~ 40 Gallon Breeder Aquariums are the smallest appropriate size for hamsters ~
40 gallon breeder aquariums are attractive and great for viewing your hamster. At 36″ long, 18″ tall, 18″ deep and offering 648 in², they will fit any wheel with room left over for a 12” saucer or treadmill style wheel. They are sturdy and made to last but are also heavy and difficult to move. While they may look expensive, Petco has a “Dollar Per Gallon” sale multiple times a year where these tanks are sold for half price ($50) in stores. This does not include the necessary screen lid which usually cost between $15-25. The Imagitarium lid is my favorite lid which your hamster won’t chew through (advertised as 50 gallon but fits a 40 gallon breeder tank).
If possible, opt for a 75 gallon aquarium! They offer significantly more floor space to keep busy hamsters content. Please note that a larger aquarium size does not always equate to more floor space. For example; a commonly found 55 gallon aquarium offers less floor space than a 40 gallon breeder aquarium. 40 gallon aquariums also have less floor space than 40 gallon breeder aquariums.
We mount water bottles in these cages with water bottle hangers. We find the best leakproof water bottle to be Oasis brand, which conveniently comes with a water bottle hanger that has a chew guard. Some water bottles can be attached using industrial grade velcro or rare earth magnets.
Are you willing to put in a little elbow grease for a great bargain? Find a used large aquarium which is water stained… don’t be afraid to point this out to the seller and remind them that these aquariums can be purchased new for $50. For $20 or less you should be able to buy an aquarium few people know how to salvage. It may not be perfect but as long as it’s COMPLETELY cleaned and sanitized your hamster won’t mind and most people won’t notice! Here is a two part video which shows the process (part 1, part 2).