Glass vs. Acrylic - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Glass vs. Acrylic

I want to build an odd sized tank, maybe 10 gallons, that will sit on the kitchen counter. This will be a waterfall tank with a male Betta and maybe a few smaller fish.

Since I'm going to build a waterfall, I want the tank to be taller than a regular 10 gallon tank so I'm thinking I have to build one.

This will be a fairly narrow tank so I don't think I need to worry about the glass/acrylic bowing.

What is the best/safest material to use to build the tank with? I don't want to take a chance on the seams splitting like I was reading on another thread here.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 07:21 PM
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A 20 gallon tall has a very similar footprint to a 10 gallon...24x12x16 vs 20x10x12. There is also a 15 gallon high which is 20x10x18 but I have never seen one before.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 07:22 PM
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They are both safe if done properly but unless you have the tools to properly cut and finish the acrylic without scratching it (or can get it custom cut at a reasonable price) then glass is likely the easier material to use because it is easy to get it custom cut and the ends polished. It can be easily done yourself if you have any experience glass cutting. Just be sure to let the glass place know you are building a tank with it and that you need it cut accurately and squarely. Probably the trickiest part is applying the silicone properly and neatly. You want to use a good industrial grade silicone (no bathroom types) with no additives. You need to start with well cleaned glass and use alcohol to give it its final cleaning. Spread a small continuous bead on the edges to be next joined (don't put silicone on anything that won't be quickly joined together because silicone quickly skims over and once it's done that it will not seal on the glass properly, and don't use too much at a time) for one of the uprights then place it on the base and prepare the next adjoining piece (helps to have an extra set of hands for this) and place it using a bit of tape to hold them together and so on until all the pieces are in place. Then clean up your beads with a finger in the corners adding extra silicone if necessary. Leave any spots with too much silicone to dry and cut them off later with a razor blade.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 07:38 PM
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Go to a good LFS in your area and pose the question to them. They'll have the Aqueon,Tetra, etc. catalogs available and can order any tank that's manufactured. As suggested, there's a 15H and even a 20XH (basically 2 10G's stacked up). If you've never worked with silicone before, it can be a real challenge unless you plan on doing a bunch more. For a one-time thing like this I'd suggest looking harder and making some small compromises.
Acrylic poses even more complexities in having the right tools to cut and finish all the edges as well as buying Weldon.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice.

I'm looking for something more along the lines of 10" wide, 12" deep and 18" tall. I'm going to call the glass company tomorrow and see if they can do this. I can use the silicone/adhesive that they use to put windshields in cars because it will not come apart. I'll put a bead of silicone on the inside since I'm not sure if it's fish safe.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 01:30 AM
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Why not just get the right silicone to start with? GE RTV104 I think.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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I don't know where to get industrial strength silicone.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 03:34 AM
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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It says that link is unavailable.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 03:49 AM
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https://www.google.com

What I was saying was use google to find it then buy some.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 04:08 AM
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 04:24 AM
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If you know how to do Acrylic, it usually comes out better. All the DIY acrylic tanks when people have the know how and tools to cut it right look really good. My brother is a product designer and he could whip an acrylic tank no issue.

However, glass seems a lot easier to me, following many DIY projects. The problem, it takes skill to get the silicone to look right. IMO, most glass aquariums don't have good silicone, the only non high end/specialty aquarium with decent silicone I have had was a Marina. Not saying All Glass Aquariums could never make a tank with great silicone, I know it's just to be quick and efficient. In general though, most DIY glass tanks suffer from bad silicone jobs.

I would do acrylic myself but I do have resources to get it done right. Especially with the waterfall, it leaves a lot of places for imperfections if we are talking about the same style of tank. Funny though, I likely will never consider buying an acrylic tank, only glass. I would probably only make an acrylic tank, not glass.

This is the perspective of the casual observer, who has no experience, just has followed other people. Who knows, you may get an amazing silicone job the first time.

-Matt

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kntry View Post
Thank you for the advice.

I'm looking for something more along the lines of 10" wide, 12" deep and 18" tall. I'm going to call the glass company tomorrow and see if they can do this. I can use the silicone/adhesive that they use to put windshields in cars because it will not come apart. I'll put a bead of silicone on the inside since I'm not sure if it's fish safe.
You're basically describing a column tank. I think Marineland sells a few different sizes and Petsmart usually has them on display.

If you decide to go ahead with DIY, you don't need anything industrial strength at those dimensions. LFS usually sell AGA aquarium silicone in 10oz tubes.

Angelo

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