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Old 03-07-2011, 09:33 AM   #1 
Narnian
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Talking Taking care not to get electrocuted

This possibly might be the lamest question you all have ever read on here. This will be my very first time setting up a tank, so I want to know all the safety precautions to take ahead of time.


1. Do you all stick your hands in the tank to use your algae cleaner, net, pick up debris, etc. WHILE everything is plugged in? (like the heater, airpump, and hood light?) I don't want to get electrocuted, but it seems like an awful hassle to shut everything off constantly, plus it makes it hard to see without the light on.

2. As long as my heater stays in water at ALL times when on, there shouldn't be a risk of fire, correct?


3. Any other tips regarding electricity/equipment/fire safety? Thank you so much!
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:35 AM   #2 
Littlebittyfish
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I normally don't unplug everything. I have no idea if that is safe or not though.

The only time I unplug everything is if I am doing more than a 50% water change and I am taking things out of my tank to clean.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:37 AM   #3 
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I don't mean EVERYTHING... I mean i just unplug whatever i am taking out to clean.haha
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:50 AM   #4 
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As long as everything is working properly, there is no danger in sticking your hands in the tank. Keep in mind, the fish are living in this water and they're not getting electrocuted! Just take a few precautions since you are dealing with electricity and water together: don't let the plugs get wet, let the cords hang in a drip loop (ie let a little bit of the cord's length hang down below the socket so that the cord resembles a parabola/the letter "u"...I don't know if that makes sense, it's hard to explain lol), don't let the lights get wet, and don't plug too many things into the same outlet without a surge protector.

Do make sure that you always unplug your heater before you take it out, or if you are changing enough water so that it is no longer fully submerged; you probably won't run the risk of a fire, but leaving the heater on when it's not in the water could break it.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:05 AM   #5 
Narnian
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Thank you so much both of you! Your info was especially helpful, LolaQuigs.

Ok, right now I have a power strip plugged into the wall plug. It will have a heater, hood light, and airpump attached to it.....the plug for the hood light is plugged into a timer. So basically there are 3 items, total, plugged into the power strip.

Sound ok? :) Thanks again!
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:08 AM   #6 
Goomba3
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When I got my heater, it said to always unplug it when you stick your hands in the water. I did it the first couple of times, and now I just forget. Basically if the water will drop below the designated line on the heater, or below the intake in the filter, I unplug it. Especially the filter, you don't want air in there if you can help it. Otherwise I never unplug them, haha.
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:58 AM   #7 
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Most states have code requiring ground fault breakers or outlets be used as service for aquariums. I don't think simply the outlets is enough because water will still touch the hot wire inside.

I installed ground fault overhead wiring "buss" in my house for this express purpose. Square-D makes nice boxes.
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:39 PM   #8 
GienahClarette
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I agree with what everyone said. I usually keep the separate tank light on when I work, otherwise I'll have no idea what I'm doing. xD I also always unplug the filter, but usually leave the heater on. Also, I always put towels around my tank bottom to soak up any water and prevent drips off the table and keep all splashed water away from the electronics.

I've done the getting shocked by household current thing before, not cool. =/
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:39 PM   #9 
Narnian
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Quote:
Most states have code requiring ground fault breakers or outlets be used as service for aquariums. I don't think simply the outlets is enough because water will still touch the hot wire inside.

I installed ground fault overhead wiring "buss" in my house for this express purpose. Square-D makes nice boxes.
Sorry, this doesn't make any sense to me. Can you explain in simpler terms please?
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:28 PM   #10 
Thunderloon
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I installed an independent wiring circuit in my ceiling off of a twenty amp ground fault breaker that uses fifteen amp ground fault breakered outlets down the overhead length of my trailer when I had the ceiling open.

A ground fault breaker watches both the black and white wires in a circuit and if any electricity goes "missing" it throws the breaker, almost always so fast that you cannot feel a charge develop. Commonly this breakering occurs so fast that a single phase (wave) of the AC line will not complete.

You can quite literally slap both wires of a standard cord into your mouth then plug it into a ground fault breaker line and not notice any electrical current if the breaker is a good one. Ground Fault outlets are not as reliable and take more time to trip so while they ARE just as safe, you can still feel a jolt from them. Using the circuit breaker AND outlets combined lets you hit the reset locally but ensures that a highly reliable, if not at the very least heavily insured, breaker is behind the outlet to make sure even an outlet's failure is still safely covered.

This protects not only you but also your fish AND keeps the wall outlet in a location where you're exceptionally unlikely to splash water in.

I have actually had a jet of water spray against the ceiling but I doubt you'll be working on live-pressured water lines in your living room.

Home improvement... lol.

Last edited by Thunderloon; 03-14-2011 at 04:31 PM.
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