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Old 28-10-2012, 04:23 PM
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Default Setting up a vivarium - heat and humidity

After commenting on a few threads recently I thought i'd just start my own and share my methods in case they might help someone else out

Firstly, I do not use RUB's, so I can't comment on the set up of a RUB or other tub. I use wooden vivariums as my animals are in my front room and I like them to look nice, as well as function for the animals.

So, ceramics. This is what prompted me to think about making my own thread. It seems everyone does it differently.

I have my pulse thermostat probe and digital thermometer probe tied together with cable ties, then nailed to the back wall with cable tidies. It means snake can't move the wires, and they are reading from the same place, which I feel is important. Also, they are half under the ceramic bulb itself, sat on top of the substrate (Aubiose). Like this:



Note that for that photo, i'd removed her hide. Her hide is usually here:





I use Exo Terra caves as they are easily washed and last forever (well, until they outgrow them!).

Exo Terra caves are made from a material that holds heat very well, so as I don't want to expose my snakes to temperatures that are too high (in my personal opinion, this means 33C and upwards) I set my ambient temperature rather much lower than what I want the hotspot to be. I have been asked why I don't put the thermostat probe inside the hide and regulate it from there, the answer is that this way works for me, I am able to monitor the ambients whilst still controlling the maximum reachable temperature in the hide.

My ambient is set to 27.5C hot end. Now, remember this is the temperature of the substrate where the probe is positioned. This is not the temperature of the whole hot end. Ceramics are not like mats, they give a much bigger (and better) gradient. To show, I took a picture this morning. The black thermometer is the temperature inside the hide. The white one is the permanent thermometer attached to the viv, the large number is the humidity, the small one shows the substrate temperature.



As you can see, for whatever scientific reason, inside the hide (directly under the ceramic) is more than 4C higher than directly outside of it. If I set the ambient and the thermostat to 32C where they are now, inside the hide could reach 36C easily. Hopefully this also highlights the importance of using a digital thermometer and not relying on the themostat; my thermostat dial is reading 26C, which is almost correct for the substrate temperature, but of course very wrong for inside the hide! If you don't take some time to set the thermostat up you might as well not have one, you could still end up having it far too warm for your snakey.

I don't measure the cool end, in a 4ft viv I know a ceramic will give a good enough gradient, and I see my snakes using both ends, so i'm happy with how it is now.

My corn and leos both have heatmats, as they are small enough animals to receive the full benefit of a mat. They are on mat stats, and for them the thermostat and thermometer probes both go directly on top of the mat, as mats don't affect ambient temperatures at all. Putting the probe anywhere else but on the mat is practically useless

A quick note on humidity, I often see people saying they leave their vivs at 'room humidity'. I don't think anything in a viv receives any kind of 'room' benefit. My corn and leo vivs are at about 25-30% humidity usually, as the water source is nowhere near the heat source. This is much lower than 'room' humidity, given that the environment inside the vivs is nowhere like the environment in the room! They are a lot warmer for a start For this reason I always place a large water bowl near the warm end for my royal and boa (who have ceramics) to assist with shedding etc. It currently sits at between 45-55%, when I see they're shedding a quick mist brings it up. If you don't use a hygrometer don't assume room humidity will be ok, a lot of the times a viv will be less humid than your room, unless you keep humid species and are purposefully creating humid enviorments.

Hope it helps someone!
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I keep my reptiles in vivaria, heated with ceramics. If you need set-up help, and can't find the answer here;
Setting up a vivarium with ceramics - Heating and Humidity
Setting up a terrestrial vivarium with pictures
Setting up an arboreal vivarium with pictures
PM me and i'll help if I can

Last edited by mstypical; 28-10-2012 at 04:29 PM..
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Old 28-10-2012, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstypical View Post
After commenting on a few threads recently I thought i'd just start my own and share my methods in case they might help someone else out

Firstly, I do not use RUB's, so I can't comment on the set up of a RUB or other tub. I use wooden vivariums as my animals are in my front room and I like them to look nice, as well as function for the animals.

So, ceramics. This is what prompted me to think about making my own thread. It seems everyone does it differently.

I have my pulse thermostat probe and digital thermometer probe tied together with cable ties, then nailed to the back wall with cable tidies. It means snake can't move the wires, and they are reading from the same place, which I feel is important. Also, they are half under the ceramic bulb itself, sat on top of the substrate (Aubiose). Like this:

image

Note that for that photo, i'd removed her hide. Her hide is usually here:

image

image

I use Exo Terra caves as they are easily washed and last forever (well, until they outgrow them!).

Exo Terra caves are made from a material that holds heat very well, so as I don't want to expose my snakes to temperatures that are too high (in my personal opinion, this means 33C and upwards) I set my ambient temperature rather much lower than what I want the hotspot to be. I have been asked why I don't put the thermostat probe inside the hide and regulate it from there, the answer is that this way works for me, I am able to monitor the ambients whilst still controlling the maximum reachable temperature in the hide.

