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Geek Alert! The PC Aquarium

By Leonard Ho - Posted Jan 11, 2013 08:00 AM
Witness water cooled personal computer taken to the extreme. Miami engineer Francesco Hofer designs the AquariumPC: A working personal computer that is fully submerged INSIDE AN AQUARIUM. Just how does he do this?
Geek Alert!  The PC Aquarium

The Marrakech, one of three AquariusPC models.

The AquariumPC is a fully operational computer system designed inside a liquid-filled 5 gallon aquarium for the ultimate in silent, cool computing.  Yes; The Intel/AMD CPU, motherboard, Nvidia/ATI videocard, memory, and power supply are completely submerged!  And yes, you can turn on this computer to surf the internet, crunch your tax numbers, or play a game of minesweeper .

Hofer pulls of the seemingly impossible feat by filling the AquariumPC's "aquarium enclosure" with pharmaceutical grade mineral oil, chosen for the following properties:

  • High heat conductivity
  • No electrical conductivity
  • Odorless and colorless
  • Low viscosity
  • Non-flammable
  • Non-oxidizing

These characteristics allow the electronics to function normally without fear of short-circuiting, all while the mineral oil provides cooling that Hofer claims is "much more reliable than fan or liquid cooling systems."  An air pump provides convective circulation of the solution in order to transfer heat out of the aquarium.  The only part that is not submerged is the hard drive, whose moving parts would not properly function because the density of the oil interferes with its mechanical parts. However, we don't see why you couldn't use a solid state hard drive in the AquariumPC.

The bottom of the AquariumPC is even lined with gravel for the full aquarium effect.  No; You can't keep fish in the mineral oil.

Prices range from $500-600 for a fully assembled computer ... not bad considering you'll be the only guy on your block with a PC aquarium;  It's a guaranteed conversation piece.  Here is a video of the AquariumPC in action.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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