Is it better to choose a glass or acrylic - 'plastic' - tank as a aquarium for freshwater fish?

Angelfish Pterophyllum species. Glass or acrylic tank?Plastic or ‘acrylic’ tanks as they are known in the trade have made a significant comeback in recent years, thanks to advances in technology. They fell out of favour because they used to discolour, but now, this problem has been overcome. Acrylic aquaria are obviously much lighter than glass tanks, but they are still likely to crack if dropped.

Acrylic today offers new opportunities in terms of aquarium construction. Such tanks are now being produced in a wide range of contemporary designs and shapes, giving them a more modern appearance than a traditional rectangular glass aquarium. They can be combined with hoods and stands in a bright selection of colours.

A number of these acrylic units also incorporate all the necessary heating, lighting and filtration technology as part of their design. This makes them easy to set up, when it comes to housing a collection of small tropical fish.

Most acrylic tanks produced for the home are still relatively compact, in terms of size though, so if you want a large aquarium, you will probably need to choose a glass one. Take care when cleaning acrylic tanks too, because the sides can be scratched quite easily, with rocks for example, and this can allow greenish algae to become established in the scratches, spoiling the overall effect within the aquarium.