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Heating Up a Glass Terrarium for a Carpet Python (Morelia Spilota Mcdowelli

Discussion in 'Heating' started by bckspc, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. bckspc

    bckspc Member

    Hi all. I'm struggling with the temperatures and heating of my enclousure.

    I'll state all that I have. This final setup was made after talking with the store that sold me the terrarium and also my vet.

    My snake is a male Morelia Spilota mcdowelli with about 1.60m and a weight of 1.5 kg aprox.
    I have a glass terrarium of 120cm (width) x 60cm (depth) x 40cm (height).
    It as sliding doors in the front with a vent below and a vent in the ceiling. Both vents go all the lenght of the enclousure.
    I've lined all the terrarium walls from inside with coconut fiber (except the floor, doors and vents).
    I've placed a 150W ceramic heat lamp on the right side distancing 30cm from the right wall and in the middle (depthwise)
    Below I have a 50W heat cable attached to the floor on the outside zig-zaging until half of the enclousure
    Inside, the floor was covered with newspaper and then beech chaff substrate all over.
    I also have a HabiStat thermostat where I've connected both the lamp and the heat cable.
    I've set the thermostat to 30ºC
    Room temperature outside the terrarium are around 20ºC (I'm from Portugal and it's winter here).
    I have a digital themometer and also a fixed one with a probe. Both give out the same readings so I excluded wrong temp readings from any of the devices.
    Temperature readings inside (measured 1cm above the floor)
    Right side (hot zone) further away from the door: 28º C
    Right side (hot zone) nearer the door: 24º C
    Left side (cool zone) further away from the door: 21º C
    Left side (cool zone) nearer thedoor: 19º/20º C

    For what I understood from talking for several people is that the terrarium temp should vary from 26º C and 30º C.
    Everybody tells me that what I have in terms of heating is more than enought and that I should be getting the right temps. I've spent a fortune already trying to buy diferent heating and materials but nothing seems to work.

    I want to know what can I do to help my poor snake getting the right environment. He already had a pneumonia a while back because of lower temps in a smaller terrarium. I've moved him to this one and I don't want it to happen again.

    Are this temps normal? What are your suggestions to improve the temps? I cannot change the terrarium because this is brand new and I cannot afford to buy another one just now.

    Also, I have some spare equipment I can use, I just need to know how can I used it.
    Spare equipment:
    25W Heat cable
    100W Ceramic heat lamp
    20W Heat mat (not sure if it's 20W, must recheck at home)

    Please if anyone can provide me with some ideas or solutions...

    Thank you :)
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Re: Heating Up a Glass Terrarium for a Carpet Python (Morelia Spilota Mcdow

    Well, glass tank never do well at holding heat. At least not without some extra stuff. My suggestion would be to find some insulation foam, 2.5-3cm thick ( not sure whats available in your area) and insulate 3 side and the top, maybe even the bottom, with foam. If it has a screen top, cover that with foil, cardboard, plexiglass, or even just the foam, leaving only enough space to clear the lights, and be sure the foam has a bit more of a gap so the lights don't melt it. See where this gets you in terms of your temps, and if needed you can start covering some of the front venting.
  3. bckspc

    bckspc Member

    Re: Heating Up a Glass Terrarium for a Carpet Python (Morelia Spilota Mcdow

    Thank you for the help. :)

    I'll try that as soon as xmas passes. This temp problem is driving me crazy :)

    My only problem is covering the top would cover the top vent also and reduce air circulation. Also the heat in the lamp area is at about 45 ºC, would that burn a simple isolation?

  4. CryHavoc17

    CryHavoc17 Elite Member

    I can think of a couple of issues, if I understand your set up correctly. It sounds like you are running both the heat cable and the ceramic heat emmiter off the same thermostat, is that correct? If so thats a potential safety issue. What kind of top do you have? Is it screen? A picture would be very helpful. 150 watts on a CHE is a LOT, I dont understand why you are having problems with heat. My 150 watt CHE can easily project a 30○ hotspot well over a meter by itself
  5. CryHavoc17

    CryHavoc17 Elite Member

    Also venting/air circulation is not really that important. Obviously you need some, but youd be suprised at how little is really needed. That may be your problem, too mich cold air circulating your enclosure.

    Also this may sounds silly but have you tried turning your thermostat up higher?
  6. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Re: Heating Up a Glass Terrarium for a Carpet Python (Morelia Spilota Mcdow

    Hi, I think the main problem is with the enclosure-length vents and screen top. You only need one or two relatively small vents (approx 10 x 4 to 5cm), that will be quite sufficient for air circulation.
    As already mentioned you need to cover the back and sides with something to better insulate the glass. You also need to cover the screen as completely as possible. This problem needs to be fixed as soon as possible, not after xmas, and I agree, photos may help.

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