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What power strips are recommended for our hobby  ? I had the strangest thing happen. Got up to go to work the other morning when I noticed

water squirting out of the tank. And of coarse it was going straight into a power strip which had no fault protection. Smoke was starting to come out.

Turns out that a snail had gotten onto the tip of the sump return nozzle and caused this. I have since moved the spray nozzle more inward

away from the edge of the tank. Had this happened on the weekend when I dont get up at 3am, or if we were away together and no one was home

the out come would have been completely different. We would now be homeless. I need better power strips.

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All power strips that I have found are going to say not for aquarium use are use in wet areas because the company is released from damage liabilities. It all comes to you to be responsible. For starters don't go cheap. Drip loops are essential. Don't have power on the floor or below where water can get to if secured inside or outside a cabinet. Using a 2 liter soda bottle cut in half as a cover is something I thought of. 

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Who cares if the strips have protection.  You should have them plugged into a gfci outlet anyways 😋.. I like the American dj strips that have the toggle switches for each outlet

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I use gfci adaptors and powerstrips.

 

You can buy or make covers for your power bars

 

My power bars are in my cabinet, where any spillage by me or fish won't get to it.

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my strips are gcfi adapted, surged protected and grounded, as well as have a lifetime warranty (i got them at bed bath and beyond. they have movable outlets so I don't have to stretch my cords in weird ways). just had one of them fault when water got on it; heard some pooping and clicking before the whole thing shut off, saving my equipment. I replaced it with one from home depot (needed to get my equipment running and didn't have time to go to BBB or wait for a replacement); the one from HD is made for home electronics systems and has a lifetime warranty, twelve outlets, surge protected and grounded, as well as a guarantee to replace any equipment damaged by the strip if it fails.  space, unfortunately, limits me from mounting mine out of the way

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Nothing will completely stop disasters. If you read about GFCIs vs AFCIs, GFCIs are said to prevent  about 50% of electrocutions, while AFCIs are said to prevent about 50% of FIRES. Problem is, GFCIs are for wet areas and AFCIs aren't so... ~shrug~ neither is too helpful for an aquarium. It's a false sense of protection either way IMO when it comes to our hobby, especially for saltwater - a natural, and very efficient,  conductor of electricity. I guess with GFCIs at least you won't fry, but your house still will in the situation you described.

To me, the best way to avoid water (and still this isn't 100%) spilling all over your outlets is to hang them. I use the velcro Command strips and I hang my strips high so the cords hang down but the water would have to travel 2+ feet upward to actually hit a strip, and I hang only either on the stand on the back chamber side of my AIO or on a wall with some bit of separation away from the main tank (like 4-5 inches). If there is enough room to lay them on the floor then there is enough room to stick them to the wall or stand.

I too have one particularly big Zebra Striped Turbo who likes to sit on the return and make it splash. Big-little shit! so the power strips are placed where the spray wouldn't go. I'd say that is your truly safest bet.

Also, I too prefer strips with individual switches. This has no bearing on the safety issue, but it is much more convenient and allows you to label each one and shut off just the equip you need to shut off individually.



 

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9 minutes ago, Mazzy21 said:

neither is too helpful for an aquarium. It's a false sense of protection either way IMO when it comes to our hobby, especially for saltwater - a natural, and very efficient,  conductor of electricity. I guess with GFCIs at least you won't fry, but your house still will in the situation you described.

Hmmm. Not dieing is a pretty big plus lol.. looks like you have read a little on how gfcis work. Pretty much if a gfci sees a small difference in current from what's going out on the hot leg and what's coming back on the neutral leg it will trip. Meaning if somehow you come in contact with electricity and it flows through you to ground bam it trips.  Could be life saving. Say water leaks all over an open spot on the power strip odds are the water will create a path to the neutral slot and ground slot then it will trip again.. will it stop 100 percent of problems probably not , but could save your life. They are a must for our hobby..

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5 minutes ago, Weikel said:

Hmmm. Not dieing is a pretty big plus lol.. looks like you have read a little on how gfcis work. Pretty much if a gfci sees a small difference in current from what's going out on the hot leg and what's coming back on the neutral leg it will trip. Meaning if somehow you come in contact with electricity and it flows through you to ground bam it trips.  Could be life saving. Say water leaks all over an open spot on the power strip odds are the water will create a path to the neutral slot and ground slot then it will trip again.. will it stop 100 percent of problems probably not , but could save your life. They are a must for our hobby..

