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Old 06-17-2021, 06:28 PM   #1
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Plexiglass Material that Resists Scratches & 'Craquelure' for Turtle Basking Area?

I'm preparing to fabricate a new above tank basking area for a red ear slider turtle. The previous one is now about 8 years old. Although it functions well and is durable, it's appearance leaves something to be desired due to the state of the aging acrylic.

The acrylic I used is called Acrylite FF by CYRO. I used that product due to having some big pieces left over from a project started likely around 25 years ago. Due to the age (possibly attributable to temperature changes in the storage areas) some of the release paper would not release and was 'bonded' to the plexiglass. I ended up having to use a ROS to sand it off, and hence some areas of the basking area I had to make frosted in appearance.

The issue with this plexiglass is that it's developed an allover craquelure to it ... lots of small micro cracks which detract from the clarity of the plexiglass (see attached pic). Some areas it's heavier than others. The turtle has claws and does occasionally try to climb the walls so some scratching of the plexiglass is likely inevitable, but that isn't my main concern. I'm looking for recommendation for a material to use for my next build, hopefully a plexiglass that's more scratch resistant (or craquelure resistant) but is also easy to machine (table saw and router for example) and glue.

This sort of basking area build is basically a 5 sided box with the top open and its not intended to hold water. It sits atop the aquarium and has a heat lamp mounted to warm the area for basking ... the aquatic turtle climbs a ramp into the basking area when it wants to leave the water and bask.

Any material suggestions?
Thanks a bunch.
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