The Technology Artist

Stories in the Heartland

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Updated: Fri, 02 May 2014 08:48:48 CST

It's a small village tucked away in Franklin County. You might not picture a technology business to thrive there. But one Hildreth man came up with a swimming idea.

3 gallons full of labor and hard work. Add water and you've got a bright idea.
"We threw one away at work," Jake Harms said. "They were just like this thing is broken, go throw it in the trash can."
As you might guess, he didn't throw it away.
"I've always been the kind of guy that likes to take things apart and see how they work," Harms said.
Meet Jake Harms.

"Everyone's like oh, you're the computer aquarium guy and I'm like yeah there's surely no title for it," Harms said.
Back in 2007, Jake took that computer home. He cast a line and made a splash.
"I had an iMac and I saw someone that made an aquarium and I was like oh I'll make that," Harms said.
So he dove in head first. Since then, the orders have been swimming in.
"After a while, one of my buddies was like hey, can you make me one of those? So, I made him one," Harms said. "And everybody's like hey, can you make me one of those? So I made him one."
Eventually he wanted to expand his bubbling business. And so, Custom Creations emerged.
"I built 50 in a year, sold 50 in a year and it's kind of snowballed since then," Harms said.
In seven years he's sold over 1,000 aquariums.
It may look easy, but Jake gets these broken computers, takes them apart, polishes them down and ships these aquariums all over the world.
"Sometimes I can't even read the address because they go all over the world," Harms said.
Despite the global sales, Jake still operates out of his basement in Hildreth.
"If it got bigger than that it would be too much and I don't think it'd be as fun anymore," Harms said.
He spends hours working to build the new marine home. And it's not just aquariums that he's making. He turns trash into treasure.
"I think it's kind of neat to know that something that was on its way to the landfill or to be destroyed is now turned around and sitting in someone's living room," Harms said.

The finished aquariums cost $299.00. Jake also sells a kit that allows you to assemble your own aquarium.

You can also donate your old computers to Jake.

You can visit Jake's Custom Creations website here:

This is the first story in our new franchise series called Stories in the Heartland. We want to hear your stories.

If you know someone whose story needs to be told or if it's your own, send Katie an email at Or you can send her a message on Facebook at Katie Gauthier or on Twitter @KatieGNews5.