Fish tanks can harbour a gastric bug capable of causing illness serious enough for infected children to have to go to hospital, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Australian researchers proved the link between gastroenteritis and fish tanks by showing that the strains of salmonella in patients and in their home aquariums were genetically identical.

Diane Lightfoot, a salmonella specialist at the University of Melbourne and a member of the research team, said the study highlighted the need for care when cleaning tanks. This includes washing hands after touching the water or gravel and making sure the water did not splash onto surfaces where it could contaminate food, she said.