Guarding against electrical shock: What steps do you take?

BRS

Have you ever been shocked or had an electrical mishap that was aquarium related?

  • YES (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 156 40.1%
  • NO

    Votes: 231 59.4%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 2 0.5%

  • Total voters
    389

AKA Reef Team

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My tank is about 6 months old. Recently started noticing when I put my hand in my sump, if I have any cuts on my hands, get a very sharp pain in the cut. Much sharper pain than that of saltwater in a cut. I'm suspecting I'm having stray voltage into my tank. I just ordered a ground probe and will be installing a gfci outlet. Also will be checking with a volt meter.

What makes me even more suspicious that I do have stray voltage is a believe I've had issues with the bacteria imbalances in my tank. For example I was trying out Aquachar. Alot of people say that it'll float for the first while and after about a week or so it'll populate with bacteria and begin to sink down. I have mine in a mesh bag and weighed down with some rubble rock so it stays submerged. After 6 weeks it would still be able to float which tells me it isn't populating with bacteria. I talked to several people who use this product and all were baffled. Which now leads me to Beleive that possibly stray voltage in my tank is affecting my beneficial bacteria populations
Noticed the same thing with finger shocks. Added a grounding probe & no longer feel the shocks, leading me to believe there was in fact some stray voltage. Ordered a voltage meter & will be keeping tabs on it moving forward
 

ohnoitisjoe

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I was forced to use a heater someone gave to me to heat my water for a water change. Not only was the sensor completely off [heated water well past 30C when reading 25.6] it also zapped me before I even touched the heater plug, with dry hands. Crackled when I took it out too, no thank you.

My mum had the worst experience though; she once kept terrapins way back when, and when her dad was doing maintenance on the light one time
PLOP
At least it was quick for them.
 

Freenow54

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Noticed the same thing with finger shocks. Added a grounding probe & no longer feel the shocks, leading me to believe there was in fact some stray voltage. Ordered a voltage meter & will be keeping tabs on it moving forward
I keep posting a GFI will not save you in that situation. If you are grounded you are in a lot of trouble
 

Quietman

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I keep posting a GFI will not save you in that situation. If you are grounded you are in a lot of trouble
Correct me if I'm wrong here @Freenow54 but if you're plugged into a GFCI and you have a current leak you can feel that GFCI has failed. Since it senses out vs return and trips on a difference and you have a grounding plug taking some of the "minor" current, the GFCI shoud be tripping.

I would immediately remove/repair the offending equipment. Isolate it by unplugging (not just turning off) equipment until you find the offending gear.

Second, test/replace your GFCI.

A grounding plug is absolutely a life saver. Do not remove it. But relying on it just means you have degraded equipment that's likely getting worse. If you're lucky your house breakers will trip before you have a fire. But those house breakers are designed to protect your house, not you. That's the GFCI and grounding plug and now you're just down to the grounding plug. Not a situation I would want to be in.
 

Biglew11

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I've never been shocked from my tank. Ground probe in the tank and sump.
2 832 power strips each one on a separate gfci plugged into my ups.

I have had a small sting from my saltwater mixing barrel standing on damp concrete. An Ehiem Jagger heater Was the culprit, and since they are 2 wire heaters it didn't trip the gfci.
 

Isopod80

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3 times. All were hydor wavemakers leaking electricity
Great. I just put one in my tank. Well....I'll just have to have my fiance' hold my other hand next time I work on the tank. (Hopefully it's like the electric fence phenomenon) "Come here honey. Let's do this together."
 
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alton

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These two items can be lethal to our fish, equipment, and us. I found a chart from Jade Learning that showed different levels of amperage and how it can affect people with 1 second of contact:

1 ma (.001 amps) – Perception level and slight tingle

5 ma (.005 amps) – Shock Felt but you should be able to let go

6-30 ma (.005-.03 amps) – Pain Full Shock

50-150 ma (.05-.150 amps) – Death is Possible

1000 ma (1 amp) – Death is likely

Ma = Milli-Amps

The average GFCI Receptacle is set to trip from 4 to 6 ma so it should trip at 4 but will definitely trip at 6 (remember what was said about 5 ma)
Todays GFCI receptacles are self testing, when they determine they are no longer any good they turn off. So always keep a spare. They also make them with an alarm which is great.
 
BRS

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