HEATING a terrarium

deadhamster(Z5 MI)September 28, 2005

I know most of you are more interested in cooling them, but then most terrariums aren't 6 feet tall in an unheated room with snakes... I see as the weather cools off I am going to need to heat my enclosure for the sake of the snakes. I currently vent the heat from my MH bulb into the terrarium, which may work ok during the day(we'll see) but at night, something else needs to be done. Has anyone messed around with those ceramic heaters that plug into incandescent sockets? Are they efficient? It's either that or I need to reverse engineer a space heater. We are looking at around 1200 gallons of volume here....

-DH

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iliketerrariums

The ceramic heating disc work great in an inclosed area, and you can pick them up in different wattage according to the size of your encloser, the problem you might have is keeping the snake or other critters off of the disc, it will give a VERY SEVERE BURN! if the critters make contact with it, you can use screen but the screen will heat up if made of any kind of metal, and plastic screen of coarse will melt, but the disc do work well, just play around with them for a bit, Im sure youll come up with something =)

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 5:36PM
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deadhamster(Z5 MI)

Thanks, I'll give it a shot. I am not worried about animals contacting them, I am going to put this inside the ventilation system for the lighting, that way its heat gets distributed by the existing fans.

-DH

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 7:57PM
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Matt_Campbell

There is a new product called a "heat emitter". You can find them for sale at www.reptileuv.com - some other sources sell the same exact product for roughly the same price. I'd go with ReptileUV though - I've bought from them and they have great customer service. Basically the emitter uses a heating coil in a glass reflector covered by a screen (looks like a light bulb). Their surface temperature doesn't get nearly as hot as a ceramic heat emitter and they're also more efficient. Supposedly for only 60 watts of power they put out as much heat as a 160 watt ceramic heat emitter (that's using the emitter in a reflector dome). I would hook the emitter up to a thermostat to make sure you keep a steady temperature. Oh yeah, they're $25.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 10:16PM
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deadhamster(Z5 MI)

Thanks Matt, do you have one? The picture looks a bit big, I am concerned about it fitting in the location I keep my CHE. Any chance you could measure the length and diameter for me?
Being infrared, do you know if it heats the air or just the surface it is pointed at? It's going to be 6 feet from the surface, so heating the air is probably best.

-DH

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 12:11PM
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Matt_Campbell

If you're currently using a CHE you won't have any problem accomodating the ReptileUV heat emitter - it's essentially the same size as a flood lamp bulb. It measures roughly 4" diameter and about 4 1/2" in length but remember that roughly about 3/4" of that total length will be screwed into the socket. Heat emitters of pretty much any type will work by only heating the air and surfaces directly below them. What increases their efficiency is having objects with some size and weight to them directly below the heat emitter. For example, placing a pile of rocks (securely placed of course), below a heat emitter will mean that those rocks will absorb heat and then continue to radiate that heat outwards into the cage creating what is called thermal mass. This can also happen with a good deep substrate as well, but for the most part it works best with good heat conductors like rocks, ceramic hide boxes, etc. Wood and substrates tend to be much less efficient. Ideally you'll want to use an infrared temp gun to check your hot spot and if necessary hook the emitter up to a thermostat to insure it doesn't get too hot. However, with your size of enclosure, chances are the emitter is going to run almost constantly especially if you're trying to effectively heat the entire enclosure. If that's the case you might be better off to consider a radiant heat panel. Pro-Products makes the best heat panels in the reptile industry and they're backed by a good warranty.

For heat panel info: http://www.pro-products.com
For temp guns: http://www.tempgun.com

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 1:00PM
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risingpower1(Essex, UK)

This probably isn't what you're after but it's definitely worth a look

http://www.exo-terra.com/EN/products/heat_wave_rocks_i.html

RP1

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 1:21PM
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deadhamster(Z5 MI)

Hot rocks are often dangerous. They tend to develop hot spots that burn the reptiles. And since they don't heat the air, the reptiles have no choice but to sit on them if they want heat, and so have no choice but to be burned. I have put a CHE inside the exhaust system of my MH light, and it has done a great job of raising the temp. I like the looks of those pro panels Matt, I may send them an email.

-DH

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 4:32PM
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Matt_Campbell

I do some exhibit consulting and construction for a place that uses the Pro-Products heat panels in pretty much every cage. They are so efficient they can completly dry out a cage so you definetely need them hooked up to a thermostat and then you'll need to tweak the settings on your humidification system be it fogger or mister, so that you can compensate for the excess heat and drying. There's pretty much no other emitter that is more efficient - the only drawback is they're costly.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 12:59AM
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