As I stated, GFCIs will prevent YOU from frying, but not your house. They are made for wet areas. AFCIs are made to prevent FIRE but not made for wet areas. For this reason, neither is a perfect fit for our hobby. Obviously not being killed by electrocution is a good thing but it won't stop what the OP is asking for help with.

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1 hour ago, Mazzy21 said:

As I stated, GFCIs will prevent YOU from frying, but not your house. They are made for wet areas. AFCIs are made to prevent FIRE but not made for wet areas. For this reason, neither is a perfect fit for our hobby. Obviously not being killed by electrocution is a good thing but it won't stop what the OP is asking for help with.

Not true you cant say that it wouldnt trip if it gets water sprayed on the power strip. As I  stated odds are if you soak the strip you will get water that is going to make a connection from the hot leg to the ground leg and that would trip the gfci..

 

1 hour ago, Mazzy21 said:

neither is too helpful for an aquarium. It's a false sense of protection either way 

And stating this is simply unsafe and irresponsible.  Dont get me wrong I agree there isnt a perfect protection, but anything to make this hobby safer is a plus..

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32 minutes ago, Weikel said:

Not true you cant say that it wouldnt trip if it gets water sprayed on the power strip. As I  stated odds are if you soak the strip you will get water that is going to make a connection from the hot leg to the ground leg and that would trip the gfci..

 

And stating this is simply unsafe and irresponsible.  Dont get me wrong I agree there isnt a perfect protection, but anything to make this hobby safer is a plus..

You misunderstand. I never said it wouldn't trip. I said GFCIs are NOT made to prevent FIRES, which is what this thread is supposed to be talking about, per the OPs description.

To your second point: sure, GFCIs are better than nothing to prevent a house fire, but no better than a grounding probe. ~shrug~ They are both designed to prevent YOU from frying, not your house. Could they possibly be helpful in preventing a house fire? Sure... it's reasonable that they are better than nothing. Could they be MORE effective than simply mounting your electrical equipment better (different location, with a cover, with drip loops, etc)? Mmmm... I dunno. Clearly the OP experienced salt water on his GFCI protector and it was smoking so... And to me, that makes sense. A GFCI, from my understanding, trips when the hot wire and neutral wire have imbalanced electrical flow of at least 6 amps. Problem (again) salt water is an excellent electrical conductor so there is very little reason to assume the electrical flow would be interrupted in the way it would if a person is being electrocuted (where the electricity is actually traveling in from an outlet and out through a human body - so two different locations where the amps would be able to be different), if salt water simply drips on/into the outlet and the electricity continues to flow freely because it isn't going anywhere 'off route' from normal. 

Don't forget, the OP is asking about house fires. They bought GFCIs so they clearly already understand how to protect themselves against electrocution and don't need it explained to them. I find that's something we do a LOT on fish forums - explain what is already understood and offer no info about what was asked. They asked about protection for fires, and they already tried GFCI surge protectors.

PS - and also don't forget, we aren't talking about just "water" as you mentioned (and I would agree that plain water will trip a GFCI - that's literally it's sole purpose for existence), we are talking about a natural, highly efficient, conductor of electricity - salt water.

 

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So . It appears that location and not the power strip is the better solution. I do like the switching of the individual outlets. That would

help with water changes.  I unplug the sump return pump  and re-plug after the new water has been added. Just flip a switch. Power off ,power on. Nice.

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21 minutes ago, Mazzy21 said:

Don't forget, the OP is asking about house fires. They bought GFCIs so they clearly already understand how to protect themselves against electrocution and don't need it explained to them.

don't forget the op question was about power strips. he never said anything about a fire in the first post. he did say that his NON protected strip got soaked and started smoking. tell ya right now that if a power strip gets soaked it will trip the gfci almost 100 percent of the time

 

23 minutes ago, Mazzy21 said:

o your second point: sure, GFCIs are better than nothing to prevent a house fire, but no better than a grounding probe

wrong again. grounding probes will provide a path for stray voltage to ground, hopefully a path of less resistance so it wont want to travel through you to ground, where the gfci will trip and cut off the power all together

 

