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Old 07-07-2009, 10:42 PM
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Default Heating Help Please

Hi All, I built my Corn Snake (Jester) a new 3'x2'x2' wooden viv, having just finished I am testing out a heat mat (12"x12") at present without a stat and Jester might I add. Should have a stat in by Saturday. I have put 3 temperature strips in, 1 at either end about half way up the side of the viv and 1 down near the aspen on the floor. I understand that they will only measure the air temperature, this is between 22'c/71'f and 26'c/78'f from cold to hot, I believe the actual floor temperature should be more.

Is this going to be hot enough?

Will a stat keep the ground temperature at the correct level?

Is my mat big enough?
or should I heat the viv some other way?

Please help I'm a total noob and wouldn't anything wrong to happen to my new best mate.

Thanks John.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:47 PM
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Offtopic but can I see pic of viv you built and how much it cost to build?
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:17 AM
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Hi, heat mat might be a little small for 3x2, it should be about 1/3 of the floor space and since you have 6 square feet of floor you'd need a 2 square ft heat mat. Try 17x12 sideways so it's only 12in wide but fits better into the 2ft of depth. Heat mats are the best way to heat corn snakes.

Measure the temp on the floor, guessing what it will be on the floor from the temp you get up the wall is not much good.

A stat will keep the temp right. It should be 82-86 F on the floor.

Hope that helps.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:38 AM
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get some better thermometers as well... those strips are rubbish

Here are some good ones quite cheap:

DIGITAL THERMOMETER **** FAST POSTAGE **** on eBay (end time 29-Jul-09 16:06:02 BST)
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:57 AM
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Cheers mate for the advice, I have just bought 1 of the thermometers you recommended, at £3.48 inc postage can't really go wrong.
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:35 AM
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You should be getting temperatures of around 85'f in the warm end and 75'f in the cool end. The temperatures you are getting at the moment are too low and could ultimately result in health problems.

The problem you are having may simply be that the type of heat source you have chosen isn't up to the job. I tried to heat my wooden vivs with heat mats when I first started out, and found exactly the same problem - I couldn't get enough heat into the viv! Heat mats have a number of downsides as a choice of heating. They only heat the substrate directly over the mat, they provide little or no heat to the ambient air, and more often than not the cool side of the viv ends up the same temperature as the room temperature the viv is in. Not good if you are trying to replicate a warmer environment for your snake.

Other issues are then thrown up when you try to use a heat mat with a wooden viv. If you put the heat mat outside the viv then you may get problems where the wooden base insulates the heat and stops enough of it from transferring into the viv itself. You could of course put the heat mat inside the viv, but then you risk the small but not unknown risks of possible electricution and thermal burns. It really is a minefield! It is important to say that some people do manage to create the correct temperature gradients using mats and wooden vivs, but from the posts on here just as many people struggle.

I would strongly suggest switching yuour heating method to ceramic. A ceramic bulb not only provides heat the the warm end, but also heats the ambient air and to a lesser degree the cool end also. This means that the temperature gradient is a true one, and not just "a warm patch on the floor at one end".

Complete ceramic bulb heater kit for reptiles, vivarium on eBay (end time 15-Jul-09 14:00:10 BST)

..is a great starter kit for ceramic heating. This will cost you just over £20 delivered, but if you do decide to switch to ceramic heating you must get the optional guard to prevent any burns to your snake.

If you haven't bought a thermostat (which are ESSENTIAL by the way) then you should consider a pulse-proportional thermostat to use with your ceramics. Any type of stat will work, but pulse-proportional stats are designed to work specifically with ceramic heating.

Triple 8 Reptiles - Microclimate 600W B2 Pulse Thermostat B2 PULSE costs £30 and is a good stat from a reputable manufacturer.

Like I said, if you manage to get the correct temperatures using a mat then great, but having been in the same situation as you before, I can only tell you what worked best for me. Just to echo the above advice as well.. digital thermometers really are the best method for measuring temperatures. Make sure that the probe goes on the ground under/over the heat source.

Also, and forgive me of this is stating the obvious, but thermostats will never increase the temperature from a unstatted heat source, they will only limit the maximum temperature and maintain the set one.
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:08 PM
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The mat is inside the viv just under the aspen, i have also ordered a digital thermometer from the place recommended earlier, I will look into the ceramic heating that you have suggested. I am picking up a stat from rep. store tomorrow, the one you suggested, it's costing £2 more but it is on the way to work so waiting for delivery, all's good. I thank you for advice.

This why I came to this site, everyone seems only too happy to help, being a proper noob anything that I am told I will take on board. Time and money spent now will payoff in the long run, my Jester's long and healthy life.

Thanks....

Last edited by jht88; 08-07-2009 at 10:11 PM..
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:55 PM
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Great stuff! Let us know how you get on with your temperatures.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rantasam View Post
You should be getting temperatures of around 85'f in the warm end and 75'f in the cool end. The temperatures you are getting at the moment are too low and could ultimately result in health problems.

