Creating a Bio-Active Mouse Enclosure - Help Needed

HarrisonAquatics

Member
I've always done fish, with the occasional reptile or amphibian thrown in for variety. However, I recently was given 4 "rats" that someone had purchased as feeders and didn't need. Two "large" rats and two "small" rats - I took the small ones and a friend of mine took the larger ones. The larger ones I'm certain are rats. But the two I took look much more like mice - hairy ears, a hairy, long tail, and general face shape all look mouse-ish to me. They were given to me in a Crittertrails cage, with some tubing and an integrated wheel. Not great, I know, but considering these people bought them as feeders and were searching for a home for them, I'm choosing to cut them quite a bit of slack. Good on them.

I have a spare 37 gallon XH tank hanging around. It's 30"X12"X22". I was thinking I'd use that as an enclosure for these guys (seeing as how I'm almost certain they're mice and not rats), and go the bioactive route, mainly to avoid paper bedding. I have severe allergies, so all the dust (even from "low dust" bedding) can cause me to have to use an inhaler, and at times, an epipen. That said, I'm new to rodents - I cared for them at my job, but never at home.

From what I understand from my reading, I'd want:

Around 3" of coconut fiber bedding
Springtails and isopods to help process waste
Plenty of natural-ish decor and toys - I'm thinking some mopani driftwood for climbing, some suspended coconut caves, and maybe some other rope toys and such
A tight-fitting screen lid
Maybe a small fan over the tank for ventilation (?)

I'm not too worried about humidity, since I use a dehumidifier to keep my apartment below 50% humidity at all times. The fan may be necessary for ventilation, since the tank is so tall, but I haven't gotten any straight answers about that online. I'd have to mist the substrate every now and then to keep the clean up crew alive, too, but I'm not sure how much would be advisable.

I've also read that generally a trio of mice tends to be more stable than a pair, for if a mouse dies in a pair, the remaining mouse tends to become depressed, where in a trio, the remaining two still have a tankmate. Is this true? Should I add a third mouse once everything is set up correctly? Should I add him (they're males) at the same time as the other two, or will it matter? Same size? Coloration? Should it also be a feeder mouse, or can I get a fancy one?

Any info is helpful.
 

Kribensis27

Member
I have very little experience with mice, so I can't really help you much, but this sounds really cool. I'd never even thought about a bioactive tank for mammals! I'll be watching this thread.
 

Candace

Member
HarrisonAquatics said:
I've always done fish, with the occasional reptile or amphibian thrown in for variety. However, I recently was given 4 "rats" that someone had purchased as feeders and didn't need. Two "large" rats and two "small" rats - I took the small ones and a friend of mine took the larger ones. The larger ones I'm certain are rats. But the two I took look much more like mice - hairy ears, a hairy, long tail, and general face shape all look mouse-ish to me. They were given to me in a Crittertrails cage, with some tubing and an integrated wheel. Not great, I know, but considering these people bought them as feeders and were searching for a home for them, I'm choosing to cut them quite a bit of slack. Good on them.

I have a spare 37 gallon XH tank hanging around. It's 30"X12"X22". I was thinking I'd use that as an enclosure for these guys (seeing as how I'm almost certain they're mice and not rats), and go the bioactive route, mainly to avoid paper bedding. I have severe allergies, so all the dust (even from "low dust" bedding) can cause me to have to use an inhaler, and at times, an epipen. That said, I'm new to rodents - I cared for them at my job, but never at home.

From what I understand from my reading, I'd want:

Around 3" of coconut fiber bedding
Springtails and isopods to help process waste
Plenty of natural-ish decor and toys - I'm thinking some mopani driftwood for climbing, some suspended coconut caves, and maybe some other rope toys and such
A tight-fitting screen lid
Maybe a small fan over the tank for ventilation (?)

I'm not too worried about humidity, since I use a dehumidifier to keep my apartment below 50% humidity at all times. The fan may be necessary for ventilation, since the tank is so tall, but I haven't gotten any straight answers about that online. I'd have to mist the substrate every now and then to keep the clean up crew alive, too, but I'm not sure how much would be advisable.

I've also read that generally a trio of mice tends to be more stable than a pair, for if a mouse dies in a pair, the remaining mouse tends to become depressed, where in a trio, the remaining two still have a tankmate. Is this true? Should I add a third mouse once everything is set up correctly? Should I add him (they're males) at the same time as the other two, or will it matter? Same size? Coloration? Should it also be a feeder mouse, or can I get a fancy one?

Any info is helpful.
I'd get the same size and introduce them very carefully to try avoiding any aggression (tests of dominance are unavoidable but safe). Coloration shouldn't matter but the temperaments definitely will so just in case, hang on to your receipt so you can take him back if need be. (as for the rest I'm sorry not to be any help).
 

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