Need Help With Light Placement

Cicitina

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181
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Ontario, Canada
I’m just working on the finishing touches to Poe’s new home. Trying to decide where to mount the lights and cut out to fit my fixtures.
The entire top lifts upso I’m thinking to mount the UVB to the back but where should I put my heat lamp that it will sufficiently heat the whole enclosure? Or should I use two lamps (I currently use 2 to keep his basking spot between 91-100, his cooling end in the 70s and the middle 80s in his terrarium)
Also, what would be a good bottom liner to protect the wood?
4B65F475-9873-4B0B-BF7A-0EF9A34B636F.jpeg F765BDF0-95E0-47A0-9BDB-0BAEA54872AD.jpeg 0BEE5764-3687-4263-8319-27E0AE0D5213.jpeg 6229E091-B7F8-4318-8E6D-3EAEEA36E666.jpeg BBCDC0C9-BC7F-4674-92A6-E3F233E66FA8.jpeg
 

Krista S

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I think more information is required, such as the dimensions of the enclosure and specifically which fixtures are you wanting to mount? Any of the ideas I can think of I don’t believe would work because the walls of the enclosure don’t look quite tall enough. It could just be my perception of the pics though. Once you have 5 inches or so of substrate in there, how many more inches is there to the ceiling/top of the enclosure? Depending on the size of the enclosure you just might need 2 heat lamps. There are too many factors that determine this, so your thermometers and temp gun will have to be the guide for this. I think you’re going to end up needing to do some trial and error to see what works and what gives the desired temperature gradient. When I set up my new enclosure I had to make a few adjustments and changes to get things just right. Think about how you intend to use the enclosure and gain access to it on a daily basis and figure out where you can place everything for it to do the job you need, but also not constantly be in your way. As for a liner, there’s many different options. Some use flex seal, shower curtain liners, pond liners. My enclosure was built out of expanded pvc so I don’t really need a liner, but ended up making one anyhow out of 6 mil polyethylene sheeting I got off of Amazon and it’s holding up very well.

Your enclosure looks nice. I can’t wait to see it all put together and pictures of little Poe exploring his new home.
 

Cicitina

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Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
181
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario, Canada
I think more information is required, such as the dimensions of the enclosure and specifically which fixtures are you wanting to mount? Any of the ideas I can think of I don’t believe would work because the walls of the enclosure don’t look quite tall enough. It could just be my perception of the pics though. Once you have 5 inches or so of substrate in there, how many more inches is there to the ceiling/top of the enclosure? Depending on the size of the enclosure you just might need 2 heat lamps. There are too many factors that determine this, so your thermometers and temp gun will have to be the guide for this. I think you’re going to end up needing to do some trial and error to see what works and what gives the desired temperature gradient. When I set up my new enclosure I had to make a few adjustments and changes to get things just right. Think about how you intend to use the enclosure and gain access to it on a daily basis and figure out where you can place everything for it to do the job you need, but also not constantly be in your way. As for a liner, there’s many different options. Some use flex seal, shower curtain liners, pond liners. My enclosure was built out of expanded pvc so I don’t really need a liner, but ended up making one anyhow out of 6 mil polyethylene sheeting I got off of Amazon and it’s holding up very well.

Your enclosure looks nice. I can’t wait to see it all put together and pictures of little Poe exploring his new home.

I wanted to build with PVC but the price of everything was jacked up since covid and the person building it wasn’t familiar with the material but I’ll be looking at pond liner and polyethylene today thank you!

I’m excited to get the finishing touches added and putting him in it to explore. He won’t know what to do with all the space!
 

Krista S

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I wanted to build with PVC but the price of everything was jacked up since covid and the person building it wasn’t familiar with the material but I’ll be looking at pond liner and polyethylene today thank you!

I’m excited to get the finishing touches added and putting him in it to explore. He won’t know what to do with all the space!
Yeah the prices on all building materials are nuts right now. I had to pay about $300 per 4x8 sheet of 3/4” expanded pvc at the start of this year. It’s a bit much, but I like not having to worry about rotting or mold. With the poly sheeting I folded the corners to create the edges that would go up the side of the walls of the enclosure a little bit. To make these corners, I used gorilla glue tape to hold the folds of the sheeting together. Sorry, this is kind of hard to explain, so I hope that makes sense. There’s one corner in particular that my tortoise is relentlessly digging at and I’m shocked at how after the abuse he’s given it, there isn‘t one hole and the tape is still holding strong like it was on day 1.
 