The problem you are having may simply be that the type of heat source you have chosen isn't up to the job. I tried to heat my wooden vivs with heat mats when I first started out, and found exactly the same problem - I couldn't get enough heat into the viv! Heat mats have a number of downsides as a choice of heating. They only heat the substrate directly over the mat, they provide little or no heat to the ambient air, and more often than not the cool side of the viv ends up the same temperature as the room temperature the viv is in. Not good if you are trying to replicate a warmer environment for your snake.

Other issues are then thrown up when you try to use a heat mat with a wooden viv. If you put the heat mat outside the viv then you may get problems where the wooden base insulates the heat and stops enough of it from transferring into the viv itself. You could of course put the heat mat inside the viv, but then you risk the small but not unknown risks of possible electricution and thermal burns. It really is a minefield! It is important to say that some people do manage to create the correct temperature gradients using mats and wooden vivs, but from the posts on here just as many people struggle.

I would strongly suggest switching yuour heating method to ceramic. A ceramic bulb not only provides heat the the warm end, but also heats the ambient air and to a lesser degree the cool end also. This means that the temperature gradient is a true one, and not just "a warm patch on the floor at one end".

Complete ceramic bulb heater kit for reptiles, vivarium on eBay (end time 15-Jul-09 14:00:10 BST)

..is a great starter kit for ceramic heating. This will cost you just over £20 delivered, but if you do decide to switch to ceramic heating you must get the optional guard to prevent any burns to your snake.

If you haven't bought a thermostat (which are ESSENTIAL by the way) then you should consider a pulse-proportional thermostat to use with your ceramics. Any type of stat will work, but pulse-proportional stats are designed to work specifically with ceramic heating.

Triple 8 Reptiles - Microclimate 600W B2 Pulse Thermostat B2 PULSE costs £30 and is a good stat from a reputable manufacturer.

Like I said, if you manage to get the correct temperatures using a mat then great, but having been in the same situation as you before, I can only tell you what worked best for me. Just to echo the above advice as well.. digital thermometers really are the best method for measuring temperatures. Make sure that the probe goes on the ground under/over the heat source.

Also, and forgive me of this is stating the obvious, but thermostats will never increase the temperature from a unstatted heat source, they will only limit the maximum temperature and maintain the set one.
As above.

And can I add The only snake in our house with a heat mat is our sand boa, the rest, (corn snake, red tail boas, and Boigas), all have heat from above, your corn will thank you for it

Jay
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rantasam View Post
You should be getting temperatures of around 85'f in the warm end and 75'f in the cool end. The temperatures you are getting at the moment are too low and could ultimately result in health problems.

The problem you are having may simply be that the type of heat source you have chosen isn't up to the job. I tried to heat my wooden vivs with heat mats when I first started out, and found exactly the same problem - I couldn't get enough heat into the viv! Heat mats have a number of downsides as a choice of heating. They only heat the substrate directly over the mat, they provide little or no heat to the ambient air, and more often than not the cool side of the viv ends up the same temperature as the room temperature the viv is in. Not good if you are trying to replicate a warmer environment for your snake.

Other issues are then thrown up when you try to use a heat mat with a wooden viv. If you put the heat mat outside the viv then you may get problems where the wooden base insulates the heat and stops enough of it from transferring into the viv itself. You could of course put the heat mat inside the viv, but then you risk the small but not unknown risks of possible electricution and thermal burns. It really is a minefield! It is important to say that some people do manage to create the correct temperature gradients using mats and wooden vivs, but from the posts on here just as many people struggle.

I would strongly suggest switching yuour heating method to ceramic. A ceramic bulb not only provides heat the the warm end, but also heats the ambient air and to a lesser degree the cool end also. This means that the temperature gradient is a true one, and not just "a warm patch on the floor at one end".

Complete ceramic bulb heater kit for reptiles, vivarium on eBay (end time 15-Jul-09 14:00:10 BST)

..is a great starter kit for ceramic heating. This will cost you just over £20 delivered, but if you do decide to switch to ceramic heating you must get the optional guard to prevent any burns to your snake.

If you haven't bought a thermostat (which are ESSENTIAL by the way) then you should consider a pulse-proportional thermostat to use with your ceramics. Any type of stat will work, but pulse-proportional stats are designed to work specifically with ceramic heating.

Triple 8 Reptiles - Microclimate 600W B2 Pulse Thermostat B2 PULSE costs £30 and is a good stat from a reputable manufacturer.

Like I said, if you manage to get the correct temperatures using a mat then great, but having been in the same situation as you before, I can only tell you what worked best for me. Just to echo the above advice as well.. digital thermometers really are the best method for measuring temperatures. Make sure that the probe goes on the ground under/over the heat source.

Also, and forgive me of this is stating the obvious, but thermostats will never increase the temperature from a unstatted heat source, they will only limit the maximum temperature and maintain the set one.
Good well thought out and written advice
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