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Water Monitor Custom Enclosure Plans.

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by Becs080, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Becs080

    Becs080 Member

    Hi, I'm wondering if anyone has any good plans for a big water monitor cage/habitat. I'm either going to be converting part of the garage into an enclosure or just building one in the house. I want it to be about 12 feet long, 6 feet deep and 4-6 feet High. Any ideas are welcome and much appreciated, like how to make the pool (I don't want to be trying to empty out a massive pool every couple days and lugging clean water buckets down the stairs. There's got to be an easier way....

    And substrate. I keep hearing conflicting advice when it comes to water monitors burrowing. I was thinking of dirt/soil with a mix of loose coco husk....I wanted advice on how deep the substrate should be.

    Lighting as well....for the basking area, I want a row of lights over top of a platform for basking and im not sure how to achieve this.....a row of several 50 watt lights or a mercury vapor...one large 150 watt with some ceramic heat emitters?...

    Basically, I want to build this right and I want some plans for pictures, experiences from others. I know room enclosures can be difficult to maintain temps and whatnot so I'm thinking of having an enclosure instead of converting a room. Money is not a concern, space is not a concern either. Number 1 priority is the best enclosure possible for my water monitor - I want it functioning perfectly....proper temps, humidity, lots of space....number 2 priority is to create something that's easy to clean and operate. I need to be able to clean it and change the water frequently with ease.

    Any tips are really appreciated. As well as pics!! Thanks.
     
  2. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, before we start, how old and big is the monitor just now, and can you put a few pics up? Thanks!
     
  3. Becs080

    Becs080 Member

    Hi. I'll post some pics as soon as finish work. I tried to copy a URL of a photo from my iPhone below but I don't know if that will work. The picture is from the breeder and she's being delivered this weekend. She's 2-3 months right now and mostly tail - just a little girl. Shell be going into a 40 gal breeder for the time being while I get her big enclosure built. Depending on how long it takes, I may have to upgrade her to a larger temporary enclosure once he outgrows the 40. If the URL doesn't work let me know and I'll upload from my PC. Thanks.


    [​IMG]
     
  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi again, no I can`t see anything, how big in cm or inches is a 40g breeder?
     
  5. Becs080

    Becs080 Member

    Its 36 inches long, 18 inches deep and and 17 inches high. And her body is about 5-6 inches right now - obviously bigger with tail but not sure exactly how long....
     
  6. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    You're sure she's a female? (I know it may seem like a stupid question but males get larger then females which may impact your current enclosure plans)
     
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    O.k, there`s no way you can put a Water monitor measuring around 38cm (15inches) ToL in a 40gal glass fish tank, for one thing it will be almost impossible to maintain a proper temp gradient in one so small, glass is a very poor insulator, and no privacy, no space for any substrate, totally useless.
    I`m not being disrespectful, just honest, I`m sure you want to do what`s best for the animal, and I`ll be pleased to offer advise to help you do that!
    You can start off with a relatively small space; I`d recommend at least 150L x 75W x 75Hcm (5 x 2.5 x 2.5 feet), can you get something around that size before the monitor arrives?
     
  8. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Attached Files:

  9. Becs080

    Becs080 Member

    I have an acrylic enclosure that's 6 ft long - 2.5 ft deep and 2 ft high. Black acrylic all sides except for front clear swing down doors. I had my male bcc in there but he's on a breeder loan so I could clean it up and use it temporarily but I have no idea how to install lighting - no mesh top so can you help with that? Would this work?
     
  10. Becs080

    Becs080 Member

    That looks amazing! What's the dimensions??
     
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Thanks! It`s 12L x 5W x 6H (feet). And I`ve used the wall on the back and right hand side, so it`s built in. The substrate is in the black plastic dog/builders baths underneath, then a layer of bark (or leaves) on top of that (not difficult to do), and a pool on the left which isn`t visible, but it`s behind the rocks...
     
  12. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    If you can fit a solid top it would work for the time being, a photo might help when you can put a few up.
    Can you give me the ambient room temps it will be in during the day and night?
     
  13. gbassett

    gbassett Elite Member

    I don't mean to get off topic.But Stefan you water is looking great


    Greg
     
  14. Becs080

    Becs080 Member

    Thanks for your help so far.....the room I'll be housing her in has a small area heater that keeps the room temp btw 77-80 degrees during the day. I turn it off overnight and it usually drops to about 72 degrees. I have a humidifier, which I'm not using but I thought it may be a good idea to hook that up in the room to help with the overall humidity in the air. I currently have some 60 watt ceramic heat emitters, a couple 100 watt bulbs, one 150 watt and a couple blue/nighttime 75 watts. Obviously I won't be using all of these but these are the ones I have that haven't been used yet - i usually keep a storage of supplies for my other herps.

