ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Choose Acrylic Aquariums?

Updated on July 27, 2010

What is Acrylic?

Acrylic, or polymethyl methacrylate is a plastic. It is a manufactured polymer formed from hydrocarbon molecules that produces a clear plastic that looks exactly like glass. However, in many ways it can be considered to be superior to glass because it is both less dense and brittle.

It is often referred to by its popular brand names such as Plexiglass and Polycast and is made in two basic different ways. Extruded acrylic plastic is made in a continuous cast fashion and is cheaper to produce. However, it is much softer and can scratch very easily. On the other hand cell cast acrylic is of a much higher quality being much harder.

Acrylic plastics have many applications where transparent plastic can be utilised. Popular examples are bathroom doors and enclosures, windows and most applications where glass could be used but there is preference for a shatterproof product that is easier to work with.

Acrylic for aquariums?

Aquariums made from glass are either square in shape or rectangular. With careful cutting it is possible to manufacture other shapes such as triangular and octagonal tanks. It is possible to utilise curved glass plates but these are extremely expensive and availability of shapes somewhat limited.

As aquariums get bigger, their weight, even without water and substrate, increases substantially. Large aquariums in houses, offices and public displays often require water depths of 5 feet or more, some reaching depths of several yards. In these cases glass tanks need to be built with glass that can be up to a couple of inches thick, with single walls weighing several tons. Glass is more than twice the density of acrylic and because of its brittle nature needs to be used in thicknesses greater than would its equivalent acrylic replacement.

Acrylic fish tanks are lighter, stronger and can be manufactured easily in a range of different sizes and unusual shapes. They are almost exclusively used these days for the larger public aquaria removing the danger of damage being done by an errant member of the public.

The best thing about acrylic aquariums is that you can buy an aquarium kit in a box that you can easily carry to your car. These self contained kits, such as the biOrb 30 or the biOrb 60, can be filled with water once you get home and within 24 hours ity is possible to add the first fish. With a glass aquarium you will need to consider carefully how to get the heavy item home, how to support the brittle base and how to ensure that any small children in the house can be prevented from bashing the glass tank walls with their toys!

Buying a complete aquarium kit

One of the best ways to get into the fish keeping hobby is to purchase a complete fish keeping kit like the excellent ones produced by Reef One - the biOrb series of acrylic tanks. These come ready with cartridge filter, heater, aeration and lighting. You set them up, put the ceramic media in the bottom of the tank and fill with tap water.

After 24 hours they are ready to take the first fish. However, take care only to introduce one fish in the first month, then add more slowly until you reach the recommended stocking levels for each size of tank. This is because the biological filtration that takes place needs the bacteria to build up on the ceramic substrate until it is at a level that can easily digest the waste products from a few fish in your tank.

In addition to biological filtration that you would expect to find in any fish tank, the biOrb fish tanks in common with other ready to go packages have a replaceable cartridge filter system. This mechanical and chemical filter compliments the biological filtration resulting in crystal clear water and health happy fish. The filter must be changed every 6 weeks depending on fish population otherwise harmful substances may leach back out of it and into the tank water.

Acrylic - the way forward for fish tanks

All the large public aquaria have now moved over the past 15 to 20 years to using acrylic plastic for their enclosures and tanks. This shows that there is an overall benefit to using acrylic to construct aquariums. However, it is the cost of acrylic that is a minus in a whole series of plus benefits of using the material. It does cost more and there is no argument for it lasting longer. A glass aquarium will last a lifetime whereas an acrylic tank will need a lot of care if it is to match this performance.

Acrylic is softer than glass when it comes to abrasion, and therefore if badly treated it can become worn looking. However, unlike glass the odd scratch can in fact be polished out quite easily.

On balance acrylic tanks are the way forward. They perform better and are easier to set up and use. With care, they will last as long as glass aquariums and there is less likelihood of a complete failure as when a glass tank cracks and floods 100s of gallons of fishy water all over the new carpet!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Mark Jenner profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Jenner 

      6 years ago

      Just remember the commitment needed - thanks

    • profile image

      Dolly 

      6 years ago

      Wow! it looks very beautiful, I would like to have such aquarium at my home.

      http://greenproindia.com/plexiglas.php

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)