Play Video

Two Years With the 210

By Pecktec on

Speaker: Hello folks, today we're going to talk about The 210, it's its two-year anniversary. I'm going to tell you about some changes I've just made and the trials and tribulations the good parts, the bad parts. It's all coming up right after this.


Hey YouTube, this is Pecktec and it is time again for an update. As you know last year right at the end of the year I did an update on pretty much every tank in my house except this one.

This one I held off a little bit for a couple of reasons; one my biggest fish, Goofus wasn't doing very well and he was looking noticeably different as time went on but he ended up passing away right around Christmas Day.

I'm really sad that Doofus is gone I didn't feel much like doing anything with the aquarium but some time has passed and I decided it was time to really dig in there and do all the things I really needed to do to update this. Plus, I think I built this tank-- I built it on New Year's Eve so really about now is when the two-year update would have been anyway. That was a bit of a downer to start the year but everybody else in the tank seems to be doing really well.

I've been especially excited about Mr. Tubes and how much he's grown. Mr. Tubes is a teugelsi bichir and he is-- That's so hard to say. I got him when he was a very, very small-- I would say maybe 5-inch long little worm and he has grown into quite the danger noodle. He likes to lay along the edge here. Especially when the lights come out he comes out and he's very active and I could see he's got a really tan upper body and a really light tan lower body. I can see he's barely just anywhere in the tank at nighttime, but what he'll do is he'll lay across the side over there. I was able to come up and give him the old tape-measure treatment and he's coming out around 15 inches.

He does come out occasionally at twilight and swim around. He's been a really neat fish. I'm very aware of his mouth size and my hope is that I can put fish in there that are just a little bit bigger than he'd want to eat but I haven't seen any aggression whatsoever towards any of the other fish even though he used to get picked on a little bit by the blue acara, the large-- The male acara.

He doesn't do anything as far as pulling up plants. He does like to lay across them like a big hammock. I try to put a lot of symmetric plants. They're about the same height and can take like him laying on them and then spring back during the day. Things like crypts and stuff like that seem to work really well. Kind of makes a little furniture for him. I've got a lot of very, very old fish in here.

Some of them I've had-- It's more than almost two decades for some of these things. I've got a super old bristlenose catfish and also a yoyo loach and they live in this tank. The yoyo loach was brought over this year. I had to dig him out of the 27-gallon cube. He seemed kind of happy in there I guess but he was way too big for that little tank and for some reason, he hates bristlenose catfishes.

He loves to antagonize my bristlenose catfish which is as old as he is. I've had it forever also. Likes to antagonize it by just getting too close, sidles up next to it just wiggles around and aggravates the crap out of it. Every now and then they will really dust things up. I've seen him really good at sparring back and forth. For the most part, everybody seems to come out of it okay. I don't see it all the time but I do see it once in a while.

Mostly the bristlenose goes into its cave and sticks its tail out and just keeps him at bay. I do see the bristlenose moving around the tank all the time at night, so I know he does get out and move around. If I throw food in there too normally he'll come running. It's a little aggravated. I hate to see fish going after each other and if they struggle a whole lot it really stresses me out. That's why I don't really do a lot of big cichlid tanks where they'll all be sparring for a position. That to me just isn't relaxing. I've got a lot of them work it out. That's another reason I redecorated in this tank. I was hoping to make more spots.

I've got literally spots for a catfish to be anywhere in this. There's five different areas and I don't think it matters where this guy goes, the yoyo loach comes and just aggravates it. Another possibility might be to simply add two more yoyo loaches, but where am I going to find them, they're of this size. This is the biggest one I've ever seen and too much smaller than this guy and it'll be a nice little dinner for Mr. Tubes at some point because he'll eat them like spaghetti but nobody really seems that much the worse for wear. I'm going to let it play out and see how it goes. I still have that one area. I didn't really do much with that area when I moved all the other stuff out.

I might just remove the spot where they're fighting over. They both seem to want to just be right here and I'm wondering if maybe I rearranged that area, if that'll send them off into other locations or if they really just don't like each other. I'm not sure how it's going to go. I've noticed that I had a fairly pervasive hair algae problem inside the tank. I decided to deal with it.

Okay, here's the crew. The tank is kind of dirty. This is pre-maintenance. I'm about to go in and do some major changes, but the tank you'll see is quite algeafied. I think what I'm going to do is pull up all the hardscape including the giant fake log in the middle and cleanse it of algae because it's not really on the plants or anything. The plants seem to be growing and doing okay, for the most part.

I'll clear off the wall. That'll be easy enough with all this stuff out of the way. I may or may not put this in here now. Mr. Tubes is going to hate that because this is where he hides. This is his hiding spot basically but what I'd like to do is take even more of this Manzanita wood, I've got a bunch of it in the garage, soak it and just get it all in here. Then I can grow stuff all in between it instead of taking up such a large amount of space because that log really takes up a whole bunch of space right in the middle. The most optimal space for light and everything else.

