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WHY WE CHOOSE GLASS

Glass is stunning we are all drawn to it. Glass is the only packaging material that people are inspired to save, reuse, collect and display. Glass can take on a range of shapes, colors and textures. Itʼs beautiful. Itʼs memorable. Itʼs iconic. You can feel its quality in your hand. Acrylic is often used for awards and also has some attractive features. Acrylic is a popular option for manufacturers and hobbyists because it is both easy to fabricate and light weight. It takes a relatively extreme investment in tooling, equipment, and engineering to be able to cut and manipulate heavy sheets of glass. This is the main reason most custom aquarium manufacturers use acrylic, not because of the benefits of the material itself. Many hobbyists and small manufacturers can create custom aquariums with very simple inexpensive equipment. However, the end product is not so durable, and the material is very expensive.

 

 

 

 

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WHY WE CHOOSE GLASS

Glass is stunning we are all drawn to it. Glass is the only packaging material that people are inspired to save, reuse, collect and display. Glass can take on a range of shapes, colors and textures. Itʼs beautiful. Itʼs memorable. Itʼs iconic. You can feel its quality in your hand. Acrylic is often used for awards and also has some attractive features. Acrylic is a popular option for manufacturers and hobbyists because it is both easy to fabricate and light weight. It takes a relatively extreme investment in tooling, equipment, and engineering to be able to cut and manipulate heavy sheets of glass. This is the main reason most custom aquarium manufacturers use acrylic, not because of the benefits of the material itself. Many hobbyists and small manufacturers can create custom aquariums with very simple inexpensive equipment. However, the end product is not so durable, and the material is very expensive.

 

 

 

 

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GLASS

Glass is very difficult to scratch. Scratching glass usually requires a relatively hard material and a considerably amount of pressure.

Glass is denser and therefore heavier than acrylic. A glass aquarium will often weigh 4 times as much as an acrylic aquarium of the same volume.

A sharp impact will crack or in extreme cases, shatter a glass aquarium, or at least one of its sides. The force required to break a glass aquarium is still significant. 

Glass can support considerably more than its own weight over distances. Because of the rigidity, glass aquariums require less structural support at the top to keep the tank from flexing or splitting its seams under the weight of the water. Rimless aquariums are very popular and most all on the market today are glass.

Medieval stained glass windows probably look the same today as they did the day they were made. Glass really doesn’t change—no matter how old it is—says Michael Cima, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Faculty Director of the MIT Glass Lab. Contrary to the urban legend that glass is a slow-moving liquid, it’s actually a highly resilient elastic solid, which means that it is completely stable. In short, glass is in it for the long haul. 

 


Acrylic

Acrylic is highly scratchable, it is very important that you only use acrylic safe cleaning tools.  Acrylic is also easier to repair when it is scratched on the outside of the aquarium. Scratches on the inside of an acrylic aquarium are very time consuming to repair. It is also extremely difficult to buff scratches out of acrylic and bring it back to its original clarity, particularly on the inside of a large, custom established aquariums.

Acrylic aquariums are lighter than glass aquariums. However, the majority of the weight of a complete aquarium is the water, sand and rock, not the aquarium itself. 

A sharp impact will crack or shatter a piece of acrylic, the amount of force needed for this damage is greater than it is with a glass aquarium. On the other hand, almost any impact to an acrylic aquarium will leave a scratch or mark, even those that would not have marked a glass aquarium.

Acrylic is a flexible non rigid material, the design/shape of the aquarium and quality and craftsmanship of the bonding/fabrication is critical to the integrity of the aquarium. When bonding the joints of an acrylic aquarium even the slightest error can compromise the integrity of the entire aquarium. Since glass panels are much more rigid, it is not necessary for the joints to be quite as perfect as in an acrylic aquarium in order for it to hold up over time.

Acrylic aquariums start to break down because of UV light either form the sun or from aquarium lights, it will turn yellow, become brittle, and can even crack and fail because of it. The more UV lights you have on your aquarium, or the closer it is to a window, the more accelerated this process will be. 

 

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Glass Options

Glass has options to assist in cost and clarity. Standard and Starphire with new glass coming to market regularly. Grey glass used for overflows and back panels. 

Acrylic aquariums seams are bonded leaving a crystal clear seam if bonded correctly. Glass aquariums seams are joined with silicone with numerous color options. The most popular being clear and black. Colored seams are not available with acrylic. Black seams on an acrylic aquariums means black panels. 

Scratches in glass aquariums can be repaired if the depth is not deep enough to feel with a finger nail. Lite scratches can be polished out of glass, slightly deeper scratches can also be polished out but will be slightly distorted the area of the scratch since glass has been polished away. Removing deep scratches from acrylic aquariums can also distort the the repaired area.  Glass aquariums can have panels replaced, the new panel will match the older panel. Replacing acrylic aquarium panels is not really possible or worth the effort since the aquarium has to be cut apart using circular saws then re-polished and bonded.

Glass aquariums can be dismantled and rebuilt endless times. Property owners who decide to relocate can also relocate large on site built glass aquariums. While large on site built acrylic aquariums are left behind since the aquarium can not easily be dismantled or rebuilt, leaving many home owners losing large custom built aquariums.