Fishtank Friday: Fish Overpass

Fish Overpass

By Evan Ackerman

When commuting fish need to get from home to work, their options are generally somewhat limited in a captive environment. This fish pipeline connects two fish tanks over a respectable distance (looks to be several tens of feet), allowing fish to travel from one tank, up and over the floor of a coffee shop, into the other tank. According to some of the comments in the article, the coffee shop in question is the now defunct Liquid Potion Lounge in Evanston, IL. One observer says: “They would often go up the tubes, but they’d rarely make it all the way to the other fish tank. I remember it being days before I finally saw a fish make it all the way across. Looked really cool though.” So, how does it work? From what I can tell, air gets pumped out of the top of the pipeline, drawing water up out of the tanks until the pipeline is full. Vacuum pressure then keeps the water from draining out. More pics of fish in the pipeline, after the jump.

Fish Overpass

Fish Overpass

Fish Overpass

Fish Overpass

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147 thoughts on “Fishtank Friday: Fish Overpass”

  1. The only problem I can think of is that the heaters might not get the job done in the tubes. BUT…heat rises…so that might be a non-issue. Anyway if the fish are cold they can swim back to a nice warm tank.

  2. i agree that it’s cruel. also subways are cruel, tunnels, those underground passages under the streets that save thousands of lives every year, also hallways are cruel and we should not use this things because they are cruel.

  3. Gazman, it’s not cruel, these pipelines give the fish greater freedom to move around (sure the pipes themselves are a little cramped but its connected to another tank meaning if they want to leave their tank they are free to do so)

  4. Not cruel, but to Fionn – Fish are not ‘brain dead’ and there is a long lasting myth that fish have a memory of a few seconds, this is nonsense. Similar to the (now lessening) myth that birds are stupid (bird brain) as science now has it – birds are some of the most intelligent creatures in the word.

    And Fionn how do you know they dont care which tank they are in? did you do a survey. You dont know either way, so unless you want to back up your comments with scientific data (same goes for you gaz) please refrain from making blanket idiotic statements.

    Again I dont think the set up is cruel – but I DO think its cruel that we have to listen to idiotic comments from people like Gaz and Fionn.

  5. Ye gods who gives a fuck if it’s cruel or not?!
    Also, kris, they’re fish; so what the fuck does it matter how long their memories are? Nobody asked you to spout all that fascinating information about the psychology of fish and birds, so contrary to what you apparently believe, you don’t look any cleverer than anyone else who’s posted here, except possibly gazman.
    Also, people who spend time writing long winded comments on websites no-one goes on anyway, that are completely irrelevant to the original subject, fail it mightily.



  6. Steve – the air only has to be pumped out once as long as no more air can enter, so no power is required to maintain it.

    TheGabe – take your own advice and stuff a sock in it, moron.

  7. People are always saying (insert animal name here) are the smartest in the world. Until they stop getting eaten and owned by us, shut the f#$k up. We are the smartest, otherwise the the fish would have us in air aquariums walking back and forth between tanks, and sprinkling beef jerky flakes on our heads once a day.

  8. it’s just like those tunnels and things high up for cats–they love it. this kind of thing gives the animals much more space to explore. awesome.

  9. to Gaz: im sorry, but you set yourself up for complete failure, which was f***ing hilarious dude
    to Fionn: all you really need to do at this point is to be a winner of the darwin awards
    to Kris: did YOU survey those fish on weather or not its cruel?
    to Gabe: dude, all you needed to say was shut the fuck up, thats it

    now, what would be cruel is dropping cherry bombs in that thing muahahahaha

  10. wow. its amazing how more than half the comments revolve around the first one. we all know that the comment is stupid, so why point that out constantly. congratz, you’ve all lost the internets. FAIL

  11. I wanna know what happens if two fish meet when they are coming opposite ways…. do they fight it out or are they polite and say ‘you go’, ‘no you first’, ‘oh, i insist’, ‘no, please, really…well ok, have a nice journey!’, ‘wait, can i get your number?’, ‘oh sure *blush*’……
    i’ll stop there, i think i’m getting a lil carried away… but the structure is cool, oh and to keep up a wonderful tradition…ITS SO NOT CRUEL!!! it is a place to meet like minded fish!!! 🙂

  12. Fish have no brain and no feelings. They are useless creatures, with the exception of being good to eat. Jesus himself ate fish. Those of you who think this is cruel should move to North Korea. Get out of my country.

