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Help needed! Chipsi substrate & humidity in a click clack container for a juvenile spotted python + soldering holes

newtothescene

New Member
I'm setting up my click clack container for my very first snake - either a stimson's or a spotted python (most likely spotted).
I just wanted to know:


1. If the Chipsi Beechwood XXL substrate is appropriate. The pieces of wood are quite large and I'm worried that would be damaging. The substrate's texture is rough and I need to know if, for a juvenile spotted python, this will be an issue. Also, potential to become a swallowing hazard? Yes, No?

2. Chipsi substrate is also dry; thus another concern is the level of humidity I will be able to uphold in a small container with a dry substrate. I know spotted pythons don't require humidity-excess, but I still want a good level of humidity because I don't want shedding problems, nor do I want my snake to live in discomfort.

3. I'll be soldering holes around the sides for ventilation and would like to know what diameter of the drill would be the best option to avoid any escape attempts, but still, obviously provide substantial oxygen.

4. The container I got is a bit larger than the general guidelines ,however I'll have 2 hides and a water dish taking up some of the space. Should I worry myself with downsizing or will the small juvenile spotted be just fine and feel safe in a 30x20cm?

5. Is there a better substrate that will be safe and good for a small juvenile spotted python? I was initially thinking Repti Bark but have already purchased the Chipsi substrate and need to know if I can safely use it instead.
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
1) Probably fine but I wouldn't use it for a hatchling. Paper towel is good (Viva brand is the best currently available).

2) Humidity mostly comes down to the size and position of the water bowl vs. the amount of ventilation.

3) You say solder and also drill. These are different tools which work in different ways. I wouldn't use either, although I know making holes is the most popular way to do it. Go for something small. If in doubt, go smaller. A drill will make it easier than a soldering iron to keep the holes consistent, and is also far less likely to give you cancer (those fumes are very toxic). 3mm holes should be safe, although you need a lot of them to get enough ventilation.

Ventilation is not about having enough oxygen. Any amount at all is enough for that. It's about regulating humidity and having enough air flow to prevent mould etc.

4) It'll probably be fine.

5) Paper towel. The cost is negligible, it's easy, it's quick, etc etc.
 

newtothescene

New Member
Thanks, you've been a great help!
The reason I was leaning more towards the soldering option was because drilling would leave sharp edges and be a potential hazard for the snake?
As for humidity, I have a small water dish that takes up about 1/6th of the container and will create ventilation-holes around the edges but not in excess - is that appropriate?
Also, how would you advise I avoid mould - if that's a common occurrence?
Thanks again for the help
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
Not just mould. Bacteria, etc etc. Keep it clean, ventilated and not too wet. Generally speaking, if you have good ventilation and other than the water bowl there's nothing damp/wet, you should be fine.

I wouldn't be worried about drilling leaving sharp edges. I still have some of my prototype hatchling tubs from about 20 years ago in use (prior to that I used various things including the type of tub you're planning to make, which is what most people still use) where I went to great lengths to avoid sharp edges of polymer ('plastic') but the other few hundred we use have the ventilation cut out with knives or rotary tools and I'm yet to have an issue.

A water bowl taking up a sixth of the floor space in conjunction with the low amount of ventilation usually achieved using holes sounds likely to create excessive humidity/dampness. I have actually reduced the amount of ventilation I use over the last 20 years (prior to that I was stuck using holes which gave too little, then I used large windows which over the decades have become smaller, other than the ones we use which I don't make... haha, I guess we don't agree on absolutely everything), but with a large water bowl you'll want more ventilation, and you'll probably find it's easier to just use a smaller bowl. You can experiment without a snake in the tub, just set it up and see if you're getting condensation in the tub. Generally speaking, if you're using hole ventilation and a water bowl, you don't want to be seeing condensation.
 

newtothescene

New Member
Thanks a lot!
I've make some holes according to your advice and just had two more questions before I complete the set up.

1. Should I put anything (e.g. a tile) between the heat mat and plastic container? Or can/should the heat mat be sitting directly under the container?

2. Should the probe of the thermostat be touching the hottest area or just hovering above the hottest area?
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
Thanks a lot!
I've make some holes according to your advice and just had two more questions before I complete the set up.

1. Should I put anything (e.g. a tile) between the heat mat and plastic container? Or can/should the heat mat be sitting directly under the container?

2. Should the probe of the thermostat be touching the hottest area or just hovering above the hottest area?
There's a hundred and one ways to do it right and wrong. I rarely use heat mats these days (I use cords) but personally, if I do use mats, I stick the probe down on the heat mat itself with a huge blog of Blu Tac, which keeps the heat mat at a reasonably stable temperature and gives a slight day night fluctuation in the tub. The tub sits directly on the heat source.

You may find something different works better for you. Whatever you do, feel free to play around and experiment, make sure it makes sense to you and test it to make sure it works. A lot of my own methods aren't best for most people, and some of them I don't even tell people because if you get them wrong it's outright dangerous. As long as you don't do anything outright silly, and you experiment and test it to make sure it works, you should be fine with heat mats and thermostats. One thing I would recommend sticking with though it attaching the thermostat probe to a surface rather than suspending it in air; heat mats and cords are contact heat sources, not radient or ambient, so contact with a relevant surface will give much better and more relevant thermal feedback data to the thermostat.
 

newtothescene

New Member
That makes everything a lot clearer, thank you.
I'll try placing the container right on top of the heat mat. I don't expect the 32°C to have the capacity to burn or melt the plastic. & as long as you're sure that placing the probe directly on the heat source won't mess with the readings, i'll do that.
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
32 degrees or so is necessary for the snake. If that was too hot for the polymer tubs we wouldn't be able to use them.

