Starphire Glass: The Clearest Looking Glass for Marine Life

By Hannah Henegarstarphire glass

Starphire Glass

Starphire glass is the newest trend in glass production. This type of glass achieves both amazing clarity and strong durability. Starphire glass is available in sizes up to 1 inch thick and is the most transparent option in the industry. It manages to have this clarity by only having as little as 10% of the iron content of other forms of glass. This allows over 90% of light to transmit through it compared to 83% for regular glass. The low iron content also greatly influences the green tint found in standard glass. This helps minimize the “greening” effect typically found in thick panels of glass. Starphire provides formative advantages in comparison to standard float glass. Particularly, it is characterized by a higher transparency and a more neutral color, making glass ideal where high visibility and clarity are required.

Low-Iron Glass

Low-iron glass is created by reducing the amount of iron within the glass ingredients. When this is done, the typical green cast of what is commonly called “clear” glass, is reduced. Low-iron product will continue to have a color cast, and it differs by each manufacturer. However, the smaller the piece, the less amount of cast and vice versa. Low-iron products are referred to by a number of different product names. Some of the most common names include: Starphire, Krystal, and Optiwhite. They all may have a slightly different color cast.

Why Glass for Aquariums?

There are numerous reasons why you should select glass over acrylic for your new tank:

  • Scratches: The main complaint with acrylic tanks are the ability to easily be scratched. If you are not going to frequently clean your tank and don’t want to worry about being super careful while cleaning, glass is a much better option for you. Acrylic will scratch very easily.
  • Support: Glass has the ability to support the weight of water without needing much additional bracing on the top of the tank. Acrylic does not offer this solution and will require extra bracing along the top of the tank. Glass tanks can be extremely beautiful when built with this rimless design.
  • Clarity: Acrylic has the ability to become discolored over time, which glass does not. By building a glass tank, you are ensuring many years of crystal cleat viewing of your underwater friends.
  • Cost: In most cases, glass tanks tend to be more inexpensive than a similar acrylic tank. This can be a big deciding factor for many buyers.

Most likely when deciding upon an aquarium, you might have considered low-iron glass. Glass has many uses and applications with the aquarium industry being one of the smallest that it prospers from. Most glass is made with silica and then sodium carbonate is added to help the glass reach a lower melting point. The green tint that you see in most aquariums is a direct result from using lime when making glass. The resulting glass produced is called “soda lime” glass and accounts for over 90% of the glass that is produced today. Where does this iron glass come from? Iron is commonly added to glass because it gives more of a sparkle which is a result of increased refractive properties. Another property that is added as well is lead. Lead too gives an increased sparkle property and is a very popular additive when making glass.

The go to standard for aquariums has always been glass. Over the years, the type of glass used on aquariums has changed a lot, and today, there are options that are both very strong and offer an extremely clear view of your tank.

For smaller tanks under 240 gallons, the most popular option is glass. With small tanks, the disadvantages of glass such as weight aren’t that much of an issue. Also, glass will hold up to more day to day abuse than acrylic. This is mainly due to glass being harder to scratch than softer acrylic.

Any combination of glass is available for aquariums, but Starphire glass is the most recommended for in home aquariums. It is all up to you though in the end!