Using ground probes in aquariums

SmedenS

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Hello,

I will admit I’m gonna sound dumb, really dumb, but I don’t even know where to get ground probes and or gfci outlets, not alone wire them in. Do I have to hire an electrician to come install these?.
Then lets be dumb together, but safe! Always better to ask questions..

I "woke up" after reading this thread, as I know I am very conductive if I am barefoot on tiles and connecting a simple 20V45W adapter to the computer, I get about the same drizzle in my fingers as one would get if testing a fresh 9V battery with your tongue.

I also realize how stupid I have been in the past. My last FW tank was 200x100x60cm, demanding to reach very long to get into the back corners. The drizzle would become stronger at some locations and I just continued to stretch to get the work done - dumb as I was.
I think the biggest danger comes into play if you have a faulty unit, which will not cause your house circuit breaker to shut off the power. If you are very unlucky and get caught/locked with a lower deadly voltage, then maybe game-over even with a 10A breaker for the phase your tank is on. I have no idea what Voltage and Amp is necessary, but I am done with playing around and trying to learn/understand what is needed to be safe. A grounding probe + GFCI breaker seems like a very good solution. I would rather sacrifice the tank than impose danger to me or a family member/guest.
 

RobW

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Then lets be dumb together, but safe! Always better to ask questions..

I "woke up" after reading this thread, as I know I am very conductive if I am barefoot on tiles and connecting a simple 20V45W adapter to the computer, I get about the same drizzle in my fingers as one would get if testing a fresh 9V battery with your tongue.

I also realize how stupid I have been in the past. My last FW tank was 200x100x60cm, demanding to reach very long to get into the back corners. The drizzle would become stronger at some locations and I just continued to stretch to get the work done - dumb as I was.
I think the biggest danger comes into play if you have a faulty unit, which will not cause your house circuit breaker to shut off the power. If you are very unlucky and get caught/locked with a lower deadly voltage, then maybe game-over even with a 10A breaker for the phase your tank is on. I have no idea what Voltage and Amp is necessary, but I am done with playing around and trying to learn/understand what is needed to be safe. A grounding probe + GFCI breaker seems like a very good solution. I would rather sacrifice the tank than impose danger to me or a family member/guest.
It actually takes very little to kill you. Just depends how you get hit. 220 volts is no joke. It usually grabs you in such a way that you cant let go of it. Scary stuff! Been hit by it once. I work on a lot of 480 volt stuff too. That will seriously mess up your day.
 

Sarah24!

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Hello,

@Brew12 so gonna trust you the most on this and sadly I have no grounding probes or anything on my tank. Yes I deserve a smack upside the head with a metal shovel. But curious for my house, there is not a single gfi outlet anywhere at all. None. So how hard is it to switch them over to gfi outlets to begin with and I need to go from a two outlet to a four because of how much stuff I have.

In short I have two really good power strips and each one has 9 items plugged into them (maybe more actually). But one has all my lights, blue tooth, and both uv steralizers. The others have my two heaters, and 4 wave makers and 2 return pumps and 1 gyre. With this said I only have two outlets (4 plugs only), if my physics serves me well, plugging a power ground probe into a power strip is useless. It has to be plugged directly into the wall outlet.

So problems:
A.) I have no ground on my tank at all that protects me if I stick my hands in the water daily.
B). I have three out let’s (2 plug ins each) behind my tank. One runs my tv etc, the other two each have a power strip with everything plugged into it. (I have a lack of plugs).
C.) I don’t have a single gfi outlet in my entire house (that engineer gets a big fat F.
D.) how hard is it to switch my two outlets that have two plug ins, to gfi that have four so I can plug a power ground probe directly into it. I’m assuming with as much stuff that I have it would trip that breaker quickly.

Any suggestions and can I just get the titanium ones off of amazon (even better something local aka Home Depot, Lowe’s wall mart whatever). Why doesn’t the extra lead into to be hooked up? Wouldn’t it be an additional stray ground?
 
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Brew12

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Hey @Sarah24! Thanks for reaching out!
A.) I have no ground on my tank at all that protects me if I stick my hands in the water daily.
Easy enough to fix.

B). I have three out let’s (2 plug ins each) behind my tank. One runs my tv etc, the other two each have a power strip with everything plugged into it. (I have a lack of plugs).
D.) how hard is it to switch my two outlets that have two plug ins, to gfi that have four so I can plug a power ground probe directly into it. I’m assuming with as much stuff that I have it would trip that breaker quickly.
Switching outlets to GFCI is very easy. Adding 2 more isn't too difficult, but obviously it will require cutting drywall. Very few power strips have breakers, must have simple switches. A good quality power strip will have continuous grounds so plugging the ground probe into one shouldn't be an issue.
My bigger concern is overloading the circuit feeding the outlets. Do you know if they are all on the same breaker? If you are worried about too much load for your tank it may be best to have an electrician add an additional circuit.

C.) I don’t have a single gfi outlet in my entire house (that engineer gets a big fat F.
Sorry, can't blame an engineer for this one! ;) Engineers rarely do house wiring. It was likely laid out and installed by a licensed electrician who hopefully followed the NFPA 70 and local codes. Prior to 1971 GFCI's weren't required and were only on the market for a few years before that. So, it isn't unusual to not see GFCI's in homes built before 1971.

