Transitioning from tanks to a rack

Can I get some guidance from some experienced owners please? I currently have 4 bps. They range in size from 125g to 510g. Ive reached my limit on how many tanks I want to clean and maintain but not on the number of bps I would like to have. What are proper/ recommended tub size to bp size ratios? Ive been eyeing the VE-6 combo rack for now and eventually a VE-8 rack. All but one of my bps is female. A lot of info Im finding recommends tub size based on bp age and not size which makes no sense to me. Can anyone give me info or a link to info that is based on bp weight to tub ratios please? My oldest bp by age is my second smallest. My next to youngest bp is by far my largest. So I know people telling me bp age to tub ratios arent any help to me. Im only 7 months in as a bp owner but have had zero issues with feeding, shedding and handling. I know that will change with time but I dont want how I house them to be the reason they go off of feeding. Any help would be much appreciated.

There’s a lot of opinions on this. Generally - I think it goes something like this:

6qt hatchlings
18qt - hatchlings to 500g+/-
32 qt - +/-500 to 2500g
41 qt for female breeders over 2500g

The switch from 18 to 32 qt range seems to draw the greatest amount of debate. Watch your snake and decide when you feel best about making that switch.

The 18qt crowd says they can stay in there until 1000g or more.
the 32 qt crowd says no need for the middle ‘grow out’ tub of 18qt.

I use both. around 600-700g I make the switch to 32 qt tubs.


Thank you so much. Ive been doing pretty good learning to read their behaviors. I just needed a solid foundation for my transition. Dont want to crash my entire collection at once.

I’ve kept hatchlings of many species in 41qt tubs. If you outfit the tub with plenty of hides and some cover, like fake plants or leaves, even balls can be housed in larger racks with success.
And I personally believe the more room you can offer your hatchlings the better.

But everyone has what works for them, and what works for me may not necessarily work for you. But keep in mind, if you buy a 15qt rack for example, you’ll eventually need to upgrade to a larger size. And that’s just more money you’ll need to spend later down the line.
Just my two cents.


Im going with a VE-6. It will hold 18 8qt, 12 11qt, or 6 24qt. From there they will go into a VE-8 for my full grown females. Im not trying to add clutter and hides and bs. Thats why Im moving away from tanks

To each their own :+1:

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I agree with @mnroyals and put my balls of all size straight into 41qt. It’s easier, I don’t have to worry about having “transitional racks”, and I like for them to have plenty of room to explore. I also put lots of hides and and some clutter for them to explore because enrichment is important, especially in a rack system.


I think a lot of keepers forget about this and couldn’t agree with you more.

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People often seems to forget it’s not about what THEY like but what works based on facts, expectations and needs.

Not having transition racks or tubs is great until you run into issues and the animal does not want to eat and show signs of stress and the more animal you own the more likely it is bound to happen.

So yes there will be exception that will do fine but they are not the rule with that species and people should be prepared and open for that and I believe the OP is.

It’s not a one fit all thing

Now here is what I use in general based on my experience.

6 quarts for animals that are not holdbacks until they reach 250 grams.

V18 for personal holbacks which I use until they are 600 grams.

After that it’s 32 quarts for males and females up to 2500 grams.

41 quarts for 2500 grams and up.

Soon it will be a bit different

It will be

V18 up to 600 grams
ARS 5540 up to 2000 grams
ARS 7030 up to 3000 grams
ARS 8018 for 3000 grams and up


I am basing my experience on this subject on facts.
In over a decade of keeping balls, I’ve never had an issue with keeping any size ball in a 41qt rack. I know many keepers that do the same thing as I and they also have no issues related with stress or feeding.

The facts of keeping snakes can be very broad depending on how you keep your balls and how you don’t. And unless you’ve tried various methods with housing balls, who’s to say what is fact or popular belief.

The difference I keep an open mind and know that there are more than one way to skin a cat and don’t pass judgement or make absolutes :+1:

And I did say expectation and need which for the OP seems to be clear minimalist housing providing security.

