Picture of How to create a lightfish
Learn, how to create lightfishes, also called LED-Swimmies: Highly lucid fishes.

The artist Karl Klar did an installation in the public space, which was placed in the construction site of the new Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria. To vivify the flooded reservoir, 500 lucid fishes got placed into the see - plastic fishes with bright battery-powered LEDs in their inside.

They got put into the construction site at the evening of the 16. September 2007 to illuminate the whole place. The colorful glow coming out of the reservoir integrated the building site in the city of lights. The fishes symbolize the transition from the natural state of the meadow, which was there the last hundred of years, to the new modern technical museum.

Furthermore, it was possible to fish the lightfishes from the construction border using fishing rods with magnets. The fishermen and -women could take their booty with them as a trophy. This was possible in the night and 350 of the 500 fishes got catched by the audience.

In this instruction I will show you how we did the fishes.

For more information about the installation check out http://www.karlklar.athttp://www.karlklar.at

Step 1: Equipment

Picture of Equipment
Karl Klar - Lightfishing - Howto 02.JPG
Karl Klar - Lightfishing - Howto 03.JPG
You need this equipment:
1 plastic fish
1 battery (CR 2032)
1 2x2cm piece of metal
1 rubber band
1 hot glue pistole
1 carpet cutter
gaffer tape
o0Jolyn0o7 years ago
hi.. i am a student and frm singapore.. r all the items needed available in singapore or what other materials can i used to replace items that are not able to find here! i am working on a project of lightings, as in making one like the lightfish!
karlklar (author)  o0Jolyn0o7 years ago
well, I don't know, which material is available in singapore, but I guess that the only uncertain thing will be the fishes - they got produced in germany, but I am sure, you can find similar fishes in singapore.

do some googling =)
I think you should add a resistor and maybe a toggle switch or a rocker switch somewhere, and put it in your pool because if you put it in the ocean it would be cool too but then you would waste money and i don't like wasting. Also, if you use a switch then when you put it in your pool you can take them out when you want. Great instructable still!!
Oooh... Better yet, run some exposed wires on the outside to make a water-sensitive switch. Then, the fishes only light when immersed, and they go out when removed from the pool. The chlorine should make the water conductive enough, and the battery voltages should be low enough so as not to shock anyone.
karlklar (author)  t3hr4v3n7 years ago
are you shure, that this will work? please write me a message, which material you would suggest to use. And: would it work in normal water? Because in my project they got put in normal river water.
I'm not sure if it'd work or not, but it' be easy to test, Make a throwie, just leave an open circuit between the LED and the battery one side (adding some long leads to make a test probe), then dip said leads in the river, and see if it lights up.
karlklar (author)  t3hr4v3n7 years ago
okay, I will try that, but I think, it will affect the life expectancy of the battery, or am I wrong?
I really have no Idea, I don't think it would, but I could be wrong...
Kiteman7 years ago
Instead of throwies, floaties and sinkies, now they're swimmies!

karlklar (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
I hope to add a new expression soon =)
Oh, do tell?
karlklar (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
hehe, when time is ready - in two months, ok?
Just in time for Christmas!
karlklar (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
psst! no hints!
angstar7 years ago
pretty cool idea have to try it
karlklar (author)  angstar7 years ago
and, got luck?
Looks like the fish are swimming on the water rather then below the surface. How about using rubber duckies instead? There are plenty of places you can get them. Of course it would be even cooler to have submerged fishies glowing and blinking under water.
karlklar (author)  morgenlandfahrer7 years ago
yeah, they are swimming on the surface. They water, in which they got put was so dirty, that you would not have seen them 10 cm under surface. In a pool, it would be possible, but how can you make them staying in the water (instead going completly to the top or the bottom?)
alt1187 years ago
(L)LEDs battery life?
karlklar (author)  alt1187 years ago
pretty long, depends on the batterys. Right now, the first prototype is still working and about two months old.
FOfilms7 years ago
could you add a resistor to make it last longer?
karlklar (author)  FOfilms7 years ago
hm, I can't see, why and how I should do that, please provide details, what you want to suggest
ungood7 years ago
What this really needs is a simple sensor to detect if the fish is in water... so the light goes out when someone fishes it out of the water.
karlklar (author)  ungood7 years ago
yeah, sounds great - any ideas how to do that cheap? because if you have to multiply it with 500, numbers grow big fast =)
Pretty awesome. If i was better at electronics i would attempt to make them with a switch to turn them off and on. Cool stuff either way!
bonwebb7 years ago
I've got to try this. So far no luck finding a replacement type fish. Wonder how long it stays lit?
ItsTheHobbs7 years ago
where do i get the fish?
karlklar (author)  ItsTheHobbs7 years ago
I got them at duckshop.de - although I cannot recommend it, very slow (took 3 weeks for delivery) and unfriendly. also didn't respond to e-mails and didn't call back. but I think, there should be more retailers, try to google it.
karlklar (author) 7 years ago
yep, was a lot of fun, and lot of work too! we also have a video, I hope it will be finished soon.
I'd love to see a video of them being tossed in and floating about. Cool project, thanks for sharing the details here with us!
karlklar (author)  fungus amungus7 years ago
yeah, we taped it of course. but you will have to wait for about three weeks, I am flying to mexico tomorrow ;-)
WileECoyote7 years ago
That looks cool, I bet it looks better in person. It sounds like it was a lot of fun, too.