Has anyone made crawl "branches" from PVC before?

I want to give my larger boas the option to crawl and climb a bit more. While I’d love to go fully natural looking I worry about keeping real wood branches feces and urate free. I’m considering building a climb zone out of PVC.

PVC so it is easy to clean and sanitize if they do “go” while climbing. I believe I could build a structure with mounting points at the ceiling and walls of the enclosure only. In another hobby, reef keeping, a lot of people use furniture grade PVC, schedule 40, pipe and fittings. There is a huge array of fittings available and no writing on the pipe for a cleaner look. My enclosures are white so I’m thinking about going white.

My plan for mounting would be PVC end caps bolted to the wood internally so there wouldn’t be any access to bolts or screws and no issue with rust. Then I’d just assemble and glue the pvc “rack” together and mount it.

has anyone done something like this before? For a large boa I wonder if 1" schedule pvc would be strong enough in shorter lengths?

If I do it, I’ll post some pictures as I go.
Thanks for any input. Not the type to get my feelings hurt so please let me know what you think or if you’ve done it and what you’d do different.



Came across an old facebook memory of my first boa Willie. He was 10 here. What’s a thread without a picture :slight_smile:


Great ideas and great pictures! :blush:


Thanks caron!


As someone who has worked with PVC pipe for almost 3 decades, just know that there will be a lot of fumes from the PVC cleaner and glue. And it does take a little bit for those fumes to go away. Give it a few days, also, for the glue to set up and not be tacky at all. Wipes all the glue from the outside of the joints. To be quite honest, just dry fit the parts and don’t worry about the glue. The snake won’t care if its water tight lol. Makes me want to do something like that myself. Look forward to seeing the pictures.


Great pictures, what a beautiful boa. I agree with @spottedbull about fumes. I used to work for the city utilities department and did a bit of PVC work. Looking forward to what you come up with. For better options in PVC I’d look at online vendors like granger, etc for bigger and thicker grade PVC than typical hardware stores, might even be cheaper.


I have pvc perches and 3d printed perch mounts in all of my enclosures and love them. Custom stained and twisted and got them from david Brahms at www.specialtyenclosuredesigns.com Shoot him an email for a quote and he’ll get you squared away in no time


Awesome input everyone. I appreciate the tips @spottedbull & @dsed. I’ve dry fitted plumbing for my reef tanks a few times and was unable to get them back apart when it was time to glue so I think you’re right. dry fit will be strong enough I’m sure. If not, my enclosures are only 18" tall, realistically they’ll only be 9-11" off the ground if something did go wrong.

@jmcrook, that is incredible looking. I love that he heats them up and twists them. Makes me wish I was still doing commercial electrical work, I’d borrow the pvc pip bender/heater box/blanket and try it myself. I may order form him, but I do enjoy the DIY side of things when it comes to hobbies.

3 straight bars is kind of a cool idea but my current plan is to build more of a rack on the cool side only. I’m running CHE in a cage until I can find a radiant heat panel I know will work. I don’t want to give them too much access to that cage to be safe.


I have never used PVC for branches, but I do remember a guy on an old forum did make some, and they came out very good-looking. He even used a blow torch to burn the PVC slitly so it looked like branches.


We could talk reef tanks all day my friend👍


That’s a great idea with the torch, Tom. Thank you! I might give that a go if I try and make it realistic looking.

@dsed that’s awesome man! I’ve been at it for about 10 years now, constantly learning and am absolutely obsessed with acropora. I’m a little over a year into a 210 gallon acro dominant reef tank that is finally starting to get some momentum in the right direction.
Do you currently have a tank going?


A 210 acropora, dang! I dont currently have any tanks set up after buying a house in 2017, we had some beautiful reef tanks. My 75 was amazing. Our purple tang was over 10 years old. I specialized in tridacna clams. Heres a couple pics, sorry to derail your thread. We truly miss and have had several tanks over many years Ive lost count. Lol If I can ever help out in any way just ask or message me. We miss helping people like we used too on reef forums.


I use pvc a lot for enrichment climbing stuff, especially for the tree boas. For heavy bodied stuff like Boa Constrictors I would either use larger diameter like 1-1/2-2” or probably better, have multiple 1” pieces adequately spaced to avoid them getting stuck or close enough together they can’t fit through the gap. More
Surface area (however you achieve it) is going to make a more comfortable perch for a heavy bodied boid.

@spottedbull is :dart: dry fit it and skip the chemicals. Half the time you won’t be able to separate dry fit without plies anyway.


