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Venomous marine organisms

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A little guide in lieu of the recent poisoning happening to one of the members.

This is a list of marine animals that should be handled with caution, as they may pack a powerful punch.

I've classified them as deadly, toxic/dangerous and irritant.

Deadly marine animals are uncommonly sold in the trade, but for whatever reason you find yourself in close proximity with them, don't be fooling and attempt to touch them.

- ANY Blue-ringed octopus of the genus Hapalochlaena. These tiny octopus are small and do not usually bite when provoked. Rather, they prefer flight over flight. However, when bitten, there is NO cure, and death often follows suit. The actual octopus is not venomous, but the saliva it secrets contains bacteria which produces the toxins. Toxins produced are neurotoxins and paralysis follow suit, resulting in a quick death within minutes due to cardiac arrest and asphyxiation.

- Stone fishes. Rare in the marine trade, but i've seen them before. Like the blue-ringed octopus, they produce neurotoxins from their highly venomous spines and death can quickly occur.

- Cone snails. Small cone snails can inflict nasty "stings", but larger ones of certain species can inflict terribly painful and potentially fatal "stings". Fortunately, they are not very common in the hobby.

Toxic and deadly animals are aplenty in the trade and often look harmless. Treatment should comprise of immersing your hand in hot water. As hot as you can possibly endure. Poisons are made of proteins and the heat will partially denature the poison.

- All foxfaces in the genus Siganus. Their venomous spines on the dorsal fin, ###### and ventral fins can cause severe pain and fever, followed by vomiting etc. All hard spines on this fish can cause pain. Not to forget the actual pain caused by the sting itself is very painful. GO TO THE HOSPITAL/DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY if very severe.

- Sea urchins. Sea urchins, especially the long spined diadema sea urchins, can inflict painful stings. Their spines are very brittle and break into many small pieces that get embedded in your skin. Try to pull as many spines out as you can but it will only break into smaller pieces. The small pieces that get embedded in the skin will eventually break down and get absorbed into the body. Poison secreted by them behave much like the foxface. Pain, swelling etc and hot water provides some relief. GO TO THE HOSPITAL/DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY if very severe.

- Lionfish, scorpionfish, wasp fish and leaf fishes. Venomous spines are found on all hard rays of fins. Very painful and should be treated the same way as Sea urchin and foxface. Hot water, then doctor. Don't play hero with these fishes! they inflict a PAINFUL sting.

- Moray eels. Large eels can bite so exercise caution! Bites can be painful and teeth are often loaded with bacteria which can cause horrible infections. Bacteria in marine organisms differ from that of land animals, so treatment may be harder.

- Hell's fire anemone. The sting of this animal is severe and very painful! Hot water and doctor!

- Marine catfishes. These marine catfishes are unlike their saltwater cousins. Some species have poisonous barbs and spines that can inflict painful stings.

- Stingrays have poisonous barbs on their tail which can cause severe pain and infection. See a doctor immediately to treat the wound.

- Surgeonfishes of the genus Acanthuridae. The spine on the caudal penducle (tail region) of these fishes can inflict painful and nasty wounds. Infection may occur. See a doctor if the cuts and wounds are serious. If infection develops, see a doctor too.

- Pufferfishes and Triggerfishes can inflict nasty and painful bites. When bitten, wash with warm water and soap. Apply disinfectant and treat the wound appropriately. If infected, go to a doctor.

Organisms that are irritants. Some people show varying degrees of pain/reaction to these organisms. so individual people will experience difference in feeling. Stings from Cnidarians like corals or jellyfishes can be treated with mild acids such as vinegar. Acids denature the protein based poisons by disrupting the 3D structure of proteins, and expose the hydrophobic portions and cause denaturation.

- Soft corals. Some people can be very sensitive to the slime produced by soft corals. Uncommon but not impossible. For people with eczema or sensitive skin, gloves should be worn.

- LPS corals. Same as above (see soft corals).

- Anemones. See above (LPS/Soft corals). However, some stings can be more painful like carpet anemones and different people can experience different levels of sensation. If severe, please visit a doctor.

- Jellyfishes. See (Anemones).

- Bristleworms can cause irritating and sometimes painful sensations from the sharp bristles that get embedded into the skin, if accidently brushed upon. These little bristles are tough and colourless, so getting them out can be difficult. By placing your skin against a light source, the little colourless bristles may reflect light and appear visible momentarily, and can be removed by pulling them out with a sharp pincer. It is not easy as the bristles are short and thin.

- Fireworms Highly toxic. This annelid merits the name "fire worm." If touched, it inflicts painful stings with bristles that pierce the skin, break off, and release a toxin. The pain and itching may last several days.

Edited by CFOh

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If there are anymore to add, please feel free to post and i'll add them to the main post.

Thank you for your co-operation, and stay safe!

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puffers and triggers can inflict nasty bites.

thank you.

added!

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Cone snails have poisonous harpoons. The toxins can be fatal to humans.

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thanks iskay for the help. added already.

feel free to add more and i'll edit the page tomorrow.

plenty of potentially dangerous animals. the list will be more than a page long!

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Marine Catfish have poisonous spines. Please feel free to edit the thread. I'll just add whenever i recall something.

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I stepped on a diadema urchin one time and it was extremely painful. The local cure was to use a PVC pipe to beat the stricken area hoping to pulverize the embedded spines. I went through that and yet still have to have minor extraction surgery in Singapore... it's an unforgettable experience but I don't wish for an encore...

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Cnidarian stings should be treated with vinegar or any other weak acid that is available.

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Cnidarian stings should be treated with vinegar or any other weak acid that is available.

since the nematocysts from stings release protein based compounds and toxins, weak acids will help denture the protein. so yes, can be used. thanks. will add that in tomorrow.

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bristleworms?they have pretty irritating fine hairs which often gets trapped onto unwary skin

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How about Cone Snail?

They're mostly found at tide pools, sandy areas, shallow to deep offshore waters. They use their dart-like mechanism near tip to stun and kill other fish and invertebrates. They cause burning pain, numbness, even coma or cardiac arrest.

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  1. Not toxic but i have spotted a Mantis Shrimp in my tank. Heard they can give a nasty snip to your fingers. Without having to remove all the live rocks, what is the best way to catch it?

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i agree, mantis shrimp should be classified as dangerous.

and maybe not so often seen in the aquarium trade, but banded sea krait and box jellyfish.

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Soak ur hands with luke warm water is kena sting by bristle worm...will ease the irritation...

Use vinly glove when handling untreated or wild corals...may contain unwanted hitchikers that will bring u lots of hell....be safe

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Most other octopi have a mild, not that deadly venom but still poisonous, but there are a few others such as the pajama squid and flamboyant cuttlefish, Metasepia Pfferi, has a powerful tetrodotoxin compound contained within it's flesh, much like the Japanese Fugu puffer fish.

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Wow, I that time handled my trigger to do freshwater dip lucky never kena bite

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How about the eunicid worms? Are they as dangerous as other worm species?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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This thread is informative for newbie like me. Thanks a lot.

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