Author Topic: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???  (Read 4773 times)

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« on: October 29, 2015, 10:50:56 PM »
No matter how clean I keep my Critter Nation cages, I got poops and litter on my floor. It is annoying as I have epoxy floors so it gets everywhere...
I thought about the Bass pans but not sure 2"5 enough if I wanted to replace liners with Eco Bedding...
Any other alternatives? I spend 1 hour trying to find something else and only found those black Lowes mixing pans- not bad but they do not use the space very well.
I was hoping to find some under-the-bed plastic pans that would fit but didn't find any that fit the bill...it's got to be something better (higher borders) than those Bass pans.
Any suggestions is greatly appreciated.

Offline Michael C

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2015, 11:45:15 PM »
Here's an extra 1/2".

3" Tray


Offline racmhk

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2015, 09:48:53 AM »
I used cement mixing pans from home depot in my FN. You just have to trim the sides a little bit and cut a hole for the top floor if you have a double. I was able to do it with a hand saw.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Plasgad-Black-Large-Concrete-Mixing-Tub-887102C/205451585?MERCH=REC-_-PIPHorizontal1_rr-_-202086173-_-205451585-_-N
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Offline MizBiscuit

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2015, 10:54:32 AM »
I have heard that you can request 3" sides for the bass pans for an extra $6 a pan. All you have to do is email them.

You can also make one out of coroplast (corrugated plastic sheets) and make the sides as high/low as you need. Ive heard these last for a few months before needing to be replaced (if you have chewers, if not then they will last quite a while). Just search how to make a C&C cage, a lot of guinea pig owners do this for their setups and have instructions all over.

Personally I am thinking of making one out of coroplast but my home depot doesn't sell the single 4x8 sheets and I'm not sure it's a good investment to get 15 sheets. I haven't found a place nearby where I can pick one up or have it shipped either, but I have only casually looked as we are currently ratless.  :'(  I am just trying to plan ahead (for once, lol).
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Offline erbusbee

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Offline artgecko

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2015, 08:03:50 AM »
I use the bass pans (the stainless steel ones) and you CAN request an extra 1/2" it is an extra $6 per tray.  I just want to say that I LOVE these pans.. The stainless steel ones clean up easily and I've not seen any rust in one year of use.  I use loose bedding (aspen) and they do still knock some out, but that is unavoidable IMO with any tray height... Mine used to be in a smaller cage with a 4" tray and they still knocked out bedding. 
The shipping on the Bass pans can be steep.. But IMO it is worth it.  I'd also suggest calling them to order.. Not sure how fast they respond to email.  I called and ordered my last set and got them in about 1 week.. far less than the listed wait time on their website.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2015, 11:51:24 AM »
Thank you guys!
I will email Bass to ask for a 4" pan just in case it is possible.

So far I got a cement mixing tub at Home Depot and a Nation Critter Scatter Guard. I'll see which one I prefer/my rats' prefer.

It is more than just avoiding stuff on my epoxy floors- it is also about providing them the best and cleanest environment. I have to wash their fleece and Zilla liners twice and rinse them twice too. I do it every 4 days.  It takes forever, and if it is not 100% clean- meaning I can still smell a tiny bit of pee - I wash it again. Crystal uric acids (ammonia smells) are hard to wash away, they need enzymes to be fully dissolved in water. Since a few weeks ago I use Tide powder which in my opinion wash much better than Tide liquid so that should help. As I think more about it, it seems than using litter instead of liners is more hygienic. What do you guys think? What are the drawbacks of using all litter instead of liners in your experience?

I'm emailing Bass now.
 

Offline artgecko

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2015, 01:26:25 PM »
I think it's more hygienic depending on your cleaning schedule and if you disinfect the pans between uses as well.  That said, just because odor lingers in the liners doesn't necessarily mean they are "dirty" in a way that would effect the rats.  You can also try vinegar / baking soda and soaking them before washing.  When I used liners, I had to change them out every 3 days to prevent bad odor.  I kept several sets on hand so that I could swap them out and wash only once a week.  They still smelled too frequently for me, so I switched to litter.  Their cage will still get smelly in 3-4 days, but that is because of the fleece hammocks and them marking on the sides of the cage.  The litter stays clean smelling for at least 1 week.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2015, 02:05:38 PM »
Yep I tried vinegar in first rinse and it worked only for a while, after a few days it would smell again without using them. Vinegar just mask the ammonia odor, does not permanently get rid of it.
As far as I understand it is the ammonia smell that makes rats more likely to get URI, so if it still smell like ammonia it is not good. It takes a few days for the bacteria in urine to turn the urine into ammonia and it is important to either wash the liners before it happens or to wash them twice to make sure the uric acid (ammonia) is gone. I haven't decided if I would switch to litter only yet. I will try with washing the liners every 2-3 days also.

Offline Vonda Z

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2015, 02:59:33 PM »
Vinegar just mask the ammonia odor, does not permanently get rid of it.

This is not exactly true. Vinegar does have a strong smell that may mask the odor, but vinegar is also an acid that neutralizes alkaloid components of the urine, which includes the ammonia which is responsible for much of the smell.

