Powerfish - on! I'm thinking about writing about a world where fish are used like lab rats, to power technologies. But I'm thinking about worldwide use.

I placed my TV on my fish tank yesterday. The tanks water circulation + oxygen supplyer + lights, along with the TV + cable converter use all of the electricity plugs in that part of the living-room. So I thought to myself: "The fish don't pay rent, and they move about like crazy all the time. Now they get to see TV, too! Shouldn't they at least produce the electricity to power it?"

So I started wondering if my 20 little Guppy fish and a couple of small goldfish can power my 32" LED TV. They're quite energetic, the little guys, so I figure that they're all for pitching in.

But the real question, as in my head the story unfolds, is:

In a mostly water-covered world, where fish and the use of fish for food, clothing, and other utilities are abundant, in what way would we be able to use fish movements to power our 21st century everyday technologies? Entertainment, Transportation, logistics? If partially, what would we be able to do and what won't we? If not at all, why not?

If this is impossible, I'll be forced to look at my fish and tsk tsk at them in disappointment.

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    $\begingroup$ I guess in the same way we use mammals to power 21st century technology in a mostly-land civilization where we use mammals for clothing, food, entertainment and other uses. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Sep 20 '16 at 12:12
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    $\begingroup$ Try electric eel, put on latex gloves as precaution. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Sep 20 '16 at 12:27

So you have to look at the different ways that energy is created.
Most of the power plants we have boil down to something turning a turbine, which creates electricity.
Coal, nuclear, etc all work by turning water to steam and then using the steam to run a generator.
Hydro electric dams do it by channeling water from the high side to the low side through a generator. Wind does it by having the rotating blades turn a generator.

In theory, you could get a large number of rats all running on wheels and make power, though it's not practical, and the rats wouldn't be able to run 24 hours a day.

So what can fish do? If they were smart fish you could maybe train enough of them to grab onto something with their mouths and swim in circles. Or maybe get into a line in harness and work together to circulate the water. They could all run head first into a piezoelectric plate over and over again. Put a piezoelectric armature on them so that the movement of their tails makes a charge that goes into a battery that you can switch out once in a while.
Maybe if they were very big, very trainable fish you could get enough energy out of them to do something useful, but in reality you'd probably get more out of them by harvesting the fish oil and burning that.

So mechanical energy probably isn't going to work, so for the purposes of world building you might need to focus on bio energy, such as the electric eel that user6760 suggested.
Electric eels don't have a great power output. In the electric eel, some 5,000 to 6,000 stacked electroplaques can make a shock up to 860 volts and 1 ampere of current (860 watts) for two milliseconds. You'd get more energy if you burned the eel food.
But since you are designing your fish you could make it much more efficient, and possibly build in an electricity storage mechanism that acts like a capacitor.
Then the fish could be "milked" for their power, or used as batteries. Catch a fish, put it into a small tank with electrodes until it's power is depleted, then throw it back and catch another one.

From Wikipedia:

Researchers at Yale University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology argue artificial cells could be built that not only replicate the electrical behavior of electric eel cells, but also improve on them. Artificial versions of the eel's electricity-generating cells could be developed as a power source for medical implants and other microscopic devices.

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Getting the fish to turn a turbine is probably not going to work. The generators would need to be tiny and would still have no way to transfer the energy from the device to the TV.

The best way may be to use the fishes metabolism to produce ATP and then power the TV directly from the chemicals using this process: http://engineering.columbia.edu/columbia-engineers-build-biologically-powered-chip

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