What are Bow Front Aquariums?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Images By: Jovannig, n/a, Michal Adamczyk
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2019
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A bow front aquarium is an aquarium with a noticeably convex front wall. The sides and back of a bow front aquarium are standard. A bow front aquarium affords a deeper habitat and, many believe, a more interesting view of the fish living inside.

Bow front aquariums can be made of glass or acrylic, but are more commonly found in acrylic. Acrylic is a very clear material that can be fashioned into various shapes and has molecularly welded seams. This makes the acrylic tank one solid piece of material, unable to leak. This is especially significant in larger applications that represent a greater investment for the aquarist.

In the past bow front aquariums were normally sold in capacities of 50 - 150 gallon (190 - 378 liters), though the popularity of the bow-front design has spread to low-end novelty tanks in capacities as small as 2.5 gallon (9.4 liters). Though these tanks might be appealing to youngsters and their parents, they are not practical for providing a suitable home for fish. A 10 gallon (37.8 liters) bow front with a small school of tetras or a beta is more practical for the beginner.

For intermediate or advanced aquarists, bow front aquariums of 75 - 100 gallon (284 - 379 liters) are very impressive and are offered with customized stands of various types and finishes. Along with the stands matching canopies can be purchased to hold lighting fixtures.


Due to their elegance and style, bow front aquariums are often found in the waiting rooms of professional buildings. Not only do they provide a focal point for clients, but it is believed that viewing an aquarium can have a calming effect.

When choosing a place in your home for a bow front aquarium, it is best to avoid walkways. Pick a location that allows the tank to serve as a centerpiece. If you are remodeling, you might consider that bow fronts look especially nice built into a wall. There are specialty companies that will provide this service.

Bow front aquariums are widely available anywhere aquariums are sold and can be used for saltwater or freshwater applications. If you cannot find a bow front in the size you desire, many manufacturers of acrylic aquariums will build custom tanks upon request at a reasonable price. Whether you start small or buy big, a bow front aquarium can provide decades of enjoyment and is sure to garner enduring admiration from friends and family alike.


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Post 3

This problem is common to bow fronts and it should be repaired. Get a similar piece of plastic and use plastic epoxy to layer on another center piece.

Post 2

Can anyone tell me how (or if I can) to repair a broken plastic center brace of a 55 gallon bow front tank. Or am I unduly worried? Is it that big of a deal? There are no leaks at this time and it broke about a week ago.

Post 1

Does anyone know anything about wall mounted fish aquariums? They seem to be the trend lately and I have seen a lot of publicity on them. To me they seem very narrow and not well-suited for fish. At least I don't know if the fish would like it. Am I wrong? or do the fish not care? [company name removed by editor] has a whole bunch of them, and a lot of information, but I wanted to see if anyone has some personal experience with them. Thanks!

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