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FAQs about Electricity and Aquarium Systems: Measure 

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Related FAQs:  Electricity 1, Electricity 2, Electricity 3, Energy Consumption/Conservation, Electricity Back-up/Generation, Lighting Costs, Pump Energy Use, Heating/Chilling Costs, Shorts/Shocks, Dangers! Grounding Probes, Power Outages, GFCIs and Marine AquariumsSurge Devices, Grounding Probes,  


Wattage measurement 11/20/08 Hello <Ed> I was always under the assumption that the wattage measurement on an aquarium was an accumulative value of all the bulbs above the tank. <Tis.> I was recently informed that is not correct. Two 96 watt CF bulbs are only putting out 96 watts, not 192. Is there any truth to this? <If you mean one bulb that has twin tubes, yes. Many of the CF bulbs have multiple tubes connected at the plug-in.> Ed Raasch

Re: Wattage measurement 11/20/08 Thank you <Welcome.> Glad to know I'm not completely stupid. edr <Heee, we all have those moments! Scott V.>

Counter for electrical use 10/19/05 Hi, <Steven> I have a sump pump that plugs into a 110V outlet. I want to be able to tell how many times it turns on in a month, year, etc. Is there a box of sorts that plugs into the wall and receives the pump cord and then turns a counter every time there is current draw?
<Not to my knowledge.  You'd have to DIY with a 110V counter.  There is one available that monitors kilowatt usage to help you forecast electrical costs for this pump.  Also monitors voltage, line frequency and power factor.  This unit is called "Kill A Watt".  I believe www.drsfostersmith.com sells them at around $35.00 bucks.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Steven

Amped! Hey Scott, <Hey there!> Thanks for the nice reply.  I learned a lot thru this process. <So much to learn...more and more every day for me!> One more question. <Sure!> I'm trying to calculate the amperage usage on ALL the electrical equipment and gadgets on my tank, as I don't want to overload my circuit breakers. <Done that before! Not Fun! Good idea!> My question is this: For example, my MH ballast says it's 250 watts (2.3 amps maximum input) That's just the ballast amperage?, or is that also taking into account the 250 watt MH bulb as well? <Thee ballast...> Am I to assume that the ballast draws 2.3 amps at 250 watts, and therefore the MH bulb also draws the same amount of current?   So the ballast and bulb = 4.6 amps of juice?  Or is the 2.3 amps written on the ballast, the TOTAL draw on both the ballast and bulb? <Yep!> Gracias, Steve <Any time! Regards, Scott F>

Overloaded Plugs? I know this is not at all the kind of question expected, but I am worried I am overloading my outlet. We in the hobby all deal with it, so it's not truly off topic. With a filter, 2 lights, heater, timer and air pump all going from one outlet, where does the danger begin? I know I need a power head for water movement but afraid I'll burn my apartment down if I add it. Any tips on how to minimize the danger (short of re-wiring--I live in an apartment). Horror stories? Places to go? Yes, I am a worrier.  : - ) Lance <Good to be concerned enough to check such things out. There is little likelihood of overloading a given circuit (breaker) with aquarium gear w/o that breaker tripping first. I do encourage you to wire all your electrics through a GFI however. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/elecmar.htm and the linked (in blue, at top) article on Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, and the related FAQs files. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium Power Needs Hello Robert, My name is Jim Fischer, and I live in Pa. I have a question about power requirements for a total aquarium setup. My wife and I are going to setup a 55 gal fresh and a 120 gal saltwater (reef) in our basement that I am wiring right now and need to balance the load on the circuits. I'm not going to use anything fancy like metal halides, just C.F. fixtures, but the setups I have in mind will be well equipped. I know this is a vague description, because I'm not sure exactly sure of the hardware I'll be using. I know the 120 gal reef tank will use a considerable amount of watts compared to the 55 gal freshwater tank. Thanks in advance for your advice and keep up the good work. <So...? Watts times amps equal watts... you can divide by 1000 to get kilowatts, multiply this value for all the electrics times your (in California "blended rate") charge for kilowatt hour... and get costs. The ampere rating for the circuits can be had by simply adding up the presumed amp loads as if all the gear were on at the same time... and shoot for a maximum of 60-80 percent of the rating of your breakers... Is this about what you're looking for? There are some other examples of such calculations on WetWebMedia.com, for pond pumps et al... Bob Fenner> Jim Fischer

Re: Testing for stray potential (mainly electric) Thank you Mr. Fenner for the valuable info you have provided. Would you happen to know where I can purchase the '' multi-meter'' test gear so that I may be able to check if I do have any electricity in my aquarium. <Any good-sized hardware store... test with power turned on and with power turned off... Bob Fenner> Thank you for all of your help Ramon Donestevez

A few quick questions (lighting electrical concerns) hi, <Hello there> I was wondering if you could answer a few questions. I have a 55 G saltwater reef tank with a 30 g sump, and have to move in the next 2 weeks to an older apartment that unfortunately doesn't have much electricity. I have a LN electronic ballast that runs 4 x 110 W VHO bulbs (the LN is from Premium Aquatics, it's the equivalent of the IceCap 660). I was wondering if you knew how many Amps this system uses? <Hmm, sure don't... would probably "just" test here, but you might contact Premium, or even Perry Tishgart at Champion re his competitors draws> The follow up question is how many amps would it use if I ran 4 x 40 W bulbs? (the bulbs are 46.5"). <Again, the only satisfying "answer" for me would be to actually do my own test here... The calculated and stated amperage will not be the same... do you have a friend/accomplice electrician or physics lab cohort who has wrap around induction type test gear? Very simple to use.> The last question is what do can you feed bubble-tipped anemones? it's a lot of work to reach into the tank and give each one bits of fish, so I was curious if there are supplements to add to the water that work as well. <Lots of light... and occasional (once, twice weekly) meaty feedings (get, use plastic tongs... they're made for this and other aquatic purposes by Eheim, Tetra, AZoo...> thank you very much for your help, Ben
<Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

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