Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

grounding probe

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #1871
    john1208
    Member

    Could someone tell me, do I really need a licensed electrician to connect my grounding probe like the instructions state?

    #5273
    brad
    Guest

    They are just covering their butt. Just make sure you shut the power off to that outlet first. You can do it yourself.

    #5276
    Pete Giwojna
    Guest

    Dear John:

    Naw, not at all. You don’t need to be an electrician to install a grounding probe, sir — you just need to make sure that they’re plugged into a functioning grounded outlet. A simple way to determine if an electrical outlet is grounded is to see if it will accept 3-pronged plugs; if so, it’s grounded, and would be a good place to connect your grounding probe. (I’m not sure what your instructions are referring to when they specify that you need a licensed electrician to connect the grounding probe, but I suspect Brad is correct — they are most likely just being overprotective and ultra-cautious to make sure their butts are covered legally, like the warning on the box of Q-tips that instructs you NOT to insert them in your ears. Or the directions could be indicating that, if there is not a grounded outlet within reach of your aquarium, then you’ll need to have an electrician install a new grounded outlet that the titanium grounding probe can be plugged into or connected to…)

    A titanium grounding probe is a simple device designed to protect your fish from stray electrical voltage and to protect the aquarist from electrical accidents when working on the tank. They are very simple to use, John — on most models, one end consists of a slender metal probe, made of titanium, which is inserted into the aquarium so that it’s in contact with the aquarium water. The titanium probe can be mounted in the main tank, or the sump for the aquarium, or within an external filter — anywhere that it will come in contact with the aquarium water. The other end consists of a three-pronged plug, which you plug into any suitable nearby electrical outlet, which will effectively "ground" the aquarium, preventing stray voltage from stressing the aquarium inhabitants and helping to prevent the aquarist from electrocution, which can happen all too easily when working around an aquarium. For instance, many hobbyists have had the experience of dropping the light fixture or aquarium reflector into the aquarium while it was turned on; many times your first instinct in such an event is to immediately grab the aquarium light fixture out of the water, in order to prevent harm to the fish and the aquarium inhabitants and to save the aquarium light from damage. This can be a fatal instinct that results in electrocution if the aquarium is not grounded.

    So a titanium grounding probe is not necessary for the operation of an aquarium, but I wouldn’t maintain a tank without one. They are inexpensive and they can be lifesavers both for your fish and for your family. Installing a grounding probe will protect your seahorses and other wet pets from stray voltage and should also safeguard them electrocution in the event of a catastrophic heater failure or similar accident..

    But the best way to protect you and your loved ones from electrical accidents around the fish room, John, is to make sure all the outlets are equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. And it’s a good idea to make sure all your electrical equipment is plugged into a surge protector as well to further protect your expensive pumps, filters, heaters, etc. from damage. Some good surge protectors, such as the Shock Busters, come with a GFCI built right into them so you can kill two birds with one stone.

    Best wishes with all your fishes, sir!

    Respectfully,
    Pete Giwojna

    Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2011/02/05 05:45

    #5278
    john1208
    Guest

    Just to clarify what it said,"Have a qualified electrician test the circuit for positive grounding capability if the grounding connection is unknown". Nonetheless, your answers gave me what I needed and unless that statement concerns you I’m just gonna go ahead and connect it. Thank you much.

    #5282
    Pete Giwojna
    Guest

    Dear John:

    Okay, that makes more sense. If you plug your grounding probe into an outlet that isn’t properly grounded, your aquarium will still be unprotected and there will still be a risk of electric shocks or worse should there be a catastrophic heater failure or some such accident. So the instructions are merely warning you to have an electrician make sure that the outlet you will be using is properly grounded, if you are unsure whether or not it is.

    As I mentioned, this can normally be easily determined simply by examining the outlet: if it can accept 3-way plugs, then the outlet is positively grounded and you can use it for your grounding probe with no concerns. In that event, by all means go ahead and install the grounding probe yourself. It will only take about 60 seconds.

    Good luck and good thinking to obtain a grounding probe for your aquarium and to make sure that you are connecting it safely and properly, sir!

    Respectfully,
    Pete Giwojna

    #5283
    john1208
    Guest

    Thank you, Pete. I actually already did it to one of my tanks and all seems well. I watched for a sudden reaction form the sh as I plugged it in. I did have the third hole on my outlet for the grounding line. They had no reaction at all and today they still seem normal so I think it’s safe to say it’s working fine. Thanks again for your thorough responses.

