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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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Rotastak + Bin Mania

by wiffy on April 23, 2008


In our third issue of Featured Hamster Home, we present Hamster Hideout member Nicky85471’s amazing set up for her lucky hamster, Crush.

Nicky's hamtastic set up

The hamsters at Hamster Hideout sniffed out this amazing set up with their ultra sonic whiskers and are quick on their little feet to secure an exclusive interview with Nicky85471. Thank you Nicky!

Hamster Hideout (HH): What are the parts that make up Crushes’ set up, & the estimated costs?

Nicky85471 (Nicky):

Rotastak Creepy Castle – £30
Rotastak Pod – £20 (i got it off a friend for £10 though)
Bin : 64 litre box, measuring 28 x 17.3 x 12.2 inches (L x W x D) – £10
Rotastak Spaghetti Junction – £15
Toys and Accessories – £15
Total Cost – £90

HH: What is your rationale for building something like this?

Nicky: When I first got him he was just in the Rotastak Creepy Castle, after which I bought the Rotastak Pod (triangular unit) off my friend for £10 because I felt that the castle was too small. I attached a bin because the Rotastak wheels were too small and a bigger wheel wouldn’t have fitted inside any of the units, and also to give him more room to run around.

HH: Is your hamster able to climb the long winding tubes with ease?

Nicky: Crush has no problem climbing the spaghetti junction … he runs through them.

HH: How do you make the holes on the bin’s lid?

Bin & Tubes

Nicky: For the bigger hole to fit the tubes through I used a Stanley knife, it took me an hour to an hour & a half to do but I wanted the hole to be perfect so that the tube would fit snuggly. For the smaller holes I just used a drill, I can’t remember what size it was, it was the biggest one I could find.

HH: What are your views after using this set up for some time?

Nicky: One downside I have is that it’s pretty difficult to gain access to Crush when he is in the Rotastak because he will just run into a tube if you go to pick him up. But on the whole, I find it easy to clean and assemble once you’ve done it a few times. Crush loves the tubes. I find that the Rotastak provides smaller spaces for Crush to nest in whilst the bin provides him space to run around and allows a bigger wheel.

A look inside the bin’s interior


Related Links::

sunflower seed Proud of your hamster’s cage?

sunflower seed You can submit your hamster homes photos via HH Forum or Flickr


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