Greenhouse/tortoise table build

MIReptilian

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sorry for the delay, Jeff, but was not "onlne" since yesterday AM.

I agree with William that you only need UVB in one location. I would go central for that with a 4 foot T5 HO UVB. A double tube T5 HO using 12% HO tubes. You would then mount that higher - probably 30" +- or so and it would give a large effective UVI zone over probably a 3' x 5' area of the enclosure. The HO tubes also give off quite a bit of heat and would definitely help in the ambient heating of that greenhouse. I would also use Two double T5 4 foot fixtures for ambient. I would use grow lights in those. Great for ambient lighting and for growing plants. The T5s will also add heat to your room.

I feel the oil filled heaters would not be sufficient for your basement in a large/taller area. They work great in a night box, but that is a confined space. I would go with a space heater of about 1000-1500 watts that is controlled on a built in thermostat. Very common everywhere for heating individual rooms. You might not find it needs to go on much at all as the 6 T5 tubes plus the two 65 watt incandescents will provide a decent amount of heat in that greenhouse during the daytime. You will set the space heater for the desired minimmum ambient heat.

Here's how I would do that layout:

View attachment 277398

Thank you so much Mark. Like I said, I owe you one for all the advice you've provided.

I'm going to take your suggestions on the layout. Do you think I should add a few CHEs on timers for the night time? If so, do I place them randomly over the table or directly above the hides I plan on using?

Another question... any benefit to LED tubes over the fluorescent 6500k? The flourescent will probably help with heating, but the LEDs might be cheaper to run.

Any suggestions on the brands of fixtures? Both for the uvb and grow lights?

Edit: just to be clear, you're suggesting a double uvb fixture loaded with two t5 ho 12% bulbs?

I guess I can either set this up right the first time, or try to be cost effective and cheap. It doesnt look like I'm going to be able to do both. The Arcadia fixtures and bulbs I've been looking at are pretty expensive. Buy once cry once?
 
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Markw84

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Thank you so much Mark. Like I said, I owe you one for all the advice you've provided.

I'm going to take your suggestions on the layout. Do you think I should add a few CHEs on timers for the night time? If so, do I place them randomly over the table or directly above the hides I plan on using?

Another question... any benefit to LED tubes over the fluorescent 6500k? The flourescent will probably help with heating, but the LEDs might be cheaper to run.

Any suggestions on the brands of fixtures? Both for the uvb and grow lights?

Edit: just to be clear, you're suggesting a double uvb fixture loaded with two t5 ho 12% bulbs?

I guess I can either set this up right the first time, or try to be cost effective and cheap. It doesnt look like I'm going to be able to do both. The Arcadia fixtures and bulbs I've been looking at are pretty expensive. Buy once cry once?
IN your situation, I think the fluorescent T5 HO grow lights would work best. The LED tubes that actually give the quality of light you want are not less expensive. Cheap ones give off light with a very poor color balance, or color rendering index (CRI). The heat of the HOs will also be of benefit for you here. I use these HO grow lights in a 4x8 closed chamber for my stars in winter. I have issues with overheating when combined with 2 incandescent basking lights as well. In you setup I would think that would be of value.

I see no need for CHEs if you are able to provide and overall ambient heat in the greenhouse. As they age and you use this in winter for sub adults and adults, with Testudo, there is an advantage of even offering a night drop which you can then do easily.

Yes, the arcadia from lightyourreptiles.com seem expensive. However, you want the correct fixture to get the right output of your UVB. Don't go cheap there. You can also limit your UVB to 5-6 hours midday. That will create a much more "red" color light in the basking zone - with your basking incandescent for mornings and later afternoon/evening with a spike of bright with the UVB added for a good UVI in midday. Your tubes will last at least 2-3 years.
 

MIReptilian

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Well here we go... I'll take photos as I build this thing.

First step... I needed a subfloor to keep the greenhouse off of the concrete basement floor so it will retain as much heat as possible. Free pallets seemed like a good idea. Layed them down and will screw 3/4" plywood or OSB to the top to create a nice sturdy subfloor to place the greenhouse on.

20190731_171904.jpg
 

Blackdog1714

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WOW! Expensive sub floor! Love the pallets what a solution to a scary project. I used to live in Akron, OH and I thought the winters there were cold- HAHA. I think you are over estimated the ground temp by a good 5-10 degrees. Keep it up your torts might not appreciate what you do, but I do!
 

MIReptilian

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Moving right along... subfloor now has the deck installed. I may paint it as bare OSB and humidity/water doesnt mix very well. If nothing else, I'll throw some rubber mats down and call it good. Not sure just yet.

20190731_212447.jpg
 

MIReptilian

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Couldn't wait. Found some leftover exterior house paint and 30 minutes later, it's painted. Funny...it almost matches the basement floor and walls.

Ready for the greenhouse.


20190731_220245.jpg
 

Maro2Bear

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You might want to get 8 x 10 tarp or two and cover the decking now. Then erect the GH over top. Are you planning on putting a thick layer of cypress mulch or some other substrste inside the greenhouse? ( i kind of foget the master plan )
 
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MIReptilian

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You might want to get 8 x 10 tarp or two and cover the decking now. Then erect the GH over top. Are you planning on putting a thick layer of cypress mulch or some other substrste inside the greenhouse? ( i kind of foget the master plan )

I'm building a large L-shaped tortoise table inside the greenhouse. So the tortoises will not be on the subfloor, they'll be up in the table.

I'm probably going to throw down a couple rubber runners over the deck in the areas where I'll be walking and standing. That should be good enough.
 

