Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy - Hedgehog Central – Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Post 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.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default 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 )
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default 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.
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Old 01-16-2009, 01:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default 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,
Kupcake
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default 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?
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default 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.
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default 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.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Storage Bin vs. Aquarium Controversy

Quote:
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.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default 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?
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default 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
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