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55 Gallon Drum, 55 Gallon Barrel Terrarium

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by baja Dean, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. baja Dean

    baja Dean New Member

    It has been a long time since I have had reptile pets, maybe 20 years. I have so many running around my property have not had the need to buy any. Use to make my custom terrariums. I bought a iguana down here in baja yesterday for the kids I care for. they are 7 and 9 and this is their first pet of their own. So had to make a quick terrarium today. I used a 55 gallon plastic drum that was used for strawberry jelly. Cut a large hole in the front and inserted plexiglas sliding it into a groove I made,. Put lots of holes all over it. closed the top and have it sideways with a food and water side opening/door. for the entire project in addition to the drum and small plexiglas sheet uses one twist tie and one stainless steel bolt with two nuts and 2 washers. Very simple construction and what I really like is how easy and durable it will be to clean. Added the house fixtures (stone, climbing wood and so on for the oli too). I just searched to see if anyone else has done this and to my surprise have not found any in the forum or web searches. So a bit concerned to a degree. It seems like such a natural for terrariums and I was done in 2 hours. Granted the type "A" perfectionists would take a week.

    any concerns by anyone of the 55 gallon drum? I look at I could join a few more 55 gallon drums (they are $25.00 each) as he grows, but my intention was just get a basic home with a bit of privacy today. Work on a larger cage maybe about 8 foot wide by 3 foot deep by 8 feet high next months.

    the kids named him oliver there are welcome balloons on the side of cage and a I love you Oliver sign and a do not touch the glass already put on by the lids. Oliver is perched at the upper rest apparently enjoying himself.

    Note my temps at night are 84, and fay 88-92 in the baja of Mexico so I think he will be just fine in the shade of my palapa. No direct sun ever. With this basic light will he need the sun the place that sold him to me said he will need each day? They did not understand he would have an outdoor location, a little language barrier issue.

    Also as a side note: None of the sticky links worked for me. like common aquarium sizes and so on in this sub-forum.
  2. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Well if the drum held jelly it should be a food safe plastic, thus safer for reptile. Plastic or glass cages outside are a major risk from heat build up, they hold the hot stale air trapped inside and it only takes minutes for it to reach cooking temperatures.

    The large cage you plan to build seems good but I'll leave that to the big lizard peeps to hash out.
  3. baja Dean

    baja Dean New Member

    Thanks, great point... especially if I move his location from where he is now. Luckily I have been taking my property temperature right where the barrel sits for 15 years. As I mentioned no direct sun and the max temperature at this spot is 96 just a handful of days in 15 years, and generally 88-92 in the summer.

    The real nice thing about these plastic drums is you can drill holes so easily, it is like cutting butter, had the 7 y.o. doing the drilling, a hundred 1/4 inch ventilation holes. He loved the project. Especially since the attention span of a child is low. It was done in a short time with a great reward level, he got to get his new friend out of the carry home box very soon.

    So you can see better here is a pic below. As I said it is a bit crude, the workmanship but very functional. So excuse the reflection in the picture, could not find an angle that was not reflecting back at me. Here are the basics in the photo. Note on the end cap I have a easily removable clear service port, you can not see the latch is designed such that by default it falls into locked position so you can not forget to lock the latch. There is a slot cut into the bottom and top of the drum to hold the plexiglass in you can see it stick out the left side a bit, and you can barely see the air holes drilled but they are there. It is a scratched up piece of plexiglass that I have recycled.

  4. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    Looks nice, very ingenious to use a drum. I would take temp readings on the inside of the tank to make sure things are ventilated enough to keep him cool.

    He's going to love his adult cage, my iguana had an 8x8x5ft cage that we custom built and he loved being in there.
  5. baja Dean

    baja Dean New Member

    good idea, real easy to do. Will move the remote sensor it 2 feet above the cage right now, to inside the cage.
  6. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Interesting build with the barrel. For the larger cage I would up that 3' measurement to 6' if at all possible, the other dimensions sound good.

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