Aquariums require lots of gear. Lights, filters, air pumps, heaters, and more. What do all of these items have in common? Besides supporting a healthy aquarium, they all require electricity. It is highly unlikely you have 6 extra electrical wall outlets behind your fish tank, so you’re going to need an aquarium power strip.
Getting an aquarium-safe power strip might seem simple, but there are a few important factors to consider such as mounting, wifi connectivity, and safety around water. Making the wrong choice could result in death to your fish and possible injury to you so it is important to think through your choice.
We reviewed 5 aquarium power strips and created a guide to help you evaluate your options. Let’s dive in!
Recommended Aquarium Power Strip Options:
What is an aquarium power strip?
A power strip is a piece of equipment with electrical sockets attached to the end of a flexible cable that plugs into an outlet. It is used in situations where electrical appliances outnumber the number of wall sockets.
Power strips can also be surge protectors. A surge protector is a small device that provides the ability to plug multiple components into one single power outlet and protects your electronic devices from a high-voltage power surge. A power surge is an increase in voltage above the designated level.
What is the best aquarium power strip?
The best aquarium power strip is the Tripp Lite Surge Protector. It has individual switches for each socket. Most power strips have a single on-off switch which means all of the sockets have power or none of the sockets have power. This functionality doesn’t work for aquarium owners, who might want their filter to continue cleaning while their heater is turned off.
With the Tripp Lite, six of the seven sockets have their own switch. You can toggle each switch individually without interrupting anything else. Or, if you want to turn everything off at once, there is a switch to do that too so you don’t have to do six individual switches.
Also, the switches are recessed. Maybe this doesn’t sound like a huge feature. However, if you’re trying to plug in large, bulky plugs with non-recessed switches, you’re in for trouble. The bulky plugs will block the switch, making it impossible to alter the power.
What is the best wifi aquarium power strip?
If you’re interested in a power strip with wifi, we recommend the Kasa Smart Power Strip. This power strip has 6 outlets with surge protection so you’re protected against random power surges during storms.
This power strip also has power monitoring so you can get detailed information about how much energy your aquarium set-up is using. Additionally, this energy monitoring functionality can be helpful in evaluating if a pump, UV etc. is drawing the “normal” amount of power, or perhaps not working (very low power consumption), or malfunctioning and drawing abnormally high watts.
The power string is also controllable on the app, meaning you can turn on and off your aquarium set-up while you’re not home.
Do you need an aquarium power strip?
Unless you magically have the correct number of electrical outlets behind your aquarium for your filter, air pump, heater, and more, then yes, you’re going to need an aquarium power strip. Besides getting more electrical outlets, you can also add on surge protection, which could prevent a catastrophe for your tank. Additionally, power strips can help consolidate your wires by making them all run to one place which can help clean-up the back of your aquarium.
What should you look for when choosing a power strip for your aquarium?
There are five main factors to consider when evaluating power strips for your aquarium.
1. Is it mountable?
Ideally, you will mount your power strip so it is not resting on the floor. By mounting the power strip, you avoid potential problems with spilling water or leaking tanks. Better safe than sorry.
Many power strips come with loops or holes that you can screw through to mount it. Potential areas for mounting include the wall behind the aquarium, the baseboard, or the back wall of the aquarium cabinet.
2. Surge Protection
Surge protection helps protect your electronics in cases of electrical surges. The surge protector understands if there is a higher than normal amount of electricity flowing and stops the transmission before it reaches your electronics and destroys them.
For aquarium equipment like heaters, filters and lights, a power strip with a built-in surge protector is an affordable way to protect your aquarium and aquatic critters.
Remember that most power strips with surge protection are single use. If the surge protector trips, you need to get rid of the power strip and get a new one. Annoying, yes, but a lot cheaper than replacing all of the damaged aquarium equipment that was plugged in.
3. Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
Modern homes built to code usually have GFCI installed in the electrical panel or outlets with GFCI built in. If you live in an older house, your house might not have GFCI. If it doesn’t, I highly recommend that you consider a power strip or extension cord with GFCI built-in.
