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Re: Pros and cons of acrylic tanks.



They scratch way easier and they can be repaired way easier. If you are
careful and use the so-called "acrylic safe" algae pads and such you reduce
your chances of scratching the acrylic, but if you catch a piece of gravel
in the pad you will get a scratch. I don't worry much about the outside of
the tank, but I'm sure dropping something against it would be a problem :-)

The neat thing though is that scratches in the acrylic virtually
"dissapear" when wetted by the aquarium water. The index of refraction is
very close for acrylic and water, and as a result while the tank is full
the inside will appear scratch-free even with some minor scratches.

There are inexpensive polishing kits you can get that can be used to polish
out small scratches. Deep gouges are a problem, but they are also difficult
to make by accident. I have even read about a polishing kit that is safe
for use underwater so that you can remove scratches from the inside without
draining the tank.

Acrylic has one big advantage of being very hard to break. The seals tend
to be more trouble-free too since the solvents actually meld the plastic
together (the polymer ends "tangle" while free in the solvent and then
resolidify), they aren't just glued.

The oldest acrylic tank I have seen is about 12-15 years old in a pet shop.
It has been under metal halide lighting as a reef tank for the entire time
(or at least very close to the entire time), and it still appears clear to
me. 

     -Bill

>Hi group
>        I have convinced a friend to setup a planted tank as opposed 
>to a reef tank. He is a long time hobbyist but is used to smallish 
>glass tanks. He wrote me to ask my opinion on using a 48" long bowed 
>front acrylic tank. I mentioned to him that I thought that acrylic 
>tanks yellow with age and are difficult to keep clean with respect to 
>not scratching the front face. What are your opinions? Thanks.
>
>Wayne Martin
>wamartin at sympatico_ca

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