Monday, February 17, 2014


Once upon a time my mom, a noted technophobe, surprised us by asking for a computer. "Mrs Finnegan [her friend] has one," she explained, "and can't stop talking about how much she likes it." Mom continued, "She keeps up with her grandkids, writes letters, finds recipes and looks up medical info." Mom was sure she'd love it.

Being the family computer maven I landed the procurement assignment. After consulting with my siblings it was decided that we'd all chip in and get her an iMac. A first generation purple iMac.

Mom didn't love it.

But dad did and it quickly became "his" computer. But time and technology kept advancing and eventually the iMac needed to be replaced. Dad is now happily using a late model Mac Mini. And the iMac somehow wound up on the floor in my living room. Where it sat collecting dust for quite some time.

And that's where it was when Patty first saw it. "Why do you have an old iMac in your living room?", she asked. "Because I've nowhere else to put it," I replied (it's a one bedroom condo and I have lots of stuff). "Hmmm ... " she said and I knew she was thinking (she's a good thinker).

Flash forward to Christmas morning (well not really, as we were in Trinidad on Christmas morning, so flash forward to the day near but after Christmas on which we opened presents), where I discovered the results of that thinking. I received a Macquarium kit. The kit, and the iMac, spent another year on my living room floor, although the iMac was disassembled at some point during that time, as travel and Patty's big year competition monopolized out time.

Finally, with the crappy weather we've been having this winter we had a weekend to build our Macquarium.

Lacking instructions, because the website they supposedly were available at was no longer accessible and email requests went unanswered, we were left to our own devices. Did I mention that Patty was a good thinker? That was key as she figured most of it out.

First a bit of tinkering with the innards of the iMac so that the tank would fit flush to the front bezel.

A closeup of the work, grinding out some of the plastic that held the CRT (I told you it was a first generation iMac).

It fits!

Next we add the lights, which required more dremmeling.

Time to add the water and make sure it doesn't leak.

Filled up and filter running.

The next day we added stones, fake plants, and a heater.

We took some of the water out to prepare for adding the fish, which includes adding the water they came with.

There's fish in there now! Three neon tetras, an albino cory catfish, and one mystery fish, a tiny fry of some sort, that got scooped up when we bought the fish.

Some final adjustments. And we're all set.

The three tetras are on the far right (click the image above to bigafy). And below we have a portrait of the catfish.

And finally a shot of the mystery fish, a very tiny fry.

It was a fun and easy project with pretty cool results. Patty  gives me the bestest Christmas presents. She has already procured a second iMac for conversion to a fish home. I think she's hooked.

Images 1, 2, 4, and 7 courtesy of Patty Rehn.


Tom T. Flora said...

I believe the fry is a Piranha.

LauraHinNJ said...

That is the coolest thing... what a great gift!

Now I want one, but don't have an old iMac.

MevetS said...

@ Tom, alas it is probably just a guppy. It is still alive and getting bigger. So we'll know soon enough.

@ Laura, maybe if you drop enough hints you could get one for your birthday ...