disease, can be fatal. Many young children used to get this from Haemophilus influenza B (Hib). Thankfully there's been a great vaccine available for more than a decade. As a pediatrician, I have not seen a childhood case in 10 years. It is rare in adults, but can be caused by other pathogens. I almost lost an adult cousin to it.> This all came with hundreds upon hundreds of tiny (but fairly painless) ulcers which completely coated my mouth and throat. <Definitely not Hib.> They tested for cancer and all else but had no idea where this had come from........They were completely at a loss, had no idea. Until, somebody asked "Do you keep any unusual pets"?..............Well the answer was yes and still they were none the wiser.   My question to you my good friends is, have you ever heard of anything even remotely like this before? I am really struggling to get anywhere with this as I am still suffering from the lump in the throat and the very dry throat. This is over a year now and although it comes and goes it is still of some concern. <Understandable. I trust you have seen an ENT specialist and had a laryngoscopy and perhaps an MRI. I am not aware of anything from your tank that would likely cause such a thing, unless you have some known toxic fish or invert in there. With your problem, I would certainly advise not starting siphon by mouth, just to be safer. Since no infectious pathogen was isolated and you are still having problems, I'd suspect it is some sort of allergic/inflammatory reaction to an irritant or toxin that you are inhaling from somewhere. Do you get hives ever? Wheezing or asthma symptoms? Do you work with hazardous materials in your job? It might be worth consulting an allergist or an environmental physician.>   Any help at all you may be able to offer will be very much appreciated With much gratitude. <You're welcome. I hope this helps a bit. I suggest you continue to work with your doctors on this one. I hope this problem is solved for you soon.> Simon

Health Concerns 2 (3/17/04) Many, many thanks for your quick reply. <You're welcome.> Yes I realize the swelling is the epiglottis but for general purposes some people may not know where ones epiglottis is ;-) I have seen the ENT specialist and she had several looks at the state of the epiglottis which was indeed very bad and according to her if I had left it any longer I would not be here now! <Good thing you went in>.> What is really puzzling me is the fact that they cannot decide whether it is bacterial or viral? I would have thought if it were viral then IV antibiotics would not have helped much but they did reduce the swelling a great deal. <Bacterial diseases are diagnosed by culturing bacteria from the infected area. Sometimes we are unable to get anything to grow in culture even when it is there. The fact that antibiotics helped suggest there was some bacterium involved because, as you obviously know, antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Specific viruses are more difficult to diagnose unless there is a specific, unique syndrome such as chicken pox. We often fail to get a definitive diagnosis in viral infections.>   I am not presently suffering from any more of the hundreds of little ulcers, have not had those for a year now so am just concerned about the lump and the dryness in the throat. Never had Hives. I do not work with any hazardous materials. Have had several laryngoscopies. No asthma, no wheezing. <I just noticed you hail from the UK. It sounds like you NHS specialists are being thorough.>   Thank you so much for your prompt reply. This has reiterated my own concerns ie the problem could be "environmental" but I do have to get to the bottom of this. <Yes. I hope you do soon.> Again if you hear of or find out anyone else has suffered anything similar would you be kind enough to let me know. <Do consider posting this dilemma on the forum at www.wetwebmedia.com  The forum "Zo's Bar & Grill" is read by a lot of our users and if any o them have any ideas, they'll chime in.> Cheers.........Simon <I hope you are restored to full health soon. Steve Allen.>

Safe handling I would like to know how to safely handle the sea cucumber Actinopyga agassizii. Thanks Jonathan <Best with gloves, though can be handled bare-handed... just wash your hands immediately afterward, and underwater, as in simply lifting the specimen and placing it into a submersed bag/container (not lifting it into the air). Bob Fenner> He's Got Worms Under His Skin (3/7/04)   Dear Sir: <Steve Allen this AM.>   Can you help me identify these?  I found similar ones on www.biosci.ohio-state.edu/~parasites under "Anchor worm". <The link does not work for me and you did not attach a picture.>   These red ones came out of my right leg and the large T-shape in 2nd picture <no picture received.>  came from my right arm. <Yuck!>  I dropped my cell phone in a Koi pond. I already had existing sores from a parasite.  My 6-year old is showing the same signs. The smaller ones in 2nd picture are from her stool. <Again, no picture. Odd that she would have aquatic worms in her stools. Did she swallow some pond water? Pinworms are very common in kids in the US. Where do you live. Ascaris worms are a big problem worldwide, but seldom seen here.>  Any help would be appreciated. <Very simple advice John: You and your daughter need to see a doctor this week! Call first thing tomorrow and get an appointment right away! Do not delay any longer! Bring pictures or actual worms with you. If your daughter still has worms in her stool, take a sample with you in a clean Zip-Loc bag. It will hasten her diagnosis & treatment.>  Thank you, John D. Day Dera <You're welcome. I hope that medical treatment swiftly rids you of these parasites and any attendant secondary bacterial infection.>

Parasite Follow-Up (3/7/04) Thank you all for replying to my e-mail.  I personally have seen about 16 Drs ...  Are we having fun yet? Thanks again for replying <John: For brevity and to spare the squeamish, I have omitted your extensive narrative of your saga from this reply. No pix came through. If they're too big, they don't get to us. All pics need to be compressed down to a manageable size of no more than a few hundred KB. As for your long battle with this health problem for you and your daughter, I really don't have anything worthwhile to add. You are already seeking help from some of the best docs around. I feel badly for the two of you. I certainly hope that you get to the bottom of this soon and are both restored to normal health rapidly. Steve Allen.>

Re: parasites? Bob: Check this out. I told him there's not any more help we can offer via WWM. His pix didn't come through. I feel bad for this guy, but he needs to work it through with the many doctors he's seen. I omitted the details of hi long narrative from my posted reply. Steve <Very strange... to the point of frightening. I would have this person go immediately to the "zootic disease" part of the CDC for thorough diagnoses... there is no such thing as "anchor worm" disease (a Branchiuran) of humans... and the mix of roundworms and complaints listed....? Bob F>

Arius seemanni Venom (3/7/04) Hi, <Steve Allen today>   I have a aggressive Arius seemanni and I have read that they have anticoagulant venom. My question is, what would happen if I where to be bitten <the venom is actually through the dorsal spines> , would this pose a risk to my health (could I get sick/die), and what should I do if she does bite me? <I found little about this on the internet, suggesting there have been few cases of actual harm. You might w ant to do more research on the web or through a university library. Anticoagulant venoms aren't really likely to kill you, but there could be a lot of localized bleeding. If you got a lot of venom in you, it could possibly cause serious problems. In your position, I'd keep my bare skin out of the tank. Get some puncture-resistant aquarium gloves and keep an eye on him. If something happens, cal your doctor immediately. >  Thank You-Joey <Hope this helps.>

Medical Article Related to Marine Aquaria Bob & Fellow Crewmates: I thought you might find this article about "Poisonings, Envenomations and Trauma From Marine Creatures" found in the most recent issue of American Family Physician to be interesting/useful. Steve http://www.aafp.org/afp/20040215/885.html

