The aquarium material plays a good role in beautifying the aquarium. The hobbyist will always want to maintain his aquarium as he is aware of the good things associated with the regular maintenances. He also should give emphasis to the aquarium material while buying or constructing the same. Proper view of the inside of the aquarium, longevity and healthy environment are few things to be kept in mind while deciding on the material.
Glass – the most readily available aquarium material
The glass aquarium is the most commonly seen aquarium in our houses and offices. The other material that can be used for the purpose is the acrylic.
However, the easy availability of the material and the low cost make it the first choice. Glass is manufactured by heating ordinary sand comprising mostly of silicon dioxide. At a temperature of 1700 degrees celcius i.e. 3090 F, the sand literally liquefies. This liquefied sand is then poured over tin plates to form panes of clear glass. On cooling, the material gets transformed into the amorphous solid glass that we are all so familiar with. This glass, which we can call the standard glass, has an aqua/ green shade. The shade is visible when the glass is viewed from the end of the panel.
The varieties of glass
Apart from the standard glass mentioned above, there are other varieties of glass that can be easily given shape for making the fish aquarium.
The low iron glass which is more transparent is also available as an option. Marketed as ‘Starphire’, it is clearer than the standard glass.
Then there is the polished glass that is almost like starphire with very good clarity but quite cheap in cost that can be taken as an option.
The advantages of glass
There are many advantages of glass when used as an aquarium tank.
- Cheap material: It is relatively cheap. It is also a cost effective solution for the small and medium sized aquariums (under 200 gallons).
- Scratch resistant: This nature makes it very advantageous. You are now relaxed while cleaning the tank for the algae and other substances accumulating at the bottom. Metal blades used for the purposes can be used freely. The razor blades can also be used though with care for the purposes.
- No fear of age-related discoloration: Glasses do not discolor with age and time. While some varieties of acrylic get discolored and get yellow with time, there is no such thing in case of glass. However, it may be noted that typical glass, the thicker ones in particular do contribute a blue tint to the view.
The disadvantages of glass
Now, there are some disadvantages of glass as well.
- Too heavy: Glass is twice as heavy as the acrylic. This disadvantage pulls it down while designing the larger aquariums. The custom built aquariums may be heavier as the glass braces are used here instead of the typical plastic framed braces.
- Restrictions in terms of shapes and sizes: Glass is relatively limiting in terms of shapes and sizes when compared with acrylic. Not much of shape can be given if you are considering a custom glass aquarium.
There is no second opinion about glass being the first and most preferred choice for the readymade aquarium or the custom made aquarium for the small to medium sized tanks. The same may not always be true for the bigger ones that are used in commercial places. However, here the varieties of glass with the tinted colors can be used to give the designed looks to the ever pleasing aquariums.