Bookshelf build - indoor enclosure

Kupcake

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Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Las Vegas, NV
IMG_2325.jpg
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:
IMG_2197.jpg

Then I sanded everything and attached the shelves as legs and painted the outside:
IMG_2224.jpg IMG_2227.jpg

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:
IMG_2223.jpg

I attached a 4’ tube light fixture to the underside of the wood and put a “grow light” in it:
IMG_2221.jpg

Then I picked a color for the inside and painted the inside a light mint green:
IMG_2240.jpg

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):
IMG_2332.jpg

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 :)
IMG_2326.jpg IMG_2328.jpg IMG_2329.jpg IMG_2330.jpg IMG_2331.jpg

This build probably cost me about $180-200 total.
 

Kupcake

New Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Las Vegas, NV
Oh and some things I wanted to add. I am quite pleased at how clear the vinyl is and don’t have any plans on changing it out. I will install more permanent hardware soon to hold it in place (as you can see it’s held on now by push pins).

Also I coated the inside with water based polyacrylic and sealed all the corners and shelf holes with GE 100% silicone. Along with the interior/exterior paint I used I am hoping for no moister loss or warping, but if it happens then I’ll just have to buy another book shelf :)
 

Kupcake

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Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Las Vegas, NV
So after putting it up last night I was very excited to check all my temps and humidity today when the lights came on. The lights have been on for 4 hours and the humidity is 91% so that is great...but my temps don’t go over 80’ except under the basking light and directly under the CHE :( I’m going to have to find a suitable heater to heat such a large enclosure!

No hides in there yet. I have about a month to finish it and have many more decorations to go. Needed to get the humidity and lighting strait first.
 

Maro2Bear

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Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
12,257
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
So after putting it up last night I was very excited to check all my temps and humidity today when the lights came on. The lights have been on for 4 hours and the humidity is 91% so that is great...but my temps don’t go over 80’ except under the basking light and directly under the CHE :( I’m going to have to find a suitable heater to heat such a large enclosure!

No hides in there yet. I have about a month to finish it and have many more decorations to go. Needed to get the humidity and lighting strait first.

You could always increase the wattage of your CHE, or add another similar CHE on the opposite side.

Good luck, keep the updates coming.
 

Alex Z

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Joined
Sep 15, 2016
Messages
792
Location (City and/or State)
NYC
I use 100 watt ches. They work perfectly for my redfoots.
 

Team Gomberg

IXOYE
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Oct 1, 2012
Messages
7,678
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Southern Oregon
Great job.

This is the hardest part, staring at an empty enclosure! I just did it myself. Longest month ever! Lol

I'm not surprised that you have low temps in that long of an enclosure. If it were me, I'd set up 3 CHEs. One in the middle, one on each end and then I'd plug all 3 into a single thermostat. This will dispense the heat, evenly over a greater area.

If you had a single heat source, it would have to get much hotter at the source for the heat to reach the far ends. You could end up with 80° corners and a 120° center.
 

Kupcake

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Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
Las Vegas, NV
It is for a leopard tortoise. I am running ideas of maybe a small space heater, rather than more CHEs.

Maybe a chicken coop heater?
 

trickspiration

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Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Messages
253
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California (OC)
how heavy is the enclosure? just asking to see if you would need to add additional support underneath to bear the weight of the bookshelf. it looks great, by the way!
 

Maro2Bear

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Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
I’d still recommend adding another CHE. Keeping your heating inside the enclosure is your aim. An external space heater will have to really heat the entire room up, when you really only need the enclosure’s heat increased. Easier as well to up the humidity in the enclosure, vice the entire room.
 

Zoo700

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Joined
Jun 24, 2017
Messages
3
That is awesome! We too are building a bookshelf table for our Russian, Dribble! We live in Indiana and therefore she is indoors most of the time. Do you think we should get some sheeting (how will she breathe though?) or a top to hold the light/heat in? We will have 3 heat lamps and 2 UV bulbs. We are still newbys to the Tort Life!
 

DancesWithDinosaurs

New Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
28
Location (City and/or State)
USA
View attachment 229802
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:
View attachment 229803

Then I sanded everything and attached the shelves as legs and painted the outside:
View attachment 229805 View attachment 229806

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:
View attachment 229807

I attached a 4’ tube light fixture to the underside of the wood and put a “grow light” in it:
View attachment 229808

Then I picked a color for the inside and painted the inside a light mint green:
View attachment 229809

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):
View attachment 229810

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 :)
View attachment 229812 View attachment 229813 View attachment 229814 View attachment 229815 View attachment 229816

This build probably cost me about $180-200 total.
Brilliant!
 

DancesWithDinosaurs

New Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
28
Location (City and/or State)
USA
Oh and some things I wanted to add. I am quite pleased at how clear the vinyl is and don’t have any plans on changing it out. I will install more permanent hardware soon to hold it in place (as you can see it’s held on now by push pins).

Also I coated the inside with water based polyacrylic and sealed all the corners and shelf holes with GE 100% silicone. Along with the interior/exterior paint I used I am hoping for no moister loss or warping, but if it happens then I’ll just have to buy another book shelf :)
I believe vinyl off gases toxins when heated. Check out the short film "Blue Vinyl." Pressed wood also off gases VOC's. "Volatile Organic Compounds." So types of wood, sealers, paints, plastics matter. Dbl check your type. Best wishes you talented woman!
 

DancesWithDinosaurs

New Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
28
Location (City and/or State)
USA
So after putting it up last night I was very excited to check all my temps and humidity today when the lights came on. The lights have been on for 4 hours and the humidity is 91% so that is great...but my temps don’t go over 80’ except under the basking light and directly under the CHE :( I’m going to have to find a suitable heater to heat such a large enclosure!

No hides in there yet. I have about a month to finish it and have many more decorations to go. Needed to get the humidity and lighting strait first.
Can add a second light. Please be sure to use a GFCI outlet or GFCI poser strip. GFCI is "Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor." It will shutdown the power if there's a dangerous surge or moisture contact. Be sure it protects against low and high power surges.
 
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