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Building Cage for AWD

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by DragonFamily, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi the work you`re doing looks excellent up to now. As far as the Megarays, the easiest way to check the wattage you will need is just to use normal household bulbs and see what temps you get, the MRs can emmit UVB close to natural sunlight at distances from 15? to 36inches... I`m using a 275w., plus a 160w to cover my monitors entire body, obviously you will only need one of these lamps, they emmit the light over a circumference of 30 inches at the recommended distances.
  2. MadDog

    MadDog Elite Member

    Looks awesome!!
  3. kpablo

    kpablo Active Member

    Want to come and make one for me :)
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I think Mega-Ray has an FAQ page on how to figure out how much you need. That's how I figured out on 150watt for my CWD.
  5. DragonFamily

    DragonFamily Elite Member

    Thanks for the MR info... I've gone through the FAQ and their site quite a bit and it seems like either the 100w or maybe 160w SB lamp would be the ticket.

    I have emailed and now also left a message with them so hopefully we can get this sorted out and a lamp ordered up!

    The rest of the enclosure is nearing completion. We need to get some pics, but we put the silicone on all the seams of the inside of the enclosure and installed the vents and grommet on the top over the last two evenings. The silicone application went really smoothly. We bought a rubberized corner spreader when we got the GE Silicone I and that really makes it look nice and professional! We decided against siliconing the vents so they could be removed if necessary down the road. We used some 1/4" foam tape on the backsides of the edges of the internal vent covers when we screwed them down to seal up any gaps. Worked very well and should keep things in that need to be in and vice versa.

    We also ordered up an Alife thermostat and a small water fall pump from Reptile Supplies and Exotic Animals. The plan is to use the thermostat on the 150w Ceramic heat emitter we have to control the temp from dropping too low in the winter when the house is cooler and during the night. With the secondary source of heat figured out, we are really thinking that the 100w MegaRay should be fine. The little pump was $10 and we are envisioning some sort of wood to make a waterfall for our pool with that (obviously :) ).

    Then we also picked up a medium Tetra Whisper aquarium filter at WalMart - also $10. We have used these before in small aquariums and they are very quiet and easy to do maintenance on (remove "biobag" filter, toss in garbage, put new filter in (after rinsing of course), done).

    So with the small pump and the Whisper filter, we should have what we need for the pool/water fall setup.

    .......I can't update the first post, but here is a pricing update on the project:

    Total Spent as of 8/28: $222.95 (see top post for details)

    Alife 1000w thermostat: $27
    ExoTerra ReptiFlo 200 waterfall pump: $10
    Tetra Whisper Filter (for pool): $10.70
    MegaRay 160w UVB bulb: $46.95
    ReptiSun 2.0 36" bulb: $12.95 (13.14 shipping)
    Glass for doors (2 x 41.5"x24"): $81.22
    -Hooks for florescent lights (no longer needed): (-$2.06)

    Total Spent as of 9/21: $422.25

    And so far, we have not used the Hardware Cloth or Great Stuff so those really might not count against the total build budget...


    Not really... This has been kind of fun so far, but not THAT
  6. DragonFamily

    DragonFamily Elite Member

    OK, had a quick conversation with Bob... He really thinks the Metal Halide is the way to go. That with a flourescent to add light and then a halogen for heat and he really likes a secondary basking area with another halogen heat lamp for that. And then use timers to step up the light and heat to simulate sunrises and sunsets. That just might break the budget though. The Metal Halide alone is $120... yeesh...

    He was too busy to discuss all the options we could try though so I am gonna call him again later and see what else he would recommend that is a bit easier on the wallet.
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    The metal halides are excellent but expensive, I would still go with the Megaray and a 2-0 fluorescent tube for supplementary lighting.... (The Repti-sun 2-0 is 6200k, so very close to natural daylight, but low in UVB)... Is the room you are having the enclosure in very warm, because I don`t think the 100watt Megaray will give you the temps you need?
  8. DragonFamily

    DragonFamily Elite Member

    Well this is Minnesota... so it gets very, very cold in the winter. We tend to keep the house at about 70* during the day and let it go down to about 65* at night in the winter. In the summer, we rarely use the AC so it is usually in the 60-70* range at night and then 70-80* range in the daytime. With the cooler nights and winters, we have added under tank heaters for our Beardie tanks, but so far we have not done anything to keep the heat up for our AWD when the lights are off or to supplement the heat lamp. Not to say that is proper, but that is how we have done it to date.

