Pros and Cons: Glass vs. Acrylic Aquariums

Posted on July 06 2024, By: Aquarium Dimensions

Pros and Cons: Glass vs. Acrylic Aquariums

Glass or acrylic? There are as many opinions about this decision as there are fish in the sea. Here are the pros and cons of each type of aquarium.

By the way, we're assuming you're considering standard sizes.

Glass Aquariums


1. Price

Glass aquariums are cranked out by the thousands each day. You get a great “economy of scale” factor when it comes to price. Glass tanks are where “dollar per gallon” sales started, although you'd be hard pressed to find those discounts these days.

2. Quality

Glass aquarium companies have been around for a long time. They have their process down, and that includes quality control.

3. Ease of Replacement

If your tank cracks or leaks, it’s comforting to know that there is a good chance someone has an extra tank sitting in their basement or that your local store. 


1. No Customization

The other side of that economy of scale is that companies are set up to make the same set of tanks over and over. This means you're on your own if you want to customize the tank.

Acrylic Aquariums


1. Weight

Acrylic aquariums are pretty light compared to glass aquariums. This is nice if you are setting up a large tank. Keep in mind though that this only matters while the tank is empty. Water weighs roughly 8 pounds per gallon, so the permanent location must to be strong enough to support the total weight regardless of what the tank is made from.

2. Appearance

This is purely subjective, but a lot of hobbyists believe acrylic looks better than glass. Acrylic is seamless, unlike the caulked corners seen in glass tanks. This allows for smooth and/or rounded joints, which look sharp and can be practical for keeping species like jellyfish.

3. Maintenance

Generally, acrylic can be maintained easier than glass. It is true that acrylic can be scratched easier than glass, but unlike glass, you can buff out acrylic scratches at home. It takes a lot of elbow grease, but it is possible!


1. Price

Comparing identical dimensions, acrylic will cost you more than glass. The manufacturing that creates those great looks and light weights comes at a price.

2. Scratching

Acrylic scratches easier than glass. If you're not up for buffing, remember that a lot of those scratches disappear once the tank fills with water.


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