Part I: Basic Hacks, Tools, and Techniques
8. Test the aquarium
Before adding fish and a water pump, you will need to
ensure that the tank is water-tight. Take the tank to your
sink and fill it up with tap water, watching for leaks. If
you see any, note their locations with a marker. Dry out
the areas in question for 30 minutes and then add more
solvent. Retest after you’ve fixed the leak.
Project Demo
If there are no leaks, install the filter plate and add gravel
to the bottom of the tank. Install an air pump and fill
the tank with water. Treat the water according to the
directions on the treatment package. Add fish and enjoy your creation! You
should have something that looks like Figure 2-69.
Upon first seeing your new fish tank, most people will probably do a double
take. They might even comment, “I dont recall the Mac SE having a color
Clean and maintain the tank just like a regular fish tank. And don’t forget
to feed your screensaver!
In this hack we concentrated on the Macintosh, but it is quite simple
to use the same techniques to modify an old monitor. You will need to
figure out for yourself how to take apart the case. Please be very careful
when handling the electronics and the tube inside the monitor. Follow
the same precautions as were described for discharging the Mac’s pic-
ture tube.
You will have to design your own Plexiglas enclosure following the same
methods outlined in this hack. Get a little extra acrylic plastic to prac-
tice with before starting on the final project.
These tanks can be quite striking when complete. Figure 2-70 shows a
tank that fits inside a large monitor case.
Figure 2-69:
Completed Macquarium
Project Demo
ch02_aquarium.indd 42
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Chapter 2, How to Build an Aquarium Inside a Macintosh
To add some realism to your monitor/tank,
you could add a blinking LED to the power
lamp of the monitor.
In Chapter 15, How to Build an Internet
Coffeemaker, you will hack together a web-
based temperature and water sensor. You could
easily use that hack with your new fish tank to
allow you to monitor the temperature and main-
tain a satisfactory water level for your fish tank
from anywhere in the world.
If you want to give your fish some company,
you could mount the screen from an old lap-
top computer in the back and run a fish-tank
screensaver. Any color laptop should work.
Simply separate the screen from the base of the laptop, taking care to
protect the thin connection cables between the two. Repack the main
CPU board and keyboard in an enclosure behind the tank, and you are
ready to go. If the laptop has a free USB port, you could even add a web
camera and watch the fish.
If you want to be able to remotely feed your fish, an inexpensive fish
feeder can be hacked to allow web-based control. The same mini-web
server used in Chapter 15 could be used to trigger a relay that switches
on the feeder.
Figure 2-70:
Large monitor aquarium
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