Acrylic Aquarium Kits

Acrylic aquariums have become increasingly popular due to their many advantages over traditional glass tanks. Made from acrylic or Plexiglas, these aquariums are lightweight, durable, and offer unmatched optical clarity.

For experienced aquarists and beginners alike, acrylic tanks provide an excellent alternative to glass. Acrylic aquarium kits come in many shapes and sizes, allowing for ample creativity and customization. Read on to learn about acrylic aquarium kits to decide if one suits your needs.

Why Choose Acrylic Over Glass?

The first choice is between glass and acrylic when deciding on an aquarium. But why choose acrylic over the traditional glass? There are several key advantages:


Acrylic aquariums weigh about half as much as glass tanks of the same size. A standard 75-gallon acrylic tank weighs around 125 pounds, compared to over 200 pounds for a glass tank. This makes acrylic tanks much easier to move and transport.


The thermoplastic acrylic material provides better insulation than glass. This means the water temperature stays stable for longer, requiring less energy to maintain consistent heating.

Shatter Resistant

While acrylic can scratch, it does not shatter or crack like glass. This makes acrylic aquariums safer, especially in households with children. The material is very durable and impact-resistant.

Optical Clarity

Acrylic has excellent light transmittance, giving it crystal-clear optics. This allows for better visibility of fish, decorations, and an enhanced aquatic viewing experience.


Acrylic can be custom cut, bent, drilled, and bonded together. This allows for creatively shaped designs and tanks built to exact specifications. Complex builds are possible with acrylic.

Low Maintenance

Minimal calcium deposits or algae build up on acrylic over time compared to glass. This keeps maintenance to a minimum.

Are Acrylic Aquariums Worth It?

The upfront cost of acrylic aquariums is typically 15-30% higher than glass. However, given the benefits and features outlined above, most experts agree that acrylic tanks are worth the investment.

Over the long run, the energy savings from insulation add up. For larger tanks over 40 gallons, the weight difference becomes a major perk during cleaning and maintenance.

Brands like Clear for Life and SeaClear have perfected the acrylic aquarium-building process. And DIY kits make custom acrylic tanks more affordable.

For most aquarists, the advantages of optically clear viewing, customization options, and durability make acrylic aquariums well worth the initial investment.

Clear for Life Acrylic Aquariums

Clear for Life is one of the most reputable and trusted brands for acrylic aquariums. They have been producing top-notch acrylic tanks in California for over 16 years.

Some key features of Clear for Life acrylic aquariums:

  • Proprietary cast acrylic material for maximum clarity
  • Polished, beveled edges and seamless silicone seals
  • Pre-drilled overflow and holes for filtration
  • Sturdy acrylic stands included for most tanks
  • Sumps and wet/dry filters are available for all sizes
  • Custom aquarium builds available
  • Guaranteed not to leak or crack for 10 years

Clear for Life offers acrylic tanks ranging from compact 5-gallon nano cubes up to massive 400-gallon monsters. Their 125-gallon aquarium is one of the most popular choices for hobbyists looking for a large display tank.

These professionally made acrylic aquariums are worth the investment for serious aquarists who want quality and customization. Expect to pay $350-$500 for a standard 20-gallon kit, and up to $5000+ for a giant custom build.

SeaClear Acrylic Aquariums

Another top brand in the acrylic aquarium space is SeaClear. Also based in California, SeaClear prides itself on combining quality materials with innovative designs.

Some highlights of SeaClear acrylic tanks include:

  • Cast acrylic for maximum strength
  • Low iron content for crystal clear viewing
  • Pre-drilled filter overflows and holes
  • Thick pure silicone seals
  • Sturdy matching stands
  • Systems for freshwater and saltwater
  • Custom etching and drilling options

SeaClear offers stock tanks ranging from small desktop cubes up to massive 400+ gallon systems. Their 50 gallon combo makes a stunning centerpiece tank for freshwater community setups.

The build quality of SeaClear rivals that of Clear for Life. And their classic cubed designs fit seamlessly in modern homes. These are premium acrylic aquariums that justify the price for features and quality. Expect to pay $400-$600 for a standard 29 gallon kit.

Types of Acrylic Used in Aquariums

When researching acrylic aquariums, you’ll come across different acrylic materials used in their construction. The manufacturing process and resulting properties have a huge impact on the quality and longevity of the tank. Let’s take a closer look:

Cast Acrylic

Cast acrylic sheets are produced by pouring liquid acrylic resin into molds. The resin cures and hardens into a solid plastic sheet. Cast acrylic has high optical clarity and is extremely strong against pressure. This is the best type of acrylic for aquarium use.

