scared about glass


Pygmy Octopus
I have a 3 year old. we have glass and various delicate knick-knacks that have never been in danger, but i'm pretty sure if anything is going to shatter it'll be the one thing that dumps 150 gallons of water all over the place. so exactly how sturdy are the tanks? anyone who has small children and aquariums, have you ever had them cracked?



Staff member
Recall that it was NOT the child who instigated the inside play with outside toys :grin:, however, it is the only child related tank crack that I can recall.

One thing you CAN consider is to go with acrylic rather than glass. It is much more expensive but also much lighter, stronger and has fewer seams (and does not shatter like glass). The seams are "melted" together with an acrylic cement and basically if it does not leak when manufactured, it will not leak as it ages. The biggest problem with acrylics is cleaning them as they will get scratched (the inside is more of a problem than the outside) and you have to be extremely careful when moving LR. You will read that you can buff them out and while this is true, you can't do it to a like new clarity while it is in use and the process is a week long series of intense sandings. Outside scratches don't seem to be a major issue with mine but you can (and I have removed a really nasty outside scratch) buff those out without draining the tank. Some people will attempt an intank buffing while it is occupied using a magnet cleaner but I am concerned about the acrylic dust and gills so I don't attempt it.


just be aware that glass is probably MUCH stronger than you fear it is. get a hold of a 1/2" piece of glass and try to break it. i dont have children, but have had dogs and cats that roughhouse around tanks without incident or worry. either glass or acrylic would be a good option for your needs IMHO.


I haven't had my first aquarium for long and I wanted to see how strong it was because the idea of having a huge volume of water just waiting to spill into all the electronics and everything else in my living room got more and more scary as the tank slowly filled. So, being a reckless nutter I smacked the glass with my full force - although I admit I only weigh 53kg - it didn't budge at all. I can't imagine it breaking even if I threw a sharp object at it.

Edit: the glass is 10mm thick.


Colossal Squid
I have three kids (one 2.5 years old), there has never been an issue with any of my tanks that were caused by my children (I've done some things by mistake...).


Haliphron Atlanticus
Good question. I have a glass tank, and a son who will be three in November, so I need to think about this too. Acrylic is indestructible, but scratches easily, usually when sand gets on the "soft" pad you use to clean the inside, so be really careful. For 100% peace of mind, go with acrylic.
No kid will be able to break the glass without the use of some hard implement (stone or metal) that has some mass to it, so you don't have to worry about 99.9% of the horse play that kids do. Wooden and plastic toys are no danger. If a kid were to tap on the glass with a hammer, then you might have a problem, and some kids like to experiment. There's only a narrow window of time in which a kid is strong enough to swing a hammer, but clueless enough not to be able to predict the consequences of hitting the tank with it, and once that age is reached, the tank should be safe.

The vast majority of glass tank disasters seem to come from stands that aren't sufficiently flat or don't support the weight evenly. I've never heard of one being broken by accident (except when being moved), by a kid or an adult. I'm willing to take what I think is a tiny risk, in order to avoid the hassle of easilly scratched acrylic.

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