Brothers-in-law Brett Raymer and Wayde King have a thriving business with making customized aquariums, which is all of what their show Tanked is about on the Animal Planet channel. Raymer talks with us about the show and how it first got started.
ATM: Did you go to aquariums as a child? If so, then describe a memory.
Brett: As a child, my stepbrother had a lot of aquariums. He was really into aquariums. We always had aquariums growing up because of my stepbrother. I moved out on my own at 21 and had an aquarium in my house. When I moved to Vegas, I did not have any aquariums for a long time. I had an opportunity to get involved in an aquarium service.
ATM: What’s your favorite fish and why?
Brett: My favorite fish is the clown trigger fish. I love the colors of clown triggers. They are aggressive, but they have to get along with all the other fishes.
ATM: What is your dream fish tank?
Brett: I would love to do one either in the White House or at Facebook. Somewhere that it is super visible so everyone in the world can see it. We do it a lot on television. People have to actually see our aquariums to see how amazing that are.
ATM: What would your own dream fish tank encompass?
Brett: I have one right now. I have a huge one in my kitchen. I put it in the wall of my kitchen. Most of us spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I wanted to make sure it was somewhere very visible. I am getting ready to build another one in my house. I am getting ready to build a reef tank. The one I have now is just fish only.
ATM: How do you feed the fish if it is in the wall?
Brett: I have a pantry behind the aquarium. The aquarium is in the pantry. The wall is cut out and you can go into the pantry. You get up on a ladder to feed the fish.
ATM: If someone wanted an aquarium in their basement, then how would they feed the fish?
Brett: The only way to see it would be from the outside. This is possible. We do a lot of acrylic windows where they are in basements. We did one in Canada, where a guy had a swimming pool on one side and his aquarium on the other side. He was able to look from the swimming pool into the aquarium.
ATM: What was the pressure like around the first season?
Brett: Oh gosh, the first season was so long ago. It has been almost ten years. In the first season, we filmed only six episodes. It took us a year to film six episodes. Whereas, now we film anywhere between 20-25 a year. It took us a lot of time to figure out the show. The pressure in the first season was choosing one. You are not actually getting paid. People do not realize this in the reality T.V. business. Your first couple of seasons you do not really make a lot money. We went out on a limb to do this T.V. show with six episodes not knowing where it would take us. Here we are almost 150 episodes later.
ATM: When did it come easy in relation to the famous term practice makes perfect?
Brett: Season three. We went from six episodes to 20 the next year. Then we went to another 20. Season 2 we filmed like 275 days. Then we got it down to 200 days. Now we film the season in about 150 days. We are trying to cut it down.
ATM: At what point in your life did you find out building aquariums was your niche?
Brett: It is funny because I did not go to school for aquarium building. When my brother in law married my sister, and we got into this business together. Once the business took off. This is when I knew the business was going to be good.
ATM: How can this show be a significance?
Brett: We created this show to educate people that fish are pets too and to teach them through all types of aquatic sea life. Before our T.V. ten years old, if you would have gone into a classroom and asked, “Hey, what would you guys like to be for a living?” You hear firemen, baseball player, and football player. Now after our television show ten years later, you actually hear aquarium builders. We hit home to a lot of kids and people who want to be like Brett and Wayde.
ATM: What was your first pet?
Brett: A dog. We had a lot of dogs growing up. We did not have a lot fish when I was really little.
ATM: How do you take care of a fish like you would with a dog?
Brett: Some people are hobbyist. They take care of the aquarium themselves. Then, there are people who are not hobbyist. They do not have a clue about aquariums. They hire a maintenance crew.