Glass Vs Acrylic Aquarium: Who Gets The Winner’s Trophy?

Home is the safest shelter for every living organism. The same can be said for your pets also. They find their habitat the most comfortable place to stay. And when it comes to comfort, none is going to compromise with it. And the same applies to your pets as well. 

Aquariums are made for your aquatic pets to live peacefully in captivity.  There are a number of products available in the market for you to pick from. While considering the wide range of variety, you might be confused about which one to buy?

Well, congratulations! You have come to the right place to solve your doubt. This article will analyze the efficiency of glass and acrylic aquariums to show you the ultimate way out.

Scroll down and read to discover more about the two competitors: glass aquarium and acrylic aquarium.

Acrylic Aquarium: The Newcomer

What are acrylic aquariums?

Acrylic aquariums are plastic or fiberglass-made tanks that have been introduced to the market very recently. They come in several numbers of beautiful shapes that can enhance the interior beauty of your home. These tanks have exquisite features that gathered a considerable number of fans even after being comparatively new to the market. 

Glass aquariums: The Traditionalist

What are glass aquariums?

The oldest form of aquariums is the glass aquarium. It is a fish tank made of glass. The source material is silicon dioxide or ordinary sand. Since they have been introduced to the fish world much earlier, the supplies for this type are readily available in the market.

Acrylic vs. glass aquarium:  the final scoreboard

  Both the acrylic and glass aquariums have the same purposes of inhabiting fish and other aquatic animals. Well, they might be similar, but not the same. Some features are desirable of each of them. You might be wondering about them. 

 Here are some fascinating features and inescapable flaws that you might be interested to know.

Here is the scoreboard for you. Let’s have a look.

Guide:- How to keep your aquarium clean


The first question that comes to our heads is durability. Well, both categories have a lot to offer when it comes to construction. We might proceed with our discussion considering the following aspects.

Impact resistance:

The acrylic aquarium wins this category. 

Acrylic aquariums are made of fiberglass. Automatically they are much more impact resistant than the glass-made ones. 

You have to remember that keeping your aquarium away from heavy objects should never be neglected.


This time the glass aquarium wins the race. 

Glass is much more scratch-resistant than acrylic aquariums. 

aquarium cleaning with towel

If you have an acrylic aquarium, you will have to be exceptionally careful because the slightest rubbing can demote the beauty. And best of luck if you accidentally rub the acrylic wall with a piece of gravel or sand while cleaning it. Scratches would definitely ornament your acrylic tank!

On the other hand, we have our winner of this category, namely, the glass aquarium. These are much difficult to scratch. If you have little children who may play near the tank, glass aquariums should be your ultimate choice.


Again the trophy goes to glass aquariums.

Over time acrylic aquariums are usually damaged by the sunlight, particularly by the UV ray. Eventually, they discolor and become yellow that hampers the clarity of the tank. Nowadays, UV-protected acrylic tanks have tried to resolve the issue, but all in vain.  

On the contrary, we may notice glass tanks maintaining the same clarity over time. Well, that should not be in case you have successfully accumulated algae in your tank!


The acrylic aquariums are made of porous material (plastic or fiberglass), allowing water leakage, not visibly but indirectly. It may also contain toxic chemicals and bacterias harmful to your tank. Think about an old, chemically reformed, and porous plastic material! You can do nothing to restore it to its previous form.

Aquarium Glass Clean

Glass is much more dependable in this context. A sheet of glass can successfully work for ages. Proper cleaning and it returns to almost its unique condition.


The winner here is the acrylic aquarium. 

Glass is much heavier than acrylic. Therefore, the glass aquarium weighs almost ten times more than an acrylic aquarium of the same size. 

Acrylic aquariums are much easier to carry around (in case you want to shift the tank to another place), whereas glass-made ones are heavy to lift and can shatter into thousands of pieces if you meet a tragic accident!

Must Know:- Koi Fish Guide

Support and rigidity:

Glass aquarium can support appreciably more water than its own weight. Also, because of its rigidity, it doesn’t need extra support to hold it together. You may comfortably keep rimless glass aquariums without risk.

 The acrylic aquariums can also support a fair amount of water, and they need not be as thick as glass panels to support that much weight. 

You need to understand that acrylic aquariums can bow apart because of their comparatively less rigidity. You will need to have much more support at the top and a stand for keeping acrylic aquariums. 

Breaking and cracking:

The acrylic aquarium would be preferable while considering this aspect. Glass is more prone to cracking and, in extreme cases – shattering. Although the acrylic aquariums are easily scratched, they come with a higher resistance while talking about crashing and breaking. 

aquarium cracked

You may need a maximum amount of force to crack the acrylic ones. But often, the glass-made aquariums smash while colliding with the slightest amount of energy.

