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Old 08-15-2012, 08:18 AM   #1
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Glass vs Acrylic?

Hello, I just have a quick question I would like some clarification/help on. Namely is there any major differences between a glass tank and an acrylic tank I should think about when buying a tank and setting it up?

To be honest I'm really leery of glass because of a bad experience I had in the past (namely the bottom cracked when putting in gravel/rock in a FW and it totally flooded my room since we didn't realize it cracked...) but I know that with Salt size matters and acrylic is just soooo much more expensive... But isn't it also much more sturdy? And I can only imagine the weight on the bottom of the tank with the sand bed and like 1.5lb/gal live rock plus water.

So besides any major differences, is there any way to "safely" setup the glass tank? Like I remember on the glass tank that broke there was a little like 1/4" gap between the bottom of the glass and the surface (I think it was on a stand but truthfully can't remember) it was on due to it's construction. In other words, the plastic holding the pieces together wasn't flush with the bottom of the glass iirc. If it didn't have that would it be "safer"?

I'm really hoping to get "over" this "fear" of glass because of the deals I can find on glass tanks (looking at 50gal hood/stand/tank combo for 150 atm lol) but I definitely don't want to flood again! Let alone with a salt tank!

Thanks
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:36 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynor
Hello, I just have a quick question I would like some clarification/help on. Namely is there any major differences between a glass tank and an acrylic tank I should think about when buying a tank and setting it up?

To be honest I'm really leery of glass because of a bad experience I had in the past (namely the bottom cracked when putting in gravel/rock in a FW and it totally flooded my room since we didn't realize it cracked...) but I know that with Salt size matters and acrylic is just soooo much more expensive... But isn't it also much more sturdy? And I can only imagine the weight on the bottom of the tank with the sand bed and like 1.5lb/gal live rock plus water.

So besides any major differences, is there any way to "safely" setup the glass tank? Like I remember on the glass tank that broke there was a little like 1/4" gap between the bottom of the glass and the surface (I think it was on a stand but truthfully can't remember) it was on due to it's construction. In other words, the plastic holding the pieces together wasn't flush with the bottom of the glass iirc. If it didn't have that would it be "safer"?

I'm really hoping to get "over" this "fear" of glass because of the deals I can find on glass tanks (looking at 50gal hood/stand/tank combo for 150 atm lol) but I definitely don't want to flood again! Let alone with a salt tank!

Thanks
If you drop gravel on glass from a height with out care, yeah its gonna break. But let me put it this way, a 50gal tank will have about 200kg of water, about 5? Kg of sand, plus the weight of the hood. It's not gonna break. Plus you won't have the same issue if your using sand.

Just be a bit more careful when putting stuff in, place don't drop. You won't have leaks, you'll have an awesome tank. Personally I don't like plastic, so defo glass.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:46 AM   #3
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I have a glass 90 and a glass 125 and have never had problems. But like mentioned above, caution should be taken when adding gravel and rocks. If you put some eggcrate under the rocks and then add sand It will keep the rocks from falling into the bottom pane of the tank.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:50 AM   #4
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Just for the record I'm 99% sure things weren't just "dropped in" lol. I mean it seemed to be holding up fine until sometime during the night it just randomly decided to crack. It's not like I just dumped gravel/rocks in, heard a crack, and went "nothing to see here, move along" lol.

That aside, thanks for the responses and maybe I just had some bad bad luck. Besides the eggcrate and sand are there any other good tips to help prevent breakage besides common sense like careful placement and keeping a stand as level as possible?
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:03 AM   #5
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if you have a stand that suports the perimeter of a glass tank evenly and level the tank side to side and front to back it won't crack.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:43 AM   #6
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Glass is cheaper than acrylic and lasts longer however acrylic is clearer and you can avoid corners as it can be moulded.

Glass shouldn't crack by adding LR or sand! How high were you dropping it in from?!

Acrylic is better if you can afford the initial costs
- they are purer than glass and so clearer
- they are lighter and easier to move
- they can be made out of one piece and bent to shape so no corners and no silicone edges!

Glass is fine though! And you shouldn't pay more if you can't afford it! The money is better spent in the tank!

Hope this helps

Joe
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:58 AM   #7
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So the glass cracking was from an old FW build so it wasn't that I was dropping in LR/Sand. I'm putting this thread here in the salt section because I want a salt tank lol. I'm wondering if maybe just whatever the glass tank was sitting on wasn't level, since like I said I remember that it cracked during the night after being filled and having rocks and stuff put in that day. So in hindsight/better knowledge I'm thinking defect or not level rofl. I really wish I could remember what I put it on though, but this was a few years ago...

Anyways, thanks for the advice all... I still need to convince the SO about glass but I'm sold. Especially given the cost (I can literally buy a NEW stand and glass tank for the same cost as an acrylic tank only) and that I'm sure for a first timer to salt the money would be much better spent in other aspects like a skimmer and maybe sump/ Refugium. Or nice LED lighting lol. Ok, maybe those aren't technically "in the tnak", but they would be "upgrades" I could more easily afford with the savings. Plus if glass does last longer than that means buying a used stand/tank for cheap on like CL may be a good idea. I mean 150 for a 50gal tank with hood/lights (even if I do replace them) and a stand I could put a sump in isn't a bad deal I'd think.

Edit: WHOA! Talk about what going a few pages back on CL may do... I just found a posting for a 112 gal with custom wood stand for 200 bucks! HOWEVER, they say it's a "plexiglass" tank and so now I'm wondering is there really any difference between plexi and acrylic when it comes to tanks and how can you tell the difference between the two... I mean if it's just someone who doesn't know plexi is different from acrylic and it's really acrylic that may be a STEAL.

Edit2: Just did some quick reading and it seems Plexi is just another term for cell cast acrylic... which is what you want in tanks right? AND it already has a refugium tank under it?! Holy moly I hope someone says some good news about plexi... I definitely want to do things right but man if I can find a place for that (which I already have in mind) talk about a deal.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:18 AM   #8
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If you find a deal on an acrylic tank go ahead with it. The main reason people avoid acrylic is that it scratches easily. I had a similar problem with a glass tank having the bottom "drop" out. An old tank is an old tank and that stuff does happen.
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