Is A Curved Glass Aquarium A Good Idea?

Some know the curved glass aquarium as ‘bow fronted.’ It is certainly different to a standard aquarium. The front pane bends outwards, making the front panel convex. In a way, it is a bit like reversed cinemascope.

These aquariums are usually more expensive than the standard types, for the obvious reason that the bowed front is more difficult and therefore more expensive to manufacture. The price difference though is not that much.

The only real advantage of using the curved glass aquarium is visual. They do look impressive, particularly if they are in a tailor made cabinet. There is a slight gain in water gallonage, though not enough to be significant. Some aquarists are a little concerned about cleaning the front panel of algae, as it is thought the magnetic algae pad may not touch sufficiently. This is usually not a problem, particularly if the algae pad is used with the longest sides running vertically. Even if it did cause some trouble, there are practical alternatives.

There are no particular extras that need to be considered for a reef aquarium or fish only aquarium, all the guidelines for these set ups apply.

There is only one negative comment I have heard, and that is the curved glass is able to distort the view of the interior. I have not seen this for myself, but it sounds possible. The distortion I assume would not be from a full on view, or from a generally oblique view, but when the viewer was positioned at an acute angle as then in effect the view would be through ’thicker’ curving glass.

A cracked front pane would be more of a tragedy than in a normal aquarium, but this is hardly a worry as aquariums built by reputable companies are immensely strong and durable.

A reef tank or fish only aquarium has a considerable impact without enhancement. A curved glass aquarium could give that little extra ’wow’ factor.

  1. I was trying to take the trim off the top of my 72 gallon tank and the bow front glass shattered into a million pieces. the tank was 12 years old. the center part of the frame had broke from the back part of the tank frame… I ordered a new border frame and was advised to drain my tank and to cut the frame with a hack saw in pieces and to use a piece of wood and rubber mallet to hammer it off of the glass tank.. I had cut 3 pieces of the trim/frame with a hack saw and when I started hitting the first piece of trim to get it off of the glass the bow front shattered.. Was I given wrong instructs to remove this trim, or was the glass old and weak and this was bound to happen?

  2. Oh dear, hard luck Don.
    Cutting is perhaps the easiest way to remove the trim, though I suspect there could have been some glue, silicone or otherwise behind it to strengthen the grip. If this was the case then hammering, even moderately, would have put additional strain on the glass. Carefully prising the trim away from the glass before applying hammer pressure might have assisted, or might not. Basically I would consider it bad luck, glass is perfectly suitable for an aquarium (provided the correct thickness is used which depends on the height).
    I hope you managed to get a replacement for the front of your aquarium without too much trouble.

  3. I’m unable to find a replacement upper frame for my 72 gallon bow front aquarium.

    I was able to get the old one off (wasn’t easy), but it’s sitting in the middle of my living room floor until I can find the upper frame.

    My tank trim is brown woodgrain and would like to find an exact replacement, but anything will do at this point…


  4. Apologies Elton, your query has been missed! Now it’s been seen, there isn’t much help from here I’m afraid.
    Without seeing the setup it’s very difficult to suggest ways of proceeding. An obvious suggestion is DIY. Though the front is curved, the sides will be square. If DIY is not an option perhaps professional help could be obtained?
    Hopefully the problem has been resolved by now.

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