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Over 1,000 iMac aquariums sold: Fish screensavers are still in style

You can buy your own iMac aquarium (or lamp or eMac clock) online from Jake Harms, who turned a DIY hobby into a business.

Jake Harms has built over 1,000 aquariums from old iMac G3 computers. Jake Harms

In fond memory of those aquarium screensavers, people have been building aquariums inside old Macs for years. However, you usually have to assemble them yourself. Nebraska resident Jake Harms, on the other hand, sells his creations to people around the globe.

"As far as I know I'm the only weirdo in the world building iMacAquariums for sale," he says on his website. In addition to turning old G3s into fish tanks, Harms repurposes the domelike bases of iMac G4s into lamps and the disc tray covers from eMacs into desk clocks.

He's built over 1,000 aquariums from old iMac G3 computers, according to a story on

To make an "iMacAquarium," Harms basically guts an old G3 and inserts a custom-made 3.5-gallon acrylic box inside that holds the water and fish. (It's still important to choose a fish that will thrive in a tank this size.) He equips the box with a filter and runs rope lights around it, then places it all back inside the Mac and puts the outer casing back on. He then buffs the outer shell to get it nice and shiny. The result is a home for fish that would make a great gift for any techie.

"It started in 2007 when at work I was asked to throw away a broken G3 iMac," Harms says on his site. "As the type of person I am, instead of tossing this beautiful computer in the trash I asked to take it home knowing I may tinker with it someday...Soon I found pictures online showing all types of Macs that had been turned into aquariums and dubbed the 'Macquarium.' I decided to build one myself but with no luck finding any instructions online I was on my own."

The aquariums sell for $299 (about £195, AU$385) on Harm's site and can be shipped internationally for an additional cost. If that's too steep, he also sells a DIY kit that helps you turn your own old Mac into a super-cool fish condo for $189. Harms warns that to use the kit, you need to have a slot-loading G3 -- not one with a tray -- and that you need to be sure you properly discharge the CRT monitor, which could be holding a charge that could lead to shocking results when you take the thing apart.

When he's not busy turning old Macs into new gear, Harms does wedding photography and videography with his wife -- a calling he says he was inspired to follow after he learned photo-editing software in his high school computer lab, which was filled with -- you guessed it -- shiny new iMac G3s.

Jake Harms