|Snapple Bottle with Lixit Stoppered Tube|
in a Home-Made Mount
We recently installed a Do-It-Yourself mount for the Snapple water bottle with Lixit stoppered tube watering system to our Martin's Rat Play Pen and may do the same on the travel cage and/or carrier. You may want to consider this if you are using these Lixit kits as your main water system and want to add a few mounts to cages you don't use often without purchasing another complete kit. Or, if you have a the hardware on hand, you might want to skip the kit altogether, and just purchase the stoppered tube. Or perhaps you have a lot of cages and need a lot of water bottles - skipping the kit and building a mount yourself may save you some money.
For the most part, if you only have one or two cages, you are probably best off buying the kit. If you don't have the hardware parts on hand, you may have to buy small things like washers and screws and wingnuts in larger quantities than you need, making the initial investment close to the cost of the kit. However, if you have the hardware on hand or if you need to outfit many cages and thus can afford to buy the initial hardware in quantity, you may want to go this route instead of the kit.
This is what you will need, along with the costs of each item at Menards:
- 1 Extension Spring (5/16" x 4 13/16"): $1.69
- 2 Corner Braces (2" x 5/8"): ($1.97 for a pack of 4): $.99 for 2
- 1 Mending Brace (2" x 1/2"): $.57
- 2 Wingnuts (8-32): ($.89 for a pack of 5): $.36
- 2 Machine Screws (flat ends) (8-32 x 3/4"): ($1.59 for a pack of 7): $.45
- 4 Washers (1/4" x 1"): ($.99 for a pack of 7): $.56
- 2 Lanyard Hooks (if purchased in bulk, cost is negligible - I have many on hand from making hammocks)
- 1 Zip Tie (cost is negligible)
To assemble the mount, follow these steps:
1. Pass the screws through the holes in the mending brace.
2. Add a washer to each of the screws. I used 1" washers, which work fine on the Critter Nation and Martin's Cages (1/2" bar spacing), but you may need larger washers if your cage has a wider bar spacing.
4. Add two more washers to the screws on the outside of the cage.
5. Add a corner brace to each screw, passing the screw through the top-most hole in the brace.
6. Add wing nuts to each screw and tighten to hold the corner braces firmly in place. (Note: you can use regular nuts as well. I used wingnuts so I could hand tighten and loosen easily.)
7. Pass a cable tie through the outer holes in the corner braces and secure in place. The zip tie will prevent the bottle tube from slipping out of the mount.
NOTE: You can attach another mending brace to the outer holes instead, securing it in place with two more screws and two more wingnuts. This would add about $1.38 to the cost of the mount. I think the cable tie will work fine, since the mount is on the outside of the cage where the rats cannot chew it.
8.Attach a lanyard hook to each end of the spring. (Note: you can also use springs from other water bottles if you have extras. You may need to make them longer - attaching a split ring to the ends of the spring may achieve the desired effect. The spring accounts for more than 1/3 of the total cost of the mount, so if you already have one or can borrow one from one of your other kits, you will cut the total cost down to $2.65.)
UPDATE 3/12/14: An alternative to a spring would be to sew split rings to a piece of elastic and attach lanyard hooks to the split rings. This would not be as durable as a spring, but as long as the bottle is mounted to the outside of the cage and the rats do not have access to it for chewing, it should work sufficiently well.
9. Attach spring to cage bars at desired height.
10. Insert water bottle with the tube between the corner braces and then passing between the cage bars, with the stopper resting on the corner braces. Pull the spring around the bottle to hold in place.
Here is a picture of the mount and the whole bottle affixed to a Martin's cage (Martin's Play Pen with Pan):
Note: the stoppered tubes can be purchased from many bird supply retailers. Here are a few that I found via a web search:
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