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Cant Get the Temps Up.

Discussion in 'Heating' started by Marlin, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Marlin

    Marlin Member

    Hi I have a 20 gallon tank that I cant seem to get warm enough. The temps are suposed to be mid to high 80's on the warm side and mid 70's an the cool side and an over all temp of mid 70's at night. Im using an under tank heater that keeps the warm side ground in the high 80's but my problem is keeping the air warm. In the day I was told to use a 75w basking light and a 100w blue light at night. Well that barley cept the warm side at 70 day and night so I went back And the guys at the shop told me to get a 100w ceramic heat bulb and run it 24/7. Now my warm side is still only at 80 degres. This seems like alot of power for not much heat (not to mention its killing the humidity). The domes are sitting right on the screen. My home is pretty cool this time of year. Any Ideas of things I should be doing difrently. It dosnt seem right.
  2. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    What's the top look like?
    Most heat is lost when it escapes through it.
  3. Cap10Squirty

    Cap10Squirty Elite Member

    I am using a 100w ceramic heat emitter paired with a set of two 75w basking lamps and I get 120F on the basking rock surface an 80f ambient with some cool spots of 75. I use a boxed enclosure. When I previously used a glass aquarium without a top I was using stronger bulbs than you were and couldn't keep temps up.
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    What are you keeping in there and how are you measuring the temperatures?
    Posting a photo of the tank would be useful.
    What is the ambient temperature in the room.
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, the first thing you need to do is completely cover the screen top with something solid such as thin plywood or plexiglass with holes that are just big enough for the bulbs to fit against (the screen is probably the main reason you`re losing much of the heat and humidity). Better still, can you put the bulbs inside the enclosure, then you`ll have a self contained environment? Also cover the back and sides with thin plywood or similar, that will help contain the heat, glass is a very bad insulator.
  6. Marlin

    Marlin Member

    Thanks for the info. Imkeeping a solomon island tree boa. Ithink the mesh top is my problem. Iwas thinking about covering it up but two lights and a covered up top seem like a recipie for disaster but, Ill try it and keep a close eye on how it works. The two lights on one side basicly covers about 3/4 of the tank. Is that to big of an area of heat and too small of a cool side? How should it be set up? Basking light far left and ceramic in the middle? My tempature measuring system is a bit weak. I have a zoo med temp/hum. gage. It resides in the warm side but I move it around to check other areas of the tank. Ow ya Im using wet coconut fibers af flooring if that effects the conditions. Thanks again for the info I find forums like this more helpfull than the "Proffesionals" at petco.
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I don`t know anything much about those snakes, but if you tell me the recommended temps and humidity and the usual ambient (air) temps in the room the tank is in (day and night) I might be able to suggest heating, etc.
    Can you put a few photos up, and give the measurements of the tank in cm or inches, and is the hygrometer a digital or analogue?
  8. troymclure

    troymclure Elite Member

    i use heat tape(available at most home improvement stores) on the plywood on top of my screen topped aquarium(40b) . it keeps the edges from burning.
  9. Marlin

    Marlin Member

    Well what the shop I got the snake from said to keep the tank in the mid to high 80's f. and that It could drop to mid 70's at night the humidity Iv found varying opinions on but it should be 50-80%. and Im having trouble keeping that up too. The room gets any where from 60's to 70'sat night and rarely higher than mid 70's in the day. The thermometer is an anolog type. I wish I could do pictures but I cant. The tank is roughly 2 feet long 1 foot tall and 1 foot deep. The humidity seems to stay 35-40% no matter how wet the bedding is so ive been misting it regulary. Also I covered up about 1/3 of the screen top with a shirt and the temps seem to be about right now. So Im thinking the majority of my problem lies in the lid so im going to cunstruct one out of plywood and see if the ceramic bulb alone will keep it warm enough when it is sealed better. Im new to snakes how much ventilation should my new lid have?
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Just a cutout for your heater is enough ventilation. This is one of mine

    Attached Files:

  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I found this caresheet, it seems to make sense to me, hopefully it will give you some ideas......

