Aquarium and Tempered Glass: 11 Things You Should Know

The type of materials commonly used for aquariums are glass and acrylic. Those tempered glass aquariums aren’t used often by aquarists due to the price and their poor durability. So this begs the question, why are tempered glass aquariums still being sold on the market?

Is tempered glass safe for aquariums? Or would normal glass and acrylic be a better option for your aquarium?

Is Tempered Glass Safe For Aquariums?

Yes and no, tempered glass is safe for small aquariums and if they’re only being used as a bottom pane of a tank. Tempered glass won’t be safe for aquariums if they’re used on all panes of a tank and if they’re used for large tanks. Tempered glass can’t support a large amount of water which is why they’re best suited for small tanks.

Several aquarists like to use tempered glass for their tanks, mostly these would be beginners since they would practice having their aquariums by purchasing a small tank, on the other hand, some aquarists don’t recommend tempered glass aquariums at all since they can break easily under certain circumstances.

A tempered glass aquarium isn’t recommended for the following reasons:

  • A tempered glass material can’t support the weight of large tanks, especially the volume of water that it carries.
  • If you’re planning on building your aquarium out of tempered glass and you’re thinking of making a large tank, you shouldn’t proceed with that idea. Remember, tempered glass can’t support a large volume of water and would only crack under that kind of pressure.
  • You can’t drill a tempered glass aquarium, so you won’t have much customizability with it.

Do take note though that tempered glass aquariums also have their fair share of pros, for instance, the material itself is said to be five times stronger than regular glass. You can also get them cheaper when you’re having the tempered glass aquarium shipped to your location since it reduces freight weight due to having thinner glass compared to normal glass.

Does Aquarium Glass Need To Be Tempered?

No, an aquarium doesn’t have to be tempered. Truthfully, most aquarists would rather go for an acrylic aquarium since it’s a lot more durable and safe.

The type of material you’d be getting for your tank highly depends on what type of setup you desire. If you’re going for a large tank then it’s best to consider getting an acrylic aquarium. Also, if you don’t mind the greenish or bluish tint on your aquarium while admiring your tank and its inhabitants, then go for an acrylic aquarium.

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Acrylic aquariums may be a bit pricey, however, you get a ton of benefits for the price you pay for. Acrylic aquariums are favored by a lot of aquarists due to their durability and customizability. You can drill holes on acrylic panes so you can attach whatever you want to your tank.

Acrylic aquariums are also lightweight so handling them would be a breeze. In addition to their durability, the acrylic panes are welded together instead of being put together with silicone sealant. The downside to having an acrylic aquarium would be its price point and not being scratch-resistant.

If aesthetics are a big deal for you and you want to see your tank clearly, then you can opt for a glass aquarium. Take note that glass aquariums are purely for aesthetics only since they’re not the most durable material for a tank. Also, acrylic aquariums are clearer than normal glass aquariums, however, low iron glass aquariums are clearer than acrylic.

The glass panes on glass aquariums are only joined by silicone and they’re prone to scratches as well. Another thing, glass aquariums are heavier than acrylic, so handling this kind of tank would be difficult. Glass aquariums also break easily especially if blunt objects manage to hit it like rocks or being hit against a wall whilst moving it around your house.

When comparing tempered glass to normal glass and low iron glass, tempered glass would be the winner. However, when comparing acrylic aquariums to tempered aquariums, the latter would be the winner in terms of durability and customizability.

With that being said, it’s not necessary to have a tempered glass aquarium since there are a lot of other tank options you can choose from. And it’s always better to splurge on a well-built tank rather than a tank that is a lot more prone to breaking and such.

Are Aquarium Lids Made Out Of Tempered Glass?

Not all aquarium lids are made out of tempered glass, however, there are some brands like Aqueon that have tempered glass lids on their tanks.

If your tank doesn’t come with a lid and you would like to have one installed on your tank, you’re in luck because you can make your glass lid. If you have a large tank, then the best type of lid you can make is a hinged glass lid.

Here are the materials you’ll need for your DIY hinged tempered glass lid according to Odin Aquatics:

  • Four pieces of tempered glass (these can be bought at your local hardware)
  • Four acrylic hinges
  • Two handles
  • One tube of super glue

Here are the steps on how to assemble your hinged tempered glass lid:

  • Place your tempered glass on a piece of cardboard to serve as a working space.
  • Align the tempered glass properly and place the acrylic hinges, one on the left and one on the right on each lid. You need to have a bit of gap between the tempered glass so you can make use of a card to make things easier.
  • Glue the hinges onto the tempered glass lid and wait for it to dry out before bending them.
  • Grab your handle and glue them onto one side of the lid and you’re done!

Are 55-Gallon Aquariums Made Out Of Tempered Glass?

Some 55-gallon aquariums have panes that are completely made out of tempered glass, however, not all 55-gallon aquariums are made out of tempered glass. This would largely depend on the brand you’re buying from as well.

Certain brands like Marineland, or also known as Perfecto, manufacture aquariums that are fully made from tempered glass. So yes, the tempered glass pane doesn’t only apply to the bottom pane; it applies to all the glass panes that make up the aquarium itself.

Aqueon also manufactures tempered glass aquariums, however, they don’t make aquariums that are entirely made out of tempered glass. Aqueon manufactures aquariums that have tempered glass bottoms such as their 37 and 38-gallon tanks, 40-Long tanks, and 45 to 210-gallon tanks.

Aqueon has also assured customers that the tempered glass bottoms of their aquariums are very strong and can’t be drilled. Moreover, they also stated that the aquarium you should be getting is capable of supporting the weight indicated in their Weights & Measures aquarium chart.

