Jake Harms Turns iMac G3s into Beautiful iMacquariums

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A creative man by the name of Jake Harms is turning classic iMac G3s into aquariums. He previously fell in love with the G3 in high school, where he took on video-editing projects and became an iMovie master. He loved his iMac so much that his parents bought him a personal one for home use. Then in 2007, he was asked to throw away a broken iMac G3. He had a personal connection to this particular computer and felt that the design of the G3 was just too beautiful to go to waste. He decided that he would take the computer apart for fun, or do something more meaningful with it.

Online he stumbled across a “Macquarium,” an iMac G3 turned into a full-blown aquarium. He was ecstatic until he realized there were no instructions to actually put one together. Harms then set out on a mission to build his aquarium. He ended up being successful, but with a few design flaws. Harms then built, what he calls, “iMacquariums” for his friends and family, improving the design with each rendition.

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Not initially setting out to save the environment, Harms has reduced some environmental impact by saving hundreds of iMacs from entering landfills. Harms does what is known as “up-cycling.” Up-cycling is the practice of taking something old and remaking it into something useful. Harms up-cycles out of a small shop with his brother, and together they form assembly line for iMacquarium production. Disassembling the computers takes a long time and most parts of the computer cannot be reused. The unusable parts such as the motherboard, monitor, and wires and tossed into separate containers for proper recycling.

Three main components are used in production. First is the the fish tank, with a relatively small capacity of 3.5 gallons. Harms recommends only using small fish that can thrive in this environment. Your fish of choice will be illuminated from the top and sides thanks to the second main component, built in rope lights. The third most important component is the Whisper tank filter.

The iMac is reassembled with all of the aforementioned components into a beautiful iMacquarium. The final product is buffed, polished, and waxed to look shiny and new. The colored part of the iMac lifts off to give access to the inside. Even the tiny Apple logo can be removed for quick feedings.

Harms has built over 1,000 aquariums to date. The Nebraska resident ships his creations to fish lovers all across the globe. While the idea for the Macquarium as been around for a while now, Harms claims he believes he is the first “weirdo” to actually build them for sale.

If you’re more of a do-it-yourself person, Harms also sells the iMacquarium kit which provides you with everything you need to build your own aquarium. One of the issues with this route that it could be dangerous. CRT monitors can carry an electric charge even over a long period of time. This means a brave soul who decides to build their own iMacquarium must properly discharge the CRT monitor before handling it. Failure to properly discharge the CRT monitor can result in electrocution. The other problem with the kit, you must find your own iMac G3, and not just any G3.  The G3 must feature the slot-loading CD-ROM drive rather than the tray.

The kit is available for $189 and the complete hassle-free iMacquarium can be purchased for $299.

In addition to the iMacquarium, Harms created the “iLamp” and “eClock.” The iLamp is Harms’ favorite creation out of the three. The iLamp is made using an Apple G4 iMac. It uses an LED lightbulb and even includes a USB port to charge your iPhone or iPad. The baseplate has been refinished to remove scratches, unsightly lettering, and barcodes. The iLamp can be purchased for $399.

His last creation is the eClock which is made using the Apple eMac disc drive tray cover. The eClock is Harms’ most simple piece of work and is also his most affordable, at $29.


Besides turning old iMac G3s into aquariums, Harms works another job. Continuing with his initial love for video and video editing, Harms and his wife have become successful wedding videographers.

Visit Harms’ website here.

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