DIY Enclosure questions

Discussion in 'DIY Zone' started by Macca_75, Aug 28, 2013.

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  1. Macca_75

    Macca_75 Not so new Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Absolute newbie here on this forum (and to reptiles). As a background my hobby is Marine fish tanks however my son has decided he wants a Bearded Dragon for his birthday. I was recommended this forum for other fellow reef keepers.

    So here I am….

    First things first - I’ve applied for the licence and am hoping this will arrive in time.
    Next up is the enclosure. I’ve been shopping around at my local fish shops (which also sell reptiles) and am surprised at the expense of what is essentially a wooden box.

    I had a look in the “Noteworthy Links” section on this forum and found the perfect step by step to an enclosure by Darren Whittaker– currently getting prices on materials.

    My next question is what goes in the box?

    The initial plan is to buy 1 Juvenile Bearded Dragon and see how my son goes – if he keeps interested then he might get a second sometime in the future. Based on this I’m led to believe a 1200mm long would be suffice. Yes/No? (I’ve altered the plans form the articles mentioned above slightly and plan on 1200 x 550 – this gives me enough “offcut” from the sheet to put a 75mm high kickboard inside the enclosure to stop the substrate getting into the glass tracks which will be mounted in front of the 75mm board on a 50mm board – hope that makes sense).
    I was planning on using a STC-1000 controller to control the temp (which I believe is by turning a light on/off) but came across JET-001 on ebay for around $50. Looks like (unless I have misunderstood it) the JET-001 will control the temp globe and the UV light/s based on a timer – is that correct?

    And last (for now anyway) what exactly should I consider putting in the enclosure in terms of lighting? Would 1 x 3’ T5 tube suffice for UV and 1 x 75W or 100W globe for heat or will I need more? How do you heat the enclosure overnight? I assuming you don’t keep turning the light on/off?

    Thanks in advance for any help. I’ve got about a month to get this sorted and it’s all new to me.

    Regards

    Adam
     
  2. DisturbedDave

    DisturbedDave Active Member

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    Hi Adam,

    I'll try answer as many questions as I can, and others with more experience in BD's can fill in the rest.
    1200 (4ft) will be plenty big enough for a juvenile. Remember these guys love plenty of floor space, as opposed to height, so try not to limit their running around area too much, 550mm should be fine, but it may outgrow this over the years. Adding another BD means less room, and may cause domination issues, especially if they are two males.

    I have heard of a few people having issues with the JET-001, hopefully others can shed some light on these thermostats.
    I believe there is a thread regarding thermostats on the forum, might pay to do a quick search to find it as there will be some good info in there for you.
    As for lighting, a lot of people these days swear by MVB (Mercury Vapour Bulbs). These are a great heat globe, and double as a UVB source. UVB is absolutely critical, as this helps them absorb calcium. Lack of calcium absorbtion will result in MBD, a bone density disorder, and can mean death if not addressed quickly.
    My setup: Advanced Reptile Dimming Thermostat. I use the inbuilt timer to run my basking lamp, UVB fluro and UV fluro (UV for lighting purposes only). The basking lamp doesn't add too much heat to mine, so I have a ceramic heat emitter running off the thermostat 24/7, that is what controls my enclosure temp, and means I have a non light-emitting heat source for night time heating.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. AirCooled

    AirCooled Subscriber Subscriber

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    As Dave has answered alot of your questions, I will add that on/off thermostats aren't good for the life of globes, Dimming Thermostats are better. But alot of dragon keepers don't use thermostats, they use the right wattage basking globe.
    Adding another dragon in later will in most cases cause problems.
     
  4. Macca_75

    Macca_75 Not so new Member

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    Thanks Deadpan and Dave

    I'll skip the second dragon later I guess - a bigger enclosure maybe - who knows.

    Do you need special globes to dim them (in Marines you can't dim Metal Halide and if you do DIM T5's it significantly reduces the life of the bulb).

    How do you find the right size globe? Trial and error? Start at 75W and either up or down depening on how the temp stability goes? Are heat mats or something else preferred?

    So confusing - the more I read the more confused I become. But like Reef keeping, this Forum with will give me answers that aren't designing around selling what product is on the floor at the moment.
     
  5. Schnecke

    Schnecke Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forums - I personally went the OTHER way, I've had my Jungle Python for several years now and in April this year I started a nano reef tank (it's 40 litres of better viewing than television! I get so much joy out of it already, even as a young tank)

    I must say I have to agree with the price of pre-built enclosures. For what they consist of, many are quire overpriced.

    eBay can be a world of cheap cabinet conversions, I bought a TV unit that I am currently converting (cost me $50 including being delivered) and it's in the process of bring sanded for an outer Rich deep Jarrah re-stain (not touching the inside, as that will be coated with a matte black pond sealer) and I already had the stain left over from another project, so that's a saving.

    7280hkh_20edit.jpg

    Of course there will be more branches etc, but this gives you a basic idea. The bottom doors will be removed and in their place will be slimline framed glass doors (I know most people like sliders, but I prefer doors)

    In regards to a thermostat - I use one that controls daytime and night time heat (can set 2 temps and customise hours) and it also controls the lighting too. It hasn't missed a beat (looks like this: http://imgc.classistatic.com/cps/blnc/130410/582r1/720688k_20.jpeg )

    There are LOTS of little eBay DIY projects screaming out there for a new home :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  6. DisturbedDave

    DisturbedDave Active Member

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    You could always look at a second enclosure, and keep one in each, that's something you can address futher down the track.

