Fish Tank Aquariums – Glass Or Acrylic?

Traditionally virtually all fish tank aquariums were made of glass but in the last couple of years the advances in plastic technology spurred a new wave of acrylic tanks on the market. So, is an acrylic fish tank better than a glass one? Many old school fish keepers still swear by glass tanks, but the new generation is embracing acrylic tanks with open arms.

The one is not necessarily better or worse than the other, but they do have some important differences that you might want to keep in mind. Here are the 5 reasons why I like acrylic tank aquariums:

1. Scratching

Although glass is much harder and more difficult to scratch, the scratches are permanent. Acrylic on the other hand is easy to repair when it is scratched. Acrylic polishing kits are available in many places, and these can be used to remove scratches and make your tank good as new.

2. Weight

A filled up fish tank can be heavy, especially when you get to 50 gallons or more. Glass tanks can weigh as much as 10 times more than an acrylic tank. Acrylic is a very advanced material which gives it a lot of strength for very little weight. A lighter tank aquarium means that you can support it on normal furniture (don’t need a special stand) and if you have to move it you can.

3. Seamlessness

Glass tanks are made of sheets of glass joined together while acrylic can be molded into a single seamless shape. Not only does this give you greater clarity, but shat slick seamless look is very modern and looks really good.

3. Shape

Acrylic is easily molded and formed into almost any shape. Although glass can be curved it tends to distort the images behind it and you won’t get that with acrylic. Acrylic tanks come in a great variety of shapes and sizes to suit virtually any space you have available. You don’t need to be confined to the square or rectilinear glass tanks anymore.

4. Strength

Glass is very strong in compression, but because it is so hard it’s very brittle. Acrylic is softer and can be twisted without breaking. This makes your acrylic tank aquarium less prone to cracks and even breaks. On top of that, you can even drill holes into an acrylic tank (for overflows) without compromising it’s strength.

5. Brightness And Clarity

Most commercial aquariums use acrylic for their windows. This is not because it is stronger, but because the quality of viewing is much better. The science behind it is that glass has a different index of refraction than water which means that the image behind the glass (the fish) is distorted. Acrylic on the other hand has nearly the same index of refraction as water which give the appearance of the fish floating in mid air – you can barely see the water.

Regardless of your preference, there’s no doubt that acrylic aquarium tanks are sexy. They are definitely the in thing and here to stay. The seamlessness, brightness and amazing transparency makes it the ideal solution for a showpiece aquarium that can brighten up any room or office.

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