Feb 252011
 

It’s not advertised as a cage, but a fish aquarium can be a good choice for a hamster cage. However, there are some serious considerations when you’re thinking about using a fish tank for your hamster to live in. (You can read Using an Aquarium for a Hamster Cage to learn about its benefits.)

Size

Hamsters need space to run, hide, and play. So make sure your glass cage is at least 10 gallons. A 20 or even a 30 gallon tank would be even better.

hamster wheel Why so big? Because you’ll need space for:

  • A freestanding exercise wheel
  • The usual feeding, burrowing, and bathroom areas
  • Exercise area that might include toys or tubes
  • Air circulation

You may also need space for a water dish. As you realize, you can’t hang a water bottle from the side of smooth glass. However, you can use Velcro to attach a water bottle to the glass. Or you can hang a water bottle from the top of the aquarium.

Weight

A 10 or 20-gallon glass aquarium will weigh a lot more than a wire or a plastic cage. If you can’t handle the weight and it drops, a glass aquarium could break. This is not true for wire or plastic hamster habitats.

Once you’ve put your hamster cage in one location, weight isn’t a problem. But it can be an issue when it’s time to clean your aquarium. After you empty the aquarium out, you’ll have to pick it up and carry it to where there’s water. You than have to handle it and move it around to get all the corners clean. Figure an empty 10 or 20 gallon aquarium weighs about 10 to 20 pounds (4.5 to 9 KG). And as you rinse it with water, it will get heavier and harder to move around.

This is why some people say aquariums are hard to clean and some people have no problem cleaning them. It all depends on your ability to handle the weight. So, can you lift 10 pound weights? If you can, you’re ready to handle a hamster aquarium.

Ventilation

A typical hamster can run from 3 to 6 miles a day (usually at night). That means your hamster needs moving air to breathe. With glass sides, there is less airflow than in a typical wire cage. Another problem with lack of ventilation is that the fumes and smells from urine and dirty bedding can be trapped inside the cage. These fumes can hurt your hamster.

Finally, if you put your aquarium in direct sunlight, the glass will increase the heat inside the cage. It can get hot enough to kill your hamster!
aquarium mesh top

So to get air in your aquarium you must have a top that lets air in, but keeps your hamster from escaping. The solution is a mesh top that fits securely on the top. That means no spaces or loose edges on the sides that your hamster can wiggle through. The spacing on the mesh should be less than ½ inch.

Some people recommend putting a rock on top of the mesh to prevent your hamster from pushing the top off. But a heavy rock can eventually break the mesh and fall on your hamster. So try using more, lighter rocks.

Cage clips can also be used to help keep the lid on. Just be sure to keep the clips outside the cage so your hammy doesn’t decide to chew them up.

Tank toppers can also be used to add both height and air circulation to an aquarium hamster home. aquarium with topper So before you buy an aquarium for your hamster, think about its size and weight and plan for adequate ventilation.

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Feb 252011
 

If you have one Syrian hamster, or a pair of dwarf hamsters, an aquarium is a good choice for a hamster cage. The glass or plastic 10 or 20 gallon fish tank offers a lot of benefits including visibility, safety, and cleanliness.

Visibility

Since aquariums are glass or plastic on all sides, it’s easy to see your hammy when he or she is out and about. You can have a clear view of it running in its wheel or running through tubes you’ve set up along the floor of the cage. Sometimes you can even see them when they burrow down into their bedding. glass aquarium

And if you do hamster breeding, the clear sides will let you look in on your nest of baby hamsters.

You could also buy a “topper” for the glass cage. The topper, made of wire, sits on top of the aquarium and lets you add additional levels that your hamster can climb up. With the topper, you have more chances to see your hamster climbing and playing. aquarium topper

 

Safety

The aquarium hamster home also provides a few safety benefits. First, the smooth glass sides make it very difficult for your hamster to climb up and escape. With wire cages, hamsters can climb around the wires until they find a space big enough to fit through. Or, worse yet, they can get caught in between the wires and hurt themselves. Since there’s no climbing up the sides, the aquarium cuts down on escapes and potential wire bar accidents.

In plastic cages hamsters have been known to gnaw their way through the plastic. They won’t be gnawing through the glass.

Of course, if there are toys for your hamster to climb on in the aquarium you can be sure they will find their way to the opening at the top. That’s why you have to have a tight-fitting mesh top on your aquarium. aquarium mesh

If you have other pets, such as a cat or a dog, the aquarium can provide better protection for your hamster. With glass, your other animal won’t be able to stick its claws or paws through the wires and hurt your hamster. Of course, you must remember to keep the top covered.

Another safety factor is that some hamster cages end up being put in drafty areas of a room. Too many breezes going through the cage can make your hammy sick. The tall glass sides of the aquarium help cut down on breezes. Of course, your hamster still needs air coming through the mesh covering.

Cleanliness

Hamsters like to burrow. And when they do, most owners will tell you their hamster will dig up bedding, shavings, leftover food, and even some poop. With wire bottom cages, that stuff can get scattered all over the place outside of the cage. So not only do you have to clean the cage, but also the area around it.

With an aquarium, all that bedding stays inside the glass cage. No more mess all over the place. It’ll be much more fun watching your hamster burrow in its cage knowing you won’t have to clean up after it.

If you’re thinking about getting an aquarium for your hamster cage, read 3 Critical Guidelines For Choosing An Aquarium Hamster Cage.


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