You may have seen the notation on your filter or light instruction sheet, or perhaps you read it on a website. It tells you to always have a drip loop when plugging in electrical equipment around an aquarium. So what is it, and do you need one?
What Is It?
If you asked yourself that question, don't feel foolish. Just about everyone else has asked themselves the same thing. The answer is very simple. A drip loop is simply allowing the cord to loop down, then back up to the outlet. So why is something that simple so important?
If you've ever tipped over a glass of water, you know that it will quickly travel down any surface in its path. An electrical cord is like a superhighway that will allow water splashed out of the tank to flow right into the outlet it is plugged into. The result can be disastrous.
How to Make One
There is no magic to creating a drip loop. Just make sure your electrical cord has enough length to droop down below the outlet, then back up. If it's too short, use an extension cord to ensure you don't have a straight line to the outlet.
Last but not least, to be sure the cord stays looped down stick a cord clip on the wall just below the outlet and thread the cord into it. The clip costs pennies, but the peace of mind is priceless.
To be even more certain you protect yourself from dangerous situations, have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) installed. GFCIs are a great insurance policy, and not all that expensive. It's an option that is well worth exploring.