    I'll get some photos up tonight when I get my little one to sleep. I have hides and fake plants and lots of decor to fill up the enclosure and help her feel secure but I'm unsure about substrate at this point. I've heard potting soil or just plain dirt from outside,,......I've been told a mix of dirt and clay sand..,,what are you using? You mentioned substrate with some bark and leaves on top?

    The other thing I was going to ask was in relation to feeding. I was going to stick with a diet of mainly supplemted crickets, mealworms, silkworms, dubia roaches and occasionally thawed rodents and thawed raw ground turkey. Does this sounds ok?

    Also, don't worry I don't take any offense to you telling me I'm doing something incorrect :) that's what I'm looking for...people with more experience than me giving me advice before I bring her home. She's a huge committment and I'm sure shell be more work than all of my snakes n lizards combined so I won't to do this right!!
     
  15. Becs080

    Becs080 Member

    Murrindindi - your monitor looks great!! Thanks so much for ur help so far - I really appreciate it. I'll get pics up ASAP of the enclosure and monitor. :D

    I know I'm asking a lot of questions but im also curious about opinions on taming water monitors. I've heard people say the taming process is kind of different from most other reptiles In that you don't Just grab them and expect them to Gain trust,,, you allow them to come to you. Is this correct?
     
  16. thecw

    thecw Well-Known Member

    In general, you want to let any lizard come to you rather than grab it(this goes even for Bearded Dragons). I'll let someone more experienced with Monitors answer specifically to Water Monitors, but I wanted to say you'll (probably) never win over a Chameleon, or any other number of lizards, by grabbing them. :p
     
  17. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    O.k, if those are the usual ambient room temps it makes heating the enclosure much easier (lucky you)! I would recommend using the low wattage halogen (flood, not spot), bulbs, 40 to 50w, place them close together in a row, raise/lower until you get the desired surface temps (between approx 50 to 60c (120 to 140f), large flat firmly fixed stones (crazy paving type) hold the heat much more effectively than wood. The only two temps you need to know are the lowest ambient (air) in the coolest part of the tank, and the surface temp at the basking spot, nothing between those two matters (daytime).
    Nighttime, no lower than approx 21c, (72f), though I prefer around 24c (75f)...
    Humidy will vary, obviously, lowest around the basking area, that`s inevitable and o.k (approx 50% or so in the basking spot), up to approx 80% in the coooler places.
    Because this is a hatchling/juvenile, a substrtate depth of approx 25 to30cm (10 to12inches) is o.k, I mix play sand, soil, and coir in together to cut down on the weight, as does adding a few cm/inches of bark or leaves on top of that (if your final build is in a concrete floored garage, weight of substrate won`t be as much of a concern).
    This present setup can only be temporary, because again, it isn`t high enough, and they do grow very quickly under proper conditions!
    I think if you get 3 to 4 months use out of it you`ll do well, so you really need to seriously think about the adult size enclosure...
    Ceramic haet emitters are good for keeping the air temps up, bad for directing heat in a basking area.
    Just keep asking questions, the more answers you have the better it will be for the monitor!
    At present I`m on my 4th salvator, the last two wouldn`t touch any insects of any description, but you can still offer them, always supplement inverts with a calcium/multi vitamin, plus D3 if no UVB bulbs are used, vertebrates need no supplementation at all.
    Pinky mice are not very nutritious because the skeleton isn`t yet formed, and there`s little protein ( you can offer them if you wish), personally, I prefer to cut a fuzzie in half along the length while still frozen, and your monitor should have no trouble swallowing that.
    Also small fish, either fresh of salwater, fertilised quail eggs (I usually scramble them, they lose a little nourishment, but still o.k), plus prawns, shrimp etc, no ground turkey, everything must be whole food...
     
  18. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I used to use the word "tame", never thought it would create the fuss it did! These days I prefer "tractable", yes, it can be done in many cases, the only way is with time and LOTS of patience, but even then, no guarantees, althought with a hatchling you have the best chance.
    I recommend watching MDFMONITOR`S (Mark`s), video here at the HC "GainingTrust" it shows exactly how to go about it, a great piece of film.
    My opinion is that having a tractable animal benefits both keeper and monitor, because it means the animal is "normally" much less stressed (healthier), and there`s absolutely no way anyone could control a semi wild 7 to 9 ft monitor.
    My experience with V. salvator is that once out of the juvenile stage they seem to calm down, possibly because they are aware of their power as they reach adulthood, and so should we all be AT ALL TIMES, because they have extremely sharp, serrated teeth, and claws that can literally rip flesh, not to mention a powerful tail!
     
  19. Becs080

    Becs080 Member


    Agreed :) I wasn't actually being literal with the term "grabbing it" just trying to distinguish between initiating handling by picking up a lizard like a beardie as opposed to letting a monitor initiate contact by coming to you.
    Grabbing does sounds pretty intrusive though now that I read it back :)
     
  20. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    The best "weapon" you have with any Varanid is food, they just cannot resist it!
     

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