Building Closed Chamber- Suggestions please

KL55413

New Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2017
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14
Location (City and/or State)
Minnesota
Hello all,

I am working on plans to build a 10' by 3' closed habitat for my redfoot. I am planning on making the frame out of wood, walls with styrofoam insulation between two thin layers of plywood. At this point, this is the largest I can make it. I'm hoping that if I made it in two pieces, it would be easier to add on to later.

A few questions for people who have built their own-

1. What is the best way to make the habitat detachable? I'm thinking I will have two separate 5' x 3' boxes with legs, then find some way to attach them. I want it to be more portable and hopefully expanding it even more when I move.Any ideas for how to do this?

2. Glass or Plexiglas? I will have one window on the front of the enclosure that is halfway up the wall. I don't want him to be stressed looking out the window, but I need to be able to stay in. If i use Plexiglas, I will probably just screw it in. Would this still be at risk for warping? How would I attach glass? Would this be too heavy?

3. Waterproofing- from what I have read, the pond liner is the way to go if plywood is being used for the enclosure. I would also seal/paint the wood. Are there any better ways? Since I want the enclosure to be two separate pieces, how could I ensure a good seal?

4. Lighting- I want the lighting to be inside the chamber. I have a UVB strip already as well as two CHE bulbs. How tall should my enclosure be if I want them to be inside the chamber? Right now, I have holes cut and rest the bulbs on the top of the plastic totes he is in.

I attached a picture (credit- Vickie Hale of redfoottortoise.com) of an enclosure close to what I'm envisioning- I would like to do a hinged wood top instead of open.

Thank you in advance! I have spent countless hours reading and researching-- my tort is SO much happier and healthier. Thanks for helping me on my journey!
 

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Tom

The Dog Trainer
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64,264
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Southern California
Hello all,

I am working on plans to build a 10' by 3' closed habitat for my redfoot. I am planning on making the frame out of wood, walls with styrofoam insulation between two thin layers of plywood. At this point, this is the largest I can make it. I'm hoping that if I made it in two pieces, it would be easier to add on to later.

A few questions for people who have built their own-

1. What is the best way to make the habitat detachable? I'm thinking I will have two separate 5' x 3' boxes with legs, then find some way to attach them. I want it to be more portable and hopefully expanding it even more when I move.Any ideas for how to do this?

2. Glass or Plexiglas? I will have one window on the front of the enclosure that is halfway up the wall. I don't want him to be stressed looking out the window, but I need to be able to stay in. If i use Plexiglas, I will probably just screw it in. Would this still be at risk for warping? How would I attach glass? Would this be too heavy?

3. Waterproofing- from what I have read, the pond liner is the way to go if plywood is being used for the enclosure. I would also seal/paint the wood. Are there any better ways? Since I want the enclosure to be two separate pieces, how could I ensure a good seal?

4. Lighting- I want the lighting to be inside the chamber. I have a UVB strip already as well as two CHE bulbs. How tall should my enclosure be if I want them to be inside the chamber? Right now, I have holes cut and rest the bulbs on the top of the plastic totes he is in.

I attached a picture (credit- Vickie Hale of redfoottortoise.com) of an enclosure close to what I'm envisioning- I would like to do a hinged wood top instead of open.

Thank you in advance! I have spent countless hours reading and researching-- my tort is SO much happier and healthier. Thanks for helping me on my journey!

  1. I've never done one this way, and I don't think it is something I would try because of leakage at the seam. But that is just me. THere are many ways it could be done, and I'd love to see what innovative ideas you come up with.
  2. I go back and forth on this one. I like glass better. I'd make a frame to hold it in place with some 1x2 and a router.
  3. This has been another ongoing question for me. I don't like plastic liners and paint, DryLok or most epoxy type paints don't work. I once used non-toxic boat paint and that worked well, but it cost $180 for primer and paint. I think I've finally found the solution after all these years: http://www.pondarmor.com I used this stuff for the first time in my recent outdoor night box build and so far so good. People make saltwater aquariums with plywood using this stuff, so I know it is 100% waterproof and 100% non-toxic. Watch YouTube videos for how to apply. Its not as complicated as it seems, and I had no trouble with it my first time. Pour your mixed product out of the mixing container and into a new container before application. I couldn't see why that matter, but now I do. Residual unmixed product sticks to the sides and corners, and it never cures…
  4. I recommend 24-30" tall for lights inside, and lights inside is by far the best way to go. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how efficient it is and how little electricity you'll need to run the thing day and night. Lights on top makes a chimney effect and sucks all your heat out. Plus a large percentage of the heat generated never even goes into the enclosure when the fixtures are on top and outside the enclosure.
 

Jorge Moreno

New Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2016
Messages
25
Hello all,

I am working on plans to build a 10' by 3' closed habitat for my redfoot. I am planning on making the frame out of wood, walls with styrofoam insulation between two thin layers of plywood. At this point, this is the largest I can make it. I'm hoping that if I made it in two pieces, it would be easier to add on to later.

