I have a number of picky juvenile colubrids at the moment, so I decided to start a feeder mouse colony to produce a steady supply of fresh pinks and fuzzys. Hopefully the fresh rodents will help get the young snakes on rodents/eating on their own. Once they're started it shouldn't be too difficult to get them on F/T so I can shut the colony down, as it is not cost effective to raise mice vs ordering them F/T in bulk. Not to mention all the extra work maintaining the colony. After some research into husbandry I decided a tub is the way to go. So much easier to clean than an relatively heavy and unwieldy aquarium. And if you slip and drop an aquarium, even just a short distance, it's time for a new aquarium. I compared several brands and sizes before settling on this 60 quart Ziplock tub. It was a few more dollars than comparatively sized Rubbermaid or Sterilite tubs, but it is relatively square, which maximizes floor space, rugged in construction, and, most importantly, has a well reinforced, securely latching lid. Wont take much to modify it for housing mice. The only issue with tubs is the risk of the mice chewing their way out, but many people (including mass producers) use tubs with no issues so I'll see what happens. I am sorry the pictures came out a little dark, I did this quickly and didn't notice.
60 quart Ziplock tub
Aluminum window screen
Rodent water bottle
I first removed the raised sections of the lid with a Dremel and a cut-off wheel, careful to leave the reinforcements in place. Cleaned it up a little with a Dremel sanding bit, then trimmed the remaining excess with a razor blade to leave a flat surface on which to glue the screen.
Cut out a section of the aluminum screen to fit the lid (very easy to cut with scissors), apply glue to the lid all the way around and across each support, and install the screen. You'll need to weigh down the screen while the glue sets, I used iron plates and dowel rods made of skewers (leftover from my DIY juvenile snake hooks) and sections of a hanger. Make sure you remove whatever you use to weigh the screen down before the glue is completely set, or it may become a permanent part of the lid. About an hour should do. Another couple hours for the Gorilla Glue to set (it will foam up a bit and surround the screen), and you've got plenty of ventilation without sacrificing the structural integrity of the lid.
My local pet store has these handy water bottles that come with a holder that can be affixed to the side of a cage with a bolt and plastic nut, perfect for a tub. Simply drill a hole through the side of the tub just big enough for the bolt to pass through, run the bolt through and thread on the plastic nut. There you have it, a DIY tub for a colony of mice that is very easy to move and clean. As of this posting my colony (four females and one male) has been running for a few weeks. The first litter dropped a few days ago and the rest of the females look like they're well on their way to producing their first litters. Fingers crossed.