Mike's Macquarium
operating macquarium
click on the image above to see a larger picture

Update 12/30/2009:  Macquarium is now operating with a male Betta Splendens comfortabily roaming the interior.  My wife has taken custody of the Macquarium, which is why it has finally been put into comission.  The kids and their friends really get a kick out this unit.  The LED lighting is controlled by the on/off switch at the rear of the unit and works wonderfully.  The air pump has been disconnected because it was too loud when operating inside this echo chamber.  The background scene was painted by my wife on a piece of scrap canvas and wrapped around the outside of the tank, before inserting into the enclosure.

Total cost of the project was about $15 for a rope lighting set that I decided not to use and the aquarium safe silicon glue.  Everything else was either donated or from one scrap pile or another.  The glass for the tank was basically free, since the glass place didn't have it cut when the said they would.  They gave me the glass plus some expensive non-glare picture frame glass I had also ordered for another project for a total of $10.

macquarium back
Back and top of shell showing handle cutout.  Run, don't walk to the nearest store stocking Mototools prior to starting the job of gutting one of these machines.   There is more cutting to be done than there might first appear to be and there is not a lot of room to work inside the case.  The power  connection will actually power pump and light.  Switch will control light only.  It must be unplugged to remove power from the pump.  Connectors on bottom are non-functional, but allow the mouse cable to be connected to somewhere.
inside of the macquarium
A view of inside with the front bezel and the tank removed.  This shows wiring for pump and LED lighting.  Circuit board is in place for keyboard and mouse connections.  It was cut away to allow room for pump.  Power supply for lighting can just be seen hiding behind pump.  It is a converted cell phone charger.  Plywood platform for tank is supported by a screw in each corner, which allows for some adjustment.   I will add more insulation around the power connections prior to installing water and fish.  I'm a little nervous about the proximity of water and AC power, which is probably slowing up progress more than anything else.
macquarium lighting
LED lighting, an idea from one of my co-workers.  LEDs are small and approximately 10 times more efficient than incandescent lighting making them ideal candidates for this application.   I'm hoping the bluish light works well in this application.  LEDs are mounted on a plastic sheet which is screwed to a couple of strips of wood of appropriate size.  The wood was attached to the top with contact cement.
macquarium LED wiring
LED wiring is simple.  Each led requires a current limiting resistor.  Use ohms law, the measured voltage output of the chosen power supply along with the rated current of the LED to determine resistor value.  
painting the macquarium tank
Painting the tank sides and back.  The top and front were masked off to keep the inside and front free from overspray.  I'm hoping the dark green shows off the fish well, though I'm already wondering if I shouldn't have tried a dark blue, instead.  This painted exterior was abandoned.  Instead an scene was painted on canvas and wrapped around the the outside of the clean glass.

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