RSS The pros and cons of Rimless Aquariums vs Traditional Braced Aquariums

MASA Admin

8 May 2007
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What type of aquarium should you buy? Rimless aquariums or a traditional braced aquariums? Let’s discuss the pros and cons of a rimless aquarium versus a traditional braced aquarium.

Hobbyists the world over are very vocal on their aquarium style choice with as much as 50-70% of the market choosing to go to a rimless aquarium. But what are the pros and cons of such a decision? The traditional braced aquariums has been around since the dawn of keeping aquariums, back then there was no other choice. Manufacturing methods to produce rimless aquariums were not wide spread, however, ever slowly a planted fish tank keeper named Takashi Amano started using them for his dream worthy aquascapes. In time the difference was seen by reef hobbyists and we expressed an interest in acquiring these rimless tanks.

Rimless Aquariums

A rimless aquarium of Matra Spano

What is the benefit to a rimless aquarium? They use thick glass and silicone to support the weight and the aesthetic appeal is undeniable—it just looks amazing. Most rimless aquariums are made from higher purity glass that is clearer. The glass uses low iron and is free of the green hue which can be an eye sore in regular glass.

Because there is no euro bracing or black edge of plastic you can more easily access the top of the aquarium. However, this could also be a drawback as the water line will be clearly visible. If your water clarity is not in top shape you will notice the water line distracting your view. Rimless aquariums are a top choice for nano reef tanks. You need every bit of viewing space possible from a small aquarium. Outside of that 25-240 gallon installations are fairly common. When going above 240 gallons rimless aquariums are less common. You need thicker glass to support the water inside the aquarium and things tend to just get more expensive.

Traditional Braced Aquariums

A Braced Aquarium -notice the plastic edging

The oldest style of aquariums, braced aquariums have the little plastic shell on the top and usually the bottom portion of the aquarium. While being an eye store the plastic strip can offer a few benefits. The largest is hiding the water line. As we noted above rimless aquariums show the water line. If you are not the best with routine aquarium maintenance this will be an eye sore. Not so with a braced aquarium. The water line will be completely hidden from view. On top of that you will be able to have a larger tank as the braced aquariums can support larger weight loads of water. Generally tanks past 300 gallons will use the plastic brace method. If having a hood or lid to your aquarium is a must then braced aquariums should be your choice.

Personal Preference

In the end choosing a rimless aquarium or a braced aquarium is really just personal preference and the type of reef tank experience you want to create. What type of aquarium do you have?
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10 Oct 2010
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Thanks for the article... I'm building another and deciding whether to for Rimless. Though for 1,8m rimless may may not be a good idea.
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