Incubator choices

Its starting to get to be the time where I need an incubator! What small scale options are out there that wont kill me price wise? 1-2 clutches max at the moment.

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Building your own out of a cooler or fridge, the most expensive piece of equipment will be a reliable thermostat.

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Here are a few threads to get you started …


Incubator building

DIY Incubator build

Easy, fool proof egg setup :point_left: this one will show you @stewart_reptiles set up.

DIY incubator Search

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I used a 120 quart cooler with about four inches of water in it. It was heated with two aquarium heaters hooked up to a thermostat. The water was a very steady 88.7 and the heated water kept the humidity very close to 100%. I made a shelf with a light diffuser and some PVC pipe connectors. I also drilled very small holes in the cooler near the top. The egg boxes were prepared the standard way. If I stack my egg boxes I can fit 6 boxes. I have 7 eggs that are just now hatching, 3 babies are out the rest have pipped. Reach out Reptiles YouTube has a great video on why it works and how to make one.


…holy crap… thats genious… i love running aquariums, i never thought to use heated water to incubate eggs (obviously not submerge the eggs.) I may run a few experiments to see if my 180 gallon tank might actually be used as an incubator to kill 2 birds with1. Stone haha. Likely wont be that simple, but what be neat if it were that easy.

genius! thanks for sharing

I’m not sure an aquarium would work. I use an igloo cooler. It does a great job keeping the heat in. The water heats the air. An aquarium might loose too much heat. Maybe if the egg box was under water, and you could figure out how to supply air? My aquarium heaters are hooked up to a herpstat thermostat. The heat probe is set on the shelf. I just set the aquarium heaters to the highest level and let the thermostat control turning them on or off. I imagine if you had high quality aquarium heaters you could probably skip the extra thermostat. The key is setting it up well in advance and getting dialed in. I first set mine up without the herpstat. Unfortunately, the only heaters I could find were kind of cheap and I was getting temperature fluctuations of a few degrees. I bought two nicer heaters online and added the herpstat just to be sure.

Do you mind linking the equipment you use?

My aquariums all have runaway kill switches (a seperate thermometer that cuts power to the system in case of a runaway heater) however the more i think about it, i doubt the water evaporating from the tank (which would be the humidity in the egg container) would likely be chemically unsuiteable because the aquariums bacterial ecosystem. So likely wouldnt work haha even if i could get to temp, but i still love the idea with clean water and a cooler, i have plenty of equipment from my other hobbys i can clean and repurpose haha. Still got a year or two, before itll matter, but ill keep that idea in mind!

If you had a sump you may be able to rig a shelf. Really though, I’m not sure how many fish would like 90 degree water.

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I use a 120 quart igloo cooler. You can really use what ever type or size. My heaters are 2 fluval m series 50 watt heaters. I use a herpstat 2 thermostat. I made my shelf out of a florescent light diffuser, the egg crate panels. I hold them up with PVC connectors that are about 4 inches tall and about 5 inches wide. I did drill holes in the connectors so the water didn’t have any dead areas. I also used a power head water pump, like a penguin 550. This keeps the water moving. If you are smart you can find egg boxes that will fit in the igloo without the shelf. Most of the stuff was just sitting around my house. I keep aquariums and I pulled a 50 gallon down a few years ago and I still had the heaters abd powerheads. They are a little bit scuffed up and hard to read the lables. Watch the videos from Reach Out Reptiles on youtube. If you search “Reach Out Reptiles Incubator” you see one of his two videos on incubators. One of them discusses incubation “theory”. the other one shows what he does. Both are great.

My tank is tropical, it runs 84-87 degrees :slight_smile: but i agree its better to play it safe than to play it cheap, a dedicated heater and container would be the far safer option!

I built 15 plus of these out of various fridges, coolers, freezers, you name it. Work perfectly every season and can be customized to the size you need. In the process of building 3 more now. Waiting on parts.

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