Extruded Acrylic

Extruded acrylic is made by pushing acrylic polymer through a machine die. This cheaper process results in weaker sheets with more imperfections. Avoid extruded acrylic for aquariums over 30 gallons.

Cell Cast Acrylic

Cell cast acrylic starts as cast acrylic but has air pockets added. This makes it lighter and cheaper but also weaker. Cell cast should only be used for small tanks under 30 gallons.

Acrylite FF Acrylic

Acrylite FF is a premium cast acrylic made by Evonik with the highest light transmittance and clarity. It’s the strongest and most rigid, ideal for large custom aquariums. But it comes at a steep price.

What is the Best Acrylic for Aquariums?

Cast acrylic is hand-down the best type of acrylic sheets for aquarium construction for strength and optical clarity. Brands like Acrylite FF set the standard for the highest quality cast acrylic.

When researching acrylic aquarium kits, look for details on the manufacturing process. Tanks made from cast acrylic will be transparent and sturdy enough to withstand pressure from gallons of water.

Extruded acrylic can be used for nano and desk tanks under 20-30 gallons. But for larger setups, cast acrylic is a must. The higher initial investment will pay off over time in durability.

What Type of Acrylic is Used for Aquariums?

Most quality acrylic aquarium brands use cast acrylic for their tanks. SeaClear and Clear for Life produce their tanks from proprietary cast acrylic formulas. This results in seamless sheets that can be cut, bent, and joined with minimal seams and silicone work.

Extruded acrylic is sometimes marketed as suitable for aquarium use but poses risks. The weaker sheets can warp and bend over time, causing leaks and other failures. This is why cast acrylic is strongly recommended for tanks over 30 gallons.

When shopping for an acrylic aquarium, check what type of acrylic is specified. Quality brands will clearly state their tanks are made from cast acrylic produced under high pressure. This guarantees clarity and long-term durability.

Best Acrylic Aquarium Kits

Complete kits offer convenience and value for those seeking an all-in-one acrylic aquarium setup. Ranging from desktop nano cubes to giant show tanks, here are some top-rated acrylic aquarium kit options:

Large Acrylic Aquarium Kits

For making a bold statement, large acrylic aquarium kits allow you to create a fishroom centerpiece. Here are some stellar choices:

Clear for Life 125 Gallon Acrylic Aquarium Combo

This kit includes a clear cast acrylic tank, sturdy stand, wet/dry filter, lighting, and more. Perfect for a luxury freshwater or reef tank.

SeaClear 50 Gallon Acrylic Aquarium Package

A complete 50 gallon acrylic ecosystem ready for freshwater or saltwater fish. Sleek contemporary stand included.

Clear for Life 75 Gallon Acrylic Cube Aquarium

This square 75 gallon tank adds modern style. Includes seamless cast acrylic tank, stand, canister filter, and glass tops.

Acrylic Tank Manufacturing 55 Gallon Show Aquarium

Boasting ultra clear cast acrylic and crisp silicone

Tenecor 55 Gallon Acrylic Aquarium Combo

A curved front 55 gallon kit includes the tank, stand, canister filter, heater, and LED light.

SeaClear 50 Gallon Rectangle Acrylic Aquarium System

This low iron cast acrylic tank has seamless silicone seals for fresh or saltwater use. Matching stand included.

Clear for Life 30 Gallon Cube Acrylic Aquarium

A dazzling 30-gallon cube tank and stand combo complete with integrated wet/dry filter and lighting system.

AquaMaxx Long XXL Elite Rimless Aquarium

At 125 gallons, this tank makes a stunning acrylic showpiece. Low iron optical clarity.

Best Acrylic Aquarium Kits

In addition to large tanks, acrylic aquarium kits are available in smaller desktop and nano sizes perfect for beginners, kids, and office settings:

  • SeaClear 26 Gallon Bowfront Cube Aquarium Combo
  • An eye-catching mini bowfront cube tank with an integrated filter and LED light.
  • Clear for Life 5 Gallon Acrylic Desktop Aquarium
  • This little 5 gallon cube comes complete with low-voltage LED lights and filtration.
  • Aqua Inspiration 3.5 Gallon Cube Aquarium Kit
  • A compact acrylic nano tank kit complete with filter and LED light.
  • Coralife 5 Gallon LED Hexagon Aquarium Set
  • A uniquely shaped 5 gallon hex tank with vivid LED lighting effects.

