How to Choose the Best Glass for your Home Aquarium

Home » Blog »  How to Choose the Best Glass for your Home Aquarium

Posted on : 25-10-2022    Author : Dharmin Kumar

Since time immemorial, fishkeeping has been a favourite hobby. The rich people during Roman times kept their fish in tubs made of marble. Ever since the invention of glass around 50 AD, it has been used to build aquariums. For centuries, glass has been the primary building material for large aquariums and small fish tanks.

Though acrylic fish tanks are now available, glass aquariums are still the most preferred ones. Be it a high-end saltwater reef tank or a simple freshwater aquarium, the diehard fans of glass vouch for its aesthetic look and affordability.

Based on multiple factors like the size of the fish tank, the volume of water to be held, and general safety, you should choose the right glass for your custom built aquarium. Usually, make sure to avoid using laminated glass and tempered glass while building an aquarium. Tempered glass can potentially explode under water pressure. Another new practice is the use of acrylic glass and ultra-clear glass.

Glass Thickness

Have you looked at an aquarium or a small fish tank and wondered how the glass does not crack under the water pressure? The answer lies in the glass thickness. Choosing the right glass thickness with the right tensile strength for building an aquarium is no easy task. It should be able to withstand the water pressure, depending on the depth of the fish tank and the perimeter measurements. An average fish tank measures 4 feet in length, 18 inches in width and 12-15 inches in height and has a glass thickness of 6 mm. It can hold around 208 litres of water. Larger the fish tank, the thicker the glass.

With all the modern and scientific advancements available now, you can easily measure glass thickness through various methods, such as the MIG laser gauge, the Vernier caliper, or even an online calculator. There are also a host of apps that you can download and use to measure and decide on the glass thickness. However, experts recommend a fish tank glass thickness safety factor of 3.8 with a tensile strength between 19.3 and 28.4 megapascals.

Few standard fish tank measurement and its Glass Thickness
20(L) x 10(W) x 12(H) Inches: 4 MM
24(L) x 12(W) x 15(H) Inches: 5~6 MM
36(L) x 18(W) x 15(H) Inches: 6 MM

Ultra-Clear Glass Vs. Standard Glass

Ultra-clear glass can be identified by its completely neutral finish at the edges. This is due to its low iron content, just about 0.01% of ferric oxide when compared to standard glass. Due to this reason, it is also called low-iron glass. This glass has fewer impurities and offers excellent aesthetic benefits in all its applications, as the glass is exceptionally clear and neutral, without the green hue. With a light transmission of almost 92%, ultra-clear glass transmits the maximum sunlight. It shows the true colour of an object without any distortion. Therefore, it reduces the need to use artificial lights.

Ultra-clear glass is a wonderful choice for fish tanks as it gives you a vibrant view of your colourful underwater habitat. However, ultra-clear glass is expensive as it is a high-grade product. Fish tanks made from ultra-clear glass are also difficult to maintain, as dirt or smudges can be easily spotted due to the low level of tinting.

Due to its tough and scratch-resistant nature, annealed glass or standard glass is the best choice for an aquarium fish tank. This glass can withstand stress and does not shatter easily. And, even when broken, it can be mended. Additionally, working with standard glass is easy, as the glass can be cut, reshaped, polished, and customized in any manner. On the downside, the standard glass has a ferric oxide quantity of nearly 4-5% more, therefore giving the glass a green hue. Sometimes, this hinders your perfect view of the aquarium. The standard glass aquarium is denser and heavier. Therefore, your standard glass fish tank will be difficult to move or lift, requiring you to be extra careful.