  13. Joe owns this country? good to know. Joe stop wasting your time talking about Jesus, and do something about the freakin Bush family will ya?

    The fish tunnel is cool.

  14. I was bored as hell today, but reading all the comments made it more interesting for a few minutes. The tank is cool as hell, the fish probably dig the freedom, some people will go nameless but are frickin idiots! others are to intelligent to know when to keep their pie holes shut. And others are just smart enough to say what needs to be said. That being said I will leave you all to figure out who fits where.

  15. Fish like cheesecake too.. ZOMG I HAVE AN IDEA!!! You create more tubes going everywhere. And inside you should have cake stencils with arrows pointing to the cake. And then have a waterfall at then end, there you would have a strainer. That would expose the fish to air and then it would have a tragic ending. And you could call it Fish PORTAL!!!!! or not…

  16. I do not know the mechanics but the idea is lovely. When you think about it, it allows the fish to fly over land. It might be different but as long as the fish are not hurt it should be fine. They adapt; its what they know; it becomes their norm. Puts into perspective humans moving from farms to cities or being introduced to a new culture. Normal = Strange + Time

  17. lol thank you all for your illuminating conversation!! it was hilarious and slightly pathetic to see the “smartest race on earth” wasting their time like this. 🙂 I look forward to reading future posts on different threads, so keep it up, morons!!

  18. what would the fish do?

    this is a form of torture of the same magnitude and cruelty as waterboarding!

    how can you all say that this isn’t cruel. you are all horrible horrible people with no morals! remember the romans thought that slavery and gladiators were not torture… but it was.


  19. come si può paragonare questa cosa con i gladiatori??i pesci non hanno il cervello…nn si rendono conto! e in + mi sembra solo un’idea diversa dal solito per attirare gente in un locale….e sinceramene ognuno ha la propria idea…non esiste nessun IDIOTAAA!!

  20. I like it. It shows out of the box thinking and free thinking. It shows imagination past the confines of the guy that said, “That is cruel”. Obviously an inside the box thinker working on pure and immediate notions, and not thinking it through.

  21. Well i am a adimate fish lover i have 4 aquariums in my house plus 5 betta bowls and i think your tank is the coolest i understand that fish love to wonder and this will keep them busy considering what else do they have to do. i am very curious on the cost and upkeep. maybe one day i will have a community connected together. ha ha

  22. Very cool apparatus, alot of thought went into just how to support the thing properly…it’s a cool idea and I’m surprised if there aren’t larger scale versions of this somewhere, like giant hampster playgrounds but for fish…hahaha

  23. Man, I’d like them there fish to be swimming right onto my skillet. Nothing like a little lemon-peppered bluegill to make my day. That there apparatus is awesome. Reminds me of a big ‘ole fish tank I done saw in Chattanooga. It were BIG! And if that were a bong that big, I wouldn’t be seeing fish… I’d being seeing some Whales! I wonder what would happen I you put prey-fish in one tank and predator fish in the other. Dang, I’m going to make something like this to connect my kids’ rooms together. Or maybe another trailer to mine. That would be sweet, And I don’t believe none of that there vacuum BS. It’s the government doing an anti-gravity experiment right under our noses. Ain’t too long till the UFO’s come and take us away.

  24. @anonymous

    Time would be the only constraint. Money-wise, the plastic (lexan or something) would not be all that expensive. Learning how to cut and pin/glue the plastic would only take a bit of googling and some practice. I’ve made a couple aquarium sumps and overflows with the same methods.
    The concept itself is the truly amazing part of the whole thing.

  25. Bob is my hero. I liked the cheesecake comment also, but Bob is my hero. More to the point – I am a big cat fan and am planning, when I get a house, on doing catwalks. Suspended train tracks have also long fascinated me — and now I have a third thing to add. You could interweave the fish tubes and the catwalks so that the cats (curious about the fish) get motivated to use them more. I am curious about the cleaning problems though — just a large aquarium can be a bear. What would you do, flush it with some kind of enzyme?

