This PC case with built-in aquarium is a terrible idea

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,321   +162
Staff member
Facepalm: Self-contained liquid cooling kits have brought watercooling to the masses, but that doesn't mean mixing H2O with electronics is always a good idea. Add live animals to the equation and you're just asking for trouble.

The Y2 fish tank chassis from Metalfish is an aluminum computer case with a built-in fish tank mounted on top that can support micro-ATX or mini-ITX builds. It features dual 90mm cooling fans and can accommodate one 2.5-inch hard drive as well as dual-slot video cards up to 200mm in length. CPU cooler height is limited to 90mm.

I'll be the first to admit that the Y2 chassis looks neat, but that's about as far as I'm willing to go.

Overlooking the obvious hazard associated with unnecessarily adding water to your computer case, one must also consider heat. I'm no marine biologist but I'm pretty sure that subjecting fish to constant temperature changes probably isn't great for their health.

This isn't Metalfish's first aquatic-themed chassis. The aptly-named Fish Cube is also designed to house fish in the same enclosure as a PC but puts the two side by side instead of top to bottom.

Even more amusing is the fact that Metalfish wasn't the first to market with an aquarium-themed computer case. Nearly 20 years ago, premium aluminum case maker Lian Li launched its PC-6010 ATX chassis with an optional $99 fish tank side panel.

While Lian Li's chassis was equally sketchy in terms of risk, it notably relied on colorful plastic fish instead of the real thing. It also came with a pump to circulate the fish, cold cathode lighting and even plastic gravel to complete the look.

Most of the specs of the Y2 are printed in Chinese on brochure-style images that can't easily be translated. It does appear to utilize a Flex power supply and has RGB lighting as well as LED lights for the fish tank up top. There also looks to be a USB-powered pump / oxygenator and a remote control for the RGB lighting.

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terzaerian

Posts: 1,472   +2,146
Yes, this is just loony.

That said the light over the top of the tank there did put me in the mind of making it a succulent terrarium or perhaps lizard or turtle enclosure. The latter would probably appreciate the warmth more.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 759   +1,201
Just throwing this out there, couldn't the heat from the PC be harmful to the fish? Fish used to 30c sitting on top of a 90c GPU just seems bad.....
Three words: specific heat capacity. Temperature is the average measure of heat, but not the actual heat. The actual heat depends on mass (of which a water tank will have a lot) and specific heat capacity (very high for water).

In addition, surface area makes a big difference too because it'll increase the cooling rate with ambient air. Imagine thinking of the tank as an enormous heat sink. A normal heat sink might have 50-100 square inches of surface area, but a water tank will have well over 10x that.

In summary, the combination of a crazy amount of heat water can store plus how much more easily water will cool off compared to the tiny heat source will probably leave those fish just fine.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,604   +5,541
Three words: specific heat capacity. Temperature is the average measure of heat, but not the actual heat. The actual heat depends on mass (of which a water tank will have a lot) and specific heat capacity (very high for water).

In addition, surface area makes a big difference too because it'll increase the cooling rate with ambient air. Imagine thinking of the tank as an enormous heat sink. A normal heat sink might have 50-100 square inches of surface area, but a water tank will have well over 10x that.

In summary, the combination of a crazy amount of heat water can store plus how much more easily water will cool off compared to the tiny heat source will probably leave those fish just fine.
I understand thermal mass, but what if you have a 6+ hour gaming session. I know when I'm off work in the winter I've had days where I game for 12+ hours a day. That heat has to go somewhere. After several hours you could increase the water temperature significantly depending on your hardware setup
 

dualkelly

Posts: 217   +258
This would work better as a reservoir tank for water cooler...One big enough to submerge some type of underwater scene. Xcom 2 terror from the deep scene or something.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,520   +5,926
This would work better as a reservoir tank for water cooler...One big enough to submerge some type of underwater scene. Xcom 2 terror from the deep scene or something.
I wonder how long it would take a high end gaming setup to heat up that much water.....
 

BuckarooBonzai

Posts: 137   +97
At least you don't need an aquarium heater in cold climates. But then you do have fishes that live in warm water areas.
 
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dualkelly

Posts: 217   +258
I wonder how long it would take a high end gaming setup to heat up that much water.....
Good question. I have a Thread Ripper 3990X pro on a custom water loop which of course nothing else will cool this beast. and it puts out enough heat to keep the room noticeable warmer in the winter. Often do not need anymore additional heat in the room there have been times where I had to open the window in the middle of winter because it was too warm in the room.
 

CrisisDog

Posts: 265   +157
Boiling the fish alive would not be a concern for me. I don't think it would ever get hot enough to effect the fish in a life or death manner. However, I've had enough fish tanks that after 5 to 10 years, the silicon sealant would begin to give way and leak. If this were not a solid piece of transparent plastic, I would fear for my PC components.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,230   +275
I have a better idea, ditch the fish and put it below your desk, so your feet can be always warm during winter.
 

ThrakazogZ

Posts: 64   +91
If (instead of a PC) they had built a top tier filtration (for salt and fresh), temperature, and lighting system in the bottom of that aquarium....it would actually be pretty cool.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,952   +6,995
If you think a fish-tank is bad, I saw one online that used a toilet......
I saw that, too. Apparently, its not that uncommon.
If (instead of a PC) they had built a top tier filtration (for salt and fresh), temperature, and lighting system in the bottom of that aquarium....it would actually be pretty cool.
In that same way, they could have used the circulating water as a coolant loop for the PC components. If the tank was big enough, it would probably work very well, and keep the tank within a reasonable temperature range.
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,138   +1,337
Agree with the author, this is just plain old stupid! Just think when the tank eventually begins to leak - right into the PC - POOF!
 

ThrakazogZ

Posts: 64   +91
I saw that, too. Apparently, its not that uncommon.

In that same way, they could have used the circulating water as a coolant loop for the PC components. If the tank was big enough, it would probably work very well, and keep the tank within a reasonable temperature range.
A water cooling loop popped into my head, also, when I saw this article......but realistically, the temps wouldn't be stable enough for any but the hardiest species. Worse.....even if you get around the temp problem, keeping the proper water chemistry needed in an aquarium would be difficult given the materials used in a typical cooling loop.
 

CanAqua

Posts: 15   +18
I don't think it's the heat as much as the moisture in the air all the time. Not to mention the splashes from fish or humans working on the tank. kept tanks for nearly 55 years and this is just plain stupid idea all around... oh well takes all kinds... Just makes the rest of us look super smart right?...
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,218   +1,144
Stupidity knows no bounds. People will do anything to attract attention. Even if it's absolutely useless.