View Full Version : Modifying an aquarium

05-05-2010, 06:33 AM
Hi all,

I'm going to be getting a broken aquarium because I have an idea for modifying it to suit my Brownie. I've been offered a 30 gallon with a blown-out front panel. We both love her Habitrail but I have a heck of a time getting her out of it and I think she's getting jumpy with me because of that. My gerbils are in tanks and it's soo much easier to get them out for play!

Anyway, I'm now questioning whether to set it up on it's side (so I'd have a low tank with lots of surface area) or on end (so she'd have great depth for digging) because whatever I choose, I can't easily change it! Assuming I don't break it irreparably in the process, it won't be easy to change around if it doesn't work out for either of us. I'm going for the low, wide tank but if I could get two, I'd probably try to find a way to make an attached digging tower. Being glass though, that could be too heavy to handle!

I'd love to have some input from the more experienced hamster keepers here!

05-05-2010, 06:54 AM
floor space is always important, as long as it will still be high enough, and of course high enough for wheels etc, then anyway you can get more floorspace is best!

though they will dig a bit, they spent a lot more time running about!

05-05-2010, 06:57 AM
I'm not an experienced hamster owner but in my opinion I'd go for the low tank with lots of surface area. More surface area means that there's more room for the wheel, house and the toys that my hamster enjoys. I also like the big space she has for pottering around. If Brownie likes to burrow then you can always get a plastic storage box and fill that up with the substrate you use. Fill it up and plonk your hamster in to dig at his pleasure. That's what I do! Actually I use a smallish glass hamster cage that I got from my pet shop to use as a travel cage but I think a plastic storage box with ventilation holes would be better!

05-05-2010, 07:14 AM
Ok, that's what I was thinking, lots of floor space! If it's a typical 30 gallon tank, it would give me an enclosure 1' high if I lay it on its side. That should be plenty of room for a wheel, especially if I end up building something akin to a topper as my lid. I think the burrowing tower idea is more for me! I like the idea but Brownie doesn't seem to go much for digging. She likes to explore and climb so I think this will be the perfect opportunity to create a proper hamster gymnasium!

05-05-2010, 09:17 AM
If you have got space to add another level you can attach these little brackets with glass glue to the insides of an aquarium and then rest a shelf on top. Just attach a ramp for them to climb up. gives a lot more floor space. You can get the brackets from any DIY shop or Wilkinsons.

05-05-2010, 12:28 PM
Those brackets are pretty neat, I've never seen them before! Handy, I was thinking of trying to attach small pieces of glass directly to the aquarium like in the professionally-built ones. But no, the aquarium I'm getting is already broken so I either have to replace the broken glass or modify it altogether and I'm going for the complete modification!

Thanks for the tips!

05-06-2010, 08:02 AM
OK, I've brought the broken tank home and crunched some numbers. It's not as tall as my other tank and in fact I can't find it on the list of common aquarium sizes, but here are my results. Depending on what orientation I choose, these are the floor areas I could get:

348 sq. in. if I leave it in the position it was originally built for and just close off the broken side.

435 sq. in. if I turn it on its side and close off what was originally the top of the tank. This is probably the easiest one to try. I could probably cut the glass myself in this case too.

540 sq. in. if I turn it on end and put two extra floors in. In this case, I would close off the original top and the bottom half or so of the broken side. Then my access doors would occupy the top half of the broken side. This could be really cool if I can figure out how to do it! It also gives the most floor space although it's not all in one big area. I'd just have to see about having my piece of glass cut professionally so I could have holes through it for the hamster to access the upper floors.

I have much pondering to do...