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Old 04/26/2015, 02:41 PM   #1
hkgar
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My Zoa and Palytoxin story

Yes the stories and reports you see/read are true. I spent 2 days in the hospital this week and I even know better.

I have been battling a major outbreak of GHA -since December - and after running all option I began the breakdown and scrubbing of all rock, then spraying with Peroxide rinsing and replacing. All coral (SPS) was long gone either from the AlgaeX or GHA suffication. I broke the project into 3 days.

On day two, one of the rocks had a few Zoa head, 20-25. They came as a hitchhiker on a rock purchase and I really didn't want them in the tank. I then scrubbed them off under warm running water along with the algae on the rock.

About an hour later (3 PM) I went to my LFS (well not mine - someone else owns it, but I get to visit) and on the way home I began to experience a tightness and soreness in my upper chest. This was followed by a dry cough and nasal congestion. At this point I said to myself - damn I poisoned my self.

At six I fixed dinner and at and the symptoms were no worse so I thought I might have luck out. I was confident that I did inhale fumes or whatever of Palytoxin, but figured the dose was small enough i would escape much harm.. About 7:30 I notice a bit of a shortness of breath. By 8 I had a small fever (100) an still not concerned. Chills and shakes began by 8:15. I committed to calling the ambulance if the temperature reached 102. 101 at 8:30 At 9 it had passed 102 and 911 was called. I live alone. They arrived and I was on my way. I told the EMT what I believed it to be and one of the googled palytoxin, turned around and just said damn, this sounds serious. 2nd deadliest vaso constrictor poison.

Hospital ER: Temp 103.5 BP 195/115, pulse 116 and respiration 112

Fever came down after treatment with 2 Tylenol (that didn't do it) followed and hour and half latter by Motrin. Then up to the room by about 3:00AM.

The worst it got was shortness of breath, severe wheezing. I received an infusion of steroids via IV and after the wheezing cleared (48 hours after admission) I was cleared to go home.

I believe I was a lucky one and didn't inhale enough to be more sever. It has been 4 days and I still have some minor lung issues with taking a deep breath, but regular breathing is ok. I didn't help that I am also asthmatic.

Please beware of each and every Zoa polyp.

There should be some sort of must read on the at least the newbie forum and this one as well. I knew because I remember reading about someone a couple years ago who boiled rock with Zoa on it . He and his wife got critically ill and did not know what it was. I took a while for the hospital staff to get it figured out. Oh, there is no antidote as I am told and it can be fatal.


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Current Tank Info: 2 Barred Rabbitfish, Yellow/Purple, McMaster Fairy, Carpenter, Red Head,Red Fin, Hoevans, Possum, 2 Leopard Wrasses, Kole, Purple & Atlantic Blue Tangs, Matted Filefish, 2 Percula Clown, 4 PJ and2 Banggai Cardinalfish , Swallowtail and Bellus Angel,
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Old 04/26/2015, 02:47 PM   #2
Hodge1995
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Wow, have read these stories. I also need to pay more attention when working around these. Glad you are getting better.


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Old 04/26/2015, 03:30 PM   #3
Canneddynomite
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dude I was ripping off button polyps that were exploding juice all over my hands with no gloves and what not and then I remembered about the paly from Zoas and looked up Button Polyps and they have the same thing. Obviously I freaked out and washed like crazy again but thank god nothing happened to me. I even posted on here asking what symptoms I should be watching for.


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Old 04/26/2015, 03:33 PM   #4
hkgar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canneddynomite View Post
dude I was ripping off button polyps that were exploding juice all over my hands with no gloves and what not and then I remembered about the paly from Zoas and looked up Button Polyps and they have the same thing. Obviously I freaked out and washed like crazy again but thank god nothing happened to me. I even posted on here asking what symptoms I should be watching for.
Very lucky. The juice gets in your eye and it can blind you and not just temporarily. They spit.


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Current Tank Info: 2 Barred Rabbitfish, Yellow/Purple, McMaster Fairy, Carpenter, Red Head,Red Fin, Hoevans, Possum, 2 Leopard Wrasses, Kole, Purple & Atlantic Blue Tangs, Matted Filefish, 2 Percula Clown, 4 PJ and2 Banggai Cardinalfish , Swallowtail and Bellus Angel,
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Old 06/09/2016, 03:17 AM   #5
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The assistant at my LFS was fragging corals just 2 weeks ago. He was running the band saw and hand cutters cutting rock all nite. He ended ripping through some Palys possibly not paying close enough attention. He was aware of the dangers and was reminded he should wear goggles. Well he didn't and he spent the next few days sicker than he had ever been in his entire life. The nasty poisonous mist got himself sick and the store owner who was also in the store. The store owner recovered a bit quicker and didnt get quite as sick. I was actually in there while he was fragging also but must have left before the mist really filled the air. I also stayed clear knowing full well what he was doing.

So be safe. Respect the pretty little warnings


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Old 06/09/2016, 03:59 AM   #6
Alexraptor
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Man that sucks.
The only way I would remove Zoas, and have, is by scrubbing them off underwater in a bucket of tank water, and only with protective gear on. And I immediately dispose of the water afterwards, not letting it sit around.

I made this picture as a bit of a joke, but this actually IS my zoa fragging get-up. Face Shield, Disposable gloves and a lab-coat. Might even be a good idea for me to get a face mask to throw into the mix.




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Old 06/09/2016, 04:40 AM   #7
pyithar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkgar View Post
Very lucky. The juice gets in your eye and it can blind you and not just temporarily. They spit.
they spat in my face once while i was fragging them. i was lucky i was wearing safety glasses. the squirt got on the glasses.


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Old 06/09/2016, 08:05 AM   #8
Reef Frog
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Glad you're OK.

