Low maintenance humidity in a storage container

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Beck

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I thought I would share how I've created and kept humidity in my plastic underbed storage container. This is for a Redfoot, so it would need some tweaking for other species that require basking lights (or for a redfoot that enjoys a basking light). Special thanks to Redstrike for helping me out with this.

I created a false bottom by using a second underbed storage container and stacking the two. The top container in which my RF lives has holes in the bottom to allow humidity to rise into it. The bottom container has a heat cable completely submerged in water.





I used a $5 soldering iron to melt holes in the false bottom. I just kind of guessed as to the number of holes. If I did this again, I'd probably add more holes to the side with the lights and openings in the top. Maybe it'd help keep the humidity up on that side.



I added fiberglass screen to minimize substrate falling through the holes.



To the true bottom I added a waterproof heat cable (Hydorcable). I made a hole in the wall above the water line for the cord to exit. I also added a couple mesh bags of activated carbon in hopes of keeping the water from going foul. There's really no active movement of the water through the filters, so I doubt they're very helpful.

I put the heat cable on a dimmer. At full power, the temperature was a perfect 82F all throughout the enclosure. Some people would say "hey, good to go". Others would say they don't like heat from below. I put the cables on a dimmer so that its about 78F throughout, and then added the CHE and UVB on one end to create a temperature gradient.

I never mist the enclosure, so thats nice. I've added water once in the last few weeks. But it's not a magical system. If you don't have a lid on the enclosure, the false bottom is useless. On the closed side of my enclosure, its 95-99% humidity. On the side where I've cut a rectangle out for UVB tube and have the CHE -- its about 70% humidity. Another benefit is that since the humidity comes from the bottom, the lower layer of substrate stays moist, but the upper layer of substrate is dry. I hope this will prevent any potential RF shell rot issues.

I hesitated posting this because its not a perfect system -- its a little over-engineered. And, I know some won't like the heat from below. But I've been seeing a lot of people struggling with humidity in sweater boxes, and I figured people could get some ideas and take off with it!
 

Beck

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Re: RE: Low maintenance humidity in a storage container

Tom said:
Looks great to me. If it works it works.

I got a 'great' from Tom. I'm so excited! :D

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jjsull33

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Does the heat cable have to be submerged constantly? I am doing something similar (I think you actually replied to a post I had before about this type of thing) but do not want the sitting water, my girl likes to be misted so I am setting up an auto mister to go off for a min every hour or so (like at a grocery store) and I have a false bottom set up already for run off and the cable will help to evap it quicker but won't be constantly wet, think it will still work? or does the cable really have to be in something instead of just sitting on the linoleum covered wood that is the bottom?
 

Beck

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jjsull33 said:
Does the heat cable have to be submerged constantly? I am doing something similar (I think you actually replied to a post I had before about this type of thing) but do not want the sitting water, my girl likes to be misted so I am setting up an auto mister to go off for a min every hour or so (like at a grocery store) and I have a false bottom set up already for run off and the cable will help to evap it quicker but won't be constantly wet, think it will still work? or does the cable really have to be in something instead of just sitting on the linoleum covered wood that is the bottom?

The manual for the cable states that it MUST be either completely submerged in water or completely covered in substrate. If not, they'll burn out. Perhaps another heating element will work better in your situation?
 

Beck

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I realize that my brand must always be submerged, but Big Apple Herp's cable does not.

I'm sure this info is too late though, sorry!
 

Team Gomberg

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I think this is great. Keep us posted on how it goes.

Well done. :)

Btw, it's the basking heat source that people don't like coming from underneath.
Having your under heat cable set up for ambient temps and humidity is just fine.

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Beck

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I've had this system for 2 months now, with very few tweaks.

Tweak #1: system was originally half closed. I ended up enclosing all but a long slot for the UVB fixture. I propped up the fixture to get some distance between light and enclosure surface. She still hates the bright light.

Tweak #2: I hung the CHE basically above the middle of the enclosure to work more like ambient rather than gradient. Corey didn't really utilize the gradient. Once I got the first electricity bill, I bought a thermostat so I could lower the CHE and be more energy efficient. Haha.

Since I first posted, I've realized Corey would be fine with all underneath heating since she hates lights/basking in a normal sense. However, I like having humidity and heat separately controlled.

Future changes: I have a "hygrotherm" thermostat that has separate outlets for heat and humidity elements. I have yet to plug my cables in as the humidity element, because I am worried I will overheat the enclosure. It shouldn't, because I've used them full power before and it didn't get too hot, and the CHE just won't kick on if that's the case. But I've never done large tweaking with a tortoise living inside the enclosure. It just worries me.

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I guess a picture says a thousand words:



Sorry I just spritzed her so her shell is looking "luscious".

She's got her third set of growth lines coming in, so she looks a little more bumpy to me than usual. She always looks a little bumpy when the lines first come in (which scares me so much!). Once they grow more and split into their respective scutes (at least that's what my newbie eyes see), she's super smooth.

She is soaked for 20 minutes (almost) every day, and gets spritzed when I see her out and about.
 

Beck

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Thanks. Coming from you, that means a lot!

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