GFCI is life saving. It can protect people from fatal electric shocks if it detects electricity flowing down an unintended path – such as through your aquarium water or through your body! It is a safety feature designed to save people from fatal shocks,
Given that aquariums mix water and electricity, we highly recommend GFCI coverage when you’re plugging in aquarium gadgets.
Most power strips do not have a GFCI built into them so it is something you will want to pay attention to in the purchasing process.
Another option is buying an inline GFCI, like this, and plug your power strip into that. It is cheaper than hiring an electrician and provides GFCI protection to your power strip.
4. Number of Outlets
Pop quiz – if you have 6 pieces of aquarium equipment that you need to plug into your power strip, how many outlets do you need on your power strip?
The answer is at least 6 outlets, but to play it safe, I’d recommend an 8 or 10 socket strip. First, you have flexibility to add future pieces of equipment (which will all know will happen because we’re big aquarium nerds). Secondly, the configuration of the sockets matter, especially if you’re equipment plugs are bulky (I’m looking at you, timers for lighting).
In other words, the layout of the sockets is important. We prefer thin power strips with the sockets in a single row for ease of use and minimal layout issues.
Modern homes often have smart home capabilities. Some power strips with wifi can be adjusted through apps on your phone, meaning you can be away from home and turn off the lights or turn on the automatic fish feeder with the push of a button. Pretty convenient, right?
Benefits Of Using an Aquarium Power Strip
We consider aquarium power strips to be a critical piece of aquarium equipment. Consider the following benefits:
Ability to plugin everything
Aquariums come with lots of equipment like heaters, filters, air pumps, lighting and more. Most homes might have a single electric outlet behind the fish tank, with two sockets. Even the simplest aquarium set-up will have two or more pieces of equipment which means that you need another way to plug everything in, or you have to run unsightly extension cords through your house, which can be a tripping hazard.
Aquarium-safe power strips solve this problem. They’re a simple, easy, and clean looking solution.
Power strips provide two levels of safety for your aquarium – surge protection and GFCI protection. Surge protection prevents electric surges from frying your aquarium equipment, which would be costly to replace. GFCI protection protects you! GFCI monitors the amount of electricity flowing to an attached device. If you accidentally drop the appliance into your fish tank, the GFCI detects the interruption in current and cuts the power, which reduces the chances of you incurring a major electrical shock.
Aquarium Power Strip Safety
Cover empty sockets
Best practice with power strips is to block off any unused sockets, especially your power strips used for aquariums. Your aquarium is full of water, meaning drips and splashes will occur, especially during water change days.
Water that gets inside a power strip is not a good situation. It could kill the socket and if it is a lot of water, it could damage the entire strip.
You could put a piece of tape over the empty sockets to prevent water from entering. We recommend a slightly less DIY method that also won’t leave your sockets sticky when you remove the tape.
These Safety First Plug Protectors are usually used for houses with little ones running around but they’re a great and affordable option to block any water from getting inside your strip.
Most modern houses have GFCI coverage built-in. However, if you live in an older house, you might need to layer in GFCI for your tank. You can hire an electrician to install a GFCI outlet for you or you can buy an inline GFCI, like this, and plug your power strip into that. Lastly, some power strips have GFCI so you can deliberately seek out an option with it built-in.
Best Aquarium Power Strip options:
- All-around: Tripp Lite Surge Protector
- All-around Alternative: ADJ Power Strip
- Good Option: Kill a Watt Surge Protector
- Best Option with Timers: Coralife Power Center
- Best Wifi Option: Kasa Smart Power Strip
- Safety: Safety First Plug Protectors
Our all-around recommendation: Tripp Lite Surge Protector
The Tripp Lite Surge Protector has individual switches for each socket. You can toggle each switch individually without interrupting anything else. Brilliant for aquarium owners.
The switches are also recessed, which is helpful if you’re dealing with large, bulky plugs that can block the power switches.
- Each outlet has individual switch
- 7 outlets in straight line
- Recessed switches
- Power cord is 4 ft long and heavy duty 14 gauge
- Surge rating is 1080 joules
- Individual switches give customized power control to appliances
- Performs as expected – users reported surge protector saving thousands of dollars of equipment during electrical surges
- Easy to install
- Not waterproof
- Slow-charging USB ports
All-around Alternative: ADJ Power Strip
This power strip was originally designed for DJ’s. Like Aquariums, DJ’s have a lot of equipment – speakers, lighting, and smoke machines. Even though this power strip is not purpose built for aquariums, it is a great option, especially for those with aquarium cabinets.
