In the world of glass aquariums, there are generally two types of glass that are used for construction…either tempered or non-tempered. Typically, tempered glass is reserved for the bottom of the aquarium, while non-tempered sheets make up the sides of a tank. Tempered glass is accomplished through various thermal and chemical processes, and it is stronger than normal glass and shatters into tiny bits instead of breaking into large, dangerous shards. Why are we mentioning this? Well, it’s very important to know which glass you have if you ever want to drill your aquarium to make an overflow (or whatever else you need an extra hole for). If you drill tempered glass, it will shatter into a million pieces and you’ll ruin the aquarium. Non-tempered glass, on the other hand, can be drilled with relative ease. You’ll need a diamond tipped hole saw, a drill, and something to lubricate the cutting surface.
How can you tell if glass is tempered or not? Well, most manufacturers provide a sticker that is posted on the panes of glass that are tempered. If there is no sticker and you don’t want to make assumptions, then you can verify the type of glass by placing an LCD screen inside the tank and putting on a pair of polarized glasses. Since the tempering process causes some polarization of the glass and most LCD screens have a polarizing filter built-in, you can clearly see if a tank is tempered or not.
To view a great visual example of this in action, be sure to visit: Salt City.