Something I’ve done every Tuesday on my Facebook page is to post bad advice I’ve heard. I call it “Terrible Advice Tuesdays”. The whole reason I started Mr. Saltwater Tank was to take the confusion out of setting up and maintaining a saltwater tank, so of course I give the corresponding correct advice.
I realize not everyone is on Facebook, so I’m going to start posting the Terrible Advice Tuesdays post here on my website as well. That way everyone can learn from the horrible advice I’ve heard and get the right info. Here’s TAT #1:
Cleaning your skimmer’s cup by hand is not safe. Chemicals in the skimmate can be absorbed by your skin which can make you sick. Use an spray nozzle instead of your hands.
The rest of the story: Let’s look at some facts first:
A.) Absorption of chemicals through the skin is slow.
B.) While skimmate is made up of a bunch of different substances, there is very likely NOT a chemical in it that is so toxic that the short amount of time you come in contact with it (while you cleaning the skimmer cup) that it will be absorbed by your skin and make you sick.
C.) Wearing gloves while working around your tank is the solution if you fear the so-called “toxicity” of skimmate.
If you clean your skimmer’s cup bare handed (like I do), rinsing your hands with soap and water afterwards is a good idea. While skimmate won’t make you sick just by touching it, the last thing you want to do is smell like skimmate all day!
Bottom line: Don’t fear the skimmate, just wash your hands!