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Product Review:
Leo Braun's Ultimate Wheel
Super Pet Flat-Bac Bottles

From the Nov/Dec 1998 Rat & Mouse Gazette

Leo Braun's Ultimate Wheel
By Mary Ann Isaksen


Ultimate Wheel
Photo by Leo Braun
Ultimate Wheel

What can you possibly say, but that Leo has done it again! Leo has been working with us to create the best possible cages, lab block holders, and wheels for many years now. After all the years of using wire wheels with our precious pets, seeing many of them get injured, it was Leo who came up with the idea for solid surface wheels. First, he came up with sheet metal wheels, then decided to powder-coat them for easy cleaning, but Leo still wasnít satisfied that heíd made the best possible product. He began working on designs that eliminated the center axel and the spokes that held the axel (the bars that some rodents would hit their heads on or catch their tails in). The quality just kept getting better. Now, Leo has created the Ultimate Wheel, which certainly lives up to its name!

Made from spun aluminum, it is the lightest wheel ever created for its large size (comes in 12 and 15 inch diameter sizes). There are no spokes and no axel to possibly injure your pet. It has an aluminum hub which houses the very expensive roller bearings that make this wheel completely quiet. Imagine that - a quiet wheel! You can have this wheel right in the bedroom with you while you sleep away the night in peace, even though your rodent pals are getting the exercise they need. Leo has also thought of every possible situation and has made them in both free-standing and hanging styles.

With the quality of the craftsmanship, and the added powdercoating for ease of cleaning and to protect the metal, this wheel is sure to last a lifetime. I have yet to see one get damaged, and there is nothing that a rat could do to one to damage it. I guess thatís why Leo offers a two-year warranty. Incredible, a rodent wheel with a warranty - now thatís a first!

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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Super Pet Flat-Bac Bottles
By Sarah Shuman


This is a new take on the typical pet water bottle. Rather than being cylindrically shaped, they are more rectangular. The backs are flat, as the name suggests.

I have tested these extensively in different sizes, and these are some of the features/pros/cons:

The plastic is sturdier than the average bottle, so they wear well. I have only had one rat chew through them. The only thing that stops this rat is those super-hard Oasis Bell bottles that are shaped like a Tylenol capsule--Veronica the Diamond-Toothed Rat can chew anything else open. Because the plastic is hard, it is also rigid, which minimizes drips. It is also sort of a smokey grey translucent color, so that sunlight cannot penetrate to cause algae growth, but you can see inside to tell when the bottle needs to be refilled. There is a little "floaty thing" inside which you can use as a further visual cue to help you gauge water level quickly without squinting. To further minimize dripping, these have a "column" in the middle which keeps the sides at a constant distance from each other.

Another thing is that these bottles come with a small mountable frame which you must install in order to use the bottle. This is very easy on wire cages--you simply unscrew the little back plate, put the frame in position on the cage, and rotate the plate back onto the screw which connects it to the frame. This will hold it firmly. If you want to use one of these in an aquarium, however, you must buy the suction cups to attach it, which I have not yet tried. The good thing is that, once you have the frame installed, it's very easy to refill the bottles by simply snapping them off the frame, opening them, and snapping them back in when full, which I find takes a lot less time than wrestling with a metal water bottle holder.

Some things to watch out for: A friend of mine had trouble with one of her animals being unable to get water out of the spout, and just recently I have seen the same thing happen once with my rats. This has happened with a standard bottle, too, though. It's possible that the lower part of the drinking tube may be a bit more horizontal than it should be and may therefore be more likely to trap air between the metal balls in the tube, therefore making the water inaccessable. Also, when you twist the spout to make it line up properly so you can insert it between the cage wires, it may slide out entirely, so be sure to check that it's in the rubber stopper all the way and that the water flows freely when you tap the metal ball. But that's a good thing to do with ANY kind of water bottle, as I recently found out.

Overall, I like these bottles and find them sturdy and easy to use. I recommend them.

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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


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