'Tanked': Wayde King and Brett Raymer are the toast of Malibu Wines
Built inside a covered wagon, it features a bottle with the winery logo, giant glasses, tiny barrels and custom-made grapevines (plus temperature controls concealed in a large wine barrel outside the tank).
In March, Zap2it headed out to the hills of Malibu, Calif., to meet up with King and Raymer (at right and left, respectively, above) and get the lowdown on the brothers-in-law's latest creation.
"We've got yellow tangs," says Raymer, giving a tour of the tank's inhabitants. "We've got Fiji foxface; we've got some damsels, a couple of longnose butterflies."
"We made everything," says King, "except for the covered wagon. We made the tarp, the vines and everything you see. Those were handmade by (ATM employee) Redneck.
"The winery owner saw the show, and he liked it. They're very wealthy. He bought his wife some animals, not giraffes but zebras and water buffalo."
"They have a whole zoo," says Raymer, "with 1,200 acres up here."
"They decided to do an aquarium," King continues, "so they called us. They knew about the show, and we put it all together."
The wagon sits outdoors, under a large tree (on whose trunk the animal-loving King spots a pair of mating lizards), in an area of tables and chairs under umbrellas that forms an open-air wine-tasting room.
Sitting at a picnic table near the tank, Raymer says, "This place is great. This is the area where they do the wine tasting and all that stuff. You can go over to the other place, and that's where they grow everything."
During the conversation, a man and woman stroll by -- and the man is wearing a horse's head mask.
"You horsin' around, there?" quips King, prompting a wave from the man (but no explanation of the unusual headgear).
Despite the TV exposure on "Tanked," ATM is still working to fully recover from the recent economic downturn, but luckily for them, there's a demand for their products.
"When you buy an aquarium," says Raymer, "it's capital improvement, and when it goes on the show, it becomes part of an advertising plan. So the money that's sitting in marketing, they get an aquarium for 50 grand -- you're going to be on the air, and you see how often they rerun our show. You're going to get a lot of airtime."
They're also trying to give reality TV a good name.
"In a way," says King, "we understand why people say all reality TV is crap, because we watch TV. But you can't make our stuff up. It's our personalities. They don't give us a script. We say what we say. We build a beautiful aquarium, and some of the problems that happen are things that happen, that they see.
"Do we enhance a little bit? Do we recreate? If it's pouring rain out, do we sit there, would we be out doing it? Yes, stuff like that. But it is what it is. It's reality."