03-03-2009, 04:59 PM
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Well, most saltwater hobbyists use some sort of gloves as many of their tank inhabitants are venomous.
Personally, I put my hands in my tanks every single day. I rinse them really well beforehand. I don't use any sort of lotion or anything (hey...I'm a guy, what did you expect?). I think the main thing is to get your hands free of any unwanted chemicals. I don't think germs are really a big concern here, as it's not likely that you've got fish-targeting bacteria all over your hands.
About touching your fish: definitely not a good idea, as it can damage the slime coat, but I have done it before when it was better than other options. For example, I once was rounding up a huge batch of 1-inch kribensis fry that would hide in the corners of the tank. I couldn't use a net, as they'd hide down in the corner on the substrate and would get crushed by the net if I used it, so instead I gently grabbed them with my fingers and put them into a glass.