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Old 12-09-2013, 06:18 AM   #31
Learner
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Im having trouble with my heated cave. I bought some flex watt heat tape and went ahead on the build. I secured the heat tape to a 12" x 24" piece of slate that will rest on the floor of the tank. I then placed another piece of slate on top of it will some spacers that give a nice air pocket. I plugged it into the thermostat and nothing happened. After plugging it into the wall directly, the heat tape began to heat up a little. Bad thermostat i guess. It sure didnt seem to get very hot though and after letting it sit for an hour or so, the top piece didnt seem to get all that warm to the touch. Any ideas???
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:57 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Learner View Post
Im having trouble with my heated cave. I bought some flex watt heat tape and went ahead on the build. I secured the heat tape to a 12" x 24" piece of slate that will rest on the floor of the tank. I then placed another piece of slate on top of it will some spacers that give a nice air pocket. I plugged it into the thermostat and nothing happened. After plugging it into the wall directly, the heat tape began to heat up a little. Bad thermostat i guess. It sure didnt seem to get very hot though and after letting it sit for an hour or so, the top piece didnt seem to get all that warm to the touch. Any ideas???

What type/brand of thermostat are you using? How many watts is the heat tape? Also where did you place your themp probe? I have very limited experience with heat tape. I haven't heard of to many using heat tape between slate. Its more common to see people using heat cord between two pieces of tile. The temperature in your house may be to cold for the enclosure to reach optimum temperature. You might need to use a secondary heat source for the winter.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:27 AM   #33
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I am on the road to figuring out the heated cave. I am getting good temp readings from the slate and the column of air within 4 inches of the slate. heat quickly disapates after that.........made the cave's ceiling shorter and its good to go now. Bad thermostat.............new one is coming soon. I havent run any tests in the tank yet as the bottom piece of slate is still accepting too much heat. I'm getting 108+ degrees underneath the slate. Im going to have to raise the bottom slate with risers. Should take the readings down a bit. The 150 watt ceramic hood can raise the ambient temp of the warm side fairly well and it will sit almost directly above the heated cave. Got some finishing touches started on the water section today. I used titebond III + cocco fiber as well as gorilla glue mixed with organic top soil, moss, and dried dune grass............... this is my favorite part of the build, the finishing touches! Hope it turns out. Gonna start playing with the excavator clay tomorrow. Have you ever used it before??
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Old 12-18-2013, 05:45 AM   #34
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I had some time to do some finishing work so I thought I would update the progress with a few pics. I concentrated on touch up to the rocks, some more dry brushing, and titebond mixture for detail.

I also started placing a few succulents which I was disappointed with. The greens really took away from the desert look. I had planned on most of the plants being near the water feature but they looked too lush. I did however think the grasses turned out nice. They are all removable clumps of various sizes that can be shifted around way better than I had anticipated!

I should be able to find a nice terra-scape for this build after all.

Nothing is planted or set in stone in these pics so feel free to offer suggestions.

Each picture is about 36" x 24" x 24" of tank space!
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:42 PM   #35
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I like it! The grasses look cool and I don't think the greens ruin the desert look.
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Old 12-21-2013, 03:24 AM   #36
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I actually like the green... It looks sort of like you have a tiny oasis that's tucked away in the desert somewhere, and that's about the sort of place I'd expect to find a leopard gecko in the wild.
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Old 12-21-2013, 04:46 AM   #37
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I actually like the green... It looks sort of like you have a tiny oasis that's tucked away in the desert somewhere, and that's about the sort of place I'd expect to find a leopard gecko in the wild.
aewsome, thats what i was going for! I made some progress on the cave system. Got it all wired with led blacklights and temperature probes. It fits good and can no get the finishing touches. I have to hide the slate somewhat with the titebond III mixtures.......they still need to be lightened up with a layer of sand.

I think I have an idea for the substrate. The excavator clay is completely the wrong color and unless I can successfully paint it, I have to find another avenue. Am thinking custom made mats of pea gravel 3mm and play sand

more to come......
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:30 AM   #38
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I have finally finished the hardscape! HOpe you like it. I managed to have very little loose substrate and only a few places where a gecko could dig or cause trouble. NOw I can focus on temp and humidity while the plants acclimate!

JD
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:02 PM   #39
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That's nice, that's really nice.

I wish other animal keeping hobbies were as awesome as aquariums at creating environments.

Like, if those pics were black and white, thy could easily look like an aquascape.
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:41 PM   #40
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I have finally finished the hardscape! HOpe you like it. I managed to have very little loose substrate and only a few places where a gecko could dig or cause trouble. NOw I can focus on temp and humidity while the plants acclimate!

JD
That last photo really puts the whole 150 gallons into perspective. That is a great tank.
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Old 02-03-2014, 04:51 AM   #41
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That last photo really puts the whole 150 gallons into perspective. That is a great tank.
thanks!!! I have been looking at it so much I cannot seem to catch the little things that will make it flow better. Obviously the major things cannot be moved..........but all of the grass is removable..............anyhting you would move around?
I have a few ideas of clumps that may look better elsewhere or removed but I dont want to taint others perspectives. I am jsut too close to this beast.
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:53 AM   #42
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I say once its setup and the leo's in, see how they react and maybe they'll give you ideas to what needs to be adjusted.

Let the animals decide
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:55 PM   #43
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Eh, it's ok. I expected so much more from you Jake ;-)

Seriously, very awesome job, you outdid yourself on this one!!
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:57 AM   #44
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I am extremely short on time, so please forgive me for the short response.

First and foremost I commend you for putting this much time, effort, and thought into setting up the proper enclosure for a reptile.

Forgive me, but I feel this must be said. Please get the trial and error out of the way before introducing any livestock. Like most animals, reptiles hide there illnesses extremely well. For the novice keepers or even intermediate keepers it is not easy differentiating between normal behavior and signs of illness. Generally trial and error with reptiles doesn't end well.

The main thing is that the temperature should never go higher then the maximum recommended temperature for said species. Keep in mind reptiles can and will survive temperatures below what is recommended for them. They will not handle higher then recommended temperatures. They will actually succumb a whole hell of a lot faster to higher temperatures then lower temperatures.

As far as the visual aspect of the enclosure goes, I feel you are getting somewhere. You have to bare in mind deserts are barren places. Yes, E. macularius occupy kind of a oasis type nice in the desert but, it is a desert nonetheless. I would stick with a staple of grass like plants with maybe a broad leaf plant of two here and there for variety.

If you ever visit a true desert first hand you will be hard-pressed to find a area even twice the size of your enclosure with more then two plant species.

To reiterate my main point...

Get your parameters straight before introducing livestock.

Other then those suggestions you are on the right path. I feel your willingness to research and invest the time and money to make the perfect habitat for your animals needs to be noted, and I commend you for that. I see far to many people jump the gun when it comes to specialized animals care and screw it all up. If you ever have any questions for me my e-mail is p.jw_91@yahoo.com. Keep up the great work.

Regards, Patrick
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:32 AM   #45
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I say once its setup and the leo's in, see how they react and maybe they'll give you ideas to what needs to be adjusted.

Let the animals decide
good call!!!! thanks
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