Planning next closed chamber enclosure build! (Adult size)

tinytortoise

Active Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Messages
137
Location (City and/or State)
Austin, Texas
Hey there!

This thread is going to be my new build thread which will be in the works going forward. I'd love to hear thoughts, reccommendations, and welcome and relevant links/resources on the topic.

It's been awhile since I've really done a deep dive on the forum and need to catch up on @toms closed chamber thread, it's been a few years - as I know there's a lot of good resources there, likewise with this sub forum.

Apis has grown very fast and just hit 2 years old. We'll be moving next month and the enclosure, is going to be moved to our living room so I want to make sure the new one is presentable, durable, easy to clean/access, provides lots of space for Apis to grow over the coming years, and most importantly can provide a diverse and healthy environment for her.

I'm thinking a combination of PVC (flat) and acrylic will probably be best, but I'm open to wood options, I just want to make sure it's sealed well and won't rot on us.

Dimensions would need to be atleast 8' x 4', or that amount of area, I'd like it to still fit through a doorway without having to tip over and kill my cleanup crew.

This will be a build I'll be tackling over the coming months. I've got all the lighting and fixtures, the basics, in her current enclosure (which you can find in my past build thread - [link it]) will likely update the fixutees and such but for now I'm not too worried about the individual specs so much as the structure itself.

I'll update this thread more moving forward with inspiration pics, build ideas, and the like - anyones input, thoughts, reccommendations, criticisms, etc are welcome!

Thank you!
 

tinytortoise

Active Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Messages
137
Location (City and/or State)
Austin, Texas
Hey there!

This thread is going to be my new build thread which will be in the works going forward. I'd love to hear thoughts, reccommendations, and welcome and relevant links/resources on the topic.

It's been awhile since I've really done a deep dive on the forum and need to catch up on @toms closed chamber thread, it's been a few years - as I know there's a lot of good resources there, likewise with this sub forum.

Apis has grown very fast and just hit 2 years old. We'll be moving next month and the enclosure, is going to be moved to our living room so I want to make sure the new one is presentable, durable, easy to clean/access, provides lots of space for Apis to grow over the coming years, and most importantly can provide a diverse and healthy environment for her.

I'm thinking a combination of PVC (flat) and acrylic will probably be best, but I'm open to wood options, I just want to make sure it's sealed well and won't rot on us.

Dimensions would need to be atleast 8' x 4', or that amount of area, I'd like it to still fit through a doorway without having to tip over and kill my cleanup crew.

This will be a build I'll be tackling over the coming months. I've got all the lighting and fixtures, the basics, in her current enclosure (which you can find in my past build thread - [link it]) will likely update the fixutees and such but for now I'm not too worried about the individual specs so much as the structure itself.

I'll update this thread more moving forward with inspiration pics, build ideas, and the like - anyones input, thoughts, reccommendations, criticisms, etc are welcome!

Thank you!
Alright not quite there yet but we did just complete our move to the new place so now I've got a pretty good idea of what we're working with.

Yesterday I did replace all the greenhouse plastic on the current enclosure, added a new layer of substrate, and added some more rock work under and on top of the soil!

Crazy what a little greenhouse plastic can do!

I don't have before pictures but it was similar just dirty plastic. Got it assembled a bit more seamlessly this time too :)
(Excuse the mess, still unpacking)
MVIMG_20201021_174119.jpg MVIMG_20201021_174115.jpg MVIMG_20201021_174112.jpg MVIMG_20201021_174127.jpg

Lastly here is a pic of the animal plastics enclosure I'm looking at upgrading to or emulating in the future, at which point the current enclosure will likely become a tortoise food planter on the patio :)

Screenshot_20201022-111115.jpg

Open to emulating this design with wood as well, saving up now to hopefully tackle this in the coming months!
 

Attachments

  • MVIMG_20201021_174119.jpg
    MVIMG_20201021_174119.jpg
    1.6 MB · Views: 11
  • MVIMG_20201021_174112.jpg
    MVIMG_20201021_174112.jpg
    1.4 MB · Views: 9

crimson_lotus

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2013
Messages
1,335
Location (City and/or State)
Massachusetts
so I had my enclosure built out of wood and I sort of regret it. The wood is treated but you can tell from all the condensation that the copper in the treated wood is shifting...which worries me about potentially dripping into my tortoises substrate or issues of air quality. I am also still worried that, despite the wood being treated, if it's constantly wet from the condensation it probably will not hold up for very long. https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/condensation-issues-with-wood-treated.186695/#post-1880837

I think if I spread the heating lamps out more evenly I might not have this problem, but I can't because there is no room for lamps due to the large doors. The doors are having the condensation issue.

If I could do things over I would probably buy from Animal plastics or, I believe one of the forum members here was making and selling enclosures built to order. PVC is probably the way to go.
 

tinytortoise

Active Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Messages
137
Location (City and/or State)
Austin, Texas
so I had my enclosure built out of wood and I sort of regret it. The wood is treated but you can tell from all the condensation that the copper in the treated wood is shifting...which worries me about potentially dripping into my tortoises substrate or issues of air quality. I am also still worried that, despite the wood being treated, if it's constantly wet from the condensation it probably will not hold up for very long. https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/condensation-issues-with-wood-treated.186695/#post-1880837

I think if I spread the heating lamps out more evenly I might not have this problem, but I can't because there is no room for lamps due to the large doors. The doors are having the condensation issue.

