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Acrylic vs Glass Aquarium: Which is Better?

If you’re looking for a new aquarium, you may be wondering whether to choose an acrylic or glass tank. Both materials have their unique benefits, so it can be tricky to decide which one is better.

This blog post will do the leg work for you and compare these two widely-used, between glass vs acrylic aquarium for you to make an informed decision when purchasing the right tank.

What are Acrylic Aquariums?

Acrylic Aquariums
Acrylic Aquariums

Acrylic aquariums are fish tanks made from a single piece of clear acrylic plastic. Acrylic aquariums have several features that make them ideal for freshwater and saltwater fish tanks.

  • Acrylic carries much less weight than glass, which simplifies its movement and transportation.
  • Acrylic is non-porous, so it does not harbor bacteria and algae. This means that you won’t have to scrub your tank as often, and your fish will be healthier.
  • Acrylic aquariums are also safer for your fish. If an acrylic aquarium breaks, the pieces will be smaller and less sharp than glass, so your fish will be less likely to be injured.
  • Allows drilling as it is more flexible
  • Acrylic is more susceptible to scratches and other marks. It can be a problem if you keep fish known to be particularly active or aggressive.
  • Another downside of acrylic aquariums is that they are generally more expensive than their glass counterparts. Acrylic is a more difficult material to work with and requires more specialized equipment and expertise.
  • Requires gentle and careful handling when cleaning the tank to avoid scratching its surface.

What are Glass Aquariums?

Glass Aquariums
Glass Aquariums

Glass aquariums are among the most popular types of aquariums on the market today. Glass aquariums are usually made with either tempered or untempered glass.

  • Tempered Glass is stronger and less likely to shatter if it breaks
  • Untempered glass is cheaper but more fragile.

Most people think of glass aquariums as big, bulky, and expensive. However, there are many different types and sizes of glass aquariums available.

A glass aquarium can also be a great way to show off your fish to friends and family. Glass aquariums are much more aesthetically pleasing than other types of tanks, making a room look more inviting. If you are looking for a way to make a statement in your home, then a glass aquarium is a good choice.

  • One of the biggest advantages of glass aquariums is that they are very durable. glass is a very strong material and can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
  • Another advantage of glass aquariums is that they offer a clear view of your fish. This is because glass is completely transparent, unlike other materials such as plastic or metal.
  • Glass aquariums also allow you to see the different levels of the water column, which can be useful for monitoring the health of your fish.
  • Allows comfortable and easy cleaning without scratching
  • One of the biggest disadvantages is that they are heavy, making it difficult to move around.
  • They are pretty durable, but not as durable as an acrylic aquarium. Also, a glass aquarium is not as good at ressisting scratch as an acrylic one.
  • Does not allow drilling

Acrylic Aquarium vs Glass: which is better?

After analyzing the pros and cons of glass and acrylic aquariums, here’s a comprehensive comparison based on the experience of National Park Aquarium to help you gain an overall perspective and make an informed choice that suits your preferences.

glass vs acrylic aquarium
Glass vs Acrylic Aquarium

1. Weight

Acrylic aquariums tend to be much lighter than glass tanks. This makes them easier to move around and transport. If you think you may need to move your aquarium in the future, an acrylic tank may be better.

2. Customization

Because acrylic is softer than glass, it is easier to cut and shape into custom designs. This means that you can find an acrylic aquarium that perfectly fits the space in your home.

3. Scratch Resistant

While both acrylic and glass aquariums can scratch, glass aquariums have a much higher resistance to scratching than acrylic aquariums. Over time, acrylic aquariums tend to look old and beat up at a much greater rate than glass aquariums.

4. Shatterproof

Acrylic aquariums are also durable and shatterproof, more so than its glass counterpart. So, suppose your tank falls or is hit by something. In that case, it is less likely to break and hurt anyone in the process.

5. Durability

When it comes to durability between acrylic fish tank vs glass, acrylic wins again. Acrylic is much more resistant to impact than its glass counterpart.

If you accidentally drop your acrylic aquarium, it is less likely to break than a glass one. It is less likely to shatter or crack, making it a safer option for homes with children or pets.

6. Cost

When it comes to cost, glass aquariums are typically cheaper than acrylic tanks. However, this is not always the case. It depends on the size and style of the aquarium you are looking for. Overall, glass tends to be less expensive than acrylic.

7. Aesthetics

In terms of appearance, there is no clear winner. Glass aquariums have a classic look. In contrast, acrylic ones can appear more modern. It comes down to personal preference.

8. Clarity

Glass is often clearer than acrylic, and its clarity is constant through time.

Some types of acrylic are also as clear as glass; however, they tend to turn yellowish as time goes by.

Still, since glass is a harder material, it is not as prone to scratches and chips as acrylic ones, which can affect the clarity of your aquarium.

Glass Vs Acrylic Fish Tank
Glass vs Acrylic Fish Tank IMG

Are Acrylic or Glass Aquariums safer for Aquarium?

While glass has many valuable qualities, cast acrylic may be the better material when DIY-ing your own custom fish tank. Acrylic, also known as plexiglass, has great optical clarity, is super durable, and is lighter in weight, making it an ideal home for your beloved fish pals. Cast acrylic has 17 times the impact resistance of glass and also has better insulating properties

Why Are Glass Aquariums Cheaper Than Acrylic?

Glass aquariums are generally less expensive than acrylic tanks because they are more commonly used and produced in larger quantities. This results in a lower overall cost for glass aquariums.


There is no clear winner when it comes to choosing between glass vs acrylic aquarium. It comes down to personal preference in terms of clarity, cost, and designs.

If you value optical clarity, scratch resistance, and a classic look, glass tanks may be the ideal choice for you. Conversely, if you’re looking for lightweight, impact-resistant, and customizable options, acrylic tanks are worth considering

Consider your needs and budget when making your decision. Whichever material you choose, you will be able to enjoy your new aquarium for years to come. Thanks for reading!

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Further Reading
Kevin Mills, the founder of Nationalparkaquarium.org


-- Founder --

I'm Kevin Mills, the founder of Nationalparkaquarium.org, where I share my deep passion for aquariums and aquatic life. With over 20 years of experience in fishkeeping, covering everything from tending to saltwater and freshwater tanks.

Kathleen Wood


-- Interrogator --

Kathleen Wood, a seasoned marine biologist, possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in her field. Her research on tropical fish biodiversity spans over three decades, and she has contributed numerous scientific papers on aquatic life.