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Old 10-08-2018, 03:34 PM   #1
Oobee35
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Default How often should I clean out the hamster cages?

I have two dwarf hams in two 30 gallon tanks. Their sizes are 30 in x 31 in. I think thatís about 76.2 cm x 78.42. I do a clean out every week and I wash down their cages, replace bedding, and clean their toys. I donít know if this is too often to clean out their cages. Iíve heard that depending on the sizes of their tanks/cages depends on how often you clean them because of how much accumulated from that certain amount of time with a certain amount of space. When I smell the cage when iím about to clean it out I can smell their waste prominently. I donít know if this is too much 🤷*♀️. Thanks!
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:28 PM   #2
mangoandmimi
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Default Re: How often should I clean out the hamster cages?

I’m confused about the setup - what are the dimensions of one of your 30 gallons? Do you have 2 dwarves living in separate identical tanks? Or is each dwarf in 2 tanks each? I’m asking as the size you’ve stated doesn’t match a 30 gallon’s size.

Anyway, one full cleanout a week is still far too much. A lack of bedding is the main issue I can think of that would make the cages smell after only a week. You really shouldn’t be able to smell much in that time frame if you are 1. Using enough bedding (aim for a depth of 6-8 inches), and 2. Using a large enough cage.

Once you have at least 5-6 inches of bedding in there, you can spot clean the corners or soiled areas whenever you feel it’s necessary. No need to make the cage absolutely immaculate - just spot clean whenever you can smell or see some pee build up. Probably do this every few days in a smaller tank. When cleaning the nest, be very careful not to remove too much (ie not the entire nest), so only remove what has been peed on or any that is dirty, and add more bedding. Same with the hoard of food, remove any food that is dirty and then top up the hoard.

For the big clean outs - You should be able to go at least a month (usually more) before doing a half clean. This means you dispose of the top half of bedding mainly, plus any extra soiled areas, then add back the same amount of fresh bedding. You don’t need to wash the tanks down whatsoever or disinfect any toys unless they have been peed on, which isn’t likely anyway. The deeper your bedding, the less frequent your clean outs. You don’t need to do full cleans, always add back some of the old bedding and mix it around so it feels familiar for them. You must remember over cleaning can be extremely stressful for hamsters so do try to prevent yourself from doing so!

Do you have Russian dwarves? You might be able to toilet train them if you have a pot of sand. Put it wherever they are peeing if you can figure out where that is, or put it in a corner of their house if the house is large enough. Often they’ll toilet train themselves and you can clean out the litter tray during spot cleans.
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:41 AM   #3
Oobee35
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Default Re: How often should I clean out the hamster cages?

Thank you so much!! This was extremely helpful! To clarify, I have two dwarf hams in two serperate 29 gallon tanks. Sorry, I rounded because I didnít think the difference was that big. As I said previously, the measurements were about 76.2 x 78.42 or 30 x 31 in. I thought that cleaning out the cage every week was necessary because my cage is smaller than the detolf cages, bin cages, or homemade cages that Iíve seen people have. Thank you once again!!!!
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:23 AM   #4
mangoandmimi
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Default Re: How often should I clean out the hamster cages?

Ah that makes a bit more sense. Although the width of your tank seems wrong.. do you mean about 30x12 inches deep? Otherwise the area you’re saying is about that of a detolf, not to mention almost square..!

If it is 30x12 inches which sounds more correct, probably clean out every month as I said. You’ll probably find the tanks are on the small side and may want to consider upgrading, especially since they’re so narrow. If you are in the US 40 gallon breeder tanks give significantly more floor space and I know they’re sometimes available for quite a low price in sales.
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:36 PM   #5
Oobee35
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Default Re: How often should I clean out the hamster cages?

Probably, 30x12 in sounds more likely. Would I get two separate 40 gallon tanks for my hams? They are female, sisters, and friendly towards each other. The only problem is that Im low on space. I have a shelf about 30 cm tall with both tanks on which fit snuggly along the shelf. I donít have many other options in my room, because the width or length or both together wonít fit a 40 gallon. A definatly think it would be a good idea to uprgrade and I think the hams would be grateful too, but I donít know where I would put the tanks.
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Old 10-10-2018, 05:44 AM   #6
mangoandmimi
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Default Re: How often should I clean out the hamster cages?

Well 40 gallons are 36x18x16 inches high. I’m assuming you’re wanting to upgrade both hams so you’d probably want two - although you can always just try with one first and see how it goes. Similar sized bins aren’t really the best option either as the internal space is so much smaller than the external that it wouldn’t end up being a big upgrade.
If you have a suitably sized shelving unit or table sometimes you can have one above the other. Bit more difficult with tanks with top openings, but I used to have a tank on the floor with a table above it, then another tank on top of the table and it worked fine. Not sure if that would be an option?

How do you know they are friendly towards each other? I thought they were living in separate tanks and should never be introduced at this point. This includes no playtime together and no handling together.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:16 AM   #7
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: How often should I clean out the hamster cages?

30 gallon breeder tanks are usually 36" long by 18" deep by 12" high There is also a 29 gallon tank that is 30" long by 12" deep by 18" high. A 30 gallon breeder tank size would be perfectly fine for a single dwarf If your tank is more like the 29 gallon one - ie 30" long by 12" deep - then it's probably fine if they are happy in their tanks. 12" is a little narrow for the depth but if you have lots of depth of bedding and lots of toys etc for enrichment it can be fine. Lots of people used to use Clearseal tanks for a dwarf hammy and they were only 12" deep. Having another level in it would help as well - eg a platform on legs. If you could upgrade them to 30 gallon breeder tanks it would be better - but if you don't have the space then adding enrichment will help - and the best enrichment s plenty of depth of bedding and lots of hidey places (eg little cardboard boxes and toilet roll inner tubes etc and a platform to sit under/on. And not cleaning them out too often so their tunnels last a good length of time
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