    Bob also said the same thing about the heat levels we need. Everything we have read has told me that the CWD needs more heat and humidity than an AWD, but Bob said that is definitely false. The AWD doesn't need as much humidity but actually needs higher temps than a CWD and almost as high as a Beardie... Which makes perfect sense given their natural habitat.

    So I tend to agree that the 160w MR is looking more like the ticket. We do also have a 150w ceramic heat emitter and a thermostat on the way for it to help with heat, but 100w probably isn't enough.

    Progress Update:

    We got some more stuff done today... Put the lamp fixture into the ceiling, added the handles on the sides, added the weatherstripping on the sides for the sliding glass doors, and put in the shelves!

    After talking with Bob, we went with his recommendation of 16" distance for the shelf from the MegaRay lamp. This may still need some tweaking to get the heat just right, but this should be very close to the right placement for the primary basking area.

    Anywho, here's some pics, starting with the vents and grommet install from the other day:






    And here it is with a couple 50w lamps we had laying around in the fixture :)



    Attached Files:

  9. kpablo

    kpablo Active Member

    Looks really good. I like how you have hid the actual lights.
  10. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

  11. DragonFamily

    DragonFamily Elite Member

    Yep, we'll shoot for mid 90s for the primary basking area and try out some regular bulbs we have now to see what happens. I know we have at least some 100w ones for sure...

    And yes, we will be putting in a pool on one side of the bottom and a dig box on the other with substrate in it. And there will be some logs going to and from the shelves in some sort of arrangement. We're thinking of about 20"x30"-ish for the pool but we will see what we can find that looks ok.
  12. DragonFamily

    DragonFamily Elite Member

    We ordered the glass today... Called around all over and the cheapest we could get for tempered, grounded edge, custom cut glass for our enclosure was $40 per sheet. Some places (Lowes being one of them) wanted well over $100 per sheet!!! That is some SERIOUS markup!

    I also ordered the 160w MegaRay and a ReptiSun 2.0 36" bulb from EveryThingReptileSupply. I need to pick up a ballast and lamp holders from the hardware store and we should be all set on the lighting and heating.

    I updated the budget in post #25
  13. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi again, you mention a ballast, have you ordered the externally ballasted Megaray, these DO last longer than the SB type? A tip for the future: If you get the glass cut to size, you can easily round off the edges with an oilstone, much cheaper than them doing it!
  14. DragonFamily

    DragonFamily Elite Member

    Hmmm... never thought of that for the glass grinding. Good to know. Hopefully these don't break or anything and we won't need to do that.... until we get the itch for another big

    We just went with a SB one for now. We figured that will keep the cost down on getting the enclosure up and running. Bob said the same thing about the longevity of both types of bulbs, but when I told him about the enclosure and that the bulb won't be moved around or bumped (like if it was in a dome fixture laying on a screen top or something), he seemed a bit easier with that setup.

    The ballast and holders will be for the flourescent tube. I'm not paying $50+ for a fixture with a crappy 20 year old technology starter ballast when we can get a nicer "self-start" ballast and some holders for under $30 :) .

    I also should add that we put a 100w basking bulb in the fixture aimed at the shelf at 16" and then a 50w aimed off towards the middle of the enclosure and that put the primary basking spot at a max of 88*. This is without any doors on the enclosure, but no wind in the room, so it might have hit a few degrees higher if the doors were closed, but not much more. So the 160w is going to be right in the ballpark for mid 90*s most likely.
  15. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I agree, it sounds like the 160w will be just right, it`s difficult to tell from the photos, but I measured my 160w and it`s 6inches from the top of the ceramic holder to the face of the lamp, that means you need a distance of 18inches minimum from the top of the tank where the lamp is fixed to where the animal`s hot-spot is... [12 inches minimum distance for the 160w MR] So will the shelves be o.k. at the height you`ve fixed them, although you can obviously have the branches at the suitable distances too?
  16. DragonFamily

