Another benefit of a PVC enclosure

Mrs.Jennifer

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My husband and father built a PVC enclosure/vivarium (with sliding tempered glass doors) last February for me--or I should say my 18 year old Russian tortoise. Prior to this he was in an open topped enclosure in my studio from mid September to May. During the cold Connecticut weather I had to run an oil circulated heater and a humidifier 24/7 for months. Once I moved him into his new enclosure with thermostats and timers, I was able to get rid of the electric heater and humidifier.

My husband tracks all our utility usage in a spread sheet (he can't help it--he has a PhD in electrical engineering). This morning he informed me that the enclosure has paid for itself. The amount of money saved in our electric bill since last February has paid for all the materials and new equipment necessary. Best of all, he is healthier and more active. That's a fantastic return on investment!
 

Big Ron

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Would love to see some pics and find out the sizes
 

newCH

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Would love to see, please post pics ??
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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Sorry I didn't get back to this thread sooner. I wanted to take helpful photos, but hadn't gotten around to it until now...

First, I need to give my disclaimer. This is my Russian tortoise's WINTER home. From May to October, he has an outdoor raised garden that he resides in. It also serves as his overnight housing as I bring him in from his garden every evening. This enclosure is NOT appropriate for year-round housing of a Russian tortoise due to being too small. It does serve well for the months that he is forced to be inside since he is less active and sleeps more.

That being said, I did design it to maximize the footprint and create opportunities for exercise and movement. He trucks up and down his ramp several times a day to eat. He does not pace and he seems quite content during the winter. Of course, once the days get longer and it warms up, he lets me know he's ready to go back outside!

A few things to point out:

1) We followed the tutorial here on the Forum written by @Sterant for PVC enclosure builds. It's EXCELLENT!

2) I added a free-standing platform area built out of expanded PVC board and PVC pipe. Attached by piano hinge is a PVC board ramp. If you add a ramp, you need a 1:2 rise. For every inch of height of the platform off the main level, you need 2 inches of ramp length. I cut a piece of coco mat (usually used to line planters) to fit the platform/ramp and screwed it to the ramp. I covered the mat with ReptiBark. The coco mat is excellent traction for him and lasted about 11 months. Plexiglas was used to create "guardrails" on the platform and ramp.

3) All the necessary lighting and heat fixtures are suspended from the ceiling by screw-in cup hooks and chain. I raise and lower them as necessary based upon what my Solarmeter and temp gun tell me. Also, the basking light, CHE and UV are on timers and/or thermostats. I also have an LED strip light above the platform on a timer for ambient light. This was mounted using Command strips. Beneath the platform I adhered a battery-powered LED strip light for more ambient light.

4) Separate vents are not necessary. The two 1.5" holes we drilled to run the cords through are sufficient. Also the tempered glass sliding doors are nut flush against the front, so that offers air exchange as well. However, these designed gaps do not interfere with keeping the humidity and temperature on target.

Again, this is NOT an enclosure that is appropriate for year-round housing of a Russian tortoise, but it works for my little laidback guy. :)
 

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