A few questions for people who have built their own-

1. What is the best way to make the habitat detachable? I'm thinking I will have two separate 5' x 3' boxes with legs, then find some way to attach them. I want it to be more portable and hopefully expanding it even more when I move.Any ideas for how to do this?

2. Glass or Plexiglas? I will have one window on the front of the enclosure that is halfway up the wall. I don't want him to be stressed looking out the window, but I need to be able to stay in. If i use Plexiglas, I will probably just screw it in. Would this still be at risk for warping? How would I attach glass? Would this be too heavy?

3. Waterproofing- from what I have read, the pond liner is the way to go if plywood is being used for the enclosure. I would also seal/paint the wood. Are there any better ways? Since I want the enclosure to be two separate pieces, how could I ensure a good seal?

4. Lighting- I want the lighting to be inside the chamber. I have a UVB strip already as well as two CHE bulbs. How tall should my enclosure be if I want them to be inside the chamber? Right now, I have holes cut and rest the bulbs on the top of the plastic totes he is in.

I attached a picture (credit- Vickie Hale of redfoottortoise.com) of an enclosure close to what I'm envisioning- I would like to do a hinged wood top instead of open.

Thank you in advance! I have spent countless hours reading and researching-- my tort is SO much happier and healthier. Thanks for helping me on my journey!






Hello,


The habitat I built for my Red foot tortoises is a 3-piece detachable wood frame (6 Ft long x 3 Ft Wide x 6 Ft height).

1. The base (6ft x 3ft x 2ft,) mid-section (6ft x 3ft x 2ft), and top section (6ft x 3ft x 2ft) of the frame is completely made of wood.

2. So far plexiglass has work for me just fine. Mid-section plexiglass slide doors (3ft long x 1/4” thick x 2 ft. height). I used ¼” gray plastic track for the sliding plexiglass panels. Top section (3ft long x ¼” thick x 1ft height).

3. To water proof the wood frame I used epoxy paint (Pond Armor Non-Toxic pond shield epoxy paint).

4. For the lighting I used two CHE bulbs hanging from the ceiling and two 24” UVB light stick attached to the ceiling.

Here is link of a video of how I built my red footed habitat. I hope it helps. : )

 

chin_lee

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5 Year Member
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Sep 11, 2014
Messages
77
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for a waterproof base, look at hydroponic floodtables. they come in various sizes 2x4, 4x4, 6x4 and 8x4. they are all about 6" deep which is good for base layer of dirt or orchid bark. the bottoms will need to be supported properly and the sides framed in to support the edges. i'll post a link to my build with a 4x4 flood table.
 

Markw84

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Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
5,116
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Hello all,

I am working on plans to build a 10' by 3' closed habitat for my redfoot. I am planning on making the frame out of wood, walls with styrofoam insulation between two thin layers of plywood. At this point, this is the largest I can make it. I'm hoping that if I made it in two pieces, it would be easier to add on to later.

A few questions for people who have built their own-

1. What is the best way to make the habitat detachable? I'm thinking I will have two separate 5' x 3' boxes with legs, then find some way to attach them. I want it to be more portable and hopefully expanding it even more when I move.Any ideas for how to do this?

2. Glass or Plexiglas? I will have one window on the front of the enclosure that is halfway up the wall. I don't want him to be stressed looking out the window, but I need to be able to stay in. If i use Plexiglas, I will probably just screw it in. Would this still be at risk for warping? How would I attach glass? Would this be too heavy?

3. Waterproofing- from what I have read, the pond liner is the way to go if plywood is being used for the enclosure. I would also seal/paint the wood. Are there any better ways? Since I want the enclosure to be two separate pieces, how could I ensure a good seal?

4. Lighting- I want the lighting to be inside the chamber. I have a UVB strip already as well as two CHE bulbs. How tall should my enclosure be if I want them to be inside the chamber? Right now, I have holes cut and rest the bulbs on the top of the plastic totes he is in.

I attached a picture (credit- Vickie Hale of redfoottortoise.com) of an enclosure close to what I'm envisioning- I would like to do a hinged wood top instead of open.

Thank you in advance! I have spent countless hours reading and researching-- my tort is SO much happier and healthier. Thanks for helping me on my journey!

You could do something like this successfully. I would recommend:

Make the two pieces of the enclosure so there is a brace along the bottom of each "detachable" bottom edge - like a 2x4 on edge - that you could bolt together when you put it in place. I would use the Pond Armor Pond shield epoxy to seal the bottom and sides of the enclosure where moisture will contact. Coat the bottoms and edges that will bolt together. I would use exterior grade plywood to ensure the best adhesion and minimal chance of the plywood delaminating with moisture.

When you have the enclosure in place and bolt the two sides together - use a pond silicone and run a bead along the seam. This will seal that seam, but still allow it to be taken apart with a little work. You would need to cut the silicone seam with a box cutter when you need to take the enclosure apart in the future, but it will make a good, safe seal. I use this to seal in ponds and it would work well over your Pond Shield =

IMG_5673.JPG

I would go 30" tall with that large an enclosure, giving you plenty of working room to hang lights and heating but not too high to give unneeded extra air space to have to heat and then circulate.
 
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