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Advantages of Using an Aquarium for a Hamster Cage

Updated on June 14, 2011

Whether you have a single Syrian hamster a couple of dwarf hamsters, you may be able to use an aquarium as a perfect cage for your hamsters. Aquariums are built for housing fish, so in the pet store, or even when shopping online, you may find them located or listed with fish supplies.

But you can adapt an aquarium into a perfectly fine home for your hamsters. Simply fill the fish tank with bedding, a freestanding exercise wheel, a water bottle, some toys, and a top that lets air in.

Aquariums can provide some great advantages over the typical wire cage. An aquarium allows for great visibility, provides for your hamster’s safety, and even helps keeping things clean.

A glass aquarium makes a great hamster home!
A glass aquarium makes a great hamster home!

You Can See Your Hamsters

One of the best parts of using an aquarium as a hamster cage is that you can actually see your pets. You can see your hamsters running in a wheel, climbing around its toys, or just enjoying its daily snack. You can even watch your hamsters burrow down into their bedding, a rare sight for most owners. That’s because aquariums are made of glass, so you can easily see into it from all four sides.

For those that breed hamsters, the added visibility can be quite helpful. You will know when your hamster is giving birth, and you can even see the litter when it is born. If you are planning on quickly separating the group, visibility will be your friend.

Aquariums Provide Some Extra Safety

Aquarium habitats provide a bit of extra safety that wire habitats cannot match. As hamsters cannot climb glass, it is quite a bit harder for the animals to escape the confines of the aquarium. It is likewise impossible for the little creatures to squeeze between spaces found in wire cages, as there are no spaces in the aquarium glass.

Unlike plastic cages, there is no chance for hamsters to gnaw their way out. Glass is a great barrier for such clever animals, and the perfect way to keep them safe. If you want to keep them inside, glass is the way to go.

You will, however, have to protect your hamster from climbing out the top of the aquarium. Hamsters have been known to climb up the toys or tubes you put in the aquarium to reach the large opening on the top and escape. By buying a wire mesh top that is fit to cover the top of the aquarium, you can prevent your hamster from escaping.

These habitats also keep larger animals away from your hamster. Claws and paws cannot go through glass, and thus dogs and cats will quickly lose interest. Remember to keep the top on the aquarium, though, or your hamsters will still be in danger.

Finally, aquariums eliminate drafts that can cause a hamster to get sick. The thick sides eliminate breezes, and help to keep a hamster safe. The mesh top on the aquarium will allow air in so your pet can still breathe.

Aquariums Help Keep the Area Clean

Hamsters are burrowing animals. When they dig in a standard hamster cage, the litter and bedding tend to be flung haphazardly across the space on which the cage sits. For most owners, this leads to a great deal of clean up both inside and outside the living space on cleaning day. If you have a wire cage, you will simply be required to clean more.

If you have an aquarium, though, there is no way for the contents of the cage to get through the glass. There will not be a mess outside the cage, and clean-up should be quite a bit quicker. You can enjoy your hamster a bit more knowing that its play will not lead to more work for you.

Keep these advantages in mind when you're looking for a new home for your hamster.


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    • Billsnotes profile image

      Billsnotes 6 years ago

      Thanks for your comment and hubs about hamsters.

      I agree that ammonia buildup is a potential disadvantage. The weight issue may or may not be a disadvantage depending on who's doing the lifting. And I would add that an aquarium gets even heavier when you're rinsing it out with water during cleaning. Disagree about the toys and tunnels. A 20 or 30 gallon tank would allow room for them. And as you say, a tank topper, with ladders, could double your space. See my article for a discussion of aquarium disadvantages.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      High risk of ammonia buildup. Heavier.less room to add play things that make hamsters comfortable, such as tunnels, unless a topper is added.