Overall, brands like Clear for Life and SeaClear are the top choices for complete acrylic aquarium kits. Their kits feature seamless cast acrylic tanks bundled with all the essential filtration, lighting, and stand components right out of the box.

DIY Acrylic Aquarium Kits

For the hands-on aquarist, constructing a DIY acrylic aquarium can be engaging. DIY kits provide all the materials and plans you need to build a custom acrylic tank from scratch. Here’s an overview:

DIY Acrylic Aquarium Kit

Typical DIY acrylic aquarium kits include:

  • Step-by-step instruction guide
  • Cut-to-size cast acrylic sheets
  • Acrylic cement and silicone
  • Plastic rivets and tube inserts
  • Transfer pipettes for applying adhesives

The kit provides the essential materials, while the aquarist assembles the tank based on the included directions. Kits are available in sizes ranging from 5 to 55+ gallons.

Acrylic Fish Tank DIY

The process of assembling a DIY acrylic kit involves careful construction:

  • Cutting the acrylic sheets to size with a table saw.
  • Securing the cut panels together at the corners using plastic rivets.
  • Applying acrylic cement to fuse and bond the panels fully.
  • Adding silicone sealant along the inside seams for water tightness.
  • Allowing adequate cure time for all adhesives before filling with water.
  • Testing for any leaks and resealing if needed.
  • Installing filtration, lighting, and other components.

For first-timers, a DIY acrylic aquarium kit allows you to get hands-on experience building a fully custom tank. The process requires careful attention to detail, resulting in a stunning hand-built acrylic aquarium.

Acrylic Aquarium Maintenance

Acrylic aquariums require some specialized care and maintenance compared to glass tanks. Here are some key areas to keep in mind:

Acrylic Aquarium Buffing Kit

Acrylic is softer than glass, making it prone to scratches. A buffing kit uses ultra-fine grit sandpaper to polish out light surface scratches and restore optical clarity. This should be done during routine tank maintenance.

Acrylic Aquarium Polishing Kit

A polishing kit takes buffing further by using polishing compounds to create a scratch-free crystal clear finish. This can restore heavily scratched or hazy acrylic to like-new condition.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Acrylic is sensitive to chemicals like ammonia and bleach. Only use aquarium-safe products free of dyes, perfumes, and acids.

Never Use Scrub Pads

Scrub pads or sponges can put fine scratches in acrylic. Only use soft microfiber cloths when cleaning the tank walls.

Watch Water Temperature

Acrylic can warp and bend if the water temperature exceeds 86*F. Heaters and climate control are essential.

Rinse During Water Changes

When siphoning and replacing water, give the acrylic walls a thorough freshwater rinse to prevent mineral deposits.

An acrylic aquarium can stay crystal clear for years using specialized products and gentle cleaning methods. Taking the time to buff and polish it periodically will keep it looking brand new.

Price Comparison: Acrylic vs. Glass

Acrylic aquariums are undoubtedly more expensive upfront compared to traditional glass tanks. But are they worth the higher investment? Here’s an overview of acrylic vs glass pricing:

Acrylic Fish Tank Price

An acrylic aquarium typically costs 15-30% more than a glass version for a given tank size. For example:

Standard 10-gallon glass tank: $50

  • 10-gallon acrylic tank: $65
  • 29-gallon glass aquarium: $125
  • 29-gallon acrylic aquarium: $175
  • 55-gallon glass tank: $250
  • 55-gallon acrylic tank: $350

Other factors like lighting, filtration, and stands can lower the price when comparing complete kits. But the acrylic tank itself commands a premium price.

Acrylic Fish Tanks for Sale

When browsing online and in aquarium specialty stores, here are some typical price points for cast acrylic tanks:

  • Nano 5-10 gallon acrylic tanks: $80-$250
  • Desktop cube tanks 10-30 gallons: $250-$500
  • Medium tanks 40-60 gallons: $400-$700
  • Large tanks 70-125+ gallons: $700-$2500

Ultimately, acrylic commands 25-50% higher prices versus glass tanks. Acrylic’s many benefits and features justify the cost. And over time, the energy savings and lower maintenance costs recoup some of the initial investment.

