Investing in a new aquarium setup can be an inexpensive endeavour. Although acrylic fish tanks are generally quite affordable, a high-quality glass tank can set you back a small fortune. If you’re prepared to pay a premium however, a glass tank is always the better option.
While acrylic tanks are perfectly functional, they’re nowhere near as durable as glass ones. What’s more, glass tanks provide you with a far better viewing experience, with much improved transparency providing you with first-rate views of your fish, aquatic plants and aquarium ornaments.
Why Do Glass Tanks Cost More Than Acrylic Ones?
Glass itself isn’t a particularly expensive material. However, the type of glass used to construct a fish tank is far thicker and more durable than standard glass. In order to provide you with the strength required to contain a large volume of water, not to mention fish and other aquarium contents, very thick glass panes are required. A larger tank will not only require larger glass panes, but thicker material to cope with the increased water volume.
The most expensive type of glass used in the construction of fish tanks is tempered glass. This toughened material is particularly robust and is generally used to produce much larger fish tanks that need to contain a high volume of water. As it’s tempered, this glass is particularly resilient to everyday damage, although you may encounter wear and tear at the edges if the panes haven’t been joined together particularly well.
Although very durable, you need to be careful when handling tempered glass. For example, a tempered glass aquarium can not be modified in any way with drill holes. If you’re looking to connect multiple tanks together with piping, tempered glass is definitely something you want to avoid.
Plate glass is used in the manufacture of more affordable fish tanks. Although this type of glass comes with a definite price advantage, it is nowhere near as durable as tempered glass. Sheet glass tends to be used to produce smaller aquariums with less of an overall water volume.
As it is thinner, plate glass is also fairly easily modify. If you need to make drill holes to incorporate connecting pipes and tubing, plate glass will prove far more yielding.
If your budget won’t stretch to a tempered or sheet glass aquarium, you can always consider a plastic or acrylic alternative. The most affordable option available is standard plastic. Basic plastic is fairly weak, but should prove strong enough to house a low-volume tank. However, it is prone to surface damage and scratching, while levels of transparency pales in comparison to glass.
Slightly more expensive than standard plastic is acrylic. This premium plastic alternative is a good option for those who want similar levels of durability and transparency to glass, with the added benefit of a material that is incredibly lightweight. Acrylic glass tanks can also contain significant volumes of water. The best acrylic panes can in fact prove far more durable than even the best tempered glass tanks on the market. However, this first-rate acrylic tanks tend to be fairly expensive in their own right.