Can Aquariums Cause Asthma? - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Can Aquariums Cause Asthma?

Like the title says, can they? My kids are asthmatics and both of them have 2 ten gallon tanks in thier rooms for about 5 months. Everything has been normal(meaning the usual attacks and wheezing) but this past week they have been in the ER 3 days in a row! And one of them is there now with my wife. Has anybody had any reactions or allergies to fish tanks?
I know if I touch freezedried bloodworms and then rub my eyes they will blow up to the point of being completly closed! Had to be rushed to a doctor once for this.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Btw, They sleep with their doors closed and when I go in there in the morning you can pick that fish store "smell".
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 10:42 PM
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in my experience if there is a smell the tank is in need of cleaning or is under filtered. my tanks have zero odor whatsoever.

no idea about the asthma though
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pwolfe View Post
in my experience if there is a smell the tank is in need of cleaning or is under filtered. my tanks have zero odor whatsoever.

no idea about the asthma though
Tanks get weekly water changes and have no water parameter issues. Lots of plant in 3 of the 4 tanks and all growing well.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 11:24 PM
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sounds like a humidity issue
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 11:33 PM
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The only time that I have ever observed bad fish tank smell is when I have used foods with a lot of garlic. Are the kids' rooms pretty small? I wonder if something like shellfish content or other likely allergens in fish food could trigger asthma(?). If the tanks have any bubbling or splashing I think that could increase the likelihood of that kind of thing getting into the air.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 11:59 PM
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Funky smells usually mean something's up. Sometimes, you get a rainforest kinda scent goin on, but I can't imagine that scent would do much harm. Run some purigen in their rooms, it should strip the water of any organic funky stuff.

My little brother has asthma, it was worse when we were younger, but we were always out fishing and playing in the river. My brother, in fact, used to stock the bait shop with leaches. I can't recall any reaction from anything other than pollen when we were out.

Maybe they have a plant allergy to something in the tanks? Any predominant plants or any that boomed or flowered up?

Last edited by steven p; 12-24-2012 at 12:01 AM. Reason: woop.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 12:02 AM
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Some people have reactions to the freeze dried bloodworms. I know that if I keep the jar open for too long the smell will irritate my throat. Maybe avoid the freeze dried stuff?
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Shangrila View Post
Like the title says, can they? My kids are asthmatics and both of them have 2 ten gallon tanks in thier rooms for about 5 months. Everything has been normal(meaning the usual attacks and wheezing) but this past week they have been in the ER 3 days in a row! And one of them is there now with my wife. Has anybody had any reactions or allergies to fish tanks?
I know if I touch freezedried bloodworms and then rub my eyes they will blow up to the point of being completly closed! Had to be rushed to a doctor once for this.
Hi Shangrila,

+1 for msjinkzd comment. Aquariums increase humidity; increased humidity can lead to increased spores and molds (even if they are not visible). If in doubt take the tank out of the room, increase the ventilation for a few days with a fan, and see if the problems continue or diminish.

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 12:05 AM
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Funky smells usually mean something's up. Sometimes, you get a rainforest kinda scent goin on, but I can't imagine that scent would do much harm.
Coompleeetteellly agree. I get this smell and I love it. It smells fresh.

Smells that stink = bacteria. Bacteria = mold or an excess of decaying things.

Check around for a leak or double check the tanks.. Any pictures of them/their setups?


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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 12:07 AM
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Check for mold if there is a humidity issue. Mold can cause havoc with respiration. Check your whole house. Asthmatics will be more sensitive and doctors won't test for it.

As a kid I was asthmatic, and a humidifier helped me, but if there is an underlying mold issue the tank will make it worse.

Clean everything. Open windows and do an air exchange. Clean everything. My mom used to vacuum the dust off the walls even and that helped me. Check your hvac system. Especially if you heat with wood.

I hope your kids get better. Asthma sucks.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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No leaks or molds around the rooms or tanks. They have been sleeping on the couch downstairs in my living room for the past 3 days and there has not been any improvement. I'm wondering if its not the tanks and its just a bad go round with the asthma. They have had some really bad episodes in the past(before tanks). The ER treats them and we treat them but they just cant shake it. Sometimes we are up every 2 hours giving them both nebulizers. it's exhausting to say the least and know I feel like I am getting sick.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 01:49 AM
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Check the heater filter for the house. When was the last time it was changed? I assume being in NY, you are running the heater this time of year. Just a thought.
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 01:54 AM
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+1 on the humidity and mold. In addition to the wet winter, the tank's humidity could be a problem. Keep the tanks covered and maybe add a dehumidifier.

A good hepa filter would be nice too. I developed allergies in NYC when I lived there. It got bad in the meldewed subways. It's not the cleanest city.

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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 01:59 AM
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First - Take them to their allergy/asthma specialist to see if there's something more serious going on.

Second - Make sure the tanks are covered to prevent evaporation and increased humidity in their rooms. This makes a huge difference.

I have crazy asthma and take things to an extreme. No carpeting in most of the house, dehumidifiers, fancy HVAC filtration system, mattresses sealed, pillows in special casing, no plants with pollen, no cleaners to irritate the lungs, no perfumes, no scented anything.

Also have tons of tanks in my home and find that covering them is the best bet.
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