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Old 11-08-2012, 08:26 AM   #1
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Electrical safety

Hello,

I'm new to fish tanks and was wondering what you guys do in terms of electrical safety?

The electrical circuit my tank is on has a 30mA residual-current circuit breaker.

I was thinking of additionally putting a plug-in 10mA RCD between the power socket and fish tank gear so I can root around in the tank with lights, filter, ... (all having 230v wires going into the water) still on without having to worry about safety.

What do you guys do?

Thx
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:34 AM   #2
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Replace the socket with a GFI socket. that way any zap you could potentially get will be lightning quick.

They're about 15-20 bucks at the local hardware store.

I also have all my items plugged into a UPS, which has a surge protector, but more for the safety for my tank, rather than me
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:53 AM   #3
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According to Wikipedia what's called an RCD or RCCB in the UK and Europe is the same as what is called a GFI or GFCI in the States. Just so we're all on the same page
They are usually 30mA which would be redundant in my house, I've only seen 10mA ones on the Internet.

How many hours is a fish tank relatively safe in case of a power failure (which is very rare where I live)? I do have a heavy 12v battery and a 230v inverter, which could drive the filter for at least a few hours if needed.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:45 PM   #4
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Depends on your bio load, the temperature, I try and make sure my filter is off for no longer than 2 hours. After that, the filter starts to die. Filters take relatively little power, its the heater that would suck a UPS down quickly.

Problem is, the inverter in all UPS's themselves are relatively inefficient, draining the battery faster than the filter running does. You'll get 2-3 hours MAX from any consumer UPS even with a tiny load on it. So, If I think the Blackout will be a long one, I generally shut off my UPS manually, and turn it on once an hour for 5-10 minutes.

My last test of this was when I had my electrical panel replaced. my APC 550va UPS lasted about 2.5 hours continuous, but when the hydro guy never showed up to connect my power back on, I turned it off. I turned it back on 3 or 4 times over the next two hours for a runtime of 3 hours. I was impressed.

When I had a 100 watt heater plugged into it for my move, it lasted 40 minutes.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:52 PM   #5
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My tank survived 3 days without power in the dead of winter. I floated bottles of warm water in the tank, swapping as they cool. Wrapped the tank in blankets to keep warmth in. Would scoop some water out with a cup and pour it back in to aerate the water a bit. No one died during the outage.
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