Starting a new aquarium requires hobbyists to make a lot of choices. What kind of corals, if any will be kept in the aquarium? Where is the aquarium going to go? What size will it be? How much will be spent on equipment? Will the aquarium be glass or acrylic? All of these questions could have their own articles, but I will be talking about the difference between an acrylic aquarium and a glass aquarium and possibly which is better.
What is the difference between these two materials?
Acrylic, also known as poly (methyl methacrylate), is a type of transparent plastic. It is lightweight and shatter-resistant. Glass, on the other hand, is a heavier material made of mostly silica. When it comes to the actual material comparison of glass and acrylic, acrylic seems like a more reliable material. It is light and durable. Glass is heavier and more likely to break, but does this matter when it comes to choosing aquariums?
Weight and durability: does it matter?
When it comes to aquariums, using a heavier material does not really matter. Moving your aquarium is not something you will often do or something you should do often. Having a lighter material may be convenient when first setting up the aquarium, but it will not make a difference afterward. It is the same thing for durability; after the aquarium is set up, it should not matter much. You should be careful around your aquarium either way. You actually have to be more careful with acrylic. While it is less likely to shatter or crack, it is inevitable that it will get scratched up. An aquarium is more susceptible to scratches than a high force impact.
Now we come to the factor that depends the most on what kind of glass you choose. Being that the hobby rewards you in ways of looks, it is important to have a material that will offer the best visibility. The problem with some types of glass is the blue tint that comes with it. While acrylic does not have this tint, it sometimes gets a cloudy or foggy look as it ages. Scratches will impede visibility as well. This should not be much of an issue as long as you are careful. So does this mean acrylic is better for viewing?
No, it does not. Like said, it really depends on what type of glass the aquarium is made with. Finding a glass aquarium with that undesirable blue-green tint used to be common, but most commercial aquariums are now made with high clarity glass. This glass is crystal clear, much clearer than acrylic. This is possible by making the glass with low iron properties. Acrylic, on the other hand, can yellow over time, which is ugly looking.
Overall glass is better for viability because it does not scratch as easily. You will often find that acrylic aquariums have a “rough” look to them, which is not ideal when displaying elegant fish and beautiful corals.
We all know this hobby is not cheap, so it is important to make sure that you always get the best value for what you are buying.
If you have ever built your own aquarium or sump, you have likely seen the difference in price between acrylic and glass. Most people may think acrylic is cheaper, but it isn’t. The plastic material is more expensive than glass. This does not mean that a glass aquarium will always be cheaper than an acrylic aquarium. There are many reasons why some aquariums are more expensive than others. Some aquariums have far more features, while others are just plain boxes. Nonetheless, by using glass, aquarium makers can spend more money on other features. This does not mean that glass is a low-quality material. The main reason glass is cheaper is simply because it is more popular for aquariums. More glass aquariums are manufactured than acrylic aquariums, making them cheaper.
More on picking an aquarium
The aquarium material is important, but it is not everything when it comes to picking out an aquarium. You will also need a stand and some form of filtration. It can be an all-in-one style, hang-on-the-back filtration, or a sump. If you can, get a tank with a sump. It is also important to ensure that the aquarium you purchase is built with quality. Both the aquarium and the stand should be reliable and built to last. Don’t buy a tank that is poorly designed or poorly put together.
CADE reef S2 aquariums
The CADE Reef S2 aquariums are made of OptiClear glass. This glass is extremely clear and lacks blue-green tints. OptiClear Glass is titled as the clearest glass you can buy. It is used for things other than aquariums but is great for aquariums. CADE reef S2 aquariums are built with the best materials that will make viewing fish and corals an amazing experience each time.
These aquariums could easily be many hobbyists dream tank. They come with a stand, sump, plumbing, and auto top off. The ATO is part of the tank between the intake and returns section. There are five size options. The smallest has a display of 57-gallons and the largest has a display of 171-gallons. CADE Reef S2 aquariums are extremely well engineered. The actual aquarium, the stand, and the sump have had a lot of thought put into them. This aquarium line-up certainly raises the bar.
When it comes down to it, glass is the better material over acrylic. Still, you should make sure that everything else about the aquarium is good as well.