  26. Damn that is awesome i want 1 what would be really cool is a fish tank in each room and connecting them all … but clean it would hella suck …. unless u made them really big that u could put scuba gear on and swim round

  27. EH -EH stop swearing it’s just the point of veiw the big fish is saying Hi lilly thats cool. do you want to hear me sing. ? yeh ok, if I was a carp-enter and you was me lady yeh Ha good eh yeo Derby

  28. another. OK. traveling around from tank to tank, some times I think it’s just a prank for I know I never be set free but it’s really good enough for me, just swimming I love it my friend i’m happy inside this tube without end.RRRR

  29. traveling around from tank to tank. some times I think it’s just a prank for I know I will not be set free but it is the nicest place for me. just swimming the word is my friend i’m traveling around this room without end. glub-glub good eh Derby again,

  30. OK. I love the idea but……. The reason that it probably took ages for a fish to swim across is that the fish would be subjected to considerable changes in pressure as it swam up the tube which would no doubt hurt it. Not that I’m against hurting fish, you understand. It was a tragic fish-related accident that killed half of my family. Let them suffer, the little scaly bastards. That’ll teach ’em to mock me!

  31. So this looks cool, but something urks me about it… It’s not that I think it’s cruel to fish…(remember PETA kills 98% of the animals it “saves”) plus they’re fish….seriously…

    My complaint is physics. These “tubes” are ABOVE the two tanks. In order for the water to not push out the tanks and spill on the floor, it would need to be kept under pressure. In fact, the only way to get the water up there is to literally suck it up from the two tanks simultaneously while filling both with water. Literally PULL the water up to the top and cork it (must be kept air tight otherwise the tanks overflow till there is no water in the tubes). Something this size doesn’t look feasible.

  32. The laws of physics are in no way being bent or broken. It is true that “water finds its own level” but so long as no air can get in the top of the tube the water cannot fall down because there is nothing to replace it. This creates its own pressure. I do not think, however, that this was achieved by simply pumping air out of a one way valve on the top. There are many more simple ways of doing this that don’t require nearly as much suction.

  33. I love how one brief three-word comment decides the content of hundreds of posts that follow. IT IS CRUEL, YOU GUYS! SETTING UP THOSE IN THE CEILING FISH FOR ENTERTAINMENT?

  34. woah. first of, you guys are mean. “idiot, moron, ugly”. second of all, sitting around arguing about the cruelty value? small animals in small cages are there for our amusement and for the decoration value.

  35. Hahahahahahahahahahhahaha I’m from Britain and I can’t believe what I’m reading here, are you lot sat in a trailer-park somewhere in Alibami passing round THE brain-cell while you take turns with the crayon?????? Hahahahahahahahahah

  36. well i will tell you what. it would make a good bong and it is obviously the work of somebody who has a lot of either time on his hands or brains in his head….or maybe even both. and if so he’s my first pick for dodge ball….lol

  37. I’m totally amazed that so many people would actually comment on a fishtank story. And before im eaten alive for doin the same thing, I’d just like to say the first comment drew me into this thing and once I reached the bottom, I had to throw my hat in the tank. Good luck to everyone, this was a pleasure.

  38. I think this is pretty cool. Now if you want to be cruel, all you have to do is build a cat walk alongside the tubes. Except, would you be cruel to the fish, or to the cats?

  39. It’s basic – the guy who actually observed the tank set-up in action points out that the fish take several days to get part-way through the tubes, and rarely make it to the second tank – HELLO, there’s no way to FEED the fish lost in the tube..
    That’s what makes it cruel.
    Do they have 8 second memories ? Who cares ? They’re clearly not bright enough to get through the tube , or back to home base within time to EAT.

  40. That is so cool! Seems fun to swim in if I was a fish. Great idea. I would want that if I had fish, that’s a real gap in the market for cool tanks.

    I suppose it would also work for hamsters or other rodents/similar pets.

    Glad I made this stumble :p

  41. well, suction or not, physics applies. Any physicians here? I thought the fish would have a hard time swimming so high against gravity. Can fish attain indefinite buoyancy? This is not a nice setup. A tube parallel to the lids would be more acceptable, but then people would tap on the tubes… I can’t decide which is more cruel. BTW, fish have long term memory, see link: .

  42. you’ll probably never come back. but who cares. You’re from britain, half of your populace is just as stupid and petty ashalf of everyones populace. unfortunatly, the only half of the american populace who posts in places like this re 12 years old. For some weird reason, you europeans think they represent all of us. here’s my theory, correct me if i’m wrong. you’re 12 year olds are just s immature and stupid as ours. maybe more. suck it.

