Hand Sanitisers & Aquariums?

Ch4rlie

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Due to the covid 19 that’s happening currently, there lots of folks, myself included now use hand sanitisers quite a number of times during the day every day

Have been reading about hand sanitisers and the ingredients of those seem to be high in alcohol and Aloe Vera as swell as other chemicals that helps deodorise smells etc

Obviously those are dangerous for our fishy friends.

If one was routinely using hand sanitiser gel throughout the day and forget to rinse or wash hands before putting hands into our aquarium, is this truly dangerous for our livestock?

What cures or recommendations would you suggest if something like this was to happen to one of our members?

For example I would suggest the following-

Large water changes
Adding active carbon

Would even moving the livestock to a new tank be recommended as would the hand sanitiser cling on surfaces in the aquarium?

Also will the beneficial bacteria and/or filter media be affected?

Lots of questions and not much answers from my google searches so far.
 

kwi

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A lot depends on the "critical dilution" of the ingredients, a good sanitiser should be mostly alcohol which will have evaporated away, leaving the thickening agents and whatever else the manufacturer has seen fit to include.
 

itiwhetu

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I don't know that it will be a major concern. The alcohol evaporates and the rest of the ingredients will be in ppm by the time they get to the tank. I would suggest water changing if you think there has been exposure, just as a precaution.
 

NCaquatics

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It is a major concern.

I'm losing my whole 55 gallon because of this. I've already lost 4 fish this morning and the rest are not well.

I'm disposing everything and everyone has been removed from the tank.

Its all gone.

Tell me its not a concern
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This is a huge emotional hit and financial hit.

Y'all with kids, get on them about this issue.
 
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Ch4rlie

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@NCaquatics :sad:

Am truly sorry to hear that!

What are the symptoms of your livestock?

I don’t think folk should dismiss hand gel sanitisers in our aquariums even though the dilution rate may be fairly high, especially in larger tanks.

Tbh I don’t think it will take much at all to affect livestock.

Alcohol or perhaps the active ingredients whether the thickening agents or deodorising agents will definitely have an affect imho.

Think large water changes and active carbon would be the very minimum action I would take.

Transferring the livestock to a fresh tank may be of benefit as am unsure if the sanitiser will stick to surfaces in the aquariums or if it’s free floating in the water column, I don’t know tbh.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Wish I still had the bottle to check the ingredients, but I know my previous hand sanitiser had aloe vera in it, and that stuff left a nasty coating on my hands that took several scrubbings with soap and hot water to remove it from my skin, and had to scrub under my nails too before I trusted my hands anywhere near a tank. I really don't think they're all harmless.

I know my LFS has a hand sanitiser installed by their door and when I asked about them using hand sanitiser and the tanks early on in the outbreak, they said they'd checked whether the brand they got was safe, I'll ask them about how they checked and knew, what brand it is.

@NCaquatics I can't tell you how sorry I am :(
 
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Ch4rlie

Ch4rlie

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The alcohol evaporates and the rest of the ingredients will be in ppm by the time they get to the tank.
I know that in cooking alcohol will evaporate some due to boiling or flames whilst cooking.

But will it evaporate in normal tank water temperatures?

Not sure.
 

NCaquatics

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I did the water changes and the carbon. It didn't do much.
Ù
Symptoms:u

Internal bleeding, especially in the brain area as seen on the albino paleatus.

Eyes bulging and bleeding.

Inability to swim properly, swimming spirals and upside down, drunkenly.

Clamped fins.

Intense scratching off surfaces.






We came home from errands yesterday, got home and while I was putting things away, kid comes in tells me he was letting the fish nibble his hands. He didn't wash the hand sanitiser off since we just got home.
I did an immediate total water change. Added carbon.

Fish were suddenly scratching themselves, clamped fins, so I did another total water change.

This morning woke up, several fish with internal bleeding, laying upside down on the filter inlet, eyes burst and bleeding.



Ive now removed everyone to a bucket with aeration and fresh heavy Prime water, drained the tank and I'm throwing everything out, plants unsure yet husband says not to but I dont want to risk it. I'm tossing all the filters and media, substrate, heater, hardscape, tank is going to be drained, washed, and dried. It'll be awhile.

I just don't even know anymore.
 
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Ch4rlie

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Ah, oh my!

Prime is a good idea, must confess I forgot that Prime can detoxify lots of harmful substances, hope that helps.

Think you’ve done everything possible, it’s such bad luck and think will happen to a lot of other folks out there as well, can happen to anyone.

Truly sorry for your losses.
 

NCaquatics

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The surviving fish, im gonna have to house them in something until this whole mess is sorted.
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Graphic warning, deceased fish photos below.








Photos showing the symptoms of this on the fish ive lost so far.
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Brendanpat

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I came home early from work to start collecting my 40 or so new fry . I done my hands with sanitizer before I left . Now my big peppered corie is acting really strange . Lying still for ages and then taking an odd burst of swimming and rolling in the sand .I think I rinsed my hands quickly first but I wonder was there still traces and that's what's done the harm :(
 
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Ch4rlie

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@NCaquatics

Wow.

Seems it’s affects their brain or something like that.

Am sorry, have never seen anything like it.

Really wish I was nearby, I’d help you out for sure with spare tanks and equipment etc. :sad:
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I wish I was there too, just to help with the practical stuff and as a shoulder to cry on.

I really hope the rest of them make it.

Which brand of hand sanitiser was it? Maybe we can check which ingredients are the likely culprit.
 

Wills

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Wow this is horrendous when I first read the post I really didn’t expect it to be a huge problem but this is such a stark warning to everyone out there.

I really hope you get your tank back to it’s usual glory NC. I know this is going to be really raw right now but all kinds of unpredictable things can happen with aquariums even when they are kept to the high standards you do with yours thankfully they are once in a blue moon. you gave them the best tank and care possible (as awarded twice!!) and I know you will make sure the survivors get back to normal and thriving once more.

Wills
 

NCaquatics

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Financially this is a hit, over $200 in plants alone, heck knows other equipment.

If I lose more fish to this, it'll be even higher, this tank had my expensive fish in it. 2 of those cories in this tank I paid $100 for alone.

But its the emotional hit thats the worst. The plants and equipment can all be replaced, even if it takes some time. Ive kept some spare equipment too for emergencies, I can pull filter media from other tanks so no loss of cycle. I can rebuild all that.


But these fish had names. They weren't just something to look at and enjoy, they were individuals, they were pets and family.

I wish I was there too, just to help with the practical stuff and as a shoulder to cry on.

I really hope the rest of them make it.

Which brand of hand sanitiser was it? Maybe we can check which ingredients are the likely culprit.
I dont know. The stores we went to make you sanitize upon entry will all sorts of industrial sterilizers. Not all are even alcohol based. We hit a few stores to get groceries and such :/
 
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