​​California Hamster Association

Tank Cages


  • ​Heavy. . .but not impossible to move (58 lbs when empty)
  • Expensive if you don't buy on sale ​($119)
  • Will require a screen top and something sturdy to sit on
  • $40 during the Petco $1 per gallon sale
  • Able to see your hamster easily
  • Able to use lots of bedding for burrowing
  • You can be as creative as you like
  • All large wheels will fit
  • Easy to clean out with a dust pan
  • Provides a large cage space for lots of toys!

Tank cages are aquariums that have been modified for use by hamsters. They are awesome because they provide a large amount of space and offer a sleek and modern look. They are also frequently on sale, making them the cheapest pre-made caging option on the market. They are very species appropriate as they give the hamster the opportunity to properly burrow while still giving them lots of territory to keep them comfortable.

Tank Cage Questions


What type of aquarium can I use? 

We only recommend 40 gallon breeders. The oft cited 360 square inch minimum of cage space is outdated, and was based on the size of a 20 gallon long. This is simply not large enough. To meet the 450 square inch minimum, a 40 gallon breeder tank is required. All of the photos above reflect different set-ups of 40 gallons--look how much you can do!

Where is the best place to get a tank?

Petco frequently hold $1 per gallon sales, making a 40 gallon just $40. Recently, Petsmart has started hosting their own $1 per gallon sales so keep an eye on both locations. Alternatively, you can purchase used aquariums on resale sites such as Craigslist--just be sure to clean them very well before use.

What do I need besides a tank?

You will need a screen top to cover the tank, and you may want to invest in inexpensive cage locks to keep the lid secure. The cost of the screen top will be between $15-25, and cage locks are only $3-5. You will also need something to place the tank on. It needs to support the entire bottom of the tank, or you risk dangerous cracking. There happens to be a nice rack available at Lowes that fits 40 gallon breeders exactly--and actually includes space to fit 4 of them if you want more hamsters later. It is available here. Of course, you may simply choose to purchase a tank stand from the pet store or use a table or other piece of furniture you already own.

What about the water bottle?

This is super easy! You can either purchase a water bottle holder online, or you can simply purchase industrial strength velcro (available at hardware stores, Target, and Amazon) and stick it to both the tank and the bottle. And there you go!