View Full Version : wshing hands before working in tank?

12/27/2010, 10:17 PM
I am not sure if this is the right forum for this or not. I always wash my hands with an actibacterial soap before i work on my tank. I have heard that this is bad and puts chemicals that are harmful to your tank. If this is true what type of soap should i use or am i just being paranoid

12/28/2010, 12:07 AM
I feel the same way but I have read and been taught in marine aquarium courses that you should wash your hands before and after putting your hands in the tank. You could be introducing something but not washing your hands. Just make sure that there is no soap residue left after washing. Sometimes I just like to rinse my hands and arms with warm water before.

12/28/2010, 07:40 AM
I think washing your hands & arms before and after placing them in a tank is a fine practice. You do, as mentioned, need to rinse three times to remove soap residue. That said I don't do it unless I have been using something toxic like pesticides or gasoline. I wash more often after placing them in the tank to remove irritating compounds, from coral for example. :)

Sebastian J.
12/28/2010, 09:18 AM
Well, if you're being that picky, you should make sure you wash your hands properly, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjpWwjzCbrw

Personally, I'm not really afraid to introduce anything into my tank. I only wash my hands afterwards, to get rid of the salt.

Under normal circumstances, I think it's almost impossible to introduce any microbes into your tank by accident. Hands have a very low bacterial load by default (in comparision to other body parts), the bacteria you'd acquire naturally on your hands don't fit in a high-saline watery environment, and your tank has so much bacteria living in it that any newcomers will really have a hard time. The possible exception here is cross-contamination from other tanks or natural marine environments.

As for chemicals, that's a bit more tricky. However, the doses you can introduce to your tank this way are tiny. Unless you came into contact with anything extremely toxic to your tank's inhabitants, I don't really think there is much of a problem here. Then again, it's not always sure what is toxic and what's not - some cleaning chemicals or stuff like flea sprays for dogs can be dangerous, so exercise caution.

12/28/2010, 10:03 AM
Basically Coop, you don't HAVE to, but I wouldn't do a day of house chores cleaning with 409 or other chemicals and have my smelly chemical hands in my tank. I usually wait until the next day.

12/28/2010, 01:06 PM
Thanks for the info everyone. I am a auto painter and metal fabricator so I definitely wash my hands well before doing anything with my tank. I will start rinsing my hands off better to get the soap residue off of them.