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Acrylic vs Glass Fish Tank

acrylic vs glass fish tank

If you are planning to have an aquarium in your house, you have two options to choose from: an acrylic aquarium or a glass aquarium. At first, these two types of aquariums feel similar, but you will notice the complete difference once you start using them.

So, what is the difference between acrylic vs glass fish tank? The most obvious difference is the price at which acrylic should be more expensive compared to its glass counterpart. Acrylic and glass fish tanks also differ in durability, weight, shape, and other factors, which will be discussed in this article.

Features Acrylic Fish Tank Glass Fish Tank
Scratch Resistance No Yes
Weight Light Heavy
Price Expensive More Affordable
Durability Becomes Brittle Overtime Will Last Longer
Clarity Yellowish as it Gets Old Constant
Shapes Varied Limited


What is the Difference Between Acrylic and Glass Fish Tank?

Acrylic and glass fish tank can be compared through several factors and features, which have been listed below:

Scratch Resistance Feature

You can differentiate between the two aquariums by the way they resist scratches. To make it simple, acrylic is a type of plastic which means it can be scratched easily compared to its glass counterpart.

On the other hand, a glass aquarium can be scratched as well. However, its resistance is more excellent by a lot of times compared to an acrylic surface. It will need a significant impact to scratch a glass surface.

Over time, you will see that the surface of the acrylic aquarium looks older and beat up. Scratches will be more evident as time goes by. This situation is different with a glass aquarium as it will still look new, especially if you know how to maintain and clean it all the time.


When it comes to durability, a glass aquarium will last longer compared to its acrylic counterpart. Acrylic materials do not have the ability to stand UV light which can affect their longevity. The effect is that the acrylic will become brittle and yellowish over time.

You will know that an acrylic aquarium starts to break down when it becomes yellowish. This situation is the effect of all the UV lights it received coming from the aquarium lights and even the sunlight.


It is very obvious that a glass fish tank is heavier compared to an acrylic fish tank. And this can be a disadvantage, especially if you want to relocate the aquarium from one place to another. It can be very difficult to move an aquarium made of glass because it is much heavier.

The difference in weight between acrylic aquariums and glass aquariums will depend on how it is made. But, those made with glass are heavier, while those made with acrylic are lighter. The weight will become a factor if you decide to make custom-made fish tanks because your floor should have the ability to support the aquarium.


are acrylic tanks better than glass

One way to differentiate acrylic and glass aquariums is the choice of shape that a manufacturer can make. Unfortunately, glass is not a flexible material. The absence of flexibility means you will have a limited selection of shapes. Glass aquariums can either be flat or angular. Your choices of shapes only include geometrical shapes.

If you want aquariums with more shape options, then choosing an acrylic fish tank will be the solution. Acrylic is known for its flexibility and is a non-rigid material. You can have plenty of options on the shapes of your aquarium.


Glass is clearer compared to its acrylic counterpart. And it remains clear for a very long time. With acrylic, it will not be the case. When an acrylic material is exposed to any form of UV light, it can affect the clarity of the acrylic material.

Constant exposure to UV sunlight can make acrylic materials brittle and become yellowish. As time goes by and more exposure to UV sunlight, the clarity of the acrylic will be different compared to when it was new. It will become cloudy and yellowish.


When it comes to stability, a glass fish tank is much better compared to an acrylic aquarium. We all know the importance of stability as you try to position your aquarium in the house. Fortunately, glass is a sturdy material that should be able to support an amount of weight.

On the other hand, an acrylic aquarium comes with its own stability feature but is not comparable to the stability that an acrylic aquarium provides. When you are dealing with a large tank size, the stability of a glass fish tank is advantageous.


Acrylic fish tank is more expensive than a glass fish tank. If you are still new to fish keeping, it will be better to choose the more affordable aquarium, which is made of glass. Acrylic is more expensive, which means it is not for hobbyists on a budget.

If you are budget conscious, it will be better to use a glass aquarium at first. A fish tank made of regular glass is perfect for people who are just starting and is more affordable.


Knowing the difference between acrylic vs glass fish tank is essential if you are just starting your fish keeping journey. Both of these types of aquariums come with both advantages and disadvantages. It is all about looking for the right tank and brand that will fit your needs and preference.

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