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  1. #1
    "Preparing For First shed"
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    73
    Country: United States

    Heat for bioactive tank, cord damage

    Here's the situation: I have two female garter snakes living in a 40-breeder on aspen bedding. The tank is heated with a basking light during the day, and retains proper low temperatures at night with no heating mechanism. (They also have a UVB bulb during the day.)

    Previously they were kept on newspaper and I used a heating bad set low at night during the winters because I live in Minnesota. With the paper being so thin, the pad worked great.

    Questions:

    1/ I want to convert this to a bioactive tank, but how do I heat the tank over night during the winter? Is sticking the heating pad to side of the tank an option? Or, should I create a very shallow dirt area that allows them closer access to the heating pad? I assume the usually recommended dirt depth will prevent any heat from penetrating to the surface.

    2/ I've considered using a ceramic heat emitter at night, but I don't know that there's enough surface area on my screen lid to accommodate an additional light (the basking light is attached using one of those stands and the UVB strip light takes up some space), and I already own two heating pads so that would save money. Thoughts?

    3/ Unrelated, but what do you guys do to protect the cords on your rheostat and digital thermometers from getting damaged by the tank hood? I have a Zilla tank with that sliding screen top, and although I arrange the cords to enter through the small built-in holes, I've noticed serious damage to one rheostat cord (had to replace it because the wires became exposed) and see some wear and tear on the thermometer cord.

    Is there anything I can do to save my cords?


    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Never shed
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    29
    Country: United States

    Re: Heat for bioactive tank, cord damage

    You say you currently have proper low temps at night without a heating mechanism, so I'm not sure why you'd neat to provide additional heat if the enclosure were bioactive. Regardless:

    1) I personally have a dedicated snake room that's heated with a radiator. Not sure how cold your room gets, but garters tolerate very cold temps during the winter... they're commonly brumated as low as 45F. If you're worried about the bugs, I'm not sure how cold a temp they can tolerate. If your trying to provide heat for the snakes, your idea of heating pad on the side would work to heat the side and air locally. If it's for the bugs, stick it on the bottom and they can find a good spot.

    2) Not sure why you can't have the light on one side and the CHE on the other. During the day you have the light on and CHE off; during the night the light is off and CHE on.

    3) Can't answer this. The tanks I have with top opening lids don't have any cords going in. I have one tank that has a thermostat probe going in, but it's a front opening style so the top never gets opened. I would highly recommend these over the top opening tanks - it's SO much easier to go in and clean or handle your snake.

  3. #3
    "Preparing For First shed"
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    73
    Country: United States

    Re: Heat for bioactive tank, cord damage

    Quote Originally Posted by BPGator View Post
    You say you currently have proper low temps at night without a heating mechanism, so I'm not sure why you'd neat to provide additional heat if the enclosure were bioactive. Regardless:

    1) I personally have a dedicated snake room that's heated with a radiator. Not sure how cold your room gets, but garters tolerate very cold temps during the winter... they're commonly brumated as low as 45F. If you're worried about the bugs, I'm not sure how cold a temp they can tolerate. If your trying to provide heat for the snakes, your idea of heating pad on the side would work to heat the side and air locally. If it's for the bugs, stick it on the bottom and they can find a good spot.

    2) Not sure why you can't have the light on one side and the CHE on the other. During the day you have the light on and CHE off; during the night the light is off and CHE on.

    3) Can't answer this. The tanks I have with top opening lids don't have any cords going in. I have one tank that has a thermostat probe going in, but it's a front opening style so the top never gets opened. I would highly recommend these over the top opening tanks - it's SO much easier to go in and clean or handle your snake.

    Thanks for the reply.

    1/ The night time temperature is fine now because it's not winter. Even though I heat my house, it gets very cold during the winter. I understand that they brumate in low temperatures, but I don't plan to brumate my snakes. Their basking and UVB bulbs will still turn on during the day, and I worry that the dramatic temperature plunge at night will be bad for them. I noticed that one of my snakes stopped eating last year until I added a heat mat. (They were in separate tanks on newspaper, so the mat easily heated the tank while I assume a layer of drainage and dirt will make a bioactive tank hard to heat from the bottom.)

    2/ The basking/UVA light is on one side right now and the long UVB bulb takes up a lot of the remainding space. A CHE would squeeze in awfully close to the UVB bulb's plastic housing and the plastic trim on the lid. I understand that I could get rid of the basking light and use CHE only with a better thermometer that changes temperatures at night. I am considering this, in addition to finding a smaller UVB bulb, although mine is about as short as what's available.

    3/ I'm definitely interested in investing in one of those one day. I think it might minimize the snakes spooking from my hand dropping in from above them. I'm still working on really taming them. They're hit or miss.

    Thanks.

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