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After reading this tread http://www.gcca.net/gccaforum/index.php/topic,577.0.html I thought I would post this article that I wrote for Aquatic Terrors.


Electricity and Your Aquarium


We all know that our aquariums require electricity and we also know that water and electricity can be a dangerous even deadly combination. There are ways to safely reduce this risk without costing an arm and a leg.

Let’s go over a few basics about electricity before we begin. We all know that water conducts electricity very well. We also know that glass, wood and plastics don’t conduct power well. Electricity is lazy by nature. It looks for the fastest way to get to ground. This is called the path of least resistance. If your tank is electrified and sufficiently isolated from the ground and you stick your hand in there, you become the new path to ground. Remember volts don’t kill, amps do. 1 amp is way more than enough to kill any man.

Almost everything we use in/on or aquariums require some amount of power. Heaters, filters, pumps, lights, etc. have power needs. Most people just plug these items into the wall or an inexpensive power strip. That can be a problem.

First I will address the wall socket. Standard wall plugs are tied to a 20-amp circuit in the breaker panel. Generally there is 1 20-amp circuit per room. Rooms like kitchens and laundry rooms will need more to run appliances. One of the best ways to protect your aquarium and it inhabitants is to plug each item into a GFCI outlet. GFCI outlets will shut off power when they sense a short/ground in the circuit. Your other option is to go purchase a power strip that has GFCI circuits built into it. They are a little expensive but well worth you and your families’ safety. I know that a buddy from the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association (Chris Karnuth/nuth88) has gone as far as to have an electrician come to his house to up the amperage on his fishroom breakers as well as add GFCI outlets where he could.

I like to mount my power strips high in the tank stand. This keeps them off of the floor and out of any puddle that might form from a leak or splash. This also put a natural “drip loop” on the cord so that any water that gets on it drips on the floor instead of the plug/socket.

Other things I watch out for are corroded plug leads, frayed insulation on the cord, cracked insulation, and insulation pulled away from the plug or appliance itself. All of these things can lead to a power short.

Get a Buyer or Seller Number  Auction Rules   Auction Seller Sheet   How to Buy at an Auction

Different than a Swap Meet

An auction is different that a swap meet. Each bag of fish is sold individually, in order, by our auctioneer.

You need to Register

You will need to register to buy fish. On our calendar, the link to the Auction page contains instructions so you can register as a buyer, seller or both.

You may also register the day of the auction in person.

Checking In

When you arrive at the auction, check-in as a buyer. You will need to leave a major credit card or drivers license as collateral.

Viewing Fish for Sale

Bags of fish are placed on tables in the rear of the room. Take this opportunity to see what is available for sale.

Viewing is allowed during check-in. However, viewing will be closed for approximately 15 minutes prior to the auction to allow the bags to be moved to the auctioneer. Viewing will then be open during the entire auction.

The Auctioneer and Bidding

Have a seat and listen to the auctioneer. The auction starts at 10AM and goes until the last bag of fish is sold.

Our auctioneer will describe the bag of fish by the latin and and common name (if applicable). For example: "Here's an adult trio of the Lemon Yellow Cichlid, Labidochromis caereuleus, each about 3" long."

Next, the auctioneer will ask for a starting bid. "Who will start me off at five bucks for this bag of fish?"

To bid, raise your buyer number in the air. The auctioneer will recognize your bid. Keep bidding up until you've made your purchase. Bids must be proceed at minimum increments of $1.

If you win, keep your buyer card up and the auctioneer will recognize you. Your buyer number will be recorded. A runner will bring your fish to you and ask you to sign a buyer slip.

Bidding Stategy

Priority Bags
Did you find a bag of fish in the viewing area you really want to buy, but don't know when it will come up for sale? You can purchase ($3) a Priority Sticker for the bag you want. Our auction staff will bring up the priority bag for auction immediately. You will still need to bid against others to secure your purchase.

Up-Bidding
You can bid more if you really want the bag of fish. For example, if the current bid is $5, you could raise your bid card in the air and yell $10. This strategy may deter others from bidding against you.

Starting Price
You do not need to accept the auctioneers starting price. For example, let's say a group of adult discus comes up for sale. The auctioneer might ask for a starting bid of $50. You could raise your buyer card and shout "Twenty Dollars". The auctioneer will likely accept your bid and bidding will progress from that amount.

Checking out the Fish
If you're not sure about the fish that is up for bid, you can walk up to the front of the room to take a look. Move fast, though. We usually move through 100 bags of fish per hour.

