BRISTOL (WITI) — Many living rooms are equipped with a big flat screen TV and a big couch for the whole family — perhaps even a big painting on the wall. However, no one has anything as gigantic as one man in Bristol!
Bill Wann’s basement is filled with machines,including an intricate and expensive toaster oven used in sophisticated pharmaceutical and crime labs. Wann, a high school dropout, repairs and refurbishes machines like these for a living.
“Most of the people operating them are Ph.Ds,” Wann said.
Upstairs in Wann’s living room is a giant fish tank — measuring 24 feet long, 10 feet high, 10 feet front to back, and the viewing glass is 2 1/2 inch acrylic. At more than 20,000 gallons, it is the largest privately-owned reef tank in North America.
“I’m just used to it. I mean, it doesn’t feel that big to me anymore. I look at it as a maintenance nightmare and all the things that are wrong,” Wann said.
Wann, and sometimes his friend Aaron Fortuna have to scuba dive in order to help maintain the tank.
“On the other side of the glass looking in you don’t realize on how deep it really is until you’re inside the tank,” Wann said.
To support the 100-150 fish, some valued at $500 to $1,000 each, takes a space several times bigger than the behemoth fish tank itself.
From the two sump pools to the seemingly miles of massive pipe, to a customized filtration system he now sells, Wann whipped it all up himself.
“I`ve never been able to master and I learn something new every day and that’s why I’m interested,” Wann said.
As much as girlfriend Tricia Clauson, who shares Wann’s home appreciates the wall-sized tank, she’s a little apprehensive about the next one.
“If he’s not sleeping he’s working. If he could find a way to work in his sleep he would. You don’t need to watch TV, because it draws your attention,” Clauson said.
Wann says he is planning a tank that will be somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 gallons.
“Little bit crazy I think would be underestimating the craziness of it,” Clauson said.
Wann has started a separate company to produce and sell the large fish tank gear he has designed and built.