I'm going to pull this out and put a lot more plants in, a lot more of this spindly spiderwood in there-- Manzanita wood. I pulled everything out. I pulled the big log out, I pulled all the wood out that was in here and I took it over to the sink and gave it a nice scrub. I scrubbed it down. On a few pieces, I actually put on some hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide isn't great against hair algae but I was seeing in the beginnings, the black beard algae here and there or at least some other black spots and things that I wondered about, so I decided to douse them in that too just in case and then threw them back in.

Everything but the big log, the big log I've decided to keep out just to make room for more plants. I really like that difference there because it made it a lot more open in the middle. Now I've got a tingly twist of wood and plants and it makes a decent enough hiding spot for Mr. Tubes. Trust me, even without that log in there I can't find him half the time during the day.

I know the two places, the only two places he can be and he's completely invisible but I do notice that I see him more. He will occasionally come out a little bit more in the daytime, now that he has no cave to be in. It doesn't seem to be stressing him out too bad yet. I'll just keep an eye on him. Maintenance on this tank is not super fun. I have a small ladder that I keep next to the aquarium and I use it to go up there and I really get down in there and scrub, but I don't find that I have to do it as often as the smaller ones. I can let it go a little bit, especially with a low fish load. That's why I didn't keep a lot of fish in here especially for the first two years.

I was really hoping that the plants would explode and really take off. I noticed that hasn't happened either. I increased the light. I made things a little bit brighter. I've added additives to the soil and stuff and a lot of the plants have done pretty good but not really as good as I'd hoped. Maybe I'm just being impatient. I know with the cube tank over there it took quite a few years. Maybe three or four years before those plants really took over the tank. I'm definitely going for jungled-out, the more jungled-out I can get this thing the less maintenance it is. That's been the case on every aquarium that I've ever kept.

If I can keep it balanced and keep the plants growing really healthy, that everything else that I put in the tank does really well too. Some of you that have watched for a long time know that the rainbows in here originally came from the 56-gallon tank upstairs. It's actually right above my head. While they were in their tank up there I noticed that they had been spawning.

I was seeing the babies running around on the top of the tank. I grabbed those out. I put them in another aquarium, a 10-gallon tank and I raised up the fry. They have finally gotten big enough to where I think it's time to rejoin their parents. I've added six more rainbows to the tank. These are the offspring of the fish that are in here. Now raised up and joining their family in a big tank. They'll be interesting to see.

One of them's a little small, and I'm hoping he doesn't end up becoming lunch for Mr. Tubes. If he does, then I guess at least one of my fish has been fed. [chuckles] Sorry little rainbow. It was interesting. I had one rainbow that I had put in the five-gallon tank versus the 10-gallon tank or I might have put three in there and I think one lived. The problem is I could never catch the thing and it stayed in that five-gallon tank way longer than I intended.

Even after it started to mature and really look like a rainbow, it's still in this really small aquarium. I think it's stunted his growth because he's quite a bit smaller than the brothers and sisters that I moved from the 10-gallon to the 56-gallon right after their parents came down here because catching things in the 56-gallon was a complete nightmare. It was also jungled-out, but it was jungled out with anubias.

I think they're blocking out the light and the whole bottom of the tank was starting to get weird. I pulled a bunch of anubias out. I've added them right here in the middle. I pulled the best parts of it off. I actually took a small little rock and just jammed them in. Jammed it in there so that it would sink. I've placed them in the middle here. What I'm going to do is I'm going to let them get knocked around a little bit and see if they'll-- Hope they'll naturally stay in what looks best.

They were starting to block out the light on the other. These are giant-- These are the coffeefolia anubias and they have really, really large leaves. It's appropriately scaled for something like this. That's left me with a re-aquascaped 56 gallon and great more material to add into the space where there was once just a fake log. I had intended on adding more wood in here, but I've decided just to let that go.

It's a little bit too in the center, I think. It's a little too symmetrical depending on how you look at the aquarium where the wood is coming up right in the middle. Actually, it spans out in the background too in different areas over on the left and right. I probably will add some more soaky Manzanita wood. It's not super easy. Usually, I'll do one side and then I'll do the other side. [chuckles] Now I'm left with this piece in the middle that I can't really fit into anything because I don't have a pot that's six feet long.

As we move into the filtration down below, for the most part, that's been pretty good. I have one issue though. This thing uses filter socks. Filter socks can be a pain to clean. They're not the most fun to clean but they are fairly effective. They seem to have done a pretty good job in here. The way they're connected, they have these little brackets. Those brackets are connected by these little things.

Unfortunately, this would snap up and then it will go through the plastic because there's something about that plastic, nothing will adhere to it. You can't glue things to it. It has to be molded and then welded shut. I think they obviously attach something right at the top for a tube to go through or in both areas for tubes to go through, like in the first chamber, but there's no attaching silicone or anything like that.