26 minutes ago, Mazzy21 said:

A GFCI, from my understanding, trips when the hot wire and neutral wire have imbalanced electrical flow of at least 6 amps. Problem (again) salt water is an excellent electrical conductor so there is very little reason to assume the electrical flow would be interrupted in the way it would if a person is being electrocuted (where the electricity is actually traveling in from an outlet and out through a human body - so two different locations where the amps would be able to be different), if salt water simply drips on/into the outlet and the electricity continues to flow freely because it isn't going anywhere 'off route' from normal. 

they will trip if the current is unbalanced by 5 or so milliamps (thousandths of and amp). your thinking that the voltage has to travel off route as in to a different location than the strip and that's not true. electricity is supposed to flow from the little prong(hot ) on the plug out through the device and back through the big prong(neutral) . lets say the strip gets soaked then the little prong (hot) can travel to the circle prong(ground) and boom trips. any who hope this helps

 

33 minutes ago, Mazzy21 said:

S - and also don't forget, we aren't talking about just "water" as you mentioned (and I would agree that plain water will trip a GFCI - that's literally it's sole purpose for existence), we are talking about a natural, highly efficient, conductor of electricity - salt water.

gfci sole purpose is to protect people from getting shocked, you see them in areas that have water around bc its more likely that you would get shocked

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9 minutes ago, dling said:

So . It appears that location and not the power strip is the better solution. I do like the switching of the individual outlets. That would

help with water changes.  I unplug the sump return pump  and re-plug after the new water has been added. Just flip a switch. Power off ,power on. Nice.

change the outlet to a gfci and then go with the American dj strips they are pretty cheap and the little switches are very handy !

20190210_120855.jpg

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12 minutes ago, Weikel said:

don't forget the op question was about power strips. he never said anything about a fire in the first post. he did say that his NON protected strip got soaked and started smoking. tell ya right now that if a power strip gets soaked it will trip the gfci almost 100 percent of the time

My bad, I mistook the post about having GFCI surge protectors as the OP. And again, I don't really understand this arguing thing. I never said it wouldn't trip if you throw it in a bathtub full of water. I said that salt water dripping onto it may not trip it and isn't a great strategy for avoiding a potential fire.


You explain later in this post that electricity flows from one prong to the other. Salt water has no reason to disturb that flow as the salt ions are an excellent conductor of electricity. IMO you can not assume salt water would disturb electricity the way regular water - which is an absolutely terrible conductor of electricity - would. Where would the imbalance of flow come in to play with salt water when salt water conducts electricity without disturbance? If there is no imbalance there is no tripping of the surge protection.

----------------------------

To the OP: I too rec some type of surge protector strips rather than just a strip that changes your two outlets into 6, for your own bodily protection. I'm sorry if I insinuated you should just use a common extension cord; that wasn't my intention, and I thought you were using surge protectors when this happened. But I also wouldn't lay them back on the floor and IMO  it is location and protective measures others listed that are the best option to avoid fire-related issues due to the nature of salt water vs plain water. 

The individual switch strips in a surge protector are more costly. I found amazon to have the best price at about $35/strip. Also, IMO, I would try to avoid ones with USBs built in unless you have devices that are USB powered to plug in to them. I see no reason to have constantly-open ports around our salt tanks, when that is just another place for bad things like salt creep or salt water to sneak in and cause problems.

Good Luck!!

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1 hour ago, Weikel said:

change the outlet to a gfci and then go with the American dj strips they are pretty cheap and the little switches are very handy !

20190210_120855.jpg

I have my apex bar filled and I'm using the same DJ board for extra peripherals and water change  replacement pumps. 

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11 hours ago, Mazzy21 said:

 But I also wouldn't lay them back on the floor



 

It was not on the floor. Its was laying on top of my chiller.Well above the floor. The problem was that the water was coming down from the tank into the power strip.. Thanks for all the advice.

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10 hours ago, vegasgundog said:

I have my apex bar filled and I'm using the same DJ board for extra peripherals and water change  replacement pumps. 

That looks nice and clean. Thanks. I have 3 power strips two held by screws on the side of the stand and the other is sitting on top of my chiller.

I plan on upgrading all 3 one at a time and relocating the on chiller to the side of the stand. Hope this never happens again.

Thanks again for all the help from all.

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