When I was super new to Gerbils months ago I got a lot of great advice from people from a hamster forum (Other Pets section). One of which was sand baths. Just like hamsters, gerbils also like a good dig in the sand. Probably more so in fact. So, I finally got around to giving them one a few weeks ago. I started off with a little recycled paper carton but they kept chewing through of course. I didn’t want glass because the glass hitting the glass of the tank wasn’t going to be a nice sound and I worried something would crack. Finally, it hit me – I have a vintage metal rice pot that I procured from thrift and it has just sat on my counter with it’s snug fitting lid in the kitchen as a decorative piece. It has high sides to keep substrate from being kicked inside it but not so high the gerbils would have trouble hopping in and out! It was perfect of course sans lid. And I admire it more as a decorative piece inside their tank than on my kitchen counter.
The great thing I discovered was that the gerbils (just like my hamsters) prefer to use it as their litter place. They dig a bit then poop and wee in there. So, I find I can do a clean in there regularly and replenish their sand and I feel as though it’s much cleaner for them now. Of course this is now possible because I do the burrowing box thing. A little less than half the tank is the very high box. The rest is low level of substrate with driftwood for them to climb about. The pot doesn’t get buried and lost forever under inches of substrate with this set up.
If only I could get a much larger tank for them sometime. Oh, how I would enjoy creating this amazing layout. Detolf hacks are great in theory for the length but they aren’t very tall. I haven’t ruled it out however. I’m continuing to brainstorm.