They've got a thing where they push these pins through and they lock up on the other side. You can see where it would lock. Unfortunately, I found that those things didn't hold these in super well. The way it's supposed to work is that you would slide your filter sock onto here. This is right where the water comes in, and it would just hold it. This would be attached on it through the outside of the sump.

I'd go to pull this off, and it would pull those pins out. That was an issue. I wrote them, they sent me some more and the other ones did the exact same thing. I don't know if these are too small, these holes, or I just got unlucky twice. It was actually super easy to resolve though. It's not as pretty but it's underneath here. I just use zip ties to attach this thing on and now it holds it really well. That's literally my only complaint on the Seamless Sump. Other than it's loud, I think all sumps are probably loud.

In my mind, I've got this [unintelligible 00:15:01] like to do where I try to make this as quiet as possible. I've got some ideas. I could add tubes so there's less splashing of the water. I could do some foam soundproofing in the back, something modular and loose where air can pass through it and it won't get moldy or anything. It seems to do a great job of both polishing the water, providing a place for good bacteria and giving me an extra volume of water too, pushing 210 to more like 230 or so.

There's other cool stuff you can do with it too. I use my extra chamber there. I've got it where water is pumping in from the main chamber. It pumps out both into the main aquarium but it also goes into the extra chamber. I've got a spillover in that chamber that goes back into the original pump-out area. Inside of there, I seed sponge filters that I can use for emergencies or other places. I can also cut off the pump that feeds that extra chamber and turn it into a quarantine tank whenever I need to.

I've got a built-in quarantine system. It also provides an extra volume of water, pushing another 16 gallons of water into the system. When I need to, I can cut it off, use the sponge filter that's already been seeded in there and use it as a quarantine tank. It's pretty neat. It's actually luxurious. It's a great quarantine. It's nice and dark in there. I can put a light in there if I want, but fish can live really comfortably in there without any stress. There's just enough places to hide with the filters and other things that are inside, but not so much that they're going to hide from you and you can't see them.

I also switched to the bigger Kessil lights. I've noticed almost no difference with the plant growth. Maybe a little bit of difference, but overall I didn't see an enormous explosion of plant growth, switching to slightly larger Kessil lights. More and more, as I look at these Fluval lights and some of the things that they're doing, I really like the granular nature of it, the amount of control that you have.

You have a lot more control with these than I did with some other brands of lights that supposedly come on real slowly and go come off. The early versions of those and the cheaper versions of those are always kind of mechanical. They're on rails. They're going to do it but they do it the way it's been programmed to do it at the factory. With the Fluval and other brands like that, you can really--

In the Kessil to some degree with their controller, you can do that yourself. You can program those things yourself and do it exactly the way you want it to do even in regards to color and other things. In my opinion, Fluval does it the best, in that it's a more granular control. It really breaks down the different color spectrums that you can use. Kessil does, okay, but they only give you maybe two different controls like how bright it is and how blue it is, or the way it goes.

The other thing is that because this uses one LED, it could only get so dim before it just cuts off. It still does that. It goes to about 20% to 25% really, and then it just cuts off. Whereas the other lights, they really go down low. They get very, very dim before they actually shut off. I just think it's neat. While I'm not disappointed with these lights overall, I do think there's room for improvement. I don't think Fluval makes lights strong enough to penetrate this deeper tank but if they do I'd be very interested in seeing them.

Who knows? Maybe this year I'll try another brand or I'll work on this a little bit and see if I can get them to come up with something else. Okay, I just want to remind you guys that The Big Fish Deal is coming up in a couple of weeks. I'm going to be doing a demonstration there. I'm doing a simple aquascape, and you'll be able to take that aquascape home. It's a nice tank.

There's a very nice tank and a whole setup being donated. I'm going to tell you more about that soon. For now, be sure to go on the internet and look up Big Fish Deal. Big Fish Deal 8, I think it is. You can find it on Facebook too. It's just a one-day event. If you live close enough to get there, you should come. There'll be a lot of neat people there. That's all I got for you this week. Until next time, follow your bliss. Keep a clean tank. I'll see you soon. Bye.


Yes, it's time again to do the two-year update for the 210. I can't say time again, it's the first time it's happened. [laughs] Hey YouTube this-- Hey YouTube--


How can I say it? It's the first line. Bichir and he is, that's so hard to say-[chuckles] Both of those things. Teugelsi bichir?


About Pecktec

Sean Peck (PeckTec on YouTube) uses a Seamless Sump filter system to clean his 220-gallon freshwater planted display aquarium.

Sean's tank is a freshwater planted tank with a seamless sump system. Sean really wanted to solve the issue of filtering a really large aquarium. Sean actually interviewed members of Custom Aquariums staff and that is where Sean learned about Custom Aquariums seamless sump system and is quite impressed.

Pecktec posts videos every Sunday about his aquarium projects, so stay tuned!

View More

Connect with Pecktec