If you have begun your search for the perfect fish aquarium, you have likely already encountered the debate as to which is better: glass or acrylic. The truth is: glass is better… sometimes. And acrylic is better all times.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of glass or acrylic fish aquariums:
• Clarity – acrylic can yellow with age. It also tends to scratch easily. Glass, on the other hand, maintains its clarity.
• Distortion – acrylic tanks will not distort the fish size and color as much as glass. This is because acrylic has almost the same index of refraction as water whereas glass has a different index of refraction. Light is bent more when it goes through the air, glass, and water than when it goes through the air, acrylic, and water. Thicker glass distorts more so than thinner glass.
• Shape – acrylic can be made into more interesting shapes than glass – it is great for custom-made tanks.
• Breakage – glass breaks more easily than acrylic. Of course, it is unusual for a glass tank to meet with sharp impact when it is properly cared for.
• Support – acrylic fish aquariums generally need a stand to support the bottom. Glass ones require less support.