Friday, February 23, 2007

Aquarium Fish Highway

Edit: The pictures should work fine now, the original website where they were from was having issues, so I uploaded them here. Sorry to anyone who had to put up with those big ugly "Ooops" pictures!

I found these pictures the other day of a hobbyist who has built a system of "highways" so the fish can swim from tank to tank. And you though you were obsessed!

Imagine trying to fill these with water? The logistics and physics aspect of this is mind-boggling. Better be careful though, if the water in either tank gets below the tube opening, all the water in the tube will empty out into the tanks!

The pictures were hosted on a website, but the domain has since expired. Here are the FAQ's about the highway:

What is a Fish Highway?
Imagine a means for fish to swim out the top of your aquarium, up to the ceiling, across the room and then down into another tank. That's a fish highway. They're made of acrylic plastic, the same material used for many custom built aquariums.

Why doesn't the water spill out of the highway?
The highway tube is completely sealed except for the openings at each end which are submerged below the tank water levels. Like a large drinking straw, when the air is sucked out of the tube the water rises inside it and will stay there unless you let the air back in.

Do the fish swim in it?
The fish do swim in it.

Does it harm the fish?
As the fish swim higher the pressure drops a little but it's only slightly lower than the pressure pressure in the tank.

How do you fill it?
When the air is sucked out of the sealed tube the water from the tanks flows into it. Eventually, after all the air is removed the tube is filled with water.

How do you clean it?
Water flows through the highway continuously so the tank filters clean the water in the highway. Algea is removed using cleaning magnets for acrylic tanks.

How does water flow through the highway?
Water is pumped through a separate pipe from one tank to the other using a small pump. As the tank water levels change (one rises and the other falls) flow is induced through the highway by the force of gravity.


  1. Thats INSANE! How about a link to those pictures, I could only see 1. Would like to see the rest. Great post.

  2. Crazy Idea! I was wondering how the fishes are reacting wi1th this! CAnnot see the p[ictures except 1.

    My Nature Tanks

  3. Sorry about the pictures, they were actually gone from the original website, but I found them elsewhere and they should work now!

  4. I am glad that others commented this was crazy, 'cause that is the first thing that came to my mind. Crazy, but really cool.

  5. That's really, really cool. Thanks for posting.

  6. This is really cool!
    The idea itself are so simple, but using it for fish highways is a real invention.

  7. Since it is a fish highway doesn't it have a speed limit? lol. I love fish too.

  8. i did the same thing but in my house and going up the stairs

    i am using 40 red bellied piranhas

  9. The physics involved with this isn't really all that confusing. They sealed the top of of all the tanks except where the 'straws' enter the tank. The 'straws' and tanks were air-tight so that no water could escape. The upper-most tank should be unsealed so water, food, and fishes can get in. To get rid of the hassles of needing to clean it often, get a filtration system in the top tank, plenty of plants for air and to get rid of poo and uneaten food via. nitrogen cycle (waste decomposes and plants use it as a fertilizer) , and finally some Chinese Algae Eaters --with no obligatory piscavores, or eaters of live fish, ;) -- to remove algae, and you should be good. Also note that the larger the tank, the less it needs to be cleaned! Don't ask me how and/or why, that's just the way it is. If you have anymore questions (or to tell me why the larger the tank, the less it needs to be cleaned!) post here --but I can't guarantee that I'll reply!--or eMail me at, okay? Okay!
    P. S. Please call me Jacob the Gun.

  10. That's absolute a brilliant idea! New modern aquarium park use this method but to the extend that it is personalized, great!

  11. this still running?


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