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My Savannah Monitor Enclosure

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by Og_, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    Since I have been under pressure to reveal pics of my enclosure, I will do so now while I am in the process of "Upgrading". I am in the process of redoing the front which holds the glass. Before I had all the glass taped on with duct tape and it didn't look very good but did the job.

    I pulled all that off today and freshened the substrate with some new topsoil.




    Over the next couple of days, I will finish off the front to finally have the sliding glass doors that I had planned on from the start. They will be primitive sliding glass doors. More like sliding panes of glass in a wood groove.
    The walls and floor are plywood that I laminated with reinforced fiberglass sheeting and is completely sealed with silicone and is water proof. The floor of the enclosure is slanted to the right with a drain at that end than draind into a pan in case I accidentily over moisten the substrate.
    The substrate on average is 9 inches deep. I had originally planned on two feet thus the height of the enclosure but later came to feel that was overkill.
    The ceiling is 5\8" sheet rock so that it would be fire retardent in case the heating fixtures overheated. It is also completey caulked in so that the heat doesn't escape through the cracks.

    The entire floor space is 8 feet by 4 feet.

    It is not as fancy as I first wanted it to be. I still want to install a pool that has plumbing so that I can empty, wash and refill it without having to physically remove it and put it back.

    I control the temps by having the two vents that you can see near the soil level open while having another tubular vent in the ceiling over the cool side that I can adjust to control how fast or slow the heat can escape. I open it up wide in summer and keep it mostly closed in the winter.

    I know that there is not anything as far as decorations. As I said a while back everything looks pretty stark. I really wanted this piece of giant corkbark they hade at the pet store. It was over 4 feet long and would have made the enclosure look picture perfect! However, they wanted $100.00 for it. I could have bought it to brag about how nice my enclosure looks, but in the end I know my monitor could care less!

    That thing in the lefthand back corner is a ceramic thingy that she liked to hide in the past enclosures she was in and has always used it to crawl into and sleep ay night. I've just never taken it away from her.

    I'm not sure if I have left anything out but, This is still a work in progress.

    I still dream big dreams about the perfect enclosure.

    Attached Files:

  2. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Nice enclosure, quick question Sheet Rock is that like gyproc? I don't think that enclosures are ever finished, always a work in progress. I sure she doesn't mind that you didn't get that big piece of cork wood, she can't miss what she never had right!;)
  3. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    I have no idea what gyproc is! Sorry.

    In the states, "Sheet rock" is what the walls and ceilings are made of in a house. It is sort of like a thick sheet of chalk that is layered with paper.
  4. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Yes, its the same thing, also called plaster board, the core is made of gypsum and thick type of paper on each side.
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Nice looking enclosure so far!

    I agree though, no matter how much work I put in any of my enclosures, most of them are constantly getting updates, revamps, overhauls, etc. Never really truly finished.

    who needs $100.00 cork bark when you can get bark from a fallen tree for free? Just keep your eyes open - nature can provide some pretty nifty decor from your own backyard.
  6. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I think it`s a well constructed enclosure, does the job perfectly adequately, it`s true, not much "furniture", but that can be fixed very easily with the addition of a nice sturdy branch/log, and a couple of nice stones/rocks, it`s more for giving her extra activity.
    I do like the way you`ve finshed the inside, it`s easy to clean, and pretty much scratch proof.
    I know things are very difficult just now with the work situation, but when possible, I would advise fitting a fluorescent tube (Reptisun 2-0 or similar), it`s really not bright enough, the tubes are extremely economical to run, it`s VERY important to give them the best qualty illumination, it should be like natural daylight (even a household tube would be o.k for the time being if you have one).
    She looks in excellent condition, you`ve obviously worked hard to get her weight down, it`s the surest way of giving her the chance of a long, healthy life, so good for you!
  7. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    I really meant cork barks tubes like this

    CORK BARK TUBE FOR ORCHIDS OR REPTILES 351-4X18 - eBay (item 360260987128 end time Jun-08-10 11:19:16 PDT)

    The one I was looking at was about 4 feet long and was forked.

    I'm a little worried about using things outside laying on the ground because i am afraid of bringing in unwanted insects that might infest the enclosure. The topsoil that I use has an organic mix to it that bugs might find tastey. It was the only kind that didn't have rocks and twigs in it.
  8. gbassett

    gbassett Elite Member

    The cage looks good,and is a good size.One thing I would recommend,is not using sheet rock.It dose not hold up well to the moisture you are going to need in the enclosure.

  9. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    It's probably not as dark as you think with the glossy white walls but I don't mind adding more light. But, doesnt the uvb from the fleurescent tubes fizzle out after a few inches of radiation?
  10. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Og_ you can scrub stuff from outside, and that will remove a lot of stuff. Cork bark isn't sterile, no matter where you buy it - I have bought some before, only to get it home, and find it had some small spider on it.

    I regularly scavenge stuff from outside, and just pop it in my bath tub. It gets rinsed with scalding water, bleached and scrubbed, then rinsed with more scalding water.

