Nine Craziest Aquariums on Planet Earth

Oita Marine Center Feeding Tank

oita marine center feeding tank

It seems impossible, literally impossible: a fish tank with holes in the side to allow visitors to feed and pet the fish (because fish are always so cuddly). The Marine Center Feeding Tank in Oita, Japan is completely vacuum sealed, meaning that the water will not come pouring out the feeding holes. However, if even one of those holes cracked the entire fish tank would quickly turn onto an empty glass box. Seeing this physics-defying fish tank along with the other attractions at the Oita Marine entre costs $19.25 (USD) for adult visitors and $9.60 for children. Not a bad price to watch physics be defied before your eyes.

The AquaDom

wing1990hk on Flickr

Ever get onto an elevator and get bored staring at the same blank wall every time? At the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin, Germany that is not an issue in the Aquadom (like the Thunderdome, except nothing like it at all) a 250,000 gallon fish tank that surrounds a transparent elevator, the only one of its kind.

The Aquadom is the largest cylindrical aquarium in the world, measuring 52ft tall and 36ft in diameter. The tank is home to 1,500 fish including 80 unique species like the Pacific regal blue tang of Finding Nemo fame (Dory). Fun fact: the company that designed and built the aquarium (International Concept Management Inc.) is the same company that designed the arched aquariums inside the Rainforest Café chain of restaurants.

Phone Booth Aquariums

phone booth aquarium

Sadly in real life phone booths are not multipurpose crafts Doctor Who uses to travel though time and space to fight threats to the galaxy (until proven other wise when the Daleks attack). However, in Osaka, Japan a local artist collaborative has transformed a few of these booths into giant goldfish tanks.

By sealing the phone booth, installing bubblers and filling them with water, the group has created a fantastic piece of street art that is both artistically and culturally significant. Goldfish are a significant element in Japanese art, bringing people good luck, happiness, prosperity and abundance (hence why they tend to populate your local buffet). If you’re in Osaka you should try and find one of these unique tanks. Just don’t try and open the door to make a call.

New World Fish Pond

new world mall fish pond
Jesse Rockwell

Not all of the aquariums on this list are made on purpose. The New World Fish Pond, located in the basement of an abandoned shopping mall is an example of beauty emerging from tragedy. In the 1980s, property development company Kaew Fah Plaza Company Limited built an 11-storey mall called New World in Bangkok, Thailand. The Mall's top seven floors were illegally built due to the original building permit only allowed the building to be four-storeys tall (how or why this oversight happened is unclear). The mall was closed in 1997 and two years later things went from bad to cursed when someone set the mall on fire, costing several people their lives. Soon after, the illegal floors of the building were demolished (killing another person) and the building was left roofless and abandoned. After years of collecting rainwater in the 1,600-square foot basement mosquitoes began to claim the mall as their own. As a counter-measure unknown locals began dumping koi fish and other species into the newly formed pond hoping to control the invading pests.

Today the fish population has ballooned and become self-sustaining thanks to the endless supply of mosquito larvae and the odd curious on-looker coming to feed the fish. However, since photos of the pond went viral and more people have begun visiting the site, local officials have barricaded the entrances. In fact, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is discussing moving the fish and demolishing the rest of the building for public safety.

To see more photos of this great find check out this blog by Jesse Rockwell.

Liquid Potion Lounge Fish Bridge

fish bridge

Life in an aquarium can get a little dull. Luckily for the fish who used to occupy the now-closed Liquid Potion Lounge in Evanston, IL, they had access to their own their own fishy freeway, allowing them to visit their friends in the neighbouring tank for a change of scene.

This amphibian autobahn ran from one fish tank, straight up to the ceiling, across the sitting area and straight back down into the other tank several feet away. According to one former patron fish would go up the tube but would rarely make it to the other tank. Perhaps they were afraid of the world that lay beyond the horizon.

Goudvissen Hotel: A Hotel for Goldfish

From dogs to cats to birds to reptiles, the odds are you can look online right now you can find a pet hotel for just about anything, except fish. Just outside Schiphol Amsterdam Airport in The Netherlands you can check in your fish free of charge into The Goudvissen Hotel: a hotel for goldfish. You can kick back and relax on your vacation while your finned friend enjoys its own getaway complete with private rooms, a restaurant, waterslide and tennis court, according to the commercial above. The hotel can hold up to 80 guests with optional segregated areas if you don’t want your fish interacting with the rest of the riff-raff. Also, if your fish dies while staying at the hotel (it happens), The Goudvissen will allow you to take home one of its permanent residents for free, along with what we're sure is a very sincere apology.

Hengqin Ocean Kingdom

Hengqin ocean kingdom

Almost every major city has some sort of walk-through aquarium, but the sheer scale of the Hengqin Ocean Kingdom in Guangdong Province, China is in a class of its own. The park set five Guinness World Records after its official opening in March 2014: largest aquarium, largest underwater viewing dome, largest aquarium tank, largest aquarium window and largest acrylic panel. The Whale Shark Exhibit Aquarium’s viewing window is 129ft by 27ft and holds 5.99 million gallons of salt water (the whole park has a total water volume of about 13 million gallons) while containing many fish species including devil fish, turtles, rays and whale sharks!

QUA Bottle Lounge’s Dance Floor

dance floor shark tank

Ever wanted to grab a stiff drink and dance on top of some sharks? Residents of Austin, Texas could do just that at the Qua Nightclub and Bottle Lounge before the club closed in 2012. At Qua you could grab a glass of your preferred alcoholic beverage and boogie down atop a 20,000 gallon tank which was once home to black tip reef sharks, leopard sharks and rays. Don't worry about falling in: the top of the tank was topped with four 3-inch soundproof acrylic panels with a 9-inch gap between the panels and the surface of the water. This put over four tons of acrylic between dancers and the sharks and enough of a buffer to ensure the sharks would not be disturbed by patrons or the bass from the dance track. According to the club owners, they did everything possible keep the tank habitable by employing a former employee of the Miami Seaquarium and consulting with an independent company to run hydrophone tests in the tank.

Taking these precautions did not stop the club from feeling the wrath of PETA. Despite the owners claiming to have taken all the necessary precautions, the nonprofit organization began a campaign that sought to have the animals removed from the dance floor tank. They accused Qua of creating a harmful environment for the creatures and that the efforts put into the tank were ineffective. They even claimed at least three sharks died in the tank, which the club denied. PETA eventually had their way, though probably not in the way they expected. Qua, along with the other establishments owned by Yassine Enterprises, was shut down after the FBI raided the nightclubs and arrested owner Mike and his brothers Steve and Hadi Yassine on a number of charges including money laundering, drug and weapon trafficking and tax fraud.

LG Fish Phone

The LG GD900 Crystal was released in 2009 back when phones still had physical keypads. The phone had two unique features: the first-ever transparent keypad and a custom water-resistant case for making those underwater calls. With a few simple modifications one phone owner was able to turn his phone into a mini aquarium. As shown in the video above, all you need to do is open up the hollow keypad, chose your favorite fish, place him or her in the keypad, fill it up with water and presto! Now you can take your Tamagotchi and Farmville obsessions to a whole new level. How long can the fish survive? How do you feed the fish? These are all challenges you must overcome in order to become a true Fish Phone Master.


For more aquarium fun, here's an-depth look at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, a new aquarium located at the foot of Toronto's CN Tower, by the World Fishing Journal.

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