    Solomon Island Boas are a wonderful species of snake to look at. They are very robust, with tough keeled scales and an arrow like head. They are usually grey in colour, but can be red, brown, orange, tan an even white. Nearly all Solomon Island Boas are wild caught; this species is hard to breed and even harder to rear. Gravid (pregnant) females are often imported and have their young in captivity. However, many of these die at a young age for little or no apparent reason. In time, we can hopefully learn more about this species and successfully reproduce it in captivity. Solomon Island Boas are quite temperamental and caution should be taken when handling. Although they are non-venomous, they have quite a nasty bite. With patience and regular handling however, many wild caught specimens will calm down and take to handling. Adult females can reach 2m in length; males are approximately half the size.


    When keeping any snake as a pet, you generally want to be able to view the snake from the outside of its enclosure, in the most natural surroundings you can offer. This will be more aesthetically pleasing and also aid in the general condition of the snake. If the snake likes its surroundings, it will have a better feeding response and generally grow quicker. A larger vivarium also offers more interest to the snake`s life, and by adding branches and other natural products you will enhance the quality of life the snake has, and stop it from becoming lethargic and overweight. Also, being stronger it should have more of a resistance to any viral infections or any other problems that it may encounter later in life.

    For an adult female Solomon Island Boa, a vivarium 120cm Length x 60cm Width x 60cm Height is ample. This is a timid species; many specimens when bought into captivity can go for many months without feeding. It is important that this transitional period is as stress-free as possible. A small, confined enclosure with no added lighting, away from human traffic may be needed. Once the boa is feeding on a regular basis, a larger vivarium with lighting may be offered. Adult males and smaller females do not need a vivarium quite as large, 90cm Length x 45cm Width x 45cm Height should be sufficient.

    Snake enclosures can be made from a number of materials. Most commonly used is a sealed wood which covers all sides except the front, which has glass sliding doors. Aquariums can also be used for Solomon Island Boas, although a specialist lid should be bought or made rather than the original aquarium lid. It is essential when thinking about what type of enclosure you use, you think about these factors:

    1) Safety: Can the snake or owner injure itself from the enclosure or any appliances held within?
    2) Secure : Can the snake escape through any small hole or cavity?
    3) Size: Will the enclosure be appropriately sized?
    4) Heating : Is the enclosure able to regulate the temperature properly?
    5) Humidity : Will the enclosure last well in humid conditions? Is there enough ventilation for the moisture to escape?
    6) Hygienic : Will the enclosure build up a lot of bacteria in small cavities? Is it easy to clean?

    By following the steps above, you can have a suitable enclosure made from a variety of materials.


    Decor in your tank serves two purposes. First being extra cover for your snake and second, allowing for a more natural and pleasing appearance. When choosing decor, think about the safety of the snake. Make sure that whatever you decide to use, it is securely fixed and that no rocks, wood or anything heavy can fall and possibly injure, or even kill the snake. You must also make sure that everything used is parasite free. If anything has been picked up from outside, or has originally come from outside, such as cork bark, you should either boil it, or place the item in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes. Freezing works for some parasites, however others have been known to survive months in freezing conditions. Some parasites found in English conditions last winters in minus temperatures, so it is not entirely effective.

    Once all your decor is parasite free, it is then safe to place inside your enclosure. As a general rule, if you can put pressure on an item to knock it down, a Solomon Island Boa is certainly capable of doing so. When positioning rocks or heavy objects, make sure they are completely secure. If it is still uneasy, screw them or use superglue to fix them securely. If it is not possible, the rule is simple: Do not place the item in the vivarium!

    If you decide to go for a larger enclosure, you must provide plenty of cover and hiding areas. A hiding place can be anything from a tupperware box with a hole cut out to a naturalistic piece of cork bark. There are many brands of fake plants and d?cor you can use which is both safe for the animal and pleasing to the eye. Cork bark is available from almost any reptile pet shop in the UK, and can be ordered in if they do not have it in stock. This is excellent cover for any reptile and is 100% natural. One thing you must consider when thinking about the size of the vivarium, is the bigger you go, the more hiding areas you must provide. I recommend at least one hiding place per foot in length of the enclosure.

