When most people think of aquariums, the word “safety” doesn’t usually come to mind.
But, it should.
Why? There are many small factors involved with aquariums that can be regarded as cause for concern when it comes to general safety issues. Some obvious, some not quite so obvious.
Luckily aquarium hardware these days is manufactured to pretty high safety standards, but you still need to be aware and still need to be careful. Let’s take a look at some of the safety concerns that you should consider when setting up and maintaining your aquarium.
Electrical Safety For Aquariums
Aquariums do quite a good job of mixing electricity and water. Think about it. There are power cords hanging of the back of the aquariums. There is electrical hardware that is submerged in the aquarium. You probably have power strips and outlets near the aquarium.
The aquarium heater is a great example. The heater is always submerged in the water and is directly plugged into a power source pretty much all the time.
When working with your hands in the aquarium water, it is best to unplug the the electrical hardware that is in contact with aquarium water. This is the only way that you can 100% guarantee that you will not receive an electrical shock from your hardware when you are working in the water with your hands.
To make it easy to unplug electrical hardware during maintenance, put all the hardware on a single power strip that can be unplugged or disconnected at one time. Simply unplug the power strip before beginning maintenance tasks. Easy enough.
Another electrical safety issue is power cords that run from your equipment down below the aquarium to outlets on the wall. There is the potential for water to drip down the length of the power cords and into the outlet. Not a good thing!
This is where the “drip loop” technique comes in handy.
What is a drip loop? It’s basically just the practice of making sure that all power cords run down below the outlet and then loop back up to the outlet when plugged in.
If any water runs down the power cord, it will get to the bottom of the loop and drip onto the floor, rather than running into the power outlet.
The drip loop is a rather basic technique, but a very powerful one in terms of aquarium safety.
Aquariums are made out of glass. At least most of them are. Glass is the most popular and inexpensive material used to make aquariums. Glass can also shatter and be sharp if broken. It’s possible to fall or bump into and break an aquarium, which could not only ruin your aquarium but could also cause personal harm due to sharp glass edges.
This is why it’s important to keep glass aquariums out of high traffic or busy areas. You don’t want to promote somebody bumping into or falling into an aquarium.
Also consider that your aquarium heater is also probably made out of glass. If you were to knock it onto the floor it could possibly shatter into a bunch of tiny glass pieces. Keep this in mind when working inside your aquarium too. Crushing the heater between some live rock and the glass surface of the aquarium could cause it to shatter inside the aquarium. This could cause glass injury or even electrical shock for a double whammy.
Many aquariums also have glass tops and bulbs. Take caution when working with the glass tops of aquariums. Don’t stand or lean glass aquarium tops in a place where they could tip when cleaning the tank. When replacing or cleaning your lamps and bulbs take extra precaution as they are very fragile and can shatter easily.
No reason to be. Like I mentioned previously, most aquarium equipment these days is manufactured to very high safety standards. Just use your head and don’t disregard the fact that you are mixing glass, electricity and water all in a single unit.
Just follow the safety techniques we just discussed and you’ll be safely enjoying your hobby for years to come.