- Dead Lionfish Venom - Hello! I have read that dead puffers and other kinds of poisonous [venomous] fish can pollute the tank with toxins from their body and wipe out the entire system. Does this also apply to lionfish when they are dead? <Not as far as I know... although any fish, venomous or not will become a source of pollution if left dead in the tank for too long.> Andrew <Cheers, J -- ><<A side note here re Lionfish/Scorpaenines... they ARE still venomous to humans when dead. RMF who knows this firsthand>>

Human Poisoning from Sarcophyton? Anthony- After a somewhat panicked web search, I came across your article: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-06/ac/feature/ on coral propagation in Reefkeeping magazine.  I say "panicked" because while I was attempting to cut a diseased portion of a Sarcophyton species off, I inadvertently cut my finger in the process.  The cut was shallow; so shallow that I did not realize I cut myself until the "operation" was complete, and it did NOT draw blood. However, I'm worried about any toxic reaction.  It's been two hours as I write this, with no sign of rash or anything at the cut site, or any symptoms that can't be explained by panic disorder. Are there any warning signs/window of time I should be looking out for a "bad" reaction?  Is it possible I introduced something harmful or lethal via this shallow cut? I feel incredibly stupid for (a) doing this and (b) e-mailing someone I don't know about it, but I'd really like the opinion of an authority on this so I can rest easy or get myself to the hospital. Thank you very much for your time.. -Todd <Cheers, Todd. Very glad to hear about the propagation efforts! Sorry to hear you got a scare :p No worries though my friend. Nothing imminent is likely regarding a poisoning or allergic reaction. What risk there is no worse than the same risk of being bit or stung by a non-venomous fish or even simply putting your hand in the tank on a daily basis with a hangnail or other non-related wound. Specifically, there are nasty microbes in all aquatic environments and specifically we fear Vibrio or Mycobacterium. Your first step of course was/should be to cleanse the wound thoroughly with soapy water and then use a disinfectant (antibiotic cream, peroxide, or the like). The doctor is unlikely to be necessary but do call at least to get his advice. Really... the concern here is more from a septic infection from the razor than anything the coral could impart. Sarcophytons are specifically noxious to other corals and aquatic invertebrates with regard for allelopathic compounds. Again, since this is not an overtly poisonous (to humans) animal and you didn't even draw blood... it seems likely that you will have a very nice holiday week. The only poisoning that I see as being likely in your near future is alcohol poisoning tomorrow night <G>. Happy New Year, my friend. Anthony>

FW Mollusks and Disease (1/9/2004) Hi, Thanks again for the help. I did one bit of clarification please:   At 01:01 AM 1/7/2004, you wrote: ><I haven't tried it. However, I've heard that freshwater mollusks can be disease carriers.> Disease in what respect? Something that might hurt my fish, or something that I might actually catch myself? <Possibly both - read more by searching the FAQs under "disease, carriers" Hope this helps. Steve Allen>

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!>

A Nasty Owee 12/9/2003 Good morning, Yesterday while cleaning my tank I had a small cut on my thumb. <Did you cut yourself before putting your thumb in the aquarium or on something inside?> I accidentally touched the elegance coral and was stung by it. <Ouch!> My thumb is now swollen, red and tender. <Either a toxic reaction or an infection.> Should I go see the doctor or give it some time. <Go to the doctor ASAP. If this redness is spreading, you may have cellulitis, a potentially serious infection requiring antibiotics.>  Also, what is the active ingredient in the poison. <Uncertain. I could not get any specifics on the Internet. Most of these toxins are a mix of noxious things--local irritants, anticoagulants, neurotoxins. Most reactions are localized burning & swelling, but can be more severe depending on type & amount of venom. Allergic reaction can be severe. Some aquarists have had neurological symptoms like numbness & tingling, loss of taste. Check here for more info: http://www.emedicine.com/wild/topic18.htm> Thanks, <You're welcome. I hope this heals quickly, Steve Allen> -Brent <There's a lesson here for all. It is best to wear arm-length gloves when messing around in your reef tank. Here's one source: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=3871&D=gloves&R=7795&Ntt=gloves&Ntk= All&Dx=mode+matchallany&Ntx=mode+matchallany&Np=1&N=2004&Nty=1   Also, NEVER EVER put your unprotected skin into the water if you have an open wound (scratch, laceration). The tank is a veritable cesspool of potentially infectious agents and broken skin is an easy access point for them to infect you. Intact skin is your primary line of defense against infection.>

Fish germs and other yucky microbes--Eww! (12/08/2003) hello, I got a question here. If we handle a fish which are sick like, body fungus, gill disease, or other disease with hand without glove, will the disease effect us? or is there any side effect to us? thanks. sorry for my bad English. hope u reply a.s.a.p <While many fish diseases can't infect humans, some do, so it pays to be cautious. Bacteria are very good at entering the body through the slightest break in the skin (cut, scratch or scrape) and some (Vibrio, Mycobacteria) can cause nasty infections. Fungus is probably less likely, as are the various parasites. Fish tapeworms have been known to infect humans. If you got tapeworm eggs on your hand and touched your mouth you might get infested. The best bet is to always wear gloves if you need to handle your fish. Latex-free surgical-type gloves from the local store will provide good protection. If you're going to put your hand in the tank, it's best to wear arm-length aquarium gloves. In any case, always wash your hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water or use an alcohol-based skin cleanser after handling anything that's inside your aquarium. Steve Allen>

Mycobacter marinum Hi Bob- While surfing my favorite fish site I came across your article on Mycobacter marinum. I too had acquired the infection-twice. The first time I went to the ER I was given some antibiotics that didn't help. By my third visit to the ER I was immediately sent to our local plastic surgeon (the infection was in my right index finger. I was rushed into surgery within 30 minutes and stayed in the hospital for 6 days. It was 4 days before the source of the infection was found. <Lucky just the same...> For this I received massive doses of antibiotics both orally and by I.V. My finger and hand remained swollen for 6 months until my second bout of it. By this time I knew what was coming and got to the Dr. in time to stave off the severity of before. The surgery involves opening the infected site and SCRAPING the infected area, on me it was the ligament sheath, flushing the open wound for 6 days (the wound needs to stay open so the infection does not get trapped inside and the wound has to heal from the inside out) and then to top it off I need physical therapy 3 times a week for 5 weeks to get mobility back, even then it was a bit stiff and swollen. <Yes... very painful, inconvenient, frightening> It's been since Jan 7 of this year since the last bout of this. My finger just now looks to be normal size. Best precaution??? ARM LENGTH VINYL GLOVES & a MAG FLOAT!!! Cause of infection: getting scrapped by live rock while cleaning the inside of the glass. Lesson learned!!!!..............................Lance <Thank you for sharing your harrowing experiences. You have helped many others. Bob Fenner>

