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Plastic for Aquariums


Aquarium Materials Overview
Why use plastic for aquariums?

Plastics improve upon traditional glass aquariums and are used in many aspects of aquarium construction. Acrylic is a commmonly used alternative to glass tanks that holds heat better, provides similar optical quality and clarity at a lighter weight, and has greatly increased impact resistance.

ABS sees use in many aquarium products. including aquarium frame parts, filters, and pump and powerhead housings. Its mechanical properties and general resistance to chemical and corrosion along with its ease of fabrication make it a versatile material for aquariums.

For plumbing and filtration systems in aquariums, PVC is the material of choice. From pipes and fittings to drains, return lines, overflows, sumps, and other parts, PVC is generally used to help circulate water.

Other plastics such as acetal, nylon, and UHMW serve as the base material for fittings, bearings, and other essential parts of the aquarium.


Aquarium Materials Resources & PDFs
Customers Also Asked:
What kind of plastic is used in aquariums?

The types of plastics used in aquariums include ABS, acetal, acrylic, HDPE, Nylon, PTFE, PVC, and UHMW.

Is PVC plastic aquarium safe?

PVC without heavy metals, phthalates, or other harmful additives is safe for use in aquariums. It is commonly used for piping and filtration systems, including pumps and sumps. Outside of piping, PVC may also be used to create decorative structures and dividers in aquarium tanks, or as a base material for plants and other decorations to attach to.

How do you know if plastic is aquarium safe?

Plastics marked as food-safe, FDA approved, or BPA-free are widely considered safe for use in aquariums. These include acetal, acrylic, HDPE/LDPE, nylon, PTFE, PVC (with no plasticizers), and UHMW.

Is glass or plastic better for an aquarium?

Plastics aquariums made of acrylic are lighter, more impact resistant, and generally more cost-effective than glass aquariums with maintaining similar optical clarity and quality. Acrylic is also easier to mold into custom aquarium shapes. However, acrylic is more susceptible to scratches than glass.