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UTH inside wood enclosure

Discussion in 'Help *General*' started by rbl, Nov 3, 2005.

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  1. rbl

    rbl MacGyver in real life

    Hi all!
    I finally had some time and money to set up my bearded dragon's new enclosure.
    I'm using an IKEA kitchen cabinet, made of those regular (white) plastic wrapped plywood boards.

    Due to the enclosure height (almost 3') there's no chance the CHE can heat the ground at night, so I decided to buy a UTH to place inside the enclosure.
    I will use it with a rheostat to ensure it provides a constant temperature according to recommended nighttime values.

    I know these things are supposed to be used on the outside and most people in stores where they use it inside give me vague answers when I question them about their safety precautions.

    I'm concerned about my BD's safety so if any of you has some advice to share or tips on the best way to do it, please do because I really need them! =)

    Thanks in advance!!
  2. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    Without a doubt use the rheostat, I would place the unit on and monitor the temp of the UTH for a few days prior to putting the beardie in with it so you can get the correct temp for him. UTH's can get quite warm and you need to ensure that it won't be too hot for your little friend to come in direct contact with.
  3. rbl

    rbl MacGyver in real life

    Thanks Ken! That's my plan. Everything changed in this enclosure: material, size, shape, decoration, heating and lighting accessories, etc. Only the BD is the same =)

    I'm thinking about covering the UTH with large pebbles and adding a second layer of smaller pebbles to prevent him from digging and laying directly on the UTH. This, a thermometer and the fact it will only be on at night will help to prevent any accidental burns.
    But I'm worried about electrical shocks and stuff I'm not seeing ahead.
  4. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    one question, how thick is the wood on the bottom ?
  5. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member


    If I am guessing correctly Ken, it should be 5/8-1" Melamine.

    You should cover the UTH with something more solid than pebbles. (Not to mention the pebbles would be an impaction risk.)

    A small sheet of glass placed over the UTH would be ideal. If you are skilled with woodworking, it would be a great idea to router out wher the glass would be going. If you traced the outline of the glass, you could remove 1/8 inch of the Melamine within the trace. Then mark out 1 inch in from the inside of the cut and router out an additional 3/8". This new clearance will be where the UTH is attached to the glass and the 1" "lip" that is 1/8" from the original surface is where the glass will rest. You could adhere the glass with clear silicone and all chances of electrical shock are removed.

    If done with the method descriped above, everything should work out nicely and will look both clean and professional.
  6. rbl

    rbl MacGyver in real life

    Ken, its 18mm or roughly 0.7 inches.

    Rich, the larger ones are as big as nuts and the smaller ones a tad smaller than hazelnuts. I don't think that he can move the larger ones. I'm concerned about impaction but this enclosure will be naturalistic so I'm trying to find the best solution between safety and natural habitat.

    As for your idea, it's great thanks =)
    Initially I thought about covering the UTH with glass but put that aside when I started wondering about heat concentration... Can't that conduct to a fire or damage the UTH unit?
    I choose pebbles because the spaces between them allow that some air pass through ...

    What about using plastic? The UTH comes in a very thick and resistant plastic bag that seems able to handle the temps the UTH can output (~ 100ºF). Or is that a terrible idea?
  7. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    I've seen UTH's stuck to the bottoms of ceramic tiles then placed inside of the cage...I don't know if this is safe or not, but maybe someone else can comment on that.
  8. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    Wow,,,,that's a cool idea.
  9. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    My solution

    I also have a UTH inside my rainbow boa enclosure. It's one of the green plastic ones, not the stripes that you stick on the bottom of glass terrariums.
    As my terrarium is made out of Forex PVC, the heat of the UTH could warp it. Also it gets too hot to just have under the substrate. Talyn sometimes digs and she'd be lying on it burning herself in no time. Also it's a mess to clean up.
    I found some pressed sawdust boards (?) Like wooden styrofoam.. lightweight, easily breakable. I put that down on the floor of the terrarium. Then I put a few large ceramic tiles on top of that (big enough to hold the UTH) then I put the UTH on there and drilled a hole to get the cable out. then I put some wood stripes along the sides just a little (1-2cm)higher than the UTH and put 5cm floatglass on that and siliconed it down with bathroom caulk (easier to cut off than glass silicone if you have to take it apart.)

    The whole thing is a completely waterproof and safe. I can wash out the terrarium without getting the UTH or anything below the glass wet. I use a soil substrate and it works beautifully. I have a thermostat regulating the temps (the feeler is on top of the glass above the UTH)

    Here are some pics of my set up:


    It works out great for me, and combined with a spot lamp during the day, I have no problems keeping the right temp gradient in the terrarium (mine is 120cm / almost 4ft high)

    Here's an old pic but it gives you the idea of the set up:

    I hope that helps. Good luck! It sounds like your beardie is going to have a great home!!! :D
  10. rbl

    rbl MacGyver in real life

    That's another great idea, thanks! =)

    Andrea, thanks a lot! Your suggestion is a nice compromise between Rich's initial suggestion and my lack of skills to pull it off without cutting the floor side to side =)
    I think I'm going to combine a few ideas given here with a roll of isolating duck tape.

    Thanks all! =)
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