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Quigley

Electric shock.

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I keep getting shocked when I stick my hand in the tank.(scary) I got a volt meter so I could unplug things and see if i could figure out what has malfunctioned but the thing is useless. I can feel the electricity when I touch the water and the meeter doesn't detect anything. I suspect a heater but I don't want to keep sticking my hand in the tank to test it. Any one have any ideas?

 

i do have everything plugged onto a GFI outlet. It only tripped once. Mostly I get a very uncomfortable tingle or sting from the water.

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the only way i know how to find out what is causing it is by unplugging one thing at a time. start with the heater, unplug it and touch the water . then go on to the return pump. and so on till you find out what it is. do you run a grounding probe in your tank if so this might be it. the only reason i know is cause i had this happen to me. i unplugged everthing but the grounding probe and then unplugged it. that was the culprit(grounding probes arent suppose to do this unless your house is wired wrong like mine is). i think i got shocked like 12 times trying to figure what was going on i know the feeling :-)

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unless your house is wired wrong like mine is

 

are the "neutral" and "ground" wires reversed? How does that work???

 

 

Is the shock all the time or only part of the time? If it is only part of the time I would call it the heater. Replace ASAP. Heaters are known to fail often. Usually after a while they will fail in the "on" position and cook your tank. Better to spend more for a better heater now than replace everything later.

 

If it is shocking all the time, then it could be a powerhead or a return pump leaking voltage. Again, replace it ASAP.

 

Get a grounding probe. They are like $12 and they could save your life.

 

dsoz

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The reason a grounding plug will cause this is that it causes a direct route to a ground for any single bare wire. This causes a potentially dangerous condition that may otherwise not exist. Without it there needs to be two wires bare in the tank before it would shock you unless you are grounded yourself or touch both wires. (I've never seen one that was actually certified for electrical use either)

 

I would go in reverse. Unplug everything. Then plug items back in one at a time until the problem reoccurs.

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..

 

Get a grounding probe. They are like $12 and they could save your life.

 

dsoz

 

I hate to disagree Dennis. It is more likely they would kill you than save your life. They will dissapate stray static electricity but for a direct short they create a direct path to ground. A GFI on the other hand can save your life if installed properly.

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rick i had everything unplugged except my grounding probe and still got shocked.

 

The only way you can get shocked with one wire (no matter how it is wired) is if you are somehow touching a ground. (disregarding static electricity since your body can store enough static electricity to shock you when it is dissipated) In your case my guess is that the water had enough static electricity left after unplugging everything that it was dissipated when you touched the ground.

 

For the doubters. I would be willing to demonstrate by touching and holding any single wire plugged into an outlet (as long as I myself am not standing outside or touching anything that is grounded). I would even be willing to stick that single wire in a tank of water as long as that tank is not otherwise grounded and touch either the wire or the water. I would not however be willing to put a ground wire into the tank and then touch either of the other two prongs on an outlet with my hand in the water. (Without both a ground and positive electricity will not flow anywhere)

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completely agree with Rick.. that's how I wire up everything at home.. and yes, I do take the chance with live wire... just don't create a close circuit.. only touch 1 wire at a time. :)

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when you are dealing with electricity you need to be careful. There are lots of things you can do with electricity and get away with it. BUT then again something will be different the next time and you could be zapped. If you have a "tingle" when you touch your water you have a problem. Getting zapped should scare you. It is dangerous and can be fatal. I had a co-worker killed on the job. People who take chances with electricity are foolish. Some advice: Get a fluke brand voltage tester:#1ac-a1-11 volt alert. this small unit looks like a magic marker and can be obtained from Grainger for about 30.00. The Grainger part # is 2KU25. Touch your water with this unit it will tell you if voltage is present. Test your electrical outlets to see if they are wired correctly. Modern electrical outlets have three holes for the cord to plug into. The round one on the bottom is your ground. now you have two flat slot holes that are two different sizes. the small flat hole is the "hot " lead. It has the voltage. The larger of the two holes is the neutral and completes the circuit. Use your fluke tester, only the small flat hole should test hot (have voltage present) I would test your water for voltage by touching the surface with the fluke voltage detector. when the water tests positive for voltage I would, one by one, begin to unplug your equipment until the problem is found. With a helper this should only take a couple of minutes.

good luck.

