DIY Incubator Questions

I am building multiple incubators from coolers. I am deciding whether to put heat tape on the 4 sides or on the bottom and add a fan. When adding a fan what fan do you recommend and how do you power it (on, timer, thermostat, etc.). What are your thoughts?

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I would definitely make sure to use more tape rather than less. I have it run down the center back and the bottom on mine. I use cpu fan and use a an adapter so you can plug it into an outlet. I let the fan run full time. Every incubator is going to hold temps differently. It will take a little trial and error. I’ve never used a cooler so maybe someone can give some pointers for those.

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What did you use instead? Just wanted to know if I have to make one :grin:

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If you are using a cooler then the easier methodology is to fill the bottom 15cm with water, get a recirculating pump, two aquarium heaters, a handful of flower pots, and a sheet of egg crate. Set the heaters to your temp, drop them in the water, put in the recirc pump, put the pots in and set the egg crate on top. Close the lid and let it run a couple days to get to temp. The heated water heats the air and acts as a heat sink to buffer temps when you open/close the lid. It also keeps humidity up, I just put the eggs in the hatch boxes dry and they stay plump and happy the whole time. Because the heaters have their own thermostats they keep the temp stable and having two means you have redundancy if one fails

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I never heard of this before very clever setup. @t_h_wyman have you used this before? Does it hold temps as well as a mini fridge setup? Does it come back up to temperature quickly after opening?

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When opening the temperature would drop very little if any because of the water (same as putting water bottles in an incubator to keep temperatures stable).

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Garrett at Reach Out Reptiles has a video on this setup and he has used it for a number of years. I suspect it would have even more stable temperatures due to the larger heat reservoir of the water.

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I have used it for the last three years. My set up is a 120q cooler. Temps are stable enough that my min/max only registers a 1C change over any given 24 hour period

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Would something like this (cell culture incubator) work as a snake egg incubator if I didn’t hook it up to C02? Given that they are designed to be highly accurate, humid and have a built in thermostat, I feel like it would save a few steps

I’m just trying to brainstorm because I don’t trust myself to build my own

That looks like it would work as long as it got enough oxygen. It seems expensive for an incubator unless you already have one.

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I agree, I would spend the money on a bigger container to DIY into an incubator.

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It’s $167 shipped, which is expensive compared to just buying a regular cooler, but since it already has heating elements and thermostats, I feel like this would end up being cheaper? Not sure.

Because otherwise I would need to buy a cooler, heat tape and another thermostat, which would probably be more than $170, right? I’m just strategizing at this point :joy:

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@chesterhf That’s not a bad price for a incubator.

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I couldn’t actually see that listing so I just looked at similar things and found the price to be over $1000. That’s actually a pretty good price for an incubator if it’s a high quality product/brand.
It also depends on what scale you would be using it, a few clutches here and there and it would be cheaper to get a small cooler, a little heat tape and a thermostat. If you have a ton of clutches that’s going to be way too small. Somewhere in the middle and this would work pretty good for you.

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Or you could go my route and it might cost you less… :upside_down_face:

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I like your incubator idea, but am scared of screwing it up. I figured this operated on a similar principle (lots of hot humid air) but with less user error. If I’m only going to have one clutch this year, everything has to be perfect and I’m terrified of something going wrong

It’s an incubator used for going cell cultures in lab, and they can be notoriously finicky about temperature, humidity and C02/oxygen levels, so these incubators generally have to be very exact, which is why I was thinking of going this way in the beginning. That’s why I was trying to figure out whether it’s practical and cost effective or not. It might be a terrible idea, but I wanted to see what others thought

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If you’re just going to have 1 clutch then I’d recommend just building an incubator. Even if you don’t want to there isn’t much you can do wrong. For the classic heat tape incubator (I don’t know anything about aquarium heaters… yet). If you can find a small styrofoam cooler, then it’s $7 dollars in heat tape (non-affiliated link). $10 for a thermostat and you shouldn’t need a fan with only one clutch.

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Oh, it’s that easy? Ok, maybe I’ll do that as a temporary solution, thanks!! I don’t want to build a whole big thing only to have to sell it when I inevitably have to move back across the country next winter

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I have seen the cooler setup and have seen people make it work, but I also use this same setup as saleengrinch. I use two used wine chillers though I like that they have a temp probe of their own so I can always see roughly what temp it is running at right on the face of the cooler.

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