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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This isn't discussed much, but I think it should be revisited for those that don't know.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) can potentially save your life, and truely is something that every aquarium tank should have. How GFCI Works. For $30-40 from online stores, or Hardware stores like OSH (Orchard), you can have one protecting your wet hands and body from electrical shocks.


Portable GFCI extention cord


Are your aquariums and you protected from those sudden power surges, and accidental falling lights in the tank? If not, I suggest you get one ASAP. ;)

-John N.
 

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Definitely will add that to the to-do list.

Generally, you have to be a bit unlucky to die from a shock from a fish tank. Probably would have to complete a path across your heart.

So, if the circuit to ground is not completed until you touch the tank, I assume that the GFCI would stop you from being shocked for too long. The time delay for the GFCI to open would be good to know. I guess that if it is complies with Underwriters Laboratories it is good-to-go.

Anyone ever shocked with a GFCI in the system.

Side note: IME, shocks hurt much more and are more likely with saltwater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I had my mini coralife fall into my nano with my hand in it, and the portable GFCI killed the power within a second of it touching the water. I felt a little zip, but not enough to make my hair stand. I went and got more GFCI extensions for all the other tanks in my house. No more sudden adreneline rushes for me! ;)

-John N.
 

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Also of course, if you're comfortable with electricity and capable of changing out an outlet, you can replace an existing outlet with a GFCI such as this:



One benefit is that everything "downstream" will be protected as well (if it's put inline and not pigtailed anyway.) And also, although most people would probably want an electrician to do it, you can protect an entire circuit with a GFCI circuit breaker:



In fact, if I'm not mistaken, dedicated circuits for water features and aquariums are supposed to be on a GFCI circuit according to most codes.
 

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Hah, I guess i take for granted sometimes that my dad has been in construction for almost 57+ years.
As said above GFCI are truly great innovations. We have all of our fish equipment on a specific GFCI circuit from the breaker panel. And each piece of equipment is plugged into a 50K joule surge protector.
I know some people are going to say that the GFCI does this also but it can be over run.
If possible opt to go with the wall mounted GFCI. These tend to be the most effecient. And you can plug in a timed surge proctector for those CF lights! lol.
 

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Good advise John, There is another item on the scene now that I want to test out for aquarium use, I came across it building my new house. I wired the house on a homeowner permit (Dads a retired electrician) and our state inspectors seemed to think homeowner permits are there for their entertainment. we had two different inspectors correcting each others corrections, it was rather annoying at the time but its kinda humorous now. anyway back on topic. they made me install Arc Fault Circiut Breakers. these can supposedly sense a loose connection that is having a minor arc. after reading about the coralife powercenter fires and other fires started at aquarium locations, I started thinking that these ACFI's supposedly should be able to detect the minor arc in the plug strip if it gets wet. I have had a couple over the years start to sizzle fortunately I caught them before they ignited. so if someone out there has a powerstrip that is sizzling from water or saltwater damage, don't throw it away send it my way and I will try to duplicate the sizzle and test to see if the ACFI can catch it.

These things are about $45.00 each (I had to put in 4). I will split the shipping as I think this could save some damage in the future.

Brian
 

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John N. said:
This isn't discussed much, but I think it should be revisited for those that don't know.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) can potentially save your life, and truely is something that every aquarium tank should have. How GFCI Works. For $30-40 from online stores, or Hardware stores like OSH (Orchard), you can have one protecting your wet hands and body from electrical shocks.


Portable GFCI extention cord


Are your aquariums and you protected from those sudden power surges, and accidental falling lights in the tank? If not, I suggest you get one ASAP. ;)

-John N.
Wow, that is a little steep. Here is what I use:

http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merc...D&Product_Code=FS-GFI-STRIP&Category_Code=GFI

I did a web search and found them considerably cheaper, but lost the link.

I also got some of these on clearance at Wal-Mart for $2.99:

http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merc...en=PROD&Product_Code=TM-GFI&Category_Code=GFI

They work well for me....DC
 

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Definitely a good idea to use these.

My problem is that all the GFCI outlets I can find around here do not automatically re-establish the circuit. And as far as I understand, a powercut will also trigger the GFCI. So if you get a powercut while you're away, the GFCI will cut the electricity to all your equipment and leave it that way even when the power comes back on.

So I'm still searching for GFCIs that can re-establish circuits automatically. :)
 

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When I redid my family room I selected a spot for the tank and installed GFIC outlets on a new dedicated service line/breaker. I have no problems with power outages. You can install these in place of your standard outlet/recepticle. I also use a grounding probe which is something most hobbists overlook. It helps prevent lateral line disease, too.
 

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I just had an inspection in my shop, and I had to have an electricion come in and put in several new outlets. I also had to replace all the timers I had because they did not have a ground, a three prong plug outlet. The fire marshall did not say anything about GFCI outlets, plugs or circuits. How do they work, and what do they do exactly? I am more concerned about fire protection than anything else.
 

