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Don't Let Your Fish Tank Kill You | Aquarium Safety

Updated on November 4, 2009

You may not realize this, but fish keeping can actually be quite a dangerous hobby. Why is that? Well, because more often than not, fish keepers mix electrical appliances, large amounts of water, and great big sheets of glass. This is a recipe for potential disaster.

You can keep yourself safe however, if you follow a few simple rules.

  • If your hands are in the aquarium, turn everything off. Your filter and your heater and any other electrical appliances operating in or around your water need to go off when your hands go in. You have no idea how easy it is to do something accidentally and break a heater, sending electrical charge throughout your tank and you.
  • Install GCFI protectors on all sockets attached to the tank. They will cut out if there is a surge of power and they may protect you from being electrocuted to death. Even if you have these installed, I would still recommend turning off the electrical appliances when you go sticking your hands and arms into the tank. I've accidentally broken a heater once, and it was not pleasant. I'm still here to tell the tale, but I could just as easily not have been.
  • Don't buy old aquariums, or aquariums that were not made by professionals. This applies especially to the larger aquariums. I know that a big aquarium can seem expensive and that it is tempting to save a bit of money by buying an old one, or by getting your mate to make one. Unfortunately, people die from these cost saving measures. Why? Because tanks need to be made by people who know what they are doing. When you have a hundred gallons or more pressing outwards on a tank's walls, you better hope that the glass is thick enough to withstand the pressure and that the seals were done properly. Tanks can, and do explode, and they can do some serious damage besides water damage if they do. The combination of a great deal of water exploding through a small gap and flying shards of glass is not a pleasant one, especially if you have small children about the place who could get caught in the torrent.

It is fine to buy second hand tanks, just ensure that they are in good condition, and if at all possible, see them filled up before you buy them. If you don't see them filled, you won't know if they leak or not, and in a larger fish tank a leak isn't just an inconvenience that can ruin the carpet, it's a potential death trap.

Enjoy your fish keeping, and stay safe!


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    • The Red Baron profile image

      The Red Baron 

      8 years ago from Australia

      You're right. never really thought about it but will be more careful in the future


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