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The heater in my aquarium got defected and it is emitting some electricity. When we touch the water we get an electric shock, but in my aquarium there is an Oscar fish, which looks alright though. How can this be possible?

Is it because the fish doesn't have any earthing? But how can it be so, as water is a good conductor of electricity, so it should have an earthing right?

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  • $\begingroup$ I think you should remove the heater and replace it as soon as possible. It's dangerous to people and animals. $\endgroup$ – Ertxiem - reinstate Monica Dec 20 '19 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, i should do, but the fish looks fine, that is why i am reluctant.. :( $\endgroup$ – Turing101 Dec 20 '19 at 13:15
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The fish should not die as long as it does not touch the metal contacts of the heater. There is no potential difference along the fish which will cause it to get shocked. When it is suspended in water, electricity will choose to take the water route as it is the path of least resistance.

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    $\begingroup$ The fish does not have to touch the metal contacts of the heater to possibly get shocked. Voltage gradients exist in the water. It depends on the conductivity of the fish compared to the conductivity of the water. $\endgroup$ – Bob D Dec 20 '19 at 13:02
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    $\begingroup$ @HIRAKMONDAL Some other part of your body is contacting a grounded surface, making you a low impedance path to ground. $\endgroup$ – Bob D Dec 20 '19 at 13:06
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    $\begingroup$ As long as the voltage is not too high, yes. $\endgroup$ – Sam Dec 20 '19 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ Even if you are perfectly insulated from the ground, you may still feel a tingle if you touch an A.C. conductor with high enough voltage. That's because of capacitive coupling between your body and ground. As the voltage on the conductor alternates between negative with respect to ground and positive, a tiny current of electrons enters and leaves your body to "charge" it. Bigger critters, like us, feel it more than tiny critters, like birds. If you get near enough to extremely high voltage AC, you don't even have to touch the wire to have currents "induced" in your body by the electric field. $\endgroup$ – Solomon Slow Dec 20 '19 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ @HIRAKMONDAL - think of birds sitting on high-tension wires - they don't get electrocuted since they are sitting on one phase, no path to ground. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Dec 20 '19 at 14:56

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