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Questions About Heating Substrate

Discussion in 'Heating' started by jhickey, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. jhickey

    jhickey Member

    Hello, I have not bought anything yet. But had an idea after doing research. I was thinking about using a plastic water trough to hold the substrate in a custom enclosure. The plastic is resistant to UV, heat and cold, impact, and chemicals. The enclosure would be for a V. melinus hatchling.
    Inside of the water trough I would line it with heavy duty heating cables meant for heating soil for germination/seedlings etc. Afterwards I would cover it in epoxy resin, and have it hooked up to the proper probe and thermostat.
    Would this work? Are there better or cheaper ways? Is it overkill or not needed? Its cold about 3 months sometimes less a year here, around ten days total it freezes, barely. Also I was thinking 80*F would be the target, or would it be better with another temperature?
    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. mdeford09

    mdeford09 Well-Known Member

    Hello! i am new to the forum but thought I would give my 2 cents.

    I think your setup definitely sounds very neat and well thought out. I don't see why it wouldn't work as long as you have a thermostat to make sure the soil isn't super heated and cooks the lizard.



    Now, here is what I would personally do... Frogs and lizards usually can't sense heat with their underside very well. They will often burn themselves on heat rocks and things of that nature (heating from the bottom).. Because of that, I tend to stick with mostly heating the air from above and leaving the soil alone. I also like to keep my soil/moss at least 6" deep so in case it gets too hot while I am at work, there is enough soil for them to bury themselves to escape the heat for the 8-9hrs before I get home and notice the issue with the temp.


    Of course, I am always someone who overdoes everything and over worries about everything. I am sure you're setup would work just fine and as long as you use quality products, nothing should fail.... But, I would most certainly setup the tank for a few weeks prior to obtaining any animals so you can search for hot spots and things like that. :)


    Hope my 2 cents was helpful!
     
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I think it`s great you`re asking questions before getting the animal (that`s often not the case)! ;)
    Do you have a size in mind for both the enclosure itself and the substrate tub?
    If you have a female the nest site/s (substrate) needs to be heated to between approx 27 to 30c (80 to 85f), the higher figure nearer the top (in other words there`ll be a slight gradient between the bottom of the substrate and the surface).
    The same applies if you use a "nestbox" on or above the ground, and in both cases the object holding the substrate must be completely opaque (the enclosure itself or the plastic tub).
    I would recommend the substrate be at least 38 to 45cm+ (15 to 18 inches+) deep.
     
  4. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I wouldn't think you would need to heat the water. At minimum it's going to be at room temperature. Plus the heat of the enclosure is going to warm it up.
    I would try out a dish first before going through all that trouble.
    Myself I would cut a hole to lower the tub and put the cables(if need be) on the underside. Just to be extra safe.
    There is water safe epoxy. But I'm always leery using it in a consumable water source.
     
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member


    Hi Mike, I think you`ve misunderstood the OP, the water trough will contain substrate not water.
     
    kriminaal likes this.
  6. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Oops , right you are. Sometimes I read them too fast at work.
    Carry on.
     
  7. jhickey

    jhickey Member

    Thank you for the replies.
    Mdeford09 we both share that same concern of reptiles and bottom heat. And running it for two weeks was exactly what I was thinking. I wanted to use the bio active soil method, and I also figured heating the substrate would speed the process of the soils fauna spreading quicker, as well as insects I would add. Those two weeks would be my time to see how the heating cables work, and dial the whole setup in, while also the fauna increases. Does 80 F seem like the appropriate temp for the setup, maybe lower? I run the A/C unit on 76 F FYI.
    The water trough dimensions are 58 in. L x 40 in. W x 24 in. H/ 147.32 cm x 101.6 cm x 60.96 cm : Oval Tank-Plastic Tub | Agri Supply #39389 .
    I saw a photo of a indoor turtle pond with a wooden enclosure wrapped around it: HappyTurtlesPub.org - Habitat | Turtle tank | Pinterest That gave me the idea to do the same thing for a young monitor lizard enclosure.
    I planned on building an insulated wooden housing around a trough, making the enclosure roughly 5-5.5 ft L x 4 ft W x hopefully 7 ft H, maybe 6-6.5 ft depending on a few things. But just build on top of the wooden enclosure I wrap around the water trough.
    Concerning my earlier idea I also was doing research when I came across an old Crocdoc post from another forum. I cannot remember if I am allowed to post the address? Anyway he described in detail how he built and heated his female nest box. I also read another post on another forum, and you were actually one of the contributors Murrindindi, talking about setting up a young monitor, heating the enclosure up.
    Anyway all that gave me the idea for possibly heating a heavy duty plastic trough with heavy duty heating cables.
     
  8. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Now that i'm on the right topic.
    I setup a substrate box heated up with a disassembled heat pad from underneath. Just enough space that the wires were not pinched. It was a plywood box 2 feet deep.
    It worked very well except that I had to moisten the substrate more than I would have liked. The purpose of it was to offer a better laying site for the monitors. It was set at 88 deg Fah give or take, right on the bottom.
     
  9. jhickey

    jhickey Member

    Thank you for your input. What were the dimensions of the plywood box? How big was the heat pad and how many watts if you recall?
    What exactly do you mean disassembled? Was the heat pad like your basic heat pad for humans?
    You say you setup a substrate box. Did you do this separately from the main enclosures substrate?
     
  10. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

  11. mdeford09

    mdeford09 Well-Known Member

    Very neat build!!
     
  12. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Thanks, it was fun.
    The heat wires were on the side as shown originally. But when I switched out for a plywood box (not sure why I didn't in the first place) I put it underneath on a piece of plexiglass. This was so I could pull it out for inspection if need be.
     

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