Types of Glass Aquariums: How Should You Pick One?

Most people settle down for glass aquariums because it is stronger than acrylic. It is also cheaper and does not easily get scratches. You can get a clear view of the fishes inside and any dirt build up will be visible. But there are actually two types of glass aquariums – tempered and plate. Both have its pros and cons so you should know it well before purchasing. Another type that is becoming popular is the laminated types. Know each type and find out which will be better for you.


A tempered glass is also known as toughened glass. It is the most popularly used glass for aquariums because it is very strong and lightweight. It is called toughened glass because it undergo extreme heating process then it is quickly cooled to strengthen it.

You cannot drill a tempered glass. And in case it breaks, it shatters into real small pieces. You will not see cracks or leaks, but it will break into tiny million rounded pieces, thus it is not so dangerous. It will not cause injuries or cuts since there will be no sharp edges. That is why it is also known as safe glass.

Plate Glass

Plate glass is also popularly known as annealed glass and sheet glass. It is a relatively heavy glass that is also resistant to scratch. It will not have any ugly discolorations unlike other glass. However, this type of glass breaks into large, sharp pieces. You may notice cracks, holes, and leaks when a plate glass is damaged. So, you can save your fish first if you see that it is about to break. But in case it breaks, you have to be careful since the broken pieces of plate glass can cut you off.


This is a newer type of glass. Though it was only used before in windshields and doors, it is also used now for aquariums. Laminated glass is made by putting together annealed glasses with the same thickness.

It is laminated using a strong plastic interlayer that makes this glass more durable and resistant from strong impacts. So if it breaks, the glass usually remains in the frame. It is also safe to use since there will be fewer sharp edges scattering around.

Which One Should I Pick?

Well, that really depends on your needs and preferences. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages and it is up to you to weigh those. For instance, annealed glass is cheaper than tempered glass. If you are after low-cost glass aquarium, you can buy this one. However, if you think more about the safety and strength of the glass, you can buy tempered glass, especially if you will be building a large aquarium.

Do not use annealed glass for large aquariums because it is heavy so you will surely find it difficult to clean. If it slips or you are not able to balance it, it might end up in an accident.

And as you buy, look for the stickers on the aquarium itself to know if it is tempered, plate, or laminated. You can also ask for assistance from the store helper to be sure.