Help me troubleshoot my incubator

This is my second season using the same incubator, a coleman cooler with heat tape on the back wall and water bottles in the bottom to retain heat. I lost power for several hours the other night during a bad storm. In one hour the incubator dropped from 81f to 75f. I took the incubator to my parent’s during hour three so I think they are okay but this has revealed an issue with my setup. Theoretically the water bottles in the bottom were supposed to help keep heat in there but they didn’t seem to make a difference. Outside of a generator which I hope to afford some day soon, I’m hoping that I can get some ideas as to what I can try to rectify this.

For picture tax, some babies that hatched two weeks ago :face_holding_back_tears:


It looks like you have 4 water bottles right? I would try to double that. 4 water bottles can’t hold much heat compared to how big the incubator is.

On another note the babies are adorable


Oh my goodness! Those babies are cuteness overload! Congratulations! I can’t help with ideas but I’m sure you will get plenty of feedback! :snake::+1::blush:

1 Like

Personally I would be careful about having the probe on the opposite side when there are eggs so close to the heat tape as well.

When using a cooler setup like this I had the eggs a bit further from the tape and the probe inside the box near the eggs that are closest to the tape along with a thermometer with a probe to read the air temp on the other side as well. Just don’t want the eggs to cook that are closer to the pad.

Also I agree with the above, more water bottles may help. heat rises so obviously the more you open a cooler like this to check as well, the more heat will escape, so making sure to have a backup probe thermometer to keep an eye on temps aside from your thermostat can help.


There are a lot of ways you can set this up. The first to come to my kind is to run the tape along the side, a cross the bottom and up the other side. Place the probe between the two bins, and maybe 2 rows of water.
The problem with power outage is, when you open it most of the hear will escape. I would never open it with a power outage. If long teen, moving it to a place with power is the best bet, but still do not open it.

The other option is to line the front, bottom, back and top with heat tape. Both will give you a more even heat.

And as @armiyana stated, I would not have them that close to the tape with the problem so far away.

Keep in mind, the water is going to help even out the heat, not be a heat source.


In the end you either need to have power or move it somewhere that does.

A battery backup system designed for computers would allow you to continue heating the incubator for many hours after power loss.


Thank you everyone for the input. I already moved the probe to the center, where the blue dot is, and added another 4 water bottles.

The bins are not normally against the heat tape like that, the rack had slid during transport and I did not realize right away :grimacing:
Once these eggs hatch I’m going to try @d_y_python recommendation of lining the cooler differently.
Thank you @biologicalcanvas for the link, I didn’t know about that type of product but that would be something I can get a lot sooner than a generator.


Sending good thoughts that the eggs will be okay! :pray::crossed_fingers::+1::blush:

Oh my! I love the superconda albino!


You can change the heating method as well. Prop the light diffuser up on some small clay pots and fill the bottom up with water. Toss an aquarium heater in and you’re all set.

Thank you for the suggestion. I did have something very similar to this last year. Instead of clay pots I built a frame from pvc, a few inches of water and water heater. I wanted to try a dry set up this year. I have noticed a significant decrease in humidity, which is good as last year it was a struggle keeping the eggs dry. It was also incredibly heavy, which is a massive issue for me in the event it needs to be moved since I can not carry a lot of weight. I think overall I like this set up better I just need to make some slight changes.

1 Like

If you change it up again and notice you do start to see too much of a humidity loss, it could be because those containers are not airtight as you think, so humidity will escape. A bit of press and seal over the eggs before the lid can help lock it in better.