With laundry, I have found it necessary to keep the load size down in order for the vinegar to be able to handle it, and to do an extra rinse. This extra rinse will help wash away the vinegar smell as well and that is important, because if the ammonia was not completely neutralized but you can't smell it because the vinegar is masking it, then when you put the laundry in the dryer, you can lock in that ammonia smell and it can be hard to get it out. The laundry needs to smell clean (not of vinegar or ammonia) before going into the dryer. Smelling of vinegar won't hurt it, but if that vinegar is masking the ammonia odor, then you will have problems.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2015, 03:30:03 PM »
The problem is the uric acid that is almost insoluble in water. Uric acid crystals cause the ammonia smell. Vinegar gets rid if the smell but not of the uric acid. I read that only enzymes can take care of the uric acid. Some laundry detergents contain enzymes- we are limited to free and clear detergents, but Tide free and clear powder seems to work better than the gel. The best info about that can be found on reusable baby diaper sites. Eventually if any uric acid is left, the smell will come back. I let the Zilla and fleece air dry.

It is such a pain to find an enzyme product without any perfume or scent in it! I thought I found one but had to send it back for a refund as the smell was still on the fleeces after I washed them.

This is an issue I really care about because a dirty cage (I consider fleece that still smell dirty- I tested fleece that smelled ok after the laundry but had an ammonia smell to them a week after laundering them) is the number one reason for URI in rats.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2015, 03:42:11 PM by ILoveMyRatties »

Offline artgecko

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2015, 03:53:08 PM »
Then you may want to try bedding.... and just avoid the hassle of trying to get rid of the urine smell in the fabric liners.  I use a combination of shredded aspen with a thin layer of horse stall pellets below it.  The pellets break down when exposed to water / urine and form a powder (not dusty, but heavy.. stays below aspen) and they do an excellent job of absorbing all urine and odor.  After a week, I can put my face directly on the bedding and smell nothing.  Their fleece toys / hammocks however, are a different story.  The plastic pans in your cage may also be absorbing odor as well, so switching to stainless steel or powder coated steel pans might help there as well. 

When I used liners, I'd pre soak them in soapy water and vinegar / water spray.. then rinse.  I would then place them in the washer and add baking soda / vinegar and do a "soak" cycle, then do a regular wash cycle but with an extra rinse and I'd use free/clear detergent along with baking soda for that step.  This was pretty effective, but moreso when I would do my pre-soak (soaking in the sink) soon after they were soiled.  It also helped to let them air dry between the pre-soak and soak in the washing machine. 

You might want to see if nature's miracle has an enzyme detergent... I remember reading about it somewhere but I'm not sure if it has an odor to it or not.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2015, 08:52:34 PM »
Ok so I just put one of those cement mixing pan on the bottom of my girls' cage. It is actually much better than I thought it would be. I did cut a little too much of the shortest sides but not an issue; I'll do better with the next;)
I filled it up with Eco Bedding and my rats love it, digging into it and bouncing like two months old ratties  : :yelcutelaugh:

I haven't heard back from Bass about 3" stainless steel pans and potentially 4" pans...but so far I'm pretty happy with those $13 pans- we'll see in a week if I'm still loving them  :yelcutelaugh:

I will do the upper level by cutting a hole in the base of the pan and pass a piece of those black plastic tubes you find in store like Lowes...it will replace their ladder and keep all the litter in the upper level as I will make the tube a little longer above- if that makes any sense.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 08:59:08 PM by ILoveMyRatties »

Offline RattieEnthusiast

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2015, 12:27:08 AM »
Yeah, we use the pans from home depot and have not had a problem with them throwing litter on the ground since. I prefer having liners on just the top shelves and then having the tubs with bedding on the bottom as it is easier for me to keep clean but still gives them the best of both worlds. Actually, recently we started using t-shirts for the shelves and that is working out pretty good too. We just buy large sized shirts from Joann on sale (they have all sorts of colors). I prefer to spend my time sewing them hammocks rather than liners anyway and its so easy to throw the shirts in the wash.

Offline PnutLuv

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2016, 04:40:32 PM »
Do you have a picture of cement pans? Last time I had a CN I had a bass pan but curious as to what you're talking about - are they metal? Plastic?

Offline Vonda Z

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2016, 06:04:01 PM »
Do you have a picture of cement pans? Last time I had a CN I had a bass pan but curious as to what you're talking about - are they metal? Plastic?

Here is a reply to an old thread with a picture of the cement mixing pan being used as a litter pan for the lower level (not mine): http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/index.php?topic=4095647.msg5002569#msg5002569

They are made of thick heavy plastic.

Offline packratties

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2016, 10:37:38 PM »
I zip-tied corrugated plastic walls to the sides on the critter nation - you can cut the pieces to make them as tall as you want and the plastic is easy to wipe down - easier than a bulky pan ;)

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Bass Pans For Critter Nation: anything better???
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2016, 02:36:17 PM »
I like the Home Depot Cement mixing tub better than the original pans that come with the Critter Nation because:
1) easier to clean: I do not have to take out the pans out to be washed in my tubs each time. The CN pans have an uneven surface making it harder to just wipe it clean. With the Home Depot tubs I use hydrogen peroxide to wipe them clean and disinfect them at the same time. I wipe it again with a dry paper towel and it is dry in seconds.
2) keep the messes in the cage instead of on my floor.
3) the rats love playing in the Eco Bedding!

You just have to cut maybe half an inch from both of the shortest side at about the level of the holes like in the picture. If you cut too much of it, the rats might have access to the borders and start chewing at them. The tubs cost about $13 which is way cheaper than then the bass pans. Also the bass pans are NOT high enough to hold the litter in anyway.


« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 02:43:04 PM by ILoveMyRatties »