what add-ons to order with PVC enclosure

leoturt

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Thinking cage size will be 4x2x2, for a baby leopard I am getting in around 8 weeks.

For people who have ordered PVC cages, I am wondering what add ons I should order (if any) to come installed in the enclosure. Does it make sense to order the cage to come installed with an Incandescent Light Fixture, and a Zoomed T5 HO Florescent Fixture with a bulb? (though I may ask for no bulb so I can use my own). I'd imagine it wouldn't look nearly as clean if I tried to install these into the cage myself, or if I just should not get any of these and use my own fixtures.

Also, should I get a 40W or 80W heat panel installed with my order or just install like my own CHE using my own fixture instead? Somebody told me that radiant panels are more expensive but not as desiccating as a CHE.

Lastly, sliding doors or hinged? Sliding doors would seem to have a bit of a gap b/w them which would let out heat and humidity more than hinged, but look nicer than hinged though that's not a big deal since function is more important.
 

Yvonne G

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Well, I LOVE my Vision cages, but I have to admit, they were set up for me by someone else, so I can't help you. But I'll send a shout-out to someone who can: @Kapidolo Farms @Markw84
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Well frankly and with little bias, I strongly suggest you consider the cages from @Markw84 . When the tortoise grows bigger, you can double and even triple the cage in size with fitted look alike additions. No other manufacture builds this into their design. They are double walled, so like dual pane windows it is already insulated with a space of dead air. They come fully wired with controls that you van manage manually at the unit or remotely from your smart phone. IDK about shipping to Canada??

Doors are really whatever is more better for you. think about any cabinet you have used and apply that to the space the enclosure will end up in.

Radiant heat panel is safer than a CHE, if you have on a thermostat then a 40 watt should be enough. I mount them on one end's side wall, that works well to create a gradient. Or just above shell hight on one end, that is also good for a gradient, but not as good.

For lighting there are ever more choices with LED, and I think Arcadia has some that put out UV, all though I may be mistaken. They use less electricity.
 

leoturt

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Well frankly and with little bias, I strongly suggest you consider the cages from @Markw84 . When the tortoise grows bigger, you can double and even triple the cage in size with fitted look alike additions. No other manufacture builds this into their design. They are double walled, so like dual pane windows it is already insulated with a space of dead air. They come fully wired with controls that you van manage manually at the unit or remotely from your smart phone. IDK about shipping to Canada??

Doors are really whatever is more better for you. think about any cabinet you have used and apply that to the space the enclosure will end up in.

Radiant heat panel is safer than a CHE, if you have on a thermostat then a 40 watt should be enough. I mount them on one end's side wall, that works well to create a gradient. Or just above shell hight on one end, that is also good for a gradient, but not as good.

For lighting there are ever more choices with LED, and I think Arcadia has some that put out UV, all though I may be mistaken. They use less electricity.

Thanks a lot for the reply, that really helped. Does mark have a website? That does sound better than what I'm getting, which is from Cornell's world, from Alberta

For a radiant heat panel, if I set it on the side wall, how high should it be from the substrate? Like just above?

I guess being on the side would be a better gradient, but if it's on the ceiling, would it be too high if the cage is 24 height? Like the heat wouldnt reach the tortoise that well for a 40W?

The heat panels look more expensive than CHE, but are the panels more efficient/don't need as much electricity? That would offset the higher cost, but not a big deal if not.

Thanks for the help
 

Tom

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Thinking cage size will be 4x2x2, for a baby leopard I am getting in around 8 weeks.

For people who have ordered PVC cages, I am wondering what add ons I should order (if any) to come installed in the enclosure. Does it make sense to order the cage to come installed with an Incandescent Light Fixture, and a Zoomed T5 HO Florescent Fixture with a bulb? (though I may ask for no bulb so I can use my own). I'd imagine it wouldn't look nearly as clean if I tried to install these into the cage myself, or if I just should not get any of these and use my own fixtures.

Also, should I get a 40W or 80W heat panel installed with my order or just install like my own CHE using my own fixture instead? Somebody told me that radiant panels are more expensive but not as desiccating as a CHE.