A few months ago, I experienced the exact same symptoms that you did but less severe and without the fever. I was doing an experiment on one rock in my tank that had turf algae. I ground it off with a stainless steel Dremel rotary tool outside the tank. It was only a few square inches and there were no polyps that I could see, but perhaps a few were there.

Because of the lighting I could see a very fine mist floating around. Didn't think much about it. I had nitrile gloves, lab spec goggles & a N95 resperator on. I took a few breaks and lifted the mask & goggles & that's all it took. I felt weak & flu like and my head was stuffed up & my throat was sore. My eyes itched. It took 2-3 days to feel 100% again. I knew about paly toxins but since I didn't see any polyps but I wondered if the algae or other organisms contained a toxin.

But the rock looked terrific! Seriously, I doubt I'll do such a thing again. But if I did I would not lift the glasses or mask and do it outside with a fan next to me blowing the vapor away. Be careful folks - this stuff can be dangerous even if you know what you're doing. Respect the polyps.


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Old 06/09/2016, 08:17 AM   #9
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Glad you are ok.. Glad posts on here bring awareness to this..


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Old 06/09/2016, 08:58 AM   #10
ezerasurfr
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This is why I refuse to keep zoas. Love the way they look and spread, but I'm too careless sometimes and will get too comfortable and will go sans mask/gloves too often. Glad you're okay though.


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Old 06/16/2016, 04:40 AM   #11
Fissues
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I gotta be more careful...


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Old 06/16/2016, 06:22 AM   #12
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Glad to hear you are ok. Thanks for sharing you experience. It should serve as a warning to the rest of us.


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Old 06/16/2016, 07:32 AM   #13
MiddletoM
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im just not going to bother with zoa's to be honest. Glad you got through it.


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Old 09/13/2016, 11:11 AM   #14
stlamarc
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Wow guys,
I'm totally new to the hobby and have been to several coral shops in my area and NONE of them actually explained the risks of handling corals. This is serious business and I'm glad I just found this post. Never heard anything about this before.

Thanks for educating people guys, I wish LFS would do their job and educate customers.
Thanks for sharing.

Can someone post information about the type of gloves needed and the different options? Someone mentioned nitrile gloves, but I assume they should not have any powder on them or anything. What should I be looking for here??


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Old 09/13/2016, 11:30 AM   #15
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New To The Hobby Forum Sticky:

Poison warning: serious stuff, venom, toxins. Hospital stuff. [pix of items]
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=2515630


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Old 09/13/2016, 11:53 AM   #16
aznflyfisherman
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Glad your ok! Mostly likely washing the rock/zoas with warm water releases those toxins and would be more portent as the fumes rise and your breathing it all in. Which kind of poly or zoas were they. I read the brown and green/ blueish ones has more toxins.




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Old 09/13/2016, 12:09 PM   #17
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I am even thinking about getting rid of these.


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Old 09/13/2016, 12:57 PM   #18
Grayhead
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I have had 2 bouts with this. Each time scrubbing live rock. I had my galaxia coral poke my finger the other day and my whole hand was fevered for several days. It hurt straight to the bone.
To be honest, if I had anymore issues with paly and ridding myself of them then I would just toss the rocks. I have told my wife and children as well about paly toxin. This way if something were to happen to.me they would be able to let ems know ahead of time. I have fought thru the fevers and tightness in my chest as well. Most reports I have read about are from people cleaning rocks outside of the tank. The guy mentioned above that boiled his rock in the kitchen made his whole house sick, including the dog. It was a very informative post he made.


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Old 09/13/2016, 01:50 PM   #19
hkgar
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The ones that got me were a pale green, but personally I wouldn't trust any of them. They are gone, never to return, from my tank.


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180 gallon, 30 gallon sump, 3 250W MH + 4 ATI T5's, MTC MVX 36 Skimmer, Apex controller Reef Octopus CaRx

Current Tank Info: 2 Barred Rabbitfish, Yellow/Purple, McMaster Fairy, Carpenter, Red Head,Red Fin, Hoevans, Possum, 2 Leopard Wrasses, Kole, Purple & Atlantic Blue Tangs, Matted Filefish, 2 Percula Clown, 4 PJ and2 Banggai Cardinalfish , Swallowtail and Bellus Angel,
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Old 09/13/2016, 02:01 PM   #20
aznflyfisherman
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Im thinking the same, all these zoa n poyps may need to go. Even though i rarely touch my tank.


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Old 05/16/2017, 08:39 PM   #21
Tubeworms
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Man i had no idea!


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Old 05/16/2017, 08:40 PM   #22
Tubeworms
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Gotta be more careful in the future. Doesn't seem like it's easily diagnosed


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Old 05/17/2017, 05:57 AM   #23
ktownhero
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I keep my zoas on island rocks so if I ever dont' want them I just toss the whole rock. I just threw away a softball size rock that had a couple palys that hitchhiked on the back of an urchin. I thought maybe it'd be cool to have them so I glued them to the rock, but later decided I don't want any palys in my tank so I ditched them.

I don't think zoas are anything to worry about. Scrubbing them off with a toothbrush is potentially the worst (as in most dangerous) way imaginable to deal with their removal, second only to boiling the rock perhaps. You say you "knew better" but obviously that wasn't really true! Just chip the rock and ditch it or toss the whole thing next time.

PS - I'm very glad you got through that with minimal complications compared to others' stories.


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Old 10/11/2018, 06:27 AM   #24
Fishkeeper01
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Thanks to this post, no one from my LFS told about these risks.


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Old 03/13/2019, 05:47 PM   #25
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We never had problems with them back in the day. Maybe because we didn't frag as much.


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