Reptile Forums banner
1 - 20 of 51 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"How do you heat your large enclosures?"

I have been asked this question many times, in threads, PM's and in e-mails. This post will hopefully give you some ideas and help those of you who are struggling to maintain adequate temperatures in large enclosures. The following is how I do it and by no means the only way or the right way for every species. I currently heat two large enclosures in this way. The ones pictured are of a 12'x8'x5' enclosure used to house my pair of V.albigularis.

The first area I concentrate on is the basking site. This is the primary heat source for the whole enclosure. I use a bank of 6 60w R80 spot lights in this case (i remove two of the lights in the summer months as they are not required to achieve the required temps.) The fittings are mounted on a ply wood board and suspended by chain. This allows me to adjust the height of basking light until I have the desired surface temperature.



It is very important to make sure that the basking area is of even temperature gradient and it must cover at least the snout to vent length of your animal. This will prevent the risk of thermal burns from a reptile only being able to heat part of its body.




The temperature is checked using an infra red temperature gun. These are vital tool for any reptile enthusiast and can be purchased off ebay for about £15-20.




For my albigularis I have a SURFACE temp at around the 140f (60c) mark. This will vary from species to species but is a good guide for most varanids.

This bank of light heats the entire enclosure for 12 hours a day. I achieve a thermal gradient from about 90-68f (32-20c) with this set up and they use every bit of it!

At night when the lights go out I have a secondary heat source in the form of two CHE's (Ceramic Heat Emitters) These are both 150w.




These are controlled by a pulse proportional thermostat that I have set on the lowest temperature I want the enclosure to be, in this case 68f (20c.) I find that it is only on the coldest winter nights that these CHE's are actually ever on (as you can tell by the cobwebs on them!) This is due to the fact that the enclosure is fairly well insulated and hold the heat from the day very well.




I have tried a few thermostats and found the habistat ones to be the best. These can also be custom ordered with any length of probe you want which is really useful! (mine are 3m long ones so I can position the probes in the middle of the enclosure)



Well hope this all helps!

Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,200 Posts
Good post, Rick. There is too little information on "How to" with monitors around here.

I would just add that for my sav (enclosure 8x4) I use exactly the same set-up with the basking lights on chains (they can be raised and lowered this way to achieve just the right temp) - only I need just 3 of the 60w halogen floods for this .

Thanks for putting this up, Rick - maybe it could become a sticky the same as on repticzone for building larger vivs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,501 Posts
great!make sticky maybe mods!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Thanks Rick very helpful!! :no1:

Free bump:up:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,376 Posts
very good post - great pics really help explain it all too....

definitely recommend it be made a sticky.... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cheers everyone!

There is a very important point that I have completely overlooked in this post. I am a qualified electrical engineer and so have the knowledge and ability to do all of my own wiring and installation work. I do not recommend that you try this yourself unless you are 100% sure you know what you are doing! I’m sure I don’t need to go into the danger of electricity but please for the safety of yourself and your reptiles always be sure of what you are doing or even better get some one who is qualified to do it for you!

Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,321 Posts
Really good post Rick, funnily enough I PM'd Razaiel about this this mornin :lol2:

I'm hoping to set up a bank of 2 or 3 halogens in my new viv - if I can pursuade hubby to let me have a bigger one :no1: Although I'm not sure I could manage the suspended thing...

This should be a sticky!

: victory:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,468 Posts
Hi

Don't really know too much about V.albigularis and how they move about the enclosure etc, but shouldn't those bulbs and ceramics be covered with guards to prevent possible burns?

Maybe I'm a bit over-sensitive about that sort of thing because I keep a lot of arboreal species, but you can never be too careful.

cheers

Stuart
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,321 Posts
Varanus albigularis, Black throat is the common I think. They're cute :flrt:

I don't have guards on my bulbs as I know for a fact if I did, mine would be up there like a shot gripping onto the guard, increasing the risk of them burning themselves. I know snakes are a lot different but thats how I feel about guards and little monitors, I just make sure no decor always them to get too close.....

: victory:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well spotted Stuart! I use guards with all of my snakes but not with any of my varanids. The reason is, mesh guards become extremely hot, admittedly not as hot as the lamp or ceramic itself but still very hot. Lizards have a habit of climbing on everything they can and mesh guards are no exception. They don’t seem to realize how hot they are and usually suffer far worse injuries from holding onto a hot guard them a glancing brush with a lamp. This is a lot worse with CHE's but in my viv is 5' high and there is now way they can reach them.

Lucifus: The monitors in the picture are V.albigularis - Black throated monitors. Quite similar to bosc's but much larger and darker tan/black/silver colors.

Rick
 
  • Like
Reactions: mitsi

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,428 Posts
Rick_Albig; [COLOR=black said:
Lucifus: The monitors in the picture are V.albigularis - Black throated monitors. Quite similar to bosc's but much larger and darker tan/black/silver colors.[/COLOR]

Rick
Thought so it looked larger than the average bosc and more chunky too. That enclosure is huge too, is it a barn/garage that has been converted?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,813 Posts
cool thread,
In our 8x4 for our bosc we have a couple larger diameter bulbs, one 250 watt and a 160watt megaray giving about the same effect.
we also have half a dozen 60-100watt bulbs riggged up but we quickly found those werent needed even over winter [we have one single 60watt ordinary round lightbulb nearer the cool end to increase the light in that area a bit but this doesnt effect temps as far as we can gather]

Very good point and an important one about atleast the snout to vent being able to be under a bask at one time.
 
1 - 20 of 51 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top