The latest technologies are constantly changing the way we live our lives. Each technological advancement provides us with a wide variety of choices. Designs, versatility, and product enhancements provide consumers with a lot of options more than ever before. For instance, new technologies in aquarium production have gone beyond the traditional glass structure.
Having an aquarium in your living space can bring a lot of life to your home.
One question that almost everyone asks is, “Which aquarium should I buy, glass or an acrylic?” The acrylic and glass aquariums have their advantages and disadvantages. So, which one is better? It’s all about personal preference.
Acrylic is becoming more popular in today’s aquarium industry. Many people now prefer acrylic aquariums over the glass for a variety of reasons.
In this article, we will be discussing the strengths of acrylic aquariums over the glass. Glass has been around for a while in the industry, and a lot of the old hands will swear by it, it does have its strengths, but also its limitations.
If you are on a restricted budget, acrylic aquariums may be very expensive for you. Glass aquariums are much cheaper than acrylic aquariums. Many beginner aquarists start with small glass aquariums since they are more affordable.
Traditionally glass tanks are manufactured using silicone sealant. Due to construction laws and regulations, big aquariums are mostly rectangular and don’t come in many other sizes. When it comes to glass panels, the shapes and sizes for these aquariums are hard to make as a lot of cracking can occur. In some cases, some clients will also experience leaks with glass as well.
Today, acrylic is pushing the glass out of the lead, at least where aquarium enthusiasts are concerned. Consumers demand versatility, acrylic offers versatility, and more than glass never could.
Better leak protection, higher strength, superior insulation, lighter weight, and incredible flexibility prove acrylic is more advanced material. These types of strengths allow the clients to custom make their dream aquariums with an endless amount of possibilities. With a glass aquarium, a silicon sealant is required in order to weld the rectangle together, as well as to keep leaks at bay. Aquariums that are made from acrylic are molecularly welded.
When acrylic is molecularly welded, it means the ends are in a way, melted to fuse together the corners. This virtually creates a leakproof barrier. While glass seems like the better and sturdier option, it is, in fact, the sealant that may cause you issues in the future as it can cause leaks and deterioration.
Acrylic is also stronger than glass, and of course, more flexible. Glass is 17x less strong than acrylic, which seems like an amazing amount, and it is. Because glass isn’t flexible, it makes acrylic the winner in terms of accidents. As in, if both of them fall, it is much more likely that the glass one will shatter while acrylic will crack or break, or none at all.
When it comes to customizing the shape of your aquarium, you are limited when it comes to the glass aquarium. Glass is relatively brittle and rigid, and because of this, its shapes and styles are very limited. On the other hand, acrylic aquariums can be molded to fit any design and shape that you could wish for.
Acrylic aquariums can be cast and molded into different shapes that were never thought possible when only working with materials such as glass. Also, acrylic aquariums are 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.
Additionally, acrylic aquariums are twenty percent better insulated than glass aquariums. Thus, acrylic aquariums require less energy for maintenance. Enhanced insulation regulates temperatures making equilibrium easier to achieve for a variety of fish and plant life.
An acrylic aquarium can be an excellent choice for your home for lots of different reasons. As you consider those reasons, you will be able to determine if this is the right choice for your home and your commitment to designing a beautiful home.
1. Clarity and Aesthetics
Acrylic is roughly twenty percent better clarity than typical glass aquariums, which are made with plate glass. Lead-free glass is the only exception, also known by the brand name Starfire glass, it has the same clarity as acrylic. Of course, this special Starfire glass is significantly more expensive than the standard plate glass.
Twenty percent sounds like a big difference, and the truth is you can only tell the difference if you had a normal glass aquarium sitting right next to an acrylic tank. So, it only makes sense to pay the extra cost for the lead-free glass (same clarity as acrylic) if optimal clarity is a high priority for you. Otherwise, most people would not notice the difference.
One other great benefit of acrylic aquariums over glass is that acrylic aquariums have almost invisible or see-through seams, while glass tanks use unsightly silicone seams.
2. Resistance to Scratching
While glass is more resistant to scratching than acrylic is, there is a tradeoff to consider. Although glass is less likely to scratch, all the scratches that occur in a glass aquarium are permanent. And while acrylic aquarium can scratch quite easily, it can be polished out easily. Although, if you have never polished an acrylic tank before, even just a small scratch, it is a lot of work (not fun).
One caveat is that glass tanks have become preferred for reef tanks. Because of all the algae, the grows on the glass in a reef tank (mainly Coraline algae), reef tanks need their glass to be cleaned more often and so you are better off with glass, which is more resistant to scratching.
With the right equipment and knowledge, cleaning your acrylic aquarium tank is simple, and scratches can be avoided.
Acrylic is significantly lighter than glass. This is an essential consideration for shipping costs (freight) and the load-bearing ability of your home or office to support the weight. And, of course, when it comes time to lift the tank into position, the lighter, the better. And the thicker the panels, the more massive the tank.
Glass is more brittle than acrylic. Acrylic flexes when under stress. Because of this flexibility, the acrylic aquarium handles temporary pressures well. However, acrylic aquariums are only as durable as the quality of their seams and the thickness of the panels. Over time, acrylic seams tend to weaken. So, while glass may be more brittle than acrylic, glass tanks are more durable than acrylic over the long term.
5. Ease of Drilling
By far, acrylic is much easier to drill or customize than glass. For example, if you want to drill a hole to install a bulkhead fitting or glue in an internal overflow box, then acrylic is the easiest.
It is possible to drill glass; however, the pane that is being drilled must be horizontal (parallel to the floor) because glass drills use a water/graphite powder slurry to cut through. And also, there is the risk of cracking the glass if too much pressure is applied during drilling.
Depending on the size of the aquarium, the cost of acrylic and glass varies. For standard aquariums under 200 gallons, glass is the cheapest. For tanks over 200 gallons (standard or custom), acrylic is often less expensive. The reason I say ‘sometimes’ is that acrylic is a petroleum-based compound, and thus its cost is dependent on the price of oil.
And, of course, lead-free glass (i.e., Starfire brand) is typically for custom tanks and is often far more expensive than regular plate glass.
7. Custom Shapes
If you want a custom aquarium, you can easily get one with acrylic, unlike the glass aquariums that are only available in square or rectangle shapes. Although curved shapes are still available in standard glass tanks off the shelf. But acrylic is still the most customizable, with a wide range of options.
Acrylic aquariums are impressive. Their overwhelming advantages put glass aquariums on the endangered list. As a confirmation of acrylic benefits, virtually all modern public aquariums are built using acrylic. The greater ability to customize sizes and shapes is a major attraction, while leak and equilibrium protection make acrylic better for hard to keep species.
Better insulation and strength don’t comprise weight either. Acrylic aquariums weigh 50% lighter than comparable glass aquariums. Therefore, transporting a customizable acrylic aquarium requires less effort, energy, and support.
I would personally recommend acrylic, as it is a lot more durable to bumps and impact, also if you are trying to get a custom aquarium, acrylic can be molded to just about any shape. Acrylic aquariums are a great investment that will last long the glass aquariums while being more decorative and functional. Aquariums can add lots of beauty and elegance to any business office or home. This is because aquariums have the unique ability to capture the attention of ANYONE and allow them a small escape from the hustle and bustle of life.
Now you know the advantages of acrylic over the glass, it’s time to put that information to use by designing your very own custom aquarium with the help of titan aquatic exhibits.