Glass and acrylic are the two options when it comes to making see-through swimming pools. People often confuse the two, as acrylic is commonly known as Plexiglass, Lucite, or Lexan - common brand names for PMMA plastic. In this article, we will discuss glass and why it's not typically used for pools compared to acrylic.
Glass is a popular building material due to its many benefits and relatively inexpensive production costs. It's used for most buildings, alongside our own pool walls. Glass is extremely rigid, making it very scratch-resistant and strong for outdoor use. Our pool glass is typically a 3/4-inch sheet layered with special glue that does not come apart or allow any discoloration. We use tempered low iron glass with about 91% transparency, compared to regular glass with 83% light transmittance.
Acrylic is a synthetic material used in various applications, including building construction, automotive manufacturing, and household items. Acrylic is known for its transparency, durability, and versatility. It is more transparent than glass and does not have any hues. The refractive index for acrylic is similar to water, providing a perfect view into your pool.
In building construction, acrylic is often used as a substitute for glass due to its strength and durability. Acrylic sheets are lighter and more impact-resistant than glass, making them ideal for use in areas where safety is a concern, such as holding in large volumes of water.
For most of our clear pool builds, we do not use glass, and the primary reason is the way the materials behave. Glass is very rigid, which does not make it a good option for dynamic loads like water that tends to mold the material over time. This is why we have a 7-foot length and 2-foot height limit for our glass builds for safety reasons. Glass is also heavy, making it harder to install and ship. Any chips, cracks, or damage can happen during transportation, making it riskier to ship than acrylic. Often times, there is damage to the glass that would require a new panel to be placed. Chipped glass is not repairable and will only worsen over time with the dynamic load of water. Our acrylic is made with virgin Lucite® that we mold and add our special UV-inhibiting formula, warrantied up to 20 years for yellowing and brittling. Our acrylic has an average clarity of above 93%, while regular glass is closer to 83%.
The two main benefits of glass are its price and scratch resistance. When it comes to manufacturing custom acrylic panels, costs can be significantly higher compared to layering glass sheets that are already made. Another benefit is the actual lead time. Our glass panels take on average 2-4 weeks to manufacture and deliver, while our acrylic panels can take up to 6-10 weeks. Glass is very scratch-resistant due to its rigidity, while acrylic is softer and can be scratched. However, acrylic is easily repairable, unlike glass.
Glass is an amazing material that is cheap, easy to make, and scratch resistant. There is a time and place for a glass pool but the overall choice is to stick with Acrylic for pools, but with certain clients choosing the look and scratch resistance of glass. At the end of the day we focus on safety and acrylic is the safer choice although more expensive.
El-Sayed, M. A. (2012). Handbook of industrial refractories technology. Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-385971-3.00011-9
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- Delbeek, J.C. and Julian Sprung. The Reef Aquarium: A Comprehensive Guide to the Identification and Care of Tropical Marine Invertebrates. Ricordea Publishing, 1994.
- Krambeck, L. Aquarium Design: The Comprehensive Guide to Stunning Aquariums. Aquarium Design Publishing, 2017.
- Ridgway, S. A., & Harrison, L. R. (2002). The use of acrylic sheet for marine aquaria. The 9th International Conference on Polymers and Organic Chemistry, 2002, 77-83.
- Thiel, W. Acrylic Sheets in Aquariums. Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1962.
Acrylic and glass swimming pools are both popular options for homeowners who want to add a luxurious touch to their outdoor living space. In this article, we will explore the differences between acrylic and glass pools, their applications, and the installation process.
Acrylic pools are made of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), a lightweight and durable plastic that is resistant to corrosion and UV radiation. Acrylic pools offer excellent clarity and transparency, which provides an uninterrupted view of the water. They are preferred by many homeowners due to their ability to be easily molded into different shapes and sizes, providing a custom-built look that fits the specific needs and desires of the homeowner. Additionally, acrylic has a higher impact resistance compared to glass, which makes it more resistant to damage from accidental impacts, and its flexibility makes it better able to handle the dynamic load of the water. While acrylic is not as scratch-resistant as glass, it is easily repairable with a simple sand.
