Fellow aquarium nerd Francis from Living Color Aquariums gave us another private screening of an upcoming episode of Fish Tank Kings, with this week’s show (which happens to be the fifth episode and the second to last in the inaugural season) following the same format as those previously aired by focusing on two high profile builds. These two builds consist of a massive 600+ gallon reef aquarium with actual living corals and a freshwater system for a local children’s foundation. To populate the reef tank, Francis visits Dustin Dorton at Oceans Reefs & Aquariums to talk about aquacultured corals, so not only do we get a rare peak inside ORA’s massive greenhouse facility, but the more responsible side of our hobby also gets to bathe in the spotlight. This build experiences its fair share of drama, especially since the aquarium and stand were almost too big to fit into the new owner’s home. The children’s aquarium, on the other hand, didn’t experience any technical issues and the crew at Living Color pulled off a great freshwater build to brighten the lives of so many underprivileged children. The tank is installed in the Overtown Youth Center founded by former Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning, who started the foundation for underprivileged kids located in the communities surrounding Miami.
With the straightforward details out of the way, we can finally get into the simply reason why this episode is one of our favorites. For starters, there wasn’t the typical reality tv drama when it came to the freshwater install at the youth center. The build was to the point, and it showed the professionalism of both Living Color Aquariums and National Geographic. They didn’t try to pull at our heart strings too much either. It was a well thought out build simply designed to grab the interests of the children.
As for the reef tank, we did see the reality show mishaps as the Living Color employees butted heads, ran into easily circumventable installation issues, and a somewhat overbearing customer. That said, from a hobbyists perspective, it’s probably our favorite build of the season. It is a full blown reef aquarium that is illuminated by LED lighting and it features captive grown corals from ORA and leftovers from another reef tank in the home. With this tank, we see it being set up, filled with RO/DI sourced water, and allowed to sit for a few weeks to cycle. Only after all of the water parameters tested out okay, were the corals were put into the tank. It could still be considered a rushed aquarium build by the typical hobbyist timeline, but it was nice to see the aquarium being set up over a few weeks instead of all in the same day.
That’s all we’ll hint at for now. To see the rest of the show, be sure to tune into National Geographic this Saturday at 10 pm ET.
As we mentioned above, this is the second to last episode of season one of Fish Tank Kings. In lieu of this, there’s a special giveaway promotion, which will be the subject of an article posted either later today or tomorrow.