Come on seriously?! Keep your hands out of the tank!!

BRS

Is "keeping your hands out of the tank" as big a deal as people say?

  • Yes you should limit the amount of time..

    Votes: 345 45.8%
  • No it doesn't make a difference....

    Votes: 195 25.9%
  • Unsure but willing to read and learn...

    Votes: 214 28.4%

  • Total voters
    754

SandJ

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Yes, I limit the time I have my hands in the tank. And if I have used cleaning supplies, any type of bug or weed spray (very seldom use now, but did a lot when we had horses) or worked outside I try to keep my hands out for at least that day. Also if I have used sunscreen or bug spray I take a shower before getting my hands in the tank.

Our tanks are such a small, closed system I believe even a small amount of chemicals could have a huge affect. If sunscreen can harm corals in the expansive ocean, then surely it could affect my 25 gallons of water.
 

Daniel92481

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So.i always wash and dry my hands before I put them in the tank, I'm a mechanic by trade and work with lot of harsh chemicals.

But with that said I think it's more about leaving things alone than actually having your hands in the tank.
Example #1: I decided I didnt like where a colony was growing, so i decided to move it.. (dumb idea) so instead of the colony breaking off the glue mount the while rock broke free of the epoxy holding it to the rock below. Causing an avalanche of rock.. yes knocking frags free and damaging corals on it's way down. Of course now being to fix it made it worse, stirring up the tank, ******* everything off.. get it all back together (never looks the same) lost 3 frags, they're just gone. 2 died the next day and the damaged ones had to be fragged. And to top it all off I never moved the colony I originally wanted to....SHOULDA HAD A BEER I STEAD OF PUTTING MY HANDS IN THE TANK!

example #2, did this years ago, couldn't find a fish I recently bought do I went searching. Dumb. Again stirred everything up scared the crap out of everything and destroyed my aqua scape. And still didnt find the fish... 2days later it came out... SHOULDA HAD A BEER AND ENJOYED THE TANK, INTEAD OF PUTTING MY HANDS IN THE TANK! Lol

So that's my thought on the subject. Keep em out, but if you do make sure they're clean.

Moral of story...drink more beer!
 

cain720

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My duncan will start closing up if I stick a finger in the tank, so there are obviously oils/chemicals on my skin that the corals don't like....

This sounds like a great BRS Investigates experiment. You could setup 4 identical nano tanks and hold everything constant except stick a hand in 2 of the tanks every single day for the length of the experiment. Measuring coral mass after a couple months might give some conclusive results.
 

MnFish1

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LOL this is interesting. I thought the 'old wives tale'related to 'Hands in tank syndrome' - which I thought meant 'people that overdo constantly adding/subtracting chemicals, reagents, and overanalyzing in general'.

I never thought there was an old wives tale that you 'literally' should not put your hands in the tank. But - If you have an cut, etc - its certainly not a good idea - some people wear arm length gloves. Of course if you have lotions, soap, etc on your hands - thats a no no.
 

Stigigemla

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Every time You have Your hands in the tank You disturb the animals.
How much depeends on what You are doing and how sensitive Your animals are.
To beginners nI say: Try to let it go for a week before You have Your hands wet again.
To old reefers i say. Try to have Your hands in the tank every month or You are at risk of LARS- lazy aquarist reef syndrom.
 

1stNoel

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Anyone else weird like me about not putting my hands in the tank on the same day as I pump gas, or mess with pool or household chemicals?

And thoroughly washing my hands doesn't rid me of that OCD feeling (and I'm not OCD).

It's got to be a full shower before I mentally feel comfortable sticking my hands in the tank again.
 

C. Eymann

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Chemical contamination is definitely something that we need to be mindful of, unfortunately I have a horror story to share involving a client's tank.