    DragonFamily Elite Member

    Thanks for the info! We tried to account for the size of the MR as best we could without ever seeing one in person. We figured it was going to be bigger than the 100w bulb so we added a few inches to that and put the shelf down a little further so we can put some furniture on it. The shelf is actually 23" below the edge of the fixture (27" from the ceiling of the enclosure, the fixture is 4" tall) and the ceramic socket is recessed about 1" into the metal outside of the fixture (it's an outdoor floodlight fixture for on a house). So that should mean that the shelf will end up at about 20-21" from the face of the MR when installed. Add a log to the shelf and we should be providing a nice gradient of primary basking heat on that shelf under the MR in the 14-18" range. We figured putting it a little low is better than a little too high so we can play with furniture to get the heat where it needs to be. If it was too high, and the basking area was too hot, we would be filling screw holes and moving the shelf down.
  17. DragonFamily

    DragonFamily Elite Member

    The thermostat and pump showed up from lllreptile yesterday. The thermostat seems to be right on for the temperature it switches at from our testing too.

    We picked up a 36" flourescent light fixture yesterday and wired it and installed it. We put an old 5.0 ReptiSun bulb in there for now just to get an idea of how it will look. The fixture was $29 and then we had to buy a $1 extension cord and hack the end off and solder that on for a cord to plug it in with. I was going to just put a ballast on the back of the enclosure and wire some bulb holder ends into the ceiling, but this was almost as cheap and much less work. It works very nice and the ballast is a really nice one that is like instant on when you turn it on - no flickering or blinking during start up.


    We also played around with some different bins for the pool and dig box. We found a set of storage bins at Lowes on clearance for $6.50 and figured if we don't use them for the enclosure, for that price, we had to buy them anyways.

    They are clear and just look a little bit too artificial for our taste, but they would get the job done if need be. So we'll see what else we come up with in the next week or so

    We test fitted the pump and filter unit and the filter unit is going to be a bit tall if we use this bin, but maybe we can rig something up to make it more secure. It makes a lot of noise when running because the water pours out of the top and splashes into the water. If we use something to break the fall of the water this might work as a "waterfall" of sorts and a filter unit all in one... The small pump works like it should but we don't know now if we will be using both units.


    We also tossed a few of the driftwood pieces we have been gathering in there to get some ideas on how to set it up.


    Attached Files:

  18. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    It looks excellent! As far as the water dropping down , my setup is the same, and the tank is in the bedroom, it IS quite noisy! Where the the see-through plastic tubs are concerned, you CAN make a second "false" floor, just mark out the shape of the pool onto a half-inch piece of plywood, cut the hole out, just fix a small batten round the tank for the false flooor to sit on, then drop the pool down as far as the rim, you could still lift them up to take them out if needed, [I hope that makes sense, it does in my head!!] It sounds as if you have the shelf/basking height worked out perfectly too...
  19. DragonFamily

    DragonFamily Elite Member

    Yeah we thought about the "false" floor thing for the pool and dig box to be sunk down into, but we don't want to lose any of the volume of the enclosure since it isn't really overly big. We can always make a stand for it in the future and then cut the current floor out and let them hang down... But that will be down the road. We really need to get our Dragon out of the little 55gal tank as soon as possible. This project has definitely opened our eyes to all of the possibilities we can look into in the future though.

    So we did some more shopping for a pool and found something at Walmart that matches out current smaller pool that is going to become the dig box... It is a large cat-pan and was $8. It is blue and more plain in nature so we like it much better for this application. The walls are taller too so it will work better with the filter:



    We also glued down the sliding glass door tracks with construction adhesive lastnight and have them held down tight with clamps while it dries.


    I picked up the glass today as well so we should have the whole thing buttoned up tonight! We have to give the inside a good washing and finalize the setup inside over the next few days and then we just have a couple of days to wait on the MegaRay and ReptiSun 2.0 bulb and it will be move in time!

    Attached Files:

  20. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    You`ve done a great job all round, I like the blue pool much better than the clear, too. As far as cleaning the enclosure, how would you usually do that? I use a small hand steam gun, it gets into all the nooks and crannies, and of course, no chemicals.... [Much easier than diluted bleach].

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