Advice for a fishtank pc

hey everyone,

i've got 2 systems, one old one new. id like to use the parts from my old system to make an aquarium pc, but im still unsure of what to do from here on.

it's not quite a large fish tank, the mobo and the psu fit side by side and take up the full width of the case but looking birds eye view on the case (or tank) it's roughly 24cm in length and 35cm in width.

what i need to know is:

is it ok to use baby oil instead of mineral oil?
will i need a radiator or any special cooling, eventhough it's quite a small tank?
do i need to put anything else around mobo/parts?

basically before this system was taken out of the case it was used for web browsing, music, photoshop, light gaming, hd movies. so nothing extreme happening on this pc.

im doing this fishtank thing more for looks than cooling, but i've never done it before so im not sure how parts will hold up.

specs of the system:

FoxConn p4m9007mb-8krs2h
Core2Duo E4700 @ Stock 2.6ghz + stock cooler
nvidia 9500gt (may upgrade to a gtx460 is found cheap)

APower 600W PSU (needs to be replace, as it dies under load)
18 answers Last reply
More about advice fishtank
  1. Hello Jess95;

    Something like this? Mineral Oil Submerged PC in Aquarium
  2. Looks like baby oil is mineral oil with added fragrance.
    It would be important to figure out what the extra ingredients are besides mineral oil.
    I would think mineral oil would be less expensive.
  3. +1 mineral oil, you'll be able to buy that in industrial quantities, you won't be able to do that with baby oil.
  4. dont think i've seen mineral oil at the supermarkets, i looked up typical supermarkets in australia you can get a 500ml bottle for $2.50, i'll probably need 12 - 16 bottles, plus some lighting and a new psu. it's quite easier that way where i can get a few bottles rather than ordering a massive tin and waiting for it to arrive. baby oil should still work, right? the same youtube videos say baby oil/mineral oil. like this one:
  5. also from this website:

    "The only difference between baby oil and mineral oil in general is that baby oil has added fragrance."

    at least it wont have that 'oily smell'

    but will i definitely need a radiator or can it pass without one, ill be getting a water pump because i like the bubbles, and it'll probably spread the heat more.

    do i need to cover/seal any parts??

    btw, if i ever want to change a component do i just take out the mobo and add the new part or??

    sorry bout all the questions, but i dont just wanna tip in all the oil and watch it break :P

  6. there's a pic of the tank and the mobo mounted to the homemade mobo tray, it posts fine. should i tip the oil in from here, or have i missed anything?
    and yes, the hdd will not be inside.
  7. the only think I can think of is are there any fans in the system, they should be replaced with passive heat sinks, but then I've never done this, I do however know the above to be true. Are you intending PSU to be in or out?
  8. i want the psu to be inside, from what i've seen on youtube on lots of videos they've just put everything into the container or fish tank or whatever (except the hdd) and topped it up with the oil and nothing surged. They also say that there's no need to keep any fans, because they only spins around 100rpm in the oil, but you can leave em in for looks.
    im also replacing the cpu, but since im running all old hardware from around 3 years ago i wont spend more than $35 on a psu, and ill make sure its 450 w or higher, and a branded one, because the generic one i have now tends to play up but only under load or heat.

    here's another pic of everything in the tank.
  9. my concern would be that the load on the fans would be a lot higher and they'd pull more current, which 'could' cause the fans to fail (not so bad), or could damage the fan controllers (a bit worse) which could have knock-on effects elsewhere on the mobo (quite bad), so all in all if you are going to use them then control them separately as you don't want to be pulling the mobo out because of a fan controller.
  10. hmm i guess so. but ill be buying a brand new psu, and fans dont pull much power, right? either way, if they become a problem i can simply disconnect the fans and pull em out.

    btw, if i wanna swap the graphics card at any time would that be alright?
  11. no idea on gpu, but fan blades are light so that they can spin fast a low power, there have been reports of fan blades breaking due to a build up of dust on the edges, oil has got to put a greater load on.
  12. You don't have to connect the fans to the fan headers on the motherboard. You can connect them to a 4-pin Molex peripheral connector from the power supply and not have to worry about burning out any copper traces on the motherboard.

    The viscosity of the mineral oil will definitely affect the power draw of the fans.
  13. +1, definately run them that way, far more fixable should anything go wrong
  14. i've got one fan, the stock cpu fan. if it's a problem i'll remove it. i wont be putting any more fans in, however i will use a line of case lighting in there.
  15. ive filled the tank just past the power supply, and it boots!
    i put an old led fan on the bottom of the fish tank, it's connected to the fan connector on the mobo, it looks nice and spins the oil around, so that way heat should be able to spread throughout the case.
  16. I always wanted to do this with my xbox. Now I'm motivated to give it a go. LoL
  17. i would monitor temperatures under load around the cpu for a little while. natural thermal convection (like a lava lamp) plus the fan should do fairly well at heat dissipation, but i wouldnt leave it to chance.

    you can get a rad, pump, and some tubing for pretty cheap, it cant hurt. they make chemical pumps designed to carry heavier viscosity liquids, but i think any ol' pump will work.

    something else you could do that would be very cool is to remove the cpu heat sink, expose it from the oil, and have a pump cascading oil over it. saw it on youtube, he had pretty good temps too.
  18. hey guys, it's all finished, it's got about 12 or 13 litres of baby oil in there, i dont think you can find plain mineral oil retail
    in australia. The best price for the most oil i could get was the generic brand at $2.29 per bottle for a half litre.
    Specs as above in my first post except i swapped the 9500gt for my slightly slower ATI HD5450, because it's a low profile card and doesn't need the SPDIF cable to sound, and because the custom lid i had made doesnt have a high enough gap for normal profile expansion cards.

    here's a pic:

    Temps :

    CPU: 27°C
    GPU: 25°C

    Under Load (Fur Mark)
    CPU: 40-42°C
    GPU: 46-47°C

    The tank is about 80% full, just covering the cpu fan as seen in the above pic.

    I went to the pet store and grabbed a basic air pump to make some bubbles in the tank but i didnt realize it wouldn't come with a tube ahaha my bad :P

    But the LED case fan i've got in there seems to light it up a bit, hard to show you's in a photo.

    I always wanted to do this with my xbox. Now I'm motivated to give it a go. LoL

    That's an awesome idea, you could use a smaller fishtank too.
    Quite a good idea actually seeing as ps3/xbox 360 have gotten quite old now. :)
Ask a new question

Read More

Power Supplies Components