buy or build an incubator?

Discussion in 'DIY Zone' started by ThatGuy, Apr 26, 2014.

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  1. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Not so new Member

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    Is it worth buying an incubator or are they easy enough to build? Just wondering since having a read about incubators and the strict temperature range and humidity they need to be able to maintain but a lot of them seem to be just a wooden box with a few extra thermostat probes.
     
  2. HAMISH_NOAH

    HAMISH_NOAH Not so new Member

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    i have a hovabator incubator which is used for chickens it can hold quite a few eggs, and it cost around 60-80 bucks, which is probably the same as it would cost if not less of building your own once you supplement the cost of a high quality Thermostat
     
  3. Senator358

    Senator358 Well-Known Member

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    Old fridge, heat cord and a good thermostat is all you need. Both of mine cost me about $200 including tubs to make but can hold 6-8 clutches each.
     
  4. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Not so new Member

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    I like the idea of an old fridge, I have worked with converting fridges for other uses but usually it is to keep things at a below room temp constant like the Lager Micro-Brewery I made to sit at a constant 2oC for the brewing period of my lager home brew. I do have a fridge lying around though and it is just about ready to have the condenser ripped out and recycled so maybe I can look at running heat chord through it.

    I do have another question regarding technique. Separating the eggs or keeping them together as a clump? I know that when separating the eggs you run the risk of killing the embryo, but having them separate helps with making sure they all get the right humidity and temperatures. What do you guys do and what is your reasoning? (assuming you incubate them yourselves as opposed to leaving the eggs with the mother).
     
  5. Bart70

    Bart70 Well-Known Member

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    I have one of the newly imported Hova-Bator Genesis poultry incubators that I use for poultry. I purchased this model for a couple of reasons, but one of them was the new digital temperature control unit (previous models used a 'wafer') that allows the temp to be dialled down into the reptile temp range accurately making it suitable for reptile incubation. This caters for temperature control. Humidity is not really controlled by the incubator, but by ventilation and/or water surface area. The incubator itself does not play a *big* part in humidity control as such.

    My Hova-Bator will be fine for small clutches.....but I am anticipating needing something bigger and will be looking at an old bar fridge (can be picked up for nothing if not working) fitted with a heat cord and a good quality Habistat or Microclimate pulse thermostat and a PC fan for air circulation. The fridge saves me having to make an insulated box - I have seen other boxes made with melamine and lined internally with sheets of polystyrene foam for insulation - They work great but I should be able to do the same with the fridge cabinet.

    I know some people who have used $15 thermostats in a similar setup and had great success.....I am happy to buy the better thermostat for peace of mind though.

    All up I am anticipating about $220 in total cost - the Hova-bator retails for around $350.
     
  6. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Not so new Member

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    The Hova-bator sounds like a good set up. Where inside the fridge would you place heat chord though? just wind it along the floor? (fridge sitting sideways?) I guess in that regard a large esky could be used to the same result?
     
  7. Jimie

    Jimie Active Member

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    In my fridge incubator I run the heat cord along the floor up the wall along the roof and down the other wall and continue until the heat cord is all used up i also use a dimming thermostat, all up it has all cost 80 bucks and works a charm all eggs I've put in it have hatched
     
  8. Bart70

    Bart70 Well-Known Member

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    As Jimie said....run it around until it is used up. If you put in a circulating fan (PC fan) it will ensure even heat distribution. Element placement in any incubator (reptile or poultry) is more critical if you are relying on thermal circulation as you need to ensure that no corner gets hotter/cooler than any other - fans eliminate this variance to a fair degree.

    I am really not certain in terms of pulse Vs dimming thermostat for incubators. I have read many times that pulse do a better job for incubating so perhaps some of the experts with experience in this area can elaborate. I noted with interest that the thermostat in the Hova-bator is a pulse thermostat.

    The Hova-bators are a great setup for Poultry and I believe are quite successful for reptiles particularly in the US and in cases where a lot of egg space is not needed. If you had a few clutches or a very large Carpet clutch the space would be used up quickly but would be great for Antaresia. If I ever breed my Antaresia I will most likely use it.
     
  9. whiteshadow

    whiteshadow Not so new Member

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    I have read ppl use a broccoli box, heat mate and a thermostat.

    Sent from my GT-I9100T using Tapatalk
     
  10. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Not so new Member

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    would the foam not cause problems? I guess lining it would help some with that. Good suggestion!
     
  11. pinefamily

    pinefamily Donator Donator

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    They make good hides too!
     
  12. whiteshadow

    whiteshadow Not so new Member

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    They would be way to big for normal tank but good for an out door enclosure.

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  13. pinefamily

    pinefamily Donator Donator

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    We've got some broccoli boxes from Coles that are just the right size for some of our pythons.
     
  14. Trimeresurus

    Trimeresurus Guest

    My larger snakes have broccoli boxes, certainly not too large for a normal tank, they can come in a few sizes. They definitely make excellent hides.
     
  15. Bart70

    Bart70 Well-Known Member

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    Problems like?....am unsure what you are meaning....
     
  16. Rogue5861

    Rogue5861 Very Well-Known Member

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    Building an incubator works out a lot cheaper, can also custom make it to become the stand for a hatchy rack or another display enclosure. Nothing wrong with using timber and insulating it with foam sheeting.


    Rick
     
  17. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Not so new Member

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    well I understand that the foam won't be in contact with high temperatures, but if heat chord or the thermostat went berserk and heated the foam too much wouldn't it release harmful fumes? I would just be a little paranoid is all but if that paranoia is unfounded then I can easily see how it would make a good alternative with foam being such a good insulator.

    The picture this gives me is a rack of maybe up to 20 individually controlled enclosures already equipped with hides and water dishes (which would also help maintain required humidity I guess) that would serve as each hatchy's first enclosure as well as the incubator. Would you still be able to keep temperature gradient or would the temperature have to be constant throughout the entire enclosure? Or have I got the wrong picture in my head with this? I am intrigued now :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2014
  18. Bart70

    Bart70 Well-Known Member

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    Dont see it as much different to going haywire in a plastic lined fridge. A large number of poultry incubators are now being manufacturered out of high density polystyrene foam and would theoretically suffer the same fate if the thermostat were to fail.

    i think the secret would be to use a wattage of heat cord that is not going to turn the incubator into a kiln should the thermostat fail. Harm the eggs maybe...but if it gets hot enough if left on permenently to start melting the polystyrene or fridge lining via air contact you have probably chosen too higher wattage heat cord. I apply the same theory when choosing heating for my enclosures - if it can reach dangerous temps when on permanently it is too much heat.
     
  19. Rogue5861

    Rogue5861 Very Well-Known Member

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    Wrong picture in your head but that could possibly work.

    Think building a stand with a pair or doors, turn these into temperature controlled boxes. You could then build a rack that you put on top of this stand (seperately heated), would be a neat little setup.

    Dont always have to use a fridge or esky type design.


    Rick
     
  20. whiteshadow

    whiteshadow Not so new Member

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    Oh really? I only thought they came in a large containers 60x30x15

    I will have to look into it ☺

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