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Old 24-11-2019, 07:34 PM
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 11
Lightbulb Heating a bioactive vivarium

Hi Guys - first post so go easy please.

I am in the process of setting up a fully automated 45x45x60 Crested vivarium. I am an electronics engineer, so happy to delve into the automation side of things.

Question on heating a viv like this, especially providing ambient heat at night. I don't like the idea of an electric heat mat because the idea of sticking a potentially spikey electrical heater directly on glass, which is 5-6 inches of substrate and water away from the stat makes me scared. I think it is likely that the base will get very hot and that this will kill micro fauna in the substrate and drainage layers, which I want to avoid.

It got me thinking - Has anybody ever created a water based heating system?

It could work exactly like a water based home central heating system. You could have a water tank (insulated) with an aquarium heater heating it to say 40 deg. a pump and a thin pipe that goes into the vivarium and heats under the substrate. The stat would just turn off the pump and the heater in the water tank would keep the tank at a constant temperature. You could isolate the tank heater to come on 3 times a day like you do with hot water, or just connect them both to the same stat to save electricity.

I can see many benefits of doing this over an electric system on the glass, mostly safety orientated. I am happy to DIY this, but wondered if anybody had done something similar so that I can research into it
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Old 25-11-2019, 08:14 AM
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Coningsby, Lincs
Posts: 2,978

To be honest with you, I think you're overthinking it. As an Engineer myself, I understand why, it's what we do.

I'm guessing you're in a standard centrally heated home in the UK? In which case, overnight heat isn't really necessary.

During the day, use a decent heat bulb to create a basking zone on a thermostat, then have it switch off over night.

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Old 25-11-2019, 12:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 11

my house runs down to around 16 degrees C at night in the winter, which I think is too cold, especially if the viv is humid - or is that level ok?
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Old 18-12-2019, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 32

There's no reason this wouldn't work, it might just be a slightly over engineered solution. You can get waterproof heating cables that run inside the tank that you can bury in substrate or incorporate into your background and which don't get as a hot as heat mats and don't require any plumbing.
I do though have a large planted set up with a waterfall and draining false bottom fed by an external reservoir with a water heater in it and it works just fine to maintain a base level of ambient heat in the enclosure. Only difference between this and what you're proposing is containing the water within pipes within the vivarium.
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bio-active , crested gecko , heating

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