    If you're really worried, you can put the stuff in the bottom of a bucket or tub with some weight on it to keep it from floating, fill the bin with water and a little bleach (completely submerge the piece if you can), and after a few days, the vast majority of the bugs will have floated to the surface of the water in an attempt to escape.

    You could also make your own tubes using pipes and a little Great Stuff.

    Just some ideas ;)
  11. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    I understand that the paper outercoating can absorb moisture and grow mildew. I used it out of fear of a heating malfunction that might cause a fire.
    I know that I am overly cautious, But sheet rock is easily replaced and is cheaper than plywood and doesn't readily catch on fire.
    I haven't had any problems with mildew so far, But I can always put a later of acrylic paint over it to seal it up.

    However, Thank You for the compliments! As I said, I'm not done!

    I was laid off from my job last october so all the money that I have put into it since then comes from the unemployment checks that i recieve from the government.

    I got 90% of it completed a long ago. It's easy to build a house, It's not so easy to build the looking glass to see in and still maintain a controlled micro climate on a fixed income.

    But, I got a leg up recently by being able to aquire both an electric miter saw and table saw!
    Anybody that knows anything about carpentry knows that you can make lots of stuff with the proper equipment!

    Now I can make something that looks good instead of using globs of caulking and duct tape!

    The 4 foot by 8 foot piece of sheet rock is supported lengh wise by 3 Eight foot long 2X4's so that the middle cannot sag.

    I am open to any suggestions that you may have as an alternative ceiling material.
  12. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    It`s not whether it looks dark to us, it doesn`t look anywhere close to natural daylight, that`s what should be offered. As far as the tubes, the Reptisun 2-0 is low in UVB but close to natural daylight, it doesn`t matter if the UVB is negligable, it`s the UVA that`s needed in your tank.
    If you can get, or have a household fluorecent tube that will do the job for the time being. If you aren`t using UVB emmiting bulbs (you didn`t specify), then use a 5-0 or10-0 tube, but it will need to be within 12 inches of the monitor to be effective, but easy enough to screw to the back wall, I would think?

    I would suggest using melamine coated sheets, being plastic coated it`s easy to wipe down, and because of the timber supports it won`t warp, you can usually get a variety of effects, but if you use white it`s pretty cheap (at least here in the U.k).
  13. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    you could always use melamine paint over your sheet rock, or get a piece of formica and adhear it to the sheet rock. Just a thought:)
  14. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    Actually, the lamps over the basking area is one ceramic heat emitter and one coiled flo bulb that puts off uvb and uva. I am going to add a third lamp that will put off more heat.

    How thick are they? The 5\8" by 8 foot by 4 foot sheet of sheet rock was only about $8.00 U.S.! I'm not sure how any other material is going to beat that!

    Actually, 100% acrylic paint dries into a type of plastic.
  15. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    The spiral fluorescent bulbs have been shown to cause eye problems in reptiles, not sure if that`s the type you`re using? Also, a fluorescent tube would need to be almost as long as the enclosure.
    The cost of a sheet of 5/8inch melanine faced wood would be quite a bit more expensive than the plaster board, although you could indeed paint the surface of the current material.
    Apart from more heat, it`s every bit as important to add more illumination, they are diurnal basking animals which spend much of their lives in very bright light during activity, and V. exanthematicus is an "active forager", NOT a "sit and wait predator" hiding in a shady burrow all day waiting for a prey animal to walk past.
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    And if you consider that if it got anywhere nearly hot enough for wood to combust, your animal would have been long dead.
  17. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    Still working! I ran into a few minor problems. The middle of the roof had sagged by about 1\2 inch so I had to jack it back up and put in an upright in the center so that any continued sagging would not bear down on the glass and impede the sliding pieces of glass or possibly cause the glass to crack.
    The other problem was, Even though the top turned out square, The floor was out of square by 3\4 of an inch, So I had to come up with a solution, Which I did, So that the "Face" of the whole thing was ready to mount The glass so that the doors will be perfectly straight up and down and across.
    There's really no need to make sliding doors if they won't slide.

    The next hardest thing is going to be straightening the runners. They are made out of pine and have a groove in them for the glass. I'm either going to have to use a chalk line or a laser. But, It's not difficult.
  18. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    Oh, I also got a 48 inch fluorescent fixture that holds two bulbs to add to the enclosure
  19. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    That`s great! (Now she`lll know when it`s daytime).. ;)
    Seriously, as I`ve mentioned before, you cannot give varanids too much light (compared to natural daylight, of course).

    Softwood always warps more than hardwood anyway, but would it be possible to run a piece of angle iron along the top and bottom pieces, that way it would never warp, once bolted on. I`m not sure how expensive that is, it need only be 2inches or so X the length? You would need to use g-clamps to pull the wood into the iron if you did want to try that.
  20. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    I know that it is impossible for me to put into words exactly what i see in every step!

    However, as a welder and an iron worker who has worked with angle iron, flat bar, I-beam, Plate, sheet metal, etc., I know that steel doesn't come out perfectly straight either.
    Even though it will not warp with moisture, It doesn't come out perfect each time it is made. You still have to work with it.

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