More Mycobacteria transzoonoses... It's not "just a scratch" Friend of mine is at the hospital now with an infection he kicked up with a cut in the aquarium. They are telling him he has a form of Tuberculosis and want to operate. I saw an article about an infection or bacteria that can be picked up this way but cant locate it. Can you help. I mentioned this to him a week ago but he laughed it off. Thanks <Not, NOT a "laughing matter". Please have your friend and his health practitioner read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm and more importantly, the associated FAQs file (linked, in blue, at top). These "aquarium wounds, infections" can be VERY serious indeed. I wish your friend (and they are fortunate to have friends like you) good health, recovery. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mycobacterium Thank you, my friend has been diagnosed with Mycobacterium marinum and they will operate this week to remove two granulomas. Aquarists need to be made more aware of this hazard. He was told he could have faced amputation if he had ignored it much longer. Thanks for your prompt response. Paul <And you for your input. Will be posted, shared. Bob Fenner>

Cleaning Fish Tank Can Lead to Infections NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Owners of tropical fish be warned: Cleaning the fish tank without wearing gloves may get you a bacterial skin infection, especially if you have an open cut or abrasion on your hand or a depressed immune system. Writing in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, Dr. C. Fordham von Reyn and colleagues from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, describe eight adults who developed sores, mostly on the arms, after cleaning their fish tanks. In six of the eight individuals, lab tests showed the culprit to be Mycobacterium marinum, a bacterium first identified in dead aquarium fish in 1926. This bug was found to infect humans in 1951 after being isolated from skin lesions. The use of chlorine in swimming pools has drastically reduced the number of skin infections among swimmers. Today, most reported skin infections linked to the bacterium come from contact with fish tanks. Antibiotic therapy took care of the infection in most cases. But one patient's infection failed to resolve after about two years of drug treatment as well as attempts to cut out the sores. This patient had a depressed immune system. He had psoriasis, melanoma, and was taking steroids. . Fish-tank exposure is the source of "most cases" of M. marinum skin infections, the researchers warn, and may be preventable by using waterproof gloves. SOURCE: Clinical Infectious Diseases, August 1, 2003. <Thanks Miguel... a growing (awareness) concern. Bob F>

- Stingray Stings - Thanks for your concern.  The incident occurred last Monday to a friend, an adult male approx 30 in excellent physical condition.  Beach was rocky, thus not expecting stingrays.  ID'd as definitely "Round Stingray" approx 12-in dia.  Wound was a "slash", not puncture, pain and bleeding were instantaneous, bleeding was profuse which helped flush out the wound. While water was heating over a propane flame, wound was irrigated with fresh water and inspected for the barb or any other foreign objects.  Nothing was found.  Within approx 3-4 min.s of immersion in HOT water, pain level greatly reduced.  Kept checking patient for any signs of shock incl anaphylactic. No signs other than somewhat elevated state of excite.  Analgesic in form of Benadryl given orally.  Wound stopped bleeding after about 20 min.s (being soaked in clean bucket), but pressure by walking reopened so applied compress gauze over wound.  Patient had somewhat painful night,  Swelling was only about size of half-dollar, no striations indicative of infection by morning, couldn't keep him out of the water, said "Goodbye!"  Reason for my inquiry was a couple of people on site demanded he soak it in COLD water! Took about 5 min.s to get through to them.  Thanks again, "R.L." <Indeed, hot water is 'de riguer' for venomous stings (or wounds in this case) as the heat breaks down the proteins of the venom. Ice and cold water can wait till later to help reduce swelling, but to address the immediate pain of the injury, you did the right thing. Onward and upward! Cheers, J -- >

Sore Fingers... Just an Update/Reply Hi again WWM (and Anthony,  my "reply" guy). <cheers, dear> Just happened to be browsing your site (oh alright,  I'm here reading everyday!) and happened to see a reply from a Dr. to my "finger dilemma" post.   <ahhh, yes... Dr. Allen> If I could clarify my "being ticked at my Dr." reply that would be great ....the only reason I was a lil' upset at my Dr. was because when she told me she had no idea what it was and lets go with c. dermatitis for a few weeks and see if it goes away,  I gave her a paper with the name of (what I thought I had) Mycobacterium and asked if she wouldn't mind just looking it up for me - not only did she refuse to look it up she chuckled at me and told me to "calm my bacteria imagination down"!   Mind you that I live on the East Coast/Boston area so very near the ocean and also telling her my fears of handling the live rock,  I think she should have made an effort to at least check it out for me while I was there (I even told her about this site, which is where I originally read of it, and she didn't want to know...) <yes... agreed, the dismissive attitude even without your coastal residency is indeed disappointing> I just wish she was a big enough person/dr. to admit she had NO idea and either look it up for me or immediately refer me to someone else, instead she told me I had c. derm and that was it... <truly disappointing> And yes,  I will be sure to inform her that I actually *do* have what I asked her to look up for me and not just an over active "bacteria imagination" lol...maybe it will help some other patient out. <exactly> By the way...any idea of about how long it takes for the antibiotics to start working some magic?  I know its only been about 10 days but my fingers are still sore/sorer, more bumps appearing <hmmm... variable for folks but slow. Many stay on the treatment for ~ 4 months to kick it. Quite long as antibiotics go> and now I have a stomach ache [sic] a lot of the time c/o the antibiotics LOL.   <I can only imagine!> (not to mention that now I'm wicked creeped out thinking maybe I have bugs/parasites in my fingers - just kidding,  that's just my bacteria imagination kicking in I guess LOL ) <ha!> The infectious dis. Dr. told me that they may not work at all and we may have to switch to a different type of antibiotics.   <correct... 'tis what I recall from friends> I may give a call back to him but was trying to be patient/optimistic.  To make a long email even longer.....I got Mr. Fenner's book, CMA, yesterday and I LOVE it. I believe I've already read it from cover to cover! <outstanding... and do share your wisdom in kind> Today I am going to order the Reef I. book as well. <did get your order... kind thanks!> (I really admire both Anthony and Bob not only for their wealth of knowledge-and humor- but for donating their time to help us all out on this great site (as all the crew on WWM does!)   <its a labor of love> Does the RI book cover sump design/ideas - I wouldn't have thought it to but I think I read a reply here that stated there were like 100+ pages designated to that subject?   <roughly 20-30 for sumps/refugiums... the balance to components like plants, algae, live sand. And yes... indeed described refugium styles> As I said in my last email,  I've only had my 55g tank for about 3 months  so I'm still doing a lot of adding/upgrading to it.  I want to add a protein skimmer ASAP but wanted to install a sump first to house all the equipment and free up the space in the main tank (think I'll put the sump in my basement where I have lots of extra room and plumb it up)   I have no idea on how this is done so I'll have lots of reading up on it ahead of me!  (change topic) Any thoughts on compact fluorescent lights... I'm off to order the custom SeaLife 260W - 2 10k, 2 actinic - with 4 moonlights for my tank which will be home to fish/inverts and some *easy* cor

