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  • Problems with a 40 Gallon Critter Tank

    *I see a few posts from time to time that addresses the numerous problems that occur when trying to to use a fish tank (glass aquarium type) for a snake.. *Although that sounds funny, it is the primary type enclosure used for snakes.

    * My first reptile cage was a forty critter size and I was trying to raise a Guyana baby, a little tiny worm of a snake and she almost died during that learning curve, because I didn't know they like it warmer than BCI, and a little extra humidity.
    Here she is...




    So she had a rough couple months till I joined a BOA forum.

    Here's some of the things I think can cause problems in these type tanks.

    1.) Heat Lamps/CHE's (Ceramic Heat Emitter) *- These tend to over heat the tank and remove all the humidity due to updraft under the heat source. The snake usually hides on the cool side which is usually to cool and can become very ill from the low temperatures, and symptoms such as lack of appetite, lethargic behavior, respiratory infections and partial sheds are sure to follow.

    2.) *The humidty goes away after a couple hours under the CHE/heat lamp (ps Lights stress most snakes and shouldn't be used 24 hours)

    *So I tried numerous things, but the final thing that really worked well for me was to buy a sheet of that 1/4 inch 4/6 ft cheap wall insulation, and cut it*to fit the tank exterior, bottom, back ,and top. *I used a skill knife to cut it after I marked a line with a ruler.*I would clean up the edges of the insulation for the top and used duck tape to hold it in place. Hey it made it look a little better and held that over head heat mat on the insulation for easy removal with the insulation, for water changes feeding and outings.

    *I*use a UTH (Under the Tank Heater) with a thermostat device and placed the thermostat sensor 1 inch from the floor to allow some warming before it cycles off. NOTE: You MUST use a thermostat type device or you may fry the snake. *Cover the top of the tank with two pieces of wall insualtion to allow some air flow and help hold in the humidty.

    *And finally, I added an over head heat pad from Big Apple herp, to add a little additional heat to the interior of that tank. It is taped to the left heat saver facing down.


    I usally put a towel over the heat savers so you can't see them in place. Note: the left piece of insulation has a desert ray infared heater taped to it facing down at the boa they get gentle warming from the under side due to the UTH and gentle warmth from above due to the desert ray infared heat. The thermostat cycles at 82 and prevents over heating. The insulation holds heat and humidty.

    All my cages have wall insulation under the flooring over the tops and in the back..

    Search the internet or these forums for reptile heat sources

    I find the Under the tank heaters (UTH) heat mats use very little power...

    After reviewing some of the post on this forum and many others, I must modify this post to reccomend a better thermostat for your cages than those 30.00 dollar ESU ones, I have been lucky to date with mine but some people have actually cooked their snakes in the cage with a cheap thermostat.
    So All my cages now using this a much safer and reliable thermostat.

    I found a *thermometer and hydrometer at wall mart for 18 bucks and it has two temp sensors one you can attatch to the floor over the uth to make sure it isn't over heating, it also has memory*that can be useful for checking peaks during that warm up.

    -Doug

    PS if your thinking about a cage maybe a Boaphile would be better than any fish tank and is probably cheaper than fixing up a glass tank...go here

    http://www.boaphileplastics.com/
    Last edited by ClayEnglish; 03-15-2008, 08:11 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Problems with a tank 40 Critter

    Hi Doug,
      What's the easiest way to clean a tank of that size that has been covered with insulation?  Is it water-proof? Or do you just replace it each time?  Thanks for your time.

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    • #3
      Re: Problems with a tank 40 Critter

      Hi, lots of good information!

      Here is a good solution to aquarium habitat's.


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      • #4
        Re: Problems with a tank 40 Critter

        I was just wondering about where to get the heat tape thats a great idea.

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        • #5
          Re: Problems with a tank 40 Critter

          flex watt heat tape


          http://www.bigappleherp.com/REPTILE-SUPPLIES/Heating
          Last edited by Doug; 03-23-2007, 06:09 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Problems with a tank 40 Critter

            www.bigappleherp.com or herpsupplies.com . I use both and recommend them to anyone.

