You can keep your gerbils in various types of cage. All have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at them one by one:
The majority of cages sold in pet shops are wire cages. They usually consist of a plastic base on which a cage of metal wire sits. The big advantage of this type of cage is their good ventilation: fresh air can get to the animals from all directions. However a disadvantage is that droughts can do the same.
Some wire cages have a very small opening. If you need a larger opening, then you have to life the whole top part off the base and your gerbils can easily escape in all directions. The better ones have a small opening for feeding, but you can also open the top leaving the walls standing. Another advantage is that this types of cage is very light and easy to clean.
But a disadvantage is that gerbils need a fair deal of bedding to dig around in. The base sides are usually low and a burrowing gerbil can easily throw sawdust over the edge.
Plastic or glass containers
Rodents are frequently kept in old aquariums or plastic containers with a wire gauze lid. In such a closed container the animals aren’t bothered by droughts, but ventilation is not optimal. So you need to clean the cage litter frequently, otherwise the animals live in ammonia fumes. A lid of glass or plastic sheet is absolutely out of the question because it allows no ventilation at all.
Plastic containers have the disadvantage that they quickly become unsightly, because they are easily scratched. The toilet corner in there containers can also become corroded and rough, making it difficult to keep clean and bad for hygiene.
Glass containers are available in various forms. One-piece containers are easily kept clean, but are also heavy. And if one crack appears you might as well throw it away. There are also aquarium types with a metal frame holding panels were fixed with putty, which would, of course, not dry out when the aquarium was filled with water. However, old putty tends to crumble in a dry gerbil container. The animals can gnaw at it and the panels can become loose. So containers with putty are unsuitable. Nowadays, glass panels can be fixed with silicone, which is an easy job for any do-it-yourself enthusiast. You can also make a glass cage without a frame. The glass panels are glued together with silicon and after one day the container is so strong that you could actually fill it with water. This type of cage can easily and cheaply be made at home. The silicon bead should not be too thick, otherwise the animals will gnaw at it, and the corners should be polished smooth or protected with plastic corner strips, because they can easily cause injury.
Some people keep gerbils in a laboratory pen, (often advised as simply a “lab pen”). These are low plastic containers with a metal grille as lid. A laboratory container is ideal for housing a lot of animal with the minimum of work, which is the intention in a laboratory. But you have very little contact with the animals. It is also questionable whether they feel happy in such a boring home, and some laboratory containers are so low that a gerbil can hardly stand upright inside it.