Glad you found the discussion useful :)
 

Herptology

Very Well-Known Member
Trusted Seller
Personally if i were measuring the temp of the source rather than inside the tub, I’d bump it up 1 or 2degrees
 

newtothescene

New Member
But if I secure the probe to the base of the click clack and have the heat source directly underneath the container, those are reliable readings too?
So if I set the thermostat to 32 degrees in that scenario, I will be regulating the temperature of the base of the container within the click clack? I want accurate readings for that particular spot and feel this is the best way to go about it.
 

newtothescene

New Member
And do I secure the probe below or above the substrate (which in this case and for the foreseeable future will be paper towel)?

Again, all of these answers have been incredibly helpful. I found a lot of information regarding maintenance; python health and enclosure, however found very limited information about the heating/thermostat set up so I apologise for all the questions but your help, nonetheless, is very much appreciated.
 

Herptology

Very Well-Known Member
Trusted Seller
i put together a little sketch



For thermostats i recommend finding a dimming or pulse stat as this will keep a constant temperature
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
Definitely not the way I'd do it, but there are many different ways of doing it, good and bad.
 

Herptology

Very Well-Known Member
Trusted Seller
Definitely not the way I'd do it, but there are many different ways of doing it, good and bad.
you're always more than welcome to share your super secret setups rather than passively implying other ways are wrong/"definitely" not the way you would do it :) it was not meant to be super detailed, but rather to give a good general visual of how a tub setup can look and be successful
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
you're always more than welcome to share your super secret setups rather than passively implying other ways are wrong/"definitely" not the way you would do it :) it was not meant to be super detailed, but rather to give a good general visual of how a tub setup can look and be successful

I already described the way I do it and would recommend it be done, but pointed out that there were many good and bad ways to do it. I don't think it's a particularly good idea to put the thermostat probe under the tub, for various reasons (long story, but a couple of the points very briefly, you're going to have to move the tub from time to time, and that will throw your settings off every time meaning the system will have to come back to equilibrium and it'll do it with more swing and take longer, and if you ever want to adapt your system to using multiple tubs on the same thermostat, it's going to potentially be dangerous to all tubs other than the one on top of the probe).

I'd already given a pretty detailed description of the way I set up thermostats for floor heating tubs even if I hadn't made a diagram, and spent about as much time on this thread as I was inclined to, and didn't really feel inclined to sit here shooting down someone else's method after I'd already given my own, but there you go.
Post automatically merged:

Actually, if I'm going to be giving feedback on your diagram, it's very misleading and a common cause of snake suffering to be using thermostats as thermometers. You'd stated your temperature on the thermostat probe, which is terrible advice or at best very misleading. So many snakes are kept at the wrong temperature because of this mistake. The thermostat setting should never be used to determine the temperature, that's what the thermometer is for. The thermostat may need to be set to 40 or 22 or whatever it may be, in order to get the correct temperature at the relevant part of the enclosure. Given that neither your heat source nor your thermostat probe is where the snake is in your setup (or in the way I do things), the temperature at that place isn't what you should be concerned about. Measure it where the snake is going to be and adjust your thermostat up or down to get it right, regardless of what setting is required on your thermostat (and it usually won't be the same as the temperature you want). Generally in a setup like in your design you'll want the thermostat to give a higher temperature at the probe site than you want in the tub, because there will be some heat loss between the two locations. Having said that, keep in mind that when you remove the tub, the system is going to overheat, which is why I set mine up in a way which means moving tubs around won't alter the heat system. When you remove the tub in your system and replace it, you're putting it onto an overheated element, it's inherently unstable. Using this system with multiple tubs could potentially be dangerous.
 
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Herptology

Very Well-Known Member
Trusted Seller
You'd stated your temperature on the thermostat probe, which is terrible advice or at best very misleading. So many snakes are kept at the wrong temperature because of this mistake. The thermostat setting should never be used to determine the temperature, that's what the thermometer is for. The thermostat may need to be set to 40 or 22 or whatever it may be, in order to get the correct temperature at the relevant part of the enclosure.
If you're setting your thermostat to 40c (for a species that requires 32~), you're doing something wrong... The only time you would get temperature differences like this is in a racking setup where the tubs higher than the measured tubs will get higher, lower ones will get lower temps... that's just basic knowledge.. say they have lots of substrate, what happens when that snake starts moving the substrate and getting closer than the thermometer reading spot to the heat source thats now set @ 40c... not good, especially for a baby.



When you remove the tub in your system and replace it, you're putting it onto an overheated element, it's inherently unstable. Using this system with multiple tubs could potentially be dangerous.
removing it from what system????? picking it up off the heat mat/cord??? over heated what element????? its set to 32/33

OK but he only has 1 tub and 1 heat source (preferably a mat for a single tub) at this time...


i use heat cord in my rack setup, set to 32c in the middle row, never had to touch it once and all my tubs sit between 31 and 32.5 24/7 even in summer, is this also wrong??
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
I disagree, but don't want to argue. You've obviously been doing this longer than I have and know better, all good.
 

newtothescene

New Member
This is my current set up:
It seems to be working the best but I believe there could be some improvements made. My concerns are written on the attachment. Please share any suggestions, would be greatly appreciated
 

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