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How Long Do Acrylic Aquariums Last?

Investing in a professionally-made acrylic aquarium is never a simple process. It takes thorough planning before deciding if you have the space, money, and circumstances to own one. Even though it’s a unique decorative piece with many benefits, dealing with aquatic wildlife requires expertise and professionalism. So how long do acrylic aquariums last, and are they really worth it?

This article will go over the lifespan of this unique feature and why having a professional team build is important. Furthermore, you’ll discover all the essentials behind sustaining it to prolong its endurance further. Continue reading to discover the durability of acrylic aquariums and if it’s worth investing in them!

What Are Acrylic Aquariums?

When people hear of “acrylic aquariums”, they often think of plain old fish tanks. However, these delicate see-through aquatic life displays are a big investment. You’ll find them in premium hotels, Michelin-star restaurants, unique designer homes, and even museums.

While we all stand in the glory of their magnificence, not many people wonder about the creation process. This concept was first developed in 1850 by Robert Warrington. However, it became popular in 1853 when the first public aquarium appeared in the London Zoo.

Today, many people invest in aquariums for personal or business reasons. While the charm of having unique decor in your home sounds extravagant, companies invest in it to attract more customers. Besides the obvious aesthetic pleasure, taking care of aquatic wildlife is a relaxing hobby many people enjoy. 

Furthermore, you can get any of the two main types of aquariums – glass and acrylic. Glass is more suitable for smaller tanks and is also cheaper and scratch resistant. When thinking about a bigger tank, they’re mostly acrylic due to the lightweight and sturdy material.

What Are Acrylic Aquariums
Source: / Photo Contributor: Aysel Merve

How Long Do Acrylic Aquariums Last?

One of the main questions that arise when people think about investing in this unique decor is how long do acrylic aquariums last. In general, most of these aquariums last from five to 15 years. 

However, there are several factors that play an important role in its duration. Such are the structural integrity, placement, and ultraviolet light.

Structural integrity

One of the main problems acrylic aquariums face over time is the disruption of their integrity. The longer these tanks stand tall, the more porous they become. This means that the material will start to intake chemicals from the water and lose its structural integrity. 


Another issue that may disturb the material’s stability is inadequate placement. Acrylic aquariums should never be placed in a room that exposes them to direct sunlight. Consistent and excessive heat will damage the panels and compromise their integrity. 

Furthermore, sun exposure can also overheat the water inside the aquarium and cause algae outbreaks. This issue can also hurt the fish inside it because it affects their stress levels and health.

Ultraviolet light

Acrylic aquariums aren’t resistant to UV light. This means that the panels will start turning yellow if exposed to it for longer periods of time. Remember that these aquariums are still made from a specific type of plastic. So even though you can find such materials that claim to be UV resistant, they’re still affected by it.

Additionally, the level of exposure to ultraviolet light will affect the speed at which it damages the aquarium. Over time, you’ll start noticing a yellow tint, brittleness, and in worst cases, cracks. 

How to Prolong the Lifespan of Acrylic Aquariums

Now that you’re well-informed about the acrylic aquarium’s lifespan, there are several ways to prolong it. If you’re seriously thinking about investing in one, it’s recommended that you follow these instructions closely. 

Here’s what you can do to maintain and prolong the lifespan of your aquarium:

Getting the tank from a professional supplier

The first thing you can do to ensure your acrylic aquarium lasts longer is to get it from a trustworthy company. Choose ones that have lots of experience in creating these tanks for the best results. Furthermore, getting your aquarium from a professional will ensure it’s made from quality materials. 

Choosing the ideal spot

When choosing the ideal spot, remember that acrylic aquariums don’t do well when exposed to direct sunlight. So pick a place where the tank will be both visible and safe. The best options are up beside a wall or inside the wall itself. This way, you won’t have to worry about people bumping into it and damaging it.

You should also consider the overall structure of your building, such as the plumbing, flooring, and support. Aquariums get quite heavy when filled up with water, so you want to ensure that the structure can hold it to avoid any damage to your property. 

Choosing the ideal spot
Source: / Photo Contributor: Natalia Kirsanova

Choosing the right cleaning substances

If you decide to clean the aquarium yourself, always use the proper cleaning substances. Remember that the material is porous and can absorb any toxic residue, thus damaging its integrity. So it’s recommended to do the needed research before you begin this process or to hire a professional service.

Not overstocking the aquarium

Depending on your aquarium’s size, you should avoid overstocking it. If your tank is overcrowded, it can damage the water quality and stress out the fish. So be mindful of the environment and don’t get more aquatic life than the aquarium can handle. 

Regular maintenance

Last but not least, regular maintenance is a must if you want your aquarium to last long. If you’re already investing in an acrylic tank, ensure you also get the proper equipment for it. This includes high-quality water pumps, lighting, and heaters. Remember that they can also experience technical issues, so replace them when needed.

The regular cleaning process also falls under maintenance, so you should do it thoroughly. Often check the water chemistry, clean the decorations and gravel, and change the water to avoid facing any issues. 


So, how long do acrylic aquariums last? Depending on where you get it and how you take care of it, these tanks can last up to 15 years. Remember that there are several important elements that affect its longevity. So use this article as a guide to avoid making any mistakes and harming your fish.

After discovering the durability of an acrylic aquarium and how to prolong it, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth your time and money. Always plan out the placement and care before you invest in one. Lastly, if you do decide to get one, make sure to enjoy its aesthetic beauty and glory.

Neal Moir

Neal Moir

is the owner at Titan Aquatic Exhibits and brings more than a decade in aquarium and acrylic pool wall manufacturing experience.

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