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I'm Building a Timor Monitor Enclosure. Input Needed

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by Andyc3020, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. Andyc3020

    Andyc3020 Elite Member

    Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum and this is my first post. I know a lot of information is already out there on this topic, but i'd like to start a dialog.

    I bought a young timor monitor this week. This is my first monitor, but not my first reptile. Right now I'm keeping him in the 20 gal tank that he came with, but I know this is not ideal to say the least.

    I am getting ready to build a new enclosure and I just wanted to run my plans by some people with experience before I start construction.

    The plan is to make it 64" x 30"x 44" that is after 8-10" of substrate. I may go a little taller.

    It will be made out of sealed plywood on all sides except the front will have sliding glass doors that are 52x32.

    What do you think about the size? Do you think it will look ok with the sliding glass doors having 6" of wood on each side. I would buy bigger glass, but I already have the glass I am planning to use.

    Also, Are night bulbs necessary?

    Any input will be appreciated. :)

    also, what should I use to keep the plywood under the substrate from rotting? I'm going to put a few layers of poly on it. Do you think that will be enough?
  2. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I`m not sure how big a 20 gallon is but I imagine too small to get a decent temp and humidity gradient, how long before a proper enclosure is ready?
    I don`t quite understand the size you gave, is the 64inches the height including a substrate depth of 8 to 10inches (you should really be looking at least 30 to 45cm deep (12 to 18inches+)?
    The most reliable materials for waterproofing the areas up to substrate level including FRP (fibreglass reinforced plastic sheets), epoxy resin, etc.
    Depending on the ambient temps in the room the enclosure`s in, nighttime heating may or may not be necessary; the lowest ambient (air) temp in the coolest parts should not fall below approx. 24c (75f).
  3. Andyc3020

    Andyc3020 Elite Member

    Yeah, I know my size is a bit odd. The size is 64" Long 30" deep and 44" tall. I'm really thinking about going 55" tall though, but i'm not sure how that will look with the sliding doors only being 32" tall. Obviously the animal's comfort is more important to me than the way his home looks though. I should be able to finish the project by the end of the weekend, so he won't be in the small cage very long.

    The height of the cage is measured from the surface of the substrate to the top of the cage.

    As far as substrate, Have read 6-12" also 12-18"... Anyway, if you think he needs 12-18" then that is no problem.

    cam00059.jpg Uploaded with

    Here is the only pic I have of him so far. Not that great of a picture.

    Do youthink 5' is tall enough?

    Attached Files:

  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Thanks for the photo, you haven't said what the measurements of the fishtank are, but you need to put some substrate in there, even a few inches, it must be well tamped down, moist but not wet, that will help a little with the humidity, and on that note, is there a solid lid, if not there should be because you'll lose most of the heat/humidity if it`s screen (even if it`s mostly covered).
    Can you give the temps etc, and how you measure them (analogue or digit thermometer/hygrometer), plus a pic of the whole enclosure? Thanks!

    No, 6 feet tall is better (7 is better still)... ;)
  5. Andyc3020

    Andyc3020 Elite Member

    I can post a pic of the small enclosure, but honestly it is only going to be a couple more days until he moves out. I'm just glad I got him because the guy I got him from was thinks that this small tank is big enough. The tank is probably 36x12x12. Like I said, I know it isnt even close to good enough.

    I have a temp gun, and he has a basking spot right at 100 degrees. The other side is right around 80-85.

    I bought an analog hygrometer but from what i've read, i wasted my money. I'm going by the pet store today to buy a digital one.

    The lid is metal screen type that the seller included. I have covered most of it with a piece of wood to keep the humidity higher though.

    I'll throw in a few inches of substrate to hold him over until I'm done with his new home.

    My main question is do you think that i'm going tall enough?

    I think 6' is about as tall as I can go. Looks like I'm going to need some more glass.

    ... or how do you think it will look if I have the 52"wide x 32 tall glass window on the front of a 6' cage?

    i guess I could turn the window up the other way and have a 32" wide x 52" tall.
  6. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Why do you need more glass, the pieces you have should work, there`ll just be more wood surrounding it.
  7. Andyc3020

    Andyc3020 Elite Member

    I just think it will look better if more of the front is glass. I'll make it work at 6'.

    Thanks for your input!
  8. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    You need to know two temps for the most part; the basking surface temp @ between approx. 50 to 60c (120 to 140f), then the coolest ambient (air) temp in the whole enclosure @ approx. 24c (75f), no other temp matters on/above ground, though the substrate needs to be within a somewhat higher range if you have a female (nesting), with a male it would be sufficient if it was the same as the lowest ambient (75f).
    The above is the reason this tank will not last even a week or two, there`s just no way to achieve those figures in something so small. Their health suffers from day one, not at some point in the future, even if that is a relatively short time. You need to cover the whole of the top.
  9. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member

    Hey, first off congrats on acquiring an awesome monitor, good for you for trying to take care of him the right way, and welcome to herpcenter and our monitor community!

