Building your own Expanded PVC Enclosed Chamber – For Beginners

Ali311

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Southbridge ma
Just a thought, but I checked and the PVC paneling is available in your area. 99 Sutton Avenue, Oxford, MA 01540. Two 8x4' panels would run you around $140, and you could build a 12sq ft closed chamber designed specifically for tortoises. Also, the enclosure you posted has no barrier from the glass tracking and where the substrate would go.
I saw this at home depot...is this what you were talking about?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Veranda...Reversible-PVC-Trim-Sheet-H190AWS13/206822526
 

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
693
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY

Ali311

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Southbridge ma
Can I use a flourescent fixture from home depot and put a reptisun 10.0 in for a uvb light (baby sulcata) or must it be a reptile specific (zoomed) fixture? Recommendations of flourescent fixtures?
 

PA2019

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
377
Location (City and/or State)
Gainesville, FL
Can I use a flourescent fixture from home depot and put a reptisun 10.0 in for a uvb light (baby sulcata) or must it be a reptile specific (zoomed) fixture? Recommendations of flourescent fixtures?

I recommend posting your questions about building your own tank in a new thread. This thread is a sticky and you are going to get a larger amount of responses if you post in a new thread as more people will see your posts. Make sure to give an introduction with what you are trying to achieve, your skills etc...
 

PA2019

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
377
Location (City and/or State)
Gainesville, FL
Thanks again to @Sterant for this build tutorial. 80% of the way there. Once the top/aluminum tracking is secure I'll be looking for a glass cutting shop near me.

NYH5qLsTr66aFCY3WlVzA 58836829981 F1BE285A 8E58 434E AA78 39AF52F1C319

@Sterant Someone mentioned using "annealed glass" instead of tempered glass. Have you heard/used that type of glass before in any of your setups?
 

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
693
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY
Thanks again to @Sterant for this build tutorial. 80% of the way there. Once the top/aluminum tracking is secure I'll be looking for a glass cutting shop near me.

View attachment 279231 View attachment 279232

@Sterant Someone mentioned using "annealed glass" instead of tempered glass. Have you heard/used that type of glass before in any of your setups?
Looks great. Glad you found this post valuable. I have never used annealed glass and I have no experience with it. Mine all have tempered glass just in case something breaks it, I don’t have shards of glass around.
 

Stoneman

Active Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2018
Messages
355
Location (City and/or State)
Pacific Northwest, United States
@Kapidolo Farms @Sterant how deep would I need to have it in order to house adult indian stars in, deep enough fir bark for them to be able to lay eggs inside of.

I am planning on building a three 4×8 section enclosure shaped like a C. I am not sure how I can maintain enough structural integrity along the outside of the enclosure. The top C shape is what I am going for. I want to know if I can get away with 12- 14 in litter guard or do I need 18 in?
 

Attachments

  • 16003898705776782356685710411088.jpg
    16003898705776782356685710411088.jpg
    925.7 KB · Views: 29

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
693
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY
@Kapidolo Farms @Sterant how deep would I need to have it in order to house adult indian stars in, deep enough fir bark for them to be able to lay eggs inside of.

I am planning on building a three 4×8 section enclosure shaped like a C. I am not sure how I can maintain enough structural integrity along the outside of the enclosure. The top C shape is what I am going for. I want to know if I can get away with 12- 14 in litter guard or do I need 18 in?
If memory serves indian star nest about 6" deep. I would think a 14" litter guard would be fine. 7" of substrate and 7" of additional height seems fine. Assuming you will have doors above that so they can't fall out if they happen to climb up? Someone else correct me if Indian stars go deeper.
 

StarTort869

New Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2020
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
philadephia
Hey first off just wanted to say thanks, this is a really nice guide!
Also wanted to add an idea of using a strip of maybe .5inx.5in piece of the epvc, or something similar, to all of the joints instead of silicone. Silicone is known in the use of pvc trim for construction applications of windows to be a poor choice, because it lacks the ability to bind/ make a lasting seal on the smooth surfaces. I'm sure it would work temporarily but if your tort digs, or as you move around substrate or pots etc. it may come off. I think the use of another strip of epvc that lies directly at the corner seem may be enough to make a good seal (it would also add some structural integrity). The glue that is supposed to be used with this material actually welds it together by almost melting the surface. I understand not trusting just a single edge but I think If this extra strip is added there would be no need to worry and would add to the builds life span. @Sterant
1604152793728
 

PA2019

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
377
Location (City and/or State)
Gainesville, FL
@Sterant I am planning to build a 4 tank tower later this week but had a question. There is a roughly .5" gap between the tracking/glass depending on the track furthest from the litter dam.