Shape and Style:

The winner here is, of course, the acrylic aquariums.

Glass is much more rigid. Hence, it can not be modified in various shapes. There are limited shapes for glass aquariums available in the market, making them entirely outmoded.

Then comes our newbie star, the acrylic aquarium, with various shapes and modifications available in the market. These beautiful shapes and modifications have made acrylic aquariums more desirable these days. They might come in round, oval, rectangular, hexagonal, pentagonal, and many other shapes. But the glass aquariums are restricted to rectangular, square, and related forms. 

You may find the hanging acrylic aquariums too in the market but never the same for the glass-made ones.

Visual Distortion:

The glass aquariums have a different index of refraction than water. When you see a fish in a glass aquarium, you are befooled by the distortion. The light here bents four times: it goes through the air, then the glass wall, then the water, and then bounces back from the fish in the same way. Each time the light is bent, the distortion becomes vivid. This means that when you see a fish in a glass aquarium, the size, color, and position of the fish can be significantly different! Also, the thicker the glass panel is, the vivid the distortion becomes!

Aquarium Visual

The acrylic aquariums have almost the same index of refraction as water. Thus, the light here is bent only once or twice. That means when you see a fish in the acrylic aquarium, the only distortion you may notice is that the fish is a bit misplaced; the color and size never cheat your eyes!

To reduce the distortion, the manufacturers have brought a new type of glass, namely Starfire Glass or low-iron glass. The light transmission here is over 90% compared to the regular glasses offering 82%. 

Even after considering the modified glass panels, the vote here goes for acrylic aquariums.


The acrylic aquarium wins this category hand down.

Acrylic aquariums provide excellent insulation in comparison to glass aquariums. It can retain heat 20% better than the glass-made aquarium.

aquarium Insulation

  On the other hand, we have our traditional glass aquariums. It disperses the heat very quickly. As a result, the heaters may have to work really hard to maintain a balanced temperature.


Well, in this category, our traditionalist glass aquariums win. They come at a much affordable price tag. Since they have been introduced to the market much earlier, the accessories are positively available. 

The acrylic aquariums come at a much higher cost making them less pocket-friendly. Also, the accessories are not easily at one’s disposal. 

At a glance:

QualityGlass AquariumsAcrylic Aquariums
Impact resistanceLess resistantMuch resistant
scratchingresistantFeeble resistance 
clarityRemains the same for agesIt becomes yellowish over time
Support and rigidityMuch strong and rigidRequires support
Breaking and crackingsensitiveLess prone to cracking
Shape and styleOld fashioned and limited stylesBrand new styles with new modifications
Visual distortionSignificant distortion ( not with Starfire Glass) Less distortion
insulationDissipates heat quicklyBetter insulator
costpocket-friendlyQuite expensive

Five best acrylic aquariums:

Everything in this world should have pros and cons: acrylic aquariums aren’t dissimilar. However, there are impressive features of this type that you might be interested in.

We have prepared a list of top-rated acrylic aquariums to help you in choosing your favorite one.

1. SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set:

Key Features
  • Comes with an aquarium reflector, and electrical 12″ light fixture
  • Tranquil Hexagon design to pop your tank decoration
  • clearer than glass
  • 17 times stronger
  • Half the weight
  • Safe for freshwater as well as saltwater

2. Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit:

Tetra Crescent Acrylic
Key Features
  • Curved-front crescent-shaped aquarium
  • Includes Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter
  • Bright white LED lights are hidden inside the low-profile black cover
  • Seamless tank

3. Gerioie Three Areas Acrylic Small Aquarium:

Key Features
  • transparent acrylic material, high transmittance
  • Comes with two isolation plates and three sections
  • three luminous non-toxic artificial grasses that glow during the night
  • Includes water change valve
  • six LED top cover lights( 3 blue and three white)

4. biOrb Classic Aquarium:

Key Features
  • Ten times stronger than glass
  • 50% lighter and 93% clearer
  • 5 Stage Filtration – Biological, Mechanical, Chemical, Water Stabilization, and Oxygenation
  • Can operate from a 12V Transformer
  • Comes with low voltage Standard LED Light

5. GloFish Aquarium Kit:

Key Features
  • a seamless, crescent-shaped tank
  • Includes Tetra Whisper Bio-Bag Filter Cartridge, black canopy with convenient feeding hole
  • Hidden blue LED lights that give a fluorescent look.
  • A sleek black hood reduces evaporation.

Five best glass aquariums:

Traditionalists have always been showstoppers. Although various products are available in the market, picking one is often a confusing task to accomplish.