A Doctors Input on Fish TB - 8/22/03 <Cheers, Doc :) > Glad to see on today's post that Jan got to see an infectious disease specialist as recommended. <yes... whew!> Thanks for advising going easy on the primary care doc. You are right that most of us have never seen this pathogen. <yes... so true. Certainly not fair to blame your doctor about some rare and obscure pathogen. Its unrealistic to expect your doctor, or electronics technician or broker to know every possible thing there is to be known in a given industry. Common sense should compel one to get other opinions if necessary for an intelligent consensus (fortunately this aquarist did)> I only learned about it when I became a marine aquarist. People should never be afraid to question their doc (we're only human) and seek second opinions if they are skeptical of the first one. <true, true... not a bad thing at all. And surely not taken as a slight by good doctors either.> It would be worthwhile to politely inform the first doc of the final diagnosis so that he/she will be aware of this possibility if seeing an aquarist in the future. <ahhh... good point. I wish I had though to mention it. Will be posting as always.> Steve Allen, MD <kind thanks as always, Anthony>

Sore Fingers... Just an Update/Reply Crew: <Mr./Dr. Allen> Saw the update from the victim of mycobacterium marinum.  Glad to hear there's been some improvement. I hope this recovery continues and is complete--this infection can bee difficult to treat. Sorry to hear of the original doctor's inappropriate dismissiveness. This could in part be due to all of the emphasis on over-prescribing of antibiotics leading to resistance. The annual number of prescriptions for antibiotics is plummeting. This is a good thing if doctors are finally not treating viruses with antibiotics that do not work for viruses. On the other hand, it is not good when they fail to treat bacterial infections with meds that do work for them. <Yes> I am including some information for the benefit of all-- <Thank you> I have attached a picture of an infected hand and a pdf fact sheet. <Will post with this msg.> I thought people might be interested in some good links on the topic of Mycobacterium marinum: <Oh yes!> Fore health care providers (but of interest to aquarists): http://www.emedicine.com/derm/topic281.htm http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic1538.htm http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/162/15/1746 For general public: http://www.medicinenet.com/Mycobacterium_Marinum/article.htm http://edcp.org/factsheets/mycobacterium.html http://www.aquatouch.com/Granuloma.htm http://www.dermnetnz.org/pre/dna.tb/atypical-mycobacteria.html Hope this is useful info.   Steve Allen, MD <Does indeed. Again, thank you. Bob Fenner>

Stingray Wound - 8/15/03 What is the recommended treatment of a wound caused by the barb of a Round Stingray?  <To a human, fish, invertebrate, itself? I do assume you are speaking of a human, no? Here is what the dive doctor has for ya:  Prehospital Care: As soon as possible, immerse the affected body part in very hot water (as hot as the patient can tolerate without actually getting burned) or apply a hot pack to the affected body part. Heat rapidly decreases the patient's pain.  Emergency Department Care: If a patient has demonstrated any sign of systemic effect, it should be addressed quickly.  No specific antidote is available, and supportive care is recommended, including use of analgesics.  An easy and important initial treatment that can be started (sometimes at the scene of the injury) is immersion of the injured extremity in hot water (preferably 110-115?F). The water should be as hot as the patient can tolerate but should not cause burns. The water should be exchanged for more hot water as it cools, for an immersion duration of 30-90 minutes.  Very little has been written about the toxin left in wounds after a stingray injury. The authors do know that the stingray toxin is a protein and is very sensitive to heat. The patient should obtain very rapid symptomatic improvement with heat as the poison denatures and becomes neutralized. In addition, some practitioners also infiltrate the wound with a local anesthetic, such as Lidocaine (Lignocaine) or the longer-acting Bupivacaine. Occasionally, parenteral narcotics also may be given.  After the toxin has been deactivated by the hot water, attention to local wound care should begin because it is not uncommon for part of the stinging apparatus to break off in the wound.  Obtain a plain radiographic image (X-ray) of the injured area to look for retained barbs or other foreign material. Explore the wound thoroughly and irrigate it. Perform any necessary debridement. (debris removal).  Remove any foreign body from the wounds, including the spine and sheath from the stingray stinger, as well as dirt or sand.  As with other potentially contaminated wounds, consider allowing the wound to heal without closure. Because most of the wounds are small, this usually is not an issue. If the wound is very large or gaping, consider loose primary closure.  Address the patient's tetanus immunization status and administer a booster as needed.  -Paul>

Stingray Wound to a Hooman Beene - 8/15/03 Hi, Paul!  Wow, that was FAST!!!  <We aim to please, plus a marine inflicted wound is nothing to wait about> Yas, it be to a hooman beene!  <Lucky guess. I figured fish know enough not to muck with a stingray. :-) Diving or venturing into the frigid south coast waters?>  Excellent info, and Thank You Very Much,  R.L. "Bob" Dean  <My pleasure. Take the wound seriously and let us know if we can be of anymore help -Paul>

Due Diligence/Handling with Aquatics - Harm to Humans - 8/14/03 I just read Anthony's reply to the guy with sore fingers. I totally agree with his points. I think it is very important to wear gloves when handling LR, especially uncured. <alas... very few aquarists take this seriously. There is some scary, albeit uncommonly occurring, nasties that we as aquarists can get from aquatics... Vibrio & Mycobacterium just for starters... yikes!> I bought some of the same type of rock (Lalo) a couple of weeks ago and it was disgusting. <Ha! Smells like the ocean... Jersey shore that is>> Now it's almost cured, but I still don't touch it without gloves. <amen and pass the ammunition!> In fact, it's probably healthier for the humans and the fishes to not put bare human skin into the tank. <very much agreed... and if not for our own safety, then aquarists must know that many inverts especially are quite aware and irritated by our presence. These are creatures that respond to elements of water chemistry measured in parts per million (ppm) or even parts per billion! As such, contaminants under ones finger nails for starters can be very significant or harmful. Deodorant (avec or sans aluminum in it) can make it in from armpits dipped in the tank while working in deep aquaria (seriously). Numerous chemicals from ladies nails... various cleansers we all use on our hands, etc. Indeed... many issues here> Goodness knows what poisons we might have on our skin, and a case of marine TB is not picnic. <actually... the "peeing orange thing" from the 4 month antibiotic regime is pretty cool <G>> One of the best cheap investments I've made for tank care is a pair of good full-arm gloves <great idea> LR is very abrasive and will easily  rub away layers of skin. The skin is a vital barrier against infection. I'm sure you've all heard the horror stories of people who have lost life or limb to rapidly invasive strep infections of minor abrasions. <true. In fact, a good friend of mine nearly lost his finger (amputation scheduled) to fish TB for it having been misdiagnosed for over a year in concert with arthritis. They had to carve out bone and flesh to save it> It is no surprise that this person's doctor knew nothing about infections from LR or other marine sources-they don't teach that sort of thing in medical school or residency. A Tropical (or travel) Medicine specialist or and Infectious Disease specialist may be more appropriate. <"Infectious Disease specialist"... is that what they call them nowadays? We used to just call them hookers> The victim definitely should seek another opinion. <heehee... yes. My last remark being even more amusing to me for it. And remember to wear gloves <G>> I agree with Anthony's theories. These may simply be irritant foreign bodies (spicules, setae, etc.) that need to be expelled by the body (like a sliver eventually is). They could also be some sort of parasite that got under the skin. When certain parasites (especially worm larvae)  that normally invade other species find themselves in an unnatural host (such as a human), they do not grow or reproduce normally, and may remain inside until they eventually die. <eeeeeeeeewwwwwww.> There's a condition called cutaneous larva migrans in which larvae of dog or cat hookworms crawl aimlessly around under a person's skin for a month or two until they die. <Holy cow... like the earwig in Star Trek II Wrath of Kahn?!?!?> They've been know to stay alive and crawling for up to a year-gives me the willies just writing about it. <I feel so dirty> Contact dermatitis ought to be more itchy and less painful. For info on contact dermatitis, check the following link:  http://www.drkoop.com/ency/article/000869.htm <big thanks for the link, doc> I wonder what these little white "seeds" the person described are. <hmmm... yeah. That part was off the beaten path> It seems to me that it would not be hard for this person to find a doctor who can carefully open up one of these white bumps and use a magnifier/microscope to see what's in there, living or not. <I'm not hungry anymore. I'll remember to ask you to write in when I'm dieting <G>> My best preventive medical advice to others is: WEAR GLOVES!  Steve Allen, MD <all kidding aside... much thanks for your professional and intelligent input my friend. A help to fellow aquarists indeed. Anthony>

