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Iguana Cage Build Update

Discussion in 'Green Iguanas' started by jonathan.piazza91, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. jonathan.piazza91

    jonathan.piazza91 Active Member

    Hello everyone,

    Figured I'd share some pictures and progress of my build. The dimensions for actual "living space" in the cage is 6' x 4' x 2.7'. There is a light mezzanine above that will house two 24" UVB bulbs, two 8-10" dome fixtures with either hear bulbs or CHE, and a MistKing system. I welded up the initial frame using angle iron and flat bar and once it was completed cleaned everything up with a grinder. All of the outer panels are plywood. They have been treated with 3-4 coats of Helmsman spar urethane to waterproof the wood. The windows on the side will be screened here soon and are 10" x 34". The doors are plexiglass framed with angle iron (still struggling with adhesives to hold it together; used a 2 part epoxy that sucked and then tried liquid nails which also sucked). I will be sealing all of the seams inside with 100% silicone very soon and adding a basking shelf. Looking to have everything 100% move in ready by the start of the new year. In the future, I will probably not go this route again. The build has taken me a long time and there are a lot of things I wish had pieced together a little easier. I have, however, saved myself a decent hunk of money compared to other cages near these dimensions. Any and all comments or questions welcome.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Looks like a good build, but there are a few things you need to change. First, forget about having any screen sections anywhere in the cage. A couple of very small vents placed low in the cage and preferably with some way to adjust/close off airflow would be all that's needed, if even that. A lot build their cages with no ventilation. You'll also need to cap the top section with plywood or something for the same reasons, which is to keep all that heat and humidity in the cage where it needs to be.
     
    Lori68 likes this.
  3. jonathan.piazza91

    jonathan.piazza91 Active Member

    Thank you for your comment. Because it's 90% done in the state that it is in, I am going to finish it as is and then monitor temps and humidity in and around the cage for a couple weeks. I think you are correct regarding the screen; I have a sneaky suspicion I made them a bit too large. Capping off the top should be very easy, I was just worried about it being too hot in the mezzanine compartment if the lighting is 100% enclosed. More than likely I'll end up having to make all of the adjustments you've suggested, lol. I'm feeling a little stubborn just because I'm so close to finishing up but I am in absolutely 0 rush to put a lizard in it until I am confident it will meet it's needs entirely. Thanks again :]
     
    Lori68 likes this.
  4. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Trust me on those side screens, you'll never be able to stabilize conditions in there with that much airflow, and with the cage closed off you'll be using less wattage to keep things heated. I normally have all the fixtures right inside the cage, and usually have no issues. You'll also go through a lot less water in the misting system, and since you'll need to use RO water in it, that will cut costs. Believe me, you don't want to run tap water, unless of course you like fighting with clogged spray nozzles.
     
    Lori68 likes this.
  5. Lori68

    Lori68 Established Member

    Really nice work on that cage, I can tell this is a labor of love instead of something rushed. I do agree with darkbird about the screens. Iguanas need high humidity just like monitor lizards, and monitor keepers can't get away with screen on their cages either. Maybe some vents if anything, but not a large surface area that allows too much air exchange from the outside because its a never ending battle to maintain anything with screening, be it warm air or humidity. An extremely simple fix for your situation though. Either closing the areas over with wood or glass or plastics...whatever it is I'm sure you'll find a way to correct that without losing the looks of the cage.
     
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  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Add me on the no screen team. The whole point of building a solid box enclosure is to control heat and humidity. Those big areas of screen is throwing that right out the window.
     
    Lori68 likes this.
  7. jonathan.piazza91

    jonathan.piazza91 Active Member

    Alright alright... I'm convinced and won't do the screen, lol.
     
    Lori68 likes this.
  8. jonathan.piazza91

    jonathan.piazza91 Active Member


    Thank you, I have spent a ton of time working on this. I know it may not look like it, lol, but it has been months of working during my down time. I wish I had done a little more consulting before jigsawing holes in the side, haha. I think I'm gonna do more plexi on the sides, that would look nice with some black trim work. Then I'll figure out hinges and a lid to put over the top of my mezzanine.
     
    Lori68 likes this.
  9. Lori68

    Lori68 Established Member

    Its a really nice cage build! And you might just be glad about the sides having that cut out since they would then be just added viewing windows. Once that part is fixed and the cage starts to get all the fun stuff in it like the plants and branches and platforms...then the iguana...its going to be a display quality piece in my opinion :)
     
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    And instead of plexi, go with glass. 1/4 inch plate. Plexi scratches easily and will soon become cloudy. With the work you are putting in it would be a shame to have your viewing windows obscured
     
    Lori68 likes this.
  11. Lori68

    Lori68 Established Member

    Merlin makes a very good point. My sav cage has plastic instead of glass and I used that material only because it was free from working in a plastics fabrication shop, but the amount of scratches on it over a relatively short period of time (only 2 years) makes the viewing windows look like crap. This is a small example of what my cage viewing windows looks like

    Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.46.18 AM.png
     
  12. jonathan.piazza91

    jonathan.piazza91 Active Member

    Lori, beautiful monitor. I'm open to using either. The front is already plexi so I'll stick with that until it's looks like trash and then do glass. I was scared of shattering; I have a 2 year-old boy at home who isn't always very aware of his surroundings. I was going to ask if I went with plexi on the sides as well if I should drill some holes for very minimal air movement or just keep it solid. I guess if I go with glass that wouldn't be a question anymore, haha. I really appreciate the help and comments. Looking forward to sharing once I've implemented some of the advice you all have provided. I can't wait to actually have branches, décor, etc. inside.
     
  13. Lori68

    Lori68 Established Member

    If and when you do go with glass, you should consider using tempered glass and go at least 1/4 thick as Merlin suggested, not just regular glass. Tempered glass will hold up to tail whips and such, plus won't shatter just by looking at it wrong especially with the size those doors look to be (whether that would happen, I don't know but always better to go the extra mile and be safe rather than having an "oops the viewing door is broken" moment and needing to come up with a really quick fix within minutes)
     
  14. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I really like the frame work. Nicely done. Gives great support without having to use heavier lumber.
     
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  15. jonathan.piazza91

    jonathan.piazza91 Active Member


    That's honestly why I went with plexi; tempered glass is much more pricey than 1/8 - 1/4 inch plexi. If the plexi looks like crap in the next 6-12 months; I'll swap it with some beefy glass in the future. I know plexi won't have any issues with a tail smashing against it from time to time. Hopefully my future iguana has no need or desire to whip at me but that's wishful thinking, haha.
     

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