Glass edge

I am thinking of ways to seal the gap a bit and still allow the glass to move and came up with door/window pile edging like the one in the link below.


Have you ever thought about ways to better seal the enclosure side that has the furthest glass piece resting at its edge?
 

captainbohannon

New Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2021
Messages
1
Location (City and/or State)
Tucson, Az
I am working on building one of these for my Redfoot. I was just wondering where you found the light fixture? I currently have 2 sets of dome lights, but I would like to consolidate to one large fixture like in the pic of your enclosure. Thanks :)
 

Dave CH

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
28
Location (City and/or State)
Switzerland
A new thread was made including pictures, and in moving the posts around, I lost the two comments originally made on the thread. So I've copy/pasted them here . The Forum's program sorts posts in time/date order, so if I had tried to move the posts to this thread, they would have shown up on top, or before the info about building the inclosure:

leigti said:

Thank you for making this thread. For an 8 foot enclosure would it be better to make two of the 4 foot ones then put them together by modifying the two end panels? Seems like that would be more stable and prevent sagging in the middle. Or how would the bracing work for the roof to hold the lights?




Sterant said:

Yes - making 2 of the 4 foot enclosures and setting them side by side works. I did that with 2 five foot enclosures. Making an 8' enclosure would be fine, you would just have to brace the top effectively because an 8 foot piece of PVC will sag.
Hi Sterant,
Are you still around?

We've decided to build a 2 meter by 1 meter version of your design, but I have some questions...

Best regards -
Dave
 

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
693
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY
Hi Sterant,
Are you still around?

We've decided to build a 2 meter by 1 meter version of your design, but I have some questions...

Best regards -
Dave
hey - yup....I'm around.
 

Dave CH

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
28
Location (City and/or State)
Switzerland
hey - yup....I'm around.
That's good. I think I need saving:
So, we have two five year old Hermann's and it's long been time to give them a bigger home. And we've decided to build your design. A little smaller (6 and half by 3 and quarter foot), as it is only for safety at night and for the post- and pre-hibernation periods when the weather is bad. These tortoises spend most of their year outside, and will only be spending more time outside the older they get. The indoor enclosure will be for one tortoise.

I found the PVC (here, it's sold under the brand name Forex), and a professional to cut it to size.
As the enclosure will be over 6 feet long, we'll brace the top with PVC cross pieces.

It will be located in a cellar (with natural light). More about the cellar to follow (at some point).

Questions re your design:
1. You've no air circulation included. Our terrarium has a mesh strip at the front and second on the top. I've always assumed that heated air escapes via the top strip, which draws air in via the lower, front strip. No need for anything like this in your design?
2. No fire hazard with heating, UV, lighting, and the PVC?
3. We're starting with one enclosure for one tortoise (so we can get right with the second enclosure all the things we got wrong with the first). If we build two, and mount them on a wood frame, do you think the two would stack one on top of the other, and so take up less floor space? (And if so, how much separation would you include between them?)
4. I've a choice between half-inch and three-quarter-inch PVC, with half-inch being cheaper of course. Is half-inch advisable/workable?

(And then I'll have some more questions about light, heat, basking, and eternal peace planet-wide...)

Best regards -
Dave
 

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
693
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY
That's good. I think I need saving:
So, we have two five year old Hermann's and it's long been time to give them a bigger home. And we've decided to build your design. A little smaller (6 and half by 3 and quarter foot), as it is only for safety at night and for the post- and pre-hibernation periods when the weather is bad. These tortoises spend most of their year outside, and will only be spending more time outside the older they get. The indoor enclosure will be for one tortoise.

I found the PVC (here, it's sold under the brand name Forex), and a professional to cut it to size.
As the enclosure will be over 6 feet long, we'll brace the top with PVC cross pieces.

It will be located in a cellar (with natural light). More about the cellar to follow (at some point).

Questions re your design:
1. You've no air circulation included. Our terrarium has a mesh strip at the front and second on the top. I've always assumed that heated air escapes via the top strip, which draws air in via the lower, front strip. No need for anything like this in your design?
2. No fire hazard with heating, UV, lighting, and the PVC?
3. We're starting with one enclosure for one tortoise (so we can get right with the second enclosure all the things we got wrong with the first). If we build two, and mount them on a wood frame, do you think the two would stack one on top of the other, and so take up less floor space? (And if so, how much separation would you include between them?)
4. I've a choice between half-inch and three-quarter-inch PVC, with half-inch being cheaper of course. Is half-inch advisable/workable?

(And then I'll have some more questions about light, heat, basking, and eternal peace planet-wide...)