Cicitina

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Ontario, Canada
Yeah the prices on all building materials are nuts right now. I had to pay about $300 per 4x8 sheet of 3/4” expanded pvc at the start of this year. It’s a bit much, but I like not having to worry about rotting or mold. With the poly sheeting I folded the corners to create the edges that would go up the side of the walls of the enclosure a little bit. To make these corners, I used gorilla glue tape to hold the folds of the sheeting together. Sorry, this is kind of hard to explain, so I hope that makes sense. There’s one corner in particular that my tortoise is relentlessly digging at and I’m shocked at how after the abuse he’s given it, there isn‘t one hole and the tape is still holding strong like it was on day 1.
The prices are insane. I was charged $250 for my entire build but felt that wasn’t enough so I paid him $500 for all his time.
its 4x3.5ish to fit the available space we have right now and should fit him for a bit until we move and have more space for him.
Do you think 1 UVB light is sufficient for an area that size? I feel like it will look quite dark in there
 

Krista S

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That’s the exact fixture I have…same size and everything! Are you using it just for light or do you have the proper UV bulb in it? I use the reptisun 10.0 in it. It is recommended that you don’t have UV throughout the entire enclosure. Poe should have the choice to move in and out of the UV and the bulb should only be on for 3 or so hours per day depending on the level of UV being emitted. Mark and other pros on here say the UV shouldn’t cover more than 1/3 of the enclosure. My enclosure is 7x4 and I use the 2 ft fixture like you have. For ambient lighting I’ve read on here many times that a lot of people use LED lighting to brighten things up, but that’s not something I have experience with. When I was planning my enclosure I considered putting those led strips lights or the kind that you mount under cabinets, but I didn’t end up needing to do any of that. Besides my UV, I just have 2 flood light bulbs (BR30 65 watts) for separate basking spots that light up the rest of the place. My enclosure is open topped, so I have smart bulbs in the bedroom fixture on a timer that help simulate sunrise and sunset. The cabinet mounted led lights could be cool for your application. Do some searches on here paying particular attention to posts from Markw84 and Tom. I have seen them both talk about LED lighting a fair bit. I suppose you could do another SunBlaster fixture and use the bulb it comes with for light. The UV it emits isnt the right spectrum for tortoises so it shouldn’t bother Poe either way.
 

Cicitina

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181
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Ontario, Canada
That’s the exact fixture I have…same size and everything! Are you using it just for light or do you have the proper UV bulb in it? I use the reptisun 10.0 in it. It is recommended that you don’t have UV throughout the entire enclosure. Poe should have the choice to move in and out of the UV and the bulb should only be on for 3 or so hours per day depending on the level of UV being emitted. Mark and other pros on here say the UV shouldn’t cover more than 1/3 of the enclosure. My enclosure is 7x4 and I use the 2 ft fixture like you have. For ambient lighting I’ve read on here many times that a lot of people use LED lighting to brighten things up, but that’s not something I have experience with. When I was planning my enclosure I considered putting those led strips lights or the kind that you mount under cabinets, but I didn’t end up needing to do any of that. Besides my UV, I just have 2 flood light bulbs (BR30 65 watts) for separate basking spots that light up the rest of the place. My enclosure is open topped, so I have smart bulbs in the bedroom fixture on a timer that help simulate sunrise and sunset. The cabinet mounted led lights could be cool for your application. Do some searches on here paying particular attention to posts from Markw84 and Tom. I have seen them both talk about LED lighting a fair bit. I suppose you could do another SunBlaster fixture and use the bulb it comes with for light. The UV it emits isnt the right spectrum for tortoises so it shouldn’t bother Poe either way.
I use an Arcadia T5 bulb in it, which is better?
I made mine a closed chamber because he’s still small, had several respiratory infections when I got him so it’s easier for me to control the humidity and because I have 3 cats and a very large dog I don’t want being able to access him.
it isn’t ready yet but I did let him explore it.
will be doing the lights tomorrow and his proper hide
8EAC5091-E845-4672-9A31-BF71750F05CD.jpeg
 

Krista S

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Very cool!! Looks great!! I think it’s good to let him spend little bits of time in the new enclosure to slowly get used to it. That’s what I did for my tortoise and he got to the point where he almost seemed mad when I’d put him back in his old enclosure, so that’s when I knew it was time for the official move. As for the bulb, I hear both are good but Arcadia is a little more superior. I wanted Arcadia but in the midst of covid wasn’t able to get the one I needed locally or online. So although I’m using the reptisun now, I have since ordered an Arcadia one to have on hand for when the current one loses its UV strength. Please keep updating this thread. I love seeing new pics of Poe and am excited to see him in his snazzy new enclosure when the time comes.
 

Cicitina

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Ontario, Canada
Very cool!! Looks great!! I think it’s good to let him spend little bits of time in the new enclosure to slowly get used to it. That’s what I did for my tortoise and he got to the point where he almost seemed mad when I’d put him back in his old enclosure, so that’s when I knew it was time for the official move. As for the bulb, I hear both are good but Arcadia is a little more superior. I wanted Arcadia but in the midst of covid wasn’t able to get the one I needed locally or online. So although I’m using the reptisun now, I have since ordered an Arcadia one to have on hand for when the current one loses its UV strength. Please keep updating this thread. I love seeing new pics of Poe and am excited to see him in his snazzy new enclosure when the time comes.
When do you change your bulb? When do you know it’s lost its strength?
 