For discerning aquarists, premium cast acrylic is worth the price. But those on a tight budget may be better served, starting with an affordable glass tank.

Safety Measures: Is Acrylic Safe for Aquariums?

When it comes to safety, acrylic aquariums have distinct advantages over glass. But there are still some key usage considerations:

Unlike glass, acrylic panels do not have rigid edges that can potentially crack and shatter under pressure. Acrylic is flexible and impact-resistant. This makes acrylic aquariums exponentially safer, especially in homes with children.

However, acrylic is not indestructible. Heavy impact and pressure can still potentially damage a tank. Care should be taken not to drop or hit an acrylic aquarium with force.

Acrylic is also reliant on silicone seals. If these seals fail, leaks can occur. Using a proven brand with precision construction minimizes any seal risks. Periodically inspect seals for gaps or cracks.

Maintaining proper water temperature is also key. Excess heat can warp and degrade acrylic. Adequate climate control and equipment safeguards help avoid this.

Overall, acrylic has major safety advantages for aquarium use. However, reasonable precautions should still be taken to protect the tank’s structural integrity. Following the manufacturer’s care guidelines is essential.

Longevity: How Long Will an Acrylic Fish Tank Last?

Thanks to acrylic’s durable properties, acrylic aquariums can easily last over a decade with proper care. Here’s an overview of acrylic tank longevity:

The average lifespan of a quality cast acrylic aquarium is 10-15 years. With adequate maintenance, acrylic tanks can sometimes exceed 20+ years of use.

Factors impacting longevity include:

  • Quality of the cast acrylic
  • Precision of construction and sealing
  • Avoidance of scratches and cracks
  • Stability of water temperature
  • Protection from direct sunlight
  • Frequency of proper maintenance

Acrylic gradually loses some optical clarity over time. But, periodic buffing and polishing can restore the acrylic to near original condition. This helps extend the usable lifespan.

The insulating qualities of acrylic also make it more durable than glass long-term. And there are no worries about sudden cracking or leakage.

Choose a reputable brand like Clear for Life or SeaClear for the best results. Invest in a high-quality tank, and care for it diligently. An acrylic aquarium should provide many years of aquatic enjoyment.

Custom Acrylic Aquariums

For hobbyists who want a truly one-of-a-kind tank, custom acrylic aquariums are the way to go. From exotic shapes to built-in features, anything is possible with custom acrylic.

Want a cylindrical pillar tank? Here are some possibilities that can be brought to life with a custom acrylic aquarium:

  • Cylindrical columns or tubes
  • Angled cubes or pyramid shapes
  • Tanks built into walls and enclosures
  • Creative contours and surface patterns
  • Hidden chambers and compartments
  • Overflowing wall-mounted tanks
  • Vivid colors or backlighting effects

With acrylic, complex designs can be engineered using a combination of cast sheets, custom seals, polishing, and precision bonding techniques. An experienced acrylic aquarium manufacturer can handle unique designs and dimensions.

The main limitations are size constraints for transport and installation. But otherwise, acrylic enables nearly any imaginable concept to be created.

Expect to pay a premium for fully custom acrylic tanks. But for one-of-a-kind showstoppers, a custom build is well worth the investment.

Acrylic Fish Tank with Stand

Beyond the tank itself, custom acrylic aquariums often integrate customized stands:

  • Matching contoured stands
  • Under tank storage cabinets
  • Canopy hoods attached to stand
  • Built-in sumps and filtration
  • Concealed plumbing channels
  • Automatic water change systems
  • Acrylic wrap-around overflows
  • LED accent lighting and backlights

Stands can be crafted from acrylic or offset with wood, metal, and other materials. The entire system can be developed together for a seamless look.

A fully custom acrylic tank and stand built to your specifications for the ultimate dream aquarium lets you create a breathtaking aquatic centerpiece. The possibilities are endless.


From nano desktop cubes to massive showstopper tanks, acrylic aquariums provide a stunning alternative to traditional glass setups. With benefits like unbeatable clarity, lightweight, insulation, and flexibility, cast acrylic makes an excellent material for aquarium construction despite the higher cost. Brands like Clear for Life and SeaClear offer turnkey kits for a hassle-free experience, while DIY kits allow hands-on builders to create fully custom designs. Careful maintenance and cleaning keep acrylic tanks sparkling for years to come. Acrylic delivers an awe-inspiring aquarium that will be a focal point of any room.