With tank customization within the aquarium keeping hobby being very popular right now, there are a large number of people asking various questions about how they can customize their own tanks.
One thing that is very popular right now is using either vinyl tubing or PVC tubing in a tank to either fit aquarium accessories to the tank or to make custom decorations such as PVC fish hide caves.
Due to this, we have decided to publish this article going over our vinyl vs PVC tubing comparison to try and help as many of our readers as possible work out what option is better for them.
In many situations, either material will work find for many tasks and in reality, it is only a small number of use cases where one of these will be better than the other.
For many people, that will come down to price but we will go over the advantages and disadvantages of each in our article below to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
What Is PVC?
PVC is short for polyvinyl chloride and it is a type of thermoplastic polymer.
This means that it can be easily molded and shaped when heated but will return to its original form when cooled.
PVC is very commonly used in both the construction industry as well as in many household items such as guttering, water pipes, and window frames.
It is also a common material used in many aquarium products such as filters, protein skimmers, and even fish tanks themselves when they come shipped from the manufacturer.
Due to the durability, low price tag, and safety of PVC, it is very commonly used in the fish keeping hobby for a number of different things.
Is PVC Safe for Aquariums?
We have a dedicated article going over if PVC is safe for an aquarium so we will keep it short in this article.
For the most part, PVC is perfectly fine to use in most aquarium setups provided that the PVC is clean prior to adding it to your tank.
If you are cutting the PVC to customize its length or shape then you should also sand down the edges too.
This helps to remove a potential hazard for your fish by cutting themselves while also preventing the PVC fibers getting into your tank’s water supply.
The Advantages of PVC!
So, now that we know a little bit more about PVC, what are the main advantages that it has over vinyl?
Well, first of all, PVC is very cheap in comparison to vinyl.
This is due to the fact that it is made from cheaper materials and does not require as much processing in order to turn it into a useable product.
PVC is also very easy to work with.
It can be cut with a saw, drilled, and molded into shape very easily which makes it ideal for those who want to customize their tanks.
Another advantage of PVC is that it is very durable.
It can withstand high temperatures and does not degrade over time like some other plastics can.
This makes it ideal for use in aquariums as it will not degrade over time and release chemicals into your water like some other materials can.
PVC is also very easy to find.
It is widely available in most hardware stores and is very popular in the construction industry which means that it is easy to get hold of.
The Disadvantages of PVC!
PVC does have a few disadvantages that you should be aware of before using it in your aquarium.
First of all, PVC can release chemicals into your water if it is not properly sealed.
This can be harmful to both your fish and your plants and can cause problems in your tank.
PVC is also not as flexible as vinyl which can make it difficult to work with in some situations.
Finally, PVC is not as clear as vinyl and so it can affect the aesthetics of your tank if you are using it for decorations or hiding places for your fish.
What Is Vinyl?
Vinyl is a type of plastic that is made from PVC.
However, it is a lot softer and more flexible than PVC which makes it ideal for use in many different applications.
Vinyl is very commonly used in the construction industry as it can be easily molded into shape and is very durable.
It is also commonly used in the manufacturing of clothing and other textile products.
Is Vinyl Safe for Aquariums?
Yes, vinyl is safe for use in aquariums and will not release any harmful chemicals into your water.
However, you should always make sure that the vinyl is clean before adding it to your tank as it can harbor bacteria and other contaminants.
The Advantages of Vinyl!
Vinyl has many advantages over PVC which make it ideal for use in aquariums.
First of all, vinyl is very flexible which makes it easy to work with.
It can be cut, drilled, and molded into shape very easily which makes it ideal for those who want to customize their tanks.
Another advantage of vinyl is that it is very clear.
This means that it will not affect the aesthetics of your tank and will allow you to see your fish clearly.
Finally, vinyl is very durable and will not degrade over time like some other plastics can.
This makes it ideal for use in aquariums as it will not release harmful chemicals into your water over time.
The Disadvantages of Vinyl!
Vinyl does have a few disadvantages that you should be aware of before using it in your aquarium.
First of all, vinyl can harbor bacteria and other contaminants if it is not properly cleaned before use.
This can be harmful to your fish and plants and can cause problems in your tank.
Another disadvantage of vinyl is that it is not as strong as PVC and so it can be punctured or torn more easily.
Finally, vinyl is not as widely available as PVC and so it may be more difficult to find while also being expensive too.
Vinyl vs PVC – What Is Better?
So, what is better?
PVC or vinyl?
The answer to this question depends on what you are looking for.
If you are looking for a material that is durable, easy to work with, and widely available then PVC is the better option.
However, if you are looking for a material that is more flexible, clear, and durable then vinyl is the better option.
So, which one should you use?
It really depends on your own personal preferences and what you are looking for in a material.
If you need any help deciding, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.