I must be insane. I spent much of the night working on a tank topper for my Gerbils. I put all but the very top together. I am so cut up on my hands and arms it feels like I walked into a briar patch!
So, I am winging this somewhat. I have some ideas. I’ve ordered some things and we might go to Lowes this weekend to look into other things. This is only the beginning. I only put it on top of the gerbils tank for now to show what it’ll look like somewhat and also for storage. I have no where to put this thing when I’m not working on it! I only meant for it to be 14” high and one level. But somehow I miscalculated and made it too narrow and too high! The narrow part will be okay. I can work with that as I am connecting it to the existing mesh and frame of the lid of the tank. But the height …well I am not keen on it but I’m not sure I’ll bother with trimming it down. I might come to appreciate the height one day.
I hadn’t evened out and completely wired the platform to the left so that is why it looks uneven. The other two platforms on the right are two left over pieces from a crappy Ware cage I had starting out with the hamsters. *shivers*
Today I added some levels and the door. I ordered springs and hooks to make spring loaded hook locks on both sides of the door to keep it fastened flush. For now I just used a piece of wire to keep it shut. I ordered nickel corner moldings which are usually used to put on band box things (amplifiers?) or steamer trunk corners. I’ll be using those on the corners to be decorative, sturdy, and not to slice my hands or arms on the edges when handling. Also, I am looking for hard plastic/rubber molding for the sides. Temporarily I could use duct tape but I’d prefer something more permanent.
I am going to find the right branches that aren’t poisonous or irritating for gerbils (in case of ingestion) to hook to the middle portion (which I’ve kept free and clear of platforms/levels for that purpose). I think most fruit tree branches would be safe. I could be wrong so I’ll be checking that with the gerbil groups/forums.
I’ll be removing the burrowing box (at least for the time being) once I do get the topper up and running. Half the height of the tank will be substrate for them to just burrow, burrow, burrow to their hearts content. On top a piece of driftwood (which they’ll bury anyway) and aluminum dryer tubing (yes that will be ugly but I’ll learn to deal) to connect them to the topper.
The topper will house their sand pot, food bowl, and two water bottles. No more getting all of that buried and lost in the substrate! Also, gerbils love to climb as much as the love to burrow.
I also chose 1/4 inch hardware cloth (mesh) because they won’t be able to get their teeth into it hopefully and develop bar chewing habits. At least I do hope it’s way too narrow for that.
The top (roof) I want to open and shut completely and will fasten it with hooks. I want it to be permanently fastened in the front and the opening will be at the back so I don’t have to look at unsightly hooks. Hooks will also fastened at the sides. I don’t want any escapees. I won’t need to open that often but I wanted the option to in the future for unknown reasons. Most likely to change around levels and such if need be. I’m just not sure if I’ll come up with some other material to use for the top or just do something with the mesh.
I have a feeling this topper won’t ever be completely finished. Well maybe someday but not soon. I think I’ll have it functional by this weekend. But it won’t be closer to finished until next week or next weekend. And I’ll continue to find ways to make it sturdier and more sightly while remaining safe and functional.
I’m so excited. I just know the gerbils are going to love it!
I’ll be updating my progress to be sure.