Maybe I am confused and they are the same thing, or maybe acrylic is "plastic", but I have heard acrylic tanks advertised and was wondering if anyone could tell me what they are and how they measure up to a good old glass aquarium. Thanks!
With acrylic setups you have your pro/cons about them. Heres a few about Acrylic
1. Very light weight. Easier to move when empty which can be important for large tanks and the final installation will be slightly lighter.
2. Acrylic is more transparent than glass. Large glass tanks tend to have a greenish tint to the glass unless special very expensive iron free glass is used for the front pane. This is sometimes called Sapphire glass.
3. Acrylic is a better thermal barrier than glass.
4. Acrylic is less likely to shatter catastrophically if it takes a hard blow.
5. Acrylic has no glued seams that may fail over time.
6. Acrylic is easier to drill for plumbing hookups
#1 problem is that acrylic can be easily scratched when cleaning the inside of the tank. All acrylic tanks will get covered with small scratches over time. This is not too noticeable as long as you avoid accidentally getting a piece of sand or coralline algae between the cleaning device you are using and the acrylic which can cause large scratches. It warps and has to be strongly braced. With acrylic tanks they were all partly closed at the top by the hefty top bracing, which makes access to the tank fairly difficult.
It you were starting a reef tank i would go with the good old glass as corals and live rock will scratch the inside of an acrylic easier then it would a glass. It all depends on the size the money your willing to spend and the look you are looking for. I hope this was helpful enough for you.
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