Fish tanks, also known as aquariums, are specialised containers for water plants and animals. Made with one or more transparent sides, fish tanks are usually used to contain not only fish, but also marine mammals, water invertebrates, turtles, amphibians and aquatic plants.
Fish tanks comprise a type of aquariums referred to as "cuboid aquariums". They are usually in the form of rectangular prisms with hollow insides where fish and other marine animals and aquatic plants are placed. Fish tanks are usually made of glass or very strong plastics designed to be able to contain large amounts of water and organisms, as well as to effectively hold water pressure.
Depending on their use, the size and amount of aquatic plants or animals to be placed, fish tanks come in different sizes, ranging from very small containers to huge ones often used in public aquariums.
Fish tanks are usually used in homes and other establishments where aquatic plants and animals are displayed. These tanks, along with their organism contents, are usually intended for decorative purposes, though there are also those who simply want to have containers for their aquatic pets. Fish tanks can be placed in lobbies, living rooms, bedrooms, gardens and other places.
In choosing fish tanks, it is important to consider the size and population of aquatic organisms to be placed in it, as well as the place where the tank will be situated. It also pays to know more about the type of fish or animal to be placed in the fish tank, like how often they can reproduce, how big they can get, if they need to be kept at a certain temperature (i.e. tropical fish), and how active they are, to know how much fish tank space they need.
Fish tanks: brief history
The first fish tanks were made of marble and were used to hold sea barbells in early Roman empires. These fish tanks were installed under beds of guests. In 1369, Hongwu, a Chinese emperor, established a porcelain company that made large tubs intended to hold goldfish. As time passes, more modifications were done on fish tanks to be able to come up with the fish tanks that we know now.
Fish tanks: materials used
Fish tanks are usually made of glass panes held together by silicone. The resulting upper and lower edges of the resulting "box" are decorated with plastic frames. Since glass is quite brittle, other fish tank manufacturers came up with other materials such as plastic and acrylic. Acrylic is lighter and stronger than glass. Acrylic panes are usually held together by acrylic-soluble cement. It is also more malleable, allowing for the creation of other fish tank shapes such as hexagonal ones. Still, acrylics fish tanks are easier to scratch than those made of glass. That's why aquatic organisms with sharp shells and teeth would do better with glass fish tanks.
Aside from glass and acrylic, laminated glass is also used to make fish tanks. Laminated glass fish tanks make a compromise between glass and acrylic. Larger fish tanks such as those for public display usually make use of plastics reinforced by fiberglass.