If I could do things over I would probably buy from Animal plastics or, I believe one of the forum members here was making and selling enclosures built to order. PVC is probably the way to go.
Yeah I definitely have those concerns and will likely stay away from wood other than for structural, such as the stand. I'd like to have the interior all lined and sealed with aquarium grade products, like acrylic, pvc, or glass with waterproof sealant and vents on top to allow it to diffuse a bit.
 

tinytortoise

Active Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Messages
137
Location (City and/or State)
Austin, Texas
~Bringing this thread back for final brainstorming/suggestions prior to ordering new enclosure~

Finally in the talks w/ a local enclosure builder to take on this project!

Attached you'll see an example of his work, comes w/ locks, light fixtures, made from pvc and glass.

We're gonna roll with 8x3ft at this point due to needing to fit through doorways in years to come, adding a 12 in lip on the bottom for deep substrate and a slight visual barrier/litter dam. Will trade off some of the top lip for a higher/larger viewport.

Any suggestions based on the above thread would be appreciated - I can still make adjustments so now's the time to make changes!

P.S. Apis the Hermann's turns 3 today <3
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    520 KB · Views: 22

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,406
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
~Bringing this thread back for final brainstorming/suggestions prior to ordering new enclosure~

Finally in the talks w/ a local enclosure builder to take on this project!

Attached you'll see an example of his work, comes w/ locks, light fixtures, made from pvc and glass.

We're gonna roll with 8x3ft at this point due to needing to fit through doorways in years to come, adding a 12 in lip on the bottom for deep substrate and a slight visual barrier/litter dam. Will trade off some of the top lip for a higher/larger viewport.

Any suggestions based on the above thread would be appreciated - I can still make adjustments so now's the time to make changes!

P.S. Apis the Hermann's turns 3 today <3
You are welcome to look at the enclosures I make for reference. Go to my facebook page - Smart Tortoise Keeper.
Some of what you are dealing with is why I designed the enclosures the way I did. Modular. Expandable, Just slip together and apart for easy moving and fitting through any doorway - even if it wa 1 ft wide.

A few thoughts - For your build... I would suggest going with no more than a 9" litter day to keep the visibility better viewing your tortoise. That give plenty of room for 6" of substrate and still a visibility dam for the tortoise.

30" height is best in my opinion. With the good T5 UVB lights we now have you need about a 20" mounting height. With 6" of substrate, a 3" tall tortoise, and the fixture mounted to the ceiling, not hangning, 3" to bottom of tube, you actually are just at 20" with a 30" tall enclosure. It also gives enough room for doors tall enough for access and cleaning with your 9" litter dam. I standardly use a 6" litter dam as I also have to have room for my electronics chambers towards the top to keep everything hidden. From the picture it looks like you're going to use 3/4" PVC, or 18mm? be sure he puts in a brace across the top 1/2 way to keep sagging to a minimum over time. Also - Keep in mind that will be a very heavy enclosure at that size and quite difficult to move. Is he going to use PVC cement on all the joints, or just screws? PVC is a pretty soft material and it is easy to have screws pull out while moving something that large.
 

tinytortoise

Active Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Messages
137
Location (City and/or State)
Austin, Texas
You are welcome to look at the enclosures I make for reference. Go to my facebook page - Smart Tortoise Keeper.
Some of what you are dealing with is why I designed the enclosures the way I did. Modular. Expandable, Just slip together and apart for easy moving and fitting through any doorway - even if it wa 1 ft wide.

A few thoughts - For your build... I would suggest going with no more than a 9" litter day to keep the visibility better viewing your tortoise. That give plenty of room for 6" of substrate and still a visibility dam for the tortoise.

30" height is best in my opinion. With the good T5 UVB lights we now have you need about a 20" mounting height. With 6" of substrate, a 3" tall tortoise, and the fixture mounted to the ceiling, not hangning, 3" to bottom of tube, you actually are just at 20" with a 30" tall enclosure. It also gives enough room for doors tall enough for access and cleaning with your 9" litter dam. I standardly use a 6" litter dam as I also have to have room for my electronics chambers towards the top to keep everything hidden. From the picture it looks like you're going to use 3/4" PVC, or 18mm? be sure he puts in a brace across the top 1/2 way to keep sagging to a minimum over time. Also - Keep in mind that will be a very heavy enclosure at that size and quite difficult to move. Is he going to use PVC cement on all the joints, or just screws? PVC is a pretty soft material and it is easy to have screws pull out while moving something that large.
Thank you *so* much! I'm tossing all of these altercations that way and seeing what the damage will be <3 makes a lot of sense, appreciate the clarity! Definitely not looking forward to moving it that's for sure!

Luckily haven't placed the order or deposit yet so the timing is perfect!
 

tinytortoise

Active Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Messages
137
Location (City and/or State)
Austin, Texas
Yay we got the deposit on the enclosure placed today!

Made the adjustments too!
-black pvc enclosure with (2) 24” t8 florescent fixtures and one ceramic fixture
-includes a lock
- 96"x36"x30" (extra height)
- top/bottom braces for weight
- cement preferred but open to redundancy w/screws
- 9" bottom lip

Should be ready in about 4-6 weeks! Excited to start planning the interior.

Open for ideas for the stand! Leaning towards something modular, like painted concrete blocks for example, but I need to look around more :) I just know with these dimensions any wooden stand will weigh so much which we will eventually need to move atleast once.

So excited for her to have more space to trample! And a nice secure lock.
 
Last edited:
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top