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Safety Concerns With An Aquarium You Should Know


As with any species of pet, the animal’s wellbeing is your primary concern. But there are also risks to you and your family that are associated with keeping any species of animal, even fish.

That said, fish keeping is a wonderful family hobby that can become a lifelong love and even an obsession. Check out this guide to find out what you can do to keep worries at bay and safely have fun with your fishy friends.

Aquarium Stability

A fish tank full of water, substrate, decorations, and fish, is a very heavy object. Imagine the mess that the aquarium would make if it were to tip over and smash! Not only would the lives of your fish be threatened, but if the tank fell on a small child, serious injury could result. Also, shattered glass is extremely difficult to thoroughly clean up, and you would most likely be finding tiny shards of sharp splinters for weeks after the event.

To keep your fish tank stable, always set it on a properly constructed aquarium-specific cabinet or stand, and make sure that the setup is placed on level ground.

Aquarium Placement

Where you put your aquarium is also crucial for safety. Ideally, the tank should sit flush with a wall, well away from doorways. Don’t put your aquarium in the center of a room where boisterous pets or kids could run into it and trailing cables would present a trip hazard.

Electrical Safety

Tropical and coldwater fish species require certain water parameters if they are to stay healthy and thrive. That means your aquarium needs an efficient filter system like this excellent canister unit from Sunsun filters, a heater, and a lighting system. You may also want to add an air stone to provide your fish with more dissolved oxygen.

All that electrical equipment must be plugged into a wall outlet right next to an aquarium full of water, and that poses a significant safety risk. Many accidents occur when water leaks into the electrical supply. That could cause a short, which could kill your fish or give you an electric shock next time you touch the aquarium.

How To Make A “Drip Loop”

To prevent accidents, create a “drip loop” so that any water running down the power cord won’t come into contact with the power outlet. To make a drip loop, simply ensure that the power cord or tube drops to a point below the plug socket, rising again between the aquarium and the outlet. Any water that runs down the power cord drips safely off the lowest point of the cord, rather than running straight into the electrical connection point.

Alternatively, use a circuit-breaker that will cut the power to the unit if there’s a leak. If your aquarium lighting unit isn’t integral to the tank hood, make sure that it is securely anchored so that it can’t fall into the tank.


Did you know that it’s possible for a child to drown in just a few inches of water in a matter of minutes?

When cleaning your fish tank, never leave a small child unattended in the room! If the child leans into the tank to look at the fish and loses their balance, the potential consequences are unthinkable.

Also, don’t leave small pieces of disassembled equipment where a child could pick one up, swallow it, and choke.

Chemical hazards

Water dechlorinator treatments, testing kits, and fish medication can all present a risk in homes with small kids. Children are naturally curious and may open a bottle and take a drink, just to taste it. Be sure to keep all your aquarium chemicals in a safe place, locked away out of the reach of children.

Disease And Infection

Fish tanks are full of bacteria. Many of those bacteria are beneficial to the cleanliness of the tank; however, there may be less appealing bacteria present too. When cleaning the aquarium, wear rubber gloves, and always wash your hands after you’ve handled tank water, decorations, or plants. That’s especially important if you have cuts on your hands.

Some fish species carry diseases that could be transmitted to people. For example, tuberculosis can be passed to humans from contact with infected or dead fish through a sore or open wound. Fish-to-people disease transmission and bacterial infection from contact with an aquarium are extremely rare, but people with weakened immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or diabetes sufferers, can be at risk and should take extra care.

Final Thoughts

Keeping an aquarium is a very safe hobby that the whole family can enjoy. However, there are a few risks involved in fish keeping that you should be aware of.

Now that you know the safety concerns with an aquarium you can use our helpful tips to stay safe and get the most from caring for your fishy friends.

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