Sore Fingers...Infection from My Saltwater Tank?? - 8/13/03 Hi all at WWM.  I have a pretty serious question to ask of you,  I hope someone can get back to me (I've sent you another email about some live rock with no response so I hope this one makes it) First off,  I love your site and have learned a great deal from you all!  Me and my fish appreciate all the hard work u put into it.  I am just venturing into the hobby of saltwater fish and have just completed setting up my tank.  About 5 or 6 weeks ago I purchased some live un-cured Lalo rock from an online store.  When it arrived I rinsed in some saltwater which took me quite a while and placed it in the tank.  As I was finishing up I noticed that my thumb (also my first 2 fingers but more so my thumb) on my right had had gotten very tender and was a bit red.  I put it off to abrasions from handling the rock etc.  But,  over the course of the next few days my thumb and fingers felt worse.  They were reddish/purplish, slightly swollen, warm feeling and felt like razors or pins were in the pads of my thumb and the same 2 fingers.  Anyway, over the course of the next 5 or 6 weeks all my fingers except my pinkies (and they are starting to get sore now a little bit) have developed the same symptoms.  All those symptoms seem to be isolated to the pads of my fingers.  Now this morning I noticed that I have like these little white circle/spots/bumps under the skin but some are raised slightly.  They hurt when I try to feel them, again like a razor is in there.  They look like white things about the size of a sesame seed pushing up from under my skin on the pads of most of the fingers.  I also have a few that are now on the side of my finger. I went to my doctors today and they had no idea what it was.  They put it under the heading contact dermatitis and to come back in 2-3 wks if it didn't get better. I told her that I was concerned that I may have gotten something from handling the live rock with no gloves on (maybe even crystals of some sort got caught under my skin??) She thought I was basically crazy and said she wasn't aware of any infections etc. that I could get from live rock (she didn't even know what LR was till I told her!) I really hope you have an idea or suggestion as to what this may be.  I have done extensive research on your site and also found names of things (infections etc.) and done a web search but I'm still not sure of what this is.  I hope its not marine TB,  I don't think it looked like the pictures I saw but I'm getting worried that it is going to get worse instead of better. (its already been like 6 weeks and hasn't gone away)  Please,  any help would be of great help.  As I said,  2 of my others emails never got answered (maybe not great ?? LOL) but if for some reason you do respond to me without using the reply button,  the "0" in my screen name is actually a zero,  not the letter o. Desperately awaiting a reply, Jan <Jan... please do seek another doctors opinion. Also, read our coverage on diseases and mycobacterium as well as another former a colleague of ours (may not apply to you... but I hope it frightens you into wearing gloves properly to handle live rock!). My first impression from your symptoms stated was that you got calcareous spicules embedded into your skin from handling a sponge (common) or that you got setae (bristles) from segmented worms in there. This would definitely cause a prickly feeling like fiberglass in the skin. Please do seek a doctor with experience in aquatic pathogens. Likely little to worry about... but do play it safe. Speedy recovery, my friend! And please do give us a follow-up later. Kindly, Anthony  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-07/sp/feature/index.htm >

Sore Fingers... Infection from My Saltwater Tank: Follow-up - 8/21/03 Hi crew at WWM...I just wanted to give you a follow up email about my fingers.   <much appreciation!> So as it turns out my symptoms were getting worse over the past week - the little bump things started to move up the sides of my fingers, they appeared on the palms of my hands and near my wrist.  Then Saturday morning I woke up and the joints in 3 of my fingers were really sore.   <yowsa...> I called my Dr's office and got an appointment with the infectious disease doctor who finally saw me today....as it turns out I do in fact have a mycobacterium marinum infection. <Doh! I hate when that happens> (I'm pretty ticked at my Dr. as I originally asked her to look up M. Marinum and she told me to calm my "bacteria imagination" down.  Obviously she had no clue eergh)   <don't be too upset... keep in mind that few doctors (inland particularly) ever see the pathogen. Most go a lifetime and never do. You did the appropriate thing by seeking other opinions and research> Luckily I don't have the TB type but a different strain I guess?   <yep... really no biggie at all when caught early. Just some meds and the need for a lot of yogurt after the antibiotics <G>> Anyhoo,  I just filled a prescription for a pretty strong antibiotic which I'll take twice daily for at least 3 months. <ah, yes... have had several friends go through this... your tummy will be a but upset afterwards, but none the worse for wear> Hopefully they won't bother me - he said they were pretty strong and some people get sick etc. from them. <heehee... fruit and dairy will not be your friends for a while. Eat them strategically with green bananas, rice and olives to ...er, counter the effects. Doh!> Guess we'll have to see. I really wanted to thank Anthony (he happened to be the one to reply to my original email) for getting back to me with his input and suggesting I see the infectious disease doctor.   <very welcome my friend> I guess I've learned my lesson,  I really had no idea all the lil' nasties one could get from an aquarium.   <they are rare... but it is very important to wear gloves when working with aquatics and most any creatures in animal husbandry. Few are toilet trained <G>> I will surely wear gloves whenever my hands/arms go into the tank!   <very good investment> I've only had the tank a few months and I'm learning so much from your website.  I'm on here everyday reading every saltwater subject you have!  I'm glad that this ordeal hasn't scared me away from the hobby.   <excellent to hear and very intelligent. Truly a rare happenstance. No need to avoid your love and passion for the sea because of it>> Probably not possible... besides the clean up crew I only have 2 fish,  well 3 if you consider my "evil" blue damsel a fish LOL but I could watch them all day!  My daughter and I will sit up late at night with the flashlight checking out the live rock creatures....amazing! Once again,  you guys and gals are terrific.  My fish and I thank you for all the hard work you put into maintaining the site. <very very welcome my friend!> One more thing,  I've been trying to purchase Bob Fenner's book CMA and thought I had seen it available for sale on your web-site.   <actually from Di his wife direct, but they have been in Indo for the last two weeks... will be back next week> I went to purchase it yesterday and can't seem to find the link anymore.  Is it now only available thru the 3 web-stores you have links for (Di's store etc.)   <not at all... er, that is.. if you don't want it signed... it is on Amazon.com and numerous other mail order aquatics places (Custom Aquatic, MarineDepot, Champion Light and Supply, That Pet Place, Barnes and Nobles, etc)> I really wanted an autographed copy and Di's store wouldn't put the order thru, some error or something so I figured they may have run out. <ahhh, yes... some glitch due to their absence no doubt. Do try them again next week my friend> If you could let me know if its possible to get it through your site still I'll get it here otherwise I'll just order it un-autographed ;-) online somewhere.  Jan <best regards, Anthony>

