July 12, 2017

Starphire Glass Custom Aquarium – Is the Extra Expense of Ultra Clear Starphire Worth It?


When designing a custom aquarium, your most important decision is to decide what type of glass your tank will be built with. You will need to decide if a Starphire glass aquarium is worth the extra expense. There are some distinct differences in the glass types used for aquarium manufacturing that you should be aware of. The 2 most popular glass types for custom aquarium manufacturing are: Clear glass, or Ultra Clear Starphire glass. This article will review the main differences that will help you decide which glass to choose.

The main comparative differences of a Starphire Glass Aquarium and a Clear Glass Aquarium are:

Clarity and Light Transmission

Starphire Glass has lower iron content, resulting in a superior pristine viewing surface. When you look at the edge of Starphire it has a unique blue tint, unlike the green tint of the clear glass variety. Due to the unprecedented clarity, it offers the best in maximum light transmission. This is especially important with reef or planted aquariums, in order to achieve effective light penetration through the glass lids and bracing. Ask your tank designer to show you comparative glass samples, so you can see the differences in clarity firsthand.

Scratching and Glass Care

Some people believe that due to the lower iron content, the glass is slightly softer making it more susceptible to scratching. There is some truth to this, but not enough to make a noticeable difference. The same care and precautions are needed for both types of glass. One of the biggest benefits in purchasing glass aquariums is that they are not easily scratched.


Depending on the manufacturer and thickness of glass used, you may find that a Starphire glass aquarium may cost 15 to 40% more than a clear glass aquarium. Some ways to cut down on the extra expense is to use Starphire glass on the main viewing panels only. You may find the extra expense to be worth it if your tank is going to be a permanent built in display, or the focal point of a room.


Most aquariums with Starphire glass need to be custom ordered. Due to the expense of stocking glass inventory, you may find that some manufacturers only carry the specialty glass in limited thicknesses. Wait time for a custom aquarium to be built is usually 4 – 8 weeks depending on the manufacturer and details of the tank design.

The decision regarding glass type is purely an aesthetic one. There is no difference in integral strength or longevity between the Starphire glass and clear glass. When budget allows, and the placement of the aquarium enhances the extra features of the Starphire glass, most clients will choose the upgrade. However, once an aquarium is installed most people will not be able to tell what type of glass was used in the construction. Whichever glass you choose, your aquarium display will be beautiful. Your aquarium will be a treasured feature for many years; so gather as much information as possible, so you can make an informed decision on glass choice and design.


Lori J Cameron

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