There's a lot of confusion and controversy over the glass verses Acrylic issue. Much of what is being said is rumor passed from one unknowing person to another. This is unfortunate because the benefits of Acrylic over glass are many. I hope to set the record straight by explaining the differences. With 61 years in the hobby, I've had my share of both glass and Acrylic aquariums. I've used them both, installed them both in bars, restaurants, offices, hospitals, and private homes and I have sold them both retail and wholesale. I'm trying to establish that I am qualified to make this a fair and balanced comparison.
Acrylic verses Glass
1. Caring for Acrylic:
There is very little difference in the care of Acrylic and glass. The outside
of Acrylic needs to be cleaned with a safe cleaner and a clean soft cloth. A safe cleaner
is free of ammonia and abrasives. You can find cleaners marked for Acrylic at any grocery
store. The clean soft cloth is easy.
Inside surfaces can be cleaned with non abrasive pads such as bug sponges bought at most
grocery stores. Magnet cleaners are okay but caution must be used to insure that both surfaces
of the magnet are covered with non abrasive material.
The thing to watch out for is picking up a piece of gravel on the inside. If your bug sponge or magnet
drops to the gravel care must be taken to remove any grains of gravel that might have been picked
up. Rinse under a strong flow of water at your tap before using again.
2. Pros and cons:
a. Acrylic scratches. True. Glass scratches. True.
b. Scratches in
Acrylic can be polished out. True. Scratches in glass can be
False. Scratches in glass are permanent.
c. Acrylic tank
seams are stronger than glass seams. True. Two pieces of glass are
together by applying a dis-similar material, silicone, and pressing them together until the
silicone is dry. Acrylic is bonded together by applying a solvent to the seam and melting
the Acrylic together forming two pieces into one. It has been proven that the joint of an
Acrylic aquarium is stronger than the adjacent material.
d. Acrylic is
lighter than glass. True. This feature makes moving them much easier.
a large glass aquarium could stress the seams and cause a leak. This cannot happen to
Acrylic aquariums because the seams are stronger than the Acrylic itself.
e. Acrylic is a
better insulator than glass. True. Temperatures are more stable in
f. Acrylic can be
drilled easily. True. Using an inexpensive hole-saw in a hand held drill,
can drill holes into an Acrylic aquarium.
g. Acrylic is clearer than glass. True. Glass is actually green in color, just look through the
edges. The exception to this is Starfire glass which is as clear as Acrylic but, much more
expensive and as heavy as regular glass
h. Acrylic costs
more than glass. Generally true. It depends on the size and where you
purchase the tank. Smaller Acrylic tanks are more expensive. The larger the tank the
more cost effective Acrylic becomes and somewhere around 90 gallons, glass tanks
become more expensive than Acrylic. Of course, you have to be careful where you buy
your tank. Some retailers mark their Acrylic tanks up very high. Their theory is, if the
person can afford to look at Acrylic then they can afford to pay more. We don't think that way!
The warranty is better on Acrylic aquariums. True. Most glass aquariums are
warranted for 90 days, some one year. Our brand of Acrylic aquariums is warranted for
the life of the original owner against leakage due to defect.
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