Home: Pet: Fish: Aquarium
Boiling fish tank   (+13)  [vote for, against]

A fish tank with fish in it and with a sealed lid and a hidden vacuum pump so that the air pressure in the space above the water is low enough to make the water boil, and so the fish swims around in boiling water.
-- hippo, Aug 22 2014

This is odd, even for here and you.

It might be possible, though, if the depressurization were slow. The main problem (once the swim bladder had equilibrated) would be to ensure that the contents of the fish did not boil. Given that they contain lots of solutes, you might be able to hit a sweetspot where the water boiled but the fish didn't explode.

Another potential problem - I'm not sure if oxygen uptake by gills will be affected.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 22 2014

An air pump blowing bubbles from the bottom might provide an adequate illusion without any problems that might otherwise arise?
-- Skewed, Aug 22 2014

I don't know if the air pressure above the water has any effect on the fish or whether the fish and the fish's swim bladder are pressurised entirely by the pressure of the water above the fish. That is to say, would the fish ever notice the low air pressure? The only thing I can think of that might affect the fish is if the low air pressure above the water caused the water to deoxygenate (partial pressures and all that) which might cause the fish to die. Only experiment will answer this.

//This is odd, even for here and you.// <blushes at the compliment>
-- hippo, Aug 22 2014

//would the fish ever notice the low air pressure...?//

Yes. In normal air, the pressure is 15psi. Under a few inches of water it will be slightly greater than that. If you reduce the overlying air pressure, the pressure below the surface will be reduced by just as much. That, after all, is why the water can boil.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 22 2014

Provided the tank is over 10 metres deep, and you can persuade the fish to stay below that, the pressure should be fine. They might stay down of their own devices, or you might need a grille.

However, you'd be degassing the water, so they'd asphyxiate.
It _might_ be possible to introduce enough oxygen at the bottom by pumping air through, I don't know.

Or you could use only organisms which can get by anaerobically. Maybe swamp fish?
-- Loris, Aug 22 2014

If you could ensure the fish stayed away from the surface, a grid of heating wires could actually boil the water in the top layer. Gravity / convection would stop the heat travelling downwards too much. Additional air bubbles from the bottom might complete the picture.
-- mitxela, Aug 22 2014

//If you could ensure the fish stayed away from the surface

They stay under, you get the illusion, they don't stay under, you get dinner.
-- not_morrison_rm, Aug 22 2014

It might be easier to employ a multi-walled chambered tank, your fish could swim about in the center while the peripheral pool around them boiled. If you used double walled glass, you might even be able to keep heat transfer down to acceptable levels.
-- bs0u0155, Aug 22 2014


" This is odd, even for here and you "
-- normzone, Aug 22 2014

[+] Absolutely suitable for restaurant lobster tanks. Perverse will enjoy choosing and looking the dinner boiling alive, vegans...err.....
-- piluso, Aug 22 2014

I thought about this possible ramification of my recent scheme to vacuum extract gases from sea water. Local critters might find the water deoxygenated.
-- bungston, Aug 22 2014

Better solution: keep a tank of those shrimps from hydrothermal vents, under high (but not quite as high as they're used to) pressure. That way, the water could be boiling at 180°C.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 22 2014

Actually, [Max] raises an interesting question. How could one cook shrimp from hydrothermal vents?
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 22 2014

[+] for inventing the aquatic version of quicksand.
-- FlyingToaster, Aug 22 2014

Do those shrimp really live in 180°C water? Or do they just live around the periphery of the vent where the mixing brings the water to a nice comfortable temperature?
-- scad mientist, Aug 22 2014

Hmm. To my chagrin, I find that higher organisms are only rated up to perhaps 80 or 90°C.

If you're satisfied with bacteria/archaea in your fishtank, you can go up to about 120°C.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 22 2014

//I find that higher organisms are only rated up to perhaps 80 or 90°C.

What? Even with little Nomex jackets?
-- not_morrison_rm, Aug 22 2014

This *is* rather odd. I was afraid to click on the idea. Afraid it would be about fish boiling in water. I'm not all that relieved, but somewhat relieved because of the author. Whew...
-- blissmiss, Aug 23 2014

Ooo! Ooo! Here's a cool little snip. Scifi: the luxury space cruiser suffers catastrophic loss of pressure. The hero seeks refuge in the pool. From below she can see the surface boiling and pool toys exploding in the vacuum. Foam kickboards bloat and distort grotequely. Her body is a nucleation site as the water boils around her. But down a meter, atmospheric pressure changes do not affect her and she is safe. For a while.

OK. Now it would be tough to remedy the situation while holding your breath at the bottom of the pool. I will scheme further on that.
-- bungston, Aug 23 2014

//Now it would be tough to remedy the situation while holding your breath at the bottom of the pool.

Just need a suitably large number of small children being tossed into the pool sequentially, do a bear hug and extract the air from their lungs.

Would also work with animals, best to avoid the larger carnivores.

(starts scribbling the lung capacity figures of a marmoset on the back of an envelope)
-- not_morrison_rm, Aug 23 2014

The fish would be allright for a little while in a reasonably big bowl, would die pretty quick in a glass.

But the temerature of the water would go down quickly and that can kill it also.
-- zeno, Aug 25 2014

I think I was thirteen and if so my brother was nine. I cleaned his fish tank. Put the fish in a jar, and put the heating tube in the jar so the fish won't be cold. It didn't quite fit, and I didn't realize that the thermostat which was above the water would not receive an indication that the water is heating up.

I went out of the room for a few minutes and when I came back there were big bubbles in the water and the fish were all swimming on their sides on the top of the jar.

After it cooled down a bit, and after I tried mouth to mouth respiration to no avail (or maybe that was with my parakeets on Passover when I was ten, but that's another story) we disposed of them in the toilet, and I shed many tears along with them.
-- pashute, Aug 26 2014

Once when (6 I think it was) took my pet goldfish out of his bowl to see how his skin would feel to stroke, unfortunately mother called me for lunch about then, & I left him sitting on the windowsill.

By the time lunch was over mouth to mouth was really not an option.
-- Skewed, Aug 26 2014

random, halfbakery