I have built a bookcase enclosure for my tort that measures 6’x3’. I am getting a hatchling and am planning on using this until I find something better or he moves outside full time. Even though I tried to do this build on a budget it was more costly than I hoped, but still cheaper and better options than small tables or anything else I have found.
Without further ado I will show you my build and breakdown!
I got a bookshelf from Facebook marketplace for $25 - pulled out the shelves and replaced the back with 1/2” plywood:
Then I sanded everything and attached the shelves as legs and painted the outside:
I had a 1/2” piece of plywood left so I used it as half a cover for the top so I sanded and painted it as well, the plan was to attach this with hinges, but it is just sitting on top:
I attached a 4’ tube light fixture to the underside of the wood and put a “grow light” in it:
Then I picked a color for the inside and painted the inside a light mint green:
I drilled some 2&1/2” holes for my basking light and heat light (I did the heat light last to check the temps for a week to see where I needed to place it to achieve the temps I want all over). I also attached PVC (the thickest I could find at jo-Ann fabric) to cover the rest because I didn’t want to spring for acrylic windows):
I added a 1” layer of eco earth and covered that with about 2” of orchid bark. Added my basking rocks and some plants I have been collecting and growing with no fertilizers....and viola! We have liftoff!! I’ll run it now until I get my tort (at least a month away) to adjust heating and humidity. If it’s too hot I’ll get a lower watt CHE and vice-a-versa. I live in the desert so I’m really interested in how the humidity holds up. I also have a spot I’m going to install the UV lighting - but haven’t decided on if I’m going to use it because I will be providing daily sun time. I am also going to add a water saucer and more rocks at least...and probably 3 hides to take advantage of the temp gradients
This build probably cost me about $180-200 total.