Nick Tobler has become the latest internet sensation. Unlike most on the video app TikTok, he’s not doing dances or lip-syncing to music, he’s converting a 70-year-old cistern into an “eel pit” full of fish.
The cistern is underneath the garage and has no natural light source and no natural airflow, not exactly making it the DIY project of dreams. Tobler has gained over 300,000 followers online after sharing his process of converting it into a huge at-home pond with live eels. Internet users have been watching so intently that they’ve even jokingly dubbed him “eel daddy.”
Since March, he’s been tracking the process in a series of videos and this week, he finally introduced the eels to the pit, much to the delight of anticipating viewers. “My new house comes with a future eel pond,” he shared months back in his first video of the cistern which gained over 100,000 views.
The house belongs to his brother and was built in 1958, he explained in his videos. Originally the house used the cistern to collect rainwater, but it’s now connected to city water, rendering the space useless for decades.
Tobler explained in a video that he “didn’t get this house because of this but it’s a very nice bonus to me,” adding: “I love exploring caves and keeping fish so this will be perfect.”
Newsweek has contacted Nick Tobler for comment.
It might not be for everyone, hosting a dingy, dark “eel pit” in your home, but it is for Tobler who has spent the last few months preparing. The place now has artificial lighting and air pumps for aquatic life down there.
“I’m not a violent or scary person at all, but it is a dark hole,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m looking across my living room right now to some tarantulas I’ve got over there. At one point my walk-in-closet was just wall-to-wall scorpions. So yeah, I’ve got different tastes for sure .”
Over the past months, he has been gradually adding different fish to the pit, including goldfish which he predicts will have a short life once the eels, which happen to be their predators, make their debut into the pond.
On Wednesday, the North American eels finally arrived. Eleven have entered the “eel pit” and have been named using suggestions from his TikTok viewers, including Crunchwrap Supreme and Bathtub.
Tobler recorded himself lowering the bucket of eels into their pit, followed shortly by them swimming out into their new unconventional home. The video, which can be seen here, gained over 640,000 views.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life for these damn eels,” wrote one viewer.
“This is the best day of everyone’s life,” added another.
In an update on Thursday, he revealed that the eels are settling into their “eel pit” well and he plans to continue to improve the pit, starting with adding more gravel.
“That’s awesome,” he summarized in the video.