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Do Not Forget How Dangerous Fish Keeping Can Be


devilduck

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We nearly had a very dangerous accident here last night and I thought I'd share in the hopes that others can avoid a similar situation.

I always try to be aware of my electric sockets when I'm doing water changes and similar, they're on top of my tank and usually when doing water changes I don't have to unplug anything - only when I'm messing with the filter, but I still always try to make sure I dry my hands before plugging that in again, common sense stuff really.

Yesterday evening, we set up the QT tank for a new purchase, got an extension cable out, plugged in the filter, airpump and heater all as standard, covered the tank with a towel to keep the new guy calm and then went to bed about 2130. Around 0130 in the morning I get woken up by my boyfriend who's got up to watch some anime as he can't sleep, gone into the living room/kitchen area and noticed how quiet it is. All the fishtank filters and bubblers are off - the fuse box has tripped the sockets. We try to reset the fuse box to no avail and decide that it's probably too many sockets plugged in as both my main goldfish tank and the QT tank are running off the same double socket. Turn on the main goldfish tank socket and leave the QT off and the electrics start up again fine, turn on the QT tank and everything shorts out again. Found the problem.

My QT extension cable was on the kitchen side behind the tank. The filter, a small internal sponge filter with terrible wall-suckers and for some reason a floaty bottom had come away from the side of the tank, the water was then directed to the lid of the tank as the filter floated horizontally and was slowly soaking into the towel, having been left for a few hours the towel was sodden, and it was resting on the extension sockets. We unplugged everything, found a new extension cable and set it up somewhere further away from the tank - the old one was full of water when we shook it (and then threw it out). I also added a river pebble to the bottom of the filter (don't know why I didn't sooner) and when it came off again later in the morning it just sank - not a problem and I've just left it running like that until I can find a better one.

We were really really lucky the fuse box tripped or we could very easily have ended up with a fire.

We create our little aquatic ecosystems with the help of filters, heaters and bubblers - and they all run off electricity. Water and electricity don't mix. Don't forget it and please, please be careful!

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I have had fires start 2x actually! 1 x was the fault of the socket being too old,causing an arc,and fire starting at the socket. The 2nd x I was very tired,plugged in the wrong heater-1 that was laying in a clothes drawer,walked away-ALL the lights blew w/ a loud bang,and I walked in to find a drawer full of clothes ablaze :yikes:krazy: :krazy: :krazy: Both times were VERY SCAREY,and I consider myself to be both lucky and blessed not to have either fire go further than it did :thud

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Very good point! I try to keep everything well protected. I think heaters are the most dangerous. I almost burnt a table with one a few years back!

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I almost blew up my house baking chicken onces =) figure that out HAHA...thank you for the tip..I usually unplug my stuff but stupidly leave my surge strip laying next to the tank

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • Regular Member

Take a look at this product. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=5163+20800+18026&pcatid=18026 It converts any outlet into a GFI outlet. Seriously, everyone should have these for their fish room/area.

Shock Buster Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters protect against:
  • Frayed, damaged electrical cords
  • Hazardous electrical leakage levels in appliances and tools
  • Electric shock caused by appliances and tools exposed to water

How does it work?

  • Shock Buster instantly detects ground fault caused by electrical current leakage
  • Shuts off power in a fraction of a second
  • Built-in electronic sensing device detects leakage currents as low as 4mA**
    **(4 thousandths of an amp - very low) and in a fraction of a second turns the power off to prevent injury.

The 5 outlet version has the added advantage of multiplying the number of outlets you have. :clapping:

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Glad to hear that you are all ok. Can i ask why your sockets are on top of your fish tank ? Both my tanks have lids that came with them and condensation can build up quickly. I left a book on one of my tanks once and after only 3 days the pages had all become damp. I would never have anything electrical near the top. My sockets are all in my wooden stands under the tanks.

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  • 10 months later...
  • Regular Member

Good tip! Also remember to switch of heaters (if you have any), before doing a water change, and NEVER put your hands in the tank if a heater has exploded/ cracked.

I know it sounds like common sense but I've forgotten to turn of a QT heater once, panicked, and went to move the heater back into the water, and it cracked. Lucky I didn't put my hands in the water at the time.

But I guess we learn from our mistakes!

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Hello NatkaT,

Would you please do not reply to threads whose last posts are 3 months or older? These threads are primarily there for archival and reading purposes. Thanks. :)

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  • 5 months later...
  • Regular Member

Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:27 PM

I have had fires start 2x actually! 1 x was the fault of the socket being too old,causing an arc,and fire starting at the socket. The 2nd x I was very tired,plugged in the wrong heater-1 that was laying in a clothes drawer,walked away-ALL the lights blew w/ a loud bang,and I walked in to find a drawer full of clothes ablaze :yikes :krazy: :krazy: :krazy: Both times were VERY SCAREY,and I consider myself to be both lucky and blessed not to have either fire go further than it did :thud

Wow scary. Good thing I have a dry loop.

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My dad works for ServiceMaster of Buncombe County and surrounding areas. They do fire and water damage restoration and clean up after 4 to 5 house fires and the occasional flood how to buy fish tanks. So it's something to be aware of most definitely..

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

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  • Helper

My lights recently got a heap of water in them (I think i filled the tank to omuch so the movement from the filter/airstones just kept splashing the water into them), The safety switch tripped on the fuse box and wouldn't start up again. I remembered the lights hadn't been working properly, so unplugged them and everything worked again.

Another time I dropped the hose while filling the tank and absolutely soaked the powerboard.

Other than those, the incidents I had were caused by not rabbit proofing properly when my rabbits ran around the house.

One day I wonder why my air pump isn't running, bed down to check the plug and my hand brushes against the cord - which I didn't see had been chewed and had tons of exposed wires, I got a huge shock and almost had to go to the hospital. I was really shaken up by that and now examine every single cord before touching it.

Then one day my dad comes home while Im at work and smells something burning, he looks around and finds the cord for the filter has smoke coming from it, (It wasnt quite alight though), he quickly unplugged it and found it had being chewed and I think overheated? That was really scary, if he didnt get home when he did...

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We have a new build house and all our electrics are new (well 4 years old now) and our fuse box is protected by 3 RCDs one for each set of fuses. This is a good thing as I have around 15 tanks these days, and this necessitates several extension cables. The only bad thing I once did was after removing an unbreakable pre set nano heater, I laid it on the floor. I forgot about this and saw that there was something unplugged, so I plugged it back in. For an hour or so I was puzzled by the strange smell, and I checked every tank, nothing. Then when I was reaching for something I burnt my hand and found the black nano heater. It had burnt a hole in the carpet and caused the smell. Now if this had been a glass heater, I would have probably seen the glow and realised, or the glass would have shattered. I cant work out which possibility could have been worse. Fortunately as the carpet was synthetic fibre it just melted. It looks an eyesore, but its a constant reminder of how I need to be more careful.

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