A mother from Cedar Park warns others after she says a coral in her saltwater aquarium nearly killed her and her family.
The corals, called Palythoa, can usually be bought anywhere saltwater fish are sold. Despite their small size, the poison they release can be deadly.
"To see her (the school of fish) live and watch as everything dies and comes home, and your little happy guys are just lifeless, it definitely is." Chasity Ahman said KVUE.
Ahman cleaned her aquarium on Thursday when she noticed that the corals were growing on a rock.
"I noticed these little, cute … button polyps that were new to me," she said.
Ahman saw a piece of algae on the Palythoa, so she used a toothbrush to scrape off the algae. It is a mistake she will never make again.
"Within an hour we all felt different," she said.
The coral blew up a dangerous toxin when Ahman touched it, she said.
Within a few hours, she and her family began to experience a burning nose, a bad cough, and a high fever.
"I thought we were going to get the flu or something," Ahman said.
The next morning, Ahman realized that her symptoms were worse than the flu.
"We could not get out of bed," she said. "I could not answer the door, I could not force myself out of bed."
They went to the hospital where the doctors were as confused about their symptoms.
"Nobody had ever heard of it" So Ahmad did not know, "said Ahman.
Austin Aqua-Dome saltwater cattle breeder Hunter Leber said KVUE, the neurotoxin released by the coral The stuff might be floating in the air, it's usually caused by someone scratching ̵
Many aquarium lovers buy Palythoa because of their vivid colors (19659002) "I would really suggest leaving them alone in most cases," Leber said.
After spending nearly two days in hospital, Ahman will not do that Palythoa will be cleaned any time soon.
"I came home feeling like death, moving everything, even suspicious, in a five-gallon bucket," she said.
The poison killed about five fish, according to Ahman She said she was grateful that her two dogs were not inside at the time.
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