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[APD] Re: The tank I have always wanted

Hello Everyone,
I have recently decided to purchase a 370+ gallon acrylic tank or a 300 gallon all glass tank ( same dimensions but acrylic is 5 inches taller ). Either of these tanks will I be happy with, but I have never had nor
known anyone who has had, an acrylic tank. Glass tanks hold no mysteries for me but I have a number of concerns regarding the acrylic. I imagine a lot of aquatic plant folk have experience with acrylic so I am hoping someone will put my fears to rest or save me from a very expensive blunder. Both tanks are over $1000 with the

Remember that the costs for all the support equipment (lights, filtration/circulation, maybe heating) will be substantial -- not only for the up-front purchase of the equipment but also the ongoing electrical costs. I've looked at building a 450 gallon marine tank several times and the ongoing support costs are always surprising (which is why I haven't done it... Yet :-)

>a houseplant last more than a month ) At any rate, I am wondering if otos, SAE, or >plecs will gnaw their way through in their constant search for algae. I wonder if >anyone has noticed whether or not light is hindered by traveling through 3/4 inch >of acrylic top, or how badly algae forms on underside of top. Or for that matter, >how

You will loose less light through 3/4" of acrylic than through 3/4" of the usual soda-lime glass that most tanks are made of (starfire is an exception). There is also much less noticeable color shift caused by the acrylic (which is bluish) than the glass (greenish). Go to a fish store and look through some thick tanks at a bit of an angle to see what I mean. Some people notice the glass, very few notice the acrylic. I wouldn't worry with either too much in terms of light lost though. Most acrylic tanks will have a top brace that your lights must pass through while many glass tanks have minimal top bracing. The result is that while the glass looses more light, there is less glass for your light to pass through compared to the acrylic tank's bracing.

No fish is going to chew through an Acrylic tank, don't worry about that. You'll probably get more scratches right above the edge of the substrate in an acrylic tank from the gravel moving around over time, but that's about it.

>difficult is it to get algae off acrylic, how hard to clean, hazing etc. I realize >that it will be harder to plant and prune etc. considering the top of the acrylic ( >any horror stories? ) I am hoping that the acrylic might hold temp better than >glass? Does acrylic stain? These and other worries have plagued me. I would prefer >the acrylic because it will be so much easier to move if nessasary, including >getting it in the house and to its resting place. Plus, who wouldn't want an extra >70+ gallons. Any advice on this matter will be much appreciated.

Acrylic is *much* more susceptible to scratching than glass. It's also a *lot* easier to polish the scratches out of the acrylic. Scratches inside the tank tend to be wetted by the water and not be noticeable, and the scratches on the outside can be polished out without much trouble. There are even polish kits that are safe to use inside an active tank for larger scratches. You will want to be more careful cleaning an acrylic tank however.

Don't ever clean an acrylic tank with any ammonia-based cleaner since that will make it haze. When I've cleaned acrylic I always just use water and a soft cloth, I've never used any of the special abrasive pads made for cleaning acrylic tanks.

Acrylic tanks will be significantly lighter than glass tanks, especially in the larger sizes. Don't let that fool you though -- a 300+ gallon acrylic tank will weigh several hundred pounds. You'll need at least several people to move it around, and it's best to use braces and warehouse-style equipment like pallet jacks to move the larger tanks.

I don't think you'll find an acrylic tank to hold heat any better than a glass tank but I've never really thought about it and can't say for sure. I wouldn't use that as a factor in deciding which tank to get in any case. In terms of staining, it is possible to stain acrylic since there are solvents that will penetrate the polymer (certain permanent markers come to mind), which doesn't happen with glass. I haven't heard of any acrylic tanks being stained by the inhabitants though.


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