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Waterproof Substrate Heater

How To Build A Waterproof Substrate Heater

Waterproof Substrate Heater

I usually make enclosures out of wood, sometimes lined with construction vinyl sheeting if I'm growing plants and need to water. I utilize this method to heat areas of substrate, it is simple and inexpensive (depending on the choice of rheostat).


Heat Cable (Zoo Med, 12-40 feet)
Vinyl Tubing (3/8" to 1/2" diameter internal)
Aluminum tape or conduit clamps

Feed the cable through the tubing. Extend the tubing beyond the end of cable a few inches. Now position the tubing in the terrarium, securing it with tape or clamps. Secure the plug end of the cable appropriately outside of the terrarium. (Either through a predrilled hole at the base or run it up a side.) Connect it to a rheostat, timer, or whatever you need for application. This picture shows a cable in the vinyl tube without the rheostat. (I'm using it on the basement floor underneath a plastic box used for roach breeding and the rheostat isn't really required for this type of application.)

Waterproof Substrate Heater

This picture is of an indoor terrarium for an old box turtle. In the upper left, the dark area, there is a low lying hide, about 14x14. The substrate below is topsoil and peat moss. The cable warms the area within the substrate.

Waterproof Substrate Heater

I suppose you don't really need the vinyl tubing, but I worried about the water and the digging/biting risk. Anyway, I know it's simplistic, but maybe someone will find it useful.


Author: Andy Asagan
Images - © Andy Asagan