The Washington Post recently featured the reef aquarium hobby in an article titled, “Homegrown coral reefs are beautiful — and potentially dangerous” in the Speaking of Science section. Although there are some favorable aspects to the story, Ben Guarino discusses the potential dangers of toxins, like palytoxins, released from certain corals can be downright deadly.
Guarino sets the stage of his article at Reef-A-Palooza New York and captures what we all love about these events and the hobby — the fish, corals and camaraderie. Although we’d love to see an article that espouses all the awesome things done in this hobby, he does make a good point that at times we forget how dangerous these tanks can be.
We’ve written just how dangerous some corals can be over and over again here at Reef Builders we should never take this for granted and is an exceptional opportunity to ensure we continue to educate hobbyists to think twice about exposure to ourselves, pets and family (particularly children) to corals, especially Palythoa and Zoanthids that are really common in the hobby.
The article has some great history around technology and web forums driving the hobby to where it is today. It is also worth reading to take a deeper look into what we know about palytoxin and what science knows about human exposure to it.
Don’t take this article as a complete hit piece on the hobby, there is plenty of positive details about the hobby, including how we are helping in scientific knowledge and coral conservation efforts. It also includes some quotes from some recognizable names like John Coppolino.
This includes… “wearing gloves when handling coral, and avoiding brushing coral or exposing it to hot water. A recent lab study, authored by the scientists, revealed that filtering water with activated carbon or charcoal neutralizes more than 99 percent of the chemical.”
[via Washington Post]