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            • #7
              Re:Problems with a tank 40 Critter

              I would love to see some more pics of your tank. new ideas are usually th best ones.

              thank you james

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              • #8
                Re:Problems with a tank 40 Critter

                Hi James Dean,
                I gave away all my glass tanks and had custum built wood cages made to improve the quality and quantity of play room for my animals.

                Here's a shortcut to all my current cages

                http://www.redtailboas.com/gallery/s...ry.php?cat=654
                before spending a ton of money on 75 Gallon fish tanks, check out the boaphile cage or have a carpenter build you some :P...

                I am wood challenged hehe

                Doug
                Last edited by Doug; 08-16-2007, 02:41 PM.

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                • #9
                  Re:Problems with a tank 40 Critter

                  Excellant post Doug. Thanks for sharing the info.

                  There are a few tricks to keep humidity in glass tanks while using a CHE. Some are a pain in the rear and some are easy but sorta expensive. The pain in the butt way is to place a damp towel over the screen top and the heat givin off by the CHE will create the humidity but the problem with that is the towel will dry out after a bit and eventually will mildew so it will have to be cared for all the time. The easiest way but might be a little on the pricy side, (anywhere from 40-60 bucks,) is the Unit I did a post on, the TropicAire Air Exchanger/Humidifier. It will work with most applications and is a awsome permanant humidity fix. Here is a post to the link I did on it.

                  Bottom line, wood enclosures are the best way to go unless you go with a boaphile and I am in agreement with Doug, James Dean, before buying a 75 gallon tank if I were you i'de look into getting a Boaphile. Well worth the money and a few people here can attest to that.

                  Jay :shades:

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                  • #10
                    Re:Problems with a tank 40 Critter

                    I use aquariums for my snakes, and light bulbs are no problem for me. For humidity, I use a 1/2 inch thick melamine lid. This keeps humidity in and the cage stays at a constant temp. I buy the melamine at Home Depot, and they will cut it for you if you give them the measurements. I also have a table saw. I buy a big piece, have the lids I need cut out at the store, and when I get a new snake I use the table saw to cut another lid. If a snake doesn't like the light bulb, you can use a UTH. I use spacers to keep the UTH about 3/8 inch away from the tank. This way, it doesn't fry the snake. You can spend $30 on a thermometer for every cage, but if you moniter the temp near the heat pad for 2 days before you put the snake in, that is unnecessary.

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                    • #11
                      Re:Problems with a 40 Gallon Critter Tank

                      I agree with the person who said Boaphile Jeff makes some nice cages you can have heat tape installed lights locks The guy is a class act even different colors stands if anything check out his site but dont look at the snakes beware you will fall in love lol once you get one pastel you will end up with 12 or more as for heating I find flex watt heat tape and ceramic heat elements hook to a helix works great for me also Kane makes a heat mat for those of you who have big snakesnow Pro Products makes radiant heat panels now those are great your animal wont get burned plus they say the radiant heat is better for them take care

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                      • #12
                        Re:Problems with a 40 Gallon Critter Tank

                        Thanks alot for the input. Just to be safe i will not use any 40 gallon fish tank for any further snakes i get.
                        -B5

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                        • #13
                          Re: Problems with a 40 Gallon Critter Tank

                          Where did you get that temperature probe?http://photo.redtailboas.com/Doug-s-...radient?full=1

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                          • #14
                            Re: Problems with a 40 Gallon Critter Tank

                            HI,

                            That thermometer /hydrometer came fron Loews I believe the second dark probe is for the thermostat.
                            Doug

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                            • #15
                              Re: Problems with a 40 Gallon Critter Tank

                              I have an anaconda and she loves humidity. I was having a problem holding it in her cage. So, I made a humidity hut from a sterilite plastic box bought at walmart. I put in some terrarium moss, sprayed with warm water, and put it directly under the heat lamp. This will hold good temps and moisture. My anaconda and redtail love it. So, if you are having trouble holding humidity in your tanks try this, I learned it from the anaconda forum. http://www.repticzone.com/forums/Anacondas/index.html

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