Welcome to our complete hamster tank guide.
Giving you the information you need to pick the best hamster tanks for your tiny friend.
From glass tanks to plastic tanks and even fish tanks for hamsters.
We’ll look at the varying needs of different breeds of hamster and what that means for your tank selection. Along with giving you some great options for hamster tank toppers too!
Wire Hamster Cage – Pros and Cons
When I was little all of our hamsters lived in tall wire cages.
These cages can fit a huge amount of space and activity into a reality small surface area.
So a fairly small base for a tall wire cage can be a great option if you don’t have a large gap on your shelf.
Mine were a lot like this one:
They were great from the hamster’s point of view, with tonnes of places to explore and room to run around, but they had several downsides as an owner.
The first is that they are loud. My hamsters all lived in my bedroom, and as you probably know, hamsters are nocturnal. This meant that for the most part, they were awake when I was asleep.
When they wanted to climb up the bars, hang from the top or chew the bars, I knew all about it. Even at 2am.
As a teenager this wasn’t a big problem for me, but if you are a light sleeper it can be a bit of a challenge to get used to.
Other issues I have had with wire cages include bedding mess.
Hamsters like to move things around. It’s a part of their charm, but it also means that the bedding gets everywhere. Poking through the gaps in the wires and falling all over the shelf.
I also once had my school uniform ruined after I left it too near to the wires, and my Syrian hamster Hetty pulled it through the bars!
The last major drawback of a wire cage is that it is not suitable for small hamster breeds.
In the past I have had Syrian hamsters and Russian Dwarf Hamsters, who lived happily in wire cages. But the smaller breeds like Chinese Hamsters and Roborovski hamsters can fit between the bars!
Primarily in the gap between the bars and plastic base, but also sometimes between the bars themselves.
Why buy a hamster tank?
A hamster tank solves all of the problems of wire cages. Especially that important one when it comes to small hamsters escaping.
There is no way of the hamster making a loud noise just through interacting with their hamster tank.
You can even buy silent wheels these days to go inside. Our hamster has one, and it really is as near to silent as I think you can reasonable expect to get.
Hamster tanks can be made of glass or plastic. They have high steep sides and a secure lid. Usually made of plastic or metal.
Tanks for hamsters give you the option to totally create your hamster’s environment from scratch. They are usually an empty space, with high sides, that you can use to give your hamster what she loves best.
For example, my Chinese hamster loves to dig and hide in tunnels. So somewhere that he can have a thicker layer of bedding and tunnel networks is great. My Syrian hamsters all loved to climb and play on their equipment, so you can arrange your hamster toys to reflect this.
The important thing to consider first is the amount of space a hamster needs to stay happy and healthy.
10 gallon hamster tank
When looking for a tank hamster cage you might well check out the ten gallon versions first. After all, they are smaller and cheaper!
But a 10 gallon tank for hamster of any breed is I’m afraid going to be too small in most cases. Some hamsters are very sedentary or shy, but most like to explore, play and run around. A hamster 10 gallon tank simply doesn’t give them enough area to do so.
Hamsters also like to have a dedicated poop corner. Although they won’t leave all of their waste in one place, they do tend to leave most of it there. This means that they aren’t too close to their droppings during the day between clean outs.
If you are looking for a hamster tank, we advise you start with a 20 gallon hamster tank.
20 gallon hamster tank
We think a 20 gallon hamster tank is a good option for most hamster breeds, and probably the minimum you should consider for a Syrian hamster.
When buying a hamster 20 gallon tank look at the proportions. A tall tank with a small base will not give your hamster enough room to move around, because the tank doesn’t have levels. Even if you add climbing equipment in, there still won’t be enough room to stretch his legs.
Ideally you want the bottom floor of your 20 gallon hamster tank to be long and low. A 30 gallon tank however would be better, and a 40 gallon tank ideal.
So let’s take a look at some options that are easily available from Amazon.
Glass tank for hamster
Creating a fish tank hamster cage is a great idea for lots of pen owners, but you need to think about their safety.
If the sides are fairly low to give them lots of space to run, this will mean that your hamster toys will raise the level potentially high enough to climb out.
And I’m sure it doesn’t need to be mentioned, but if you have a cat, dog or kid in the house then a lid is essential for your hamsters safety in a glass tank hamster cage.
