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Old 02-22-2016, 01:07 AM   #1
FreddyAndMe
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Default Aquarium sand?

Trying to potty train Freddy at the minute. He has chosen his corner to go in but it is under the shelf in his Alaska and so is a bit inconvenient for spot cleaning. I have put the potty on the left side of the cage instead with dirty bedding in it but he won't use it. I've read they like to relieve themselves in sand? Problem is I don't have chinchilla sand, but I do have a bag of fine aquarium sand for topping up the fish tank when some gets sucked out - if I boiled some then baked it dry could I try it in his potty?
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:23 AM   #2
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Default Re: Aquarium sand?

I've not seen anyone else use it so would be very wary until you've a better idea. I'm not familiar with aquarium sand. Depends on the texture, if it's too fine it could cause respitory problems. And also what additives it has. Can you get hold of children's play sand? That is suitable. You can pick up a bag from early learning centre or toys r us. Places like that. You'd need to spread that out on a baking tray and bake it to sanitize it.
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Old 02-22-2016, 02:00 AM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Aquarium sand?

You do need to be careful with sand, there are various different types (mineral) I think. Moving his potty to a convenient place won't help unfortunately. The potty has to go where they choose to wee! Tried it myself, after Charlie was potty trained - moving his potty to where I wanted him to wee - they just carry on weeing in the same place whether the potty is there or not!

I should put it back in his wee corner with substrate for now. There are all kinds of things you can use in a potty. Chinchilla bathing sand is one, and what most people seem to use - it does seem to soak the wee up well and help reduce the smell. Finacard also sell some kind of cardboard litter for a litter tray (they do the cardboard substrate, paper bedding and nugget type cardboard for potties - although I haven't tried it). I found Chinchilla bathing sand works out cheaper than hamster potty litter and the sand is safer as well. If they eat the potty litter it's not good for them.

If you remove the shelf your hamster might move his potty corner! But then it might be somewhere more inconvenient (tried that too lol). I would suggest either managing where it is (you only need to clean it out every 4 or 5 days really), or another alternative is a large house. Whenever I have given Charlie a large house he has immediately moved his wee corner inside the house - luckily the potty tray fitted in one end of it, but I ended up buying him an even bigger house so he has room for his hoards, nest and potty in there. The house has a lift-off roof so it's really easy to clean the potty out - I just take the roof off and lift it out. Because the door of the house is on the right (ie nearest the front of the cage) they tend to nest furthest away from the door, so the potty corner is the opposite end (ie nearest the door) - this is assuming the house is on the right hand side of the cage. If it was on the left hand side of the cage the door, and potty corner, would be at the back of the cage.

Most of the German hamster houses are quite large with two or three rooms, with one big enough to fit a potty in and it does seem that in a large house, they will do everything in there - ie do their toiletting in private! It means the house needs plastikoting on the inside though just in case it sprays - mine isn't plastikoted and is still dry and clean but Charlie doesn't spray lol. He's very neat in his house

This is the house I have now - it's actually classed as a Rabbit house but it's far too small for a rabbit. It just about fills the width of the cage with a couple of inches gap at the back behind the side of it (I have it as near the front side as possible for ease of access). It's quite tall, which is good, because it can stand directly on the base of the cage (I put the substrate inside it - a couple of inches - and pile it up round the outside to the same level as the rest of the cage) and then the roof level is about a couple of inches higher than the top of the cage base. So it makes a nice platform and it's easy to spot clean inside and empty the potty. This would make the platform quite a bit lower than the shelf in the Alaska though, so it might be quite a drop from the top of the cage to the platform. Leaving the shelf over it would make it harder to access inside the house. You could put a piece of hemp mat on the roof though which would make it a softer landing if he did fall on it. The height was right in my old cage which was much lower than the Alaska. My current cage is about the same height as the Alaska and I raised the house instead, by standing it on something, but putting a hemp mat on top might be easier. The Rodipet labyrinth house for Syrians is similar and really nice, but more expensive and quite a lot bigger - it would take up too much space in an 80cm cage I think. Anyway this is the house - it comes flat pack and the pieces just slot together like a jigsaw, so no nails. The plus side is - they seem to like a nice big dark nesting box and having their wee corner inside it. The downside is - it takes up some of the floor space (it sticks forwards about 25cm) and you can't put the shelf on the other side and still fit the wheel in I think. Unless you had a narrower shelf.

