He was an experimental ex con, let out from prison on an early release program where they conducted science experiments on volunteers. Piccolo offered and was then received a pair of genetically altered gills, allowing him to breathe underwater like a fish. He was put on seaQuest because that's where the parole board thought he would be most useful.
At first he was rebellious, and attempted escape shortly after boarding, but soon was bunked with Lucas Wolenczak, and though they first irritated one another, they soon became friends. Piccolo was originally from New York and his wise crack Italian humor often relieved tense situations and gained him popularity, though he was often teased light heartedly among the crew. He enjoyed showing off his talents in gambling and playing the piano, and was a big Elvis fan.
He also was dyslexic which caused him to struggle when he decided to apply for the Officer Candidate School, in 2032. Lonnie Henderson, who had already passed the program, tutored him. Although he didn't pass the test Capt. Hudson was impressed with the effort he put into it and promoted him to the rank of Warrant Officer, which let him continue to qualify for Sub Fighter training under Lt. Fredericks.
Tony Piccolo was played by Michael DeLuise. In the first season Lucas had a little brother relationship with Krieg, for this season Lucas became the mentor to Piccolo, and empathized on his family problems since he too came from a broken family. One of Picollos most important aspects, according to Producer Carleton Eastlake, is "he's also the most human of the whole crew, because he's really very unsophisticated." DeLuise was on the original short list for the part of Piccolo, along with Max Perlich.