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Heat Gradient + Lighting

Discussion in 'Heating' started by aeral, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. aeral

    aeral Elite Member

    So I picked up a heat lamp for my cage today and I have it all set up now. I am using the Exo Terra Desert Heat pad (sized small) in a 20 gal tall aquarium - this was the one that the lady at the store recommended as it takes up approx 1/3 of the bottom of the tank. I also just bought one of the 5.5 inch Fluker's clamp lamps and one of the Zilla night black heat incandescent bulbs (50 watt). I've got that all set up in the cage right now, albeit it's just directly against the glass at the moment because due to some issues with my own stupidity, I have to wait to put the tile substrate in after I actually get about a centimeter cut off of the piece. (I called two of the building supply centers today; one said that they could rent me the equipment to do it, and the other said that the piece I had was too big. Ugh! Anyway.)

    The care sheet I got from the store says that the gradient should be as follows:
    - Day - Cool Side - 75-85 (24-29)
    - Day - Warm Side - 85-95 (29-35)
    - Night 65-75 (18-24)

    It's about 37 on the warm side and 21 on the cool side, albeit it's night and the house is naturally cooler now, but that kind of concerns me. If it's consistently 21 on the "cool" side - is that going to be far too cold for my leo?

    Should I consider going to a 75W bulb instead of a 50?

    Will post with temps in the morning, just in case this is a one-off thing, but it's been sitting there for a few hours now so it should be a consistent temp now.
  2. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Your hot side sound too warm, around 90F (32C) is good!
    Do you have the top covered? If not, take the lamp off and cover the top, see if the basking temps are around 90 without the lamp and just the UTH.
    I'll check on this in the morning it's getting late as you know!
  3. aeral

    aeral Elite Member

    Top is not currently covered, I actually don't really have a lid for it other than a screen top.

    I think what's throwing everything off is the aquarium is near the window, and I just realized I had left the window open a few inches. Closing the window and going to leave everything til morning to mess around with. Too sleepy to stay up and wait.

    Side note: I remember when I first built the rheostat being able to get to what I termed the "sweet spot" where it was just at the perfect temperature. I really should play around with it again and see if I can find that, then mark it. :)
  4. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    You can place a piece of aluminum foil over the screen! That will help keep the heat in :)
  5. aeral

    aeral Elite Member

    So I woke up this morning to check temps. Warm side - 38. Cool side - 22. Awesome, so the warm side is too warm, and the cool side is too cool. Do you think the issue is to do with the size of the heating pad? I mean, I don't want to get one that's bigger than this because this gives me good potential for a gradient...

    The other thing I thought of is perhaps rather than focusing the heating light on the "warm" side, since it's got a dimmer I would just lower it quite a bit and see if I could get the cool side up to the right temps with it. I don't know.
  6. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    I just reread your first post and you have a 20 gallon tall, so what are the dimensions of the enclosure LxWxH ?
    We'll figure this out! No worries :)
  7. aeral

    aeral Elite Member

    Dimensions of the tank are 24x12x13

    The heat measurement from this morning was with both the light and the heating pad on. I turned the lamp off and a couple of hours later, the temp for warm side seems to be right on where it should be.

    Dimensions of the heat pad are 8x8. The heating pad is presently set up (taped with electrical tape) against one end. (I also really, really don't want to have to exchange this for a larger heating pad because I'm not sure Petsmart would now that I've opened it.)

    No digital thermometer yet, waiting for it to come in the post. If it doesn't turn up in a couple of days I may have to just go out and buy one, ugh.
  8. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Glad to hear that they are good without the lamps! Once your digital thermometer arrives then we will know for sure what the basking temps are.
  9. aeral

    aeral Elite Member


    To give a visual on what I am doing.

    Can't wait for the thermometer to come in!

    On a side note, they now offer the "reptile" digital thermometers at Petsmart but they cost about $30 (like this one: Exo Terra Digital Thermometer - Specialty Pet Month - Featured Products - PetSmart except online advert as $15, in store equivalent $29.99). There are also $10 digital Aquarium thermometers with a probe. Wondering, if I do end up having to get one because the one I ordered doesn't arrive in time, would I be able to get away with this?: Top Fin&#153 Digital Aquarium Thermometer - Heaters & Accessories - Fish - PetSmart

    Or might the Aquarium ones not be as sensitive?
  10. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

  11. aeral

    aeral Elite Member

    I will go in and see if they have something like that there. Silly me, I was in that department last week too and I didn't think to check.
  12. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    They didn't have any at the Walmart here in Moncton, but you never know, maybe Fredericton will!
  13. aeral

    aeral Elite Member

    I will spend the next few days hunting around Walmart, Zellers, and Home Hardware.

    On a side note, I just realized I am kind of an idiot when it comes to my heat gradient. Finally clued into the logic that I really do need something (the aluminum foil you suggested) to cover the top with so that it is actually properly put together.
  14. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    I use wood to cover the top, but in a pinch the aluminum foil will help hold the heat in, since heat rises out through the top.
  15. aeral

    aeral Elite Member


    Now I'm back to the heating pad not being stuck to the glass, and I don't want to peel it off and actually stick it to the glass. I know someone else mentioned propping it up, but I'm concerned about the amount of heat it kicks out.


    What about just using double sided tape?
  16. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    I'm not sure what the best tape would be for that! I'm thinking foil duct tape, hopefully someone will chime in on this one.

    So is the reason you don't want to adhere it to the underneath of the tank is because you are worried about the amount of heat it will produce? If so, a thermostat will help keep the temps where you want them within a degree or two.

    I have heard of people using a piece of glass, not exactly sure how to do that, or if tempered glass is needed for that.

    Also the enclosure should be propped up with the little sticky rubber feet that come with the pad. I use a piece of tile for under the tank and set the feet on that.
  17. aeral

    aeral Elite Member

    I can easily keep the temps within what they should be - even with the rheostat I'm using right now - although I will be switching over to a thermostat as soon as it comes. What I was concerned about in regards to the heat was not that it would be directly up against the glass - but that whatever I used to prop it up may become a fire hazard. It's currently got some old plastic CD cases underneath it to prop it up while I figure out what I'll use in the end. I don't like those silly rubber feet things.
  18. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Yeah, those rubber feed tend to fall off and some corners of the enclosure aren't the best for them to adhere to, you can use wooden blocks to prop the tank up, the UTH won't come in contact with the blocks. I did that with one of my enclosures, built a frame for the enclosure to sit on and have an open area for the air flow needed for the UTH;
    Not sure if you can see it in this photo
  19. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    But you are going to need something to lift the tank edges a ittle off the base. You need to have some airflow under there.
    What some do is to take a peice of glass such as out of a picture frame and then afix the heat pad to that. This will allow you to move it to another tank if need be.
  20. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    I knew someone did this!

    So, which side is against the bottom of the tank, is it glass against glass, and how do you keep the glass up against the bottom of the tank? It's a great idea, photos would help me :)

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