    Two things:
    When you said you were planning to seal with poly: to clarify- polycrylic is what you can seal with, NOT polyurethane.

    Regarding glass: cheapest glass I ever can find for my enclosures are from busting up craigslist fishtanks.

    Good luck with your build and your new monitor.
  10. Andyc3020

    Andyc3020 Elite Member

    Thanks for the tip I would have used the wrong poly. So what do you think about me making it 4x3x6 ? L w h

    The glass I'm using is storm window that had torn screens at home depot so it was half off..
  11. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member

    I think that size would work. From personal experience, I think you will be happier if you are able to manage an extra foot or even two in length.
  12. Andyc3020

    Andyc3020 Elite Member

    Ok let me see what I can come up with and I'll post pics when it is finished.

    What about ventilation? I have read that a few small vets towards the bottom of the cage is a good idea.
  13. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member Round Plastic Louver, 3" White (Pack of 4): Home Improvement

    Best vents ever. Go in easy, looks good, and best of all, roaches cannot get out. Your humidity depends on the strength of the lights you use and where you live. Most people completely seal their monitor enclosures to keep humidity. Where I live, I have to ventilate. I have a total of 96 square inches of ventilation that I can open or close.
    One more thing to consider is placement: heat rises. In my enclosure, I need my vents up high on the "cool end" to remove heat, so my vents are literally on top of my enclosure. You are going to have a very tall enclosure, so your placement will strategically be different.

    May I ask if you have any plans on how to heat a 6' tall enclosure? I came up with a method that I use for my pythons that I have been happy with thus far if you are shopping for ideas.
  14. Andyc3020

    Andyc3020 Elite Member

    Definitely open to suggestions on how to heat it. I was planning on playing around with wattage to get it right, but i'll obviously have the light inside towards the top of the cage. (is cage the best word to use?).

    Thanks for the suggestion on the vents. I was thinking about something that had adjustable openings though so i can calibrate it just right. have you seen anything like that? Similar to the ones that are on the top of bbq grills.

    kinda like this Louvers, Vents and Grilles for the HVAC Industry - Adjustable Vent Control: 4" or 6"
  15. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi diehardislanders, polyurethane varnish is absolutely fine as a general sealant on bare wood, as far as I know "polycrylic" is just a brand name and it IS polyurethane! ;)
    To be clear I would recommend using a water based polyurethane varnish on all exposed wooden surfaces (at least 3 or 4 coats), the oil based takes much longer to cure. Below the substrate level will need something more substantial such as FRP (fibreglass reinforced plastic), or epoxy resin, etc).

    Hi, there will be no noticeable loss of heat or humidity if a small vent is placed just above the substrate level, if they are placed higher up there will be some loss, perhaps a significant amount.
    I simply drilled a few 1/2inch holes (look at the bottom left hand corner of the pic)....
  16. Andyc3020

    Andyc3020 Elite Member

    great info! I am also picking up a piece of glass this afternoon 48x74 (20$ on craigslist), so i'm going to go ahead and make the enclosure 5' wide x 6' tall x 3' deep. thats 6' above substrate level.

    Do you own any timors? If you do, can I see a pic of their enclosure?
  17. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Is that 6mm (1/4 inch) plate glass?
  18. Andyc3020

    Andyc3020 Elite Member

    it is 1/8" tempered. I'm not 100% sure on the thickness, but i am sure it is tempered.
  19. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    No, I`ve never kept that species, but there`s nothing unique about them, they are semi arborial, also spending time on the ground. The enclosure should have lots of hiding places (from top to bottom), and especially around the feeding and basking areas, many stout, firmly fixed branches and large plastic plants (real ones will get destroyed in quite a short space of time once the animal grows). In effect the monitor should be able to travel around the whole enclosure almost without being seen.
    The best type of heat bulbs are the low wattage halogens (flood, not spot) @ between approx. 40 to 60w+, usually placing two or more close together so they heat the whole body at least (you may need just the one for a hatchling).
    This is my Asian Water monitor`s basking site I need to use more bulbs because of his size (your basking site may well be higher up using one of the branches, or perhaps a wooden platform)...

    It needs to be 6mm (1/4 inch) plate glass, I would check that is so before you buy (if it`s not too late and you already have)!
  20. Andyc3020

    Andyc3020 Elite Member

    looks nice. I have two lights with the metal reflectors around them. Should I ditch the metal part like you did?

    What is the importance of it being 1/4" plate? Thanks for taking time to answer all of my questions by the way :)

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