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Huge German aquarium with 1500 fish bursts

The first sign of disaster was a loud crack – and then the world’s largest circular aquarium tank unleashed a wall of water onto a Berlin street.

The home to about 1500 exotic fish spilled one million litres of water and debris into the busy Mitte district, emergency services say.

About 100 emergency responders rushed to the site, a leisure complex that houses a Radisson hotel and a museum as well as what Sea Life Berlin said was the world’s largest freestanding cylindrical aquarium at 14 metres in height.

“It felt like an earthquake” Naz Masraff, who had been staying at the hotel, said.

Another hotel guest, Sandra Weeser, spoke of chaos.

“The whole aquarium burst and what’s left is total devastation.

Lots of dead fish, debris,” she told Reuters.

The AquaDom aquarium at the Sea Life tourist attraction . Photo: Getty

Two people were injured by splinters of glass, and emergency services asked about 350 hotel guests to pack their belongings and leave amid concerns that there could be structural damage.

Buses were sent to provide shelter for the hotel guests, police said, as outside temperatures in Berlin in the morning hovered at about minus 7C.

Radisson told its Radisson Rewards loyalty club members in an email that the Radisson Collection Hotel Berlin was closed until further notice.

Search and rescue dogs scoured the ground floor of the building, which was too littered with debris for responders to access, but found no casualties, the Berlin fire brigade said on Twitter.

A spokesperson for the fire brigade told Reuters it was still unclear what had caused the AquaDom aquarium to burst.

Sea Life Berlin said in a statement its team was shocked by the incident and was trying to obtain more information from the owners of the AquaDom about what had caused the incident.

The company, which had offered glass elevator rides through the AquaDom aquarium, said it would also remain closed until further notice.

Neither the fire brigade nor the police commented on the fate of the fish although police said on Twitter there had been “unbelievable maritime damage”.

Two police officers collect fish in water tanks at. Photo: AAP

Emergency services shut a major road next to the complex that leads from Alexanderplatz toward the Brandenburg Gate due to the large volume of water that had flooded out of the building.

The aquarium was last refurbished in 2020, according to the website of the DomAquaree complex.

During the upgrading work, all the water was drained from the tank and the fish were moved to aquariums in the basement of the building, where there is a breeding care facility for the fish, it said.

DomAquaree as well as the AquaDom aquarium are owned by a real estate fund managed by Union Investment.

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