- Snorkeling Injury - Hi, Don't know if you can help, I was snorkeling in the Bahamas recently and was pushed into some coral by another snorkeler.  I received a scratch on my left, that felt strange in the water. At the first opportunity, i cleaned it with soap and water and later had to apply hydrocortisone to it to stop the itch.  very itchy but not purplish in color, just red.  Looks like several small worms on my skin.  Has been 9 days and still hurts.  Someone recommended Ammonia or lancing.  Please help! <Hard for me to be certain without knowing exactly what you ran into. Sounds like it was most likely a hydroid or fire coral which leaves behind traces that appear much like an encounter with poison ivy and takes several weeks to go away. About all you can 'do' with a hydroid sting is topical treatments like Calamine lotion to keep the itching to a dull roar. With all that said, I am not a medical doctor and would encourage you to seek medical attention promptly as they will know best how to proceed. Cheers, J -- >

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>

Is that a smasher or a splitter? Dear Mr. Fenner, <PF here> My finger was impaled by a mantis shrimp a week ago <ouch!> and my finger has not fully cover from sensory feel. As there are no relevant doctor for these in my area, would you please inform me more about injury from a mantis shrimp? <I'm sorry Sugeng, I can't be more specific than this: treat it as any other wound. Make sure it stays clean, and keep that finger out of any infectious material. I would go see a regular (i.e. general practitioner) about this injury, and I would recommend you go as soon as possible. Hope that helps and best wishes, PF>Thanks. Sugeng

Owee from Mantis Hi! <Hello again Sugeng, PF here.>My finger was impaled by a mantis shrimp a week ago and part of my finger stills feel numb and I am have difficulty straightening my injured finger. I am afraid the shrimp has hurt my nerve as well, will the nerve heal by itself? <I don't really know, nerve damage is tricky thing. In my own experience, I have a numb spot on my arm from an encounter with a jellyfish about 15 years ago. You really should see a doctor about this.> Thanks. Best Regards, Sugeng <Sorry I can't give you more information, but I hope your finger feels better soon. Best wishes, PF>

Re: Your help on/with WWM Thank you to whoever titled the "Is that a smasher or a splitter?" for me. <No worries... wish I was as clever as the ed.s at WSJ> Next time, I'll catch that and include a link (specifically the one for wounds...), to say I was a little freaked out by my first question being medically related (I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one or TV) would be rather accurate. <We takes and gives what we gets> I certainly hope I made it clear he should go see a doctor, and I hope the AMA doesn't come after me for practicing without a license. ; ) <Something to contemplate. Bob>

Wound Care Advice Bob: I read the two posts yesterday & today about a mantis shrimp wound. The advice was sound. Actually, your wound/infection article is very appropriate and correct. As the clich?goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The most important treatment of a non-venomous wound is prompt cleaning/disinfection.  As for the loss of sensation in the writer's finger--as long as there was no venom involved, it is likely that the impalement cut a nerve. Cutting a larger nerve closer to the base of the finger would affect all sensation beyond that point. Cutting a small nerve near the tip would affect just a small area. I still have a small numb spot on one finger from a laceration I sustained over 25 years ago. It is always smart to see a doctor when a  wound isn't healing properly or looks infected. Any primary care physician is a good starter. Steve Allen, M.D. PS: don't fret about the AMA--I'm sure they've got bigger fish to fry. ;) <Thank you for this timely input. Will share, post. Bob Fenner>

Question on bites Hi, My name is Phillip and I was wondering if you could help me out. I live in Miami Florida and yesterday I went swimming in our community lake with a few friends of mine and about one hour later we got out and were sitting there and we all started getting an overwhelming itching sensation all over our bodies from top to bottom. We then went and all took a shower and washed ourselves from head to toe with soap and water and nothing. We then went to the drug store and got aloe and also anti-itch cream it barely helped but the itching sensation went away very slowly. My four friends and I woke up this morning and we all had approximately 200 bites all over our body. They were red bites that looked similar to an ant bite or sea lice or even a mosquito bite. I was just wondering if you new what happened or if you know what bit us. I would really appreciate it if we new what we were bit by. And if you don't know maybe you can give us an idea as to what it was so I can further research it.  Thank you very much.  Phillip <Likely "Swimmer's itch", aka schistosomal dermatitis. Put these terms in your search engines. Bob Fenner>

Stung by Pacific Lobster Tail? I prepared a Steak, Lobster & Chanterelle Mushroom dinner.  Following dinner I thought I had broke a finger somehow making dinner?  Later I noticed a small prick in my finger around the swelling. Now, 36 hours later my hand is swollen like a balloon, as Pink Floyd once said.  Poisons lobster tails or what?  Any Help Please <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm and the "Related FAQs" (linked, in blue, at top). Not to alarm you, but if it were me, I'd make a visit, have this looked at professionally. Bob Fenner> Bob! just got pricked.... Hi Bob, hope your vacation was nice (sure it was), I was just doing a water change and foolishly moved my hand onto my long spine black urchin (the one with the blue and orange eye looking thing in the middle) got a couple pricks on the side of my finger, anything to worry about?, just don't tell me I'm dying, lol.....thanks for your time.... <Do soak the area in warm water (as hot as comfortable) and put a dab of Neosporin (or equivalent) over the puncture and a bandage... and call me in the AM! Oh, and read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm  Bob Fenner>

Coral poison to humans? I know when you agitate corals, some can spew water or perhaps a chemical out to make the agitation stop.  I was recently moving my corals and tank and was pruning some Zoanthid polyps and while removing some of them from a rock, I got "spewed" right in my eye.   <Oh, no> My eye is all red now and I am wondering what if any information you can give me as to what this is or what I can and should do to combat this.  Thanks, as I do not want to go blind!-D <I do not with to sound like an alarmist... and I suspect that you will be just fine. But... get to a doctor promptly. Zoantharians have some of the most potent toxins (including Palytoxin) known to man. More commonly, there are issues with various bacteria simply from the organic/biotic nature of it all. Concerns with Vibrio, mycobacterium. etc. Please see your doctor promptly... take the antibiotics... and later come back to WWM and read here (with both  eyes<G>): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm  best regards, Anthony>

