The New Standard Tank

Edwin Reay and published in Pro-Rat-A 146
Updated: February 2011.

Reason for using a standard tank

Standard tanks help us to exhibit our rats anonymously and have them judged as impartially as possible with the decisions based solely on the rats' qualities.

In this respect we are fortunate rats are small enough to exhibit like this. Last summer I met a dog breeder. We swapped observations on our fancies and by the end she envied our anonymity and I envied their prize money.

Reason for introducing a new standard tank

No matter how good standard tanks are, they are only useful if you can get your hands on one! The tank we currently use is no longer being manufactured and with the society's stock running down, now is the time to introduce a new tank.

Specification of the new standard tank and lid

We looked for a plastic pen of a similar size and that was readily available in the shops. The chosen tank is the Nettuno XL (35.6 x 23.4 x 22.8 cm) made by Ferplast. It is also known as the Geo XL when sold with a plastic lid. It is similar in appearance to some of the tanks being used by the regional clubs at the moment, but Nettuno XL has a big enough lip to take a wire lid.

From a stewarding and judging point of view, wire lids are more preferable and will be used as standard. The only drawback is that these need to be specially made. Although you can make your own, it is envisaged most people will buy either the lid (£3.50) or tank and lid together (£12.50) at NFRS shows. However, if you need a detailed specification for the new standard tank and lid, please visit the show tank build page.

Arrangements for the old standard tanks

For those of you who are lucky enough to have crack-free old-style standard tanks, these will still be acceptable as a show tank alongside the new ones.

Visual guide

Ideally, all the tanks should appear identical except the rat being shown. This focuses the eye on the individuality of the rat and looks professional. Showing rats in a non-standard way, such as by using cardboard flakes, leaving water bottles on or putting tinned peaches in for moisture, does the opposite; it draws the attention away from the individuality of the rat to the eccentricity of the owner.

Pet Classes

Pet exhibitors must now show in standard tanks.

Hire Tanks

There are a limited number of hire tanks available. Hire tanks must be booked in advance and cost £3 each and only two are available per exhibitor.

If you are wanting hire tanks at a show please contact the show secretary as early as possible as they may have to arrange for the tanks to be transported across the country. There are only a limited number available and these will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Purchasing Tanks

If you wish to purchase show tanks you can either contact NFRS promotions or the show secretary for the next show you are going to. Show tanks are 12.50 each (inc lid and base), or 3.50 for the lid if you want to source your own tank or reuse a tank you already own - Ferplast Nettuno XL or Geo XL are the base tank which our lids fit.

Guidelines for Show Tanks

  • standard
  • clean
  • no cracks
  • transparent
Wire lid
  • standard
  • opens at end with tank label
  • slides without jamming
  • no sharp edges
  • only one adult rat: pets and varieties
  • Kittens may be exhibited in pairs provided that they are of distinctly differing varieties and are of the same sex.
  • apple, cucumber or carrot
  • ONE piece (per rat)
  • water bottles are required at tented or warmer shows. At all other shows, bottles should be removed before judging.
Tank labels
  • remove old labels (alcohol/white spirit removes glue residue)
  • stick label on the end face in the top right corner
  • place second label just underneath the first
  • do not alter the tank label in anyway – inform the Show Sec
  • natural brownish-white substance such as unscented wood shavings, aspen, hemp.
  • roughly 3cm/1” deep
  • fresh/clean
  • consider adding white paper bedding for kittens
Identifying marks
  • on the underside
  • small and discrete