Cable Management Ideas for a Saltwater Tank

cable management ideas for saltwater aquariums

When we set up reef aquariums, we often pride ourselves on the aesthetics of the display. The cabinet often looks sleek and modern; the lights look stylish and unobtrusive. The live rock is placed to our liking, and coral frags or colonies are placed purposely to enhance the look. Peering inside the cabinet, you may have the latest looking skimmer, roller mat and auto-dosing pump. However, you also have a rat’s nest of electrical cords that seem to have no beginning or end! In this article, I look at cable management ideas for a saltwater tank.

How do I organize my aquarium cables?

Thankfully, cable management is not reserved for aquarists alone. Computer technicians and electricians have been making cords look neat for decades, and we can learn a thing or two from them. When we are considering cable management ideas for a saltwater tank, it goes beyond the ‘looking neat’ aspect; we also need to consider the proximity of our cords near water and the inherent fire risk. Taking inspiration from computer cable management, you will need a few items to get you started:

1. Surge Protected Power Strip

Be sure to purchase a power strip that is switched, this will allow you to turn off each component individually. Also keep in mind that the outlets should be well spaced for the larger plugs that some aquarium components come with. Always purchase a power strip that includes surge protection, to protect your considerable investment.

Tripp Lite TLP76MSG 7 Outlet (6 Individually Controlled) Surge Protector Power Strip, 6ft Cord, Lifetime Limited Warranty & Dollar 25K Insurance
  • Protect any electronic device from power surges & spikes: Surge protector with two outlets protects your pc, personal computer, laptop, printer, scanner, router, phone, fax, modem, television, lamp or any other home/office electronics from dangerous power surges, spikes & line noise
  • Eco surge protection with individual outlet switches: This energy saving surge suppressor includes 7 total outlets; Six 5 15R outlets that have individual on/off switches to cut power to devices not being used, saving you energy and money and one 5 15R outlet that stays powered on 24/7 for all essential devices, such as a DVR or a router
  • Safety first high joule-rating conforms to UL 1449 safety standards: Automatic shutoff cuts power to all outlets when the protection circuit has been compromised. Diagnostic LEDS confirm surge protection status and "always on" connection at a glance 1080 joules mean maximum protection for your equipment; Conforms to current UL 1449 3rd edition safety standards

Cable Raceway for cords

I could not recommend the use of cable raceways enough. Raceways are a fantastic for considering them in cable management ideas for a saltwater tank. These are made to accommodate the lengths of cord, which can be wound up inside the cavity. They are available in different sizes and the larger the cavity of the raceway, the more cord you will be able to hide. They are made with slotted holes along its length that allow plugs to exit where required.

ZhiYo 2x2in Server Rack Cable Management, 6.4FT Cable Duct Cable Raceway Kit, Electrically Safe PVC for Network Cable Management, Open Slot Wire Raceway for Computer Under Desk, Wire Duct 2 x L3.2FT
  • Easily Manage Your Network and Data Cables: Designed with parallel openings on both sidewalls, making it convenient for you to assemble and wire. Its W2 in x H2 in large capacity can accommodate up to 40 cables (depending on their thickness). This package brings two 3.2ft (0.98m) long cable raceway, which can meet all your cable management needs.
  • U Cable Duct for Power Distribution Cabinet Cables: Uses high-quality PVC material, good insulation performance, flame retardant to 550°C, UL-94-V0 grade, better hardness, teeth not easily broken. Widely used in jump wiring and complex wiring scenes, as well as in homes, offices and industrial production.
  • Excellent Structural Design: Our cable management kit can manage and protect cables more efficiently. Its bottom and cover are stable and firm, and the design conforms to international standards. The Cable Channel is thickened to 0.07 in, which is durable, not easy to deform, sturdy, and anti-warping.

Cable Zip Ties with anchors

Whoever it was who invented zip ties, must have made a shed load of money. The kit I have recommended below includes anchors that can be mounted to the inside of an aquarium cabinet using the sticky back adhesive, or the included screws to make it more secure. Then by passing a zip tie through the anchor, you can secure the cable safely in place, out of harm’s way. The great thing about this system is that if you need to remove a component for any reason, a utility blade can unsecure the zip tie in seconds.

