Current running through tank

Discussion in 'Advanced Topics' started by dubediver, 7 Sep 2016.

  1. dubediver

    dubediver

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    i can feel through open cuts or sometimes when I touch parts of my tank that there is a very mild current in the water. I do use a dc pump in my sump.

    Question is wether this is detrimental to anything in the tank ?
     
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  3. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Would not be detrimental to anything in the tank. Unless its an open copper wire reacting in the water.

    Biggest issue is you or a child acting like an earth wire when you stick your hand into the water. Kids feels the shock a lot worst than adults. Get your tank earthed.
    Plus test what is leaking power. Can be slat spray on your lights, especially T5 units. Can be power heads, or even heater in the beginning stages of packing up.
     
  4. dubediver

    dubediver Thread Starter

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    Thanks Riaan, the current very mild,barely noticeable , could it not be caused by the DC pump ?
    All equipment is new, I have LED running 30cm above the tank. will double check power heads.
     
  5. PeterAmos

    PeterAmos

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    So I have an issue with earthling your tank. Obviously the correct thing is to find the source of the current leak an fix it. .
    If you earth your tank by grounding the water to earth, that current leak will flow, you are in effect closing the circuit. Great for you bad for fish.
    When the circuit is open, not earthed, the current does not flow, fish are not in the stream if you like.
    The draw back is if there is a leak you feel it when you close the circuit by putting your hand in. If all your equipment is correctly wired and you haven't disconnected the earth at your plug (no one does that right?) the absolute worst can be a quick zap then the earth leakage would trip.
    That you can attend to immediately. Where as if your tank is earthed (grounded via water to earth) it might trip when you're not there (no chance of that right?) and depending on how long it takes before you get back no water flow etc. (murphy says you went away on a long vacation before it trips).
    There are nifty ways you can connect a device in a permanent manner to measure for earth leakages if you really want to.

    Sorry to hijack this. Just food for thought.
     
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  6. Jacojs

    Jacojs

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    There was a member on this forum that passed away due to a leakage in his tank and it not being earthed, me with a kid in the house, Id rather have it earthed than finding my hobby killed someone I love.
     
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  7. dubediver

    dubediver Thread Starter

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    I've had two encounters, once the heater in a small tank cracked and I put my hand in it, second time I stood barefoot on a box of transformers for my old lights. Second time knocked me right across the room. So definitely will track down problem. I wonder if a multimeter would pick up the current in the water ?
     
  8. dubediver

    dubediver Thread Starter

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    Also, what do people use to earth one of those two pin plugs , round ones, with the earth built into the plug ?
     
  9. RynoParsons

    RynoParsons

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    okay so a heater (doesnt have an earth!!!) pulls enough amps to kill you.....

    so you have two options.
    1# earth your tank so when you stick your hand in the tank you dont have a chance to get killed or a family member. But power might trip and youose livestock when you are not home

    2# dont earth your tank. and then get electricuted....
    that to me is a no brainer
     
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  10. RynoParsons

    RynoParsons

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    i have measured more than 30volts on a cheap newly installed heater.
     
  11. oliver

    oliver

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    A sensitive multimeter will pick up electricity leaking into your water,put on low range AC one probe in earth plug and on in the water.
     
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  12. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Sucko / Euro plug ?

    Like these
    [​IMG][​IMG]


    These are not available in South Africa. We have almost the same, but without the earth connection points as you can see in the above picture. I bough 2 of these in Sweden and brought them over (the second pic is my extension). The correct plugs to use with these got two exposed metal pieces on the sides that are the earth points, like this
    [​IMG]

    The similar type of plug points we do get here, without the earths got a piece of plastic preventing you from being able to use that plug with a round earth sucko plug point on a pump for example. Have to cut that out to be able to use it. Although it will not be an earthed point.
    [​IMG]
    We are the only country still left that uses the big 3 prong plug point in the world. And only us and Israel had that. Advantage though is that it is rated 16Amp where almost all the other plug configurations used in the world are 10Amp.

    Our government decided to phase out our big 3 prong plugs, and replace it with a smaller point. Instead of adopting what almost all of Europe use, our government decided to go with almost the Switzerland version. Note the word "almost"
    [​IMG]
    Here is what you will see coming in the next year or two, slowly replacing all our plug points. The earth point is in the middle. Slightly offset, forcing you to have the plug the right way around while trying to force it in, in a dark corner.OK the one in the picture got a USB charger built in as well (whoopee). And its 10Amp with another advantage that the wiring in the house can be downgraded from 16 to 10, resulting in cheaper installations. BUT - you would not be able to run your welder from it. That implies you need another electrical setup in the garage. Actually there is not a lot of appliances that pulls even close to 10Amp in the house so in reality it should not matter. Then again a big fishtank on one circuit could possibly overload a 10Amp circuit.

    Now the stupid part: the offset is just that little bit different from the Swiss version, making our point unique in the world (again / still). Why not just go with the euro / sucko version that we already have on a lot of appliances, like weed eaters, lawn movers, water pumps... Forcing importers to retrofit or specify another plug on orders. Making for example a dishwasher specific for South Africa while its assembled. We totally loose out on economics of sale.
     
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  13. dubediver

    dubediver Thread Starter

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    So its probably better to change the plug to a normal 3 pin, if they have that internal earth two point plugs ?
     
  14. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Some good points there. There was a thread somewhere with similar points. That thread mentioned the possibility of electrolysis if a probe is connected full time and there is a small leak.
    One could also have a grounding probe attached only when you working on the tank.
     
  15. PeterAmos

    PeterAmos

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    Ok, so lotsa interest. Would it not be better to have a small alarm sounding when there is a leak detected that having the tank water grounded. A simple little electrical device that will sound off a buzzer or light warning you that a leak is present if there is one. Then you are able to avoid current going through the fish as with a permanent grounding or it tripping whilst you are away, but still not get zapped yourself if there is an issue. In fact you will be able to attend to the issue when it occurs. I'm sure I could dig up simple wiring diagram for such a device. Or someone here might have one already?
     
  16. 3dd

    3dd

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    I'm sure a device like that would be nice, but what happens when the device fails.

    Grounding the tank is just easier and by far the safest measure one can take. When mixing salt water and electricity why is there even a debate?

    I would far rather have a few fish and corals die than electrocuting myself or god forbid my son
     
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  17. Jacojs

    Jacojs

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    +10000 what @3dd said! Livestock is replaceable, human life not!
     
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  18. Jacojs

    Jacojs

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    Something that has been bothering me a bit though.

    My tank is connected to an inverter should a power failure occur. What happens if the tank is the cause of the mains tripping and the inverter kicks in? Anyone know?
     
  19. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    I think that as the mains had tripped already, the earth wire would not be able to relay the stray voltage to the mains either. That would end up with you being the earth when you stick your hand into the tank, especially if barefoot. In meantime tank will run as normal, or all equipment on the inverter as normal. Fish and all would be OK.

    So if the house power did trip, be very careful.
    Treat the tank as if it is live.
     
  20. Jacojs

    Jacojs

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    Yeah, thats what I thought, will have to eliminate equipment then one by one until breaker doesnt drop, easy to find problem then.....sort of :)
     
  21. 3dd

    3dd

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    Does an inverter expose an earth point? If it does maybe wiring the tank to both earths would be a good idea
     
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