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-   -   Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy (https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=956)

Beans 01-15-2009 04:15 PM

Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
So, I've been thinking about how everyone says that aquariums aren't adequate hedgie enclosures and how plastic storage bins are a better alternative. Now, the thing that seems to be wrong with tanks is that they don't have adequate ventilation - correct? But both are high walled enclosures that don't let a mass amount of airflow through.

Also, a crucial part is the fact that plastic is a culprit of bacteria growth. When the plastic gets scratched it allows bacteria and other germs to get stuck in there which, in turn, could make hedgie sick. Plus, another huge factor that makes plastic an inferior product for living animals is Bisphenol A - a polycarbonate that has been directly linked to breast cancer and early puberty. You'll be able to tell if a storage bin has been produced with Bisphenol A if it's marked with a number "7" on the bottom. Bisphenol A allows a plastic product to and resist stains and odors. It's not something you want to subject a small creature to.

I work in a quality pet store and when anyone asks if they can feed their dog/cat/reptile/small animal out of plastic dishes we suggest that it's not a great idea because of these kind of facts. They are quickly recommended to feed their animal from glass or ceramic dishes because they will not scratch the way plastic does therefore eliminating risks of severe bacteria growth or subjection to harmful polycarbonates.

That's where my idea of tanks being slightly more sanitary comes in. Obviously the tank cannot have a non-ventilated lid on top - that would just be ridiculous. But I believe both provide relatively the same effect but without the dangers of excessive build-up of "bad stuff".

Please don't be offended by my point of view. I'm not out to point fingers - just shed some light on, what I believe is, a controversial topic.

Cimredopyh 01-15-2009 05:26 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
I see no reason for your post to offend anyone. It makes good sense to question when something does not make sense to you. Best way to learn IMO :) .

Plastic bin users drill rows of ventilation holes along the side of the bins, thus allowing for side to side airflow. That is probably the most important difference between aquariums and bins, and why many feel that bins are better than aquariums. I have seen some ( custom made? ) aquariums with perforated metal panels along the sides. Those would work too, but there are other advantages to plastic bins.

An aquarium large enough to provide decent space for a hedgie is very heavy, and if dropped will shatter, and possibly chip you bathtub. I imagine washing this weekly is not easy! Sponge washing can be done instead, but a similarly sized plastic bin can easily be carried to the tub/shower for a thorough inside and outside weekly wash. I would think that the wheel is more likely to be scratched and harbor bacteria than a bin.

It would seem that Bisphenol A has yet to be proven to be carcinogenic, and the risk is thought to be from it being used in food packaging?
http://www.bisphenol-a.org/human/consafety.html <-- possibly biased site but an interesting read with scientific research results backing the claims.

That aside apparently not all ceramic bowls are safe either. Certain glazes supposedly pose a lead poisoning risk when chipped. I have also heard fleece can cause cancer, PVC pipes cause cancer..... :|

Just my 2c

( Edited to add: I use plastic bins and ceramic bowls )

Nancy 01-15-2009 07:16 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
To add to Cimredopyh post, aquarium sides go straight up and often are higher than the bin sides. The angled sides of the bin allow more ventilation area.

I do see your point about bins scratching and bacteria, but bins are also very easy to wash well. An aquarium of that size is heavy and not easy to take to a tub or sink to thoroughly wash. Also, the area where the sealer is can hold bacteria.

Tanks also build up condensation easier than bins because there is less ventilation.

I thought there was only a concern about Bisphenol A if it contains food or water?

Good points. :)

Kupcake 01-16-2009 01:09 AM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
Another quick tidbit on aquariums and bins. Aquariums are what about a dollar per gallon if not more. A bin is like 8-15 dollars.

So if a bin did get scrached, stained, smelly, ect. It can be replaced at little cost and greif.

Also Bins can be altered to provide tunnels and screens and such so you can put a few of them together and arrange them in diffrent ways.

Everything has pros and cons. IMO neither is the very best solution for all hedgehogs, but bins are way more practicle, affordable, and replaceable.

Thanks for reading my 2c,

Beans 01-16-2009 04:35 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
Okay so it's not absolutely terrible if you put your hedgie in a tank? I have mine in one and it seems to be doing fine. I have a custom ventilation lid that my friend's dad made specifically for the tank and it's working really well for me.

So really, it's all about personal preference?

Kalandra 01-16-2009 05:03 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
With a large enough tank and good air circulation, yes it could be considered personal preference. I've seen tanks that were absolutely massive, and had more floor space than many tubs combined. However, those type of tanks are extremely heavy, and to have to move one to clean it could be quite a hassle.

Cimredopyh 01-17-2009 01:34 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
If we were to compare between certain commercially available wire cages, C&C and bins i would agree and say yes, its a matter of preference.
But with your average aquarium, i feel its not an equal option and just a matter of preference, but an option that is less suitable than the ones above.
Air flow is important not just from above, but from side to side. No side to side ventilation means condensation and ammonia will build up. Depending on what bedding is used i imagine dust could also possibly be a bigger issue with aquariums.
I can see how an Aquarium with lower sides, and abundant amounts of floor space could work, but again this would probably have to be custom made and still very difficult to move for washing.
Aquariums are not absolutely terrible, certainly not as terrible as a cage with a wire floor :) but they are not exactly ideal either.