Buyer Slips

For each purchase you make, you will receive a Buyer Slip. This slip documents:

  • Your buyer number
  • Amount paid
  • Seller Number
  • Seller Bag Number

Hold onto your buyer slips. you will need them to check out.

How do I check out and pay for my purchases?

You may check-out any time during the auction. If you decide not to purchase any items, you will still need to return your buyer card and number to the cashier to receive your collateral.

If you have purchase fish, bring your buyer slips with you.The cashier will ask and collect your buyer number, and confirm the amount owed with you.

After payment, your collateral (Drivers License) will be returned.

Accepted Forms of Payment for Purchases
Bring plenty of cash or your checkbook, since GCCA doesn't take credit cards.

Final Thoughts

Please remember all of the staff at the auction are volunteers. We want to make your auction experience a good one. Please treat everyone you meet with respect. Any conflicts will be handled by the Auction Chairman.

If you've never attended a fish auction before, we've prepared this helpful guide. Enjoy yourself at the auction!

Different than a Swap Meet

An auction is different that a swap meet. Each bag of fish is sold individually, in order, by our auctioneer.

You need to Register

You will need to register to buy fish. On our calendar, the link to the Auction page contains instructions so you can register as a buyer, seller or both.

You may also register the day of the auction in person.

Checking In

When you arrive at the auction, check-in as a buyer. You will need to leave a major credit card or drivers license as collateral.

Viewing Fish for Sale

Bags of fish are placed on tables in the rear of the room. Take this opportunity to see what is available for sale.

Viewing is allowed during check-in. However, viewing will be closed for approximately 15 minutes prior to the auction to allow the bags to be moved to the auctioneer. Viewing will then be open during the entire auction.

The Auctioneer and Bidding

Have a seat and listen to the auctioneer. The auction starts at 10AM and goes until the last bag of fish is sold.

A screen at the front of the room will list the item for sale. In some cases, a picture may also be available.

Our auctioneer or auction expediter will describe the bag of fish by the latin and and common name (if applicable).

Example 1: Here's an adult trio of the Lemon Yellow Cichlid, Labidochromis caereuleus, each about 3" long.

Example 2: This is a bag of six, 1-1/2  inch juvenile Parachromis dovii, the Wolf Cichlid.

Note that sometimes the number of fish in the bag might vary

Next, the auctioneer will ask for a starting bid. "Who will start me off at ten bucks for this bag of fish?"

To bid, raise your buyer number in the air. The auctioneer will recognize your bid. Keep bidding up until you've made your purchase. Bids must be proceed at minimum increments of $1.

If you win, keep your buyer card up and the auctioneer will recognize you. Your buyer number will be recorded. A runner will bring your fish to you and ask you to sign a buyer slip.

Bidding Stategy

Priority Bags
Did you find a bag of fish in the viewing area you really want to buy, but don't know when it will come up for sale? You can purchase ($3) a Priority Sticker for the bag you want. Our auction staff will bring up the priority bag for auction immediately. You will still need to bid against others to secure your purchase.

Up-Bidding
You can bid more if you really want the bag of fish. For example, if the current bid is $5, you could raise your bid card in the air and yell $10. This strategy may deter others from bidding against you.

Starting Price
You do not need to accept the auctioneers starting price. For example, let's say a group of adult discus comes up for sale. The auctioneer might ask for a starting bid of $50. You could raise your buyer card and shout "Twenty Dollars". The auctioneer will likely accept your bid and bidding will progress from that amount.

Checking out the Fish
If you're not sure about the fish that is up for bid, you can walk up to the front of the room to take a look. Move fast, though. We usually move through 100 bags of fish per hour.

Accepting the Fish and Signing the Buyer Slip

If you are the high bidder, an auction runner will bring the fish to you. 

For each purchase you make, you will receive a Buyer Slip. This slip documents:

  • Your buyer number
  • Amount paid
  • Seller Number
  • Seller Bag Number

Carefully inspect the fish before signing the Buyer Slip.

Hold onto your buyer slips which are a record of your purchases.

How do I check out and pay for my purchases?

You may check-out any time during the auction. If you decide not to purchase any items, you will still need to return your buyer card and number to the cashier to receive your collateral.

If you have purchase fish, bring your buyer slips with you.The cashier will ask and collect your buyer number, and confirm the amount owed with you.

After payment, your collateral (Drivers License) will be returned.

Accepted Forms of Payment for Purchases

GCCA accepts cash (preferred) and major credit cards/Paypal.

GCCA does not accept checks.

Final Thoughts

Please remember all of the staff at the auction are volunteers. We want to make your auction experience a good one.

Please treat everyone you meet with respect. Any conflicts will be handled by the Auction Chairman.

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