Acrylic aquariums

BubblingUnder

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After returning to the hobby with a 15 year gap I've been pleasently surprised by progress made with lighting LED's & CO2 but more confused as to why there has been no progress with acrylic aquariums (I know there were disadvantages such as scratches) but to me the biggest advantage was the lightness/strength compared to glass.

I'm still not sure why large manufactures have not used factory production to reduce the costs & sell to the general public does anyone have any idea's as to why progress has not been made in this area ?
 

ian_m

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I'm still not sure why large manufactures have not used factory production to reduce the costs & sell to the general public does anyone have any idea's as to why progress has not been made in this area ?
Still made from exactly the same acrylic as 15 years ago, still nothing as cost effective, and still suffer from the major disadvantage, as far as the public is concerned, still far too easy to scratch and damage.

What is new is low iron glass, opti-white and other trade names. This makes such a difference to tanks.
 

zozo

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Don't think acrylic is more cost effective.. From a manufacturers standpoint, opti white glass likely is about the same price as regular blank floated in production cost. For us it is likely more expensive because of a lower demand. But that's just a guess. If i diy a tank i pay double the price for opti white and over triple the price in acrylic.

And specific weight is:

Acrylic 1,19 g/cm3
glas 2,5 g/cm3

So calculating a tank you usualy come up with more than double the thikness with acrylic compaired to glass. This kinda levels eachother out and the end result is about neglectable for relative small aquariums.. :) That people tend to think it's so much lighter likely is just the idea and the safer feeling with handling plastic instead of fragile glas. It is indeed about 10 x stronger..
 
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BubblingUnder

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Thanks for your replies. I thought that technologies such as industrial 3D printing might have combined with clever use of cheaper plastic materials & an anti-scratch coating (after all only the front glass needs to be clear bit like some of the plywood aquariums I have seen being built on YouTube). But I guess we are not there yet.
 

zozo

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front glass needs to be clear bit like some of the plywood aquariums I have seen being built

That's a very nice way of building tanks and in smaller dimensions much less difficult than it seems. Last year i builded a little outdoor open top tank from plywood bottom and sides, with only the front and back from glass. End result was a very solid and safe construction that can take quite a bump. Fun to build, but cost effective it's not when it comes to the tank only. The wood needs to be epoxy coated which is also very hard and relative scratch free, harder than acrylic. But a sheet of plywood thick enough is again same pricce as a piece of blank floated glass and that without the coating.. 750 grams coating is about € 20 for 1 m² surface averagely 1 mm coating layer you need about 750 grams. With small sizes which do not suffer a lot of strain it is relative simple and very safe. But going up to deep tanks only coating isn't safe enough and needs glass fibres to enforce the structure especialy in the corners. Not even to mention the work yuo have to put in..

Till now regarding material cost and construction time, nothing beats a full glas tank. .. :)
 
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I find low iron glass very fragile unless its just me being too finicky. I have a ADA 60H which I once just glanced lifting off the glass cover which ended up knocking a chip off the top front, thought I could live with it until I do a new setup then I'll turn the tank around and put it at the back until one day I was moving the tank and cabinet by sliding along the laminate floor and accidentally caught the back corner on a curtain tie back which immediately knocked another shard of the back corner :mad: Even noticed the other day that where I keep my hang on side glass thermometer has caused a chip. I know, lot of user error but I just find it very easy to damage compared to normal glass where a shard of glass will break off as oppose to just a mark. Was considering taking the tank to a glass shop next time the tank was empty and seeing if they could bevel the edges as most of the chips are along the top outside edges and polish this up but I think it may look a bit odd having a 3mm bevel and ass none of the panels are scratched which is by far the worst scenario being the focal point I worry the shop might scratch the panels during the bevelling and I end up wishing I'd just put up with it. For now I've used some ADA glass lid clips positioned to hide one chip and managed to buy some 3m glass table clear silicone corner protectors designed for stopping babies smashing their faces off the corners of glass tables on the back corners to hide the much worse chip.

Soul destroying when you mark an optiwhite tank. Because of the clarity any marks are very pronounced and stick out like a sore thumb.
 

JMorgan

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What we really need, and I speak as someone fiercely resistant to pretty much every other American cultural import I can think of, especially having just endured another b****y Trick or Treat Halloween, is a nicely British (i.e. Imperial Gallons not litres!) version of their dollar a gallon sales, which I understand they have a few times every year. I get kinda misty at even the thought of having a neat rack of tanks that are the same size and proportions! ;)

I know that may seem off-topic but not really - my point being that I think retailers have been very short-sighted in their pricing of aquaria in the UK - one would be hard pressed to find a more effective loss-leader after all. Grow the hobby and you get decent R&D from healthy profit margins.

Of course now we have the whole "nano" thing going on, but I'd argue that despite there being a short term windfall for retailers of all things nano, the majority of punters, being sadly misinformed as to how to maintain water quality, will have a disastrous time of it, and all that's happened is you get a bunch of people who might have enjoyed keeping a reasonable sized community tank, swearing off the hobby for life.
 

OllieNZ

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I find low iron glass very fragile unless its just me being too finicky. I have a ADA 60H which I once just glanced lifting off the glass cover which ended up knocking a chip off the top front, thought I could live with it until I do a new setup then I'll turn the tank around and put it at the back until one day I was moving the tank and cabinet by sliding along the laminate floor and accidentally caught the back corner on a curtain tie back which immediately knocked another shard of the back corner :mad: Even noticed the other day that where I keep my hang on side glass thermometer has caused a chip. I know, lot of user error but I just find it very easy to damage compared to normal glass where a shard of glass will break off as oppose to just a mark. Was considering taking the tank to a glass shop next time the tank was empty and seeing if they could bevel the edges as most of the chips are along the top outside edges and polish this up but I think it may look a bit odd having a 3mm bevel and ass none of the panels are scratched which is by far the worst scenario being the focal point I worry the shop might scratch the panels during the bevelling and I end up wishing I'd just put up with it. For now I've used some ADA glass lid clips positioned to hide one chip and managed to buy some 3m glass table clear silicone corner protectors designed for stopping babies smashing their faces off the corners of glass tables on the back corners to hide the much worse chip.

Soul destroying when you mark an optiwhite tank. Because of the clarity any marks are very pronounced and stick out like a sore thumb.
Unfortunately you'd have to disassemble the tank to run it through the machine that bevels/polishes but the machine could easily take a couple of mm (or more as needed) off the each side so you didn't end up with a massive bevel and all sides remain the same height.
 

sanj

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This is an old post, but just my 2pence from somebody who has both, when you go large acrylic is far and away much lighter than glass. Two reasonably strong men could carry my 1,600 litre (empty ofcourse 😂) that would not have been possible if it was made of glass. As far scratches... fine scratches do appear from years of maintenance, but 99% are invisible when filled and the remaining can be buffed out quite easily. Obvious within reason. If some one smacks it with a sharp implement there is no removing that, but it is unlikely to shatter as much as glass. Glass scratches are far harder to remove.

Most people though keep aquariums under 500l and the cost is in favour of glass.
 

foxfish

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I used to love acrylic tanks but that was a long time ago when I was more into marine tanks but more to the point it was at a time when they were far more readily available..... I have not seen a large acrylic tank for sale in many years!
 
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