Watergate: the Smile Solutions fish tank saga

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Dentist Melbourne
Melbourne's Home of Dentistry

The Smile Solutions fish tank has been loved and admired by visitors to the practice since March 1995. While our blue water paradise has always been beautiful, it’s not always been a calming influence. Back in the 90’s; a large, glass, fish tank in a dental practice was almost unheard of, let alone one right next to the dentists chair for patients to look at! The Smile Solutions’ fish tank caused a stir from the moment movers struggled to fit it in the lift on installation day.

“Who is it for?

“Is that going in here?”

“That’s going to hold a lot of water.”

The fish tank had arrived at its new home – the original Smile Solutions location at 100 Collins Street. The day before the practice opened, a carpenter drove a nail into the pressurised floor heating system. Water flooded down into the seven floors below; into the lift shaft, the fire stairs, out of windowsills and causing it rain down onto Collins Street.

Everyone presumed the fish tank had burst – but it survived, and it thrived.

Now filled with live coral and beautiful tropical fish, the tank made the journey with Smile Solutions at its expanded location at 175 Collins Street in 1997, and again to its current location on Level One in the Manchester Unity Building in 2003. The tank had survived a flood and two moving days. It could almost survive anything – except for a Winter’s day in 2012. When the glass spontaneously cracked and 1500 litres of water began to spill onto the floor of Level One.

As the alarm was raised and the water poured onto the floor, the concern was for the ‘Nemos’ and the living coral. Staff worked quickly to ensure as many fish, and as much coral as possible, survived. Smile Solutions missed its beautiful fish tank for nine long months.

Eventually, the company employed to make the new tank called; but the news wasn’t good. They were going into receivership. Even though the new tank was almost ready to go, a new contractor had to be employed, and another tank made.

Smile Solutions patiently waited another 6 months for the tank to be fabricated and prepared. It was worth the wait. In January 2015, a beautiful new marine tank was installed in level one of the Manchester Unity Building and is now home to many of the original fish, as well as new ‘Nemos’, ‘Dorys’ and beautiful living plants and coral. The new marine tank is a beautiful – and high tech – ecosystem. The tank is filled with sensors that monitor conditions, and send information and alerts directly to phones and iPads (just in case!).

So the next time you visit Smile Solutions, take a moment to relax, or watch the eyes of your child light up as they spot all the different types of fish – but most importantly; take a moment to appreciate the journey of the tank.

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