RSS Papercuts and Stray Voltage in the marine aquarium

Discussion in 'RSS Feeds' started by MASA Admin, 6 Aug 2011.

  1. MASA Admin

    MASA Admin Moderator

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    A few days ago, I gave myself a small papercut on one of my fingers. I don’t think there are many positive attributes with a paper cut. But yesterday, that same paper cut clued me into some stray voltage in my reef aquarium. I was doing a water change on my tank, and felt an immediate stinging at the site of the papercut. Now, we all know salt water will sting a cut. But it usually goes away quickly. I remembered the last time this occurred, it was due to a small amount of stray voltage. It was not something I could feel with the hand that didn’t have a cut on it.



    I promptly pulled out the multimeter to verify my findings and isolate the source. It turned out to be a powerhead that feeds the calcium reactor. Unplugging the powerhead brought the voltage down on the multimeter, and the stinging sensation in my finger was gone. I guess it’s time for a new powerhead.

    I don’t advocate using your hand to test for stray voltage! But if you feel a sting or tingle in a papercut or hangnail while servicing the tank, it would be wise to test your tank with a multimeter. To test for stray voltage, insert the black probe into the ground port on an outlet or extension cord and the red probe in your tank. If the meter registers voltage, then you should proceed to disconnect each electrical device until the voltage drops. If you disconnect each device one-by-one, the culprit is easily found. Multimeters are pretty cheap and can be found at any home improvement store.


    I also recommend getting a grounding probe, and investing in GFCI outlets. While the stray voltage I found was not life threatening, there are cases when a GFCI could save your life.
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  3. Tremayn

    Tremayn

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    good tip! :)
     
  4. Cgoodburn

    Cgoodburn

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    Impact on reef life

    what would the impact of stray voltage be on your fish and corals.
     
  5. mariusmeyer

    mariusmeyer

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    Nothing, since the water is not grounded it has no effect n them.
     
  6. crispin

    crispin

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    im not 1000% sure of that. I know from extensive experiments with bees that hives under overhead powerlines show massive increased aggression and that the laying pattern of the queen shows distinct avoidance to certain areas. I ran a number of experiments and found that the over head electrical field interacted with the wire in the frames, creating a magnetic field around the wire which disturbed the bees strongly in some cases. Electrical currents can effect nature in ways we are not sensitive too.

    its well known that all living organisms emit electrical pulses (one of the primary hunting tactics of fish is to sence these electrical pulses and home in on the source to hunt) and i would hazard a guess (no more than that as ive never studied it) that stray current does infact effect our LS in a number of ways....just not the way we notice. I do agree that it not being grounded allows a safer margin within a tank....untill you put your hand in there standing barefoot in the puddle on newly spilt salt water after a water change that it:p
     
  7. 2balive

    2balive

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    What is GFCI?

    I read somewhere (will look for it again) of coral research projects that use a "weak electric current" in the growing area to increase coral growth. :whistling:
     
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