Hello! I am buying new PVC tanks for my reptiles. Everyone’s getting an upgrade! I have zoo med heat panels for them and I am just so confused as to where I should put them because I’m seeing contradicting advice everywhere. For my Ball Python and the Leo they’re both getting a 4’ x 2’ x 2’ and the hognoses are getting a 2’ x 2’ x 18" I think. not quite sure on what size their tank is rn, but just know it’s smaller than the 4’ x 2’ x 2’. I have thermostats and hygrometers ready, but where do I put the heat panel? All tanks will have a couple inches of substrate that fits the need of the animal. Do I put the heat panel on the bottom of the outside of the tank or inside? and if inside how do I protect it from water and other things? I want to heat my tanks properly, but I also don’t have a lot of money to spend. Any advice is appreciated.
Edit: I do use heat panels on my current glass tanks and tubs (under the tanks and on the outside), but at the moment my Ball python is on paper and I’m just wondering what would work best for PVC as I’ve never used it before.
Do you mean an under tank heat pad, or a radiant heat panel? It sounds like you mean the heat pad type but correct me if that’s wrong.
I second the question @athleticshoelace asked. It sounds like you’re talking about under tank heaters (UTHs), not radiant heat panels, which is a different type of heating device. Are you talking about the thin heating mats with adhesive you stick on the outside bottom of the enclosure? If so, you can use them on PVC enclosures the same way you’d use them on a glass tank. Just stick em on the outside bottom on the warm side of the enclosure, with the thermostat probe sandwiched between the pad and the bottom of the enclosure. If you’re using deep substrate and are concerned it won’t heat through the substrate, you can also stick it to a side wall of the enclosure (again on the outside).
If it’s a radiant heat panel, you’ll have to screw it into the inside wall of the enclosure on the warm side. I usually see them attached to the inner side wall of enclosures, though I’ve never used them myself. I guess you could probably also bolt them to the inside top of the enclosure, though since heat rises, I don’t think that’s the most efficient placement.
Basically, UTHs go on the outside of the enclosure and radiant heat panels go on the inside.
its the heat pad type, sorry for the confusion.
You would put the probe in between the pad and the bottom of the enclosure? wouldn’t I want to know the temp on the inside of the tank?
Yup. You’ll probably need to set the thermostat a few degrees warmer than you actually need it, since the heat needs to travel through the floor of the enclosure. You’ll have to experiment a bit to find the right thermostat setting. Just check the inside warm spot with a temp gun to figure out the precise temp you need to set on the thermostat. I think on my PVC enclosure, I set the thermostat about 2.5 degrees higher than the temperature I’m aiming for inside the enclosure, so maybe start there and then adjust up or down as needed depending on your temp gun readings.
It’s just easier to sandwich the probe between the pad and enclosure (and adjusting the thermostat accordingly) than trying to secure the probe to the inside bottom of the enclosure. I’ve heard of people using a bit of hot glue to attach the probe to the inside floor of the enclosure on the hot spot…but I’d be worried about it getting knocked loose. If you put it between the pad and enclosure on the outside, it’s nice and secure and you don’t have to worry about your animal overheating because they dislodged the probe.
thank you so much!!!. I have been wrapping my brain around this project for so long that every little thing i want to do right.
Of course! I feel ya, I’m currently in the midst of putting together my first semi-elaborate enclosure build with a background and the like, so I totally understand stressing about wanting to get everything juuuuust right.
I was confused too the first time I heard about putting the thermostat probe outside the enclosure. But it made perfect sense when I heard the reasoning.
Though a word of caution: if you have pets like dogs or cats, you might consider securing the probe with an extra piece of electrical tape or something. One of my cats once managed to catch his foot on the probe wire and pulled it free from the UTH. Thankfully I caught it quickly and my snake wasn’t directly on top of the UTH when it happened, so it wasn’t the tragedy it could have been.
oooo ill have to secure it extra well. My cat is annoying lol. I’m trying to have everything put together soon, but goddamn everything’s so expensive rn.
I know, stuff’s expensive, especially these days. I thought the enclosure itself would be the most expensive part of my build, but I’m pretty sure I ended up spending more on two huge orders of cork bark for the background and hardscape. And then I decided I just had to have a top-of-the-line thermostat, which cost more than the enclosure itself.
This hobby ain’t cheap!
Tell me about it lol! It’s taken me sooo long to get everything i need for my snakes put together because everything is so expensive that at this point i feel like if I’m gonna spend thousands i might as well make it extra. I’m looking into getting a couple of those cool new herpstat 4 something’s with the wifi/app compatibility and humidity monitoring capability and oh mY GOODNESS I’ll be paying $1230 before tax and shipping fr!! And don’t get me started on the mistking or custom enclosures. I think it’s just better to not think about the costs of everything… Let that be between subconscious me and the gods.
I got a Herpstat 4, but not the super new swanky version with WiFi. It was still expensive! Although $1230 for a thermostat is insane, I think that’s more than I’ve spent on this enclosure build and the snake who will live in it combined. For that price, I hope it cleans the enclosure for you. And makes you coffee every morning.
Substrate alone for a decent sized tank is running me hundreds of dollars, but the babies deserve the best!
LMAO I’m sorry i made it sound SUPER expensive for just one thermostat LMAO, sry! I have to buy 3.
You know what? I used to look down on people with the newspaper look but after checking my cocoblox receipt I’m starting to think that the newspaper looks pretty good. Clean, fashionable, lots of design options…
I could even decide to be a little extra and line the enclosure with the comic pages. Gives them something to read, FREE ENRICHMENT.
I’d totally use newspaper and/or paper towels if both my snakes didn’t love burrowing so much (one is actually fossorial, the other just likes to pretend she is).
Lol! Which one is the fossoral wanna be??
I remember her! You posted this picture on the silly reptile photos topic, didn’t you?
I mean on one hand, she’s unique for sure, but i also can’t help but imagine just how luxurious that would be being the snake. Like, wrapping yourself almost fully in plush blankets…