Here too, we have a list ready for you.

1.Hygger Horizon 8 Gallon LED Glass Aquarium Kit:

Key Features
  • The unique convex arc curve shape
  • undetachable 3D background decor
  • It comes with a super quiet power filter of 7W 110GPH
  • Controllable DC12V/18W LED lights with extendable brackets.

2. Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit:

Key Features
  • Built with scratch-resistant glass
  • comes loaded with an LED hood
  • provides a natural daytime effect

3.Coralife LED BioCube:

Key Features
  • Bright white LEDs for daytime
  • Sparkling blue Moon Glows for nighttime
  • Automatic 30 minute sunrise/sunset and 60 minute moonrise/moonset functions

4. Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit:

Key Features
  • Sleek design incorporating Rounded corners and clear glass canopy
  • Bright white LED light and blue LED lights creating a sunlight and moonlight effect.
  • Sliding glass canopy.
  • Hinged LED rail light.

5. Penn Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit:

Key Features
  • unique bent glass design that is seamless and frameless
  • Made with the highest quality glass
  • utilizes a three-piece construction

Our ratings:

Glass aquariums:

With its exceptionally magnifying features, glass aquarium has been a one-stop solution for decades. Considering all the comparison points of the “final scoreboard,” we have decided to give the glass aquariums a rating of 4.7/5.

Acrylic aquariums:

Aquarium world’s youngster, namely the acrylic aquarium, has also impressed the aqua hobbyists with its dependable features. Considering all the aspects mentioned above, we have decided to give it a round of applause along with a rating of 4.5/5.

General FAQs: clearing the doubt

  1. Which is stronger, acrylic or glass?

Ans. Acrylic is much stronger than glass. Hence, it is more resistant to thumps or strokes. However, acrylic is very sensitive to scratches that do not affect the glass aquariums. It is safe to keep both aquariums at a distance from heavy substances. 

  1. Is acrylic cheaper than glass?

Ans. Absolutely not! Acrylic costs way more than glass. It is not necessarily for the quality (well, in some cases, it might be so, and in some other cases, it might not) but mostly for the shipping charges.

  1. Can aquarium glass break?

Ans. Yes, they might break if they collided with heavy substances or kept them on an uneven base. Your first duty before bringing a glass aquarium should be of preparing the base or leveling your tanks. Also, ensure your tank’s fair distance from heavy or bulky substances to avoid damage.

4. How long do glass aquariums last?

Ans. The average timespan of a glass aquarium is seven to ten years if kept with care. You may come across aquarists keeping the same glass tank for 15 or 16 years. Well, that is exceptional. The overall average span of glass tanks is roughly around ten years.

5. Can acrylic aquarium crack?

Ans. Although acrylic aquariums are more potent, they can break due to the UV ray from the sun or even from the aquarium light. Eventually, it becomes yellow, and the clarity is not restored.

Editor’s choice:

After considering all the pros and cons mentioned above, we have finally come to a conclusion. Undoubtedly both of the aquariums have served to suit the need of aqua hobbyists. Be it the elegant glass aquariums or fascinating acrylic aquariums, both are worth the praise. 

But the efficiency of the glass aquarium is slightly better than that of the acrylic aquariums. They serve you the best features at a minimal price. So, the crown of the showstopper goes to our traditionalist- glass aquarium.


We presume that you have already made your choice on which one to bring. Both the aquariums can significantly elevate the sophistication of your room only if you maintain them accordingly. The two different aquariums have their own specific maintenance schedule that should be followed strictly. 

Aquariums are homes to your lovely aquatic pets. Bringing an aquarium alone and stuffing it with fish would never suffice. You must consider getting a heater and filter to provide a comfortable shelter to your pets. 

Just because glass aquariums are much more resistant to scratches and they provide clarity for ages, you should not keep yourself resting. Instead, you should take good care of it. Algae accumulation is very common in an aquarium. Excessive algae may lead to a shabby aquarium giving a demoting impression as well as harming the health of your fish.

Cleaning and maintaining an aquarium are the first and foremost duties of an aquarist. Without following the accurate maintenance schedule, your aquarium might be doomed. Take your time while cleaning the aquarium. Being extra careful while cleaning the acrylic aquariums always gives you extra credit. And if you are not patient, your aquarium may give you an impression of the prehistoric age with its flashing scratches!

Choosing an aquarium is itself a complicated task. But when you know the advantages and disadvantages, you may find the suitable one of your own choice.

We hope we could ease your suffering with the comparison mentioned above and could also provide you with the list of top-rated aquariums to pick from. 

Don’t waste time. Bring your favorite aquarium today. And we will meet you again when you need us.

All the best.

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