Hamster in Aquarium: Pros & Cons

Many parents today are faced with the dilemma of which kind of animal makes the best first pet for their child. There are a variety of animals to choose from, but hamsters just may be the perfect choice for your little one. They are small in size and relatively easy to take care of, as well. Before bringing your hamster home from the pet store, you’ll need to decide on which type of cage you’ll keep your new friend in. There are a couple of different types of cages available, but most owners tend to choose either wire cages, aquariums, or a combination of the two. Continue reading if you’re thinking about getting a hamster for your little one, but you need a little information before moving forward.

Hamster Habits

Before choosing a cage for your new pet, you must first think about your hamster’s needs. Hamsters are considered burrowing animals, and being so, they need enough bedding on the floor of the cage to tunnel and nest. When it comes to eating and storing food, your tiny pet will prefer different corners. It would also prefer a different corner for using the bathroom. Because hamsters are very curious animals and love to explore different areas of their environment, some cages come with tunnels and different compartments to customize. You can even attach two or three different cages to give your hamster an entire mansion to explore. Needless to say, the more space your hamster has to explore the happier the little critter will be.

Wire Cages

Wire cages are a good choice because they are typically well ventilated. They’re able to keep the cage from being moist, which could lead to way more bedding changes than you’re willing to do. If you choose a wire cage, make sure the gap between the bars is close enough together so that your pet can’t make a grand escape. You also don’t want little ones sticking their tiny fingers in the cage, possibly hurting the tiny animal or themselves. Wire cages can also be easier to clean! Just simply detach the bottom from the top, dump the soiled litter, and then rinse and refill with clean bedding. Unfortunately, one of the downsides with wire cages is that your hamster will kick bedding around, which can cause a huge mess, so be sure to buy a cage with higher walls on the bottom. It’s also important to mention that wire cages expose your pet to drafts, so make sure that your furry friend is placed in a draft-free room.


An aquarium can make a great cage and has been a popular option amongst hamster owners. Because aquariums are made of glass walls and a wire mesh top, this bar-free container keeps your tiny creature safe from little children and household pets. One of the pros to the clear glass aquarium is that you can watch your hamster and all of his curious habits. Also, thanks to the glass of the aquarium, you won’t have to worry about stinky, unwanted odors. On the other hand, the stinky odors have to come from somewhere. That’s right, poop. Glass aquariums have very poor ventilation, which can cause a build-up of toxic gases like ammonia. Ammonia gases can become trapped in the aquarium causing respiratory issues and possibly costing your pet its life. Aquariums can become hot because of poor ventilation, so always remember to keep the glass tank in a well-vented, draft-free area and out of the sun. Keeping your hamster in a tank means you will have to do regular weekly cleanings to keep your hamster healthy, so make sure that you’re prepared to do that every time your little one “forgets”.

Combination Tanks

Choosing one tank over the other can be difficult, but there is a solution: the combination of the two! Instead of the wire mesh top on the aquarium, there are different kinds of cage tops equipped with platforms that reach from the glass bottom to the wire cage area. Combination tanks are good for helping with ventilation and it will give your hamster loads of room to explore. The glass tank bottom will also make for a good viewing area for you and the littles to enjoy your furry pet’s silly antics. Because it still contains an aquarium bottom, most owners find that combination tanks can be difficult to clean due to the fact that it is double the area.

The Conclusion

So which do you choose? The wire cage with its easy cleaning and good ventilation, but poor safety? The aquarium with its odor control and safe viewing area, but poor ventilation with health risks? Or the combination tank with its shared pros and cons? Depending on what your home environment and personal preferences are, you should have no problem figuring out which of three would be the best for you and your family.

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