DIY Rack System

Hey guys! I am looking to set up a rack system. I currently have my one female ball python in a 40 gal breeder. I am getting another female here in a couple of days. My fiancee also has two males (currently housed at his place). When we move in together I’d like to have a rack system already set up. I’m looking to do a 4-6 tote system. I want to use the 41 quart totes for it and I was curious how much heat tape I would need to heat the rack.


You really need to know how you’ll be setting up the rack and tape before you get the tape.

Will you be heating each level with a separate tape? Will you just be using one continuous tape? From there you’ll have a better idea of what you need.
For 4 tubs example:
Either 4x the length of the tub you want heated
Or 4x the length + a little more than 3x the height
and I always order a little extra to be safe

Edit: if you do back heat you’ll just need to measure the height of the rack


Depends on how you want to install the heat tape; if you want to do it per shelf vs. snaking it from one shelf to the other and continuing down to the last shelf, and which way you want the heat tape to run along the bottom of the tub, width (blue) or length wise (purple):


For the first, you would just need to measure the total width of the shelf, in the direction that you need the heat tape to run in, and then subtract about an 1" or 2" from that measurement unless you want it to be completely flush with the sides on the rack. You can also add inches if you want the heat tape to curl up the sides of the rack.

If you’re not sure which you’d prefer then I would recommend going longer than what you think you need and trimming any extra off. Once you have your target length though for each piece just multiply by the number of shelves.

For the second method, I just took the total width of the shelves that I was making x the # of shelves that needed heat tape + thickness of the material (the shelves) + the height of each shelf space + at least 5" extra so that I could trim or adjust as needed.

At the end you get something that looks like this:

There are some very good tutorials on youtube though that will be more helpful, but that’s the jist of what I usually do when figuring out how much material I need. Never hurts to buy more than what you need, either.


I am currently using the IKEA shelf in this thread and it is working for me.