Stray voltage in your tank: You should be worried

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Manic, 14 Apr 2010.

  1. Manic

    Manic Moderator

    Joined:
    12 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    3,313
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Johannesburg, Edenvale
    Hey everyone,

    Just thought I would share this with you. Every time I worked in my tank without shoes on I would get a slight shock as I put my hand in the water and as I lifted my hand out. I thought nothing of it as I knew what was causing it (Pump on my one reactor). Anyway about two weeks ago my sps started bleaching and some soft corals just suddenly died. I tested all parameters and everything was fine, I hadn't changed anything in the tank for a while so I was kind of confused as to the cause. After lots or reading and research I came across this, it is scary as I had a few pumps, heaters and skimmers that have done this in the past:

    http://www.farmertodd.com/library/rkessentials/electricity.asp

    I've read on many of the reef central threads about people complaining about sudden deaths of fish and clams, with this being the probable cause.

    I changed the pump two weeks ago and my sps are already encrusting over the dead skeleton.
     
  2. AdS Guest




    to hide all adverts.
  3. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,163
    Likes Received:
    1,231
    Location:
    Centurion
    Interesting thing I found. My kids can feel the stray voltage a lot more than I can. Great way to keep their hands out of the sump :thumbup:

    But if you have any small cut or wound on your hand, even the smallest papercut, then also you can feel the stray voltage on that cut more than anywhere else on your hand.

    Aah, and watch your kids reactions, if you do have shoes on and your kids not, you stick one hand in the water and other hand you touch his ear.
    Great Father-Son bonding....:thumbup:
     
  4. Manic

    Manic Thread Starter Moderator

    Joined:
    12 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    3,313
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Johannesburg, Edenvale
    I also noticed the shock more with a cut on my hand, thought it was funny until I read about how much damage it can do to our live stock.
     
    Broder likes this.
  5. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
    Yup, We like to install grounding probes. Forces one to fix the voltage leak. It also protects youngsters that might put that mitt into the sump or top off container.

    A few law suits are about regarding voltage leak in fish tanks and ponds. I have expressed concerns and warnings elsewhere on this forum. Please be diligent and ensure protection, not only for your inhabitants but for any mishap that might occur when a youngster or other person is around.
     
  6. Manic

    Manic Thread Starter Moderator

    Joined:
    12 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    3,313
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Johannesburg, Edenvale
    Where can I get these grounding probes from? Like the ones made out of titanium that they mention in the article...
     
  7. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
    Good point :) The wholesalers do not bring them in because they do not sell.

    I hack up a DIY from an old SS heater.
     
  8. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    2,087
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    East London
    Thank you very much for this very important link Manic. Very easy to read and simple solutions are supplied. I'm going to ground my tank tonight.

    May I suggest that this is sticky'd?
     
  9. Manic

    Manic Thread Starter Moderator

    Joined:
    12 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    3,313
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Johannesburg, Edenvale
    Does the stainless steel last long term in our tanks?
     
  10. AfricaOffroad

    AfricaOffroad

    Joined:
    12 Mar 2010
    Posts:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Ballito, KZN
    Nothing like a cracked glass heater and you stick your hand into the tank . NOT !!!
     
  11. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    23 Nov 2009
    Posts:
    2,531
    Likes Received:
    103
    Location:
    Cape Town
    I give you some sticky!
    Firstly, thanks manic. Without your post, I probably never would have get my backside into gear, to do some checks. I did not read the link you posted, but I know about the stray voltage for more than one decade.

    Now the reason for the sticky.
    Shocking results happened here.

    My quaranten tank got 30V, just from the one powerhead.
    My grow out system got 4.5V.
    My cube got in total 67V.
    25V from the pump, 10V from the skimmer, 22V from the heater and 10V from the lights. The metal from the tubes are laying on a piece of wood, the wood is laying on the bracing and the waterlevel is equal with the bracing.
    The wood is damp and there where it got contact to the tubes.

    But thats nothing. Listen to this.
    My growout system got 25V from the pump, zero from skimmer and heater.
    A friend if mine gave ne a used sun sun pump JTP102, 5000l/h.
    The pump comes with a Euro plug. As you know, you can plug it in either way.
    Thats what I did.
    If I plug the pump in, my total drops from 25V down to 5V.
    Now I turned the plug from the pump around.
    Are you guys sitting?
    The total shot up from 25V to 205V!
    Yes, two-zero-five!

    I am going to organize marine stainless steel and connect to the earth contact in the wall socket.

    To check stray voltage, you need a multimeter and a normal plug.
    Connect a cable to the pin for earth only, plug it into a earthed socket and connect the other end to the black contact. Set your multimeter on AC and check the reading. Should be zero point something. Now put the red contact into your tank.
     
  12. Manic

    Manic Thread Starter Moderator

    Joined:
    12 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    3,313
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Johannesburg, Edenvale
    Mine was worse. It blew the fuse on two multimeters, was well over 300V
     
  13. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    23 Nov 2009
    Posts:
    2,531
    Likes Received:
    103
    Location:
    Cape Town
    Now we need an electrician.
    How to get more than the supplied 230V into the water?
    Yuri?
     
  14. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
    No, the Tetra SS heaters and the titanium ground probes deteriorate with time. Electrolysis takes place. And i am no boffin on that subject. Generally a probe/heater hack lasts at least 2 years.

    I have seen impeller shafts connected to a piece of wire with silicone and pratley's to insulate the connection.
     
  15. seank

    seank

    Joined:
    24 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,984
    Likes Received:
    119
    Location:
    North of Durban and South of Mozambique
    I still think a low current of electricity is good for your tank. I did a thread some many moons ago on how the scientists recreate coral reefs using electricity. But I am too lazy to search for the thread:(
     
  16. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    23 Nov 2009
    Posts:
    2,531
    Likes Received:
    103
    Location:
    Cape Town
    Many moons ago. I think it was in the mid nineties.
    If I remember right, they used 24V.
     
  17. Manic

    Manic Thread Starter Moderator

    Joined:
    12 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    3,313
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Johannesburg, Edenvale
    They probably used DC and not AC, I've got 6m of 5mm Diameter 316 SS bar in my garage, will this work. Is any harm caused by the slow corrosion of the SS in the water?
     
  18. seank

    seank

    Joined:
    24 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,984
    Likes Received:
    119
    Location:
    North of Durban and South of Mozambique
    I'll try and find the thread before you guys start electrocuting your inmates:lol:

    But yes, they used electricity to build up calcium skeletons
     
  19. Manic

    Manic Thread Starter Moderator

    Joined:
    12 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    3,313
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Johannesburg, Edenvale
    I saw it on tv once to build artificial reefs in Dubai or something, they use DC current though.
     
  20. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
  21. Manic

    Manic Thread Starter Moderator

    Joined:
    12 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    3,313
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Johannesburg, Edenvale
    I've been doing some more reading and there is a lot of conflicting views on this topic. Some people say grounding the tank is worse than having stray voltage in your tank. Which one is it now?
     
Recent Posts

Loading...
Similar Threads - Stray voltage tank Forum Date
Stray Voltages (again) General Discussions and Advice 27 Sep 2012
Stray voltage General Discussions and Advice 16 Jul 2012
Stray Voltage from top-up switch Test Kits, Controllers, Reactors and Dosers 2 Nov 2011
Strays Infinity Aqua 220 Medium Tanks 17 Feb 2015
Stray electricity General Discussions and Advice 26 Aug 2013
Stray current Anything DIY Related 11 Mar 2008
54W LED unit, what should the voltage be? Lighting 26 Jan 2016