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Questions about vivarium setup

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by ellencat, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. ellencat

    ellencat New Member

    Hi all! I'm new to snake keeping so I hope my questions don't make me sound extremely silly, lol. I got my 1 y/o ball python about a week ago and I have some questions about my vivarium setup.
    I have a wooden vivarium with a sliding glass front and I use aspen as substrate. For heating, I use a 100W infrared bulb which is connected to a thermostat and a heat mat underneath (I don't think this is connected to anything other than the mains?). I also have sphagnum moss dotted around the tank. My humidity (which is measured by a dial hygrometer which I will upgrade) reads at about 40% or just under which concerns me slightly and my temperature is 32-34C on the hot side.
    My questions are:
    Should I be using both heating sources? I've read only one is necessary although my tank including the heat sources and substrate was given to me in a starter kit by a reptile shop.
    How can I increase the humidity? I do mist my tank and the sphagnum moss is in there but I'm not sure if I'm using it correctly. The tank feels humid enough when I put my hands in but this isn't accurate, haha.
    Should I change substrate to orchid bark? I read and have been told that it's good for humidity.
    Any other tips about the tank/care will be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time/help :)
     
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Get you a good digital hydrometer. You may be surprised at how badly "off" the dials can be. Same for temperatures.
    Do you have a large water bowl in there?
    A heat mat on the outside of a wooden viv is really not going to do much.
     
  3. ellencat

    ellencat New Member

    Will do about the hygrometer.
    Yes I have a large one, it's on the cold side but I have had it on the warm side. Do you think it makes a lot of difference if it's on the warm side for the humidity?
    The heat mat is inside the vivarium which confused me at first...
     
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    By moving the water bowl to the warm end it evaporates and adds to the humidity.
     
  5. ellencat

    ellencat New Member

    I'll move that soon. Should I turn the heat mat/lamp off too or leave it as it is?
     
  6. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    The heat needs to be on to keep temperatures within ranges. a BP should have a basking spot of 90-95ºF, and a cool end not below 80ºF. You can use a thermostat to turn your heating devices on and off accordingly to keep your temps withing those ranges.

    Whether or not both are necessary depends on how warm your enclosure will stay.
     
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    You have to do whatever is necessary to keep your temps up. But you really don't know what those temps are with out a good reliable digital.
     
  8. ellencat

    ellencat New Member

    Thanks for the help! I will definitely get a digital hygrometer and thermometer and then test the heat and try to fix the humidity. :)
     
    Merlin likes this.

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