My daughter and son were playing and somehow accidentally threw a piece of gum in my boyfriend's aquarium. Before I could get it out, it had already fallen behind the rocks. I'm afraid to tell him, but I'm also afraid to not, too! Please help.

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    Did you get it out? I'm sure if it just fell in it wouldn't effect anything. If it's left it, it might adjust the pH a bit (doubt it). I'd probably still take it out, I don't think leaving it will do any good. Commented May 13, 2015 at 3:34
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    Are the fish big enough to eat the gum? Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:03
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    @JamesJenkins Didn't think of that. Even if a fish can't eat it at once, they may nibble off a piece, then from there, it could get lodged somewhere internally. Commented May 13, 2015 at 19:33
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    If it's a reef tank, I might be worried, as it's hard to guess if anything in the gum might be toxic to coral which are typically much more sensitive than fish.
    – Jestep
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 22:19
  • It is a reef tank. The problem is that I can't reach it to get it. The fish aren't big enough to eat it, but he does have a red & white striped shrimp with real long whiskers (I don't know the name). I'm afraid he or his emerald crab might get it. The gum is just lying on the sand behind rocks, so it isn't on any corals.
    – Shelly
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


Fish can eat gum (it can be used as a bait, actually), but like us it generally just passes through their system. The real worry here is if it gets into the aquarium filter. Depending on the filter type, it could cause a jam.

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    This answer could use some references, Using gum as bait does not speak well to the longevity of the partaker. Commented May 13, 2015 at 22:54
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    Ugh... I guess I should just tell him then.
    – Shelly
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 16:09
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    Can't even find a scientific article on the toxicity of ingredients common to gum on fish. Can find many articles of people feeding gum to fish accidentally or as bait. Commented May 14, 2015 at 17:15

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