Human Poisoning from Sarcophyton? Anthony- After a somewhat panicked web search, I came across your article: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-06/ac/feature/ on coral propagation in Reefkeeping magazine.  I say "panicked" because while I was attempting to cut a diseased portion of a Sarcophyton species off, I inadvertently cut my finger in the process.  The cut was shallow; so shallow that I did not realize I cut myself until the "operation" was complete, and it did NOT draw blood. However, I'm worried about any toxic reaction.  It's been two hours as I write this, with no sign of rash or anything at the cut site, or any symptoms that can't be explained by panic disorder. Are there any warning signs/window of time I should be looking out for a "bad" reaction?  Is it possible I introduced something harmful or lethal via this shallow cut?  I feel incredibly stupid for (a) doing this and (b) e-mailing someone I don't know about it, but I'd really like the opinion of an authority on this so I can rest easy or get myself to the hospital. Thank you very much for your time.. -Todd <Cheers, Todd. Very glad to hear about the propagation efforts! Sorry to hear you got a scare :p No worries though my friend. Nothing imminent is likely regarding a poisoning or allergic reaction. What risk there is no worse than the same risk of being bit or stung by a non-venomous fish or even simply putting your hand in the tank on a daily basis with a hangnail or other non-related wound. Specifically, there are nasty microbes in all aquatic environments and specifically we fear Vibrio or Mycobacterium.  Your first step of course was/should be to cleanse the wound thoroughly with soapy water and then use a disinfectant (antibiotic cream, peroxide, or the like). The doctor is unlikely to be necessary but do call at least to get his advice. Really... the concern here is more from a septic infection from the razor than anything the coral could impart.  Sarcophytons are specifically noxious to other corals and aquatic invertebrates with regard for allelopathic compounds. Again, since this is not an overtly poisonous (to humans) animal and you didn't even draw blood... it seems likely that you will have a very nice holiday week. The only poisoning that I see as being likely in your near future is alcohol poisoning tomorrow night <G>. Happy New Year, my friend. Anthony>

Fish Illness Thank you for your reply. <Unfortunately, I could not identify what reply you were referring to. IN the future, please hit the reply button, so you original correspondence comes with any new questions.> I actually meant tb. Any idea as to why the Cichlids appear to be ok? They were around them the same amount of time and eat a few of them. Now, in regards to being contagious to humans, I do have a few cuts on my hand. Do you know what measures I should take? <I would keep a close eye on it and seek medical advice.> I work in a doctors office, the doc's there recommended ppd's every 6 months but they are not that familiar with fish tb. I greatly appreciate your time with helping me with this. I am also going to see if my vet can send out a fish for a necropsy. Would that help? <That could be helpful to confirm the presence of the disease.> angelfish symptoms: redness by eyes above mouth, lethargy, losing color/appetite and dying. Stacey <Having had Fish Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium marinum, I can tell you it is no fun. Do take a look at this article http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm and seek out medical attention. In the future, it is always prudent to wear gloves whenever working in any aquarium. -Steven Pro>

Propagating Zoanthids Hi Bob and all you other guys! Can one of you please tell me how to propagate Zoanthus sociatus ? Or any of the Zoanthus species for that matter.  <should be done with great caution! I highly recommend that this be done in a dedicated prop tank and only after much experience with other corals in propagation. The activity is actually quite easy by separating individual polyps with a scalpel or sharp chisel. The problem is that Zoanthids contain palytoxin and it is frighteningly dangerous to humans in some species. Eric Borneman and I have each written on the subject in our respective books. I have been poisoned three times in ten years of coral farming with this species. Please research more on the safety and care of these corals in propagation first> I have a rather large colony and I would love to see them around the tank rather than just one huge clump! Thanks! Pam <kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Fwd: Stung Guys, I tried to send this from my balky home computer this morning, but not sure it arrived. Today I saw the Doc, who asked if I could identify the toxin (turns out he keeps a FO salt tank himself). The site is infected and it's in a bad place, so the information would be very helpful. Try me at enewton@murthalaw.com (office tomorrow) or XXXX@earthlink.net (home). Many thanks. Good morning Gentlemen A week ago I brushed the back of my hand against the business end of my bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) while reaching for something on the bottom of the tank. Two days later, the area was red and sore (my hand, not the tank). It is getting worse not better, so I'm off to the doctor this afternoon. What can I tell him about the nature of the toxin? I understand the basic nematocyst physiology, but can't find the "active ingredient." I'll be in work, so please  respond to enewton@XXXX Many thanks. Newt <Proteinaceous... likely a corticosteroid salve will do here... and time. If you should have your hands in systems with cnidarians again, you might be a candidate for longer-length plastic gloves. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm and the FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner>

Stung (Anthony's turn) Good morning Gentlemen <cheers, my friend> A week ago I brushed the back of my hand against the business end of my bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) while reaching for something on the bottom of the tank. Two days later, the area was red and sore (my hand, not the tank). It is getting worse not better, so I'm off to the doctor this afternoon. What can I tell him about the nature of the toxin? I understand the basic nematocyst physiology, but can't find the "active ingredient." I'll be in work, so please respond to enewton@murthalaw.com Many thanks. Newt <not at all likely that the coral imparted a toxin, per se. Many other worse things to enter with the breach by the sting... Vibrio and mycobacterium are concerns. Do review some of the possibilities here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm. To your good health. Anthony>

Bad Sting from Live Rock Hi Bob, <Hello> I had to move my reef from one area of my home to another due to a recent home improvement project. When I was taking the live rock out of the tank, I noticed my thumb was stinging slightly. I touched my thumb looking for injury, and got a sudden painful sensation. I couldn't find anything on my thumb, not even the little tiny, tiny hair like slivers that sometimes stick you when handling rock. <Have had this pain... from "dead" live rock... very sharp "shards" of rock material (silicaceous it seems) cutting, penetrating the skin, leaving bits behind> The pain has remained the same throughout the entire morning through late evening. It feels kind of like I shut my thumb in a car door and is very bruised. My thumb is slightly swollen, but that's about it. No discoloration, numbness, etc. Just pain. Have you heard of this happening from just handling live rock? The live rock in my 55 gallon reef is several years old, and I've never seen any crabs Fireworms or other "bad" critters. <Does seem familiar. And does "go away" in a day or two. Would seek "endogenous" relief in the way of aspirin (salicylates), or ibuprofen products, and try not to move the affected limb about... even while sleeping. Please read here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm and the FAQs beyond. Be of good life my friend. Bob Fenner> Thanks for any light you can shed. Darin

