July 17, 2018
Symphysodon discus
Wellness Tip

Prevent Fish Tank Infections

by Berkeley Wellness  

If you have a home aquarium, wear waterproof gloves when cleaning it, especially if you have any cuts or scrapes on your hands or arms. The non-chlorinated water in the tanks can harbor the bacterium Mycobacterium marinum, which can cause a skin infection if it enters through breaks in the skin.

Because the lesions don’t appear for about two to four weeks (or possibly even longer) after exposure, people may not realize the source of the infection. Moreover, because the infection is not very common in the U.S., doctors may misdiagnose it, thus delaying treatment (a course of oral antibiotics).

Also called fish tank granuloma, the infection is characterized by a reddish tender lump or string of lumps under the skin, sometimes accompanied by fever, swollen lymph nodes, or other signs of systemic infection. People who are immunocompromised or in poor health are more prone to develop systemic infections.

See also: Can Your Dog or Cat Make You Sick?