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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

March 3, 2011

Aquarium Safety and Convenience

By David Lass

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In the competition to sell tanks, filters, lighting systems and fish, there are two very simple items that should always be offered as a “must have” for any aquarium. These are a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and a lighting timer.

Water and electricity are a potentially dangerous combination. My first introduction to this fact of life was when I was working in a local fish store as a kid, and I somehow or other touched both a lighting fixture and the metal frame of a tank (yes, I really am that old that I remember metal- framed tanks). I got knocked off the ladder and was lucky it was nothing worse. GFCIs prevent this from happening by turning the power off immediately if there is any leak to ground--like through a person. There are any number of combinations of extension cords/multiple outlets that have GFCIs built right into them. GFCIs should be offered with every tank sold, and they should be right at the cash register with a big sign encouraging folks with existing tanks to make the small investment in one.

The second item that should be on every tank is a simple lighting timer. More problems with fish tanks turning green and algae invading everything come from the aquarium lights being left on for too long. A simple timer, again an inexpensive add-on sale at the cash register, should be sold with every light.

Some of the better lighting systems do not even have on/off switches--they can only be controlled with a timer. Many timers are available with the capability of having more than one on/off period, which allows the hobbyist to limit the period of time the tank is illuminated, but have a period in the morning and then again at night when the lights are on.

A GFCI and a lighting timer, while perhaps not seeming to be especially “aquatic,” are really a necessity for all tanks. Not only can you make some extra profit on these items, but you will also be assuring your customers a good experience with their aquariums.

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