Whether you’re in the process of building your own reef aquarium or working to maintain it, there are going to be moments where you’ll need to handle your corals. This isn’t an issue in most cases, but some species of coral—such as zoanthids, for example—produce a substance called palytoxin that can be dangerous to humans. For this reason, it’s crucial that you find ways to protect yourself while manipulating your specimens. Otherwise, you risk experiencing extreme discomfort and even falling deathly ill. Use these coral handling safety tips for aquarium owners to reduce your chances of being exposed to this chemical.
Limit the Direct Handling of Your Corals
There are going to be times when you must handle your corals, but the best way to protect yourself is to avoid contact when possible. This is the most effective method of ensuring that you aren’t exposed to palytoxin and that you don’t need to seek medical attention. In fact, other than to first plant your corals or change their arrangement in your tank, it’s recommended that you don’t touch them at all.
Always Wear Proper Protective Gear and Clothing
In an instance when you need to move your corals, you must put on protective clothing and gear prior to doing so. Keep gloves, protective eyewear, and even a face mask on hand for such occasions. Your gloves, in particular, should be a thicker variety so that they don’t tear along sharp rocks. Never manipulate your corals with ungloved hands, as this can be the fastest way to become poisoned.
Keep the Coral Submerged While You’re Touching it
It’s also vital that the coral stays at least a few inches underneath the water’s surface, even while you’re moving it. Palytoxin can be distributed through evaporated water from the tank. Because of this, breathing any direct water fumes can lead you to become poisoned as well. It’s a good practice to keep the coral as far from the open air as you can while you’re manipulating it.
Avoid Actions That Can Break, Cut, or Scrape Your Coral
Another useful coral handling safety tip for aquarium owners is to be gentle with your specimens. Should they break while you’re moving them, they can release a larger amount of toxin that increases your chances of getting sick. As such, to ensure your safety, you must hold them gently and be conscious of their condition.
Since we specialize in the aquaculturing and selling of several different species of coral, we at World Wide Corals know the types of danger some of these specimens can pose. As such, when you purchase our zoas for sale, we also provide you with as much information as possible on how to prevent potential injury. If you have any additional questions about how to handle your corals safely, we’re always ready to answer them.