Building a vivarium

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daPREDaTOR

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Hi all,

I am about to start a long term project which is building a vivarium for my daughter to house a (yet to be purchased) bearded dragon.

I have already decided on a few things, being:
Construction: Timber frame with sliding glass doors.
Size: 1200x450x600 (the height - 600, is not set however cannot be higher).

Things I have not decided on (and would like advice on if anyone is willing and has done this before) are:
Type of timber: I'm looking at either Specright 1200x600x18 finger jointed beech panel, Selex 1800x600(+450)x18 clear laminated pine sheet (best choice for sizing), Selex 1200x600x18 Hevea finger jointed panel or 1200x600x18 brown acasia oiled panel - Will this mean it doesn't need to be sealed?

Type of track: Looking at either Cowdroy plastic track, 'roller bearing 6' or 'ball bearing track'.

Type of glass - 5 or 6mm float glass depending on track

Type of sealant - Cabot's Cabothane Clear water based or Crommelin Clear pond sealer.

Location of vents and lighting/heating/thermostat setup - Will be looked at after the main enclosure is built

My daughter and I will be building this over the next few months but I would like to start soon so, can anyone help with some suggestions (or DO NOTs) with the items listed above?

Cheers,

James.
 

dragonlover1

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I hope this helps.
Here are the things I used when building my beardies enclosures
120x60x60
42x42 DAR pine for the frame, shiplap (tongue and groove) pine for the walls and roof, 7ply for the floor.
Cowdroy plastic track and 5mm glass.
vents,1 high and 1 low for airflow
Cabot's for the stain
2' flouro fitting for the UV and a 75-100W heat lamp with a timer on each. Thermo's are over rated. I have 20 dragons plus pythons plus lacies and the only thermo in my house is the incubator.
I've been doing this for over 20 years.
 

daPREDaTOR

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Thanks for the reply @dragonlover1.
Have you noticed any issues with not being able to slide the glass in the plastic track? My daughter will be 9 and she will need to be able to safely operate the doors on the enclosure.
Also, with not having a thermo, how do you manage temps during different seasons? Just by changing the timer settings? I'm in SA and indoor temps range from about 14 in winter to 40+ in summer.
Due to the cold winter temps I'am also trying to determine if I will need a ceramic heater + a heat lamp or do you think the standard heat lamp during daylight hours will be sufficient?

Pred.
 

Benno87

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I just finished building a 1800x600x600 for a black headed python. I used the cowdroy plastic tracks and they work awesome. I got all the edges polished on my glass doors. Reckon my baby daughter would easily open and close the doors they work that well lol
 

Herpetology

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Have you noticed any issues with not being able to slide the glass in the plastic track? My daughter will be 9 and she will need to be able to safely operate the doors on the enclosure.

This would come down to how well you get the tracks and glass lined up (there should be like a 2mm gap between the top of top tracks and glass, but not so much the glass falls out) and how well polished the edges are
 

dragonlover1

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I just finished building a 1800x600x600 for a black headed python. I used the cowdroy plastic tracks and they work awesome. I got all the edges polished on my glass doors. Reckon my baby daughter would easily open and close the doors they work that well lol
For your python enclosure I highly recommend using a lock as the python could open the door itself
[doublepost=1592113810,1592113325][/doublepost]
Thanks for the reply @dragonlover1.
Have you noticed any issues with not being able to slide the glass in the plastic track? My daughter will be 9 and she will need to be able to safely operate the doors on the enclosure.
Also, with not having a thermo, how do you manage temps during different seasons? Just by changing the timer settings? I'm in SA and indoor temps range from about 14 in winter to 40+ in summer.
Due to the cold winter temps I'am also trying to determine if I will need a ceramic heater + a heat lamp or do you think the standard heat lamp during daylight hours will be sufficient?

Pred.
Yes, I just adjust the timer to suit the current temps.Different seasons I also change some of the globes ie a 40W might become a 60W in cooler weather.
Just had a re-read of your original post, you cannot use roller bearing track as the sand kicked up by the dragon will clog the bearings.
Another thing to think of is a sand guard in front of the tracks, it wont stop all the sand but it will cut down the amount of sand in the track. If you heard the noise it makes you would understand.
 
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Benno87

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For your python enclosure I highly recommend using a lock as the python could open the door itself
Yea got locks on every single one of my tanks. The blackhead would easily open its viv door without a lock. Plus with a 6 year old and also a baby it pays to be safe lol
 

daPREDaTOR

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Thanks Benno87.
I had heard that the plastic tracks can deform over time with the UV and heat but at this stage I can't justify the cost to go with bearings and it looks like it works so plastic it is!
Now, I've just spent way too long drawing up my plans in tinkercad (pretty much everything is to scale) and have attempted to attach them. I get that I'm asking a lot but I really want to get this right for my daughter's birthday and have little experience with reptiles (apart from a diamond python years ago in FNQ).
Am I on the right track with my measurements? I'm concerned that with the decrease in usable height the heat lamp may be too low?
With the heat lamp and UV lamp, do you mount them on the surface or can they be lifted up into the electrical cavity a little? Also, should they be centered depth wise or mounted more towards the back of the enclosure?
I'm using 8mm dowel joints for most visible joins so will only get one go at cutting everything out :)

Thanks,

Pred.Vivarium2.png Vivarium2.png
 

dragonlover1

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Thanks Benno87.
I had heard that the plastic tracks can deform over time with the UV and heat but at this stage I can't justify the cost to go with bearings and it looks like it works so plastic it is!

Am I on the right track with my measurements? I'm concerned that with the decrease in usable height the heat lamp may be too low?
With the heat lamp and UV lamp, do you mount them on the surface or can they be lifted up into the electrical cavity a little? Also, should they be centered depth wise or mounted more towards the back of the enclosure?
I'm using 8mm dowel joints for most visible joins so will only get one go at cutting everything out :)

Thanks,

Pred.View attachment 329359 View attachment 329359
First up the track will not warp, I have some enclosures that are nearly 15 years old and the tracks are showing some signs of wear but no warpage.I don't know about cheap brands but Cowdroy is a quality product.
Second, move your powerboard off to the side, you need the height INSIDE the enclosure and yes your lights are too low. I screw my powerboards on the end of enclosures
Lights should be mounted centrally for an even spread.
 

daPREDaTOR

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OK, so if I get rid of the internal compartment which will add about 100mm to the internal height and just mount the lights on the ceiling will that be high enough?
With the lights I have listed in my dwg, can they be safely mounted fully inside the enclosure?

Thanks for the input.
 

dragonlover1

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OK, so if I get rid of the internal compartment which will add about 100mm to the internal height and just mount the lights on the ceiling will that be high enough?
With the lights I have listed in my dwg, can they be safely mounted fully inside the enclosure?

Thanks for the input.
yes that would work, I have my enclosures like this. I have 120x60x60 with the lights inside
 

Flexxx

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Just a side note locks for the glass stick out and give you something to bang your arms on or break keys in there. I gave all my locks away and went to pieces of fencing wire bent up to slip in place easily to stop the glass from sliding open. Your daughter will be able to use it just fine. If not iv used and know many people that use tile wedges. Those tiny rubber wedges that look like a door stop to keep there glass shut.
I also use practical board melamine it's fairly cheep and looks nice once done. And seal all the joints with food grade silastic. Cowdroy glass tracks.
 
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