Know Your Water Bottles 
 

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Watersprite

Different Watersprite

Not for Reptiles.  Unfortunately, most reptiles are too set in their ways (or too stupid) to figure out how to use a water bottle.  But water bottles work great for most other critters (including cats and dogs).  Even birds quickly learn to rub their beak against the end of the tube to acquire water.

More Sanitary.  Outdoor water bowls and water pans attract insects and other invaders into your yard.  Indoors, they collect debris (litter and feces) and pathogens unless cleaned frequently.  Water bottles stay cleaner much longer.

Untippable.  Larger animals tip over all but the heaviest water bowls.  Some critters do it on purpose.  Properly secured water bottles save you time.  Water-bottle-type ends are also available to attach to outdoor faucets.

LA
Lotsa brands, styles, and sizes of water bottles available.

Keeps Water Clean. 
Nearly all critters need access to water at all times.  Not all critters know how (or want) to keep their water clean.  Some kick litter into their water during the course of the day (furry animals), others throw things in for entertainment (birds), and others take a bath and/or eliminate in it (birds and reptiles).  Thus, the invention of the water bottle.

LA
Hookbills learn to use these water bottles.

LA
Canaries/finches/doves need water bottles they can dip their beaks into.

 

Bird Waterers.  Most bird cages come with small cups for water.  For small birds, we prefer the bird tubes (which, unfortunately, are subject to unexpected drainings).  For hookbills we prefer water bottles.

Right Size.  Use the smallest water bottle possible and change it daily.  Too large a bottle leaves the water in there long enough to grow pathogens.

LA
Glass water bottles cost less but break more easily.

Glass Bottles.  Glass water bottles cost less but break very easily.  Clean them carefully and never drop them.  Glass bottles also usually have glass water tubes.  NEVER use a glass water tube in a guinea pig cage.  These guys really chew on their water tubes.  They also repeatedly bang their bottles against the cage walls.  Glass is extremely dangerous with these guinea pigs.

Colored Bottles.  Algae eventually grows in water bottles.  Tinted water bottles retard the growth of algae. 

Cleaning Bottles.  Rather than ramming a bottle brush into water bottles, use gravel to clean them.  Pour a small handful of gravel into your bottle with some water and swirl the mixture around several times.  The gravel will scrape off the algae more easily than any other cleaning method.  Pour out the dirty water and put the gravel back in your aquarium.

LA
Hard plastic and round tops make these GREAT rat water bottles.  They can break if dropped.

Bell Bottles.  Water bottles with rounded tops resist rats and gerbils much better than flat-top bottles.  Rats punch thru flat-top bottles extremely fast -- sometimes the day you put them in their cage.  Some bottle holders contain a protective top flap of metal to protect them from rats. 

LA Pic
Excellent rat water bottle protection.

LA
These protect water bottles as well but take longer to change the water.

 

Rat Guards.  Ginger full-metal jacket water bottle protectors surround the bottle with a metal jacket, leaving only the water-dispensing tube exposed.  These protect the bottles perfectly, but make it hard to determine the water level.  Another rat protector “velcros” into the corner and makes it easy to see the water level.  This type takes longer to install.  Both save water bottles from the teeth of ravenous rats.

Floating Balls.  We asked one manufacturer (Novalek) why they put a floating plastic ball in their water bottles.  Bob said it was “to make the water level easier to determine.”  (If you can see the ball, you can see the water level just as easily.)  The floating balls eventually seem to disappear at cleaning time.  We love their bottles for rats.

LA
The better water bottles all use two ball bearings in their water tubes.

Ball Bearings.  A metal ball prevents the water from dripping from the water bottle tube.  The better water bottles contain two ball bearings.  The second ball bearing adds weight and makes it seal better.  Be careful when filling these bottles.  Unnecessary shaking can drive the second ball bearing into the top of the tube and stop the water from flowing altogether.  Check this out if your water bottle stops working.

Dripping Bottles.  If your water bottle leaks, make sure you screwed it together straight.  Also, make sure the ball bearing comes all the way to the end.  Slightly bent tubes will let in air.  Last, look for tiny holes in the bottle.  If your bottle still leaks, get another one.  Water bottles will not heal themselves.  You can glue small holes temporarily, but rodents will gnaw off your repair nearly instantly.  LA.

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