Should I Buy a Cage or an Aquarium?

Although Roborovski's are the smallest hamsters, they actually require a reasonable amount of space in their cage or aquarium - though it varies on your budget & how much you are willing to spend on your Robo(s). Here are some pros and cons for the kinds of cage/aquariums that are available.

A cage or aquarium with a minimum floor size of about 50cm by 30cm for one pair of Roborovskis is about right. Even if a cage has lots levels, try to keep those minimum ground floor sizes in the back of your mind. Roborovskis will appreciate all of the room you can spare - so if you're on a budget, stay away from the cages with lots of colourful plastics and lots of tubes because they are generally much more expensive but offer the same amount of floor space as a plain cage.

Here's a photo gallery of Reader's Robo habitats (of all kinds).

Glass Tanks

+Pro: Glass aquariums are relatively cheap. They are also very easy to clean, hard to scratch and you can see your pet without the interference of bars, which is much more use if you want to take photos of your pets. The bedding will stay where it belongs and it keeps your hamster safe from drafts and cold.

-Con: Unsuitable for young children, because of the heavy weight, and awkward to handle.
Temperature can sometimes rise to dangerous levels when put in full sunlight, due to not enough ventilation.

You can use a wire mesh to close the top of the aquarium if the top level is high enough that the Robo could escape out of (they're so small, you really want to rule out every possibility of them escaping). Under no circumstance close a glass or plastic cage with a solid lid as this can block their supply of fresh air and ventilation. It can get surprisingly hot in glass and plastic aquariums during the summer.

(For readers interested about how I put 3 glass shelves in Tic and Tac's old aquarium, readthis forum thread with step by step instructions and illustrations).

Fancy a challenge? Check out this IKEA shelving cage

Plastic Tanks & Boxes

+Pro: Plastic aquariums & tanks show the same advantages as glass aquariums yet are lighter and and easier to transport. If dropped, they won't shatter, and are therefore more child friendly.

-Cons: Large plastic aquariums are harder to find and buy than large glass aquariums. This normally restricts to keeping only one hamster in at a time and can lead to a cluttered aquarium as in this case (above). From the photographer's point of view, a plastic aquarium is to avoid. Scratches blur the final image and can confuse the camera's autofocus.

Plastic Dwarf Hamster Cages

+Pro: The length between the bars of these cages is so small that even Roborovski's can't get through them. They can also look quite exciting with the colourful tubes and all. Some of them are quite cheap; the most basic ones, at least. Also, most of these cages have tube holes to put in extension cages and tubes.

 -Con: Can be very expensive, expescially the 'deluxe' ones with colourful tubes and different levels. It can be hard to take good photos through the bars or at ground level, as normally these cages are very small by themselves (without the extensions).

Mouse Cages

Mouse cages are basically the same as plastic dwarf hamster cages (see above), but because they are usually smaller, I would recommend a cage designed for gerbils/dwarf hamsters.

This is Tac's cage since Tic and Tac fought in November 2008

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