Way Too Shocking

Discussion in 'Heaters' started by bolivianbaby, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. bolivianbaby

    bolivianbabyFishlore LegendMember

    I have gotten shocked several times bringing my tanks back up and running because I stick my finger in the tank to see if the heater is working properly.

    Is there a safer way to find out if my heaters have gone bad?
  2. MD Angels

    MD AngelsWell Known MemberMember

    Jeez, that's awful! TBH, I really don't know. Maybe one of those socket testers? Its plastic coated I think and a light turns on when there is electrical current. Something like that?
  3. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hi BB,

    Have someone else to stick their finger in the water. Shawnie, where are you? BB needs you!:shock:

    That's a tough one BB. Hopefully you'll get some more suggestions soon.

    Click on the photo below.

    Attached Files:

  4. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Hmm I'm confused as to how you're getting shocked. To test my heaters, I filled a 5 gallon bucket with water, stuck it in there, waited a minute, and put my hand on it to see if it was getting warm. If you put it at a higher setting, it gets warm pretty quickly! You're not supposed to run a heater without it being in the water, so that's the reason for the bucket, but I didn't test the water, I actually put my hand on the heater.

    You shouldn't get shocked if there isn't anything exposed that shouldn't be - otherwise the fish would be shocked, too! Another option that doesn't require putting your hands in the water at all would be to get an infrared temp gun. Some can be a little pricey, but not too bad if you get it when it's on sale. We have one, and they're incredibly useful, in so many areas. I can make sure water I add to a tank is accurate to within a tenth of a degree (well, assuming the temp gun is accurate, which may not always be the case), I check the water pretty frequently to make sure the heaters haven't malfunctioned; and it's great for cooking too! Anyway, set up a five gallon bucket with some water in it, stick the heater in, leave it for a few minutes and come back with the temp gun. If the heater's working, there should be a noticeable difference in the temperature.
  5. OP

    bolivianbabyFishlore LegendMember

    ROFL Ken! That's cute and an accurate description!

    Kinezumi89-the tanks are filled with water and the heaters are on. I have been letting them get up to proper temperature. From what I understand, fish are not susceptible to electric shock, but I may be misinformed. I stick my finger in the tanks to check temp and verify the heater is working and I get zapped. Many of my tanks have been "offline" for several months so I need to verify I have no equipment malfunctions going on. LOL!

  6. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I did not know that about fish. You learn something new every day!

    That sounds no good though, hopefully the shocks aren't too bad. Maybe as Ken said, find someone unsuspecting to test the water for you... :)
  7. Lexi03Well Known MemberMember

    Buy a instant read kitchen thermometer. Stick it in the tank to check the temp, the part you hold onto on the thermometer is plastic, so you won't get shocked.

    And just for safety if you are going to stick your finger in a tank that may shock you, use your right hand and keep your left hand flat on your butt in your back pocket, this will keep the electricty from running through your heart.
  8. ray_sjValued MemberMember

    Good advice, but that doesn't prevent the current from going through your arm, your heart, then out your leg.

    If you're getting shocked, some piece of equipment has failed and is unsafe. You might try temporarily using a "GFCI" cord, which has a device that will shut off the electricity if it's going where it's not supposed to (i.e. through you):


    At least this will prevent you from getting seriously shocked while you find the bad piece of equipment. Note that you have to reset these whenever they are unplugged, or if power is lost. Thus, they are not suitable for permanent use. For permanent use, you need to replace the outlet with a "GFCI outlet".
  9. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    We get shocked because we are grounded by our feet. Fish and birds aren't grounded so they avoid shock.
  10. Lexi03Well Known MemberMember

    We are taught to do that in electrical safety training, because electricity looks for the shortest path to ground. With your left arm touching your backside, the shortest path is in the right arm and out the right leg, a path that avoids the heart. They also teach us to do this because you are less likely to lean on something with your left arm/ hand which would bring the elctricity directly through your heart, in one arm and out the other.
  11. ray_sjValued MemberMember

    Yep, I agree. I use that trick when working on electrical wiring. Sorry, I didn't have an issue with your statement, my post was poorly worded. Just saying that a GFCI might be another good idea.
  12. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    I still dont understand how you are getting shocked through the water? Yes i understand the dynamics of electricity but how is the heater causing that?
  13. pirahnah3

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Usually when the heaters fail it is due to an electric short or a broken case around the heater which causes the elements to get exposed to the water causing the short.

    Usually this was a fault of the marineland pro heaters and there was a recall done (It is still in effect if you have one, there is a thread on it around here somewhere)
  14. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    no no i've always gone for the cheap heaters, never failed... That's really strange... Surely companies have to accomodate for things like this? I dont think it should be happening as often as this thread is telling me
  15. Dlondon95

    Dlondon95Well Known MemberMember

    I don't know what you could do to not get shocked, but I thought I'd say that yes, fish are susceptible to electric shock. When biologists, or whoever studies fish and stuff, go to a stream to take out fish to observe, they often send an electric current through the water so they can net the fish out easily.
  16. EchostaticWell Known MemberMember

    I don't understand getting shocked either... I've been all around in my tank and I have never been shocked. ...Maybe you need to replace your heater >.>
  17. kidster9700

    kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    true, but the fish still holds all the electricity in its body so if it touches something else, like another fish or a plant or the glass or the gravel, won't it then be shocked?
  18. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    Fish don't hold the electricity, it would travel through the fish and back into the water. The fish can't conduct the electricity.
  19. Ken, your advice is impeccable, as always.....:anim_63:
  20. EchostaticWell Known MemberMember

    Is it just me, or is getting shocked by an aquarium heater a serious issue here? I'm still pretty new to the hobby, but I'm fairly sure that absolutely should not be happening...

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