You're thinking about setting up a fish tank you just snagged on sale, but then you remember some of the awful stories you've heard from friends or colleagues. The tank cracked or broke and caused damage to the carpet. A water leak caused an electrical short... the list could go on. Fortunately there are ways to be a safe aquarium keeper. Here's how:

Avoiding A Broken Aquarium

Aquarium glass is very strong, but can break under certain circumstances. To start, a strong, sturdy stand is absolutely a must. Keep in mind too that where you place your fish tank should be level or else too much pressure on the glass and seals can lead to cracks and breaks in the glass, and broken seals that can create any size of water leakages. Keeping the tank out of high traffic areas, and teaching children to not climb or hang on them, will also help you avoid damage. When moving and aquarium, be sure that it is empty of as much water as possible. Even a partially filled aquarium can be risky to move. Removing sand, gravel or decorations is important as well, as they still add weight to the tank and decorations could thump around inside the tank and cause breakage. If you've bought the tank off someone, be sure to inspect the glass for any cracks or in the plastic around the top and bottom and check to make sure the seals aren't yellowing , flimsy or tattered. These kinds of tanks are instant disaster. Even if the seals and glass look fine, the tank should  filled up at least halfway to be tested before bringing it into the home for use.

Electrical Dangers

Electrical hazards can be a real threat. Old and frayed wires, a broken aquarium light or a damaged heater can be big problem for you, your family and your fishy friends. To keep water out of outlets or power strips be sure to use a 'drip loop' in all your equipment cords. 'Drip loops' are easy. Just let a cord hang down below the outlet and if water some how finds it's way down the cord, it'll just simply drip of the bottom of the loop. For cords going to a power strip, keep the power strip above ground about a foot and the the cords drop below it.

Avoiding Equipment Hazards

The tank itself isn't the only thing that can present a hazard. Glass of any kind, like in lids, heaters or decorations, can also be dangerous if not handled properly. A heater can roll off and crash onto the floor or cause a lot of damage if turned on before covered in the proper amount of water. When removing a lid, never lay it on the floor where it can be stepped on or lean it up against a spot where it can tip over and shatter. If cleaning decorations, take care with glass, or decorations made of other easily breakable materials.

When done properly, and with a good knowledge of the basics, an aquarium is a nice, fun addition to the home.

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