Waterground: Morphing Environment for Fish Tank

Fall 2019 - current

Product Development for Pet Fish

Abstract

Fish tank exists as a mean to provide an artificial habitat outside the sea for a variety of fish. After providing an artificial sustainable shelter for fish, people buy decorations to recreate the sea environment or to simply make inner side of fish take more visually pleasing. While owners may enjoy raising fish in a tank, I wondered if the surrounding environment for fish is enough. However big the fish tank is, it will always be smaller than the size of where fish come from. What are possibilities to improve the environment of fish tank? In this project, multiple ways of improving fish tank to better enhance fish’s experience or stay will be explored.

Project Objectives

Both human-centered research approach and fish-centered research approach are used to explore opportunities for improvement and better interaction experience between human and fish. Through iterative process and user(fish) testing, a final product is developed to address such issues for pet fish.

Research Insight

field research - Aquatic animal section in a pet store

field research - Filteration and air supply system

Survey

A variety of fish were raised by family or individuals with number ranging from 1 to a dozen. Keeping the water clean was mentioned to maintain healthy environment for fish by 7 interviewers out of 9.

Literature Review

There are popular demand in fish raising community (Reddit). There are communities on Reddit that primarily focuses on discussing what they do to raise their fish and present their pets to other members.

There are extensive research papers on marine animals and how home raised fish are prone to stress and malnutirition due to many environmental factors such as water quality problem and mental constraints.

Interviews

“People often do not realize how uneducated they are in terms of raising fish. They unknowingly have fish in such small bowls or plastic bags and expects them to survive. It is inhumane.”

- M, an experienced fish owner.



“We do not try to offend new comers here; however, we do our best to let them know that raising a gold fish is particularly tricky and they need 20 gallon fish tank to start with and it is a lot of commitment.”

-A, a PetSmart Aquatic Animal Manager







Sketching Ideas

Concept Generation

Easy Water Cleaning

Horizontally Dividable Fish Tank

This concept demonstrates user’s capability of dividing the fish tank horizontally thus seperating fish in the upper half and other components of fish tank in the lower half. After this seperation, a valve attached to the fish tank will let the water of lower half out while still containing the water of upper half and having fish intact. This idea was met with physical challenges of such

- how well will water be contained at top?
- how accurately can we seperate fish?

Water Turbine Dirt Collector

This concept demonstrates user’s capability to regularly clean out some wastes and dirt in fish tank by dropping a turbine product that would collect wastes floating in the fish tank. In the concept, this product is powered by water current in fish tank and fuction as filter unit.

Robot fish to clean and filter to maintain water quality was considered for 2 seconds and disregarded.

Net Water Scooper

This concept demonstrates user’s capability to clean out the water with mininmized interference on fish. While cleaning the fish tank, having to move fish in a seperate bowl would cause fish a great amount of stress. This product aims to interupt the environment as little as possible to still scoop out the water at ease to promote more regular water changes by owners.

Raised fish tank base as filter & Valve

This concept demonstrates user’s having to directly interact with products after the initial installation. Lifted base will provide a room for wastes to fall and opening valve will make it easier for owner to clean out the water.

Technical issue is “is it possible for fish tank with a valve to hold the water pressure?”

Better Feedback System

Integrating Syphone

Wanting to incorporate an existing fish tank cleaning item, I explore the use cases of syphone. I moved further into this process to create a product to work together.

Using Syphon (Current existing cleaning item)

Integrating Syphone

This concept demonstrates user’s capability to regularly clean out some wastes and dirt in fish tank by dropping a turbine product that would collect wastes floating in the fish tank. In the concept, this product is powered by water current in fish tank and fuction as filter unit.






Iterative process








Low Tech Final Product.



Closer Shots






High Tech Product version 1.



Final Model

Fabrication Process



Animation