You’re thinking about setting up a fish tank you just found on sale at the pet store, but you also remember some of the terrible stories you’ve heard from friends or colleagues. The tank cracked, broke and caused water damage. A leak from the tank caused an electrical short. You could probably think of a few more too. Fortunately there are ways to be a safe aquarium keeper. Here’s how:
Avoiding A Broken Aquarium
Aquarium glass is very strong, but it can break. To avoid that scenario, start with a strong, sturdy stand. Remember too, that where you place your fish tank should be level or else too much pressure on the glass and seals can lead to cracks and breaks in the glass, and broken seals that can create any size of water leakages. Keeping the tank out of high traffic areas, and teaching your children to not climb or hang on them, will also help you avoid trouble. When moving an aquarium, be sure that it is empty of as much water as possible. Even partially filled, an aquarium can be risky to move. Removing sand, gravel or decorations is important as well, as they still add weight to the tank and decorations could thump around inside the tank and cause damage to the glass. If you’ve bought a tank off someone, make sure to inspect the glass for any cracks or breaks in the plastic around the top and bottom and check to make sure the seals aren’t yellowing, flimsy or tattered. These kinds of tanks are an instant disaster. Even if the seals and glass look fine, the tank should be filled up at least halfway to be tested before bringing it into the home for use.
Avoiding Equipment Hazards
The aquarium itself isn’t the only thing that can be dangerous. Glass of any kind, like the lid, a heater or decorations, can also be dangerous if not handled properly. A heater can roll off and crash onto the floor or cause a lot of trouble if turned on before covered in the suggested amount of water. When removing a lid, never lay it on the floor where it can be stepped on or lean it up against a spot where it can tip over and shatter. If cleaning decorations, take care with glass, or decorations made of other easily breakable materials.
Electrical hazards can be a real threat. Old and frayed wires, a broken aquarium light or a damaged heater can be big problem for you, your family and your fishy friends. To keep water out of outlets or power strips be sure to use a ‘drip loop’ in all your equipment cords. ‘Drip loops’ are easy. Just let a cord hang down below the outlet and if water some how finds it’s way down the cord, it’ll just simply drip off the bottom of the loop. For cords going to a power strip, keep the power strip above ground about a foot so the cords drop below it.
When done right, and with knowledge of the basics, an aquarium is a beautiful and fun addition to the home.
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