Maro2Bear

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I'm building a large L-shaped tortoise table inside the greenhouse. So the tortoises will not be on the subfloor, they'll be up in the table.

I'm probably going to throw down a couple rubber runners over the deck in the areas where I'll be walking and standing. That should be good enough.

Gotcha. That should all work well. Heating the gh this way will be a lot easier. Keep going with the updates.
 

MIReptilian

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I finally got the greenhouse completely set up in the basement. I spent several nights assembling parts of it and then disassembling the same parts. The problem... the instructions were terrible! Very vague with pointless pictures and missing steps. If I could guess they were written in Chinese and then translated by somone who didn't have a very good grasp of the english language.

I'm glad that's over.

Question for everyone.
Has anyone tried a silicone roof coating to protect the bottom of an enclosure and act as a moisture barrier? I've been eyeing some Henry tropi-cool 100% silicone roof coating. Its $70.00 a gallon at home depot. Was thinking about the pond shield stuff and I would need two kits to get good coverage for $140.00. I may give the Henry stuff a try.

I welded up two table structures over the last week to create the base for the wooden tortoise table. I had a bunch of steel laying around so it made sense. I'll start building the wooden table tonight.

Pictures to follow.
 

MIReptilian

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Got one table painted. The smaller one gets painted tomorrow. I'll start working on the wooden tortoise box tomorrow. Need to head out and get some lumber.

I may put another coat of paint on it. Painting with spray paint in the 85 degree sun causes the paint to dry too fast and get blotchy.

20190813_171614.jpg
 

MIReptilian

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Oh. I may use Benjamin Moore Corotech v430 for the waterproofing on the table. It's suppose to be the same stuff as pond armor, but cheaper. We'll see.
 

MIReptilian

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More progress. The steel tables are built, painted and moved into the greenhouse. I have a really good start on the wooden table but am still on the fence about how to waterproof the floor and sides. I called a few places about the Benjamin moore corotech v430 epoxy and it's almost impossible to find in my area and only comes in a 2 gallon kit. I dont need that much.

Thinking of trying a 100% silicon roof coating. May revisit the pond shield as well.

20190815_085322.jpg

20190815_085308.jpg
 

Markw84

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I have a really good start on the wooden table but am still on the fence about how to waterproof the floor and sides. I called a few places about the Benjamin moore corotech v430 epoxy and it's almost impossible to find in my area and only comes in a 2 gallon kit. I dont need that much.

Thinking of trying a 100% silicon roof coating. May revisit the pond shield as well.

I have had really good results so far with Rustoleum Countertop Paint. I have only been using it for 2 1/2 years now, so not a real long time sample. However the enclosures with it after 2 1/2 years show absolutely no breakdown of the paint, blistering or moisture problems. Still looks like when I applied it when I brush back the wet substrate to inspect.

A couple of important points after trying everything I could for years. From fiberglass to epoxy, etc, etc. Use a good exterior grade plywood AC grade. Exterior plywood is a better grade of wood and uses a stronger, water resistant glues in construction. The "A" side of the plywood is of the best grade and defects are plugged. So it paints and seals much better. The "c" side is the bottom side of the plywood. Prime the wood with a decent latex primer. Caulk all the joints. Then apply the countertop paint. I use 3 coats on the very bottom where it will have substrate directly on it. It does give off strong fumes a few days, but it is food safe and made for food prep surfaces.

Another option is to go with expanded PVC board for your table. Or get 1/4" (6mm) PVC board and line the inside with it to waterproof. The wood will give more structural strength and the PVC will be waterproof. Just build a tight-fitting inside layer of PVC inside your table. PVC is extremely easy to work with - cuts, sands, drills easier than plywood and simply glues together (welds) with the same PVC cement used to join plumbing pipes.
 

MIReptilian

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I have had really good results so far with Rustoleum Countertop Paint. I have only been using it for 2 1/2 years now, so not a real long time sample. However the enclosures with it after 2 1/2 years show absolutely no breakdown of the paint, blistering or moisture problems. Still looks like when I applied it when I brush back the wet substrate to inspect.

A couple of important points after trying everything I could for years. From fiberglass to epoxy, etc, etc. Use a good exterior grade plywood AC grade. Exterior plywood is a better grade of wood and uses a stronger, water resistant glues in construction. The "A" side of the plywood is of the best grade and defects are plugged. So it paints and seals much better. The "c" side is the bottom side of the plywood. Prime the wood with a decent latex primer. Caulk all the joints. Then apply the countertop paint. I use 3 coats on the very bottom where it will have substrate directly on it. It does give off strong fumes a few days, but it is food safe and made for food prep surfaces.

Another option is to go with expanded PVC board for your table. Or get 1/4" (6mm) PVC board and line the inside with it to waterproof. The wood will give more structural strength and the PVC will be waterproof. Just build a tight-fitting inside layer of PVC inside your table. PVC is extremely easy to work with - cuts, sands, drills easier than plywood and simply glues together (welds) with the same PVC cement used to join plumbing pipes.

Thanks Mark. I probably should have considered the PVC as that seems like a good idea. I'm too far along with my build at this point. Have you tried the pond shield stuff? I'm still thinking about it but am not sure if 2 kits would be enough for my huge table. Whatever I use, the plan was to go all the way up the sides with at least two coats. Between the tortoises, the greenhouse, lumber etc I have quite a bit of money invested already. But, I dont want to re-do the table because of mold or water damage in the years to come. Decisions.. decisions..

If anyone is considering epoxy for a coating, although long, this guys video is really informative. He's talking about building plywood fish tanks, but the same theories apply. Worth a watch.


Jeff
 
TortoiseSupply.com

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