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Old 09-16-2002, 09:21 PM   #1
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Stray Voltage

Hi all,

A recent question came up about stray voltage.

All information I've gathered about the subject is anecdotal, but there is a lot of it (not that that makes it right). There has been proven problems with keeping sharks and stray voltage but not clear evidence that it affects Tangs. My thought is that a grounding probe coupled with a GFCI can save your life and also happens to eliminate stray voltage in the tank.

My understanding is that stray voltage can have three sources.

1 - Magnetic coils (like a powerhead).
2 - Voltage leaks (like an insulated wire that is wearing thin).
3 - High effeciency lighting (VHO, PC, MH, etc.).

The theory leans toward stray voltage affecting the Lateral Line on highly sensitive fish. Deep water fish have the most sensitive lateral lines followed by Sharks. Tangs also happen to have very sensitive lateral lines.

That exausts my knowledge of the subject.

Guy
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Old 09-17-2002, 06:15 AM   #2
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Quote:
My thought is that a grounding probe coupled with a GFCI can save your life and also happens to eliminate stray voltage in the tank.
Guy, would you (and another members) talk more about a 'grounding probe' and 'the ground fault unit -GFCI- you refer to. I am completely naive and am asking my question publically in the event there may be another person unsure about this stuff.

Sue
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Old 09-17-2002, 11:09 AM   #3
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Sure,

A grounding probe is just a conductive material (Titanium) submerged in the water and connected via wire to your house ground (via the third prong on an outlet, water pipe, etc.) Most bicycle spokes are Titanium so they are very easy to DIY. If not I think they are usually under $15.

A GFCI - Ground Fault Circuit Interupt is a special outlet usually found in bathrooms or kitchens (around water). It can sense a ground fault very very quickly. ie. If you throw a toaster into your bathwater without a GFCI you will receive a sever shock and then the circuit breaker will trip. With a GFCI it will interrupt power before you can get shocked.

It will not prevent shocks completely though.... If your heater broke and you were wearing insulated shoes and there's no grounding probe and stick your hand in the water you'll get zapped, probably will just feel like a tingle, possibly more. This situation is a short circuit, and not a ground fault. If you have a grounding probe and GFCI and a heater pops the GFCI will immediately interupt the circuit.

A GFCI also protects every outlet downline from where it is installed. You can identify them because they will have a black test button and a red reset button. Home Depot also makes a plug-in GFCI but I don't think it's cheap.
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