Another advantage of acrylic pools is their higher insulation value compared to glass, which helps to maintain the temperature of the water, making them more energy efficient. Acrylic pools can be installed using a variety of techniques, including the traditional method of pouring concrete into a form or by using prefabricated panels. The installation process typically involves excavating a u-channel, grouting, and then sealing the panel. The process can take several days to complete, depending on the complexity of the design.
Another advantage of acrylic pools is that they have a higher insulation value compared to glass, which helps to maintain the temperature of the water. This means that the pool can be used for a longer time during the year, and it can be heated more efficiently.
Glass pools, on the other hand, are made of tempered glass, which is a type of safety glass that is four times stronger than regular glass. Glass pools are highly customizable and can be designed to fit any shape or size, providing an ultra-modern look that is popular in high-end homes and luxury hotels. They also provide excellent visibility, allowing swimmers to enjoy the surrounding landscape while they swim. Glass pools offer an excellent surface finish that is easy to maintain, and most importantly, they have a higher scratch resistance than acrylic. However, it is not repairable like acrylic is.
Glass pools are made of tempered glass, which is a type of safety glass that is four times stronger than regular glass. The glass is typically between 3/4” thick and is supported by a stainless steel or aluminum frame. Typically we Layer the 3/4” glass to for bigger glass panels. Glass pools are known for their modern and luxurious appearance and are popular in high-end homes and luxury hotels.
Glass pools are highly customizable and can be designed to fit any shape or size. They also provide excellent visibility, allowing swimmers to enjoy the surrounding landscape while they swim. Glass pools also offer an excellent surface finish that is easy to maintain and most importantly has a higher scratch resistance than acrylic. It is not repairable like acrylic is.
|Criteria||Acrylic Pools||Glass Pools|
|Strength||Up to 17 times stronger than glass||Strong but more rigid than acrylic|
|Clarity||Average clarity above 93%, exceptional transparency||Excellent visibility but may have a greenish tint|
|Insulation||Better insulation value than glass||Less insulation value than acrylic|
|Scratch Resistance||Not as scratch-resistant as glass but easily repairable with a simple sanding||More scratch-resistant than acrylic but not repairable|
|Customization||Easily molded into different shapes and sizes||Highly customizable and can be designed to fit any shape or size|
|Installation Time||Quicker and easier to install than glass||More complex and time-consuming than acrylic|
|Price||More affordable than glass||More expensive than acryli|
Installing a glass pool requires a highly specialized team of professionals, as the glass must be precisely cut and fitted into the frame. The installation process can be more complex and time-consuming than an acrylic pool and can take up to several weeks to complete.
Choosing between acrylic and glass pools ultimately depends on the homeowner's preferences and budget. While acrylic pools are more affordable and easier to install, glass pools offer a luxurious and modern look that is highly customizable. Regardless of which pool you choose, make sure to work with a qualified and experienced pool contractor to ensure a high-quality installation that will last for years to come.
In conclusion, both acrylic and glass pools have their unique features and are popular choices among homeowners who want to add a touch of luxury to their outdoor living spaces. However, considering the pros and cons of each, acrylic pools are a better choice for most people. Acrylic's superior durability, impact resistance, insulation value, and customization options make it a more practical and long-lasting option for pool installation. So, when deciding on the right pool for your home, consider acrylic as your preferred choice. And, always work with a qualified and experienced pool contractor to ensure a high-quality installation that will last for years to come.
Tangs are perhaps best known from the movie Finding Nemo, where Dory, a Blue Tang, became one of the most beloved characters. These beautiful fish have millions of eyes and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. In fact, there are over 86 species of Tangs, including Emperor Tangs, Yellow Tangs, and of course, the popular Blue Tangs.
