Television of the Revolution


“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” - Albert Einstein

My TV aquarium is in it’s functioning form!

This is my first attempt at art (since mandatory art class, in middle school).  Now, I’m trying to learn about the Nitrogen Cycle to tell everyone, “It’s alive!”  The nitrogen cycle is the term of finding the aquarium’s chemical balance, namely ridding fish poop in the eco-system.

Fortunately, enough time passed between initially seeing this idea and constructing it so that I could use my own independent solutions (the best way to learn, which includes failures) and finish this project.  If you care, this is how I did it:

  • Found a free television on craigslist.
  • (Let it sit in the front room for over a year.)
  • Gutted all the internal components from the case.
  • Built a 1″ base that brings the tank flush to the plastic paneling.
  • Bought an aquarium with a curved front. I figured this would be cheaper than buying a custom built aquarium, as well as less complex (for a project that already stretches my limits) than building a glass aquarium with curved edges.  See * notes below.
  • *Hacked off the paneling so that the curved aquarium can bulge out a little bit.
  • Cut a section of the top off of the cabinet and hinged it for an access lid to the aquarium.
  • *Mounted two “ultra-slim” fluorescent lights on the lid to light the aquarium, due to limited top space between the cabinet and the aquarium.
  • *Installed an under-gravel filtering (as opposed to a more modernly conventional side mounted mechanical filter).
  • *For visual effect, I draped black landscaping material on the bottom and sides to disguise the wood on the inside of the cabinet, thereby helping to make the aquarium flush to the cabinet.
  • Mounted a 6″ fan — which isn’t my biggest fan — to the rear door to pull moisture out which keeps the wooden cabinet from warping, rotting, growing moss-like stuff, etc.
  • I stared and watched tv for multiple hours.

*A compromise of buying an off-the-shelf aquarium.

Future Explorations

I want to incorporate this fish tank into an eco-system with edible plants and possibly edible aquatic animals, termed aquaponics . .

. . . and take over the world!

5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Rooster said,

    I’ve been slowly working backwards from your plan: I’m starting with water plants and want to institute fish or other water creatures. What are your recommendations? What’s the smallest animal for the task that can survive (happily) in an ecosystem the size of a mason jar?

  2. 2

    aquadump said,

    one thing i hate about hippie ideas is the lack of technical information. i am going on guesses right now. the most detail i’ve found is in the toolbox for sustainable city living. it has good ideas and good diagrams. it lacks how to actually implement the ideas, such as where do i obtain (in a city) invasive species (which will thrive in these small set-ups).

    make sure you have water flow (might be manual?) to keep the system clean. you’re creating an environment where stuff likes to grow, but you only want a few select plants to grow. what do you plan to use as a barrier to keep the fish from eating the plant?

    just fyi, i made a few “land barges” out of two wine corks tied together with string. this is what i plan to grow my hydroponics in. i’m letting the land barges get acclimated in a tank right now. the aquatic frogs like to hang out on them!

  3. 3

    Jimmy said,

    Way better than cable.

  4. 4

    [...] } After reading the aquaponics section of the Toolbox for Sustainability, I tied my TV Aquarium into an urban garden, termed [...]

  5. 5

    [...] you experience in your place of temporary permanence.  For me this year, I allowed myself to watch television, grow stuff, and gain comfort wrenching on [...]


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