Why Is Aquarium Glass Thick? (How Thick Should It Be?)

Image of an aquarium with thick glass

Aquarium glass is thick so that it withstands the water pressure and because of the Factor of Safety used to calculate its thickness. The aquarium glass’ thickness is dependent on its length and height. You can measure the thickness using online calculators, MIG laser gauges, or vernier calipers.

Let’s now understand this in detail.

2 Main Reasons Why Aquarium Glass Is Thick

An aquarium glass is thick because of the following two primary reasons.

1. Water Pressure

As the size of an aquarium increases, so does its water holding capacity.

And as the amount of water increases in a fish tank, it starts to put a lot of pressure on the aquarium glass.

If the thickness of the glass is not adequate, there’s a risk of the aquarium glass shattering to pieces.

This is why aquarium glass is purposely made thick so that it holds the water inside the aquarium.

2. Factor of Safety

If the thickness of the aquarium glass is more than required, then the cost of the aquarium increases.

And if the thickness is too less, then the aquarium glass can shatter.

So a Factor of Safety value is used to calculate the ideal glass thickness.

The Factor of Safety is nothing but a number that is multiplied with the required thickness of the glass.

This increases the thickness of the glass so that it is thick enough to account for any fluctuations in the water pressure.

How Thick Should Be An Aquarium Glass?

There are two ways to calculate the ideal thickness of aquarium glass:

  1. Using a formula, and
  2. Using the Factor of Safety.

1. Using a Formula.

The glass thickness is directly proportional to the square root of the aquarium width multiplied by the cube of the aquarium height in centimeters. It’s then multiplied by 0.00001.

Given below is the formula used to calculate the thickness of the aquarium glass, where “t” indicates the thickness.

t = Square root of the aquarium width x H3 (in cm) x 0.00001

2. Using the Factor of Safety.

Another way to calculate the ideal aquarium glass thickness is by using the Factor of Safety.

Manufacturing defects and poor glass quality cause variations in the strength of the glass.

So you need to use a Factor of Safety value to calculate the glass thickness.

To calculate the ideal aquarium glass thickness, you must first find the aquarium’s measurements, length, width, and height. Then, based on these measurements and the Factor of Safety value, you can calculate the required glass thickness. The most common value used for the Factor of Safety is 3.8.

This Factor of Safety value removes the risks of manufacturing defects and inferior glass quality.

So it’s vital to use this factor while measuring the aquarium glass thickness.

Note that using the Factor of Safety to derive the thickness is not foolproof, but it mitigates the risk of glass failure to an extent.

You can find out how the Factor of Safety is used to calculate the aquarium glass thickness using the calculation chart over here.

This calculation chart considers the length and height of the aquarium to find out the ideal thickness of the glass.

It will assist you in making an informed decision about the glass thickness required for your aquarium.

Let’s now understand how you can use different tools to measure the thickness of aquarium glass.

How To Measure Aquarium Glass Thickness?

Given below are some tools that you can use to measure the aquarium glass thickness.

1. Online Calculators

There are many online calculators, like this one, that will help you determine the required thickness for your aquarium glass.

You can input the aquarium’s measurements and the Factor of Safety to calculate the glass thickness required for your fish tank.

2. MIG Laser Gauges

This tool measures the thickness of any material with high precision.

Laser reflections off the glass surface will appear on the graduated scale used in the gauge.

These reflections easily allow you to determine the thickness of the glass.

3. Measurement Apps

Many online measurement apps, like this one, can be easily downloaded to measure the thickness of the aquarium glass.

As a best practice, please check the ratings and the user reviews before downloading a particular app.

It’s essential to download the best app, as many apps end up giving inaccurate calculations.

4. Vernier Calipers

A vernier caliper provides the most accurate measurement of the glass thickness.

The accuracy of this method depends on how well the two jaws of the caliper fit on the glass when closed.

If you don’t close the jaws tightly, there may be an error in the reading of the dial.

However, avoid pressing the glass too hard to prevent it from breaking.

5. Manual Calculations

You can manually calculate the glass thickness by using the formula given above.

Another way is to use the Factor of Safety, also given above, to calculate the required glass thickness for your aquarium.


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