Lastly, sliding doors or hinged? Sliding doors would seem to have a bit of a gap b/w them which would let out heat and humidity more than hinged, but look nicer than hinged though that's not a big deal since function is more important.
  • I like the white plastic.
  • I prefer sliding doors, and get the lock if that is an option.
  • Get a 6" littler dam. This will hold in the substrate and the tortoises much better when the door are open for feeding and maintenance. It would suck if your tortoise fell out on the floor.
  • I prefer factory installed light fixtures. Have them put the incandescent fixture to one side and the HO fixture in the middle. At 24" high, you'll need an Arcadia 12% HO bulb.
  • 24" is a great height. Ideal in my experience. 18" can work. 30" is not too tall. 24" is just right.
  • RHP is the way to go. Whether you need a 40 or an 80 depends on your typical room temp. I'd go with the 80 because you will run it on a thermostat. It will never over heat the enclosure, and if you need the extra warmth on a cold night, it will be there. Expanded PVC cages tend to hold the heat in very well.
 

leoturt

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  • I like the white plastic.
  • I prefer sliding doors, and get the lock if that is an option.
  • Get a 6" littler dam. This will hold in the substrate and the tortoises much better when the door are open for feeding and maintenance. It would suck if your tortoise fell out on the floor.
  • I prefer factory installed light fixtures. Have them put the incandescent fixture to one side and the HO fixture in the middle. At 24" high, you'll need an Arcadia 12% HO bulb.
  • 24" is a great height. Ideal in my experience. 18" can work. 30" is not too tall. 24" is just right.
  • RHP is the way to go. Whether you need a 40 or an 80 depends on your typical room temp. I'd go with the 80 because you will run it on a thermostat. It will never over heat the enclosure, and if you need the extra warmth on a cold night, it will be there. Expanded PVC cages tend to hold the heat in very well.
Thanks for all the help, Tom. Your help will go a long way for my tortoise.

Where I live, if the weather rarely goes below like 37.4 °F (3 degrees Celsius where I live), (maybe once every few years or even less often), should I still get a 80W RHP? It is pretty mild temps where I live, so there are no extreme cold temps here. The room the enclosure will be in won't be "insulated" or anything, it will just be like most other rooms where having heating on will make it warmer during such cold days.

Also, if the enclosure is 48" long, what length of the HO fixture should I get? The options are 24", 30", or 36" Zoomed T5 HO Florescent Fixture.

In your experience, where would be the best place to place the RHP?

Thanks for your time.
 

Tom

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Thanks for all the help, Tom. Your help will go a long way for my tortoise.

Where I live, if the weather rarely goes below like 37.4 °F (3 degrees Celsius where I live), (maybe once every few years or even less often), should I still get a 80W RHP? It is pretty mild temps where I live, so there are no extreme cold temps here. The room the enclosure will be in won't be "insulated" or anything, it will just be like most other rooms where having heating on will make it warmer during such cold days.

Also, if the enclosure is 48" long, what length of the HO fixture should I get? The options are 24", 30", or 36" Zoomed T5 HO Florescent Fixture.

In your experience, where would be the best place to place the RHP?

Thanks for your time.
The outside temps don't matter. What is the room temp where the enclosure sits? I'd get the 80 watt RHP. If temps are warm enough, the thermostat will just keep it off more of the time.

I'd get the 22" HO fixture and run it for a few hours mid day, and then use LED lighting on a different timer for light all day.

RHP and HO fixture over the middle.
 

Tom

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There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer for 12 hours a day, and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. You can mount a fixture on the ceiling, or hang a dome lamp from the ceiling. Go lower or higher wattage if this makes the enclosure too hot or not warm enough. Do not use "spot" bulbs, mercury vapor bulbs or halogen bulbs. You can also use a rheostat to dial in the right temp.
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species like sulcatas or leopards. I like this thermostat: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller. Put the probe in the coolest corner away from all heating elements. You may need more than one heating element to spread the heat out for a given enclosure. This one works 24/7 to keep the ambient temp warm enough.
  3. Light. I use florescent tubes for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. I've been using LEDs lately and they are great, and run cooler than a florescent. This can be set on the same timer as the basking bulb.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. It helps to have a UV meter to test and see what your bulb is actually putting out at your mounting height. Plexi-glass or screen tops will filter out some or all of the UV produced by your bulb.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Thanks a lot for the reply, that really helped. Does mark have a website? That does sound better than what I'm getting, which is from Cornell's world, from Alberta

For a radiant heat panel, if I set it on the side wall, how high should it be from the substrate? Like just above? Lower side of panel right at substrate level, it's okay for the tortoise to sit next to, have contact with it.

I guess being on the side would be a better gradient, but if it's on the ceiling, would it be too high if the cage is 24 height? Like the heat wouldnt reach the tortoise that well for a 40W?

The heat panels look more expensive than CHE, but are the panels more efficient/don't need as much electricity? That would offset the higher cost, but not a big deal if not. More expensive, but so much safer.

Thanks for the help
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Heat panels are more expensive to operate but much safer, you mean?

Expense to operate is based on the electricity used. The actual RHP unit is more expensive, a 40 watt radiant heat panel is $70, while a 50 watt CHE about $10. If they both operate with a thermostat the operating cost may be comparable? However you will burn your finger with a CHE, a RHP is safe to touch, no burning, you or anything else.
 
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