Earthing your aquarium!!

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Earthing your aquarium!!

Post  noddy89 on 13th March 2014, 5:06 pm

Ok so I'm not an electrician. (although I aspire to be one if I can land an apprenticeship hint hint Wink). I do have a good understanding however. Any advice given here should be taken with care. Electricity is a bitch. Don't pi$$ it off! This is mearly a warning that by looking on forums and talking to other aquarium owners, there is little awareness of how dangerous this hobby can potentially be.

Not long ago i purchased a couple of wave makers. They appeared to be in good nic and was told they worked perfectly. Everything's in, turn everything on, go to do dabble in a bit of rock-scaping and BAM! Painful tingling on every open sore on my hands. Grab the multi meter set to v-a.c (volts AC) and whadoyaknow. Over 190 odd volts between the water in the tank and the houses earthing circuit. Hmm. Maybe through chance that the impedance of my socks, carpet, carpet underlay etc may of saved me from a bit more than a jolt. The tank circuit is rcd protected thankfully.

If your houses power circuit isn't rcd protected I would strongly recommend that you think about it. If you look in your switchboard and there is a circuit breaker labelled 'power' and has a small 'test' button your all sweet. If not or if you have old school wired ceramic fuses then good luck. If you get 'hooked up' and are unable to remove yourself there's a fair chance serious damage is going to occur to your heart

While an rcd will protect you WHEN a fault occurs, another option is to consider buying a titanium earth (ground) probe. In short this is how it works: the probe is placed into the tanks water, the other end is plugged into the houses earthing system via a power board or can be run outside and attached to the copper earth stake usually near the switchboard. What this does is provides a lower path of resistance for the current to pass, in turn "carrying" the stray voltages away. Because we are touching the earth and the tanks water is now connected to earth there is no difference in electrical potential. (ever wondered why a bird doesn't end up barbecued on a power line?)

So where do these "rogue voltages" come from? Look at how many pumps, wave makers, heaters, lights and all the other electrical items we place under or near the water! Faulty equipment would make up the bulk of the voltage source however inductance also plays a role (very very minor- near negligible) So what am I doing?

I will be purchasing an earth probe for my tank and from now on my weekly maintenance will include removing the probe and testing the water for stray voltages and replacing the faulty equipment. That simple. $14 for a vertex titanium earth probe and I already have a multimeter. (mine was over $150- cheap by a sparkies standards) but even a $15 yellow one will do.

Just set it to 200 V AC. One probe in the water (doesn't matter what one), the other you can push it onto the floor or for a more accurate reading, into the earth pin of a power socket. (DO NOT TRY IF YOU HAVE NO CLUE ON WHERE THE EARTH PIN IS. You can be electrocuted by your own stupidity. Again, do not poke pieces of metal into holes if your unsure of what hole to stick it in! (its the bottom one at 6 o'clock by the way)

Ideally we want 0v. 0-50vac is considered "safe" under normal circumstances for humans. The fish may have other ideas as stray voltages have been known to cause lateral line and gill disease to name a few as well as agitation.

That's my long winded speil that may save an electric shock, a fish disease or even a life! Who knows

Rod

noddy89

Posts : 39
Join date : 2013-08-16
Location : Gold Coast

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Re: Earthing your aquarium!!

Post  noddy89 on 14th March 2014, 6:15 am

Vertex Earth probe in, faulty power head thrown in and turned on and 0.67v. Between tank water and earth. That's  peace of mind!

noddy89

Posts : 39
Join date : 2013-08-16
Location : Gold Coast

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Re: Earthing your aquarium!!

Post  finfan on 14th March 2014, 12:12 pm

20:08:36

Good topic - great info

Saltwater is a fantastic conductor- thanks for sharing this often overlooked topic.

 Cool 

finfan

Posts : 703
Join date : 2011-08-30
Location : Brisbane QLD Ausralia

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