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I had a 300 W heater break open in a tank... wow does that hurt in saltwater (cussing). I have GFCI circuit, but since heater doesnt use a ground it didnt trip. try a fluke multimeter, one plugged into ground, drop other end in the water and unplug until voltage goes away??

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If you have a ground probe in the tank then you may be able to use a regular voltmeter (the one reeftripper mentioned is easier as it detects voltage even if you don't have a ground) to find the problem. To do so with a regular voltmeter you would remove the ground probe from the water and then put the ground lead from the voltmeter on that lead and then touch the water with the other lead. You can do the same thing using the ground hole (Round one) in an outlet however it will not work if there is a ground probe in the tank. If this still doesn't show voltage then you still have both a ground and positive in the tank.

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Great stuff here. I thought grounding probes would be my worry free pass to neverland. wrong.

 

 

I have had two Koralia's ZZZZAAAPPP me within the last year. While giving me a reason to not play with the aquascaping, it has made me very conscious of the possibility...

 

Will my fish die if it zaps the tank?

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Great stuff here. I thought grounding probes would be my worry free pass to neverland. wrong.

 

 

I have had two Koralia's ZZZZAAAPPP me within the last year. While giving me a reason to not play with the aquascaping, it has made me very conscious of the possibility...

 

Will my fish die if it zaps the tank?

 

Were you touching a ground at the time? If not then there is a good chance it could effect your fish since that means there are 2 open wires in the water (or one wire and a grounding probe). If you were touching a ground then it could be from one wire only which will only flow current if you provide the ground. I.E. The only time it is energizing the tank is when you touch it.

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Both times I was mixing water with a koralia powerhead...not in the main tank, and NO I was not touching a ground.

 

 

But after all this happened, I am getting really nervous about the Koralia's in my display tank. I wonder if anyone else has had Koralia shock their socks off...(whistle)

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This thread attracted my attention, I did some more reading and found this http://angel-strike.com/aquarium/GroundingProbes.html that confirms what has been said here (sorry but I always look for as much info as I can)

 

Could some more information be provided that explains what hazards may exist and how they can be avoided.

 

The article and above say "if you are touching a ground" could you explain. I dont think I'm touching a ground standing in the living room with my hand in the tank, however i can sccess my tank from the back thru a window standing on concrete.

I have not heard of serious accidents and it says most are unlikely even with powerheads. What situation could pose a risk of a serious shock

Thanks

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This issue comes up all the time. It does not matter what is said... I use a ground probe. I have been a licensed electrician for over 16 years and believe in them. The article referenced above does not take into account that if a grounding probe is used on a GFCI protected circuit and a 2 wire device fails the path to ground that the grounding probe provides should trip the GFCI. Depending on the brand a GFCI will typically trip between 5-7 milliamps of current. If a heater fails like what Brian explained above and a grounding probe is not used the GFCI may NOT detect the broken heater. Now if a person comes in contact with the tank and is somehow grounded (as in brian's case with a concrete floor with water on it) the person becomes the ground path. I for one would rather lose a fish than a life......

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This thread attracted my attention' date=' I did some more reading and found this [url']http://angel-strike.com/aquarium/GroundingProbes.html[/url] that confirms what has been said here (sorry but I always look for as much info as I can)

 

Could some more information be provided that explains what hazards may exist and how they can be avoided.

 

The article and above say "if you are touching a ground" could you explain. I dont think I'm touching a ground standing in the living room with my hand in the tank, however i can sccess my tank from the back thru a window standing on concrete.

I have not heard of serious accidents and it says most are unlikely even with powerheads. What situation could pose a risk of a serious shock

Thanks

 

It's good to look for as much info. as possible. That article coincides with what I've learned about electricity as well. (Through both college and experience)

 

In the living room your probably not grounded unless you are touching something metal. Even then you may not be unless that also leads to a ground somewhere. (Door knobs, lamps, electronics, etc. may have the metal grounded) Outside could be another story. If your shoes have rubber soles then standing outside probably will not make any difference but if your out there in the summer in bare feet you will be. (If you have a metal frame on the window there is a possibility it is grounded though)

 

How much danger there is from being shocked I do not know. In my experience it's enough to wake you up and possible say a few words that can't be posted here. Someone with a weak heart is probably at greater risk.