Any suggestions and can I just get the titanium ones off of amazon
Seems to be easiest. It's how I got mine. There has been so much bad information put out on ground probes that many pet stores don't stock them. Frustrating.

Why doesn’t the extra lead into to be hooked up? Wouldn’t it be an additional stray ground?
By extra lead I'm assuming you mean the plug and then the ring terminal. The extra lead is done as an additional mounting option. It wouldn't hurt to use both but you should be fine as long as you use one or the other.
 

Sarah24!

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Hey @Sarah24! Thanks for reaching out!

Easy enough to fix.



Switching outlets to GFCI is very easy. Adding 2 more isn't too difficult, but obviously it will require cutting drywall. Very few power strips have breakers, must have simple switches. A good quality power strip will have continuous grounds so plugging the ground probe into one shouldn't be an issue.
My bigger concern is overloading the circuit feeding the outlets. Do you know if they are all on the same breaker? If you are worried about too much load for your tank it may be best to have an electrician add an additional circuit.


Sorry, can't blame an engineer for this one! ;) Engineers rarely do house wiring. It was likely laid out and installed by a licensed electrician who hopefully followed the NFPA 70 and local codes. Prior to 1971 GFCI's weren't required and were only on the market for a few years before that. So, it isn't unusual to not see GFCI's in homes built before 1971.


Seems to be easiest. It's how I got mine. There has been so much bad information put out on ground probes that many pet stores don't stock them. Frustrating.


By extra lead I'm assuming you mean the plug and then the ring terminal. The extra lead is done as an additional mounting option. It wouldn't hurt to use both but you should be fine as long as you use one or the other.
Hello,

I will have someone switch the gfci outlets out and either keep them as two outlets or switch it to four. Sorry meant to stay extra wire or secondary ground. Lol oh about them engineers lol my house is only 3 years old. That’s why I said they should get an F. Well it’s almost four now but still it was built in 2015. That’s why I thought I didn’t have any gfci outlets. Even my parents house that was built in the mid 90s has some at least in the kitchen. I don’t have any in the kitchen or the garage so made me wonder.
 
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Hello,

I will have someone switch the gfci outlets out and either keep them as two outlets or switch it to four. Sorry meant to stay extra wire or secondary ground. Lol oh about them engineers lol my house is only 3 years old. That’s why I said they should get an F. Well it’s almost four now but still it was built in 2015. That’s why I thought I didn’t have any gfci outlets. Even my parents house that was built in the mid 90s has some at least in the kitchen. I don’t have any in the kitchen or the garage so made me wonder.
Did you look to see if you have GFCI breakers installed in your main panel? That has become more common lately.
 

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A note for extension cords that have a lighted end when powered or a rocker switch, on a power strip that is lighted. If they provide power and you dont see a light anymore you need to replace it ASAP. This means the ground fault is not working anymore. Learned this at the osha class at work
 

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This is a very good article for those that would like to read an Electrical Engineering Professor's take on grounding probes.
 

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Brew12

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This is a very good article for those that would like to read an Electrical Engineering Professor's take on grounding probes.
I have written to him repeatedly to try and get him to take this information down. His entire premise is that current will flow through a fish when the reality is that most of the current will flow around a marine fish. His information is only accurate in a fresh water or brackish aquarium.
 

SmedenS

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I have written to him repeatedly to try and get him to take this information down. His entire premise is that current will flow through a fish when the reality is that most of the current will flow around a marine fish. His information is only accurate in a fresh water or brackish aquarium.
Agree, I also see ANY ground probe/conductor which conduct electricity better than me to be a good solution. I simply dont wish to become the best conductor no matter what happens in my tank or sump.
 

ReeferReefer

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I had a question asked of me that I thought would be worth posting here. Some grounding plugs, like the one I have pictured, have an extra ring terminal attached to them. This is provided to allow you more than one way to connect the ground. It will work just fine if you put the probe in your tank and plug it in. No need to use the extra terminal.

upload_2016-10-20_11-51-48.png
Can this be used in a powerstrip?
 
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i've been meaning to get a ground probe and just recently had a mimic tang of mine die out of nowhere :(. couldnt find anything wrong with tank or the tang. got along fine with my angel so there was no bullying and was eating just fine. still a mystery on why he died but maybe there is voltage in my tank? i have had a shock several times now when touching the water but did think anything of it. either way just ordered a probe for next day! especially after reading this thread.
 
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i've been meaning to get a ground probe and just recently had a mimic tang of mine die out of nowhere :(. couldnt find anything wrong with tank or the tang. got along fine with my angel so there was no bullying and was eating just fine. still a mystery on why he died but maybe there is voltage in my tank? i have had a shock several times now when touching the water but did think anything of it. either way just ordered a probe for next day! especially after reading this thread.
Just got home and decided to check my water for voltage and Found that there is 2.8V that probe needs to hurry lol
 
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Do people with a sump need 2 probes or is 1 in the sump enough?
I am comfortable with just having one in the sump. The only time it doesn't cover everything is when the return pump is turned off.
 

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I still have a new one in the packaging since January

Someday I’ll get around to setting it up lol
 

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My aquarium shocked me.

I have a new setup and when I had my arm in the display tank it brushed against a LED box, which then shocked me.

I have (2) LED boxes suspended for a hanger I made from black pipe. The are both plugged into a surge protector which is then plugged into a GFI outlet.

Please advise how I can keep this from happening again, other than the obvious unplug the power strip.
 
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