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Would a 10-gallon aquarium with a tank topper make an appropriate home for 3 male rats? I would rather a larger cage, but my father does not want to spend an obscene amount of money. The cage I want is $95 at Petco, but my dad is worried that my boys (now 5.5 weeks) could get through the approx. 1 inch spaced bars. Any suggestions?
 

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a ten gallon tank with topper is barely enough room for 2 small females

so my answer is no, this will not work for 3 males because baby grow fast & by 2 to 3 months they will be very crowded & it just gets worse every week past that.
 

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A tank really isn't an answer, even with a topper; you would have to clean it every day in order to keep it healthy enough for rats. Especially for three boys in a 10 gallon! Squishy! They may look small now, but they'll get big before you can blink an eye.

And yes, they'll likely be able to fit between one inch spacing at a little over five weeks old! And they may grow up to be kind of small boys, which means they may always be able to fit through the bars. But you'll know better in a couple months.

Have a look at the pictures of everyone's cages in the sticky above us ("Post pictures of your cage!"), that might give you some ideas about what to use- bird cages, mesh shelving, ferret cages... there are a lot of things out there better than an aquarium.
 

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Agree with everyone else. Also, assuming you mean long-term: Once they're grown, many bucks are actually too large to comfortably turn around in a 10-gallon. :( They're longer than the depth of the aquarium.
 

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If price is a concern, get on craigslist for your city (if in the US). Check the free and pets sections daily. Something suitable will turn up soon, and for a lot less than you'll pay for a new cage.
 
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