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This seems to be a popular, and oftentimes hot-topic on the forum here, so let’s take an in-depth look at some of the features both of these housing options offer, and let YOU decide which is better.

Let’s start with a tank…

(HoppingHammy’s tank set up for her hamster, Creampuff)


  • Clear visibility
  • Chew/escape proof
  • Elegant to display


  • Heavy
  • Breakable
  • Expensive

To elaborate on some of these points, a tank can be a very beautiful piece to display in your room, and is especially great for those who enjoy taking photos, since the glass is so clear. They come in a variety of sizes to best suit the space you have, though the bigger you get, the heavier it is to lift…which could result in a crack if you aren’t careful moving and cleaning it.

Most tanks are just plain and simple, but the United Kingdom sells a brand called “Perfecto” that comes with permanently attached glass shelves. This can be good to add more room for toys and give climbing opportunities, but might also be a detriment and chew up precious floor space…not to mention it might make cleaning more awkward too.

The price, in US$ for a tank (plain with no shelves) and lid combo, averages around $25 for a 10 gallon and $45 for a 20 gallon long. Given the fact that you buy a solid, mesh cover with locking clips, a tank is virtually escape-proof for those who might have an extra naughty “Houdini”.

When compared to any plastic or wire cages on the market, it is a bargain considering the amount of floor space you have, but when compared to the price of a bin, can drain your pocketbook much more.

So let’s look at a bin now…

(wiffy’s bin set up for her hamster, Neko)


  • Cheap (need I say more?)
  • Customizable
  • Lightweight


  • Harder to view hamster
  • Can look a bit cheesy
  • Not completely chew/escape proof (unless made correctly)

For those who are on a budget, but wish to give their hamster/s as much room as possible, a bin is the way to go. The amount of floor space you can give, for the price, is probably the #1 advantage of these, in my opinion, as well as the fact you can customize them to suit your needs. Shelves, or smaller shoe-box sized bins, can be added in and bolted to the sides, tubes can go up and around the perimeter, or you can just leave it plain for an all-across, one level. You can also add on smaller bins and connect them via tubes as well as create a double-decker apartment.

Keep in mind, though, that most bins are slightly frosted and can make viewing your hamster a bit difficult, and depending on how you construct it can also mean the difference of whether your hamster escapes or not. Some hamsters, given the time, might chew their way out if they find a ridge or drilled hole to sink their teeth into. It’s best to find a bin with smooth, rounded edges and keep drilled holes out of their reach if your hamster is prone to chewing.

All-in-all, bins can be a spacious, and affordable housing choice.

A final thought to leave you with…

At the end of the day, it’s not about which housing is better of the two, it’s about finding what is most suitable for YOU and for your hamster’s needs. Debate solved! ;)

Up next? Comparisons between wire and plastic cages. Stay tuned…


To construct a bin, check out this pinned topic which has helpful links on construction:

To view a chart showing popular aquarium sizes and dimensions, click this link:


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Puzzle Playgrounds – we’ve all heard of them, right? They are the latest craze to acquire for your hamster or small rodent, and simply a brilliant invention, in my opinion.

Puzzle Playground Box

Puzzle playgrounds are manufactured by the company “Super Pet” and are sold in sizes of 26, 42, 50, and 60 piece sets as well as a see-saw and Ferris wheel style. The pieces come disassembled in the box and can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to put together, depending on the design you choose to create and how skilled you are with the assembly process. The creations you can make with these are endless, and they are customizable to both dwarf and Syrian hamsters in the way of building either tall designs, to give Syrians climbing opportunities, or lower, one-level designs to allow our smaller friends easier ability to maneuver through them. There is also a vast array of shapes these pieces can form. For example – the triangle and square pieces, when assembled together in different numbers, can form a cube, wedge, 4-sided roof, 5-sided dome, or a 6-sided room. The tube connectors that are included in the 60-piece box can give you even more interesting and unlimited possibilities.

Of course, like most products on the market, Puzzle Playgrounds do have a few disadvantages (for the human, not the hamster ;) ). Many people can become frustrated with the tedious assembly process and find themselves wanting to slam their half-built creation into the nearest wall. The trick with connecting these pieces successfully is much patience and perseverance (some calming tea might help as well). It is necessary to build these on a solid, flat surface as it helps keep the pieces from snapping out of place – ultimately resulting in the destruction of your creation. Always snap the tubes into the connector pieces before attempting to attach to your completed design or it will ruin your hard work and cause it to fall apart. It is also helpful, and makes for easier access when building larger designs, to leave a few openings here and there that you can stick your hand in to attach the pieces together.

One final thought? Approach the assembly process as a “labor of love” to show your hams how much you love them, and think of all the hours of fun they will have exploring the labyrinth of tunnels and mazes you have created.

If you feel this is the type of toy your little furry will go bananas…err…sunflower seeds over, then do not hesitate to pick one (or many) sets up today at your local pet supply shop or online. HAVE FUN!!


And now, for your viewing pleasure, some design examples ranging from small to large to showcase the never-ending building options you have with the Puzzle Playground sets:

* Below photos and playground creations courtesy of wiffy

Puzzle Playground - 1

Puzzle Playground - 2

Puzzle Playground - 3

For even more ideas, check out this link.


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How to D.I.Y a Hamster Maze

by wiffy on April 17, 2008


Hamster Maze
Want to make a cute hamster maze like this? HH member wenxin (aka dashingblue) teaches you how in 5 easy steps!


Hamster Maze

Step 1: Gather the necessary materials you will need. Two white boards, decorating papers (preferably smooth and waterproof), clear tapes, ruler, scissor, pen knife and glue!

Hamster Maze
Step 2: Glue and tape the two white boards together. This will be the base of the maze. Then stick the decorating paper onto it!

Hamster Maze
Step 3: Tape the decorating paper onto the board.

Hamster Maze

Hamster Maze
Step 4: Glue the borders!

Hamster Maze

Hamster Maze

Hamster Maze
Step 5: Make the maze by cutting boards with pen knife and glue on.

Hamster Maze
Step 6: Furnish with little toys and it’s done!


Dashingblue’s hamster Mayo enjoying the maze:

Hamster Maze

Hamster Maze

Hamster Maze

Hamster Maze

View the full story at dashingblue’s blog!


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