Two pieces of 1" or 1.5" side by side and tied together with twine would be a wider rest, too. Would even be flatter as well.

All this has me thinking of adding some to an enclosure or two.


They didn’t even notice I ran out of PVC on that one :joy:


Well hopefully one day “dominant” haha but there is a lot of open water at the moment.

Gorgeous clams and coral. IS that a maroon clownfish attempting to use it as a host, lol? That’s incredible! The starfish is something I’ve always wanted but worried I can’t sustain. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some of my fish up in the double digits. Purples are gorgeous but I’ve got a thing for scopas tangs.

Rasta zoas and magician polys, cool to see as they aren’t as popular as they were. I don’t keep many zoa/poly since I’ve gone bare bottom and worry they’d spread to the main structure.

They all look like thriving systems. It looks like you’ve done both barebottom and a sand bed as well. I tried some clams but looking back I attempted to start smaller to save a few bucks and that didn’t turn out well. A few months back I picked up a maxima that was decent size and it’s been doing pretty well so far, fingers crossed!

I’m a hold out for metal halide in an LED age of reef keepign. Here is my tank today with both MH supplemented by blue LED bars.

I’m down for a reef keeping derail anytime :slight_smile:


That is the goal for sure and is exactly what I was going back and forth on. Larger diameter for comfort or try and to add more smaller diameter pipes and make a “rack”. I’m leaning toward the rack since the main goal will be space to crawl, exercise and explore. I’ve noticed some of my larger boas “periscoping” or moving upwards towards the top of the enclosure, searching around. It’s usually towards night hours and I started to think about how much wasted space I have in there that they could be using.

Glad to hear another vote for dry fit. Easier and safer, sounds like a winner :raised_hands:

Edit, that rack looks great. I’m basically thinking the same thing but mounted to the ceiling for added support for a larger boa. Hopefully I wont have to pull it and lean it much either.


Thank you! Yes, that maroon clown was about 3-4" as well. He loved that clam and they were never bothered by eachother. Baby clams are hit and miss and that big squamosa started at 3" and was 14"+ in that picture. You’re maxima looks great but just keep an eye out for new shell growth, that when you truly know your clam is thriving. Typically clams dont do to well in a super clean environment and I had a decent bioload but the tank was over 10 years old so handled it fine. That blue linkia starfish survived 5 years but I dont think I’d ever try one again, some things are better left in the ocean. I still have so many pictures of our montrous mandarin goby that would shred little pieces of fish like a pit bull. No one believed us because theyre so delicate so I posted a video and people were shocked. Reefing/fish keeping really was a big part of my life, even made friends with many popular fish brands/food suppliers even lighting. Such great memories👍

That is one beautiful tank you have. Ive done both sand and bare bottom and the corals growin on the glas was really cool. At one time you couldn’t see the glass there was so many zoas and montiporas growing. I really do miss it man, it was and still is a passion of mine. Maybe one day ill start another and like all my other tanks it will be lit with metal halide. Thanks for chatting with me, brought back great memories and all the great people I met in the hobby. I’ll leave you with this picture of my other favorite fish I raised for a few years until he out grew the 6’ tank. I love my sohal tang. He’s now in a show tank thats 1200 gallons. He was a fiesty character. Lol.


Just to chime in here…I moved away from naturalistic enclosures for my monitors, frills, and bullsnakes…I found that PVC pipe, vinyl lattice, PVC gutter connections, and PVC drainage materials like basins and lines, I can create a much more enriching environment. For my ackies and bullsnakes, I created three-level “condos” that they traverse like the Mario Brothers via PVC tubes and lattice for grip! Also…dry fit only…

One more thing: I’ve also made some pretty large “trees” by dry fitting PVC to look like a tree, then placing cork rounds over the PVC “branches” and then using spray foam to fill in the gaps. Finish off the foam by carving, applying silicone, and coco fiber. Makes for a great, light, natural tree…


Did someone say reef tank! Those are some nice tanks. I’m just getting my IM 20 gallon nano back up and running after a couple years off.

I would also like to DYI the PVC branches with a torch and slightly twisting them, saw a vid on YouTube of someone doing that.


Another option to add color/texture to the pvc would be using aquarium grade silicone and lightly coating them in that then covering in coco fiber and letting it setup. It’s very common in vivariums to use ropes and doing this to make vines. You could also use larger diameter ropes and make large vines in this way.
Also, awesome aquariums everyone. I’ve had freshwater tanks for years but have never tried saltwater yet. I’m always up for aquarium talks too ha ha