Krista S

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I have a Solarmeter 6.5R that I use to check the strength. I got it off of Amazon as it didn’t seem to be sold locally anywhere. The 6.5 and 6.5R are the only UV meters that work for our purposes and there really isn’t another way to know if the UV output has lost its strength. They say if you don’t have a Solarmeter that the bulb should be changed every 6 months. The Solarmeter is expensive and kinda made me sick to spend the money at the time, but I am so glad I got it. There’s so much peace of mind I have with never having to guess if the UV output is too high or too low. The reading you get on the Solarmeter is what determines the height it should be at in the enclosure and how long it’s safe to have the UV light on each day. Every now and then I check the output and make adjustments if needed. The UV output on my reptisun is just starting to weaken now, so a week or so ago I lowered the fixture a bit to get the reading I need again. Besides the peace of mind it provides, you also recoup money by not having to replace bulbs until it’s actually necessary, instead of replacing bulbs every 6 months not knowing if the old bulb was still good or not.
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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I have a Solarmeter 6.5R that I use to check the strength. I got it off of Amazon as it didn’t seem to be sold locally anywhere. The 6.5 and 6.5R are the only UV meters that work for our purposes and there really isn’t another way to know if the UV output has lost its strength. They say if you don’t have a Solarmeter that the bulb should be changed every 6 months. The Solarmeter is expensive and kinda made me sick to spend the money at the time, but I am so glad I got it. There’s so much peace of mind I have with never having to guess if the UV output is too high or too low. The reading you get on the Solarmeter is what determines the height it should be at in the enclosure and how long it’s safe to have the UV light on each day. Every now and then I check the output and make adjustments if needed. The UV output on my reptisun is just starting to weaken now, so a week or so ago I lowered the fixture a bit to get the reading I need again. Besides the peace of mind it provides, you also recoup money by not having to replace bulbs until it’s actually necessary, instead of replacing bulbs every 6 months not knowing if the old bulb was still good or not.
I made the mistake of buying an “affordable“ UV meter. I realized afterwards that the “affordable” ones don‘t measure artificial UV rays—only the sun/outdoors. The Solarmeter is the only one that can help you. Consider yourself forewarned…
 

Stillwater

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Jul 12, 2021
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I’m just working on the finishing touches to Poe’s new home. Trying to decide where to mount the lights and cut out to fit my fixtures.
The entire top lifts upso I’m thinking to mount the UVB to the back but where should I put my heat lamp that it will sufficiently heat the whole enclosure? Or should I use two lamps (I currently use 2 to keep his basking spot between 91-100, his cooling end in the 70s and the middle 80s in his terrarium)
Also, what would be a good bottom liner to protect the wood?
View attachment 330494 View attachment 330495 View attachment 330496 View attachment 330497 View attachment 330498
I like your hinges and handle on the plexiglass. I'm going to copy you!
 

Cicitina

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181
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Ontario, Canada
I like your hinges and handle on the plexiglass. I'm going to copy you!
My neighbour designed and built it for me and I’m really happy with it! Just need to make adjustments for the lights. My temporary solution isn’t working too well when it needs to be disassembled and reassembled every morning and night to keep cats out
 

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Stillwater

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My neighbour designed and built it for me and I’m really happy with it! Just need to make adjustments for the lights. My temporary solution isn’t working too well when it needs to be disassembled and reassembled every morning and night to keep cats out
Off all the odd things, I had old closet shelving--white painted metal that worked totally perfectly for keeping 2 curious cats out! It also happens to be the perfect height for setting my lights on! My next plan is to figure out a warm, humid enclosure using plexiglass. I want to put some plants in there too--maybe in a cake pan. Hosta, johnny jump ups, plantain, dandelion. Stuff I can dig out of the yard before winter. A *grow bulb* should help them grow as well as provide some heat and light, I assume. I am waiting for my heavy duty brown shower curtain to arrive to re-line his house before he gets new bark. He's getting a total home makeover! I get to babysit/spoil him for a couple years as my daughter and son in-law just moved. I want to get a dishpan from the dollar store, build a ramp to get up into it and back down, and have that be his damp, warm hiding spot in the far room. I'm trying to figure out the heating for that. Maybe a waterproof heating mat under the bucket? At any rate, It's been fun to read up on everything I need and want. He is temporarily in the garage overnight but goes outside all day once it warms up a bit. I'm in Minnesota and the temps are finally starting to cool down.
 

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