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Recycled iMac Aquariums: Bringing the Classic Desktop Screensaver to Life
Jake Harms sells premade iMac aquariums or you can make your own with his DIY kit
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Some best remember the Flying Toaster screensaver from After Dark(formerly Magic Screensaver), but many of us rocked the Aquatic Realm for years. Following the success of the famed screensaver software, the animated aquarium screensaver has popped up year after year — even in 2015. Jake Harms has perfectly captured the essence of this with his extremely aesthetic recycled iMac G3 aquariums. People have been building aquariums out of old Macs for years, but it seems Harms is the first to make a business out of it and also the first to provide DIY kits for the recycled beauties. We absolutely love seeing this trend of recycling old electronics into modern treasures!

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“As far as I know I’m the only weirdo in the world building iMac Aquariums for sale.” -Jake Harms

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The iMac G3’s aesthetics were just too good to trash

“It started in 2007 when at work, I was asked to throw away a broken G3 iMac. 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,” Harms notes on his Macquarium website.

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After building 1,000 iMac aquariums, Harms hit up Kickstarter

Aiming to raise $5,000 USD, Harms ended up with almost double his Kickstarter goal. Just under 50 backers ordered DIY kits or finished aquariums. The assembly process is simple, but can be tricky without his DIY package.

First, you have to gut out an old G3 and insert a 3.5 gallon acrylic box to hold the water and fish. That’s really the hardest step, which is why the custom-made boxes from Harms’ kits are worth your money. The custom box has an added filter and rope lights around its edges. The next step is just adding it back into the Mac and putting the outer monitor casing back together. Finally, the outer shell is buffed up nice and shiny, making it a great gift for any techie who loves that retro iMac style.

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the iMac aquarium comes in all 6 original G3 colors

Each aquarium retails for $299 USD on Harms’ website, while the kit is $189 USD if you’re on a tighter budget or just want to go through the motions yourself. It’s also worth noting that the kit is meant for the slot-loading G3, not the model with a tray and that properly discharging the old CRT monitor is extremely important. If not, you might end up shocking yourself while disassembling and gutting the monitor.

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Originally published at on November 23, 2015.