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Old 11-15-2011, 02:51 PM   #41
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If you do not already have one, get a grounding probe for your tank. It will save your livestock in case of an electrical charge. Just my 2 cents....

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Old 11-15-2011, 05:22 PM   #42
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Sorry to disagree mstrblstr33 but after 30 years in the business I would not recommend it. It can in many ways make it even worse and it is against the electrical code. If you do that, you are not taking the problem away you are just masking it and may be making it worse.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:02 PM   #43
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Sorry to disagree mstrblstr33 but after 30 years in the business I would not recommend it. It can in many ways make it even worse and it is against the electrical code. If you do that, you are not taking the problem away you are just masking it and may be making it worse.
I did not mean to imply that he do nothing and just get the probe, I meant get the probe to help prevent further issues. I have several friends who include those in this business 20+ years as well, and they all recommend the probe, so I guess its a matter of opinion.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:27 PM   #44
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Best thing you can do is to get a GFCI receptacle. Ground probe may help in some cases but most likely it will make it worse by completing the path to ground, that means electrocuting your tank. GFCI only is my recommendation.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:56 PM   #45
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Grounding probes are worthless without a GFCI... I've even seen people say they make things worse without a GFCI. I would, at minimum, have everything plugged in to a GFCI though. I actually have GFCI breakers for all the plugs in my basement. It was cheaper than going through and putting $15 plugs in, and cheaper than getting the adapters to plug in. Just sucks that there are 4 tanks on one circuit, and one on the other. If one of the 4 tanks trips it, they're all off until I realize it.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:58 PM   #46
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I got knocked on my butt when I touched a cord with a damp hand it didn't trip the GFCI but it made me hurt for a few days. Amazing how it make make the muscles that tense. I had the GFCI put in to prevent that but it didn't that day,
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:49 AM   #47
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Best thing you can do is to get a GFCI receptacle. Ground probe may help in some cases but most likely it will make it worse by completing the path to ground, that means electrocuting your tank. GFCI only is my recommendation.

+10000000 We just had a huge discussion on another forum about this exact issue. If you like, I can go back and find an article that explains it in great detail but, what kdpuffer says is exactly right. Electricity will only hurt you or the fish if it flows through you. If you put a ground probe on the tank, you are giving it a means to flow. If the source is on one end of the tank and the probe is at the other the electricity will flow through the tank (and the fish) to the probe. This will kill the fish. A GFI on the other hand will disconnect all power if there is any stray voltage. Thereby protecting you and the fish.

In addition, if you install a grounding probe, you are may be setting up current flow even if all of your equipment is top notch shape. Why??? Because you have two ground sources in you home. One is the grounding system that is part of the electrical system and the other is the ground probe. With two different ground sources they will have a difference of potential and will try to equalize. To equalize, a charge will have to flow from one to the other. So by trying to prevent current flow through your tank you are actually causing it to flow.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:55 AM   #48
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I got knocked on my butt when I touched a cord with a damp hand it didn't trip the GFCI but it made me hurt for a few days. Amazing how it make make the muscles that tense. I had the GFCI put in to prevent that but it didn't that day,
Then you have a bad GFI. If it was a cheap one bought from a home improvement store it could be bad. A GFI works on the principle of comparing the current flow between the hot wire, the neutral and the ground. They are designed to open the circuit when it sees more than a 5 milliamp (very minute) current flow on the ground.

Just to reitterate, I have more than 30 years in the electrical industry, I am a licensed contractor (means I need to get continuing education every year to maintain my license) and I have taught college level courses. If you trust my advice, please remove the ground probe if you have one and make sure you have a good GFI outlet or breaker installed. No one wants to kill there fish but more importantly it is not worth you life over a $25.00 GFI receptacle.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:39 PM   #49
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I know this is a old thread but I read that a grounding probe is good with a gfi outlet since if current in tank it will travel to gfi since probe plugged directly into gfi outlet and trip it. Not having enough time to electrocute fish.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:10 PM   #50
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The problem with having a grounding probe is that it gives the electricity a path to ground which is bad, this will electrocute the tank and occupants. Just having a GFCI receptacle is much safer for your tank as it will still trip when there is a failure of electrical equipment but will not provide a path to ground. GFCI work off of measuring the current traveling though each wire and comparing them, this is done by the monitoring the magnetic field in the wires and if one wire has a stronger field than the other it will trip and disconnect power. If a ground probe was installed it would still trip but here is why it's a problem. If you have a pump/powerhead or heater that fails and it's in your tank on the opposite end as your ground probe there is a possibility that when it fails the current will travel across your tank to the ground probe thus electrocuting your tank, yes your GFCI will still trip but it does take a fraction of a second and that can be all it takes to kill everything. In the same situation but without the probe your GFCI will still trip in the same amount of time but it will limit the current flow to between conductors on the device that fails. With heaters and motors they have high resistance to the flow of electricity, heaters because of high resistance wire being used and motors due to the length of the wire (wire has resistance all on its own) in the motor windings. Electricity always takes the path of lease resistance which will be the ground probe if there is one. Hope this has been helpful, I am an electrician also and will be more than happy to answer further questions.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:46 AM   #51
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Ok. Thanks. I won't get a probe. I do need a gfi tho. Now I'm guessing I should install the gfi on the first outlet of the circuit? If I did that will it trip if any piece if equipment fails even tho it actually isn't plugged into the gfi outlet? I have a dedicated circuit for tank with a 20 amp breaker.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:18 AM   #52
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You can wire a GFI in two ways. One way would cause all downstream devices to also trip. Each of those downstream devices would also be GFI protected when wired this way. Or, you can wire it so that only the one outlet is GFI protected and the only one to trip.

