Product Idea

Clockwork Aquarium!

Sunken Pirate Theme!


Yarrrrrrr!  Explore inside a Sunken Pirate ship in this supplemental theme for the Clockwork Aquarium project! 

This theme is set inside the captain's quarters of a great pirate ship that has sunken to the blimey deep.  There is a treasure box that opens and shuts, 3 fish that swim about, a skeleton (perhaps the captain himself) trying to take a sip from a bottle, a globe that spins, a steering wheel that rotates, and other pirate ship cabin decorations.

See the doomed pirate in action:


Ratcheting the Crank and Part Count


One small detail about the Clockwork Aquarium is that it is made mainly to have the fish swim fowards.  Up untilunow, the use could turn the crank both ways  I the though.  When in reverse, the fish will go backwards a short bit and then jam up normally.  So I have updated the Aquarium crank to have a ratcheting mechanism which only allows cranking in the one proper direction.  It works quite smoothly and effectively.

See it in action:

As some additional information, I also counted every part in the Clockwork Aquarium to find out the current part count with the original theme:

  • Topper                      - 102 parts
  • Tank & Background - 131 parts
  • Base                          - 309 parts
  • Grand Total             - 542 Parts

Little Mermaid Theme!


Peak into Ariel's grotto where she stores her amazing sunken treasures in this fun fan theme for the Clockwork Aquarium! 

See Ariel dance in the middle, Flounder and Sebastian Swim around her, and her glorious trinkets in this video.  Watch out, Ursula's Tentacles can be quite mezmorizing as they all flail about outside the Aquarium!

The Background and Trickets included: Dignlehoppers (forks), magnifying glass, model of a ship, helmet, sextant, bottles, a globe, and her prize statue of dreamboat Eric!

This "fan" theme was made to continue the fun of the Clockwork Aquarium and not replace the primary project's theme.

Power Functions + Door Mod


First off: Hurray for getting Staff Pick!  How delightfully wonderful and thanks for all the new supporters that showed up these last few days!  Thanks Lego Ideas Staff! 

A little while back, the Clockwork Aquarium project got a comment about trying it out with power functions.  So here is a brief demonstration of the the Clockwork Aquarium using a power functions motor, battery pack, and LEDs.  I tinted the light blue using some trans blue parts as part of the mounting.  

Minor Door Revision:

I tested out a new design for the front doors which covers up the hinge pieces' 1x2 studs.  The picture also shows the doors without the front "latch" which makes it look cleaner but I may bring the latch back because I still like it. 

Thanks everyone for your support!  I still have high hopes for this long shot!

Wow, Fan build of the Week!


I somehow let this honor slip on by.  Very cool to be named fan build of the week by Lego Lab News' Tyler West!

Colorful Fish update and Lighting Demonstration


In this video, the Clockwork Aquarium can be seen with the original theme and updated colorful Fish.  The yellowish crab was also traded for a red one.  Overall, these changes add a lot more color!  The video also demonstrates an underwater lighting effect.

Thanks for your support!

Finding Nemo Theme


Wow, 3000 Supporters! Thank you greatly for everyone's support, shares, and comments!

The second supplimentary theme for the Clockwork Aquarium is now ready and was inspired by "Finding Nemo!" 

Here is a video of the Theme in action:

Details of the theme:

  • Printed Fish  - From the start of this project, I had thought about what it would look like if the fish were printed to resemble different species of real fish.  I do not have the ability to print the Lego fish, so in my prototype, I have hand painted them.  I opted for semi-realistic designs rather than full on cartoon looks so the fish could work in my original theme as well as the Nemo theme.
    • Clown Fish - Nemo and his family were based off of Clown fish
    • Blue Tang - This is the type of fish Dory was.  Now I know that Dory was never in the aquarium with Nemo in "Finding Nemo" but I felt she would be a good companion to Nemo in my Lego version.
    • Moorish Idol - This is the type of fish Gill was.
  • Treasure chest - The treasure box opens and shuts as the fish swim.  In the first half of the video you can see gold coins inside the treasure chest which make it not close completely, and in the second half of the video, they are gone and the box closes all the way.  
  • Star fish - Peach was the starfish in the aquarium in the movie "Finding Nemo."  She was a little pinker and suckered up on the glass most of the time.  I opted to keep the starfish in a Spinning position because I really like how it adds more dynamic movement to the tank.


  • Other Details:
    • Shrimp in Helmet - Representing Jacques the shrimp and his house from the movie aquarium
    • Tiki mask
    • Mt Wannahockaloogie - I opted to paint a sloped wedge peice to represent the volcano from the movie aquarium.  In one of my first attempts at this theme, the Volcano was in the center instead of the treasure box and it had some grumbling lava at the top, but the movement wasn't convincing enough so I went with the moving treasure chest and put the Volcano into the backdrop.  
    • Lots of Plants - you might remember the movie aquarium was very full of plants and artifacts.  I loaded more plants into this version to add more color and density.
    • Bue Gravel - I replaced the tan bottom of the original theme with blue plates to give it the look of a blue gravel bottom.

Notes: The original theme potrayed on the first page continues to be my primary hope for this project.  These supplimentary themes are intended to be fun demonstrations of what a Lego fan can do with the tank if they should someday build one. 

Coming Soon: New Theme for Clockwork Aquarium


Spongebob Theme


I have been working on making some alternate themes as a demonstration of how a fan of the project could potentially customize their Clockwork Aquarium.  These would not replace the original theme.  Without further ado, the first alternate theme for the Clockwork Aquarium: SpongeBob SquarePants!

Convert the Clockwork Aquarium to Bikini Bottom with: Spongebob jumping around amidst the Swimming Jellyfish.  Plankton comes along as well as the fabled Crabby Patty he so desperately covets.  Scenic elements include the Chum Bucket, a Pineapple, and the Moai head that Squidward lives in.

There were countless options and ideas for this theme, so fans of the show could consider featuring Patrick, Mr. Crabs, the Krusty Crab, Gary, and any number of backdrop options.  

I continue to hope that if Lego picks this set up, that they would make the 1x1 plates with clips and double stud in trans clear so fish, jellyfish, and other items can be attached to the swimming poles with more subtlety.

Thanks a Thousand and Future Plans


Thanks so very much for all of the support.  Having gained the favor of 1000 supporters in under six days is quite the honor!

As there is still a long road ahead, I am continuing to work on the Clockwork Aquarium.  My current ambition is creating additional themes for the aquarium.  The three I am pursuing are:

  • Finding Nemo
  • Spongebob
  • Little Mermaid

I'm of course open to ideas or suggestions, so if you feel inclined, do feel free to let me know in the comments.

Once again, thank you for all the termendous support!