    I'm not sure about MVB's, but normal basking lights are just standard filament globes (thats why they product more heat), so they are able to be dimmed. You're exactly on the money, start with what you think would be right, and adjust from there.

    Depending on how you wish to set it up, you have a couple of different options. For example; I use my basking lamp (40w) to control only the basking spot, not the temp of the enclosure, this allows me to get as close as possible to the ideal basking temp(I have a piece of slate under the lamp to absorb and efficiently spread the heat out, reducing hot spots). I then use the ceramic heat emitter to obtain the correct ambient temps in the enclosure.

    Keep in mind, my enclosure is 5ft high and only 3ft x 3ft, so this works for me, but in a longer, shorter enclosure, you may need to do something different. Best bet, is to look at the enclosure threads on the forum and get ideas on the best way to set it up for your enclosure. Don't forget to pre-plan your vent placements, and fit your heating accordingly.


    Thats a very nice looking artificial branch you have there... would have set you back a fortune!! :D

    We gonna see a thread on this one? I'm thinking of making a conversion enclosure at some point just for fun.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2013
  7. Macca_75

    Macca_75 Not so new Member

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    OK guys,

    I've got the quote back and have the following cutting list.

    2 x 1200 x 550 (edging all 4 sides) - this will be the top and bottom pieces

    1 x 1168 x 550 (no edging) - this will be the back piece and sit between top, bottom and sides, hence it is 32mm (2 x 16mm) shorter than top and bottom but the same height as side bits

    1 x 1168 x 40 (edged on one 40 side) - front top to attach plastic strip for glass to

    1 x 1168 x 55 (edged on one 55 side) - front bottom on the inside (stops whatever material is in enclosure getting into glass tracks)

    1 x 1168 x 50 (edged on one 50 side) - front bottom to attach plastic strip for glass (will butt up against the 55mm piece)

    2 x 550 x 550 (each piece is edged 2 opposite 550 sides) - side pieces.

    Outer dimensions will be 1200 (L) x 550 (W) x 550 (H)


    Any thoughts? Hoping to order today unless someone points out an obvious oversight/mistake.

    Thanks again
     
  8. Ramy

    Ramy Active Member

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    When people ask about enclosure sizes, I tend to compare to the NSW code of practice. It calls for approx 750*500, so 1200*550 is going to be great. (Generally, I find the NSW COP is oversized for a minimum. However, a lot of people go over because they like giving their reptiles room to stretch.)

    So you won't have to worry about upgrading for one beardie, unless you just plain want to.
    Meanwhile, I do agree that it often isn't worth keeping 2 beardies together. If you manage to get a breeding pair (You could wait until number 1 has grown up, and then get an opposite gender adult), they can be okay in the same enclosure. Boys fight, so no matter how much space you've got, someone will lose toes. No matter the gender, you'll be risking one getting intimidated out of eating, so it's usually discouraged. (I know a few people who keep beardies together in pairs, and haven't had issues. Your call)

    I'm a python keeper, but I use ceramic heat elements instead of lights. It means I can use them night/day, with a dimmed or on-off thermostat. The main thing I'd say is whatever you set up for your main heat source, run it for atleast a day and check temperatures. If it's not getting hot enough, change up the bulb. I'm not going to tell you temps, cause it's too long since I looked at a beardie caresheet. I'm a big fan of a UV fluro, and a ceramic heat bulb for heat. Though spot lamps are good for a basking spot (phillips "focused beam" light bulbs are fine, and so much cheaper than buying any bulb at a petshop).
     
  9. Macca_75

    Macca_75 Not so new Member

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    Bits ordered - allbaords.com.au

    > $120 inc GST (including cutting and edging)

    I couldn't get it any bigger out of 1 sheet.

    Let the fun begin soon.
     
  10. Macca_75

    Macca_75 Not so new Member

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    enclosure.jpg
    Just a quick update.

    Appoligies in advance for the Dodgy pic - I grabbed it on the iphone on the way to work this morning (also I don't know how to upload anything on this forum other than a thumbnail)


    The photo was taken upside down (or rather flipped to upload here as the enclosure is currently upside down). On the extreme left the ceramic heat lamp, the other batton is for a the UV globe (26W, 10%) Both are controlled by a JET-001 (got talked out of the 005, apparently the 005's have a reputation for the screen failling and with the ceramic lamp as opposed to the heat light I don't really dimming).

    Vent on the bottom left hot side and top right on cool side (well I have the vent just have put it in the hole yet).

    Still to do:
    1) Silicone all the joins on the inside (will get it done tonight)
    2) install a board (around 100mm high and the length of the enclosure) to hide the battons and mounting board. It will have a hole cut in it and the JET controller will be mounted (everything needs to be inside the encolsure so the 2 year old doesn't fiddle
    3) change the plugs to side entry so they will sit lower and be hidden behind the board I am installing.

    Glass is cut so hopefully tomorrow we will move it inside, set and test getting the temp right.

    We have a large branch which I will install the high end near the UV globe to get him as close as possible.

    I'll try and get some better pics when it's finished off and setup.


    Until then thanks for looking.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
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