On the GFI receptacle, you will see two sets of terminals. One is labeled "Line" and the other is labeled "Load". If you want to have all of the downstream devices to be GFI protected you need to make sure that the correct wires are attached to the "Load" terminals. But, unless you are experienced, hire an electrician to do it. It isn't hard but if you don't know what you are doing you may cause more problems.
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:27 AM   #53
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I have some basic knowledge. I would imagine the load would be connected to the line heading to the next outlet. The line would be the incoming line from breaker? I would like all outlets to be protected.
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:41 AM   #54
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I have some basic knowledge. I would imagine the load would be connected to the line heading to the next outlet. The line would be the incoming line from breaker? I would like all outlets to be protected.
That is correct. One word of caution, if you have all of the outlets on the GFI and something from one of the other outlets causes the GFI to trip, you tank will be without power. Not a big deal if you are around to catch it but if you were gone for a couple of days................
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:52 AM   #55
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Yeah that worried me. I am getting a aqua controller in few weeks so that would alert me. My wife or I would be home after work every night so at most would be out of power for the day. But that could kill things so un sure what to do.

Is it better to switch the line and load? Would that protect just that individual gfi? I could just buy handful of outlets and protect pumps and heater and skimmer. Leave return pump without gfi and lights without. But then what if those have failure and don't trip breaker. Not sure where to go with this.
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:35 AM   #56
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Put all aquarium related stuff on the GFI in my opinion but don't tie downstream outlets to the load side. Tap the feed wires so that they go straight through to the downstream devices and have a tap that goes to the "Line" side of the GFI. Nothing attaches to the "Load" side of the GFI.

This way, if you plug a vacuum into an downstream outlet it won't trip the GFI feeding the aquarium. However, if anything related to the aquarium has a ground fault it will trip.
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Old 03-10-2012, 12:05 PM   #57
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Put all aquarium related stuff on the GFI in my opinion but don't tie downstream outlets to the load side. Tap the feed wires so that they go straight through to the downstream devices and have a tap that goes to the "Line" side of the GFI. Nothing attaches to the "Load" side of the GFI.

This way, if you plug a vacuum into an downstream outlet it won't trip the GFI feeding the aquarium. However, if anything related to the aquarium has a ground fault it will trip.
Ok you lost me on that one. I guess by tap the wires you mean break that little tab so it feeds next outlet? Maybe i dont know as much as thought i did. I have a tank room and about 6 or 7 outlets in the room with a dedicated breaker. So would never plug anything else into those outlets except tank stuff. So I am better off getting multiple gfi? Or should I protect the whole room? Really can't afford an electrician but I can switch out some outlets if need to.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:51 PM   #58
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What is meant by tap is that both sets of wires tie onto the line terminal, this is properly done by twisting the wires together with a third wire and capping it with a marette or wire nut the third wire connects to the line terminal. It is also important that the ground wire be hooked up, some old houses dont have proper grounding which will defeat the purpose of a gfci receptacle.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:02 PM   #59
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Ideally multiple gfis would be ideal that way if somthing trips it doesn't cut the power off the whole tank. But at around 20$ each they can get costly but. To have your return pump quit cause your heater shorted out while ur on vacation could bed devastating
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:26 PM   #60
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Ideally multiple gfis would be ideal that way if somthing trips it doesn't cut the power off the whole tank. But at around 20$ each they can get costly but. To have your return pump quit cause your heater shorted out while ur on vacation could bed devastating
Yeah that is a huge concern. I can always add gfi by gfi. Buy one or 2 at a time and protect certain equipment. Still torn how to handle this and prevent disaster in the future.
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