Health and safety

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The average aquarium and the keeping of ornamental fish may appear to be relatively free of hazards but there are several potential dangers to hobbyists and professionals alike. These include faulty equipment, handling hazardous substances, diseased fish and maintaining dangerous species, such as electric eels and venomous lionfish. However, simple precautions are often all that is required to prevent injury and infection.

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Figure 34.2 Mycobacterial infections in humans usually develop on the hands, as seen on the finger and knuckle in this case. (Courtesy of St John’s Institute of Dermatology.)
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Figure 34.3 Touch pools are popular exhibits in public aquaria containing rays and other placid fish. Appropriate warning signs and hand-washing facilities should be available. (Courtesy of B. Brewster.)
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Figure 34.6 (a) The lionfish is a species commonly found in marine aquaria. The highly ornamental fins contain bony rays with venomous stinging cells. (Courtesy of Manor Aquatics; © W.H. Wildgoose.) (b) A stonefish is well camouflaged and has spines that can inject a venom that is rapidly lethal. This species is only occasionally seen outside public aquaria and is the only species for which there is an antivenin available. (Courtesy of London Aquarium; © W.H. Wildgoose.) (c) Fire or stinging coral can inflict very painful wounds that may persist for several weeks. (© W.H. Wildgoose.) (d) Long-spined sea urchins cause deep penetrating injuries. Some species are venomous and the sharp but brittle spines may break off in the wound. (Courtesy of London Aquarium; © W.H. Wildgoose.)
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Figure 34.7 Warning signs should be used near garden ponds and other deep-water areas where children in particular are at risk. (© Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association.)
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