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Robert Hudson said:
I just had an inspection in my shop, and I had to have an electricion come in and put in several new outlets. I also had to replace all the timers I had because they did not have a ground, a three prong plug outlet. The fire marshall did not say anything about GFCI outlets, plugs or circuits. How do they work, and what do they do exactly? I am more concerned about fire protection than anything else.
They can explain it better than I can.

GCFI

This the ACFI that may help with the fire issue.

ACFI

Brian
 

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Robert Hudson said:
I just had an inspection in my shop, and I had to have an electricion come in and put in several new outlets. I also had to replace all the timers I had because they did not have a ground, a three prong plug outlet. The fire marshall did not say anything about GFCI outlets, plugs or circuits. How do they work, and what do they do exactly? I am more concerned about fire protection than anything else.
Would this work? Here is the link again, I have one on each tank....DC

http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merc...D&Product_Code=FS-GFI-STRIP&Category_Code=GFI
 

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Laith said:
Definitely a good idea to use these.

My problem is that all the GFCI outlets I can find around here do not automatically re-establish the circuit. And as far as I understand, a powercut will also trigger the GFCI. So if you get a powercut while you're away, the GFCI will cut the electricity to all your equipment and leave it that way even when the power comes back on.

So I'm still searching for GFCIs that can re-establish circuits automatically. :)
I have never had a GFCI trip due to a power loss. That is not the way they work here. I do use a UPS to run the pump, just in case there is an extended power failure. I think it is a good idea for Discus tanks...DC

 

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Not all GFCI units will trip when the power is interrupted. I have had them do so when lightning hit a power pole not too far away, shutting down the whole neighborhood. The surge ruined the GFCIs and I had to replace them. But, I have had lots of similar incidents which did nothing to the GFCI.

Several years ago, as I sat watching TV, I heard a zap! and saw smoke coming out of an electric outlet. The smoke got heavier and heavier, until I ran and tripped the circuit breaker. A wire had broken behind the outlet box, and was arcing, causing the smoke and charring some of the wood. If I had heard of a AFCI (?) at that time I sure would have installed them all over the house. Enough time has now passed that I am no longer worried about it. But, I should be.....
 

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Even if a powercut doesn't always trip a GFCI, the fact that it may do so sometimes is the issue for me. No, we rarely have powercuts here and when we do, they usually last just less than a minute (I assume until some type of backup path/system is activated). But that minute or two is enough.

Since nobody has mentioned it, it seems though that GFCIs that reset themselves don't exist?
 

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I have never had a GCFI trip with a power outage either and I have quite a few outages here (6.5 days two winters ago). Even battery backup wouldn't cover that one.:)
 

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Laith said:
My problem is that all the GFCI outlets I can find around here do not automatically re-establish the circuit. And as far as I understand, a powercut will also trigger the GFCI. So if you get a powercut while you're away, the GFCI will cut the electricity to all your equipment and leave it that way even when the power comes back on.

So I'm still searching for GFCIs that can re-establish circuits automatically. :)
The Tower model yellow plug-in GFCI units Premium Aquatics sells automatically reset after a power failure, Laith. (I know because these are the model I use on my own tank, and I've tested them to be sure they operate that way.) So if you can't find an appropriate GFCI unit locally, order one online from Premium Aquatics! They're not expensive, even with the shipping costs - certainly less than a hospital stay or (gulp) a casket.
 

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hoppycalif said:
Not all GFCI units will trip when the power is interrupted.
True. The problem is that most of the plug-in models sold in the big-box hardware stores DO trip and shut off the circuit when a power failure happens; you have to reset the GFCI unit manually to restore power to the circuit. They're designed that way because they are intended to be used with power tools. The last thing you'd want is for a dangerous power tool like a circular saw to unexpectedly "come back on" by itself after a sudden power interruption! Basically, any plug-in GFCI unit that says "meets OSHA workplace standards" on the box is not the sort you want to be using with your aquarium.

Plug-in units that do not kill the circuit following a power failure are harder to find, but they do exist. I think you can find them at Wal-Mart, and I know you can get them online at Premium Aquatics.

If you're not sure what type of GFCI your plug-in model is, just test it. Plug something into it, like a lamp, then go to your circuit breaker and kill the circuit to that room for a few seconds. Then turn the power back on and check - if the lamp's still lit, you've got the right GFCI plug for an aquarium. If the lamp's off, but comes back on when you push the reset button on the GFCI plug, you've got one of the models that kills the circuit when the power fails, and you might want to replace the unit if you spend much time away from your home.
 

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Definitely at the top of the to-do list when I get back.

I've heard of surge protectors, is this similar to an ACFI?

I remember finding an extension cord with a built-in GCFI and surge protector. I'll try to find it. Hopefully, if it automatically resets it should fit the bill.
 
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