This client was wiping down the counters in her kitchen with lysol quick wipes, shortly after she noticed a coral had come loose and was laying on top of a Tubastrea that she was very fond of, and actually fed every other day. Her knee-jerk reaction was to reach in and remedy the problem. Poof! Guess just enough lysol got in there and the tank was a total loss, so definitely be mindful when it comes to chemicals on your hands!
 

Cheche

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Well the oil the dirt anything the you touched all day you will bring to your tank .. so is not to the extreme DONT PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE TALK !!!! But make sure you doit the right way .. my opinion
 

Jots

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Depends if you mean this literally or figuratively? I suspect most people think of it literally (skin oils, unwanted chemicals, etc.). I think of it more figuratively in that you should let your tank do it’s thing and not be changing things around in there too much. Other than placing the mag cleaner wet side into the tank weekly my hand/arm rarely goes into the tank. Really just the occasional prune, coral addition, or replacement of something that got knocked over.
Definitely agree with figuratively because without a doubt there are routine maintenance that needs to be done on a tank that can’t be done without putting your hands in a tank. With that said use common sense and wash hands thoroughly before and after. You can definitely get carried away with never being happy with the tank and putting hands in there making routine adjustments before the tank is fully stable. I believe this is why so many beginners fail their first year of reefkeeping. I believe that once your tank is established and stable, you are less likely to “need” to daily put your hands in the tank as you would the first year. This is my belief and if you do, routine “weekly” water changes can help correct any minor issues before they grow to be larger ones. As they say less is more.
 

Salps

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I think it depends on the age of the tank to some extent. With a new tank or restarted tank, my hands seem to be in all the time cleaning something, moving corals, adjusting flow, etc... As the tank matures and the I stop adding or changing things each monthly, the tank become mush easier to manage and you have less reason to put your hands in. With all the changes with a tank in the first year or two it is hard to keep you hands out while problems get worse.

I do try to limit the number of times I put my hands in each week but that has to do more with keeping the tank stable. This does reduce the chance something on my hands will pollute the tank and it also makes me plan out my in tank maintenance more which makes that work less disruptive to my wet friends.
 

flsalty

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I think people are taking this too literally, both literally and figuratively.

Obviously there are times you will need to stick your hands in the tank for things like maintenance, moving new corals around, etc. Just make sure your hands are clean.

The saying has more to do with not fiddling with things too much. Every time you change the scape, pull stuff out to clean off algae, etc, you are stressing the system. IMO that causes more problems. Same with chasing numbers, which I see as "putting your hands in the tank" as well.
 

Greybeard

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Greybeard's Rules for Reefkeeping
Rule 1: Patience. Good things don't happen fast.
Rule 2: Keep your filthy mitts out of the dag blasted tank.

Rule 2 was added after I wiped out a happy, healthy 60 gallon cube. I walked by, noted that a recently added frag had fallen into the sand, reached in and put it back. I had spent much of the morning in my gun room, and had various cleaning chemicals, lubricants, oils, etc. on my hands. Two days later, the tank was DEAD. I was able to rescue nothing.

If I need to reach into the tank, I first see if whatever needs to be done can be accomplished with a pair of tongs. I have several, dedicated to tank use... different types, lengths, etc. Invest.... they're cheap, and worth every penny. If that won't work, then I stop and evaluate: What have I stuck my meat hooks into since my shower this morning? Can this wait until my next scheduled maintenance?
 

don_chuwish

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In a Nano vs Monster Mega tank there is certainly a difference. I really don't worry about it in my 120G. If I have to put my hands in I do, but will usually rinse them well in the sink first (no soap).
 

vetteguy53081

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I don't put my hands in tank UNLESS I have to but dog gone sure to wash them. I wash with plain water unless ive handled something oily, etc and use hand sanitizer and then rinse with water
 

Peace River

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Whether or not it is considered best practice, I put my hands in my tanks. I am careful about how clean my hands and arms are when they go in the tank and rinse well with water if I’m not sure.
 
BRS

Can you house your most favorite ocean creature in your home aquarium?

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