Anyway this is the house. the door is quite large so I put a tunnel over the front of it.

Ferplast 84646099 Wooden House for Rabbits SIN 4646 Total Size Approx. 34.5 x 24 x 16.5 cm: Amazon.co.uk: Pet Supplies

Our hamster has often shunned various houses provided, but not the large ones - he goes straight down the tunnel and makes a nest inside (the tunnel seems to attract them in because it makes it dark inside). If you had a large wheel on the back wall of the cage, next to the house, then you could fit a 20cm deep shelf on the left hand wall, which would increase roaming space, but that would mean buying a new shelf. Although I do have a 15cm shelf you could have if you want. It's only 46cm wide so wouldn't go the full depth of the cage and you'd need something to block the gap at the end. It came in my pack of shelves when I was setting Charlie's cage up and I used the shorter one as the longer one was too long for where I wanted it.

If you were going to adjust the set up though, it might be better to wait till he is a bit more tame first, so meanwhile I would just leave the litter tray where he pees On the other hand, cage changes can set back taming, so there's an argument for doing it now and then doing taming.

This is the Finacard potty litter - it's for hamsters as well as cats. It costs 11.50 for 15 litres. 15 litres is quite a lot! The Chinchilla bathing sand is 4.31 for 1.5 litres, as a comparison.

Papelit Cat Litter : Recycled 100% Paper Cat Litter 30 litres for 9.50

This is the Chinchilla bathing sand - one of those tends to last me a month to 6 weeks.

https://www.viovet.co.uk/Supreme_Sci...g+sand&sct_r=1

Or you could just keep using substrate in it! I'm guessing it needs cleaning out more often with the substrate in as it probably soaks through more.
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Old 02-22-2016, 10:22 AM   #4
FreddyAndMe
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Default Re: Aquarium sand?

So it's a no no on the aquarium sand I see, oh well. I probably won't be getting anything for Freddy for a while now because I have spent pretty much all of my pocket money on things for him since I got him two months ago:
Large P@H cage
Alaska cage
2 small CareFRESH packs
1 large pack of CareFRESH
20kg bale of Fitch
Card tube
Strawberry house
Woodlands tipi
Small bendy log bridge
20cm wheel
28cm wheel
Potty
Thinking you get the message by now lol. The idea of having a maze type house sounds awesome, I love things like that. I wouldn't have to varnish it either like you said because the potty I have is roofed so it doesn't splash everywhere lol. Anyway I will have a look at that stuff, I know that I can't use the sand I have which is what I wanted to know so thanks guys
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Old 02-22-2016, 10:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Aquarium sand?

Serendipity has made some great suggestions . If you're on a tight budget though your cheapest option is children's play sand like Cypher said. I use this for my Syrian Spike because he loves his big litter tray and filling that thing with Chinchilla sand would bankrupt me . You don't have to use a baking tray specifically (although you can ) but just a large oven proof dish works fine too (I use a pyrex one meant for lasagne). Stick it in the oven on high for 30 min, at the 15 min mark give the sand a good swish around with a wooden spoon. Obviously set it out to cool before using . Be careful, hot sand burns like nothing else!!

The Fitch was a good buy since you're on a budget! Mine lasted a year with me cleaning out my 100cm cage every 2 months so it's extremely cost effective in the long run. At least now you won't need to worry about buying substrate again for ages, which means you have more to spend on Freddy each month ,
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Aquarium sand?

Sounds like the baked children's play sand will be the easiest option You can actually make a large house/hide out of an upturned shoe box with a door cut out of it. Or a rightwayup shoebox with the bottom cut out and a door cut into it - then you have a lift off roof. If you wanted to try one at some point. A house can still get wee stained though, even with a potty inside - sometimes they miss.
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:32 PM   #7
FreddyAndMe
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Default Re: Aquarium sand?

Thanks for the suggestions I am not going to get anything just yet, going to save up for a bit. I have already got loads of stuff for him, but most of it he seems to have already outgrown and already can't be used, so I don't want to buy anything until I am su e I am sure... Lol
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Aquarium sand?

Also you're taming him so best to leave things as they are for a while. Keep away from hamster shops lol.
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:26 PM   #9
FreddyAndMe
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Default Re: Aquarium sand?

Yeah haha, if I go and see something I am ruined
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