If you buy a fish tank whether online or offline, you may find that a lot of them are made of acrylic. This special type of hard plastic has become very popular in the aquarium industry because of its many special qualities, and especially for its strength.
Yet despite the recent popularity of acrylic tanks, glass remains a very popular material for aquariums. And that’s not just because lots of people like traditional ways and styles.
Is a glass fish tank a better option for you? Let’s examine the pros and cons of this material to find out.
Here are some of the reasons why glass is a popular choice:
- Cost. In general, a glass aquarium is much more affordable than its acrylic counterpart with the same size and dimensions. And that’s not really because of some inherent superior quality in acrylic. In fact it’s the opposite—acrylic is a lot more difficult to ship than glass. And that means glass costs a lot less.
- Scratch resistance. The main problem with acrylic is scratch resistance, which is why it is so difficult to ship in the first place. Most of the time, an acrylic tank won’t go through the delivery trip unscathed. It makes for a lot of returns and refunds. That’s not a problem with a glass tank at all. Glass survives delivery just fine.
It’s the same way when the aquarium is in your home and people pass by often. You don’t have to worry about people scratching your glass with their purses, bags, backpacks, or even belts. That’s always a cause of concern for acrylic aquariums.
What’s more, you don’t have to be very, very careful about cleaning and then inadvertently scratching the glass. This material is simply not all that easy to scratch accidentally. You’ll need a hard material and then you’ll need to put some force into it to scratch the glass. So what that means is that when you’re cleaning the algae from the glass, you don’t have to be oh so dainty about it.
- Clarity. Glass can remain clear for a very long time, as long as you keep it clean. It doesn’t matter if you use lights all the time, which can cause a chemical reaction with acrylic. Also, glass remains clear because they don’t tend to get a lot of scratches.
- Rigidity and support. Glass is rigid, and that’s sometimes a good thing. What that means is that this kind of tank can support its own weight so there’s no need for you to find the best aquarium stand that can support the entire bottom of the stand. Also, this rigidity means that you don’t need as much structural support at the top to prevent the weight of the water to cause flexing or cause the seams to split.
- Strength. Glass is strong enough to resist accidental breaking or cracking almost all the time. Usually, it will break only if you break it intentionally, hurl a body at it (this happens a lot in action movies, doesn’t it?), or you have an earthquake.
- Shape. It’s very difficult to curve glass. Though you have curved front glass aquariums now, they’re all still in basic shapes. But acrylic is easier to mold so you can have some very interesting designs instead.
- Strength. Glass isn’t really as strong as acrylic, which is why the glass in glass tanks is thicker than its acrylic version.
- Weight. Because of this thickness, a glass tank can be at least 4 times as heavy as its acrylic version. In some cases it can even weigh 10 times as much!
- Refraction. Glass refracts light in a different way than water. That means the light that passes through the water and the glass can really go through a lot of distortions. The real location of the fish may not be where you see it, and the colors and size of the fish may not be accurate.
Who is it for?
Now that we have assessed the qualities of the glass tank, we can now have a profile of the ideal glass aquarium owner. You can choose glass if:
- You don’t have the budget for acrylic.
- You don’t want to worry about scratches.
- And you’re set on the location of your fish tank.
Glass Aquariums Reviews
Okay, so now we’ve established the qualities of a glass fish tank and you’re determined to get one. So which is the best glass fish tank for you? Here are some of your options, and there’s a lot of variety to choose from.
Penn Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit
This is a 10-gallon glass aquarium that measures 17.8 x 11.8 x 12.6 inches and weighs 19 pounds.
It has a sturdy base, and there’s even an LED lamp attached which you can always replace at any time. There’s also a Cascade Internal filter.
It’s a great tank for a few bettas or even a goldfish.
- The seamless front with the curved corners looks very stylish and modern. In fact, it’s the look that will make you go for this particular model.
- The filter is very quiet.
- It’s very easy to clean.
- The light seems a bit flimsy, and it won’t be long before you’ll need to replace it.
- The lid is also cheap and virtually useless.
Glass Aquarium Tank from Carolina Biological Supply Company
This is a simple aquarium with a black lining on the top and bottom edges.
This 10-gallon tank measures 20 × 10 × 12" H. And that’s it, basically. There’s no filter, no light, no nothing.
It’s essentially for an experienced aquarium owner who knows how to get the necessary accessories.
- It’s very sturdy, as its bottom is triple-strength glass welded together with silicone rubber. It’s this feature that makes it an aquarium, and not just any glass container you can put knick knacks in.
- It’s leak-proof, and it’s designed to last for years. It also doesn’t react with saltwater.
- The top frame is ready for a recessed cover.
- This manufacturer doesn’t really specialize in aquariums. As you can see from its name, its offers a wide variety of “biological supplies” and it’s actually selling many products in the science teaching materials niche. So you know their products are good quality.
- If you’re experienced, the lack of accessories is actually a good thing. It keeps you from having to pay for a filter or lights which you’ll replace anyway. For those who really want to design their own aquarium setup, this is the best glass aquarium style there is.
- Since the company usually makes educational items, this aquarium doesn’t look stylish at all. It’s merely utilitarian.
- It’s also not recommended for beginners because it lacks any accessories. You’ll even need to buy a lid separately.
Tetra Aquarium Kit
This 20-gallon tank measures 24.2" L x 12.4" W x 16.7" H, and it’s a beauty.
Your purchase also includes an aquarium hood, a Tetra Whisper 20 filter, a UL Heater, and an LED light that changes color.
You even get a blooming white anemone and 2 Wonderland Plant Multipacks.
- The color-changing LED light is this aquarium’s unique feature. You can set it to change regularly, or pause on a particular color you especially like.
- You get different plants with different colors, and the anemone sways hypnotically with the water. The plants also give the fish safe places where they can relax.
- You can put in a bit more fish, but you’ll need to upgrade the filter and you’ll also have to be very religious in making partial changes to the water once a week.
- Since you already have most of what you need, you don’t have to buy much more to start enjoying your aquarium.
- It’s not really meant for experienced aquarium keepers, as you’d have to replace the extras to get the precise setup you want.
This 29-gallon glass tank is another “all-in-one” setup so you minimize your additional purchases. It measures 20 x 20.8 x 18.8 inches and weighs 54 pounds.
It offers an LED light bar and integrated wet/dry biological filtration.
- At 18 pounds, It’s loaded with a lot of accessories, so it’s great for a newbie.
- It really looks wonderful.
- The hood is excellent, and designed to drip the water back into the tank.
- As it’s very heavy especially when you add the water and other accessories, you may have to get the matching stand. That may be your best aquarium stand for this tank.
JBJ Frag Aquarium Tank
Before anything else, this is a frag tank. Its purpose is to function as a holding tank for coral fragments.
This is a mandatory piece of equipment if you have overgrown corals or you need to isolate injured corals.
This particular 20-gallon glass tank measures 24 x 20 x 9 inches. It comes with a LED light, egg crate and feet, lower return nozzle, submersible pump, and a media sponge.
- At 18 pounds, it’s very portable.
- It’s essentially frag tank with all the essentials. Just add the coral.
- The filtration system is excellent.
- If you’re interested in fish, you have better aquarium options.
Pick any of these options depending on your needs and budget, and you may just get the best glass fish tank for your needs.
Or have a look at some amazing rimless tanks.
Images Credits: 1.