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Old 05/07/2012, 07:22 AM   #1
sammy77
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Upgrade electrical?

I'm not sure what to do? I'm putting my 220gal in my living room that has stone walls in it. Tank should really stand out in this room. The house is 25 years old/100 amp service. I have never had bigger than a 90gal so I'm not quite sure how much more a 220's demand for electric will be(FOWLR) My question is, I have a standard outlet(non GCFI) that is on the wall my fish tank will be on, because of the stone it is buried in the wall...#&*@!! It seems the only way I can get it outta there is to destroy half of the stones surrounding it on the wall.
The outlet works fine. Do I need to change this outlet? Are there any options or suggestions you have. I have 3 weeks before my tank arrives, once I put it there, it'll be impossible to change it. lol

Thank you for your help.


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Old 05/07/2012, 07:29 AM   #2
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What other things are on the same circuit breaker and what is the circuit breaker rating? You do not want to put a GFCI outlet BEHIND your tank. If it trips, you won't be able to reset.


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Old 05/07/2012, 07:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by pwreef View Post
What other things are on the same circuit breaker and what is the circuit breaker rating? You do not want to put a GFCI outlet BEHIND your tank. If it trips, you won't be able to reset.

Thank you pwreef. There is only one other outlet on that circuit I believe(15amp), I will double check when I get home. Good point, what should I do?


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Old 05/07/2012, 08:08 AM   #4
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I did this: I took a regular extension cord and cut the female end of it. Then I put a regular GFCI outlet into a plastic outlet box and attached that to the extension cord. Basically I have an extension cord with a GFCI receptacle on the end. They sell these GFCI adapters that construction workers use, but you DO NOT want to use them. They trip when the power goes out and will not reset when it comes back on. So if your utility disconnects your house for 1 minute, your tank will not restart! Guess how I found out. :-)


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Old 05/07/2012, 08:30 AM   #5
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I hope you didn't loose any livestock cause of that. That's a great idea. Does your GCFI you made not have a trip on it?


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Old 05/07/2012, 08:31 AM   #6
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I would just have a dedicated circuit or two put in for the tank with a GfCI installed.

But then that would depend on what other equipment I had running on the existing circuit and the size & condition of the existing wiring and outlet. I would also take into consideration where the sump will be located. If it's going to be in the basement then the upgraded power supply might need to be wired to the basement. If the sump is remotely located that may spread your power need between multiple circuits and then all you may need to do it install GFCI outlets.

If you have a dedicated circuit installed then you may want to keep in mind the possibility of future upgrades.


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Old 05/07/2012, 08:46 AM   #7
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The sump will be located right beneath the display tank. Existing wiring is in very good condition, not sure on size though. Because of the stone in the living room, I was hoping to avoid tearing things up to run another circuit. But if I have to, then so be it.


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Old 05/07/2012, 09:20 AM   #8
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I have a 20 amp curcuit that i have scabbed off of for my tanks, i have two 120 gal, with a common sump, two return pumps halides and LEDs heaters chiller skimmer. . . .and i have not had a trip yet, i did install a GFCI to the curcuit where i spliced into it but I have not hit any limits yet. . . . Maybe tommorow. . . but i would say your good to go with your one curcuit, not ideal if your running new but most dont have that option and the hobby keeps going.


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Old 05/07/2012, 09:39 AM   #9
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You can get by on a single 20A circuit with 12awg wiring. The heaters will draw the most power by far. Pumps in general are fairly negligible, as are the lights for a FOWLR (3 or 4 T5s will be plenty, and they don't have to span the entire length of the tank).


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Old 05/07/2012, 09:40 AM   #10
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Where do you install your GFCI on your circuit?


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Old 05/07/2012, 09:48 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by bongarone View Post
You can get by on a single 20A circuit with 12awg wiring. The heaters will draw the most power by far. Pumps in general are fairly negligible, as are the lights for a FOWLR (3 or 4 T5s will be plenty, and they don't have to span the entire length of the tank).
I hope so, I plan on using LED's as well to keep the draw down.


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Old 05/07/2012, 11:48 AM   #12
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I went overkill on electric. 2 dedicated 20 amp circuits on 12g wire. Both are GFCI. I keep the lights on one and everything else on the other.


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Old 05/07/2012, 12:47 PM   #13
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I went overkill on electric. 2 dedicated 20 amp circuits on 12g wire. Both are GFCI. I keep the lights on one and everything else on the other.
What size tank?


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Old 05/07/2012, 07:18 PM   #14
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I hope so, I plan on using LED's as well to keep the draw down.
Yea, you should be fine.

Return pump: 150 watts
Skimmer: 50 watts
Powerheads: 40 watts
Heaters: 1000 watts
LEDs: 200 watts
Misc: 50 watts

TOTAL: ~1500 watts, or 12.5 amps

If you were to convert this to a reef, your lighting would be 1000 watts or more, in which case you'd probably want a 2nd circuit.


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Old 05/07/2012, 08:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bongarone View Post
Yea, you should be fine.

Return pump: 150 watts
Skimmer: 50 watts
Powerheads: 40 watts
Heaters: 1000 watts
LEDs: 200 watts
Misc: 50 watts

TOTAL: ~1500 watts, or 12.5 amps

If you were to convert this to a reef, your lighting would be 1000 watts or more, in which case you'd probably want a 2nd circuit.
Thank you for that breakdown.


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Old 05/08/2012, 08:00 AM   #16
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Looks like I will be placing my sump in the basement instead. Gonna have to do something with electric now as the pump will have to be much stronger and draw more.


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Old 05/08/2012, 09:08 AM   #17
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Id verify what guage the wiring is for that circuit. If its 12 guage then Id upgrade to a 20 amp breaker. The national electric code states that you should never exeed more than 80% of a circuits rating. Therefor 1500 watts on a 15 amp 1650w rated circuit is over loaded and a potential fire hazard.

As of 2008 code states that all residential circuits must now be protected by gfci and afci devices. Walk into any newly built home in the last four years and all of the breakers in the panel should be either gfci or afci dependin on which type of dwelling space it is. So you could always bring the circuit up to code and install a gfci breaker on that circuit instead of a receptical. Although Id probably replace the receptical with a new one while you can.


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Old 05/08/2012, 01:12 PM   #18
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chances are if the outlet is a 15 amp outlet the wire is rated for that too...they would not have installed 12awg wire for a 15amp circuit, and at 12.5amps the circuit is "technically" overloaded. not to mention a single nuisance trip shuts the entire tank down..

personally for a 220 i would have upgrade in mind when it comes to electrical...i would run a minimum of three 20 amp circuits for this tank, especially if the sump is going to be remotely located...i would have a a single 20A in the sump area (for return pumps, skimmer, reactors, etc.) with multiple gfci branched outlets (independent of one and other, not loaded off one and other) i would have a 20A circuit for the display tank (for pumps, controllers, etc.) and i would have a separate 20A for the lights as well...if you know for certain that you will have LED lighting then you could likely do a 15A circuit as the draw shouldnt be too bad, same goes for pumps in the display if you know you are only going to use low draw DC pumps and you controller likely doesnt use much power either you could get away with a 15A circuit there too...

at any rate i would want my return pump on a separate circuit from my display pumps...heck i would even be tempted to hide a heater in the display too, that way if your sump does trip you still have heat and circulation in your display...fish could care less if the tank is lit or not so i would not be too concerned with the lights tripping...


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Old 05/08/2012, 02:54 PM   #19
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I am planning on having 2 20amp circuits for the fish room downstairs. I will definetley go led's as well. I may be pushing it if I need a 3rd circuit because of the space I have left in my panel.


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