XHF 3/4" Strong Back-Glue Self Adhesive Black Cable Zip Tie Mounts 100pcs with 8" Zip Ties, Screws, UV Protection Outdoor Sticky Wire Fasteners Cable Clips Management Anchors Organizer Holders Squares
  • High quality material:XHF Adhesive Zip Tie Mounts are manufactured from 3M Strong Adhesive and PA66 nylon.
  • Wire tie downs without tools. Simply peel off the backing paper command strip ​place firmly on a clean, dust-free surface for best adhesion.
  • Anti-Tip furniture anchors,suitable for cars, house and office, can be applied to various cables such as computer cables, TV cables, Christmas lights cable, USB cables and so on

Colored Velcro straps

Velcro straps are super easy to use, and fantastic for neatening up hanging wires that would otherwise still look a mess. Colored Velcro strips are very helpful for a reefer. They help to identify the cords associated with a component easily. For example, you could use the blue strap around your lighting cords, and the red strap around your skimmer cord.

HMROPE 60PCS Fastening Cable Ties Reusable, Premium 6-Inch Adjustable Cord Ties, Microfiber Cloth Cable Management Straps Hook Loop Cord Organizer Wire Ties Reusable (Assorted Colors)
  • 【Reusable and Durable】Cable ties made from high quality microfiber cloth with hook & loop, They are elastic, durable and reusable.
  • 【NO Peeling off】Unlike many cheap cable straps on the market, the hook easily peel apart from the fabric under stress, Hmrope adopt the advanced technology totally free of this problem.
  • 【Simple to Use】 It is much better organizing cables than plastic cable ties and you don’t need to trim it. The cable wrap opens and closes easily and quickly.

How do I hide the cables in my aquarium?

With the above purchases made, the process of hiding your cables and making your cabinet look neat is an easy one. If you are already running your aquarium, you may need to unthread the rats nest. This could mean that there will be interruption of lighting or flow to your tank. Unplugging your heating will not have any immediate effect on the temperature of your water.

  • Plan your layout: Look at your cabinet space and decide how you are going to best utilize the raceways and the power strips. I secured mine horizontally, alternating three power strips between cable raceways. Consider where your controllers will be placed too.

  • Secure your raceways and power strips: My raceways were secured with small screws, and my power strips with double-sided tape.

  • Plug your components in: Remove the raceway covers and systematically plug your components into the power strips. Their position could be determined by the length of cord, grouping similar components together, and the layout of your raceways.

  • Tidying up the excess cord: Once you have plugged your components into the relevant outlets, you will notice that there is a lot of cord left to tidy up. Use zip ties to secure them into coils that can be placed within the body of the raceway. If anything like mine, those raceways should be jam packed with coiled cord.

  • Replace the raceway covers: Time to hide the mess. Slide or push the raceway covers into place, securing the cables behind them.

  • Labelling components: This would be a good time while it is still fresh in your mind to label the plug points. I used a permanent black marker and wrote the description of each component on the raceway adjacent to the plug.

  • Additional loose cords: It is not always possible to hide everything within the raceways. If you have any loose cords, use the colored Velcro straps and the zip tie anchors to neaten the remaining cords up.

  • Stand back and admire your work: nothing is more satisfying than a job well done!

Remember that your power strips will need to be powered too. I have connected my three strips into another power strip that is plugged into my wall outlet.

Taking cable management ideas for a saltwater tank one step further

A few reefers, faced with up to 20 components to power and too much cable on their hands, have turned to cable management techniques used by DJ’s. Using a DJ power strip mounted on the front of a false wall, they are able to hide their cables (neatly secured) behind the wall. This leaves only the power strips and controllers visible.

  • CREATE AN ORGANIZED BOOTH: The ADJ A/C Power Center allows you to omit clutter and keep cords organized. Don't break your neck in the dark tripping over cluttered wires.
  • CONNECT YOUR DEVICES: The A/C Power Unit is constructed with 8 120v 3-prong Edison sockets and a built in 15 amp circuit breaker that provide lasting power to your devices.
  • SEE IN THE DARK: Each power socket contains a lighted rocker switch that makes it easy to see in dimly lit clubs. Never lose control of your lighting!

This power strip includes eight 3 prong plug sockets in the back of the unit. This may be the solution to your cabling management problem. Always double check if all of your components plugs will fit the power strip. You may need to use plug in converters for some of those awkward ones. Hopefully this article has given you a great insight into cable management ideas for a saltwater tank.

Hi, my name is Craig.
I am the owner of The Salty Side.
Firstly, thank you for visiting us. If you have found this article to be informative, and you now have a better understanding of the topic, then my job is done.

If you are feeling charitable, and feel I deserve a little thank you, I thank you in advance for any support given.

Cable Management Ideas for a Saltwater Tank

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