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Diy Fish-o-vision


Keeponswimming

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So, on another thread where I discussed my sweet Otis, there were several comments made about my tank, and I would love to share with you how I made it so that others out there may enjoy Fish-O-Vision as well! It's fairly simple, the only hard part is finding the old TV-set. :)

The tank:

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I made this when I was 18 with nothing more than a dry-wall saw, a bit of glue, and some serious elbow grease.

Someone gave me the 18" TV set as a gift for my new apartment....problem was the thing didn't work. But it was such a neat set, an old 70's thing that came inside the molded case of plastic. I couldn't bear to throw it away, and then the idea of this tank came to me. I could always watch fish like they were TV, so why not have a Fish-O-Vision instead of a television?

So, I pulled out some wire-clippers, and went to work disconnecting the wires on the knobs to the tube. Once I had the tube severed from the casing of the set itself, I pulled it out and dumped it off at a junk yard to be recycled. That left me with the plastic, molded TV case. I cleaned it all up, and measured the inside to find that a 20 gallon Tall tank would fit (24L x 12.5 W x 17T).

I then went out an bought all the necessary equipment, the tank, filters, toppers, etc.

Anyway, when I got the tank home, I measured the top of the TV set, and marked where I would need to cut. The tank alone fit, but the head-lamp, filter, and flip-top would not. I carefully marked out the area to cut, then I took a Dry-Wall hand-saw, covered my face with a mask to protect against the fine particles of plastic-dust, and began to saw. Looking back, I should have just used a hand-held electric band-saw, but at the time, the dry-wall saw was the only thing I had. To cut through that thick, hard plastic, you need something with a serrated edge. Using the hand-saw, it took me two days to cut through the top of the set, and left me with some really sore arms!

After sawing was complete, I cleaned the set up again, and simply slid the aquarium right in. It fit perfectly. It is not held in there, it simply slides in and out when I want to remove the tank from behind. I took the old knobs, sans the wires that had originally hooked them to the original TV tube, and glued them back on the front to complete the look that one would be watching fish in a TV set. Last, I covered the back of the tank with a poster of under-water life, otherwise you just see straight through the tank to the wall/cords, tubes/etc. on the other side, which is fine of-course, but it pops the suspension of disbelief that one is actually watching fish inside a TV. That backdrop is key.

Voila! Fish-O-Vision!

The trick here is finding a suitable old TV-set to serve as the holder for your tank. Sets from the 70, 60 and 50's are ideal because it was a popular thing to sell an entire TV set within a molded casing. Some were set in wood, others, like mine, in hard plastic. You can find a lot of these sets at junk-yards, yard-sales, Craigslist, Ebay, thrift-shops, or even an estate sale. It is best if you find one where the TV tube has burnt out, or one that is broken, since you will only be throwing it away/recycling it.

The drawback is....the thing is incredibly heavy when full. It is a monster to move, and worse to clean should you ever have to do a full scrub-down. Broken into parts, it is very light, but once it's put together and fully functional, there's no moving it without pulling something, since it becomes one entire unit after it is running. Should you decide to embark on a FV of your own, keep this in mind, and have a place that you can gain easy access to the tank, and in an area that you know you will leave it for a long time, or won't be moving anytime soon that is also ideal for the sunlight and whatnot needed for the health of the fish. I know that many of you have giant, beautiful aquariums/ponds, so you know already about what it takes to clean and move a big, heavy tank.

Of-Course...there is nothing saying it has to be in a big TV set like this....a small set, like an old Black and White 13" could hold a five gallon for instance, and not bee heavy at all. :)

I hope you enjoyed my little DIY tank-story and wish you all many hours of fun creating and watching your FV! It would be great to see others who have created an FV tank too!

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  • Regular Member

Is that enough room for that goldie, though? :o

While it looks very interesting, I wonder if there is enough space for the fish.. I suppose it could be done with larger, older tv's... :hmm

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Thanks for the compliments everyone!

@ Vee: Otis is the only fish in there. It's a Twenty Gallon tank, and he has reached maximum adult size, but for more than one fish like him, I do believe it would be too small.

It would depend on the breed and whatnot as to how many fish it can actually hold, otherwise. A School of Neon Tetras would do nicely in the tank, for example, if you want to put a bunch of fish in there.

It is deceptive because a good quarter of the tank is hidden behind the panel with the knobs on it. If you look, you can see that the actual lid of the tank is as long and wide as the TV set itself, but the viewing part is much smaller. He often hangs out behind that panel, making it look like there aren't any fish in there at all! LOL

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I think the tank looks deceptively small, even though it's a 20 gallon because parts of it are hidden behind the TV frame. I think this is definitely a very cool stand. Just make sure that the stand holds the weight, as Red pointed out.

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Ooh! He's a big one at that. :o

:) I'm currently reworking an old goldie tank into a tropical one. I don't know if I'd be able to find a tv big enough to hold a 50g tank! :rofl

Otis is a gorgeous fish, though. :):heart

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Thank you Vee! He is my pride and joy! My little Swimmer-son!

You all do have a point..you would need to make sure that the stand it's on is very sturdy...this TV set is one solid, extremely thick metal-and-plastic mold. It was made to survive anything short of a meltdown! LOL

The stand is molded as part of the TV, they aren't separate parts, it's definitely not common. I've had this tank for 16 years, and moved it across country...twice. It's solid, heavy and very sturdy, which is why when it is up and running, I don't move it without help. When it's full, it stays put. I can remove just the tank at will though, it is not attached to the set, but rather sits inside it. The only thing I have ever had to replace is the Aquarium flip-top once (broke it), lights and filters/aerators etc. The tank is the original tank I bought for it all those years ago.

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