Well, I learned the hard way. Last week the controller for my Royal Exclsuiv Red Dragon 3 Speedy 80W

pump did not turn back on after I completed a water change. What happened? The likely culprit was a power surge, knocking out the controller. I do like the phrase “you learn something new every day” and on that day I discovered why it is important to protect any controllable pump from a sudden surge in electricity.

Surge Suppressor vs. Surge Protector

I also learned that there is such a thing as a surge suppressor in addition to a surge protector. What’s the difference? A suppressor regulates the voltage and makes the power constant when a power spike or surge occurs. A protector simply detects a surge and shuts down a device. For a controllable pump it is advisable to use a suppressor since you will not want the pump to shut down every time the power spikes.

The best way to go is to purchase a suppressor with a battery back-up to keep the pump going for as long as possible during a black out. I went with a APC UPS 1500VA Sinewave UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector to protect two pumps, my other 80W Red Dragon 3 Speedy pump and my new 100W Red Dragon 3 Speedy pump. Yes, don’t be deceived by the name. This device is a surge suppressor, not a surge protector.

Will a Power Bar Work?

Can you use an aquarium power bar such as the one sold by Neptune Systems for their controller? No, they don’t have this type of surge protection. Speaking of aquarium controllers, that would be another good thing to plug into a surge suppressor. Along with your computer. Finally, even if you have a surge suppressor, it is always a good idea to ramp down the power on a controllable pump before turning it off or pulling the plug. This step provides an extra layer of protection against any electricity spikes.

Shop ARID Reactors Now



If you are looking for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my book, A ReefBum’s Guide To Keeping an SPS Reef Tank: A Blueprint For Success. Additionally, you can see all of my reef tank videos online now as well as my Live HD Webcam.


Happy reef keeping!