Tangs come in a variety of stunning patterns, from the Emperor Tang with its striking stripes to the shiny Silver Tang that shimmers under every light. These fish tend to be around 1lb and can live up to 30 years in the wild. However, they tend to be more sensitive to disease and grow very quickly, making them a bit more challenging to keep.
If you're looking to add Tangs to your saltwater reef build, it's important to have the right setup. Tangs require plenty of coral and rocks to live a happy, healthy life. Just like in the ocean, these animals stick close to the rocks, hiding from predators. When it comes to Tangs, we recommend a tank that is at least 150 gallons and another 20 gallons per Tang to ensure that your family of fish are balanced. Adding too many Tangs can lead to problems like ich, so having a quarantine tank is also important.
When it comes to setting up a 150 gallon tank, you can expect to spend around $1.8k for the tank and $2.8k for a full setup. If you need help determining what size tank is right for your fish group, don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to help with everything from bio load to choosing filters!
In addition to their stunning appearance and lively personalities, Tangs are also fascinating from a scientific perspective. These fish have unique sensory abilities that allow them to sense magnetic fields and polarized light, which helps them navigate the ocean. They also have the ability to produce a mucus cocoon to protect themselves from parasites and other threats.
Fricke, R., & Kulbicki, M. (2006). Checklist of the fishes of New Caledonia, and their distribution in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (Pisces). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie), 1-312. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269656563_Checklist_of_the_fishes_of_New_Caledonia_and_their_distribution_in_the_Southwest_Pacific_Ocean_Pisces
Fishelson, L. (1975). Ethology and reproduction of the Red Sea surgeonfish Zebrasoma desjardinii. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 1(3-4), 357-368. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00007512
Kells, S. A., & Carpenter, K. E. (2011). Holocentridae (squirrelfishes and soldierfishes). In The living marine resources of the Eastern Central Atlantic: Volume 3: Bony fishes part 1 (Elopiformes to Scorpaeniformes) (pp. 1421-1436). FAO. Available at: http://www.fao.org/3/i1923e/i1923e47.pdf
Hata, H., Sakai, Y., & Iwao, K. (2002). A preliminary study on the effects of elevated seawater temperature on some coral reef fishes in Okinawa. Memoirs of the Faculty of Agriculture, Kagoshima University, 38, 65-75. Available at: https://ir.kagoshima-u.ac.jp/bitstream/10232/778/1/B38p65-75.pdf
Bellwood, D. R., & Wainwright, P. C. (2002). The history and biogeography of fishes on coral reefs. In Coral reef fishes (pp. 5-32). Academic Press. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780126151855500024
For many years, Koi fish have been an integral part of Japanese culture, boasting a rich history spanning centuries. Initially just carp, farmers started capturing and breeding the most colorful ones they could find. This practice evolved from rice farmers breeding colorful carp to Koi fish now being worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The most expensive Koi sold for nearly 2 million, and breeders often compete in competitions for impressive prizes.
Koi fish are often regarded as symbols of wealth and loyalty due to their graceful swimming and shiny, coin-like scales. However, these fish are not easy to care for. Their high bioload, resulting from hand feeding and high fiber foods, can quickly clog filters. This means Koi fish require more space than one might think, often necessitating a pond. Koi fish are usually kept in ponds, but tanks can provide a safer environment against birds, weather, and other animals. Ponds are the most popular choice for housing Koi since a 10,000-gallon setup can be achieved for under 15k. However, Koi fish need plenty of room, requiring about 250 gallons per fish – so for just two Koi, you're looking at a 500-gallon setup!
While ponds are often more affordable, tanks provide better protection for your cherished Koi fish. Wildlife and extreme weather can pose threats to your valuable Japanese Koi fish. To keep these cold-blooded creatures safe, a pond should be at least 3 feet deep with a tarp to cover it. In winter, a shallow pond may freeze completely.
