Heating suggestion for cramped shelves?

We have a set of shelves/racks that hold all of our terrariums and tanks and everything; and a few of them are empty so we haven’t thought about the heating aspect.

The problem is some of those enclosures are too close to the bottom of the shelf to do typical dome lamps. I think they could fit UVB strips no problem, but the domes are out of the question, and lowering or raising the shelves isn’t possible.

They are 12 x 12 x 18s , so they’d use nano domes!

BUT im wondering if there are any flat heating options I could use other than heat pads?


I installed radiant heat panels in my exo terra enclosures when I was growing up some of my animals in them. You could look at that option. I’m curious as to why you’re trying to avoid using underside heat?


Heat panels would work! I just wouldn’t be able to incorporate UVB with it unless they make them 4 x 12 or something similar.

I’m not! I’m just trying to be flexible. Like Gargoyles/Crested geckos need top to bottom gradients instead of underside heating!


Your only options in the sizes you’re looking for will be heat tape or heat mats.

Plenty of gecko folks stick heat mats to the sides of their enclosures to achieve this, if I’m remembering correctly. Just because most heat mats are stuck to the bottom doesn’t mean they have to be. Do remember if you use mats or tape, place your thermostat probe between the mat/tape and the enclosure, not in the enclosure itself.

Hey @foxreptile, you use side mounted heat mats for your geckos, right?


I do indeed. Been chatting on another thread but will just respond here.

I use heat mats in-between my enclosures, I’ve got a couple per thermostat. I recommend not buying the ones with sticky stuff on as you will not be able to move them once on. Instead I use specific heat tape (I think it’s called insulation tape) as can take off of I want to move the enclosures about.

As the enclosure is a thick pvc it will likely require a higher watt than mine but I doubt it would need too high.

Mine are on the side as i believe it works better. Plus I have bioactive enclosures so wouldn’t do anything on the bottom.

I also use an oil filled radiator in winter months to ensure the ambient temp isn’t too low (English weather).

My heat mats cover majority of the sides


I’ve talked to ya several times and you give awesome advice; we weren’t sure the heat mat would penetrate the pvc enclosures since they were pretty thick; so we were going to try switching to some glass ones of the same size, only to run into this new dilemma lol

I’m definitly going to invest in some insulation tape to use instead of the sticky ones and give a couple heat mats a try between both tanks!

We previously used a heat mat on the top back of our crested gecko tank(18 x 18 x 24), and it didn’t add enough heat to bump the temp up to 70-75. It kept it right around 69 ish. So I ended up scrapping the heat pad idea, and using a CHE that bumped it just to where he needed it!

Thats why I was asking for recommendations for these two! Since the PVC option didnt have a large enough mesh for UVB + heating together, and these don’t have enough room for domes ontop!

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That’s the problem with heat mats, they will not warm up the ambient temperature. That’s why I have an oil filled radiator to bump it up.

Ideally overhead heating is best but won’t fit the enclosure you have :pensive:

I hope you find a solution :crossed_fingers:


For what it’s worth, I use a small ceramic heater to keep my own reptiles warm, specifically this model. It works well in a bedroom-sized area to keep the ambient up, and has a built-in fan to help circulate more air.