Is Aquarium Glass Tempered? [Why, How, And Benefits]

Image of an aquarium with tempered glass

Aquariums have tempered glass at the bottom. Tempering makes the bottom glass sturdy. This helps it to withstand the weight of the water inside the tank. The base glass also needs to be strong to hold the substrate and rocks. That is why tempered glass is preferred for aquariums due to its hardness.

Tempered glass has many advantages, so it is preferred in many types of equipment, including an aquarium. Let’s now explore the benefits of using tempered glass in aquariums.

Why Do Aquariums Use Tempered Glass?

The bottom glass of the tank is usually tempered. This is because of the shock-resistance capabilities of the tempered glass.

Given below are some of the most common reasons why aquariums use tempered glass:

  • Tempered glass withstands the weight of multiple gallons of water inside the tank.
  • The tank’s base glass also needs to be strong to hold the weight of the substrate and rocks.
  • The chances of a rock damaging the tank’s bottom are more than any other part of the aquarium.
  • The tempered glass also reduces the freight cost. Yes, tempered glass lowers shipping costs. No doubt tempered glass is expensive. However, the additional cost of tempered glass gets partially balanced because the glass panel is half the thickness of the normal glass. This results in a comparatively lighter tank, and so it becomes cheaper to ship.

Alright! So, most of the aquariums have tempered glass.

But, how can you distinguish between a tempered and non-tempered glass?

How To Tell The Difference Between A Tempered And Non-Tempered Glass?

Tempered glass is created in a unique way.

The glass is first heated intensely, and then it is cooled down quickly. This makes the glass sturdy and also gives it a unique structure.

The tempering process of the glass is done either in batches or in a single continuous motion.

First, the glass sheets are passed through a heating machine. Then, the glass is cooled down through a process called quenching.

This process is speedy and lasts for a few seconds.

In this process, various nozzles are used to blast high-pressure air on the outer area of the glass surface.

Since the middle of the glass cools down later, this side tries to pull back the outer surface, thus creating tension.

This makes the glass strong.

Now, you must be wondering how to distinguish between a tempered and non-tempered glass.

Luckily, there is no rocket science that you should be aware of to distinguish between these two.

Given below are simple ways to identify a tempered glass from a normal one.

  • Stamp Identification: Tempered glass has a stamp on it, which indicates that the glass is tempered. The logo has the manufacturer name and CPSC standards mentioned on it. If the glass is purchased directly from the manufacturer and contains a carved stamp on it, it is tempered. Otherwise, the glass is an ordinary annealed glass and not a tempered one.
  • Smooth Edges: Tempered glass has smooth and even edges against the non-tempered glass’s rough edges. The smoothness indicates that the glass is tempered.
  • Polarized Glasses: Another way to distinguish between a tempered and non-tempered glass is by viewing the glass in sunlight using polarized glasses. If the glass is tempered, spots or dark shady lines will be visible. These lines are formed during the tempering process. On the other hand, if you do not notice any such spots or lines, the glass is non-tempered.
  • Breaking Pattern: Tempered glass is usually meant for safety purposes. So, these glasses are made by keeping human safety in mind. When a tempered glass breaks, it breaks into tiny and relatively harmless pieces having fewer sharp edges. This is because the glass becomes stronger and scratch-resistant due to the tempering process. Broken tempered glass does not scatter all over the place and is less likely to cause any significant injury. On the other hand, non-tempered glass is fragile and is extremely dangerous if broken into pieces. The glass breaks into uneven and big pieces and can spread everywhere, thus increasing the chances of a major accident.
  • Imperfect Visibility: If you observe a tempered glass closely, you can find certain distortion like slight bending on the glass itself. Since the glass is intensely heated during the tempering process, it becomes mendable when it is scorching. So, when the tongs pick the glass, the glass gets distorted in some way. This is not noticeable if you look at the glass randomly. However, if you look at it closely, you can notice the difference. A non-tempered glass usually does not have any such distortion.

How To Tell If An Aquarium Has Tempered Glass?

Tempered glass is used in aquarium construction due to its ability to withstand weight and pressure.

Usually, there is a stamp near one of the glass corners indicating that the glass is tempered.

The seal may also contain a few more alphabets that state the tempered glass’s type and quality.

Apart from the stamp, the edges of tempered glass are seldom straight. The glass will have slight warps or nipples at its edges.

Another technique that helps you determine whether the glass is tempered or not is by using polarized sunglasses.

The LCD screen has a polarizing filter set at a 45° angle across the screen.

You can determine whether the glass is tempered by viewing it through polarized sunglasses.

Alternately, you can even place the LCD screen behind the glass. You can then look at the screen through a polarizing filter.

If you notice any stripes on the LCD screen lines, that’s an indication that the glass is tempered.

If the LCD screen is transparent, that means that the glass is non-tempered.

There are some other ways as well to confirm that the aquarium glass is tempered.

When the glass is tempered, some black lines form on the glass due to the heating and rapid cooling.

These black lines are visible through polarized sunglasses from a 45° angle.

You can also put your hand in front of the tempered aquarium glass.

If you do not see your hand as you can see it in the mirror, then the glass is tempered.

This is because the light does not reflect from the glass as it does for a non-tempered glass.

Also, the touch and feel determines whether a glass is tempered or not.

For that, you need to first rub your hand on the glass that you know is not tempered.

Then, you can scratch the aquarium glass. You can feel the difference in the touch.

Now that you know about the various ways to identify tempered glass, let’s also understand if tempered glass is suitable for aquariums.

Is Tempered Glass Suitable For Aquariums?

Tempered glass is useful, particularly when you have a large tank with gallons of water inside it.

In such cases, the tempered glass helps to hold the pressure and weight of the water inside the tank.

Tempered glass is sturdy than float glass.

So, most of the aquariums have tempered glass at the bottom due to its resistance power.

Related Questions

What are aquariums made of? Aquariums are either made of glass or acrylic. Glass aquariums are recommended for beginner aquarists who have a small tank containing less than 150 gallons of water. Glass is heavy and has limited options in design. So, acrylic is now widely used in aquariums. Acrylic is lighter in weight compared to glass. Besides, acrylic is more robust, and you can get various designs in the market. Also, the impact-resistance of acrylic is good compared to glass aquariums.

Can you drill tempered glass of an aquarium? Tempered glass cannot be drilled. If you attempt to drill a tempered glass, it will break into several tiny granular pieces. If a hole needs to be drilled into tempered glass, it should be done before tempering. Tempered glass is strong as it is meant to be a safety glass that should not break easily. It is engineered in such a way that the pressure is distributed throughout the glass surface.

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