Aquarium cabinets are usually a tangled mess of cables and plugs. This power strip solves the tangled aquarium stand mess problem by separating the plugs and the switches.
The outlets are on the rear of the power strip, allowing you to position any cables and plugs toward the back of your cabinet. The power switches are on the front of the power strip, allowing easy access. Each switch will light up when it’s turned on, which helps you quickly determine which equipment is turned on.
if you need more than 8 sockets, you can easily mount a second strip underneath in your cabinet.
- 8 electrical sockets
- Switches and sockets on two separate surfaces
- 16 gauge wire
- Best power switch for organized aquarium cabinet
- Clean design
- Durable quality
- Plug spacing is a little tight
- Some users report slightly different red switches (might not match if visible outside cabinet)
Good Option: Kill a Watt Surge Protector
This surge protector has 10 outlets, stacked in 2 rows. It can assess how efficient your aquarium equipment items are while the built-in surge protection keeps them safe while a large LCD shows operating cost. Use Kill A Watt PS to forecast daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly electrical expenses.
- 10 outlets, stacked in 2 rows
- Can monitor energy usage and efficiency
- Understand energy usage so you can pinpoint inefficiencies
- Good protection in event of power surges
- Construction feels lightweight, some concerns about durability
- Small screen
Best Option with Timers: Coralife Power Center
This is a dual function piece of equipment. It combines 24-hour timers and an eight-outlet indoor power strip.
The power center has four timer-controlled (two daytime and two nighttime) and four constant-power outlets. You can program up to seven time cycles per day, seven days a week. This power center also comes with sliding outlet safety covers, protecting against accidental spills and leaks.
- Programmable timer functionality
- Grounded 3 prong plug with 3 foot power cord
- Sliding outlet safety covers protect outlets not in use
- Ability to set multiple schedules, reducing the need for other aquarium timers
- Some users report design is cramped with stacked outlets
- Some reliability issues with the timers
- Confusing programming
Best Option with Wifi: Kasa Smart Power Strip
This power strip has six smart outlets and three USB charging ports. It can also monitor how much energy devices connected to the power strip consume. You can check on each one from your Kasa smart app and turn off ones that are using too much power. You can also control the power strip remotely from the app, meaning that you can adjust your aquarium while you’re away from home.
- 6 independent smart outlets
- Surge protection
- No wifi hub required
- Ability to control power strip remotely, meaning you can adjust your equipment while away from home
- Energy monitoring capabilities. Know what equipment uses the most electricity
- Easy set-up
- Inability to control power to USB ports, only electrical outlets
- Limited power monitoring ability – It shows current usage, daily usage and average usage
Aquarium Power Strip FAQs
How do you protect a power strip from water?
There are several options for protecting a power strip from water. Water damage is a real risk around aquariums so it is important to take this seriously. First, mounting the power strip on the wall will help avoid aquarium leaks. Next, you need to cover the outlets – either tape (DIY fix) or child-proof covers are good options. Lastly, GFCI is important, as it can stop the electric flow if there is a current interruption and abnormal flow. Choosing a GFCI power strip or using an inline GFCI option is important.
What happens if you spill water on a power strip?
If a spill happens, ensure all power is disconnected. Once the power has been cut, make sure your hands are dry and preferably rubber-gloved hands. Unplug the power strip. Once removed, you should clean and dry the strip. We recommend disassembling the strip (if possible) to see if any water got inside and can be removed. Depending on the amount of water, you may need to purchase a new strip.
Aquarium power strips are an excellent way to power your aquarium in an organized and safe manner. They can consolidate your cords and offer surge protection and electrical shock protection for you. The safety value of this approach can not be overstated, as mixing water and electricity is a bad idea.
Our all-around recommendation for an aquarium power strip is the Tripp Lite Surge Protector. It has a versatile amount of plugs so it can fit all of your aquarium equipment. It also uses recessed switches, making it easier to operate if you have bulky plugs. It will meet the needs of most aquarium hobbyists and helps simplify your set-up.