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Heating a 26 Gallon Plastic tub

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  • [Housing] Heating a 26 Gallon Plastic tub

    Hey guys,

    I just recently picked up a beautiful Suriname over the weekend and have been keeping him in a 100 liter plastic tub I found at Home Depot. I put a Zilla UTH that was recommended for a 30-40 gallon tank under it's definitely not enough. the warm spot gets up to 85ish (I understand it should be more towards 90). The cold side is at 75 but the ambient air around the warm spot is maybe around 76 at best. I have a large grape vine in there that he likes to chill on and I'm afraid he's literally going to catch a chill sitting in 76 degree air. I'm not sure how I can get that ambient temp up... Normally I'd just get a ceramic heat lamp but that's no good for a plastic tub. Should I just get some flexwatt tape and put a 1' by 1' strip on the side of the warm end? Would that even make a difference?

    If I can't get the heat up, I'm considering moving to a 40 gallon glass tank with a ceramic heat lamp...though I'd rather not with all the weight that would bring.

    Any tips getting that heat up?

  • #2
    Re: Heating a 26 Gallon Plastic tub

    Put a second heat mat on the other side on a thermostat set so the surface temperature of the bottom of the tub gets to around 81*F. Then you can put a hide over each heat mat. The heat mats won't do much for the ambient temperature in the tub, but they will warm up the air under the hide.

    What do you have the thermostat for the current heat pad set to? Heat pads can run 115*F or higher if unregulated, so you should just be able to bump up the thermostat a bit to get an 88-90*F surface temp on your hot side.

    Where did you put the thermostat probe? And is the heat pad in good contact with the underside of the tub or is there an air gap?

    What kind of thermometer are you using? Those analog cheapies from the pet store can be inaccurate, I have two heat guns and half a dozen IR point thermometers around the house so I can double-check all of the enclosure surface temperatures.

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    • #3
      Re: Heating a 26 Gallon Plastic tub

      Originally posted by bcr_229 View Post
      The heat mats won't do much for the ambient temperature in the tub, but they will warm up the air under the hide.
      This reason is why many people have their reptile rooms stay at around 78-80 degrees F. Heat tape alone can only raise ambient heat by 2-4 degrees because it is only meant for surfaces. 80 is not reasonable for a bedroom however where some people keep their pets (like me). I have a PVC cage from Animal Plastics and I put a radiant heat panel (RHP) from Pro-Products on the roof which heats up both the air and the surface. With RHPs you don't have to raise the entire room temperature, but they aren't cheap for good ones.

      What you could do is try to insulate your current tub as best you can using blankets without blocking airflow. That should work temporarily until you had to change enclosures which might be in a couple months. Start saving up money for an adult size cage. PVC cages tend to be some of the easier cages to maintain so you might look into those. Most glass tanks have humidity and heat issues without modifications not to mention extremely expensive when it comes to adult sized. Previously when I looked, a new glass tank large enough for an adult female boa comfortably (8'lx2'wx'2'h) would be $4,000+. Plastic with all the heating stuff needed would be around $1000.

      You could incrementally go up in cage size if you'd like, but that would really just be wasted money because you will eventually get to an adult size cage.
      Two good PVC cage makers would be Animal Plastics or Boaphile.
      Plastic Reptile Cages, Tanks and Racks. Snake, arboreal, lizard and turtle light weight custom flexwatt heated enclosures.
      Animal Plastics

      Don't get me wrong, you can do whatever you'd like. I was just offering up my opinion now so you can think about it in the coming months when you're going to need to upgrade your caging. The only problem with the PVC cages is that it takes up to 6 months for the cages to be made and shipped to you.

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      • #4
        Re: Heating a 26 Gallon Plastic tub

        Originally posted by acephantom903 View Post
        The only problem with the PVC cages is that it takes up to 6 months for the cages to be made and shipped to you.
        My local Home Depot has started stocking 4'x8'x1/2" PVC sheets and they will cut it for you if you don't have tools of your own. I'm seriously considering a DIY setup.

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        • #5
          Re: Heating a 26 Gallon Plastic tub

          Originally posted by bcr_229 View Post
          My local Home Depot has started stocking 4'x8'x1/2" PVC sheets and they will cut it for you if you don't have tools of your own. I'm seriously considering a DIY setup.
          Don't tell me this. I may not be good at DIY but if they have this near me and if I can guarantee the space I would probably end up building an 8'lx8'wx4'h. x.x

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