HedgeMom 01-17-2009 05:30 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy

Originally Posted by Beans
Okay so it's not absolutely terrible if you put your hedgie in a tank? I have mine in one and it seems to be doing fine. I have a custom ventilation lid that my friend's dad made specifically for the tank and it's working really well for me.

So really, it's all about personal preference?

A vented lid isn't going to work. The bottom of the aquarium will still get little to no air movement. Air movement sufficient to refresh a deep square space will cause a draft, which is dangerous to hedgehogs.

Lastly, the smallest possible aquarium would be a 55 gallon one, which takes two people using two hands to lift. Since I clean weekly, it's not something I'd relish doing (and having to have help to clean makes it worse).

Lastly, God forbid that something accidentally bang the aquarium and break it. I don't know whether they are shatter proofed or not (couldn't find any info on it) but breaking glass raining down on my hedgehog is the last thing I want.

My personal opinion is that it's easy to provide much more appropriate housing.

hedgiesrule 01-20-2009 09:05 AM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
hey guys-if i were to use a storage bin, how could i have a heat source? because i do not own a hedgehog currently, but when i earn a little bit more money, my parents will let me buy one. but first i need to get the supplies. and i want the cage to be pretty cheap. so a storage bin...how would i control the temperature? because wouldn't the heat destroy or melt the storage bin? :?:

Cimredopyh 01-20-2009 09:34 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
PVC melts at about 400F, you hedgehog only requires an ambient temp of around 75F.

So as long as your heat source is not pressed right up against the plastic, it wont melt. Space heaters are a safer choice for plastic bins. Heat lamps can be used with bins but you need to take steps to ensure the plastic wont ever come into direct contact with the fixture.

If the air temperature gets hot enough to melt the plastic, it will also be hot enough to cook you and the hedgehog :shock:

Racerhedge 01-23-2009 03:47 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
I have two tanks I use one I got free from my brother and I bought the other one new. The used one is a snake tank it's long kind of narrow and tall. The other one is short wide and there the same length. Since my female runs in the wheel all the time and the male never dose I put her in the skinnier one and him in the wider one. They have been like this for 4 months and seem fine. I usually take them out everyday and let them hide under my blanket while I have a nap after work. Helps us bond I think lol I like the multiple storage bin but I am in a cold basment suite and would be hard to keep them warm. I use a under tank reptile heater currently just under there house. Maybe I can post pics when I figure out how.

Kalandra 01-23-2009 04:08 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
One big problem with under tank heaters they don't keep the air temperature adequate. When a hedgehog is up running around and on its wheel it needs the room temperature to be adequate, else you end up with a hedgehog who is getting cool then warm then cool, etc. While your hedgehogs may seem ok now, and isn't attempting hibernation, I would be very concerned that this is causing stress on their immune systems.

Racerhedge 01-23-2009 07:02 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
Hmmm I keep the bedroom door closed and the house is heated by baseboard heaters. I have a thermometer and it's a constant 21 degrees C in my room but only 9 degrees in my living room LOL. I keep them in my room where it stays warm enough I hope. I do have a space heater to take the chill off sometimes if I am walkin between rooms. I was hoping to get under floor heat for the whole tank but I would need 4 heaters to heat the floor of the tanks.

Nancy 01-23-2009 07:58 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
21C is only 69F which is not warm enough. You need 23C which is 73F or higher.
You keep your living room and 9C/46F? Don't you freeze? Your house does not seem to be hedgehog or even people friendly. :lol:

Racerhedge 01-23-2009 08:52 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
When they build the basment suite they cheaped out on the heating system only installing 3 heaters one for each room. Since the living room is large with two windows it's freezing in there unless you run a space heater and that would cost 100 bucks extra and I am never in there. I have caught them splatted? Out in there terrariums most of the time. My boy likes to lay half in and out of his home head inside. My girl I usually curled up at the back if the house. There houses are on baby blankets full size folded up and there house is a wooden thing with straw roof you can get at petland. I also have a small blanket folded up inside that they usually use to block the door when the light is on. These are my first two hedgies and I love them lol it feels nice and warm when I lift up there house to play with them. I have the heaters running all the time.

Kean 02-02-2009 10:19 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
hi, i dont have a hedgie yet, when i have enough money (after my birthday, everyone gives money here) i can get one. my house is one of those suckish houses built in the late 1950's so its sometimes really cold, but we have a space heater. anyway im just wondering if in winter i should have one of those *snuggle safe* discs? but how would i keep the temperature adequete? cuz i dont think i could keep it on all day, it costs alot of money for the extra electric bills, have any suggestions? i am going to use plastic bins sooo....... :?:

Immortalia 02-02-2009 11:34 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
Most will probably say to fix the bin with a metal/mesh top, and get a heat emitter for your hedgie. It'd cost as much as having the same wattage light bulb on.

The snuffle safe discs are good for travelling. The heat doesn't last all day, only a few hours.

Hedgie love gave some great links and info here:

Kean 02-17-2009 08:33 PM

Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy
what else would be a good heat then, it gets cold upstairs with no heat

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