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Come and talk to me about gerbil tanks, which are bes and cleaning

(16 Posts)
forkhandles Thu 25-Nov-10 13:44:50

So I've decided that DD can have gerbils for Christmas, but now I'm confused about their cages/tanks. Please could you give me some advice...

I was originally looking at the Savac/Pets at Home type gerbilarium which is a deep-ish tank with a wire topper above which has wire shelves. But the man in our local pet shop advised against he said the pure glass ones are better as anything with wire is bad for chewing and broken legs. He showed me one that was all glass with internal glass shelves for different levels. Like this.

But I have read these are difficult to clean becuase the shelves don't come out and they are heavy to move.

How often will I need to fully change their bedding and wash the tank?

Will it be too messy to do this in DD's room?

Will the tank I've linked to give them enough depth under the first shelf to burrow?

Which tank would you choose?

Thanks so much!

forkhandles Fri 26-Nov-10 19:51:38


sparkle101 Sat 27-Nov-10 16:50:26


With gerbils they love to do two things: 1. burrow and 2. chew. If you can play to one of these they more often than not leave the other alone, so you could easily use the one with the wire topper. The nice thing about this cage in comparison to the one with shelves is with this one they can create burrows and nests, whereas with the shelving one the shelves get in the way.

The glass ones are definately heavier to move.

The topper one may incur more mess as the sawdust can come out of the top whereas the glass one won't.

I work in a pet shop and have never heard of a gerbil breaking it's legs on a topper variety cage.

With either cage you can use sawdust (excellent for making tunnels with!) or woodshavings, or peat. The shelving one I would recommend cleaning weekly and the topper one fortnightly,

You can do them in your daughter's room. The topper will be quick and easy to clean, and hopefully with minimal mess whereas the glass shelved one will be a lot harder to clean and may well make mess. Lots of nooks and crannies to get into. Mae sure you have somewhere for the gerbils to go when cleaning.

Hope this reply reaches you in time!

Indith Sat 27-Nov-10 17:00:30

When I had gerbils we just had a big tank with no shelves at all, they didn't seem to mind! I filled it about 1/3 full with a mix of peat and woodshavings which gave a good mix for tunnels and cleaned it out roughly once a term. We used to give them all the inners form loo rolls etc which they would play with a bit then drag down their tunnels to shred for bedding. Gerbils are fantastic pets, really fantastic to play with

forkhandles Sun 28-Nov-10 21:10:11

Thank you both for replying.

I'm really looking forward to watching them burrow, every time I throw away a suitable box I think that in a few weeks time I'll be saving them.

I saw some amazing pictures of peoples gerbilariums where they had made a framework of boxes and tubes and then put the fresh bedding back in over the top.

I may well go for the one with the wire topper then, I'm definiately looking for something that's easy to clean out.

Do I need one of those tiny animal carriers to put them in while I clean them out? They look like something DD2 would put a soft toy in!

Indith Mon 29-Nov-10 07:32:49

You could get a carrier, we used to have hamsters so I popped them in one of the little cages or just fenced off an area of the room and let them run around. CArrier probably useful to get anyway though for taking to the vet etc.

forkhandles Mon 29-Nov-10 22:23:02

Can I ask another question!

When you clean out the tank, do you wash and dry it every time or is it enough to completely change the bedding?

Mutt Mon 29-Nov-10 22:31:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CrispyTheCrisp Mon 29-Nov-10 22:34:14

We just had peat in ours and sprayed it with water to keep it damp so the tunnels don't collapse. we did clean it out but only every couple of months IIRC

loo rolls etc will all just be shredded for bedding as Indith said. Mine also ate their plastic house and plastic food bowl hmm

Mutt Mon 29-Nov-10 22:40:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

forkhandles Mon 29-Nov-10 23:08:48

that's a really good idea about putting them in the bath!

I'm swaying back to the Perfecto/Critters Choice tank as it's going to give them much more space for digging. here

Do you think it's going to be a real pain to clean out as the shelves don't move and I would imagine it's going to be quite heavy to move. How do you wash a tank like that out? With the plastic Savic one I'm imagining you'd take the tank bit to the bath and rinse it out, obv not with gerbils playing in bath

Have you found your gerbils make a toilet area? Do they do this naturally or do you encourage them to use one bit?

Indith Tue 30-Nov-10 10:32:22

I cleaned mine properly with soapy water and dried each time but I only did it every 3 months or so which is all you need to do if you use peat/woodshavings. Gerbils are very clean animals with their toileting. Either tank looks fine, since you don't have to clean it that often it doesn't matter too much really if one is a bit more tricky to clean than the other, not like you'll have to do it every week! Personally I'd go for the fully glass one, mine used to kick up the peat a lot and I can see them creating a nice circle of dirt around the tank with the one with the wire cage on top.

Mutt Tue 30-Nov-10 10:39:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

squirrel42 Thu 09-Dec-10 14:14:45

Beldatedly adding to this - I've got a four foot long tank full of substrate and tubes with a homemade two-storey wood and wire mesh topper. They mostly live in the tank and I put toys, boxes, jam jars and such in the topper which they explore to find where I've hidden food and nesting material. They seem pretty happy! Underground cardboard mazes are good, but don't get upset when they chew half of it to bits and redesign things how they want it - and then change it again every few days! That's fun for them.

Mutt - since I've given them jam jars and ceramic jars, I find my gerbs mostly pee in those and then I just wash them out every day or so. Much cleaner! Although they still like to poo in their sandbath dish...

Aharris56 Sat 29-Apr-17 18:20:52

Do you gerbils really need shelves or can be happy enough without

rightsaidfrederickII Sat 29-Apr-17 20:58:34


They don't necessarily need shelves, but they do need a large enough tank and lots of substrate in which to dig. There's some good advice on minimum cage size here

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