The Right Material for Aquarium Tanks
Have you ever wondered what types of glass are used in building our Aquariums, or are there any other materials that we can use? In this article, we will be discussing the right material for aquarium tanks.
Regular glass is by far the most common material in making aquariums. Glass is actually manufactured by heating ordinary sand silica (silicon dioxide), the primary constituent of sand, to 1700 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the sand will liquefy. Glass is most often manufactured by the rapid cooling of the molten form after removing the bubbles.
Ordinary glass has a noticeable greenish tint, especially when viewed from the end of the panel. But it is cheap and represents a cost-effective solution for larger tanks.
It is also scratch-resistant – this is advantageous when you have all the tools to keep that glass clean. Be it scrubbing the algae in the glass or using a razor blade (be careful not to touch the silicon seams). You don’t have to worry about the glass being scratched. It will not discolor with age as well.
However, glass is heavy, twice the weight of acrylic of the same size. This could be a serious drawback on huge aquariums. Shape and sizes are limited too.
Standard Glass Panels
Low Iron Glass
It uses a small amount of iron to eliminate the blue-greenish tint of standard glass, and it cost more. Please see the comparison below between standard glass at the right and low iron glass on the left.
Low Iron Glass and Clear Glass Comparison
Acrylic is 50 % lighter than glass of the same dimensions. For large aquariums, a material that offers 50 % weight reduction while retaining strength and integrity is certainly an appealing option.
Acrylic is generally stronger than glass. Additionally, the joints between acrylic panels can be chemically fused. Glass aquariums and their silicon seams cannot match this level of strength.
Acrylic is customizable and can be molded to form any imaginable tank shapes like curved, bow front, octagon, cylindrical tanks, etc. You name it, and it can be molded like that.
However, as I said previously, acrylic is very easy to scratch. This means you are very limited on tools and cleaning materials to clean your acrylic tanks. But these light scratches can be removed by employing a buffing process. Deeper scratches, on both glass and acrylic, are permanent.
Acrylic is expensive, there is no getting around it, and some acrylic types can yellow in time.
Inspect Your Tank
Carefully inspect the craftsmanship, joints, and silicon seams of your newly bought aquarium, if possible, while you are still in the store. Take pictures, and don’t be afraid to point out any flaws that you may find. You can bring a flashlight and magnifying glass to help you with inspecting.
Want to Explore More?
An internal filter is placed inside the tank and is totally submerged in water from the name itself. They were the first aquarium filters available for home aquariums. But with the dawn of aquascaping, these filters have lost their acclaim, but they still have their uses in planted aquariums.
It is called the Fishless Method of Tank Cycling, which is self-explanatory. We will cycle our planted aquariums with no fish. We don’t have to be worried about any of our faunas anymore if they will survive the fish-in cycling we discussed in the previous article.
But where will the Ammonia be coming from (if there are no fish) for the Nitrogen Cycle to start?
Many of the hobbyists worldwide refer to the Jungle Style separate from either Nature or Dutch styles of aquascaping. We can even consider the Jungle style a sub-type of the Nature style.
The only difference is the wild, untamed look. It is the complete opposite of the Dutch style, more organized, and looks like a conventional tulips garden.
We will not over-complicate this. Temperature is simply just the measure of how much heat is in the water, hot or cold. But too big fluctuating temperatures will have bad effects on your faunas and plants in our planted aquarium.
The Hardscape Diorama Style is still a subset of the Nature Style. The only differences are emphasizing using a lot of hardscapes and building complex nature-like structures such as forests, caves, bonsai trees, canyons, or even fantasy worlds (think Avatar 2009 movie). Building just the structures takes days, weeks, or even a month before even planting.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have additional questions or want to share your experiences with the materials used in building your aquariums, please leave a comment below.
Next, we will be discussing the many Aquascaping Styles that will unleash your creativity and the artist within you.