Did Anyone – At Any Time – Pause and Say…

We humans have a propensity for building big things.

Big buildings:

Burj Khalifa, Dubai.

Big ships:

Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Big burgers:

1,774 pounds, Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar, Detroit.

So back in the early 2000s, when the powers-that-be decided to put an aquarium in the lobby of the Raddison BLU Hotel in Berlin, Germany…

…it’s no surprise that they weren’t thinking…

No, they were thinking big:

It’s called “AquaDom.”

AquaDom opened in 2003 and back then cost about $13.5 million.  There are a variety of statistics online – not all of them agreeing – but reportedly it’s a freestanding, 52-feet-tall acrylic glass aquarium with a diameter of 36 feet that holds 260,000 gallons of water. 

To put that in perspective, your average toilet holds 3.5 gallons of water.  Now picture about 75,000 toilets tanks stacked up…

That’s a lot of water.

When it opened, AquaDom was declared the world’s largest cylindrical aquarium by Guinness World Records, and was home to more than 100 species of 1,500 tropical fish – “clown fish and angel fish, trigger fish and parrot fish, among many other kinds”:

And that isn’t the only thing in the fish tank – AquaDom has a transparent elevator inside where you can get a view of all those fish, and divers feeding them:

So AquaDom has all the bells and whistles:  biggest ever, flashy, expensive, elevator inside, with a walkway above:

And a tunnel below:

Complete with its own shark mascot.

Various media described the AquaDom as “mesmerizing,” “gigantic” and “impressive,” as in this 2016 article:

While this 2017 article:

Described it as “incredible,” “towering,” and “absolutely need to add to your bucket list.”

So things were going along swimmingly at the Radisson BLU’s AquaDom, until Friday morning, December 16, when…

Verbs used to describe what happened to the AquaDom include “bursts,” “explodes” and “ruptures,” but whatever the wording, the results were the same.  AquaDom:

“…burst, spilling debris, water and hundreds of tropical fish out…parts of the building…were damaged as the 260,000 gallons of water poured from the aquarium shortly before 6am.  Berlin’s fire service said two people were slightly injured.”

There were pictures of the damage inside the hotel:

“There are shards of glass everywhere,” said one hotel guest.  “The furniture, everything has been flooded with water.  It looks…like a war zone.”

And outside:

But – thankfully – there was an upside:

“Mayor Franziska Giffey said the tank had unleased a ‘veritable tsunami’ of water but the early morning timing had prevented far more injuries.

“‘Despite all the destruction, we were still very lucky,’ she said.  ‘We would have had terrible human damage’ had the aquarium burst even an hour later, once more were awake and in the hotel and the surrounding area, she said.”

And while the cause of the burst/explosion/rupture is under investigation, it appears that an American company…

May have some explaining to do.

It seems to me that in human’s quest for the big, bigger, biggest, AquaDom was more of an AquaDumb.

Seriously – while this idea was still on the drawing board, did anyone suggest that maybe, just maybe, this was not a good idea?  Putting a monster freestanding water tank in a hotel lobby?  On the assumption that this human-made thing was perfect, invulnerable, and would stand, intact, forevermore?

Another upside:  The police aren’t suspecting foul play…

“Berlin police say they are not seeking suspects following the explosion of the ‘AquaDom’ aquarium on Friday, warning the public about what they say is a fake tweet suggesting they are.”

And speaking of ‘fake tweets’ – enter Elon Musk!

In an attempt to demonstrate what a great, caring person he is and more importantly, placate at least one European country over recent headlines lines this…

Shortly after AquaDom burst, Musk reportedly contacted the Radisson BLU with a suggestion on how to turn the AquaDom loss…

Into a financial win:

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