Lifestyles of the Fish and Famous: Animal Planet’s ‘Tanked’ swims into its 8th year

Professional Wrestler Titus O’Neil (center) with Tanked stars Wayde King (left) and Brett Raymer (right).

A new season of Las Vegas’ own hit reality show, Tanked, will premiere at 9 p.m. March 30 on Animal Planet. Since debuting in 2011, the show had followed Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM) co-owners Wayde King and Brett Raymer as they design and build mind-blowing aquariums for celebrities, athletes and corporate locations. This season will feature a few local spots, with a special aquarium for Downtown’s Mob Museum; a fish-tank shaped like a boxing glove at Fernando Vargas’ gym Feroz Fight Factory; and Summerlin’s Donut Mania (which just happens to be owned by Raymer). Other shows will feature elaborate aquariums designed for entertainers Keyshia Cole and Howie Mandel, and a “piano tank” for a piano factory-turned-residential space in New York.

Perhaps because it’s hidden away in an industrial area just west of Interstate 15, the ATM building doesn’t get quite as many visitors as does Pawn Stars’ Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, although they do get a lot. Up to 2,100 fans a week filter through, some going in for the $40-per-person VIP tours and others simply perusing the gift shop and sneaking peeks at 20-foot-tall columns of artificial coral, a variety of tanks under construction and a variety of rescued parrots that roost in the middle of the warehouse. Fans Anthony Salas and Ashlynn Terry came from Ventura County, California, to take the tour. Salas watches Tanked all the time and loved meeting the stars of the show: “It was unreal.”

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