Can You Put Your Hand in A Fish Tank? (BE CAREFUL!)

Aquarium fish make perfect low-maintenance pets for mobile homes with minimal requirements for cleaning and attention.

However, fish are highly sensitive pets to any toxin.

Like most fish owners, you probably wonder what you should do when you need to put your hands in your fish tank.

So, Can You Put Your Hand in A Fish Tank?

It is completely fine to put your hands into your fish tank either when cleaning the fish tank, fixing a plant, feeding the fish, or just playing with the pet and air bubbles as long as they are clean and without any contamination. Keep in mind that soaps and other residues left on your hand can cause harm to your fish. Therefore, before you put your hands into a tank, ensure to wash them thoroughly with soap and rinse them several times to ensure all the soap, oils, perfumes, and lotions are off.

You want to ensure that there is no residue on your hands that might harm the fish or the useful bacteria in the fish tank.

If your hands have something that might potentially contaminate your fish tank, you can opt for long dishwashing gloves designed to maintain an aquarium.

In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, you are most likely disinfecting your hands regularly.

However, if you are a fish tank owner, you should be warned not to disinfect your hands before putting your hands in a fish tank.

This is because chemical residues on your freshly disinfected skin will negatively affect the pH value of the water, which might end up harming your fish.

This is particularly important for you if you have a small aquarium as the pH will adjust more sensitively when added chemicals.

Similarly, you should ensure to wash your hands and any other part of your arm that was in the tank thoroughly afterward.

This will help caution you for any microorganisms that can potentially harm human beings, such as salmonella.

Therefore, it’s always advisable to practice safety precautions regardless.

How To Prevent Infections from A Fish Tank

Although fish make great pets, it’s important to remember that they can sometimes harbor parasites, viruses, and bacteria that cause human diseases.

Bacteria from fish such as salmonella can result in gastroenteritis after entering our digestive system.

Other bacteria might enter the body via scratches and cuts on our skin, leading to a skin infection that might spread to other body parts.

Some of the tips to help you avoid the risk of such infections include;

  •  Thoroughly wash your hands with soap after touching the water, food, and housing fish tank.
  • Restricting your children from playing in the fish tank or with the gravel and water from the aquarium.
  • Keep your fish pets away from your mouth and avoid eating food while playing with the pet.
  • Discourage people with weakened immunity, including the sick and older people, from handling your aquarium fish directly.
  • If you have sores, blisters, or scratches on your arms and hands, avoid handling your pet directly, its surroundings, and its food.
  •  Do not clean the aquarium or dispose of the fish tank water into your kitchen sink or other containers where you prepare or eat food. you should instead use the laundry sink and then clean it immediately.
  • Be on the lookout for any signs of illness on your fish and seek veterinary advice if the fish seems sick. Dead or sick pets might be infected and should be disposed of and handled with additional care.

How To Properly Clean Your Fish Tank

For your fish pets to stay healthy and prevent the spread of harmful algae because of overfeeding and light exposure, aquariums need basic cleaning and a 25 percent water change after about two to four weeks.

As stated earlier, fish are very sensitive to chemicals, including soaps, so it is essential to safely and correctly clean a fish tank.

Materials Needed

  •  Aquarium water test kit
  •  Algae scraper
  •  Pruning scissors
  •  Glass cleaner
  •  Algae scraper blade attachment for acrylic or glass
  •  A bucket to hold dirty tank water
  •  A towel to wipe up water spills
  •  Dechlorinator
  •  Aquarium siphon
  •  Glass-cleaning cloth or paper towel


Step 1- Clean The Tank’s Interior Using An Algae Scraper.

Start by washing your hands by ensuring you thoroughly rinse all the soap off.

You won’t need to remove the fish when cleaning the interior because this might stress them out, doing more harm than good.

Using an algae scraper pad, clean the inside glass and loosen the algae from the interior fish tank walls.

After being dislodged, the aquarium filter should take care of this removal.

For stubborn residue, use an algae scraper blade or razor blade to scrub it off.

Step 2- Use Pure And Plain Water To Clean Large Aquarium Decorations

Remove the large rocks, artificial plants, and other decorations from the fish tank and put them in a sink.

Clean them thoroughly using an algae pad to scrub them gently and running water.

If the algae are resilient even when scrubbed, boil some water and put the decorations in hot water for about thirty minutes.

The hot water will kill the algae and loosen them up to be easy to scrub off.

Step 3 – Prune The Plants

If there are live aquarium plants in your fish tank, you should take some time to prune the overgrown foliage and remove the dead ones.

You can easily propagate the tall stem plants by cutting some inches off the top and replanting them.

On the other hand, remove about thirty percent of these plants to ensure your fish has sufficient light and oxygen if you have floating plants that have spread too much.

Step 4 – Siphon The Gravel And Vacuum The Substrate

Use your aquarium siphon to vacuum approximately a third of the substrate.

The siphon functions to remove the fish waste, dead leaves, and uneaten food from the gravel while also removing the old tank’s dirty water.

Step 5 – Clean The Tank’s Exterior Surfaces.

Using safe aquarium supplies, you should clean the top sides of the outside tank.

You can buy these products readily from your local store or simply use a vinegar-soaked towel to wipe the surfaces and then rinse with clean water.

Step 6 – Refill The Tank

Start by putting back your decorations and then refill the tank with clean freshwater matching the temperature of existing fish tank water.

You can use a thermometer to ensure the water settles to equal temperature as the tank’s water before adding it to the aquarium.

Also, you can use an aquarium testing kit to make sure the refilled water tank has the correct equilibrium in terms of pH, nitrates, and ammonia.


Overall, you can put your hand in a fish tank.

However, you will be better off cleaning your hands thoroughly with clear and warm water before you put your hands in a fish tank to avoid contaminating the water with any chemicals.

More so, by following this method of cleaning a fish tank, you will effectively keep out toxins while maintaining useful bacteria that your fish require to survive.


Putting your hand in-tank… bad or good?

So, how do you wash your hands before cleaning tanks?