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What You Should Know Before You Buy A Glass Aquarium

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Author: Jim F. Johnson

Buying your first aquarium is an exciting adventure. But should you select a glass aquarium or an acrylic one? Here are some tips on glass aquariums that may help you to make up your mind.

There are two main features that determine the quality of a glass fish tank - the kind of sealant that was used and the type and thickness of the glass. But, in addition, there are two kinds of glass aquariums. Some tanks are built to house water based creatures such as fish. And those that are meant to hold non-water based entities such as plants, turtles, lizards, and so on. If your intent is to house fish in your aquarium, you need to be sure that your aquarium of interest had it's sides bonded with sealant especially meant to hold water. If not, you could find that your fish tank is subject to leaks.

The typical glass aquarium is made of one of two types of glass - plate glass or tempered glass. Plate glass is a very heavy glass, it's over two times the weight of plexiglass (or acrylic) which is used in many fish tanks. Contrary to plexiglass, however, plate glass is extremely scratch resistant. It's also resistant to stains. Tempered glass is a bit less smooth than plate glass. Each type of glass breaks different also. When plate glass breaks, it tends to break into large pieces. When tempered glass breaks, however, it shatters into a lot of pieces. Practically, what this means is that if your plate glass aquarium breaks, you'll only have a crack or hole at the point of the break, and your fish will probably still be safe. Conversely, if your tempered glass aquarium breaks, it is likely that the entire aquarium side will be shattered and you'll lose all your fish.

Glass aquariums are not as good at retaining heat as acrylic tanks. So, dependent on the weather conditions where you live, you will probably be more reliant on your tank thermostat and heater to keep the water in the aquarium at the appropriate temperatures. If you live in a warm weather climate such as Florida or Nevada, heat loss will most likely not be an issue.

Since glass tanks are heavier than acrylic tanks, you'll want to be extra careful when choosing an appropriate aquarium stand. It's true that most of the aquarium weight will come from the water itself. But, when determining if the flooring supports are strong enough to safely hold your fish tank, you have to include all weight variables - the weight of the tank, the water, and the stand.

In years past it was hard to get custom shaped glass aquariums. If you wanted a unique shape, you were pretty much forced to purchase an acrylic aquarium. The reason for this is that glass tanks were made from planes of glass, which limited them to rectangular shapes. Acrylic tanks, on the other hand, were molded, letting them take the shape of the mold, however irregular it might be. Recently, however, new technologies have been introduced that lets companies produce glass aquariums with curvy and other unique shapes, rounded corners, and seamless edges. Acrylic tanks still hold the edge in the number of unique shapes that can be created but aquarium glass technology is light years away from where it was just a few years ago.

About the author: Jim F. Johnson is webmaster and owner of find more information on all glass aquariums / fish tanks at his web site.

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