Zen Habitat substrate options

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Zen Habitat substrate options

Postby kprnz18 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:43 am

I did some research on the forums already, but I can’t seem to get a generalized consensus specific to the Zen. I moved Gobi into his new 4’x2’x2’ Zen Habitat (thanks Karrie) and I love it! However, I don’t know what substrate to use. I did have him on paper towels in the last setup because I knew it wouldn’t be his forever home. Could I have thoughts on:

Tile
Non-adhesive shelf liner
The mat offered by Zen Habitats

Ease of cleanup? Ease of setup? How to measure for tile? Ease of buggies hiding beneath?

Thanks!
~Kay and Gobi~
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Re: Zen Habitat substrate options

Postby MrSpectrum » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:12 am

See:
Choosing The Best Substrate for a Bearded Dragon
The Best (And Safest) Substrates for Bearded Dragons

I'm using non-adhesive (vinyl?) shelf liner (taped seams & borders with duct or painters tape) under 12x24 ceramic tile.
I believe Karrie uses the same except she uses paper towel under her tile.

This size tiles should fit snugly flush. Size is nominal; they're a little smaller.
Fill in borders with wooden strips if necessary.

Setup & cleanup are very easy, and you can remove the border strips & remove/replace tiles if/when necessary (so far, it hasn't been).

Karrie likes vinegar/water 50/50 for cleanup; I like Nature's Miracle for Stinky Dragons.

I've not had any issues with bugs getting underneath; I feed dubias, BSFL, and worms in a dish they can't crawl out of. If one did escape the bowl and being eaten, it'd likely die within a couple days--no problem. I have no experience with crickets--dubias have better nutritional value, don't stink, don't chirp.
feeder insect nutrition
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Re: Zen Habitat substrate options

Postby kprnz18 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:07 am

I actually didn’t think of using the shelf liner under the tile! Smart! Now I guess my next question, is that if I have my tank measurement as 4x2x2 should I have tile cut to those lengths or will they end up being slightly smaller than that?
~Kay and Gobi~
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Re: Zen Habitat substrate options

Postby MrSpectrum » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:21 am

MrSpectrum wrote:This size tiles should fit snugly flush. Size is nominal; they're a little smaller.
Fill in borders with wooden strips if necessary.

Mine measure 11⅝" x 23½". Choose your tile, then check the box or bring a tape measure (the specs on Home Despot don't give actual dimensions).
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Re: Zen Habitat substrate options

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:06 pm

We measured the tank then went to Home Depot picked out the textured tile and figured the tile pieces we needed - husband cut the tile to fit the tank - we have one narrow piece at the end of the tank going width wise that fits right in in there I use thick shop paper towels under my tile --- cheap from Walmart - dubias that escape the bowl (if) the small ones dont last long they get eaten and the X large end up behind the platform in Hiccups tank - I just go in and get them if he doesnt eat them --- the rest of the bugs/ worms are put in a glass bowl and rarely get out -- if they do I usually find them wandering the tank --
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Re: Zen Habitat substrate options

Postby kprnz18 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:37 pm

Unfortunately neither the Lowe’s or Home Depot near my house cut tile :( I found some ceramic slate tile 11.5”x23.5” making it just too big. Not sure what to do now. I don’t have a tile cutting saw and really wouldn’t trust myself to make straight cuts anyways...
~Kay and Gobi~
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Re: Zen Habitat substrate options

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:48 pm

yes you do need a tile saw to cut it - we bought one from Harbor Freight for pretty cheap - regular saws will leave jagged edges --- you can use textured non adhesive shelf liner -- cleaned the same way and insects cannot get underneath - again cut it to the size of your tank
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Re: Zen Habitat substrate options

Postby kprnz18 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:58 pm

I did get the shelf liner and cut that to size. Also big brother is coming to my rescue and letting me borrow his wet saw :) So until this weekend I’ll just use the shelf liner. Thanks guys!
~Kay and Gobi~
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Re: Zen Habitat substrate options

Postby MrSpectrum » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:02 pm

I know what you're going through; I found the same here, so I designed my enclosure around the tiles, so they wouldn't need cutting.

[EDIT]
kprnz18 wrote:Unfortunately neither the Lowe’s or Home Depot near my house cut tile :( I found some ceramic slate tile 11.5”x23.5” making it just too big.

What are the inside dimensions of a Zen enclosure?
Which way is it too big; installing the tiles this way |||| or this way ═ ═ ?
The first way, it'll measure 46 x 23.5
The second way, it'll measure 47 x 23
Were you to use 12" square tiles (assuming 11.5 x 11.5) it'll measure 46 x 23
[/EDIT]

If none of those will work, are there any real tile stores in your area? They're likely to be a bit more expensive (or not, if you can find leftovers/odd/discontinued tiles they'd like to get rid of) but they may be willing to cut a few (4?) tiles for you.

If you can beg, borrow, rent, or barter the use of a tile cutter (not a tile saw), scoring & breaking tile is very easy and accurate (check out YT for a video on cutting tile). For 24" tiles, you're going to need a BIG cutter.

Try Craigs List and/or Angie's List for tile installers, call a few up, and explain your situation with exactly what you want/need from them. You might get lucky! :)
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