 

I think the greatest risk would be a tank grounded with a ground probe, your arms in the water up to your armpits, and then something like a light falling into the tank. In that case the electricity would be flowing through the water from the ground probe and with both arms in the tank it would flow through your body as well and it would take a bit of time to get them out of the water. This would be more dangerous than simply grabbing two wires (Which I can say is most definately a shocking experience) since you can drop the wires faster. With a properly installed GFI on the light though it should eliminate most of the risk.

 

Mandinga, I think I would contact Hydor about the koralias. As I recall they are pretty good about fixing or replacing stuff. I would not use them though if they are shocking you.

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Without a GFCI though the ground probe becomes a hazard.

 

I do have GFCI, in reading it says that if the ground probe is plugged into the same circuit the GFCI would not detect a fault. Any advice on GFCI's when I started I used them then I had a problem with them tripping so I stopped. I started again quite awhile back and bought some outdoor pigtails but they trip when the power goes off so I only use them on my lights. I made some pigtail/outlets with 20a heavyduty GFCI for the other circuits and have had better luck but still have tripped once or twice in the past year, I do not use them on my external main pumps for that reason, any suggestions?

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Rick,

 

I agree that the more information that is available the better. I just do personally disagree with the article. To me it is misleading and neglects to discuss the benefits of using a ground probe in conjunction with a GFCI. I would tend to possibly agree with you about not using one if a GFCI is not being used but there are arguments both ways as to the harm/benefit.

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I do have GFCI' date=' in reading it says that if the ground probe is plugged into the same circuit the GFCI would not detect a fault. Any advice on GFCI's when I started I used them then I had a problem with them tripping so I stopped. I started again quite awhile back and bought some outdoor pigtails but they trip when the power goes off so I only use them on my lights. I made some pigtail/outlets with 20a heavyduty GFCI for the other circuits and have had better luck but still have tripped once or twice in the past year, I do not use them on my external main pumps for that reason, any suggestions?[/quote']

 

If the house is wired properly then a ground probe can be plugged into any outlet and it would still trip the GFCI as long as the short is limited to one component. If there are shorts in 2 components then it might not if the components are not plugged into the same GFCI. In reality I think the only sure way to avoid all of the risk is not to put anything electrical in the water. Since that isn't practical the next best thing is to buy only quality 3 wire components and use GFCI's for all of them (especially anything in the water). (Also don't stand outside in bare feet and reach into the tank) This would eliminate almost all of the risk since it would be pretty rare for 2 components to short out at exactly the same time. (Which is what would need to occur for the example given there where 2 separate componens are shorted and the GFCI doesn't trip)

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"I do have GFCI, in reading it says that if the ground probe is plugged into the same circuit the GFCI would not detect a fault."

 

I would disagree with the above statement. It is more important to have the ground probe with a GFCI. For example a heater or powerhead has a problem. In a circuit without a GFCI or a circuit with a GFCI and no ground probe there is not a reference to ground as the device is a 2 wire device. IF a ground probe is used with the GFCI the current from the defective device will flow back to the GFCI and should be sensed and trip.

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Rick,

 

I agree that the more information that is available the better. I just do personally disagree with the article. To me it is misleading and neglects to discuss the benefits of using a ground probe in conjunction with a GFCI. I would tend to possibly agree with you about not using one if a GFCI is not being used but there are arguments both ways as to the harm/benefit.

 

I don't agree 100% with what the article says either. Especially regarding GFCI. It discusses a possible situation where two components are shorted not tripping the GFCI however that isn't very realistic as one component will usually short out earlier or later than the other even if they are turned on with the same switch. Without having a GFCI in addition to the ground probe though it guarantees a direct path to ground that only requires a single shorted wire in the tank to flow current. (Without the ground probe that wire wouldn't flow any current)

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"I do have GFCI, in reading it says that if the ground probe is plugged into the same circuit the GFCI would not detect a fault."

 

I would disagree with the above statement. It is more important to have the ground probe with a GFCI. For example a heater or powerhead has a problem. In a circuit without a GFCI or a circuit with a GFCI and no ground probe there is not a reference to ground as the device is a 2 wire device. IF a ground probe is used with the GFCI the current from the defective device will flow back to the GFCI and should be sensed and trip.

 

I agree with this. 2 wire components will not trip a GFCI without a reference.

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