  43. This is really cool, imagine what it’d be like if you made like a grid going across the ceiling for fish! =D I would so do this, if I had fish.
    Sorry, but I have to.
    Fish have brains, STARFISH don’t, and fish have feelings, we are all evolved from fish, millions of years ago, so they have to be pretty damn clever. Plus they’ll last long after us, as long as we don’t over-fish.

  44. i really enjoyed reading all this, tank looks gr8, the fish wudnt go up there if it was uncomfy for them, the cleanin and all that looks rather impractival, but if the guy set it up im shore hes got it sorted,
    gazman ur a twat, itheres plenty of tank, they dnt av to go dwn the tunnels they choose to,
    pease out

  45. What a great idea. The should come up with something like this for hamsters and gerbils…Oh ya they already did, the human ass.

  46. What a great idea. The should come up with something like this for hamsters and gerbils…Oh ya they already did, the human ass.

  47. Chill out my man. Why do you always take the fishes side haha. Dont worry if someone dosent provide scientific data when making such a trifle statement about a trifle subject. And ultimately it does just look cool. I dont think they had the fish in mind when constructing such a controversial piece of architecture haha.

  48. Oh yes. Giving them MORE SPACE TO ROAM is just HORRIBLE. We should all just trap our poor little fishies in to one tank that's way too small for them. e.e Dude, come on. It would be cruel to make them JUMP from tank to tank but to build them a specially designed fish pathway? That's awesome.

  49. Interesting idea, though that pump on top would require perfect maintenance as failure, even a marginal loss of vacuum pressure, would quickly remind the owner of water pressure by easily overflowing those tiny tanks, hopefully there is some kind of fail safe.

    Oh… and cleaning algae is bad enough in a small 5 gallon fish tank w/o a complicated vacuum pump/ fishy overpass. I hope the filters are powerful and reliable too… a water change on that thing would take an excruciatingly long time.

    Sorry to be a buzzkill, but this just seems like a bad idea to me and the place going out of business does little to change my mind, a few ground level aquariums would be nearly as nice, cheaper, and could even have a tube connecting them w/o the microscopic margin for error.

  50. Physics- as long as the tube is airtight and the water level of the two tanks is equal (equal distance above the ground) there will be no water flow between tanks, and so of course no overflow. If you don't believe me, go get two bowls of water and a plastic tube and try it yourself morons. The comment in the article about the pump is simply a description of how they filled the acrylic tube portion of the tank the first time they set it up.

    Cruelty: All you idiots who think this is cruel, have you ever noticed that in the wild fish live in underwater cave complexes, or swim through narrow sections in rock or coral to get to another location? This is a completely normal behavior and the fish are not suffering as a result. If you feed the fish in a certain area of the tank they learn that that is where they are normally fed and will anticipate food there. You could alternate ends I suppose to get the fish to swim through the tank more.

    Cleaning: yeah, this would be a bitch

  51. The only thing I would be worried about is having labyrinth fish (that have a lung-like breathing system) not be able to get to the surface for air while they are in the tube. Bettas are labyrinth fish, as are most gouramis. The cichlids they have in there should be good to go though. This isn't a cruel system, those of you that say the pressure changes would hurt them have obviously never been scuva diving. The pressure would be less in the tubes as they have less water pressure above them, however, the height is not a great enough difference to really make a significant change in air pressure around them. When you stand on a ladder can you really sense the change in air pressure? They will be quite alright. As far as if the pump goes out, I can see the possiblity of the water overflowing the tanks, but I'm sure they made a safegaurd against that. I really am not sure about the physics about that so Lauren Cooper might be right about that. I say the tank is safe and having worked around fish for the better part of ten years, I am big on giving fish the ideal environment. I wouldn't consider it a natural environment, but I would say it's not harmful.

  52. “Your” should be “You're”
    “english” and “americans” should be capitalized.
    You might want to learn to speak English yourself before you go criticizing others. I guess it wasn't your turn with the brain cell when you wrote this comment.

  53. im from Alabama n that ther is just bout right. Everyone here lives in a trailer and is married to their cousin. but ya cant blame us,ya see its all the inbreedin’,its made us right out retarded.  

  54. lol just kidding. I think that its just a matter of convinience and laziness rather than lack of intelegence. With technology these days grammer is just not as important. And peerpresure what has Britain done for the world. 

  55. What is this stupid argument about?
    The UK and the US are friends (END OF DISCUSSION)
    Grammar doesn’t matter on the interweb (END OF DISCUSSION)
    there children… happy?

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