Rimless Vs. Rimmed Aquarium, What’s the Difference?

Rimless Vs. Rimmed Aquarium

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New hobbies are always fun, but they can be challenging too, especially if you’re interested in something like fish keeping that you can’t escape from the daily routine of responsibilities. Well, it can be really rewarding at the end of the day. 

The question most new hobbyists ask themselves when choosing an aquarium is, “What type of aquarium is better? Rimless vs. rimmed aquarium, what’s the difference?”

Being around the aquarium fish field for so many years, I would like to change the question a tad, and you should ask yourself is, “Which aquarium will suit your fish and give me the best experience?”

Hopefully, this article will help you start with a stronger understanding of the difference between rimless aquariums and rimmed aquariums.

Rimless Vs. Rimmed Aquarium, What’s the Difference?  

There are pros and cons to both rimless and rimmed aquariums. Let’s take a quick look at some of them. 

Rimless (Braceless) Aquarium Rimmed (Traditional Braced) Aquarium
Pros. Higher aesthetic appeal
. Easier to Clean
. More stable
. Provide more lights & gas exchange
. Perfect for small spaces
. Hold more water
. Hide the water line
. Various sizes and shapes
. Durable
. Cheap
Cons. Fish can jump out of tank
. More prone to water spills
. Expensive
. Limited sizes available
. Ugly
. Green hue glass

What is a Rimless or Braceless Aquarium Tank?

Rimless aquariums are all the rage nowadays. This type of tank doesn’t have braces around the top edge of the aquarium and the canopy/lid. 

Rimless aquariums only use top-notch silicone seams to hold the high-purity glass together, which offer a more natural look to your aquatic environment without distracting the rim around the top of the tank. This gives the impression of the water continuing over the edge of the tank into nothingness.

The Benefits of a Rimless Aquarium

Will a rimless aquarium work better for you? Here are some of the benefits of having a rimless aquarium:

They Look More Natural

The main advantage a rimless aquarium provides is its aesthetic appeal. With this type of setup, you can enjoy the view from all angles without worrying about looking toward an endpoint or having things getting in your line of vision.

In addition, the rimless aquariums on the market are made from Starphire or DIAMANT® Extra-Clear glass. The low iron content eliminates the green tint that is often seen in ordinary float glass, offering exceptional clarity. 

Diamant – Low Iron glass (Photo: Tglass)

This means you can always find your fish no matter where they are. The rimless tank is definitely a timeless, modern, and elegant way to show your fishy affection.

They’re Easier to Clean

Rimless aquariums are also much easier to clean because there’s nowhere for dirt and detritus to hide. With a rimmed aquarium, the plastic brace can be a magnet for all sorts of gunk, and it’s difficult to get into all the nooks and crannies around the edge of the tank.

Since there is no brace around the top edge of the tank, it’s easy to get in and scrub away any algae or scum that may have built up. All you need to do is wipe down the silicone seams.

They’re Stable

A rimless aquarium is also more stable because there’s no rim to wobble or cause the tank to tip over. For the same reason, their glass has silicone reinforcement around the edge, ensuring they don’t break under pressure from the water.

This can be a real advantage if you have small children or pets that like to play around near the aquarium.

They Provide More Lights & Gas Exchange

Because rimless aquariums don’t have a canopy, you’ll get more light into the aquarium, which is great for plants and fish. On the other hand, the Open top design promotes gas exchange for your aquarium.

They’re Perfect for Small Spaces

The most common Rimless aquarium sizes fall under 120 gallons installation; they take up less space than rimmed aquariums, so they’re the #1 number choice for nano reef tanks in small spaces. For larger tanks over 120 gallons, rimless designs are less common.

The Downsides of A Rimless Aquarium

When you’re a fan of rimless aquariums, it can be hard to accept the trade-offs. Sure they look great and have less-working parts than their counterparts with rims, but what about downsides?

Fish Jumping Out of Tanks

One of the best parts about the rimless aquarium is the lack of a lid or canopy to cover on the top, but this is a double-edged sword. 

Some species of fish are notorious jumpers, such as bettas, loaches, Mollies. Without a cover, they’re much more likely to jump out of the tank and into your floor.

Lack of a rim also means that there is nothing to keep fish from swimming out of the tank, so you’ll need to be extra vigilant about checking the water level and adding netting as needed.

Water Spills

Rimless aquariums are also more prone to water spills because of the lack of a rimmed edge. If the silicone sealant isn’t applied correctly or if there is any damage to the tank, water can easily leak out and create a big mess.

They’re More Expensive

Rimless aquariums are also a bit more expensive than traditional braced aquariums. This is likely due to the extra labor and materials that go into making them rimless.

Rimmed (Traditional Braced) Aquarium

Rimmed aquariums, also known as traditional braced aquariums, have been around for a long time and are still popular for many fish enthusiasts. They come in various sizes and shapes, making them a versatile option for both beginner and experienced aquarists.

In general, rimmed aquariums have a few clear benefits over rimless aquariums.

Hold More Water

One of the biggest advantages of traditional braced aquariums is that they can hold more water. This is because they have a rimmed edge around the top of the tank, which helps to stabilize and support the weight of the water. This can be especially important for large tanks over 120 gallons.

Hide the Water Line

A rimmed aquarium also helps hide the water line, which can be a bit unsightly. The edge of the tank creates a visual barrier between the water and the wall or furniture behind it. 

So, Which Is Better?

There are many factors to consider when deciding between rimless and rimmed aquariums. 

Rimmed aquariums are still the most popular option. They’re easy to set up and maintain, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. On the other hand, rimless aquariums are growing in popularity because they offer some unique benefits.

In the end, it’s all about personal preference. Do you want a rimless tank for saltwater reefs or a large rimmed tank for SA/CA Cichlid? If braced aquariums are more up your alley, then go ahead.

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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