Our Circles Magazine team visited ATM to talk with the Tanked crew:
1- What inspired you to produce tanks?
Well, what happened in 1994, I moved out to Las Vegas. And when Imoved out to Las Vegas, I was building a new home and between my dining room and my theater room I wanted to put a tank so what I did, is I decided to call up Ampro which is the company in town at that particular time and I asked them to come over and they sent Wade King over, now Wade King came over to quote me on a tank and when he came to quote me on a tank, he saw a picture of my daughter. He said to me, he says, “You know I’m going to marry your daughter.” Now I proposed to my wife, may she rest in peace, unfortunately, she passed away 15 years ago. Alright and uh.. my wife saw me for 15 minutes and she went home and she says, “Mommy, I met the man that I’m gonna marry.” So it was very, very similar and the result was that they got married and he was working for the company and the company was getting bankrupted and all of a sudden he said to me, “How am I going to invest into our company? I’m going into this company and take it over.” So, I took this company and took it over and I put Brett and Wade together as partners and uh… that was 19 years ago. And the reality was that we had some good times and some bad times. Now we have some great ti mes and we are on T.V., we are in 200 countries, we just celebrated our 100th episode and that’s how I got involved with tanks. I don’t particularly build tanks but the reality is that I’m in tank business and I’m the financial person I put in over 2 million dollars into the company because of our good years and bad years so we are the number 1 tank builder and number 1 show on Animal Planet called “Tanked.”
2- Did you have to go to school to know about fish?
Uhm… well, you have to learn this from somewhere, you don’t have to go to school but you can learn from books videos to dvds or you can go onto Google and it has everything that you want to learn about fish.
3- What year did you move to Las Vegas?
I moved to Las Vegas in 1994 that was 22 years ago.
4- What is your favorite fish?
My favorite is the “Puffer” because when it gets really excited or upset, it blows up. At one time, we had a puffer that we feed out of my hand, and that’s something I really enjoyed.
5- How many people a day call you for a tank?
Probably anywhere between 10 to 30 people a day call to get quotes for tanks.
6- What was the most difficult tank you had to make for a client?
I think the most difficult tank that we did was in Dallas, Texas. It took us 2 ½ years to build and they actually built the church around the tank and then what we had to put the cross into the tank, we didn’t realize at the time that it was hollow on the inside and the end result was that we had to do it twice and we had to fill up on sand to get it weight so it could sink to the bottom.
7- How long does it take for the making of the show?
It takes 40 to 60 hours to film to make one 46 minute segment.
8- What are the different prices for each tank?
The tanks are depended on size, and its depended on what extra items you want on the tank, like if you want a filter, type of a pump, if you want a façade, canopy. There’s a lot of things that go into it but basically its about size because everything is done in dollars and cents, the larger the tank, the more it costs.
9- How much does it cost to fund an episode?
That is actually unknown to me and it varies from place to place because if you have something that’s in Las Vegas, we don’t have to ship it out of town so we have to take consideration the shipping, the installation, etc. The further away you go, the more expensive it is and then again it depends on where your installing it, do you have to through the door?, do you have to go through the roof?, do you have to go through the window?Do you have to repair certain things? Etc.
10- What was your most exciting tank you made?
The most expensive tank ironically now would be the church tank. It was 5 million dollars, plus the installation of the tank.
11- How do you keep the tanks clean?
Ok. I don’t typically keep the tanks clean, but the reality is the tanks are kept clean in two or three different ways. #1: We have the service company that keeps them clean. #2: If we do it in-house, we have certain chemicals that we actually sell and the chemicals that we sell are quality and the end result is that we utilize to the best of our abilities through trial and error and now we have the best chemicals in the world so it
keeps the tanks really, really clean, but again everything’s about the dollars and cents. Now, if you have a service, they charge you about $1 per gallon, so if you have a 50 gallon tank, it’s $50 a month. If you have a 100 gallon tank, its $100 a month and as you go up, it still stays at $1 a gallon.
12- How many fish tanks do you have?
I’m not sure what exactly you mean, we have in-house about 10 fish tanks now. But, we built about 10,000 over 19 years.