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. Because they are aquariums, you can even snag a pretty stand with lots of storage. Just check your local aquarium store
Fun Fact: The original cage size minimum put forth by the hamster community was 360 square inches. This was based on the size of a 20 gallon long aquarium, one of the largest and most popular cages at the time.
We only recommend 40 gallon breeders and up! 40 gallon breeders offer about 650 square inches of floor space, and larger sizes provide even more.
Petco frequently hold $1 per gallon sales, during which the 40 gallon is 50% off. It comes to about $55 (confusing, yes). 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.
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.
You have several options!
If you go with this cage, be sure to get the correct size.
Super similar to the Exo-Terra, but with a white frame and sliding glass doors. It's a beautiful cage, but with a $300 price tag, it may not be practical for everyone.
This cage is actually quite a bit larger than a 40 gallon! It actually comes in at just under 900 square inches (39 x 23). It's a stunning cage! It's expensive and not always available, but it's a great option if it catches your eye.