Is a 40-Gallon Tank Suitable for a Hamster? An Honest Opinion!

empty 40 gallon tank suitable for a hamster as a buyer wonders "Is a 40-Gallon Tank Suitable for a Hamster?"

A breeder aquarium can be a solid option for housing pet hamsters as long as you choose one that offers enough floor space for these creatures. It is not uncommon for hamster parents to wonder what gallon capacity to choose to accommodate their hamsters.

With so many options on the market, getting the size right can be a headache.

Is a 40-gallon tank suitable for a hamster? A 40-gallon aquarium breeder tank offers 650 square inches of floor space which is the minimum required for a dwarf hamster. Syrian hamsters and other large breeds need at least 800 square inches to thrive.

Is a 40-gallon Tank Suitable For a Hamster?

A 40-gallon tank can be a good fit for Dwarf hamsters and even small Syrians. However, as the Syrian grows bigger, you’ll have to look into shelling out on a larger tank.

Hamsters require enough room to be able to exercise regardless of the type of housing you choose. Depriving them of enough space can lead to boredom and behavioral problems that may pose greater threats in the long run including cannibalism.

The right size of tank should provide enough room for several inches of bedding and other toys such as hamster wheels. Treehouses, hideouts, and tubes are additional bells and whistles that can make your hamster’s life more comfortable.

How Many Square Inches is a 40-Gallon Hamster Tank?

A 40-gallon aquarium breeder tank offers 650 square inches of floor space thanks to the standard dimensions of 36”x18”x16”. The square space is derived from multiplying the length by the width in inches (36”x18” = 648 inches).

How Long is a 40 Gallon Tank?

40-gallon hamster tank ready for set up
40-gallon hamster tank ready for set up

As stated above, the standard dimensions of a 40-gallon fish tank are 36”x18”x16” (LxWxH). Thus, a 40-gallon fish tank measures 36 inches long. While this may seem spacious enough for housing a hamster, the reality can be different. Pet rodents are highly mobile and require enough room to move around freely in their cages.

These animals also need a few accessories to feel comfortable. A few of the necessities that should fit into a hamster tank or cage include:

  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl
  • Wheel
  • Hamster ball
  • Bedding 
  • Food substrate
  • tubes
  • treehouses

Creating a hideout in the hamster’s tank or cage is non-negotiable if you want your pet to feel safe and comfortable. These creatures have always served as prey to larger animals in the wild and a hideout gives them a sense of security and comfort from the outside world.

Some of the best options include natural fiber hideouts made from grass or hay. You may also need to create tunnels for hamsters to burrow into and add additional toys to entertain them. These extras can take up significant space which is why a 40-gallon tank is usually not suitable for housing large breeds or multiple hamster populations.

Sure, you may be able to get away with caging multiple newborn hamsters until they reach a few weeks old in such tanks. However, as they grow older and their body sizes increase, the importance of ordering a much larger capacity tank becomes more apparent.

Why Choose A Fish Tank for a Hamster?

Are tanks OK for hamsters? Many hamster parents prefer breeder tanks over traditional wire mesh or plastic cages for these pocket pets. For starters, fish tanks can offer great views of your hamster in its natural habitat.

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and taking a few minutes to watch your favorite hammy going about in its fish tank habitat. The fish tank glass offers incredible views of the little guy’s environment so you don’t have to miss anything.

Seeing your hamster happy and going about in a breeder tank can be extremely relaxing and rewarding. It can also offer some assurance that you’re getting something right especially for first-timers.

Additionally, the hamster tank can be covered at all times with a lid to prevent odors, unlike traditional cages. This solves the problem of cage odors which can be a huge issue with traditional hamster cages.

However, ammonia buildup from the little rodent’s urine is one of the major downsides to breeder tanks because it often leads to respiratory infections and discomfort for hamsters. Due to the poor ventilation in tanks, they should be placed in areas with access to fresh air.

Additionally, breeder tanks should be cleaned at least weekly to allow proper aeration which can boost your hamster’s comfort.

Fish tanks can also heat up quickly during the summer causing lots of discomfort for pet rodents thanks to their largely glass component.

Is a 40 gallon Tank Good For a Syrian Hamster?

A 40-gallon tank’s floor space of 650 inches is just not enough to provide a Syrian hamster with enough comforts to live a healthy and active life. Syrians require a minimum of 800 square inches of floor space to house essentials such as food bowls, water bowls, and hamster wheels.

These creatures also require additional space to exercise and hide when they believe their life is in danger. A 40-gallon tank falls short of what a Syrian Hamster needs to live a productive and enjoyable life.

Cramping a Syrian into a 40-gallon aquarium can have devastating effects on its moods and general well-being, as experienced by other hamster parents in similar situations.

The fact that Syrians are physically larger than other breeds means their toy requirements have to correspond to their size. For instance, while a dwarf hamster is fine playing in an 8.5-inch wheel, most Syrians require something larger such as the 10.25-inch Carolina Storm Express Wheel or the 12-inch Silent Runner Wheel. (My Syrian loves this as it spins easily and allows him to run fast and aggressively during those dawn hours when he’s awake and active)

What is a Good Size Tank For a Hamster?

A 75-gallon tank can be a great size for housing hamsters with larger bodies such as Syrians. With dimensions of 48”x18”x21” and a total floor space of 864 inches, a 75-gallon should freely accommodate all breeds of hamsters.

A 75-gallon hamster aquarium should also fit toys such as treehouses, tubes, food bowls, and other bells and whistles required to keep him happy and healthy.

This sizable hamster tank also provides enough space for a deep layer of bedding for hamsters to burrow into. Everything your pocket rodent requires to enjoy an active lifestyle that mirrors the conditions available in the wild can be set up in this tank size.

Bigger is always better when shopping for breeder tanks. If you have unlimited space at home and an unlimited budget then shelling out on the largest tank available at your local store may be the way to go.

A 75-gallon aquarium breeder tank can be a great option regardless of your preferred hamster breed. The price can range from $125 to several hundred dollars depending on when and where you order from.

Petco and Petsmart run a dollar-per-gallon sales promo during certain times of the year. However, the maximum tank size that qualifies for this promo is often the 55-gallon model.

Conclusion: Is a 40-Gallon Tank Suitable for a Hamster?

A 40-gallon tank may be suitable for dwarf hamsters to live physically active and enjoyable lives. However, the floor space offered by this tank can be inadequate for physically larger breeds such as Syrians.

If you plan to raise any hamster breed other than a dwarf in a tank, aim for a 75-gallon capacity at least. This should provide enough space to accommodate the little guy’s essentials and toys while allowing some free room for running around and exercising.

Your hamster should be happier in the long run and you can be a proud hamster parent.

Is a 40-gallon tank good for a hamster? We share the reasons why this breeder tank size may not be good for all hamsters and what size to target.

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