Acrylic vs. Glass

Acrylic vs. Glass

Acrylic has greater impact resistance than glass. Joining acrylic results in very strong bonds, and acrylic aquariums have been in service for decades without failure.

Acrylic can be machined very easily with the proper tools. Because of this, plumbing can enter from the bottom, back, or sides of an aquarium instead of only from above. Pumps work with a minimum of resistance, pulling water from anywhere in the aquarium and pushing anywhere else in the aquarium. This simple fact makes plumbing an acrylic aquarium clean and simple.

Acrylic insulates very well. If you run a heater or a chiller, then the water temperature in an acrylic aquarium will stay relatively constant with a minimum of power consumption.

Acrylic transmits over 90% of incident light. Also, acrylic has no color cast. Glass only transmits about 70% of light, and has a green cast. Because of these differences, acrylic aquariums always look brighter than glass aquariums.

Acrylic scratches easier than glass. Sharp rocks are best kept away from panes in the aquarium. Repairing scratches is possible, but requires the right materials and a little skill. Acrylic cannot be cleaned with glass cleaners. Always use a mild detergent and a clean cloth to clean acrylic.

Acrylic bends easily compared to glass. To ensure that acrylic panels stay true, the tops of acrylic aquariums are not fully open. Instead, a single piece of acrylic braces the sides with portholes in the center for access to the interior of theaquarium. A top brace can be avoided by using thicker plastic, but this costs significantly more.

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