My ambient is set to 27.5C hot end. Now, remember this is the temperature of the substrate where the probe is positioned. This is not the temperature of the whole hot end. Ceramics are not like mats, they give a much bigger (and better) gradient. To show, I took a picture this morning. The black thermometer is the temperature inside the hide. The white one is the permanent thermometer attached to the viv, the large number is the humidity, the small one shows the substrate temperature.

image

As you can see, for whatever scientific reason, inside the hide (directly under the ceramic) is more than 4C higher than directly outside of it. If I set the ambient and the thermostat to 32C where they are now, inside the hide could reach 36C easily. Hopefully this also highlights the importance of using a digital thermometer and not relying on the themostat; my thermostat dial is reading 26C, which is almost correct for the substrate temperature, but of course very wrong for inside the hide! If you don't take some time to set the thermostat up you might as well not have one, you could still end up having it far too warm for your snakey.

I don't measure the cool end, in a 4ft viv I know a ceramic will give a good enough gradient, and I see my snakes using both ends, so i'm happy with how it is now.

My corn and leos both have heatmats, as they are small enough animals to receive the full benefit of a mat. They are on mat stats, and for them the thermostat and thermometer probes both go directly on top of the mat, as mats don't affect ambient temperatures at all. Putting the probe anywhere else but on the mat is practically useless

A quick note on humidity, I often see people saying they leave their vivs at 'room humidity'. I don't think anything in a viv receives any kind of 'room' benefit. My corn and leo vivs are at about 25-30% humidity usually, as the water source is nowhere near the heat source. This is much lower than 'room' humidity, given that the environment inside the vivs is nowhere like the environment in the room! They are a lot warmer for a start For this reason I always place a large water bowl near the warm end for my royal and boa (who have ceramics) to assist with shedding etc. It currently sits at between 45-55%, when I see they're shedding a quick mist brings it up. If you don't use a hygrometer don't assume room humidity will be ok, a lot of the times a viv will be less humid than your room, unless you keep humid species and are purposefully creating humid enviorments.

Hope it helps someone!
Good one as usual! Very informative and will certainly help people who need to know how to set up ceramics

-Luke
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Old 28-10-2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChelsNLuke View Post
Good one as usual! Very informative and will certainly help people who need to know how to set up ceramics

-Luke
Thanks I was asked the other day why inside the hide is hotter than outside, I just don't know the answer, I only know that it is hotter and it needs taking into consideration
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I keep my reptiles in vivaria, heated with ceramics. If you need set-up help, and can't find the answer here;
Setting up a vivarium with ceramics - Heating and Humidity
Setting up a terrestrial vivarium with pictures
Setting up an arboreal vivarium with pictures
PM me and i'll help if I can
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Old 28-10-2012, 10:21 PM
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Just a thought as well as I've just had a question by PM. With ceramics in a stack like mine, you do get heat transference. My top viv is 2C hotter than the bottom. When I bought the stack I wanted the boa on the top, but knowing she likes it cooler and the royal hotter, they had to go that way around
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I keep my reptiles in vivaria, heated with ceramics. If you need set-up help, and can't find the answer here;
Setting up a vivarium with ceramics - Heating and Humidity
Setting up a terrestrial vivarium with pictures
Setting up an arboreal vivarium with pictures
PM me and i'll help if I can
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 28-10-2012, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstypical View Post
Thanks I was asked the other day why inside the hide is hotter than outside, I just don't know the answer, I only know that it is hotter and it needs taking into consideration
Because heat has less room inside the hide to disperse, it's then trapped Slower heat loss etc and easier build up of heat

-Luke
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Old 30-10-2012, 11:19 AM
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This is a good post a+
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Old 30-10-2012, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by hitmanout2007 View Post
This is a good post a+
Thanks
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I keep my reptiles in vivaria, heated with ceramics. If you need set-up help, and can't find the answer here;
Setting up a vivarium with ceramics - Heating and Humidity
Setting up a terrestrial vivarium with pictures
Setting up an arboreal vivarium with pictures
PM me and i'll help if I can
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Old 30-10-2012, 01:36 PM
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FYI those digital thermometers are known not to be that accurate, you should really get a proper infrared temperature gun, the last ones i tested were as much as 5* out
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Old 30-10-2012, 01:45 PM
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Definitely informative. May help some people
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Old 30-10-2012, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pete-vtr View Post
FYI those digital thermometers are known not to be that accurate, you should really get a proper infrared temperature gun, the last ones i tested were as much as 5* out
Thanks, but it's a matter of preference really. The infra-red ones, by the time you've opened the viv door, moved the hide etc, are going to read lower than they should because the heat escapes as soon as the door is opened. The digital ones I have are fine, I've tested them in my fridge etc they all read the same as each other
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I keep my reptiles in vivaria, heated with ceramics. If you need set-up help, and can't find the answer here;
Setting up a vivarium with ceramics - Heating and Humidity
Setting up a terrestrial vivarium with pictures
Setting up an arboreal vivarium with pictures
PM me and i'll help if I can
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