    NOTE: Never use sticky tape in an enclosure; this is an accident waiting to happen. Believe me; removing sticky tape from any snake is no easy task!


    Solomon Island Boas are in dense forests and are exposed to a fairly constant air temperature. They do not bask in the sun and so it is not as important to provide them with a dedicated hot spot. Instead, having a fairly constant air temperature of 85-90F during the day and 80-85F during the night is fine. A large water bowl should be offered for the snake to fully submerge if required. If your Solomon Island Boa does this constantly, the vivarium is most probably too hot and should be cooled down slightly.

    In my opinion, the ideal way of heating a Solomon Island Boa`s enclosure is to use a power plate. This is a small thin square plate, about 25mm thick which is screwed into the top of the vivarium. It does not need to be protected, as there is no way a snake can grip onto it. It is almost invisible to the eye as it simply sits on the ceiling of the vivarium. The only brand available in the UK is HabiStat Reptile Radiator; it is 75 Watts and is sufficient for any vivarium up to 4ft long and possibly larger. It produces no light and therefore in a vivarium you will need a form of lighting as well. A power plate should be used in conjunction with a HabiStat Pulse Proportional Thermostat, which will stop the power reaching the power plate as soon as the temperature goes above the setting, and turn back on as soon as it is too cool. This is one of the most accurate thermostats on the market today.

    Ceramic heaters, spot bulbs and heat mats are also ways of heating a vivarium. These all have their advantages and disadvantages, but in my opinion, none quite weigh out to be as good as a power plate.


    Solomon Island Boas are primarily nocturnal, meaning they venture out in the dark of night. This is when their main predators are sleeping, and their prey is awake. Lighting for this species is not important. However, having artificial light in a vivarium is aesthetically pleasing to the owner, and is a good addition to a snake`s enclosure. They will use this as a photo-period, and their regular time clock will generally adjust to the settings on which you have your light set to.

    They do not require any form of special lighting, such as a D3 Ultra-Violet light commonly used for diurnal species. An Arcadia Natural Sunlight Fluorescent Lamp is a good form of lighting. This comes in lengths of 12 up to 48inches and I suggest you use the largest size able to fit inside your vivarium.


    Solomon Island Boas occur over much of the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, therefore are exposed to a high humidity. This should be replicated in captivity to aid to the general health and well-being of your snake. A 80-90% humidity range will allow to snake to slough its skin properly and become less prone to any problems such as respiratory infections.


    Juveniles or males should be offered fuzzy or small mice, and as they grow the mice or rats should become larger. An adult female Solomon Island Boa should be fed on large rats. One of these every 2 weeks is ample. An adult male may take large mice or weaner rats. Juveniles should be fed on a regular basis, every 7 days is ideal. Their metabolic rate is higher than adults and as they are growing, they need a lot more food to keep them going. Solomon Island Boas have a low metabolism compared to many snakes, they move very little and do not require the same quantity of food that many other species do. Snakes have the capability of building up a huge fat reserve, and become obese very easily. Taking the weight off however, is a much more difficult task. Obese snakes will not live nearly the length as a healthy snake would due to liver and kidney problems. If you are unsure about your snake`s weight, check with a reptile veterinarian.

    By Chris Jones
    Director of Pet Club UK Ltd.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  12. Marlin

    Marlin Member

    Nice, Ive been looking for a good care sheet for these guys with little luck. That really helps. Thanks to every body elnse to.
  13. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    You need a digital thermometer with a probe or a temp gun. The dial thermometers are horrid and usually off like 5-7 degrees. I have both a infrared temp gun and accurite digital thermometer hygrometer with probes in mine.

    I have a plywood cutout on my aquarium and it works.

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