Do remember that it’s better to opt for aquariums that have tempered bottoms instead of having an aquarium entirely made out of tempered glass. You’ll be better off with the former since it’s a lot safer too.

Are 75-Gallon Aquariums Made Out Of Tempered Glass?

Most 75-gallon tanks that you’ll encounter in the market would only have tempered glass bottoms, so in a sense, 75-gallon tanks are made out of tempered glass but only the bottom part.

Brands like Marineland and Aqueon manufacture aquariums that only have the bottom pane made out of tempered glass.

It’s common to see aquariums with tempered glass bottoms when it comes to large tanks since these can support a large volume of water (you must conduct your research and see what weight your aquarium is capable of carrying) and it can also support the decorations you put inside your tanks such as stones and substrate.

Are PetCo Tanks Tempered Glass?

PetCo provides Aqueon aquariums, so yes, PetCo tanks are tempered glass, although not all of them.

PetCo has a website you can check out and you can individually check the specifications of each tank to verify if they’re made out of tempered glass.

Most Aqueon aquariums listed in PetCo are made out of standard glass, and although it doesn’t indicate that the bottom pane of the Aqueon aquariums is made out of tempered glass, you may refer to this chart and see what tank sizes have tempered glass bottoms.

As for other aquarium brands, they’re usually made out of either standard glass or acrylic.

Are Top Fin Aquariums Tempered Glass?

Top Fin aquariums aren’t tempered glass, only the bottom pane is. The rest of Top Fin’s panes are made out of standard glass.

One aquarist made a video explaining the various methods he did regarding the verification of his Top Fin tank on whether or not it’s made out of tempered glass. The aquarist confirmed that his Top Fin 55-gallon tank isn’t made out of tempered glass.

This is good news since aquarists can safely drill their Top Fin tanks without the risk of damaging the tank. Do take note that the bottom pane of Top Fin tanks is made out of tempered glass so don’t drill the bottom pane.

Are Oceanic Tanks Tempered?

According to Oceanic’s website, all of their tanks have tempered bottoms except for the Ultimate Series and custom drilled tanks.

If you have any intention of drilling these tanks then it’s best not to since this could void you of their warranty. However, if you do know what you’re doing and you’ve been in the aquarist hobby for many years now, then you may proceed to drill your tank.

Although the side panes of Oceanic tanks aren’t made from tempered glass, their standard glass tanks are still pretty durable. On a side note, the glass tanks that Oceanic manufactures have thicker glass compared to brands like Aqueon and Marineland.

Tempered Glass V.S. Regular Glass Aquariums

There’s much debate between which is best, a tempered glass aquarium or a standard/regular glass aquarium. We’ll be showing each aquarium type’s pros and cons and deduce which is the better aquarium.

Tempered Glass

Pros

  • It’s said to be four to six times stronger than annealed/standard glass.
  • Tempered glass bottoms are capable of supporting the weight of rocks and substrates.
  • Tempered glass aquariums are lighter than standard glass.
  • Tempered glass aquariums reduce freight costs due to their lighter weight compared to other aquariums such as standard glass and acrylic.
  • When tempered glass aquariums break, there’s little to no chance of being harmed from the broken pieces of glass; so it’s safe to say that broken tempered glass is harmless to humans.
  • Tempered glass aquariums are as clear as standard glass aquariums. These don’t interfere with light transmission as well, so you can get a good look at your aquarium and the inhabitants in it.

Cons

  • You can’t have a saltwater tank using a tempered glass aquarium.
  • Tempered glass aquariums aren’t recommended for reef tanks since you need to drill a hole on your tank to get better filtration.
  • When tempered glass aquariums break it would shatter into pieces and the tank inhabitants in it, as well as decorations and substrate, would fall out all at once.
  • Once a tempered glass aquarium gets damaged, there’s no way it can be repaired. So you must buy an entirely new aquarium if this happens.

Regular Glass

Pros

  • Standard/annealed glass aquariums give aquarists customizability since this type of material can be cut, drilled, shaped, and polished.
  • Glass aquariums are cheaper than tempered glass aquariums and acrylic aquariums since the demand for these are high, thus, it reduces their cost.
  • Standard glass aquariums are resistant to scratches (but can still get them over time).
  • Standard glass isn’t porous materials so chemicals and bacteria won’t make their way into the aquarium itself.
  • Standard glass aquariums don’t become yellow over time.

Cons

  • Standard glass aquariums are difficult to shape.
  • Standard glass aquariums are heavier than tempered glass aquariums.
  • Standard glass aquariums are weaker than tempered glass.
  • These tanks aren’t insulated.

Which Is Preferred?

Overall, regular glass aquariums are better than tempered glass aquariums since the former is a lot more customizable than the latter.

This is a big deal for aquarists since drilling, shaping, and polishing are a must for those who want to make changes to their tank setups. Also, the regular glass would be a lot cheaper and readily available compared to tempered glass aquariums.

Investing your time in searching for tempered glass aquariums isn’t worth it since you can already get almost the same benefits off of regular glass aquariums.

Tempered Glass Aquarium

As of now, the JAJALE Aquarium Fish Tank is the only tempered glass aquarium available in the market.

While we did mention that Aqueon aquariums have tanks that have tempered bottoms, there aren’t any available on Amazon as of the moment. Also, Aqueon themselves announced to customers that due to the unavailability of regular glass aquariums, the tanks they’ll manufacture would be made out of tempered glass.

You may visit their official website to see more of their glass aquariums. If you’re interested in checking out the JAJALE Aquarium Fish Tank, you may click the link below:

Resources:

https://fishlab.com/glass-vs-acrylic-aquarium/

https://www.customaquariums.com/information/glass-vs-acrylic-aquariums/

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