Acrylic Fish Tanks vs Glass Aquariums

Saturday, January 22, 2011
Acrylic aquariums are growing ever more popular in today's aquarium industry. Acrylic was introduced to the public in 1933. Advantages besides weight acrylic 45% lighter than glass aquarium are also more clearly visible than ordinary glass. Shaped acrylic aquarium can be designed according to our wishes, for example convex or hexagon, and without connections.

Acrylic aquariums are slowly moving glass out of the spotlight for a variety of reasons. In this article I will be going through and detailing the strengths and weaknesses comparisons of glass vs acrylic fish tanks.

Glass is much denser than acrylic, which means it also weighs a lot more. Glass aquariums weigh up to 10 times as much as their acrylic counterparts. When purchasing an aquarium, it would be best to go with acrylic.

Acrylic aquariums are much lighter, and will cause much less stress on the stands and structures you will place them on. You can also purchase a larger acrylic aquarium that weighs less than a glass one, so you can bend the rules a little bit on weight restriction for your stand.

Acrylic aquariums may weigh less than glass, but don't let that fool you. Acrylic is a very strong material, and it takes significant force to break an acrylic aquarium, and anyone who has every owned a glass aquarium can tell you about how even little bumps can cause cracks in the aquarium and cause it to be structurally unstable.

Even though glass is thicker than acrylic, it is much weaker. Acrylic fish tanks are very resistant when it comes to bumps, however they are more easily scratched than glass aquariums.

When it comes to customizing the shape of your aquarium, you are pretty limited when it comes to the glass aquarium. Glass is relatively brittle and rigid naturally, and because of this, its shapes and styles are very limited. Acrylic fish tanks on the other hand, can be molded to fit any shape and design that you could wish for.

Acrylic aquariums could be casted and molded into different shapes that were never though possible when only working with materials such as glass. Acrylic fish tanks are also much easier to cut holes into when attaching an overflow system, with glass you need specialized tools and then you run the risk of cracking the whole panel.

The only spot in my opinion, where glass outshines acrylic is in terms of cost, and scratch resistance. Glass is cheaper than acrylic, as it is more readily available. Glass is also very hard to scratch, and acrylic aquariums can be scratched with less force. Glass will also maintain its clarity throughout time, but acrylic when it gets a lot older can develop a yellowing tint to the acrylic.

Well there you have it folks, a couple points to consider when you are weighing your options between glass and acrylic aquariums. If you are trying to get a custom aquarium for plants, I personally recommend acrylic, as it is a lot more durable to bumps and impact and acrylic can be molded to just about any shape.

However, the acrylic also has a weakness that is easily scratched when we clean the moss with algae magnet, or when decorating the aquarium. For example, while rummaging through the sand at the bottom of the aquarium. This is why acrylic aquarium always covered with sheets of acrylic adhesive paper (protective) when shipped from the factory or shop. This is never happen on the glass aquarium.