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fw2007 10-04-2007 09:58 PM

GFCI for a fish tank?
I was wondering whether it would be advisable to use a GFCI protected circuit to run the water filter and air pump on my fish tank.
Often, I need to remove the lamp cover from the tank, and wonder what might happen if I were to come in contact with the water in the tank, and an exposed wire in the lamp.

There is no real path to ground through the water, as all of the hoses used for the air pump are plastic.
The water filter is what bothers me. It is 2-wire, and appears to be made kind of cheaply.
If there is a problem with the filter, in theory I could be electrocuted while holding onto a ground of some sort (the cable TV coax for example) and getting my hand into the tank.

Perhaps I have answered my own question here. I should just install the GFCI and be done with it.


Speedy Petey 10-04-2007 10:20 PM

No way I'd install a GFI for a fish tank. Not if I liked my fish.

IMO you are creating a solution to a problem that does not exist.

Andy in ATL 10-04-2007 10:24 PM

Lightning strikes while you are at more fishies:furious: Same reason fridges and freezers don't get protected on my watch.

fw2007 10-04-2007 10:48 PM

Good point.
Also, this fish tank is in the bedroom, which now requires AFCI.
Can one have AFCI and GFCI on the same circuit?

As for my concerns about being electrocuted, I can always unplug the lamp before I remove the cover. In addition, the cover is plastic.

I often do create problems where there are none. I have GFCI on my mind, as I have just finished installing them in the kitchen and bathroom.


fw2007 10-04-2007 11:42 PM


Originally Posted by Speedy Petey (Post 66386)
No way I'd install a GFI for a fish tank. Not if I liked my fish.

IMO you are creating a solution to a problem that does not exist.

Actually, I have only 3 fish that are hanging on. I would really like to get rid of them, but don't have the heart to just let them die<g>

NateHanson 10-05-2007 07:24 AM

I've only got experience with saltwater, but it's not unheard of for a tank to become live from a pump with bad insulation or a broken glass heater.

You can buy a "grounding probe" for your tank, which is a bit of metal that plugs into your ground prong of your outlet. If the tank were to become live, the current would dissipate to ground.

If you GFCI protect that outlet, the GFCI will trip. That's a good thing, in my book. Neither you nor your fish will respond well to current in the water.

As for lightning, etc. You should have an automatic battery backup air pump on your tank in case of outage. They're made by penn plax, they turn on when the power goes off, and they're about $8. Cheap insurance if you have things of value in your tank.

elkangorito 10-05-2007 01:06 PM

If you're really worried about it, you could use isolation transformers to supply the lamp & the filter.

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