Glass vs Plexiglass aquarium: Which is better?

rochesterroseman(zone5 NY)September 12, 2005

I just bought my first aquarium. It's a glass 30 gallon tank. I saw some plexiglass tanks online that were pretty expensive. Is plexiglass better? I am sure it would be alot lighter than glass, maybe less likely to crack, I would imagine. Is it worth the money? What do you guys think?

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drygulch(z9 AZ)

Neither one, really.

Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Plexiglass scratches much more easily. It is weaker, but less brittle than glass. Glass is cheaper. Plexi is easier to drill if you want to do a reef tank.

Personally, I like glass.

Check the link for more information.

Here is a link that might be useful: More info

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 2:22PM
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james_ny(z7 NY)

Unless you need a hugh or oddly shaped tank glass is a much better buy. Glass is MUCH cheaper, harder to scratch and did I mention much cheaper.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 10:59PM
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bheron(6a PHL)

Both are right above. I will say that pleixglass can look so much clearer in the beginning but it scratches SOOOO easily and can be alot of work to remove the scratch. Glass is riskier on larger tanks (like 200 gallons). So acrylic is better there.

Mostly, though, it comes down to a preference.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 5:47PM
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RodeoSquirrel(zone 6 SePA)

plexi scratches too easily. i had one for a year and i noticed all these little scratches on the front, im like what the hay no ones even touched the tank lol. its still a mystery how it happend :o)
go with glass

    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 3:06PM
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kirap(TN z7)

Glass is the the way to go for 99% of folks. Less worry on scratching......Acrylic is actually clearer than glass is, and most times in a formed tank it can be made without as many seams or joints as a glass tank would, but over time acrylic will dull up from micro scratches and abrasions etc, and they are more touchy to clean.......As to being lighter, I don;t really consider that an attribute really as once its full of water its not getting moved, and your only talking a couple of pounds differences. They are easier to modify which has already been noted, but then again a glass tank is not hard to modify either........They say acrylic holds better temps than glass does, but once you get a mass of water of say 20 or more gal temperature swings and variations are not commonplace for the most part so the inuslative quality of acrylic is now moot, but it can aslo work against you as it can hold too much heat in some instances........Glas also gets scratched, and will shatter if hit hard, acruylic scratches easy, but scratches can be removed, we removing scratches on glass can be done, it has to be done by specialized equipment......And removing scratches on an acrylic is easy it usually leaves an area with a optical variation which may magnify or distort whats being viewed behind it, and actually make it look worse than the actual scratch did.

Most glass tanks made by reputable companies (Perfecto and AGA) carry a lifetime guarantee on leakage etc.........

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 11:48AM
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Would glass be strong enough to hold fast moving water and rocks for an indoor above ground stream?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 9:34AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Sounds like an interesting project Could you give more details on the idea,particularly dims.?? Maybe start a new thread as this one is soooo old. gary

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 4:40PM
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Gary, I have made a thread, but I don't know dimensions yet...

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 9:28PM
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Plexis one big advantage is it has a refraction index which is much closer to water. So, there's less distortion when you look through plexi as water than when you look through glass.

Ever dip a plexi rod in water? It's almost invisible.

On the stream thing, I'd use glass. Oh and if your holding trout, you'll need some sort of chiller as they croak above about 65F.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 4:05PM
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Ok, thanks.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 10:19PM
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If I'm going to make a custom aquarium (not the stream) that's about 150-250 gallons (I don't know what the area will fit yet) what should I use? I've heard everyone saying glass but most big aquariums use acrylic. I just don't know. And the main problem with glass is that it's SOOO expensive!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Now matter whether you build it yourself or buy it built, glass will be waaay cheaper than acrylic.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 2:53PM
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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

I have 2 acrylic tanks, and I'll never go back to glass. Acrylic makes it all look SO much better!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 5:41PM
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I would choose glass. They wouldn't scratch more vs plexi and since plexi costs much more, you would want to have a glass aquarium first if you intend to buy a bigger size or upgrade in the future.

Here is a link that might be useful: custom fish tank

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 9:48PM
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There is a great glass vs acrylic comparison on this web site:

Basically glass is better in every way except the weight involved with moving it. I would strongly suggest reading that web page, it explains in detail the pros and cons.

Here is a link that might be useful: Acrylic vs glass aquariums

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 6:20PM
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