Yep you’re right, that’s all I do is pass judgment and keep absolutes, which you’ve never done.

Or maybe I voice my experiences and opinions on certain subjects that are often not the common opinion. Which apparently has lead some of you on here with a personal vendetta against me. Because a lot of the times I seem to make a comment, I find yourself commenting towards me without actually addressing me, but apparently members can’t break TOS, only staff.

And you have a problem with me address me. Don’t just make subtle posts disputing a lot of my own experiences keeping snakes or how I share those experiences with others.


I understand that, but also find it frustrating when people state they keep their balls in size X rack, with only newspaper bedding and a small water bowl, and justify it as “this is what is best for ball pythons”. Yes, that is what is cheapest, most convenient to clean/maintain, and efficient. But to frame it as “what is best for the snake” seems like trying to justifying human convenience rather than just being honest with the fact that sometimes we take shortcuts not because it’s optimal husbandry, but because there are other factors at play.

I’m not denying that ball pythons like a more enclosed environment to feel safe and comfortable, and snakes can and do live healthy lives in a rack system. I switched a rack myself for convenience. But to act like the industry efficiency is the gold standard of animal husbandry strikes me as wrong. I’m not a perfect snake keeper, but in the 8 years I’ve had ball pythons, I’ve really tried to grow, learn and admit that sometimes there are financial and time limitations that play a role in my husbandry choices. Personally, I try to follow the same guidelines with my snakes that I have to follow with my laboratory animals - an environment that not only needs basic species specific needs, but also enrichment. I know that others don’t and that’s fine, but we shouldn’t be pretending that the bare minimum is optimal.

Personally I’d have so much more respect for people who admitted that their ball pythons might enjoy the enrichment, or prefer a larger water bowl to lounge in, etc but have decided not for X,Y and Z reasons rather than trying to play it off as though their minimalistic environment was 100% for the snake’s benefit.


And again there is more than one way to skin a cat and I have agreed with that and said it was fine as long as there was no issue but that option should be left open when a problem arise.

What I am advocating here is to educate people without sounding like passing judgements whether it is about housing, breeding, feeding etc.

It’s never about do what I do and do what I like but do what works for YOU and YOUR situation as long as the animals is healthy and it’s needs are met and in this case the OP want minimalist and there is NOTHING wrong with it.

Why to I advocate this because one main turnoff and reason why less and less experienced breeders share their valuable experience on forums and we are trying to change this here.

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I agree with you on this.

But in that statement here is a question.
Do you classify experienced breeders and keepers as famous or well known? Because I know of many breeders and keepers who have been in this hobby for over 30 years and many don’t know who they are. Just because they aren’t known doesn’t mean they don’t have experience or know what they are doing.
Maybe we should put some stock in their experiences as well.

That’s another good point. But more and more I find it that people go the easy route when housing snakes, in particular balls. But those are my own opinions which apparently are only judgmental.

The Mother of Pythons has spoken. Thank you tremendously for your input. I will definitely apply your advice to any plans I have.

I totally get the the dedire for people to add enrichment. I have hundreds of dollars in enrichment in my 4 tanks. All my bps stay in their hides with their heads poking out. They ignore all my extra hides, climbs, vines, etc. I wasnt trying to sound short or unappreciative. Im just trying to focus on evolutionary biology and my bps reactions to it. As much as I love my tanks I love bps more. I have reached my limit on space, maintenance, wires, che’s, thermostats and surge suppressors. But I havent reached my limit on number of bps I want. They will have hides when they are smaller. Coco husk and water bowls. For enrichment those that display the trust and acceptance of being handled will be interacted with around the house in a manner that doesnt alter their feeding pattern. Those that dont display positive reactions to handling will be allowed to stay hidden and secure if thats what they want. I will make sure they all recieve the proper habitat to ensure they all are safe, secure, healthy and feeding regularly.