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Riverhead aquarium staff recalls Tracy Morgan's 'Tanked' experience
The 2-year-old giant pacific octopus Lincoln clung to the side of a cave, its tentacles suctioned to the walls of his tank at Riverhead’s Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center.
“30 Rock” star Tracy Morgan admired the beauty of the octopus’ tank built in a column. In early October, the comedian returned to the family-owned aquarium with Animal Planet’s “Tanked” to find inspiration on building his pet octopus Bwyadette’s abode at his home in New Jersey. The episode aired last Friday.
“Tanked,” in its third season, follows brothers-in-law Wayde King and Brett Raymer, who run the Las Vegas-based Acrylic Tank Manufacturing, creating one-of-a-kind fish tanks.
His octopus’ name comes from a mashup of the name of the two “Tanked” hosts. Morgan was so impressed by their work on his shark tank that was featured in an episode last year that he wanted them to create a new home for his pet octopus.
“I would like the ship on the bottom with little crevices so she can feel secure,” Morgan said during the episode. “I want her to be able to go and do her own thing. She’s a lady.”
Joe Yaiullo, curator and co-founder of the aquarium, said Morgan has been at the aquarium before to shark dive and had even donated his nurse shark Morgan.
“He asked for advice on the tank’s design, internal insert and the proper food to give the octopus,” said Yaiullo, 50, of East Quogue. “He wants to model his tank after ours but with a sunken ship to give her places to hide to feel comfortable and secure.”
Yaiullo added that the comedian has quite a menagerie of critters and marine animals.
“As goofy as he is, he’s a real sincere guy and cares about his animals,” he said.
Director of Education Robert Carasiti said Morgan was like a kid in a candy store when he stepped into the aquarium, longing to have all the tanks and fish before him.
“The more exotic the tank the better,” said Carasiti, 35, of East Moriches. “He loved all our tanks and how we’ve set them up. We had to talk him out of getting a sand shark.”