I Think I am Allergic to Salt Water

Zach72202

Member
I recently started working at a fish store and we have a saltwater section. I really don't know much about saltwater, but I am learning.

Everytime I have to get something out of a Saltwater tank my arms have a dull burning sensation. Its somewhat like the dull burning you feel when your hands are real dry on a cold day, doesn't really hurt, but its enough to notice it. It lasts about 5-15 minutes after I take my hands out of the tank. I am notorious for having dry hands in winter, which they are currently, but you wouldn't think your forearms would have the dull burn too? Just curious if anybody else really experiences this. Its not like it affects me real bad, I just have to get into the habit of rinsing my hands off after working in a tank.
 

Betta'sAnonymous

Member
It is possible. Or to something else in the water the saltwater tanks have in coming. I would try some long rubber gloves or something.
 
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Zach72202

Member
Betta'sAnonymous said:
It is possible. Or to something else in the water the saltwater tanks have in coming. I would try some long rubber gloves or something.
I mean, its not really something that I am super concerned with, but I asked both of my co-workers and they are like, nope doesn't happen to me. So I figured I'd ask others. When I just rinse my hands it goes away.
 

AggressiveAquatics

Member
I’d say it’s just because your hands are dry or maybe some unseen cut or something. I just looked it up and it says is very rare for someone to be actually allergic to saltwater but a weird sensation or burning and itching can happen
 

StarGirl

Member
I think it is just dry skin. Mine is super dry too.
 
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Zach72202

Member
Strange. I just looked at my forearms more closely and there's a light-red blotchy pattern all the way up to my elbow. Its not like a particular spot- it is the whole thing.
 

PNWAquatics

Member
My hands and arms get pretty itchy when I put them in them in my saltwater tank. They’re irritated until I wash the salt off with soap and water. Plus, the salt water seems to dry my hands out even more, which really contributes to the burning or itchy feeling. I second the glove recommendation.
 

Mandy627

Member
Do your eyes burn really bad when you cry? You're probably not allergic to salt water, since we are made up of salt water in a sense. could be salt concentration that your skin is not used to. You probably have microscopic dashes and scratches from being dry, and that would burn even though you cant see the broken skin. I reccomend a sensitive skin type of lotion like aveeno when you are off work and done with fish for the day.
 

wateriswet

Member
  • Thread Starter

Zach72202

Member
wateriswet said:
It's unlikely that you're allergic to the salt in salt water but possible that there are other additives or that a coral or something is releasing who-knows-what into the water. I like gloves because they keep you from getting wet and from drying out afterwards. This style gets pretty good reviews https://amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004A9KI7W?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title
Huh- who knows whats in the water honestly. But in reality it does it with tanks that there aren't corals in. Its really any salt as I have a tank at home here that is just Instant Ocean, tap water, and one fish and it is the same effect. I am thinking it is some type of "salt" or mineral per say- that is causing it. I will learn more in time I guess though.
 

wateriswet

Member
Zach72202 said:
Huh- who knows whats in the water honestly. But in reality it does it with tanks that there aren't corals in. Its really any salt as I have a tank at home here that is just Instant Ocean, tap water, and one fish and it is the same effect. I am thinking it is some type of "salt" or mineral per say- that is causing it. I will learn more in time I guess though.
I wonder if you have an iodine or bromine allergy? They're both pretty common salts instead of chlorine. Does Instant Ocean list what it's made of? It would be good for you to know if you're allergic incase you ever donate blood or have a medical procedure as iodine is a common disinfectant for skin.
 

Dhmario

Member
Happened to me with my freshwater tank before. Don’t think it’s a huge concern. Mine has gone away since.
 
  • Thread Starter

Zach72202

Member
wateriswet said:
I wonder if you have an iodine or bromine allergy? They're both pretty common salts instead of chlorine. Does Instant Ocean list what it's made of? It would be good for you to know if you're allergic incase you ever donate blood or have a medical procedure as iodine is a common disinfectant for skin.
I do actually have some medical grade iodine, so I could actually test that theory. Probably not the best way, but its a method. I will probably look into that and see if I can find out.
 
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ryanr

Moderator
Member
Hi,
If there's no rash, then I'd say it's just a reaction to the salt drying your arms/hands. Especially if you can 'wash it away'. If there's a rash, that could be a little more serious.

SW contains more than just salt, calcium & magnesium. There's a heap of micro elements.

My skin always felt dry after playing in the reef. Sometimes I had rashes, but that was from corals and my anemone stinging.

Does your LFS have different salinity tanks? (my LFS runs the FO tanks slightly lower that the coral/invert tanks). You could see if it's better in lower salinity.

Being in MI, I'm guessing you don't really have access to a beach/ocean, but if you've had similar reactions in the ocean or even a salt treated pool, then you know it's probably a reaction to SW.
 
  • Thread Starter

Zach72202

Member
ryanr said:
Hi,
If there's no rash, then I'd say it's just a reaction to the salt drying your arms/hands. Especially if you can 'wash it away'. If there's a rash, that could be a little more serious.

SW contains more than just salt, calcium & magnesium. There's a heap of micro elements.

My skin always felt dry after playing in the reef. Sometimes I had rashes, but that was from corals and my anemone stinging.

Does your LFS have different salinity tanks? (my LFS runs the FO tanks slightly lower that the coral/invert tanks). You could see if it's better in lower salinity.

Being in MI, I'm guessing you don't really have access to a beach/ocean, but if you've had similar reactions in the ocean or even a salt treated pool, then you know it's probably a reaction to SW.
Yeah, my co-worker says it happens to her too. It really only happens with exposure for a few minutes- like if I am working on catching that pesky emerald crab. I think it is probably a combination of dry hands and the variety of 'salts' in the water. We generally keep all the tanks at 32-34ppt, but on the frag tank it is like spot on at 34 I think as there is a Neptune Apex system on there so it auto doses all the stuff. Sometimes the fish systems drop down a little low to about 28ppt, but we always have saltwater on tap to try and keep it about 34ppt. I don't really dabble in the saltwater side, I know a few fish that's about it currently.
 

Jesterrace

Member
Zach72202 said:
I recently started working at a fish store and we have a saltwater section. I really don't know much about saltwater, but I am learning.

Everytime I have to get something out of a Saltwater tank my arms have a dull burning sensation. Its somewhat like the dull burning you feel when your hands are real dry on a cold day, doesn't really hurt, but its enough to notice it. It lasts about 5-15 minutes after I take my hands out of the tank. I am notorious for having dry hands in winter, which they are currently, but you wouldn't think your forearms would have the dull burn too? Just curious if anybody else really experiences this. Its not like it affects me real bad, I just have to get into the habit of rinsing my hands off after working in a tank.
You are not alone. I discovered this after I had the tank setup and running for a while, but mine is a bit more severe (like bad eczema) so I actually use a pair of long rubber gloves whenever I do any work in and around the tank. Not ideal but it works fairly well.
 

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