Tingling cut aquarium heater - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-15-2020, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Tingling cut aquarium heater

I have a plastic barrel tank with a 200W heater and a cut on my hand tingles when in the water (Does not tingle with heater unplugged)

I then went to test this heater in another glass tank and there was no tingling sensation.
I tried a different heater in the original plastic barrel and there was no tingling sensation. It only happens when i use the first heater and only in that plastic barrel. Does it have something to do with plastic and being high wattage?

Also, I have GFCI on all my outlets,why are they not tripping?

I'll probably toss this heater anyways as they arent expensive to replace, just trying to understand why it only seems to leak/tingle my cut when used in the plastic barrel.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-15-2020, 08:48 AM
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Please do not test your theories of electrocution with your fingers.

There are lots of bad bacteria in an aquarium that might infect your injured finger.

When in doubt unplug everything.
Getting electrocuted and a tingling sensation are totally different things. If it happens you will definitely recognize any form of electrocution.

Stay Safe.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-15-2020, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by yamala View Post
I'll probably toss this heater anyways as they arent expensive to replace, just trying to understand why it only seems to leak/tingle my cut when used in the plastic barrel.
Good choice!

Sounds like the heater has a small leakage current. Perhaps the tank provides a better path to ground which minimizes it's effect. No sense waiting for it to fail entirely. You will feel that!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-15-2020, 08:06 PM
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If its making you tingle, toss it! Its leaking current, maybe not enough to trip a gfi, but if it deteriorates further its dangerous!

It may be that the plastic barrel is a better insulator than the glass tank. And if its on concrete and you are standing on concrete when when you feel the tingling, guess where the ground path is? Yes its YOU!

The glass tank may have a slightly better ground path, or you are insulated better(standing on carpet or a wood floor)enough that you feel nothing.

The fact that you feel tingling means its leaking, so rid yourself of a potentially dangerous heater!

I work with electricity on a daily basis, and more people get hurt with 120v items than anything else, dont end up being a statistic!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-15-2020, 08:31 PM
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Yes, don't think twice if you believe it is a current and not a freaky thing with your cut. Get rid of it as it could cause a fire. I wonder if there is a safe way with a multimeter to check for current on the tank, like touching one electrode in the tank and another to house ground or something?

It might not be tripping because it might be downstream from the AC power input on the heater. The heater may convert AC to DC to actually power the element and perhaps that is what is leaking.

I've determined that aquarium heaters are perhaps the most unreliable piece of aquarium equipment in fishkeeping and also the most dangerous. I've had two highly rated COBALTS that proceeded to set themselves to max 96 degrees and get stuck there (could never change them after I discovered the issue). One killed my whole colony of shrimp as a result. I've since moved to a new strategy and use two underrated heaters, one of which can't heat the whole tank. That way in case one heater goes crazy it can't do too much damage. I then hooked those two heaters up to an InkBird 306A temp controller that will shut them both down if temps go too high. It also wifi's current temp and alerts to me through the app. Never trust aquarium heaters, I don't think there is a proven vendor out there.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-15-2020, 11:49 PM
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I second the use of Controllers and Inkbird are good ones . Everyone should use a heater controller IMHO .
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My wife says if I get one more aquarium she is going to leave me . I sure am going to miss her fried chicken .
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