Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

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Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by comeandsee on Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:13 am

Reason I ask: I currently have a ten gallon tank on hand. Glass. Quality mesh roof with a latching door.

Intended tank setup: Full-sized tank topper (DIY wire mesh), with the current mesh lid of the tank serving as the floor. Possibly a couple of smaller shelves both above and below. Two wheels. One silent spinner on the main floor, and one flying saucer on the second. Loads of toys and things to climb on. Food bowl near water bottle on main floor, possible treat dish on second. One hide on each floor.

Even with the wheels and extra floor space (and play space), would this still be inadequate? Or would it possibly be okay for four mice? I've taken ventilation into account, and all the major surfaces above the glass tank itself would be fully breathable.

Thank you for any input! Questions welcome Smile

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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by CallaLily on Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:44 am

A 10 gallon really is the minimum for 3 does, so I'd say no to 4. Second levels shouldn't be taken into account when calculating space. Floor space (length x width) is what's important - it's where the mice will spend most of their time.

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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by Peachy on Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:02 am

I follow the three to a 10 gallon rule, but I've kept four girls in a 10 gallon temporarily. They did alright in there. They were also small and got along well... It wouldn't have been enough space for my two big, bossy brindle girls and two more girls.

Have you used a topper before? You might find it to be more trouble than it's worth. Razz I've also had issues come up when I add in shelves. I used a 10 gallon lid as a shelf in my 29 gallon, and a couple of the girls took over it... they chased and bit anyone who dared climb up! It made it really hard to get to the floor, too.

A 20 gallon high is only a little bigger than a 10 gallon if space is an issue, but it also gives you some vertical space to fill up. I just moved my trio into a used one, and I love it!
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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by Rodents rock! on Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:58 am

I agree that tank toppers are more trouble then they are worth. Makes accessing the mice difficult.
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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by CinnamonPearl on Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:10 am

10 gallon can fit three girls, no more, preferably no less. If you want four, you'll need a 15 gallon. The general rule is 10gal for three girls, and add five gallons got every new girl you add.

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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by CallaLily on Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:40 am

I believe both a 15 gallon and 20 gallon high tank are 24 x 12 inches, though the 20 is taller.

Abeona, I did the same once in Daryl's 29 gallon. He loved it but it definitely made accessing the floor more difficult for me so I didn't ever set it up like that again.

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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by Peachy on Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:31 am

I tried out the box shelf tutorial that's over in DIYs a couple weeks ago. It gives you the shelf but it's still easy enough to get go the floor. And I LOVE watching the mice use the stairs. lol

Cage size standards actually vary a lot! I've never looked into it much before now. The calculator on this site has been criticized for being too roomy AND too crowded. Other calculators also take height into account.

This one takes a little work, but it's kinda fun. It let's you compare your mouse cage/size to human floor space standards, from prison to Martha Stewart. Laughing
http://www.rmca.org/Articles/cagesize.htm
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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by MooMouse on Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:15 pm

I keep my male mouse in a 10-gallon tank by himself and honestly sometimes I wonder how he manages in such small of a space. I couldn't even imagine keeping 3 females in a 10-gallon tank, let alone 4!

And remember, it's always the more space the better, when it comes to owning any animal Smile
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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by CallaLily on Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:42 pm

Actually, with some mice -especially untamed mice- more space is not always better.  They can become more timid and/or territorial. But once you tame your mice and get to know them better, trying them out with more space is fine and may work out great. But it could also still backfire and you'll end up with very nervous mice or in the case of a group of does, a split colony.  Always have a back up plan in case it doesn't work out.

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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by MouseLover on Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:56 pm

abeona wrote:This one takes a little work, but it's kinda fun. It let's you compare your mouse cage/size to human floor space standards, from prison to Martha Stewart. Laughing
http://www.rmca.org/Articles/cagesize.htm

I've seen this calculator before and find it so funny. I go by TFM rules but occasionally use that calculator because I think it offers a unique perspective on mice's living conditions Smile

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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by Artistwolf on Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:30 pm

I mean—not really. If we started saying a 10 gallon isn't really too bad for 4 mice, who's to say it won't lead to us saying it's okay for 5 mice? You have to draw the line somewhere. Unfortunately vertical height doesn't count. I mean, it's open for debate but I personally wouldn't go for putting any more than three mice in a ten gallon... I have one and sometimes I wonder how any mouse can live comfortably in there! But, of course, they do, and they love it, but yeah, I wouldn't want any more than three in there Smile


Last edited by Artistwolf on Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by Peachy on Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:04 pm

Was that directed at me? Razz I didn't recommend four mice in a 10 gallon, just temporarily until something bigger was available. I also understand why some would prefer to stick with what's most often recommended here, but certainly there's nothing wrong with exploring a variety of viewpoints, right? That's what you're supposed to do when you research stuff. lol
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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by Artistwolf on Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:19 pm

No, no, sorry! I was just kind of reflecting. I got kind of intense there, didn't I? I feel like I've been doing that a lot lately... I think it's school stress Razz Sorry! I'll edit that so I don't sound so... Angry at the world XD

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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by CinnamonPearl on Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:21 pm

Happens to the best of us, Artistwolf! We know you didn't mean any harshness. Smile

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Re: Is ten gallons really too small for four female mice?

Post by Artistwolf on Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:23 pm

Thanks, Cinna Smile

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