Corals can cause palytoxin poisoning. [Representational image]Creative Commons.

A coral from a fish tank had almost killed a Cedar Park family. Wondering how? Well, not many of us know that some coral can be extremely toxic and can not only harm fishes around them but also humans.

Chasity Ahman got a coral called palythoa for her saltwater fish tank and she absolutely loved how it looked, completely unaware of what this motionless creature could do.

However, one day she said she noticed "these little, cute ... button polyps", which was very new to her. She didn't want them to take over the entire coral formation, so she picked up a toothbrush and started scrubbing them.

"Within an hour, we were all feeling kind of different...I thought we were coming down with the flu or something," Ahman said, according to

The next morning symptoms were worse. "We couldn't get out of bed...I couldn't answer the door. I couldn't force myself out of bed," she added.

Her whole family was later hospitalized, reported

What is palythoa and how did it poison the family?

When Ahman brushed the coral, it resealed a dangerous toxin called palytoxin which made her and her family sick. They started experiencing a burning nose, a bad cough, and a high fever.

According to Discover Magazine, palytoxin is the natural world's second-deadliest poison. It is so potent that one gram of the poison can kill a hundred million mice.

In the wild Palythoa releases palytoxin into the water when brushed up against something, but in this case, the poison became airborne.

This is not the first incident of coral poisoning. A few days back, a Canadian man and his entire family of seven were hospitalized after an Australian Zoanthid coral released poisonous mist into the air while it was being transferred from one tank to the other.