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A Couple Diy Enclosures I Just Built

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by Thatoneguy, May 30, 2015.

  1. Thatoneguy

    Thatoneguy Member

    My Girlfriend recently bought a Cuban Rock Iguana and I was tasked with building its cage. I have no experience in building things, but thought I would share what I came up with. I also built my ball pythons new homes after this and started building another enclosure for a Tegu which I will be purchasing in the near future.
    20150523_210339.jpg These are made of Melamine with Vinyl flooring, I divided the bottom of the tank to prevent my snakes from dumping the water in their bedding, and I can feed them on the vinyl to make the mess easier to clean up. I used a strip of heat tape under the vinyl on the left side if the tanks. They are 4ftx2ftx18in
    20150510_143131.jpg This is the Iguana enclosure under construction. Same building materials for the most part. Also all the enclosure have latched on the sides to allow you to take off the entire front panel for easier cleaning, or even to expand the enclosure. This cage is 6ftx2ftx3ft. 20150517_195658.jpg this is the cage complete for the most part. the top is pegboard with an area cut out for the lights. I have a piece of pegboard acting as a ramp right now so she can get to her basking spot, but that is only temporary. We will be building another ledge and a better less steep ramp in the future.
    20150530_121026.jpg This is my DIY fogger I made, there is a piece of tubing that runs the entire length of the cage with holes to allow the fog to distribute throughout the enclosure. This is the end over her basking spot where the majority of the fog comes out. 20150530_122844.jpg Walgreens humidifier about $40, then some PVC fittings and silicon with the hose. I have it on a very low setting keeps the enclosure at about 80% humidity which is impressive considering I live in Arizona. The water last about 2 -3 days. If i max it out the entire tank fogs up to 99% humidity in no time.

    I built each snake enclosure in a day, and the Iguana one took about 3 days, since it was my first, but could easily be done in a full day or 2 half days.
  2. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I seriously DO think it`s great you`ve tried to build the enclosures yourself, but to be honest there are some very obvious "mistakes". The pegboard top will allow much of the heat and most of the humidity to escape, the relatively high humidity in the Iguana enclosure will before long penetrate the melamine if the surface layer is broken causing it to rot very quickly.
    I`d like to ask about the design you have in mind for a Tegu enclosure?
  3. Thatoneguy

    Thatoneguy Member

    I was concerned initially with to much humidity escaping via the top but the cage has been up and running and stays around 80% humidity and ambient temp hovers around 80. If necessary I planned on covering some of the top, but I haven't needed too.

    The melamine rotting is definitely a concern, I siliconed the crap out of all corners and any holes I made. If the iguana manages to scratch through the protective layer I could be in trouble though. The plan is to add some fake rock walls and accessories, which should cover the wood and add some more protection.
    What material would you recommend?

    The iguana in question is a Cuban Rock iguana they are actually more of a ground iguana and not a big fan of climbing. I plan on expanding the cage horizontally when she is bigger.

    I plan on building the tegu cage similar, but allowing a foot at the bottom for substrate, and most the top will be solid wood, except a portion for the lights.
  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    How are you measuring the humidity range and ambient temp, also, there doesn`t seem to be enough room for any substrate?
  5. Thatoneguy

    Thatoneguy Member

    substrate for the iguana or for the tegu? I'm under the impression that its preferred not to have substrate for iguanas. For the Tegu cage there is more of a frame in the front with smaller sliding glass doors to allow for substrate.

    I have temp/humidity probe setup which I have moved around to get the general idea, I put the humidity probe on the dryer side of the cage and the temp probe pretty much center, and then a temp gun to spot check different areas.
  6. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    These are ground Iguanas, they live on particulate substrates in the wild and no reason they can`t in captivity. The idea that they will inevitably suffer from impaction unless they are kept on reptile carpet/ceramic tiles, etc is extremely misleading because impaction is mainly a result of too low temps (particularly the basking surface).
    I take it that the hygrometer is a digital which is usually more accurate (the Temp-gun is fine).
    You mention in the Tegu enclosure the top will mainly be solid except for the holes for the heat/lighting, it`s normally much better to have those inside the tank.
  7. Thatoneguy

    Thatoneguy Member

    Yeah its a digital probe. Well there is about 2.5 inches of space on the bottom that substrate could be added. I'll let my girlfriend decide if she wants to put something down there, She has owned a green Iguana in the past but this is her first Cuban. I to think its weird that these animals live in the wild but have impaction issues because of soil in the cage.
  8. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Like murrindindi said, impaction issues for most captive reptiles come from improper husbandry, usually caused by outdated or just plain incorrect care info. Basking temps that are too low and improper humidity are the usual problems, and a full and clean water dish will not make up for improper humidity.
    As for what you built, the main issue besides the lack of any significant area for substrate is the melamine itself, which has already been discussed. For your next builds, I would steer clear of melamine and go with plywood. It has to be sealed properly, but you end up with a much more durable, and often lighter, cage that will last pretty much forever.
  9. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    One more very important thing to consider regarding using particulate substrate is that if the animal is female nesting sites must be available at all times (they most definitely do NOT deposit eggs on the surface of the ground unless the nesting site is unsuitable), and this issue is life threatening.
    I hope your gf takes that into consideration! ;)
  10. Thatoneguy

    Thatoneguy Member

    The main reason I went with melamine was I didn't want to mess with painting and sealing, but I will take your advice for future cages I build once I need to replace these ones.

    I will let her know for sure, It wouldn't be difficult to add substrate into the cage. Thanks for the advice.

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