Making an incubation tray that fits my incubator.

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E.Shell

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I have a clutch of Ackie eggs incubating and, on the advice of several here, decided to get them off the substrate. The size 'small' commercial SIM container is a bad size for my incubator, which has a shelf size of 25 x 20 cm. If I put containers on the two shelves, the temperature varies by several degrees between shelves/container, even though the unit has circulation. I think the issue is that it is very warm here right now and the incubator barely runs, so the fan doesn't get called in very often.

I decided to build my own container and went shopping for appropriate components. I found small, hinged-top boxes with removable dividers at "Michael's" an arts/craft shop nearby, The boxes were perfectly sized as far as footprint goes, but are a little shallow, making vertical space critical. I kept looking. Office supply stores, department stores, hardware, sporting good, and couldn't find a better box. I also looked for a suitable grid/screen and anything for lighting was too thick and ate up too much vertical space. When I went back to Michael's for the boxes, I ran across the mesh used for needlepoint art and decided to try that.

I walked out of the craft shop with everything needed to make four incubation boxes for $28.00USD.
IncuTray01.jpg



The boxes have removable dividers, so I used those to make a frame for a floor. I cut a narrow strip out of the center, to keep the interlock:

IncuTray05.jpg

IncuTray07.jpg


I placed the frame in the bottom of the box, and then cut a piece of the plastic grid to fit the box:


IncuTray08.jpg


IncuTray09.jpg

Next, I used hot glue to run parallel raised beads that work as anti-roll devices:

IncuTray10.jpg

The fit turned out to be perfect, as can be seen with two boxes sitting on the incubator shelf:

IncuTray11.jpg

IncuTray12.jpg

I washed everything thoroughly and was ready to put it together, but needed substrate. Reading about the commercial version, it was said in several places that the only reason to put substrate in the bottom was to prevent sloshing water from wetting the eggs. I have plenty of aquarium gravel on hand and used a layer of washed gravel in the bottom. I let it warm up and then transferred the eggs over:

IncuTray13.jpg

My ten eggs easily fit into one container, and when my second female produces a clutch, I'll have a second box to put those into.

Overall, I think it came out fine, but I would make the hot glue ridges a little closer together next time. The eggs are still pretty stable, but it would be better if I had them a little closer together.
 

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