How long do aquariums last?

Aquariums and their inhabitants take a very special in an aquarist’s heart. You can see it in the care and effort that ensures a pet fish is healthy and thriving, the aquarium ecosystem is maintained, and above all, the miniature aquatic world comes to life in the most beautiful way an aquarist can imagine.

Thus it is only fair that aquarists ask how long do aquariums last.

An average glass aquarium will last around 15 to 20 years, while acrylic aquariums have an average lifespan of 5 to 15 years. The lifespan of an aquarium is influenced by factors like placement, maintenance, and the integrity of the structure in question. However, it is very common for an aquarium to last many years beyond the 20-year mark!

How long an aquarium will last depends on the structure, placement, and maintenance. For instance, I know an aquarist with a 25-year-old tank as of writing this article. Since installation, he has not moved the tank from its position.

According to him, this is his secret sauce to tank longevity! Hmmm, what do you think? Tell me in the comments section.

Tips to Prolong Aquarium Lifespan

We might have figured out the factors that influence a tank’s lifespan; however, what else can we do to increase our aquarium’s lifespan?

how long do aquariums last?
An Empty Aquarium

Here are my top tips:

  • The structure of the aquarium must be top-notch. I am afraid you can not compromise on the integrity of your tank structure if you intend it to last very long. The materials used to build your should be high quality too.
  • Place your aquarium on a firm stand, capable of supporting its entire weight. You should ensure that you don’t see a day when the stand needs to be replaced. The less you move the tank around, the better for you.

It would be best if you also placed the tank on a flat and strong surface. Having the tank in an area with low traffic is an added advantage. Tanks will age much faster when they are consistently bumped or hit!

As the tank ages, you may have some leaks around the tank. Don’t panic! It is not the end of your tank. Empty your tank and re-seal it with silicone.

You can smile when you’re done, knowing you have added some years to the tank’s lifespan.

  • It would be best if you never scrubbed or touched the sealant. Unfortunately, most of us are guilty of going crazy when dealing with algae on the tank surface. It is time you go easy on the scrapers or risk peeling off the sealant.

Glass vs. Acrylic

What makes a better aquarium between glass and acrylic has been debated for ages. Ultimately, it boils down to an individual’s preference. What you need or want from your fish tank should guide choosing between glass and acrylic tanks.

acrylic vs glass
Acrylic glass

For instance, those who need a fish tank that will last for many years into the future are better off with glass aquariums. Acrylic fish tanks are suited for fishkeepers that want designer and lightweight tanks.

Glass fish tanks are more popular with aquarists compared to acrylic tanks. Besides, why not? Glass fish tanks are readily available, easy on our pockets, and last much longer than acrylic fish tanks.

There are certainly more advantages to glass tanks compared to acrylic tanks. It is no wonder why many people prefer glass tanks. However, as mentioned before, it is upon you to get a tank that suits what you want and needs.

What about Plastic Aquariums?

Choices make our lives easier – or harder – depending on who you ask. Regarding aquariums, we have a third choice; a respite from choosing between glass and acrylics. Well, is it? Do we have a great third choice for our fish tanks?

Generally, plastic fish tanks are not as popular or well-known as their counterparts. Their disadvantages have proven so difficult to stomach that most fish keepers would stick to traditional glass or acrylic fish tanks instead.

They discolor with time which leaves less to be desired about your aquariums. If you are using heaters, they melt from the heat, and it is hard to repair damages on plastic fish tanks.

As you can see, you are better off with your glass or acrylic fish tank. You may have to choose between the two, but they are certainly better choices than plastic aquariums.


Q: How long do tank seals last?

A:   A quality silicone seal should last a minimum of 10 years. According to most manufacturers, silicone has a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years! It will likely last decades, depending on how well you did the seal.

Q: How do you tell if an aquarium needs to be resealed?

A: When aquarium seals cracks or peels away, you definitely have to reseal your tank. Water leaking from the tank is the best indicator to reseal your aquarium.

Additionally, it is best to reseal a used tank before setting it up for fish.

Q: When should I replace my aquarium(Fish tank)?

A: You should replace your tank when it is faulty beyond repair. Even though fixing fish tank issues can be time-consuming, most of them are not difficult to fix.

Q: Are aquariums hard to maintain?

A: It is easy to maintain a fish tank if you are familiar with the business of maintaining one. However, the knowhow of maintaining a fish tank takes some time to master. It will take extensive research, discipline, commitment and attention to get the hang of it.


A well-maintained tank will mostly last longer than a poorly kept tank. If you stick to the basics and don’t go overboard in your routine maintenance, you will have a tank last for ages.

If you forget everything in this article, you should at least remember not to touch the sealant in your tank. That is my sauce for increasing a tank’s lifespan. It is as easy as that!