Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

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Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby kstwrites90 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 3:50 pm

Hello everyone,

I will be a first time owner, and I've been researching enclosures and the best types for a reasonable price. I was wondering if it was possible to turn a regular 40 gallon aquarium tank into an terrarium with a door on the front (removing the glass pane and replacing it with the door)? If it is, what would you use for a front door and how could you install to the front? Are there conversion kits for this type of thing? I know there are for geckos and other arboreal reptiles on a smaller scale, but is there for large, horizontal enclosures?

I've read front doors are better than tanks because bearded dragons do not like you reaching down from the top for them, as it mimics prey, so that it is why I would prefer a terrarium. For those that have regular aquarium tanks, have you noticed if it distressing them if you do go in from the top for them? Also, since tanks are glass, is it hard to keep them warm? My house stays on the colder side in winter and hotter in summer.

Also, would it be more cost effective to simply build a simple enclosure? The breeder I've chosen says oak and birch are safe to use, but are there other types of wood (no melamine, as I've read it can release toxins and be harmful)? Is plywood safe and durable? I would tile the entire thing if I went this route, so would sealing the wood still be necessary? Safety for my future little guy is of the utmost importance to me.

Thanks for any help and suggestions,
.ks.
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby KarrieRee » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:50 pm

Check out the DIY board on this website maybe some of those questions can be answered and you might get some ideas there
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:53 pm

You're probably best off building one from scratch out of plywood. Using a non treated fairly high quality plywood will allow you to build the sides and frame if you have some tools available. Then you could install rails and either sliding front doors out of plexiglass or glass (less susceptible to scratches) or you could install a hinge and have the door drop down. There are a lot of options available based on preference. I would look at plans for a "crossfire" enclosure as a place to start and tweak to your preferences. A lot of people have good luck repurposing old furniture and turning that into an enclosure if the dimensions are large enough.
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby razorback » Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:19 am

I have had my beardie, George, for about a year. She started out in a 36"x24"x18" cage. I would occasionally let her out into the room which is my office, music, and fly tieing room to roam about. After awhile she would scurry around and climb the walls when I put her back in her cage. Lately I have moved all her accouterments (basking area, UVA and UVB lights, hide and lunch box) from her cage to against the wall and now she has full access to the whole room. She obviously enjoys her new accommodations!
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby razorback » Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:58 am

A couple of pics of George's corner of the room. On the left is her cave, guarded by the spirit of an ancestor. She is sitting on her basking porch, she prefers the basking light from below. Above her are the UVA and UVB lights. This setup is way more cost effective than any cage with the benefit of LOTS of roaming space. Occasionally she comes over and crawls up my leg, what a pal![Click image to enlarge]
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:08 am

I am not sure the way that basking light is positioned is gonna help w/ the digestion process-- dragons heat from their backs not stomachs I have been told- and to me it looks like too much of a risk from being burned
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby razorback » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:43 am

Well KarrieRee, I got George about a year ago and her basking light was outside the cage shining down on a rock. She never sat on the rock. Instead she climbed the cage so her belly was next to the light. I have always taken her lead on that. The "porch" is covered on 4 sides and top with a material mesh. Inside that is a lamp fixture that has the same type mesh covering the bulb. The temperature at the place George occupies is a constant 110 degrees and she LOVES it. I have taken precautions that she can never crawl directly on the bulb. One thing for sure, she really likes full access to the whole room, she is quite the runner.
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:47 am

Ok and where is the UVB or is she getting outside every day for that? She needs UVB - windows dont do enough as it is filtered - she would need direct sunlight-
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby MrSpectrum » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:09 pm

KarrieRee wrote:Ok and where is the UVB or is she getting outside every day for that? She needs UVB - windows dont do enough as it is filtered - she would need direct sunlight-
Karrie

I think--from previous post--it's in that black enclosure (BICBW).
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby razorback » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:23 pm

Above George's porch there are 2 lamp fixtures, first is a Zilla Reptile Slimlight (UVB) and second is a black light (UVA). Only the best for my dragon.
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:49 pm

Well the black light colored bulbs have been known to cause eye damage and disrupt their sleep-- dragons like cool and dark- and the zilla Slimline bulbs are not the greatest- I would recommend changing that bulb over to a Reptisun 10.0 T 5-- no cover on the fixture and 12-15 inches from basking spot- I think it's great you have him out roaming free but you also need to set up good lights for him
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby razorback » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:16 pm

Karrie
Thank you for all that information. George's cave is pitch black dark and she goes in at about 6PM every day and stays until about 9 the next morning. All lights in the room are out around 10PM. George is very visually acute, active, and healthy with her lights and a diet of veggies and crickets. Could she have a better environment? Couldn't we all?
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby MrSpectrum » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:22 pm

KarrieRee wrote:I would recommend changing that bulb over to a Reptisun 10.0 T 5-- no cover on the fixture and 12-15 inches from basking spot-

Karrie,

Have you been following the Sunblaster reflector thread?
That figure may have to be modified for those of us with Sunblaster T5 fixtures. Using a Solarmeter, I get sufficient values (from 3 Reptisun 10.0s I tested) at around 7-9 inches from the bulb with or without Sunblaster reflector or aluminum foil reflector.

I have no data on a Reptisun fixture w/ reflector.

YMMV.
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Re: Tank to Terrarium and other options? Help!!

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:10 pm

No I have not and she has the Zilla slimline bulb -- from what I understand they dont put out very good UVB - I had read about the Sunblasters but do not use them -- I am currently using Arcadias
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