Re: Bad Sting from Live Rock Thanks "Dr. Bob". <Just Bob, no doctorate, titles please> You are correct in that it will probably take a day or two to go away. It's 50% better today. Still hurts decently, but not like yesterday. I had trouble going to sleep last night. <Sorry to hear. Mmm, next time, a pair of socks over your hand/s and some lotion to keep the air off...> I read the article from the link you gave me. It mentions increased risk when putting a hand in the tank that has a cut on it. <Yes> Coincidentally, the afflicted thumb has a bad hang nail that had been bleeding the day before. Possibly the stinging cells were able to get in through that avenue. However, I did mention that I felt a sharp pain in my thumb tip, so I still suspect that was the cause. <Maybe... more likely a bacterial infection from the water> My squamosa clam (that I've had for at least 8 years) is HUGE!  <I'll bet!> When the mantle's fully extended, it slightly touches the front and back of my tank. I've placed it low in the tank, as I have no other choice. Even at that depth it can eject water out of the tank. I turned it around so that the "squirter" part of the clam faces the tank front. Can't have it getting water on the electrical outlet!  <What about sufficient light for photosynthesis, its main source of nutrition?> Anyway, it spawned last night for about 50 minutes. Whole tank is cloudy. It looks fine this morning, so hopefully it won't die. I've put in a bunch of carbon and changed some water. It's clearing up nicely. Thanks for your terrific help. <You are welcome my friend. Do have the thumb looked at by a M.D. Bob Fenner> Best wishes, Darin

Re: Bad Sting from Live Rock Bob, Just joking about the "Dr." title. I certainly realize you're not in the medical advice field :) I'll call my physician tomorrow, just to be sure. <Ah, good> Yes, my clam gets plenty of light. I have 2 x 175w 14k metal halides on Ice Cap ballasts. I've attached a picture of my tank. The clam's mantle looks very derasa-like to me, but the shell is definitely squamosa. The single polyp animals spread like wildfire in my tank. I have to "prune" everything every 4 months. Since moving my tank yesterday, I've given the clam even more room to extend the mantle. In the picture, you can see that it's hard-pressed to extend its mantle due to it's stinging neighbors. <I see. Thank you for the follow-up. Bob Fenner> Best wishes, Darin

Yellow Tang Accident Dear Mr. Fenner, I had an accident on Dec. 23rd while cleaning my salt water tank. My yellow tang was frightened and I did not see him before he cut my middle finger knuckle with the bone on his tail. It happened in an instant and the pain was instant and horrible. My knuckle swelled, turned black and blue, throbbed non-stop for 6 hours, and the pain radiated clear through my hand into my wrist. <Yowch...> I called the Aquarium store right away and they told me that the fish not only cuts your skin ( I had 3 small cuts) but it injects a poison into the wound. I was told to place it in warm water to draw out the poison, and try meat tenderizer, which I did. I could not take my hand out of the warm water without excruciating pain for over an hour! It took a several days before the pain subsided completely. <Mmm, may be a toxin associated with this species... there is with other genera, but not documented as far as I'm aware with Zebrasomas> It is now Feb. 5th and I have had a resurgence of pain, slight bruising, and swelling in that knuckle. I spoke with the Aquarium store again today and they told me that I was misinformed initially and that yellow tangs do not poison, they only cut you. I was referred to you. Can you help me? I don't know if this is normal or if I need to see a physician. I would greatly appreciate your expertise. <I would definitely see a physician re this injury. There may not have been envenomation, but there is a real possibility of infection. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm and the associated FAQs file. Do seek medical care, at least examination here. Bob Fenner> Thank you. Claire Hart

Re: Yellow Tang Accident Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you for your reply. I'm not sure that I got your complete message because it was mixed into my message. I will call my dermatologist today. I read the articles you referred to me, very interesting! I have had a tank for 8 years and this is my first time to have a wound. I have almost always had yellow tangs and I was always aware that I could be cut. I just didn't expect this! <Small chance of real trouble... but best to clean, keep covered... and have a practitioner take a look. Good luck, life. Bob Fenner> Thank you again. Claire Hart

Hand Photo I saw the picture of my hand on the main page of your website. <Yes, though Mike.K doesn't quite agree, thought it was about the best "poster image" for the new "scientific index" for WWM> For your information and that of your viewers, the infection cleared up after three months of three times daily antibiotics. I cannot remember which antibiotic it was because I had to change three times before we found one I could take. At the end of the treatment time, I was cured of the Mycobacterium infection but had a new problem. Being on antibiotics for such a long time wreaks havoc on one's digestive system. It took six months of eating yogurt to be able to have milk and I still have problems with certain fruits (peaches, strawberries, grapes). Since then I have been using Coralife's gloves, but they tend to leak. I am looking into gloves from a vet. I saw some high gloves that were used to help remove a calf during birth. I am trying to find a source for these now. Hope all is well, Steven Pro <Yes my friend. Do read through the article, FAQs especially having to do with this phenomena: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm Bob Fenner> 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

Info. needed (on wound management and pet-fishing)... IMPORTANT Dear Bob, I am hoping that you can lead me in the right direction for answers to a health question related to problems humans can have from handling marine life. I have two reef tanks myself and a good friend of mine also has a reef tank. About two months ago, she scraped her finger on the top of her lights. She had also had her hands in the aquarium the same day. Within days she experienced pain in the finger at the site of the cut and it quickly spread from one joint to the other in the same finger. After two months of doctors speculating what is wrong with her, she still does not know what is wrong. I told her that quite a while back I read where you can contact diseases from putting your hands in tanks when you have open cuts. She became concerned and mentioned this to the last doctor she has seen. So over a span of two months, the swelling has progressed from her one finger into her hand. She has been treated with Keflex, Augmentin and now some anti-inflammatory drug for gout. Nothing is working. My questions are: 1. What types of diseases can humans contract through having unprotected hands in an aquarium? <Please have your friend and her medical help read over the posting on "Wound Management" on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com ASAP... and the references listed there. Yes to there being infectious disease etiologies from involvement with aquariums... and documentation re the same... Know of a few personally... and "spongy finger" et al. not to be dismissed as unimportant... > 2. What type of doctor should she be seeing? The last doctor is an orthopedic doctor and he has done some blood tests (results not back yet) <Would see an internist, dermatologists who deal in such matters as bacterial infections... and who perhaps have an aquarist background> 3. Are there any good websites that she can be reading up on information? <Your doctors will know here.> This is most important as she has a SERIOUS heart condition and any type of infection could cause her major heart problems! She had a defibrillator installed last September and is on all types of heart medications. This has us very concerned for her health! Any help that you could offer us would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time and patience! Candis Loy North Carolina <The exact URL is http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm Please feel free to contact me directly or refer my name. Bob Fenner>

Re: info. needed Thank you for your reply! I will pass this information on to her ASAP! Candis Loy <A relief to hear/read. Bob Fenner>

Dangers of Aquarium Keeping! I am just starting to build a salt water aquarium. I am interested in knowing if there  are any type of plants, fish, or other things that  could cause harm to humans. Particularly is there any risk to handling live rock with ones hands? >> Some harm yes... physical by cuts, scrapes... some toxic fishes, many types of invertebrates... secondary infections from bacteria in the water through cuts... But all minor concerns given careful manipulation, use of gloves, tools to keep your hands, arms out of the system... Much safer than driving on the freeway. Bob Fenner

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: