HomeOutdoorsNewsAquarium Housing 1,500 Tropical Fish Bursts

Aquarium Housing 1,500 Tropical Fish Bursts

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by AMR Image via Getty Images)

Berlin, Germany’s capital city, is known for its vast array of historical landmarks, breathtaking architecture, and vibrant culture. There’s the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and the Berlin Cathedral, just to name a few of the most popular sites in the city, each of them providing a remarkable look back in time.

That said, not every attraction Berlin has to offer is steeped in history. In fact, one of its most bustling was just constructed in 2003: the AquaDom. Popular among locals and tourists alike, the AquaDom is an 82-foot tall cylindrical acrylic glass aquarium inside the DomAquarée complex.

Now, visitors are welcome to observe the fish from outside the tank. The real attraction, though, is the elevator. After stepping inside, guests are treated to a 10-minute ride through the middle of the AquaDom.

Until today, it stood as the largest cylindrical tank in the world, housing around 1,500 tropical fish across 80 different species. Sadly, however, the AquaDom will no longer attract countless families to gaze at the brightly colored sea life housed within.

82-Foot Tall Aquarium Explodes in Berlin

Just before 6 a.m. (0500GMT) this morning (December 16), the monstrous aquarium shattered, sending shards of glass and hundreds of fish spilling out of the building and onto the street, along with a staggering one million liters (264,000 gallons) of water.

The DomAquarée complex, containing a hotel, offices, a museum, a restaurant, and an aquarium, sustained massive damage. Two people were injured by glass splinters as well. Gwendolin Szyszkowitz, a witness to the horrific incident, described it as a loud bang, the Berlin local fearing that a bomb had exploded inside the complex.

Meanwhile, Sandra Weeser, a German lawmaker who was staying in the hotel, likened the explosion to an earthquake. “There are shards (of glass) everywhere. The furniture, everything has been flooded with water,” she told ABC6. “It looks a bit like a war zone.”

Around 300 guests and employees had to be evacuated from the hotel in which the aquarium is housed. Rescue dogs were then sent into the wreckage to search for anyone who might have been trapped in the debris.

AquaDom Explosion Remains Under Investigation

The number of surviving fish remains unknown. According to fire service spokesman Adrian Wentzel, however, nearly all the fish likely perished in the accident. “We have not yet been able to walk the first floor completely, which is probably where these fish will be,” Wentzel said. “But the thing is that the water has completely leaked out and about 1,400 fish that were in this aquarium could not be saved either.”

While rescue crews fought to search the inside of the building, emergency services were forced to shut down the major road next to the complex leading from Alexanderplatz toward the Brandenburg Gate. The road was covered in so much water, broken glass, and aquarium debris that it was impossible to travel.

Though the circumstances surrounding the massive aquarium bursting might inspire thoughts of sabotage, local officials claim they have no reason to suspect foul play. The official cause remains undetermined. However, there is speculation that the freezing temperatures overnight (-10 C / 14 F), caused a crack in the tank. The AquaDom then exploded from the massive weight of the water within. That said, the cause is still under investigation.