Over the holidays, I inherited an iguana. She, I think it is a she, is approximately 6 - 7 months old. Her STL, Snout to Tail, length is 16 inches. Originally, this lizard was sent over in an overcrowded 10 gallon tank. Complete with undersized frog hut dwelling log, two over-sized containers for food and water, filthy substrate, and a large crack along one side of the tank. She couldn't stretch out comfortably.
Her new, temporary setup is a 65 gallon nylon, "REPTARIUM", made by, "APOGEE". This is a tube frame with a full, zipper access, nylon cover. In the bottom I threw in a custom cut vinyl carpet protector. I spent $3.25 for the vinyl carpet protector to protect my bar from lizard dropping bacteria. The vinyl has a couple layers of newspaper to help maintain a clean cage. On the top of the cage is a 100W heat lamp, and an 18in. "Zoo Med Iguana Light UVB 5.0", that sits 8in. above her hot and cold branch. The hot branch is more directly under the 100W bulb, while the cold branch is more under the fluorescent UVB lamp, which generates less heat. There are some nice picks of driftwood that I pulled from the freezing stream around here.
All is well, but from reading articles on the internet, I don't think this will last for more than another 6 - 10 months.
What I want to do is make a large cage that sits 4 feet above the ground, and goes all the way up to the ceiling. This should leave plenty of room for storage underneath, dressers, small refrigerator, and various other lizard stuff. The final dimensions will be approximately (3.5ft. tall X 2.5ft. deep X 5ft. long).
My question is this. What should I make this out of so that it is...
- Easy to clean, yet not plastic or empty looking.
- Not an ugly PVC and wire cage. (I don't want a traveling zoo look)
- Able to hold heat and humidity that I create inside. (More than a screen cage does.)
- Ultimately, visually appealing. (More than a 2X4 and plywood cage.)
Things that I have had to consider for this setup, in addition to my personal demands are...
- Substrates have to be...
. . - Large enough to not be eaten accidentally.
. . - Small enough to pass through with ease.
. . - Disposable, like newspaper.
. . - Washable, like riverbed stone.
. . - (I don't want this to weigh 800 lbs...)
- Walls must allow free-flowing air when forced ventilation isn't present. (I am going to use forced air, with a screen door backup.)
- Habitat surfaces must be able to handle peroxide, and vinegar sprays. (For killing germs and bacteria... Target is salmonella and urea)
The rest has already been taken care of, design wise. Iguanas spend 95% of their time lingering in the highest places, fully stretched out, and feel secure at the highest points. That is why the cage rests 4 feet above my floor, if they aren't going to be there, why waste that space. It would be like buying a 200 gallon tall tank for a millipede.
The heat and humidity ranges will be as follows...
Humidity Target = 70%, High = 80%, Low = 60%
Heat Target = 75F, High = 90F, Low = 60F
Notes on operation of climate control...
(90F in basking area, sensor drilled into wood, just under bark.)
(Fresh air (72F) enters at Mid section.)
(Humidity enters at High section, falling as it cools.)
(Air drain is at Low section.)
(Emergency air drain is at High section. Triggers when temp rises above 90F, on cool side of the top.)
(Night temp values are 15F lower then above.)
20Gal. Long (Green-House) and 55Gal. Tall (Primary Tank)
4 Fire-Belly Toads, 2 Fire-Belly Newts,
2 Giant Black Millipedes, 1 Grey Tiger Salamander