The Macintosh TV Aquarium

Completed in March 1996.

With this project I addressed an old problem - getting the water level to the top of the monitor bezel opening. With the Lisa and Mac 512 cases I was able to keep the tank within the confines of the case because of their design. With the Mac TV (above) this wasn't even remotely possible.

I used posterboard to make a template of the tank. An obvious trick that I somehow never thought of before. This greatly aided in the design of the tank, eliminating much of my usual guesswork.

So, this tank departs completely from the notion of 'rectangular'. The sides are 3 inches taller at the back than at the front. The bottom is 1 inch narrower at the back than the front and the bottom drops 3 inches from front to back. The result is a rim around the top of the tank that is level and will allow filling to the top of the bezel opening and beyond.

Yet another 3-piece tank, this one resembles the original monitor-tank with one long piece forming both sides and the back. Two more pieces make up the bottom and face of the tank. The finished tank holds about 9 gallons of water.

Lighting this tank was a challenge. This time I placed a 3" acrylic tube in the bottom of the tank with an end poking through a hole in the front piece (behind the plate where the floppy and CD drives would have been) and capped on the other end (in the water). Into that tube I put an 8 watt flourescent fixture.

I then built a pair of long, narrow undergravel plates with one lift tube in each and placed them on either side of the light tube. Gravel was then added until only the top half of the tube is visible. When viewed through the faceplate the tube appears to be a very bright curved mirror laying in the middle of the gravel bed, the light bulb itself is not visible at all unless viewed from directly above.

There are a couple problems with this lighting setup. First of all, it is potentially dangerous. If water ever made its way into the tube with the light fixture the result surely wouldn't be pretty. Secondly, the light generates heat which in turn heats the water. If I ever build another tank like this I'll extend the light tube out the back of the tank as well to provide flow-through ventilation and virtually eleminate the chance of water leaking into the tube. I could even put a small muffin fan in the back of the tube to help exhaust the heated air.

Note to all "Computer Preservationists" - This Mac TV case never housed a computer. I bought the case plastic pieces new and proceeded from there. No computers were harmed in the creation of this habitat! The black keyboard was a "loaner" - I'm unwilling to part with the cash for one of my own.

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