Best regards -
Dave
Hi Dave
1) - right - no air circulation needed - in a closed chamber, circulation of outside air defeats the purpose and vents the humidity and heat. My design is not air tight - there are gaps in the door glass that let plenty of air in....but not enough to disallow good humidity and temperature control.
2) - I am not a UL engineer, and I don't run any from of heating or basking bulbs in mine - just a fluorescent fixture - but I know plenty of people who do - and many companies sell PVC enclosures with integral light fixtures. I don't know of any fires.
3) - I have stacked them before right on top of one another with no issues. Just make sure you build them properly, get good glue joints. You can always add a vertical support if you are concerned.
4) I have always used 1/2" and its fine. 3/4" might be even better but is a lot heavier. I don;t see an issue either way.

Dan
 

Dave CH

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
28
Location (City and/or State)
Switzerland
Hi Dave
1) - right - no air circulation needed - in a closed chamber, circulation of outside air defeats the purpose and vents the humidity and heat. My design is not air tight - there are gaps in the door glass that let plenty of air in....but not enough to disallow good humidity and temperature control.
2) - I am not a UL engineer, and I don't run any from of heating or basking bulbs in mine - just a fluorescent fixture - but I know plenty of people who do - and many companies sell PVC enclosures with integral light fixtures. I don't know of any fires.
3) - I have stacked them before right on top of one another with no issues. Just make sure you build them properly, get good glue joints. You can always add a vertical support if you are concerned.
4) I have always used 1/2" and its fine. 3/4" might be even better but is a lot heavier. I don;t see an issue either way.

Dan
Thanks Dan, that's excellent.

I note that you're not running heating or basking. Do you mind if, anyway, I ask you one or two heating and UV-B questions? I'm guessing that this isn't the only enclosure you've ever run.

Dave
 

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
693
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY
Thanks Dan, that's excellent.

I note that you're not running heating or basking. Do you mind if, anyway, I ask you one or two heating and UV-B questions? I'm guessing that this isn't the only enclosure you've ever run.

Dave
sure
 

Dave CH

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
28
Location (City and/or State)
Switzerland
Thanks again.

So, the enclosure will be in a cellar; half the walls are underground, half above, so there is some natural light.
The cellar is dry; ambient temperature is currently around 11 to 12 Celsius.

I put a half square meter terrarium in there yesterday and ran a 100W ceramic heating bulb and a 50W basking spot.
The temperature under the basking spot hovered around 31 to 34 Celsius. I've space to lower the basking spot; so I could raise that temperature if necessary.
But I struggled to keep the temperature at the other end of the terrarium stable. It fluctuated (over a nine-hour period) between 19.3 and 23.6 Celsius. During that time, the terrarium was in sunlight, then in shade. The shade dropped the ambient temperature in the tank.

I guess the ceramic heater was working flat out because even if I asked it to heat to 25 Celsius (later in the day), it couldn't manage more than around 19 degrees.

I can lay my hands on a 150 ceramic heating bulb, but I'm still wondering whether, with the cellar at, say, 11 or 12 Celsius, I can heat a 2 square meter enclosure (so, four times the footprint (I'm kind of hoping I can go with a little less than 2 foot in height)) to a relatively stable 22 Celsius.

Or does the PVC insulate and hold heat better than glass?

(Nearly done with the questions...)

Dave
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
91,070
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Thanks again.

So, the enclosure will be in a cellar; half the walls are underground, half above, so there is some natural light.
The cellar is dry; ambient temperature is currently around 11 to 12 Celsius.

I put a half square meter terrarium in there yesterday and ran a 100W ceramic heating bulb and a 50W basking spot.
The temperature under the basking spot hovered around 31 to 34 Celsius. I've space to lower the basking spot; so I could raise that temperature if necessary.
But I struggled to keep the temperature at the other end of the terrarium stable. It fluctuated (over a nine-hour period) between 19.3 and 23.6 Celsius. During that time, the terrarium was in sunlight, then in shade. The shade dropped the ambient temperature in the tank.

I guess the ceramic heater was working flat out because even if I asked it to heat to 25 Celsius (later in the day), it couldn't manage more than around 19 degrees.

I can lay my hands on a 150 ceramic heating bulb, but I'm still wondering whether, with the cellar at, say, 11 or 12 Celsius, I can heat a 2 square meter enclosure (so, four times the footprint (I'm kind of hoping I can go with a little less than 2 foot in height)) to a relatively stable 22 Celsius.

Or does the PVC insulate and hold heat better than glass?

(Nearly done with the questions...)

Dave
Was your aquarium covered? The whole thing being enclosed makes all the difference in t;he world.
 

New Posts

Top