    P.s. I’m almost done with your training program, alls I have left is your magazine articles and I’ll be ready for certification.

    #5284
    john1208
    Guest

    GUYS, FORGET IT, MY TANK JUST SHOCKED ME THIS MORNING, MAYBE I DID SOMETHING WRONG BUT EITHER WAY I’M NOT GONNA TRY AGAIN, AT LEAST FOR NOW. SOMEHOW THOUGH, AND THANK GOD, MY PONIES SEEM UNAFFECTED. AS OF RIGHT NOW, I’M AFRAID TO TOUCH MY TANK, I SHUT EVERYTHING OFF AND DISCONNECTED THE PROBE, THAT BEING THE ONLY RECENT CHANGE WITH MY AQUARIUM.

    #5285
    Pete Giwojna
    Guest

    Dear John:

    Yikes! I’m sorry to hear you got jolted, sir — no doubt that was a most unpleasant surprise, to say the least!

    But I think you are mistaken in attributing the shock to your grounding probe, John. A titanium grounding probe is not electrified, sir; it’s not a live wire at all. The best analogy I can give you is that your grounding probe is like a lightning rod for your aquarium.

    Just like the lightning rod on your house, the grounding probe is not part of an electrical circuit. A lightning rod is not electrified and is not a live wire — it is just a good conductor attached to the highest point on your house at one end and then safely grounded at the other end. Under normal conditions, it’s completely inert and inactive. It’s only purpose is to provide a safe pathway for the electrical discharge should your house be struck by lightning. In that event, the electricity from the lightning strike will follow the path of least resistance, which is the lightning rod, from the rooftop to the ground, where it will be discharged safely, thus preventing damage to the house or injury to its inhabitants from a bolt of lightning.

    Well, a grounding probe fulfills the same purpose for your aquarium and works in exactly the same way as the lightning rod on your house. When all goes well, the grounding probe is completely inert and inactive. It merely serves as a good conductor that will provide the path of least resistance from the aquarium water to a safely grounded outlet. If any of the aquarium equipment were to short-circuit, the grounding probe would safely channel the electrical discharge away from the aquarium and into the ground wire for the outlet, thereby protecting the aquarium and its inhabitants from harm when there is electrical accident. That is the only time when the grounding probe is active, and its sole function is to provide the path of least resistance and safely channel the electricity away from the aquarium.

    I don’t know what type or model of grounding probe you may be using, John, but all of the ones I am familiar with have the same design. There is a slender titanium rod at one end, which goes in the aquarium water, and this titanium rod is attached to a 3-pronged plug at the other end by a length of wire perhaps 10 feet long. As we have been discussing, the 3-pronged plug for the grounding probe is then plugged into a grounded outlet, just like any other plug. However, the 3-pronged plug for the grounding probe differs from other plugs in that the twin prongs that correspond to a normal 2-pronged plug and that plug into the usual receptacle in the outlet to complete the electrical circuit are not made of metal; rather, they are made from a good insulator, which thereby prevents the electrical circuit from being made when you plug in the grounding probe. It is only the third prong on the grounding probe that is made of metal, and when you plug it in, it connects to the grounding wire for the outlet.

    All of which means that the grounding probe is not electrified and is not a live wire, and it can thus not cause an electrical shock. The worst thing that can happen is that, if the grounding probe is not connected properly, or is connected to an outlet that is not grounded, it will fail to prevent an electrical shock from being conducted through the aquarium water when a piece of equipment short-circuits.

    I should also explain that the probe only grounds the aquarium water. So even when a grounding probe is connected to a grounded outlet properly and is functioning normally, you can still get a shock from touching the lighting fixture, for example, since the lighting fixture is not in contact with the aquarium water and is thus not protected by the grounding probe (unless the aquarium light were to fall into the tank).

    In your case, John, it seems that one of the pieces of equipment for your aquarium is malfunctioning or short-circuiting, and that’s what caused you to be shocked. In my experience, it is the aquarium heater that is responsible for most such problems, typically when the casing is cracked. But submersible water pumps or powerheads can also be the culprit at times, as can a short-circuiting light fixture, particularly in a marine aquarium when salt deposits begin to accumulate on the light and eventually make a salt bridge between electrical components.

    So that’s where I would begin in tracking down the problem in your case, sir. Whatever you do, do not let the tank go without filtration and water circulation for an extended period for the sake of the aquarium inhabitants.

    Best of luck getting your aquarium up and running properly again, John, with no shocking developments!

    Respectfully,
    Pete Giwojna

    Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2011/02/13 00:03

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