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Aquarium Electrical Set-up....

Shivan

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Hi,

I'm excited to be getting my 340L tank next weekend but am struggling a bit in terms of what the 'best' electrical set up should be. I'm going full Fluval on the kit (FX4, Aquasky, Q2 Air Pump, E300 heater) and have been toying with all sorts of ideas. But I'm settling on:

- A portable RCD plugged into the wall socket (same sort of thing you might use outside with a lawn mower).
- A surge protector extension lead....
-... mounted on the inner wall of the cabinet under the tank (none of the cabling seems long enough to reach a nearby cupboard away from the tank unfortunately).
- And possibly housed in some sort of splashproof container if possible.
- All drip loops etc in place.

My house is only 10 years old and has the normal 30mA trip level, albeit as I understand with a longer tolerance before it trips than one of the portable devices.

The other thing I was flirting with was a battery back up to run the Q2 Air Pump (and possibly the filter) in case of a power cut, but have decided that I can add one of these later and just plug it into the surge protector under the tank at a later date.

Many thanks for any advice!
 

seangee

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I just have an extension lead in the cabinet as you suggest. Its at the top of the cabinet on the opposite side to the plumbing so its just screwed onto the wood. I haven't bothered with surge protection and its on a circuit that has RCD protection as the house distribution board was replaced a few years ago. Make sure your sockets are individually switched. That way you can turn off the heater or pump when changing water (or for any other reason) without having to re-program the lights.

I have added an external heater controller like this to each of my tanks as protection against thermostat failure.
 

Fishmanic

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I plug all my equipment into an 8 outlet surge protector. I do not switch off the surge protector to turn off heater and filter during water changes. Instead I installed inline switches for the filter and also for the heater. I use a smart switch for the lights which can also be controlled via an echo dot “Alexa” and/or via a smart phone app. Works for me and my tanks.
 

AbbeysDad

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Just a few thoughts...

> Most hobbyists don't think of this, but YES you definitely should have anything that goes in the water plugged into a GFIC (ground fault interrupter circuit) or RCD. This can be a unit that plugs into a regular outlet.

> Fluval's FX series are great filters, but I feel a bit too pricey. I just bought a Polar Aurora (SunSun) HW 304B, 525 GPH ($75.99 USD) for my 100g stock tank and am very happy with it! Having 'said' that, I have two (2) Aquaclear 70 HOB filters on my 60g and am very happy with them. For a 90g, I'd consider an Aquaclear 110. They allow media choice like a canister, but are much easier to service.

>You'll perhaps want two (2) heaters at opposite ends of the tank for load distribution an to ensure if one fails, the other will compensate. An external controller is a good idea. I now have two tanks using Finnex external controllers with nearly indestructible titanium heaters.

> For lighting, there are many choices, but LED is the present/future. BeamsWork has nice units at decent pricing.
I have a 48" Finnex Planted Plus 24/7 running in 24/7 mode from 6am until midnight in my 60g low tech planted tank. The plants do just fine and the light ramping from dawn until dusk is truly realistic, nearly surreal...as if you were looking at nature!
 

Deanasue

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I have mine plugged into surge protectors.
 

AbbeysDad

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Note: Surge protectors protect devices from variations in power (like a brown out or a power surge) - they do not protect people from electrical shock! That's what a ground fault interrupter circuit does.
SOME surge protectors have built in GFI, but not all.
 
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Deanasue

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Note: Surge protectors protect devices from variations in power (like a brown out or a power surge) - they do not protect people from electrical shock! That's what a ground fault interrupter circuit does.
SOME surge protectors have built in GFI, but not all.
My home is only 6 years old so all plugs have the GFI.
 

AbbeysDad

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My home is only 6 years old so all plugs have the GFI.
I think you mean outlets, not plugs. That's interesting since GFIC's are typically only needed where there's the potential for water (e,g, kitchen, bath, and outdoor fixtures and outlets.
 

seangee

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I think you mean outlets, not plugs. That's interesting since GFIC's are typically only needed where there's the potential for water (e,g, kitchen, bath, and outdoor fixtures and outlets.
They do keep changing the rules though (at least in the EU). We had some fairly extensive work done 2-3 years ago. We could not get compliance signoff because the DB we had is now considered dangerous. On the new one all the circuits are RCD protected. No we didn't fall for the "better get this one its the best, I mean most expensive" ploy, just a bog standard household unit.
 

essjay

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They do keep changing the rules though (at least in the EU).
Wiring regulations version 18 for the UK came out earlier this year. Our son sat the exam a couple of months ago. Our house was built to version 16, I think he said.
 
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Shivan

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Many thanks for all your advice. In the end I've gone with:
- Industrial Extension Leads (https://www.industrialextensionleads.co.uk/) as I needed a specific length and to be able to take the plug off to get the lead behind a cupboard etc. Six way, individually switched with surge protection and I'll mount as suggested high up on the cabinet wall away from the air pump and filter.
- A separate RCD for the mains where the lead plugs into. Better to be safe than sorry and it was all of £8. As I understand it, it will trip quicker than the house RCD, which, despite being safer than not having one, wouldn't trip in time to stop you being electrocuted!

Seangee - thanks for the external heater controller idea. I haven't bought one yet - I didn't even know there was such a thing, but it looks really sensible and I will be getting one of those at some point.

Fishmanic - thanks for the Alexa idea. That actually solves a problem around potential noise issues with the air pump at night which now we'll be able to turn on and off easily.

AbbeysDad - thanks for the filter advice. In the end, I have gone with the FX4, but that's primarily because we're having a custom height cabinet (long story) and it's the only filter that I'm certain is able to fit in the space that's powerful enough for the size of tank. And thanks for the external heater controller +1; I hadn't considered a second heater, but that also seems like a very sensible idea and may come with the next stage of the aquarium once I can get the basic one set up!
 
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