Redfoot Tortoise Enclosure Build - Radiant Heat Panels vs CHE's, and Acrylic questions

crimson_lotus

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I currently have a 4x4 enclosure with 2 x 100w CHE's that just barely meets the heat requirements of 80 degrees at the coldest spots - sometimes dipping to 75 or 70 if it's around 10 degrees outside. The room she is in is unfortunately affected by outside temperatures as it is right above the garage and is not heated as well. This is a huge issue I want to fix with the new build I am describing below.

I am having a larger 4x8 closed chamber enclosure built with a balcony, and was thinking about switching to radiant heat panels over my current CHE setup, as I would probably need at least 3 new CHE ceramic fixtures and bulbs and this setup would increase potential fire hazards. Redfoots generally don't bask, and would prefer steady heat output, so I think the panels would be the best way to go. What do you think?

If I were to go for the heat panel option, I assume I would probably need to have them completely cover the ceiling of the 8ft enclosure. Would this be accurate? Or could I put, let's say, two large 160 watt panels on each end? This might be a question for the company, but thought I would ask for opinions on here.

I am attaching the current CAD of the enclosure. Initially I wanted the two doors to have some sort of acrylic window so I am able to look in for cleaning/flipping purposes, but if I need to cover them with radiant heat panels instead, I might just have to deal with not being able to see in. If I am able to use acrylic, is there a specific type to recommend?

Thank you for your time.
 

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  • MTO Tortoise enclosure CAD.pdf
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Blackdog1714

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If there is anyway to change it make the doors open from the front to minimize heat loss upward. I am building mine and am going to build the exterior with plywood then insulate and make the interior with PVC panels. It will cost about $120 extra to do it this way, but my basement stays in the 60's and my Russian likes it in the 80's. With the insulation layer my heat loss will be minimal so I figure a 120 watt RHP plus one CHE at the other end will heat an 11' Wide X 3' deep X 28" tall enclosure. I score an awesome double pane window that is 24" X 5' for $95 at the Richmond Restore so I will make it as a lift up door from the front. LOVE the CAD drawing mine looks like someone gave a pencil to a moderately smart weasal.
 

crimson_lotus

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Thanks for your input - my enclosure is lacking in insulation, however the room I am putting it in will be a few degrees warmer than where the enclosure is now. I think minus the insulation, perhaps the 2 160w RHP on each end might be sufficient. Will ask the company (looking at RBI) and see how that goes.

For the door, the only reason why it opens upward is because it is at floor level, so cleaning would be so much harder if the door were on the front and not the top. I do understand your point, though, as I am sure I lose a lot of heat when I need to clean.
 

Blackdog1714

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Thanks for your input - my enclosure is lacking in insulation, however the room I am putting it in will be a few degrees warmer than where the enclosure is now. I think minus the insulation, perhaps the 2 160w RHP on each end might be sufficient. Will ask the company (looking at RBI) and see how that goes.

For the door, the only reason why it opens upward is because it is at floor level, so cleaning would be so much harder if the door were on the front and not the top. I do understand your point, though, as I am sure I lose a lot of heat when I need to clean.
Also at floor level means you bend over more. At a mere 49ish my next enclosure will be at waist height for my CONVENIENCE! HAHA
 

Robber

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KIMG5905.JPG My redfoot enclosure is 8' x 2.5' x 6' tall(has loft and I wanted to be able to walk in it). I have a 100 watt heat lamp on one side(basking , which they will for short periods) on for 10 hours, a 100 watt night bulb on 24/7 on one side(not visible in picture, on far side) and a ZooMed mat in the middle. It all sufficiently heats the enclosure(few spots get down to mid 70s on winter nights). The clamp light on the ceiling is just a 25w incandescent for the plants. Also have a UV strip on the ceiling which has minimal effect, but they don't need it as much as other species. I know they are supposed to be reliable and many people like them, but I had a RHP fail in my leopard enclosure - had a spot in the middle melt.
 
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