Acrylic…………. the superior choice.
It is widely accepted that acrylic is 16-17 times stronger than glass of the same thickness, with much better impact resistance. Because the joints are chemically bonded, not simply siliconed together, they are also stronger as well, and much more appealing visually. They do not run the risk of blowing out as siliconed joints can. The strength of acrylic tanks give their owners the peace of mind knowing that their tank will not chip, crack, shatter, or blow out unexpectedly.
Acrylic is slightly less than half the weight of glass of the same thickness. This allows for easier moving, installations, less expensive shipping, and will require less people to get it to where it needs to be. You will not need to lie as much about the level of difficulty when soliciting help from friends to move your tank.
Better viewing properties:
Acrylic of any thickness is clearer than glass due to its natural composition and properties. It is the clearest material known. It does not have a greenish tint and will not turn yellow like the acrylics of yesterday could. Acrylic will not distort like glass will, especially when viewed at an angle. It also has a better light transmission level. Objects appear sharper, colors are more vibrant. You will find few larger public displays that are not acrylic.
Better insulating properties:
Acrylic will not conduct heat and cold as well as glass will, thus making it a better insulator. Acrylic aquariums will regulate and minimize temperature fluctuations better, giving you a more stable system. This characteristic also saves on electricity, as your heater (or chiller) does not need to work as hard.
Forming /machining characteristics:
Because acrylic is a thermoplastic it can be formed in many ways which makes tank design possibilities almost limitless. Custom curves and bends are much easier to do with acrylic, and sometimes impossible to do with glass. Glass has limitations on size while acrylic does not. For many custom shapes and unique designs, there is no other choice. Spectacular viewing possibilities are available due to the versatility of acrylic. It is also possible for anyone to drill their own acrylic tank while it is often difficult to find somebody to drill a glass tank should you need it done.
Acrylic is refinishable:
The one disadvantage of acrylic is that it scratches easier than glass. However, it is possible to refinish acrylic if it gets scratched. Scratches in glass are nearly impossible to remove. Scratches in acrylic are easily preventable with proper care and precautions. When cleaning the interior of your tank, do not go all the way down to the gravel line right away. Do the entire tank but leave an inch or two above the gravel line. Do this last. This reduces the chance that you will pick up a bit of gravel on your brush or magnet and scratch the tank. When cleaning the exterior, never wipe it with a dry cloth. Always use an approved acrylic cleaner or water as a lubricant. Scratching is usually the #1 concern of persons considering an acrylic tank, and is easily preventable with proper care.