Glass or Acrylic? What Kind of Fish Tank Should You Buy?

In Aquariumsby PaulK

Types of Aquariums

Glass Aquariums

All glass aquariums are probably the most popular on the market. The glass on these tanks is either tempered, meaning it’s stronger, lighter in weight, and shatter into pieces when they break or plate glass, meaning it’s heavier, thicker, and cracks only when it breaks. Glass fish tanks are then sealed with non-toxic silicone. The frames for these tanks are usually plastic.

Glass aquariums are cheaper if cost is a consideration.
They offer a good viewing area since the sides are flat. Some come with pre-drilled holes for the tank equipment but is not necessary.
Glass doesn’t scratch easily, so can last longer.

The shapes of glass tanks are limited to square or rectangular, so if you are looking for an unusual shape tank glass is not going to work.
Another consideration is weight. Glass fish tanks are heavy and get heavier as the size gets bigger because the larger the tank, the thicker the glass. If you have weight restrictions where you are, a larger tank could be too heavy.

Acrylic Aquariums

Lighter than glass aquariums and easier to move. They’re better if you have weight restrictions on your floor.
You get more choices in colors and styles. Some acrylic tanks have background colors that look really nice.
Acrylic tanks have a more upscale look and are more attractive than glass tanks.
They are much stronger than glass and it would take one heck of a blow to break it.
They come in many different shapes for interesting decor.
The seamless construction looks really classy too. These transparent corners allow viewing the fish from any angle.

Acrylic tanks have more distortion because of the way they are made in the factory.
Since they are top of the line when it comes to quality and durability, they are more expensive than their glass counterparts.
Acrylic tanks scratch easier, so you have to be careful when cleaning and moving the substrate around. I recommend a special acrylic scrubber just for acrylic tanks.

If you are interested in an acrylic aquarium this SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set is a good one and they come in many different sizes.

Aquarium Kits

You can also buy aquarium kits. They come with most everything you need to start like the heater, filter, food, net etc. so you don’t have to shop all around for equipment. It’s great for beginners, but as you get more experienced you may want to upgrade some of the equipment.

Plastic Aquariums

Plastic fish tanks are the most inexpensive of the aquariums, but scratch easily and are not too durable. Another disadvantage is they turn a yellowish color after some time. Probably best to avoid these type of aquariums.

Portrait Aquariums

These are acrylic aquariums that you mount in the wall if you’re really ambitious. They’re great if you have children because they can’t get at them and pull them down. They’re also great if you don’t have a lot of space for a stand.
The portrait aquariums are pretty cool to look at too. It’s actually pretty easy to feed the fish because they come with feeding holes. These are for the more experienced fish keeper. Best to have an experienced carpenter install it.

Tower Aquariums

These are tall, narrow tanks that you would probably put in a corner. The disadvantages are that you would need tall plants to grow, so it looks more natural. Another disadvantage is the surface area at the top doesn’t allow for much oxidation of the water, so you can’t keep as many fish as in a normal rectangular tank. They’re also harder to clean.

Tank Size

If you plan on starting a fish tank, it’s best to get at least a 10-gallon tank to start with. Your fish need some room to move around and provide adequate water conditions. Smaller than 10- gallons will be problematic for your fish, as they are prone to foul water conditions. Smaller tanks also don’t leave much room for decorations or in-tank filtration. Another problem is oxidation for your fish. It would be hard for your fish to find enough oxygen to survive.

The size of the tank you’ll need depends on the type of fish and how many of them you intend to keep. Consider the size the fish will grow to when purchasing a particular species. Work your way back from the type of fish you want and get an aquarium to suit their needs. The bigger the tank, the better the water quality because obviously there is more water. That also means a heavier tank, so you need to consider that as well.

Here is a handy fish tank size guide to help you:

NEXT –> What is The Purpose of Substrate in an Aquarium?

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