Let’s take a look at the options
This glass hamster tank is the 20 Gallon Aquarium Masters Hamster Fish Tank.
It stands at 30 inches long by 12 inches wide, with a height of 12 inches. So a good amount of space for any breed of hamster, up to and including the Syrian hamster.
Another good option is the Perfecto 20 Gallon Fish Tank For Hamster.
30 inches long by 12.5 inches wide, with a height of 13 inches. So slightly more leg stretching space than the Aquarium Masters tank and a little bit higher too.
A great option is Aquarium Masters 40 Gallon Breeder Tank.
At 36 inches long by 18 inches, with a height of 16 inches, this 40 gallon tank is a good size for a Syrian. Giving them plenty of room to run about, explore, and loads of space for toys.
If you’re looking for something amazing, then check this hamster cage fish tank option out.
For those who want to really go the whole hog, there is the 55 Gallon glass tank by Caroline Biological Supply company.
This glass aquarium is an amazing 48 inches long, 13 inches wide and 20 inches. A dramatic addition to your home as well as an amazing place for your hamster to live.
Although you might find getting a lid something of a challenge.
If you have a fairly standard sized 20 gallon hamster tank, a great option for a lid for your hamster tank is to take it to a new level, literally, with a hamster tank topper.
Hamster tank topper
A hamster tank topper is what a lot of us would traditionally think of as a gerbil home. They require the use of a glass or plastic tank base, and provide a wire cage on top.
So for example if you have a fish tank style home, you will probably need to get a 20 gallon hamster tank topper. But check your tank size before you buy your hamster tank topper to avoid mistakes!
You can buy a separate hamster tank topper here:
This is the sort of setup my Chinese hamster has at home. He is seriously tiny. So I don’t want to risk him escaping.
However, as we’ve looked at above, a glass tank doesn’t give the hamster the largest amount of space to explore unless you get one with a very large surface area at the base.
So I trawled the local pet shops, staring intently at the hamster cage toppers. Specifically looking for a heavy glass tank base with a wire hamster tank topper.
My concern was that he would be able to escape through the bars. But I found one where the gap between the glass tank and wire bars was tiny, and the bars were very close together.
So I got it, and brought it home. I watched my Chinese hamster in the tank for a long time to reassure myself he couldn’t fit between the bars. But it’s proved successful.
This is very similar to the one I have at home:
It is labelled as being suitable for mice, so should also keep your small breed hamster contained effectively.
My Chinese hamster has been in a hamster tank topper for a while now, and it’s the perfect choice for him given our cat companion!
Hamster cage tank
Another great hamster tank choice is the doubled up hamster cage tank. With a complete package, wire cage top and purpose built plastic tank underneath.
These are not as sturdy as the glass tanks and can be more easily damaged if mishandled, but they are lighter and easier to clean out.
Here are a couple of nice examples.
The Ferplast Black Hamster Cage has a transparent base that you can fill with bedding while keeping it safely mess free.
It’s also got an integrated wheel and upstairs area.
Plenty of space for a small hamster to play and relax.
But here is another cool choice.
The Iris Hamster and Gerbil cage is also very cute. It comes in a lovely fun color combination, and has three levels for your hamster to explore.
This isn’t the best option for a Syrian hamster as it’s a little short on floor space. But if you’ve got a Dwarf hamster then it might really appeal.
Syrian hamster – tank or wire cage?
If you have a Syrian hamster you probably have the widest range of options when it comes to hamster cages.
The ideal when it comes to a Syrian hamster tank is a long 40 galloon tank, but not everyone has the space for this set up.
When picking a tank you’ll need to have a think about how much space they have to run around, being quite a bit bigger than the dwarf varieties.
When it comes to hamster cages and tanks, the only thing I’d urge you to stay away from are tanks with connecting tubes. These inbuilt tubes can be an area that the teddy hamster likes to chew, causing the tube to pop off and them to run free!
I’ve had this happen with a couple of Syrian hamster tanks over the years, and for this reason would be very reluctant to buy one again. Despite the fun factor!
Best Hamster Tank
The best hamster tank for your little pet will depend upon her breed and your home set up.
If you have other pets or small children who might be tempted to try and interact with her unsupervised, a sturdy glass hamster tank is a great option.
Just make sure that you pick one that has enough space for them to stay happy and healthy.