Researchers are still analyzing what caused the coronavirus, and the possibility that it originated from an animal is still on the table.
Despite that, the risk of a human contracting the coronavirus from a pet or vice versa is extremely low. Pets can sometimes get their own strain of the coronavirus, which is not the strain involved in this pandemic. However, there have been a very few reported cases of pets contracting COVID-19.
As for the relationship between COVID-19, humans, and pet fish, the risk of spreading the disease is even lower, if not impossible. Transmission of diseases between fish and fish owners is very low overall.
It’s also highly unlikely for humans to contract the virus from pets. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the United States, there is no evidence that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
Preventing Spreading of Disease Between Pet Fish and Humans
Nevertheless, the pandemic serves as a reminder that pet owners should still exercise caution when handling livestock, both in order to protect the animals and themselves.
Because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.
Following are several pet owner safety tips from Seatech, based on recommendations from the CDC.
- Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
- Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly. This is especially important for aquariums, as too much ammonia or algae in the tank can sicken fish in the tank.
- Talk to our aquarium maintenance technician if you have questions about the health of your livestock or the cleanliness of the fish tank.
- Because it may be slightly possible for pets to catch the coronavirus from you, avoid close contact with your dogs, cats, or other pets if you are sick. If possible, ask someone else to maintain your fish tank, walk your dogs, and feed the animals.
- If your pet is sick, you should make every effort to keep it away from other pets as well. This is especially true for pet fish; if your fish is sick, take it out of a shared aquarium and create a quarantine tank for it until it can heal.
Function of Quarantine Tanks
Quarantine aquariums can be used for animals who are sick, to transition pets from the pet shop to your aquarium, and to keep highly predatory fish from harming your other animals.
Quarantining new additions to an aquarium reduces the chance of introducing snails, diseases, and other undesirable elements to your tank. A 20-gallon tank is typically ideal, and it should have all the filters and maintenance that your main aquarium has. Keep new fish in a quarantine tank for about 30 days before introducing them to the main tank.
Having this tank is not a requirement when introducing new fish to your aquarium, but it can be helpful.
The goal of a quarantine tank is to get rid of parasites and bacteria, so don’t add decor or rocks in the tank that trap bacteria or medications. Some hobbyists prefer not to include gravel in a quarantine tank as well, because it could actually harbor parasites. You may also wish not to include artificial lighting, as a natural environment may make the fish more comfortable during their transition from one tank to another.
Maintain water changes, and use separate cleaning equipment for the quarantine tank in order to avoid contaminating the main tank. As noted above, wash equipment and your hands thoroughly before handling the main tank.
For more information about the relationship between pets and the coronavirus, visit the CDC’s COVID-19 and Animals page.