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St. Pete Beach restaurant's snorkel aquarium gets reveal on 'Tanked' show

Published May 16, 2014

A 33,500 gallon "snorkel aquarium" overlooking the dining room of a soon-to-be-opened St. Pete Beach restaurant gets its big reveal Friday on the hit Animal Planet show Tanked.

The series specializes in over-the-top fish tanks for celebrities and that's just what they did for the RumFish Grill & Bar at the Guy Harvey Outpost, a TradeWinds Beach Resort. And the series stars, Wayde King and Brett Raymer, will be in town along with legendary fisherman and artist Guy Harvey on Saturday for a meet and greet with fans.

The restaurant is aiming to open at the end of May, a TradeWinds spokeswoman said.

The show's creators asked not to reveal spoilers on the RumFish tank before the show airs, but it will be stocked with indigenous fish such as snook, redfish, trout, tarpon, grouper, snapper, small sharks and eels in the largest tank the show has ever created. Guests will be able to get behind-the-scenes tours and even snorkel in the tank and feed the fish.

It was TradeWinds president Keith Overton who came up with the idea of a destination-worthy fish tank for a restaurant themed for wildlife artist Harvey. Since Tanked has created a Jaws-themed shark tank for actor Tracy Morgan and a Houdini tank for magic aficionado Neil Patrick Harris, Overton figured they could do the kind of eye-popping aquarium he wanted for RumFish. He had also considered the producers of Fish Tank Kings, which airs on National Geographic channel, but said he liked the Tanked team's design better.

"We wanted to showcase the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay fish," Overton said. The result was flown from its production scene in Italy and dropped into the TradeWinds restaurant by a 12-story crane, because "one panel alone weighed more than 10,000 pounds."

You can see it when the show airs at 10 p.m. Friday on Animal Planet, or see it in person at a special meet and greet with the show's stars from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Guy Harvey Outpost, 6000 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach.

A unique operating cost of the restaurant will be three full-time aquarium managers and a biologist on staff, Overton said.

Many of the fish were caught by Overton and his sons right out of the gulf, he said. There is also a smaller juvenile tank for fish that will be moved to the big tank as they grow.

"It's going to be fun to show the animals off that are in the surrounding waters that no one gets to see," Overton said.

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