Exploring the Advantages and Disadvantages of Acrylic Aquariums

Acrylic aquariums (or tanks) are lightweight and come in an amazing number of shapes and sizes to suit whatever style needs you have. If you're looking at acrylic aquariums for your saltwater or freshwater fish, consider these advantages and disadvantages.

Acrylic tanks have some advantages:

  • Lightweight: When compared with glass, acrylic tanks are easier to move and produce fewer hernias. If your aquarium is upstairs, acrylic may give you the option of having a larger tank.
  • Style: Many acrylic tanks come with colored backgrounds, which can be quite stunning with the proper tank decoration. The modern look of acrylic tanks you just can't find in a standard glass aquarium. You also get more choices in colors and styles to match the interior of your home or office. An acrylic tank gives any room an upscale appearance and generally looks more expensive than glass tanks.
  • Strength: It takes an exceptional blow with a blunt instrument to shatter an acrylic aquarium.
  • Cool shapes: Acrylic can be shaped into cool bubbles, tubes, half spheres, convex, and other unusual but fantastic-looking aquariums.

Acrylic does have a few drawbacks:

  • Distortion: Unfortunately, acrylic tanks have small amounts of visual distortion because of the way the material is bent during construction. They are generally made out of one large piece of acrylic that is heated and bent to shape; this method produces a seamless look that is outstanding. These transparent corners allow you to view your fish from almost any angle with ease.
  • Expense: Acrylic aquariums are a lot more expensive, if you get into custom styles, than their glass counterparts. These babies can cost some serious bucks, but they are well worth the investment. (Good ones run $500 to several thousand dollars.) These tanks are top of the line as far as quality and workmanship and beauty are concerned. If you have the budget to afford one, you won't be disappointed.
  • Scratches: Acrylic aquariums are quite easily scratched. Be careful when cleaning with rough algae pads, for example, to avoid leaving scratches or smears. Moving gravel around can also damage the surface, and pay close attention when you are moving or adding decorations to the aquarium. There are good scratch remover kits available through your local pet shop or the Internet that can handle most simple blemishes caused by carelessness.
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