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Home > Goldfish > Should You Wear Aquarium Gloves? 7 Important Reasons

Should You Wear Aquarium Gloves? 7 Important Reasons

Blue heavy duty gloves

Cleaning your aquarium and handling your fish, plants, and tank décor can be a big task. What many people don’t realize is that with all the caution they take in caring for their tank, they may be overlooking a simple but effective way to protect themselves and everything in the tank.

There are several reasons that wearing gloves while taking care of your fish or aquarium can be very beneficial to you and your aquarium, so let’s go over those benefits. Make sure to check out our suggestions on the best types of gloves for taking care of your aquarium.


The 7 Reasons Why Wearing Aquarium Gloves Is Important

1. Keep Hands Dry

Dry hands held out
Image Credit: milivigerova, Pixabay

Okay, so maybe calling this one “important” is a bit of a stretch but having wet hands can be annoying. It’s especially annoying when you’re attempting to perform tank maintenance, and every time you reach for anything outside of the tank, you drip water everywhere, sometimes even into your sleeves.

Wearing gloves can make keeping the area around your tank clean and dry much easier. You’ll still need a towel nearby, but gloves have the benefit of being able to be taken off as you’re taking your hands out of the water. This means that you’re pulling almost fully dry hands and arms out of the tank, minimizing drips. It also reduces the risk of your skin getting pruney and irritated during extended maintenance.

2. Prevent Infection

While there are not many diseases your aquarium fish can pass to you, there are some, like fish tuberculosis and fish handler’s disease. The biggest risk is simply sticking your hands into dirty aquarium water that may contain pathogens that can get into open wounds, even as small as a papercut, and lead to infection and delays in wound healing.

No matter how clean you keep your aquarium, pathogens are a fact of life, even in a healthy ecosystem. Your natural ecosystem is very different from that of your fish’s, though, which means that pathogens that may not cause harm to your fish could lead to infections for you. Gloves can help protect open wounds far better than bandages, allowing you to keep your wounds clean.

3. Prevent Bites and Stings

rubber gloves worn on hands
Image Credit: Sergo elst8, Shutterstock

This may not be a major risk in the average aquarium, but it can be a real problem for people with dangerous anemones and fish. Some people may not enjoy the sensation of being nibbled by their fish, even when the nibbles are from a fish as benign as a goldfish that lacks the teeth to do any damage with a bite.

If you’re dealing with stinging or biting animals, not all gloves will provide enough protection, so you may have to invest in a pair of specialty gloves that will help keep bites and stings from coming through. Unfortunately, your average latex gloves aren’t going to keep your pet piranha from biting you.

4. Prevent Cuts and Scrapes

Like with preventing bites and stings, not every pair of gloves on the market is going to protect your hands from sharp objects. They can, however, protect your hands from scrapes against rough surfaces, like décor, and simply provide a layer of protection between your hands and the décor and other items in the tank.

Gloves can also help contain any blood from a scrape you may get while taking care of your tank. If you have aggressive tank inhabitants, this can protect you from further injury. It can also help maintain water quality by preventing blood from getting out into the water of the tank if a scrape does occur. Obviously, if you get a cut or a scrape that tears your glove, you will still get some blood into the water, but it will help minimize the amount.

5. Avoid Allergic Reactions

sores on hand
Image By: yevgeniy1, Shutterstock

While this isn’t a particularly common occurrence, some people are very sensitive to aquarium water. Some people are simply sensitive to keeping their hands or arms underwater for more than a few minutes, while others may be sensitive to certain chemical compounds present in the aquarium, like dechlorinators. You may also experience skin sensitivity in the presence of high ammonia or nitrate levels in the water.

Most people who have these sensitivities will experience itchy or painful rashes or dry, flaky skin after tank maintenance. If your skin is sensitive to something in your aquarium water and you continue doing tank maintenance without gloves, then your sensitivity or allergy may worsen a little more every time your hands are in the tank.

6. Protect Your Fish

You aren’t the only one at risk when you stick your hands in your aquarium! Your fish are at risk from anything that may be on your hands when you put them in the tank. Many people don’t even consider what might be on their hands or arms before they stick them in the tank. Things like cleaning chemicals you use around the house can be dangerous to your fish if they’re on your hands when you put them in the tank. Some tanks have exceptionally sensitive plants and animals, like certain types of corals, that can be killed from minimal exposure to certain chemicals.

It’s always a good idea to wash your hands before you put them in your aquarium for any reason, but gloves will help protect your tank from any lingering chemicals on your hands, and they also allow you to quickly reach into the tank if needed for any reason.

7. Maintain Water Quality

aquarium with cichlids
Image By: Frantisek Czanner, Shutterstock

Wearing gloves can not only protect your fish from dangerous chemicals that may be on your hands, but they can also help maintain the water quality in your tank.

Things like soap and lotion can leave behind a film on your skin that will come off in the water. This will often result in an oily residue on the surface of the water that can be difficult to get rid of. Gloves will help keep this from happening if there is any residue left on your skin after handwashing.


What Gloves Are Best for Aquarium Cleaning?

The ideal gloves for aquarium cleaning are gloves that are long enough to cover your hands and forearms. Some gloves may even come partially up your upper arms. Elastic or drawstring closure at the top part of the gloves will help keep water from getting into them, keeping you clean and dry, even if your hand goes underwater below the top of the gloves. Latex and rubber gloves are great options because they are waterproof and won’t allow any water to get in while simultaneously keeping your tank safe from anything on your skin.

If you are concerned about injuries from animals, plants, or tank décor, then you may need specialty gloves to keep yourself safe. Kevlar gloves can help keep your hands safe by blocking sharp objects, bites, and stings. These gloves may be difficult to find, but they are often sold in SCUBA shops and online stores.



Aquarium gloves may seem like a frivolous item on the surface, but they actually serve a number of purposes to protect you and your aquarium. In some instances, they can even keep you safe from illness or infection and your fish safe from any chemicals present on your skin. Choosing the right aquarium gloves is necessary to ensure you get the most out of your purchase, so make sure to carefully consider your needs before choosing gloves.

Featured Image Credit: pagefact, Pixabay

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