Polybox incubator in 10 easy steps! - Reptile Forums

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Old 05-03-2012, 03:50 PM
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Default Polybox incubator in 10 easy steps!

Id had someone recently ask me how to make their own incubator as and I needed to make a new and bigger one for this year I thought I may aswell take some pictures and do a step by step guide on how to make on for anyone else interested.

What I used:
Polystyrene box (JBPackaging.co.uk 6.96 + P&P) *I used the 25kg long*
Komodo Thermostat Pulse 600w (Surrey pet supplies 29.41 + P&P)
Habistat Heatmat 29"x11" (Surrey pet supplies 13.92 + P&P)
Digital Thermometer (eBay 1.99)
Cake Cooling Rack/s (Wilkinsons 1.50 each)
Cable ties (1 B&Q)



Screwdriver/s
Kebab skewer (or similar)
Scissors (forgot to get these before I started so weren't pictured)
Wire strippers (forgot to get these before I started so weren't pictured)


Total cost: 53.78 (Not including P+P on some items as I cant find invoices but lets round it up to 60)

Step 1 - Place your heatmat in the bottom of your incubator and use a slim screwdriver to make a hole through the box.


Step 2 - Take the plug off the heatmat and thread the wire though the hole youve just made.




Step 3 - Choose where you want the thermostat to be placed (I personally find it easiest on the side, as if you put it on the lid you cant move the lid too far as it will be attached to the mat inside the box) Use the skewer to make a hole above and below the thermostat and use cable ties to attatch it. I tend to do this twice as you can see in the second picture, and I put them between the cables coming out the bottom of the thermostat so it doesnt move about.





Step 4 - Take the thermostat probe and push it through the box (if the box is thick push a screwdriver through too to make it easier). I loop the probe cable a few times and cable tie it to make it neater (see 2nd pic if this sounds confusing). Place the thermostat probe where you want it and use the skewer to make two holes to cable tie it in place. You dont need to secure the probe to the side of the box, some people prefer to sit it in a tub in the incubator, this is just how I do it.





Step 5 - Unscrew the box labeled "heater" socket on the thermostat (which you plug the heat mat into) and shorten the cable and put it back together. This step again is not necessary, I just prefer to have all my cables short and tidy so there are not loose wired hanging around)





Step 6 - I then shorten the cable on the heatmat (again to keep things neater) and plug it into the "heater" socket on the thermostat. Then use the skewer to make holes in the poly box to secure it into place.





Step 7 - Push the probe of the digital thermometer through the box and attach the reader to the side of the incubator using the skewer and cable ties. I also cable tie any excess cable from the probe inside the box.



Step 8 - Place your cooling rack in the bottom ontop of the mat, the purpose of this is so the eggs are not sitting directly on the heat source. In my case as im using such a large polybox I needed to use 2 cooling racks or id have alot of unusable space.





Step 9 - Use scissors to cut all your excess bits of cable ties short.





Step 10 - Place your incubation tubs into the incubator and your done!! All you need now is eggs!!





You might want to make the incubator more air tight by sealing the holes inside the incubator around the heatmat cable and the holes from the thermostat and thermometer probe (as the cables are slimmer than the probe head which made the holes). To do this you can use a glue gun, aquarium sealant (remember to let it air out until the smell has gone before putting eggs in the incubator) or bluetack.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:31 PM
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Nice Guide was just looking for one the other week on how to set one up.

Quick Question tho what are you using in your egg tubs?
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:47 PM
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It's perlite, we prefer it to vermiculite as it allows for more airflow around the eggs and we don't get mold like we used to get with vermiculite at times.

Edit: Did also mean to put in the original post although 60 seems like alot of money to spend making a DIY incubator you get alot of space for your money compared to something like an exoterra incubator or a lucky reptile herp nursery, you wouldnt get a single royal clutch in one of those! Plus they are not known for their thermostats accuracy where as using a pulse stat keeps the temps very stable

Last edited by JamesJ; 05-03-2012 at 05:13 PM..
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:47 PM
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i was going to say for an extra 30 you can buy a herp nursery BUT you are quite limited for space.looks nice and neat.good post.mite try one my self this year
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:53 PM
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what size heatmat did you use for the 15 kg one?
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blizard87 View Post
i was going to say for an extra 30 you can buy a herp nursery BUT you are quite limited for space.looks nice and neat.good post.mite try one my self this year
It's well worth making your own

Quote:
Originally Posted by MP reptiles View Post
what size heatmat did you use for the 15 kg one?
The one I had for sale wasn't from jbpackaging but if you go on their website they tell you the internal measurements for the boxes so you can work it out
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:36 AM
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thats cool. think i may look at getting a couple of those . as next year may breed 2 females depending how these eggs go , ive only bred 1 female this year as dont want to rush into doing more but them boxes are cool . Thanks for shareing
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:50 PM
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But what temperature so we set the heatmat to? and what temp do we need the digi thermo to say?
is it vermiculite you use?
do you need to open the lid now and again to get clean air?
do i need to move the eggs?
how long do they take to hatch? (leo eggs)
If you can answer any of these questions id be most grateful. thanks
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rademan08 View Post
But what temperature so we set the heatmat to? and what temp do we need the digi thermo to say?
is it vermiculite you use?
do you need to open the lid now and again to get clean air?
do i need to move the eggs?
how long do they take to hatch? (leo eggs)
If you can answer any of these questions id be most grateful. thanks
The reason I didn't state temps / times is because it varies on what species of eggs your incubating and for incubation medium different people have different preferences/good experience

Leopard geckos are temperature sexable, so you'd want the temperatures at around 80-82 F for mostly females, 88-90 F for mostly males and somewhere in the middle for a mixture of both males and females. Above 90 F can produce "hot females" who are normal aggressive and will not breed, the eggs generally take 45-60days+ to hatch.

You want these temperatures to be the reading on the digital thermometer, the temperature you set the thermostat to is not always accurate so check them with the thermometer and adjust it up or down until it settles on the correct temperature.

We use pearlite to incubated our eggs as it gives a good air flow around the eggs and we found we sometimes got mould to vermiculite or eco-earth. If the incubation tub is air tight you will need to open the lid for a minute or two once a week or so, or you can make a few small air holes in the tub so you dont need to do this, but you may need to top up the water in the tub as with the air holes some of it will evaporate. The eggs dont need to be moved, infact moving them can kill the embryo, once put in the incubation tub they do not need to be moved or touched.
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Old 16-03-2012, 06:11 PM
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Very nice guide. Should definitely be stickied! Will be using this to build my own when my stat and mat arrives
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