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Room Size Water Monitor Enclosure

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by tenchi, Jun 17, 2009.

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  1. tenchi

    tenchi Well-Known Member

    Ok guys, I have a ways to go before my monitor needs a huge home. But figured for the size of what he will need when he is all grown up better start now, and I know they grow fast, but here is my question? I have a huge basement and want to turn half of it into his own place however I do not know where to get started. If you could give me any advice on how to start it. Lighting, heating, vents, bedding, water all would be appreciated. Have a few ideas but wanted some input before I destroy half of my basement on something I will have to redo over. Please show photo's of your enclosure if you have any so I can start to get some ideas. thanks
     
  2. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Gees, I wish I could help you on this but I've never made such a thing.
    Would love to though.lol
    I'll try to direct some of the larger monitor keepers to this thread and see if they have experience with this type of habitat setup.
     
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    It really depends to some extent on how much money you have to spend....I presume the basement already has a solid concrete floor? The easiest ( Not easy, just easier!) way would be to divide the space into two halves, (not neccessarily equal), one a large pool area, the other a raised land area..... Can you give the actual measurements of the floor space you`re using?
    Thanks! (In my mind I think I can work at least SOME of it out!)
     
  4. 3240

    3240 Well-Known Member

    Through many years of trial and error I finally have two room sized enclosures that work well.

    The single biggest challenge is going to be your basement floor. Even if ambient and basking temps are perfect the floor is going to be too cool. Ambient temps may be in the 80's but your basement floor might not get warmer than the low to mid 60F's.

    Water monitors, and most large adult monitors, spend most of their time on the floor of their enclosure. I suggest that you develop a heating system that heats the enclosure from the floor up. I use a radiant heat system. My pipes are buried under 4 feet of substrate. There's no need to have this much substrate as it's not practical for the majority of keepers. You definitely need to build a sub floor/raised floor. Run hot water pipes (most efficient but expensive to install) or electric heating elements (less efficient but much less expensive to install) under the raised floor. Make sure that this is hooked up to a thermostat. You need to keep the substrate/floor in the 80's. It should be very close to ambient temps. This will also keep your pool of water warm. A pool of water on a concrete floor is going to be very cold.

    With this system there's no need to provide additional supplemental heat with the exception of basking sights. Heat systems such as forced air don't work well as they dry the air and don't solve the issue of a cool basement floor. This is by FAR your biggest challenge.

    Make sure that the floor is well supported and resistant to moisture. Also, make sure you can access the heating elements underneath the floor.

    It is also important that you have a drainage system for the water. Most basements have some type of drain. Run pipes from the water tub to the drain. Use a valve that you can open and close to drain the water. Hauling water up and down the stairs in buckets is a nightmare.

    Make sure the entire enclosure is water/mildew resistant. Build it as you would a bathroom shower. It's more costly up front but will save you in the long run.

    Substrate is another challenge. I like taking dirt from outside. The natural bacteria and critters (rollie pollies, worms, etc) help breakdown waste. It's amazing how much better an enclosure smells if the substrate comes from outdoors versus sterilized or bagged substrate. Water monitors really don't need to burrow but substrate is needed to hold humidity. Without it the enclosure will be bone dry in no time. Use a bit of dirt with oak leaves or cypress mulch. If the dirt is from outdoors it will last a while and you will only need to spot clean.

    Make sure that you have enough power for your lighting system and heat. Many times everything has been completed and the system is fired up for the first time. All circuits in the basement pop! It's a real buzz kill.

    Good luck!

    Radiant heat boiler:

    [​IMG]

    Before cage "furniture:"

    [​IMG]

    After:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    There`s some excellent advise by 3240, but how much are you willing to spend? It`s going to be VERY expensive to run!...... One point: if approx. half the floor space is taken up with the pool, humidity shouldn`t be that much of a problem...
     
  6. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I don't think you can get away with inexpensive in a room sized enclosure.
    I can't imagine what it would cost to try and provide enough heat with lamps alone. Plus basements are always on the cool side because of the temperature of the ground.
     
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Yes, it`s a BIG project in every sense of the word!! One other point: If approx. half the floor area is to be a large pool, once this has been tiled, and a heating system installed, ( for the water), the actual basement floor shouldn`t have any effect, (this is just he same as having a swimming pool outside..... it can still be heated), the raised land area can be a couple of feet higher, so the main heating will be in this area. Of course, the ambient temp will have to be at a suitable level, then getting the basking temps can be worked on.... and I agree lamps alone wouldn`t be enough, I don`t think... Problems, problems, problems!! (Over to YOU , Mike!) :p
     
  8. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    All I can say is I have enough issues with small enclosure setups.lol
     
  9. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    You`re dodging the issue Michael, as I said: "over to you, Mike"!!
    Input, input, input!! Ideas ,ideas, ideas!! What are you waiting for??? :p
     
  10. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Never made one so I have very limited input on this.
    Underfloor heating is becoming quite popular in houses around here for it's inexpensiveness. There is also radiant heat cables for floors that might work as well.
     
  11. tenchi

    tenchi Well-Known Member

    Ok so the entire basement is almost 50 X 40 feet. So I was thinking take half of the room and turn it into his and the other half will be mine.
    So basically the room size I will be turning into an enclosure is 25 X 20 feet. Good amount of room I think so basically I was thinking of a pool on one side and the rest of it is going to be his living, basking, and play area.
    This is some good stuff you guys are giving me more... more.... more... have a bathroom down there so drainage is not a problem, at least I hope not, and I can always make his enclosure a little bigger than that but I was figuring I need to at least have a storage place and make an area down there for keeping/raising his food.
    Also I want some place that I can chill and relax while watching him.
    You guys are giving me really good ideas let's keep this going. thanks guys
     
  12. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I guess you'll want to search for some used house windows. Maybe even patio doors. If it were me I'd want lots of visualality. (yes that's a word)
    While still maintaining the heat inside.
     
  13. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi Mike, that`s not JUST a word, it`s a brand new, never been heard or seen before in the history of the universe word!! Well done!! :p
     
  14. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Do you by any chance mean: visuality?? :eek:
     
  15. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi tenchi, by the way, what`s the floor to ceiling height?
    Thanks!
     
  16. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Ha, I think it was visibility I was looking for. duh
    Yes I'm blonde as well.
     
  17. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    That`s ALWAYS been obvious to everyone, Michael! (Blonde, I mean)....
     
  18. tenchi

    tenchi Well-Known Member

    floor to ceiling is 10 feet
     
  19. tenchi

    tenchi Well-Known Member

    as to the question on how much I want to spend I figured that will be a while till he can mive into this big of an enclosure. I already have the cage he is in now another one built that is 36" x 36" and Three feet tall for when he gets a little bigger and another one that is 8 feet X 4 feet and 4 foot tall for when he gets too big for the others. So this will be a good size project that I can take my time making without having to spend a whole lot of money all at once. so not too worried about the cost just about how to go about making it.
     
  20. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi tenchi, it sounds like you have everything planned out for the future of your V. salvator, that`s just great!! Whenever you ARE ready, just let us all know....
     
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