Acrylic Aquarium Advantages and Disadvantages.

Choosing an acrylic aquarium is often the best idea, but before making this decision there are many factors to consider. Acrylic aquariums are much more common for very large tanks where the necessity for extremely thick glass evens out the cost difference between glass and acrylic and also makes large glass tanks unmanageable to move because of their weight. Acrylic weighs about forty percent that of glass, this can be a very nice feature when you have to move the aquarium, which is sure to happen at least once and likely many more times. Keep in mind to use precaution when moving any tank as even the acrylic version can be quite heavy.

Acrylic aquariums are quite a bit more expensive than glass aquariums usually averaging close to double the price for a give size tank if the tank is small. As mentioned above this cost difference begins to even itself out as it approaches very large tanks in the range of at least 150 gallons. For instance making a state of the art dolphin or shark tank that hold many many thousands of gallons out of glass would have to be so thick in order to have sufficient strength that it would be unpractical and assumed much more expensive than using the acrylic plastic that they use now. Obviously this isn't the kind of tank your are looking to put in your living room but its a good example to understand how price difference scales with size difference.

Another aspect of acrylic is that it is stronger and can withstand a more severe impact than glass. If you have kids or dogs this might be important, a standard 55 gallon glass aquarium usually has glass that is a little less than a quarter inch thick, a kid accidentally throwing a toy or other object in that direction could lead to an extremely big mess and very large problem on your hands, whereas an acrylic aquarium of the same thickness could withstand this beating and much more. Even glass tanks of any larger than 55 gallons can usually hold up against anything a child can throw at them, and the smaller aquariums would still require a significant impact to break but accidents do happen and the added strength could be useful.

Acrylic material is a little less reflective than glass, this can sometimes be distracting when viewing a glass tank just as light in front of the television distracts the viewer from watching, however clever placement of light easily fixes this. There is also a slightly better view through acrylic than through glass, this is minor though and new star fire glass (that is a little more expensive than typical glass) has an even clearer view than acrylic.

During movement or cleaning the acrylic can be scratched easier than glass, however with an acrylic aquarium the scratches, if not to severe, can be buffed out. With glass if a scratch occurs it is there for the life of the aquarium. Finally if your desire is to install an internal overflow and return plumbing with in the aquarium going to a sump underneath the aquarium or possibly in a separate room, acrylic is much easier and safer to drill holes in the bottom to make this possible.