Rat Show Articles

Standard Show Tanks

Article originally written by Edwin Reay and published in Pro-Rat-A 146.

NFRS Show Tank

Reason for using a standard tank

Standard tanks (use in both pet and variety shows) 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.

Specification of the 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 preferable and are 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 or tank and lid together at NFRS shows. If you are interested in producing your own lids, please contact the NFRS Committee.

Arrangements for the old standard tanks

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

Hire Tanks

There are a limited number of hire tanks available. Hire tanks must be booked in advance, cost £3 each and are limited to two 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, please contact the General Show Secretary well in advance of the show, so that we can arrange for the tanks to be delivered to the show.

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 as moisture source
  • a handful of dry food
  • 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 if exhibiting two kittens in the same tank
  • do not alter the tank label in anyway – inform the Show Sec


  • natural brown or beige unscented substances such as wood shavings, aspen, hemp or chopped/shredded cardboard.
  • roughly 3cm/1” deep
  • fresh/clean
  • consider adding white paper bedding for kittens

Identifying marks

  • on the underside
  • small and discrete