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How to Check For and Remove Electric Current in a Fish Tank

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lightning over water

Electricity & Aquariums

Electricity and water do not mix very well, especially when dealing with human and animal safety. Unfortunately, the equipment we use is not always perfect and can be faulty out of the box or become faulty overtime. If you have ever put your hand in your fish tank and gotten a tingling sensation, you most likely have stray voltage in your aquarium. This article will go over how to check, remove and prevent stray voltage from entering your fish tank.

How to Check for Electric Current in Fish Tank

The first thing we must do is to verify whether there is stray voltage in the fish tank. More than likely, it’s probably stray voltage if you get a tingling sensation when you put your hand in your fish tank. However, we can find out by using a multimeter. You may have one lying around or can purchase one, such as the AstroAI Digital Multimeter from Amazon. This multimeter can be used for your aquarium but it has plenty of other uses around the household. Once you set this equipment up, put one probe into your fish tank and the other into the round hole of an outlet. If you see numbers increase on the digital display, you have stray voltage in your aquarium and we will have to take steps to remove it.

Before we continue, remember we are dealing with electricity, which can be incredibly dangerous. I would recommend asking for help from a professional electrician. Removing stray voltage from an aquarium is important but it’s not worth risking your life if you try it without experience.

Removing Stray Voltage from Your Fish Tank

You have an electric current in your fish tank, what now? I would first recommend turning off each electrical component one by one in your aquatic system. I would start with checking whether your heater and/or UV sterilizer are releasing electrical currents into your aquarium. Next, I would go with filtration system, circulation pumps, etc. Hopefully, it’s only one piece of equipment causing trouble but there can also be more! Once you discover what is causing the stray voltage, it is important to remove it (when possible) and replace it with a new one.

Lowering Chances of Acquiring Voltage Leaks

Although any piece of equipment can become faulty and cause voltage leaks into a fish tank, we can do a few things to combat that from happening. First, I would recommend purchasing equipment from reputable sources. Dive deep into any equipment reviews before purchasing to see what problems they have. Second, be cautious about purchasing equipment secondhand. There may be a reason aquarium equipment is being given away or sitting on the side of the road. Be sure to test used equipment before adding them to your fish tank. Lastly, use the equipment for what they’re rated for. This recommendation is really important for heaters. You do not want your heater to be smaller than what is recommended. It will cause your heater to overwork itself which may cause the equipment to malfunction sooner than later.

Aquarium Grounding Probes

When I first experienced stray voltage in my aquarium, I began researching ways to “combat” it. I found aquarium grounding probes, such as the TAAM Titanium Grounding Probe. This grounding probe is safe for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. You must insert the probe into your aquarium and the other side into a wall outlet. It’s really easy to use and adds a bit of protection from stray voltage.

Is the Aquarium Grounding Probe Good or Bad

An aquarium grounding probe is a tool that removes harmful voltage that’s released into the aquarium. This is great at keeping us and our aquarium inhabitants safe. A grounding probe is a great tool and I use it in my fish tanks as an extra bit of protection from electrical currents. The only downside I can think of is that this probe prevents you from discovering faulty equipment that may be releasing electricity into the water. Regardless, I rather have this probe in the aquarium instead of getting shocked by stray voltage.

Final Notes

Electrical components in an aquarium are not the best combination. Luckily, there are ways to remove and prevent future stray voltage from occurring in a fish tank. This is something not talked about often in this hobby. It’s a topic I like to bring up because keeping yourself and your pets safe is very important to me. If your heater is faulty and needs replacing, take a look at 6 Heaters for Freshwater & Saltwater Aquariums to get an idea of the options out there.