A common myth suggests Koi fish grow to the size of their tank and do not jump, but this is far from the truth. Many store-bought Koi do not exceed 12 inches, which may have contributed to this misconception. Koi fish grow based on their genetics, lineage, health, food quality, temperature, overcrowding, and stress levels. To ensure a healthy Koi, purchase from a reputable breeder rather than a pet store. Trust us, the extra investment will provide peace of mind that your fish will thrive.
The image above shows a 2,400-gallon Arowana tank, but how big of an aquarium do you need for a Koi? The answer varies depending on the fish's size, but a good reference is about 500 gallons per fish. Keep in mind, this is for a fully grown 24-30 inch Koi fish. A tank setup of this size would cost between 8.5k and 14k for a complete setup, including sump, stand, and other components. A 500-gallon tank requires significant maintenance and operational costs, but it's the only way to properly house a Koi. For an average 12-inch Koi, you'll need a 250-gallon tank, costing around 4k to 7k for a full setup.
Arowana fish are among the most sought-after species, with rare ones selling for up to $300,000! They are believed to bring good luck and prosperity due to their metallic scales resembling coins. The Asian Arowana variety, being endangered, is illegal to import without proper licensing, making them even more exclusive and costly. Acquiring one of these fish is a remarkable feat, not to mention the sizable tank needed to accommodate them.
Silver Arowana are the most common Arowana in the USA, with various types ranging from gold to black. Arowana care is challenging and not suitable for everyone, given their price and maintenance level. Often called "monkey fish" due to their jumping ability, these fish can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 for an average Arowana, but prices can soar into six figures for rarer specimens.
To comfortably house a 36-inch Silver Arowana, a tank of at least 8x4x3 feet (approximately 700 gallons) is required. This size provides ample space to prevent injury from sudden movements or lights. Arowana are large, active fish that love to jump, and any serious hobbyist will prioritize providing extra space for their valuable fish to stay healthy. While a pond is sometimes recommended, professional installation can still cost upwards of 8k.
Our price for a 9x4x3 feet, 700-gallon tank depends on various options, but it typically costs around 14k. Including a sump, stand, and shipping, the full setup cost comes to nearly 19k. Though some recommend 250-gallon tanks, this size is insufficient for a fully grown Arowana. A 1000-gallon tank, measuring 3x the fish's length and 1.3x their width, is an ideal spacious setup.
For smaller 18-24 inch Asian Arowana, a 7x3x3 feet (around 400 gallons) tank is suitable. Such a tank costs around 7k, with the full setup nearing 10k.
Caring for a fully grown Arowana is not for everyone, given the high costs and setup complexities. However, we at Factory Fish Tanks are here to help answer any questions regarding your build. With over a decade of experience building tanks, we have crafted numerous Arowana tanks and are confident we are the right fit for your project!
Roberts, T.R. (1989). The freshwater fishes of Western Borneo (Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia). Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences 14: 1-210.
- This source provides information about the freshwater fishes of Western Borneo, including the Arowana.
Ng, H.H., Tan, H.H. (1997). Freshwater fishes of Southeast Asia: potential for the aquarium fish trade and conservation issues. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation 1: 79-90.
- This source discusses freshwater fishes of Southeast Asia, their potential for the aquarium trade, and conservation issues, including the Arowana.
Lucas, M.C., Baras, E. (2001). Migration of Freshwater Fishes. Blackwell Science Ltd, Oxford.
- This book offers insights into the migration patterns of freshwater fishes, including Arowana, which may be helpful when considering their behavior and habitat requirements.
- Chan, Stephen T. H., and John S. Y. Lee. "The Asian Arowana (Scleropages formosus) Species Complex: A Taxonomic Dilemma?" The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, vol. 53, no. 1, 2005, pp. 11-17.
- Lucas, Michael C. "Swimming Performance of Adult Golden Arowana, Scleropages formosus, in Relation to Salinity and Pollutants." Journal of Fish Biology, vol. 65, no. 3, 2004, pp. 684-694, DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-1112.2004.00473.x.