Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

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Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby zampano » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:09 pm

Hey all,

Hope you're all doing well! Anti and I are both really excited because her new Zen Habitat apartment finally showed up in the mail. Just got it all set up, easily done, and now I'm going through all the set up motions to see I can get good light, heat and humidity before we move her out of her old viv. She's outgrowing it faster each day :)

I've been experimenting with both the single dome and the combo (double) dome I have for basking lights and, while I can get a proper basking temperature (juvenile) I can't get the lights to really heat up the remainder of the tank. Even with them hanging inside from the lid. I started experimenting with 2 basking bulbs and a CHE to see where I can get things but its starting to seem overly-complicated, and also I feel weird about giving her possibly "2 suns" to choose from, if that makes sense.

All I have right now is a 100w basking bulb, a 65w basking bulb, and a 65w CHE.

I'm guessing I'm going to need something stronger than a 100w basking bulb and a larger stronger dome to match. Then maybe the CHE on the other end/middle of the tank if needed? Would it help maybe to have the basking spot a little more central than off to one side?

I'm already strained budget-wise so I thought I'd see if anyone had any advice before I go off on another spending spree. Going to Petco today to shop around but mostly just wanted to get some new furniture, so maybe won't buy anything right away. Last time I was there there was a 165w zoo med basking bulb in the clearance bin I kept thinking of grabbing, it was half off, but hadn't needed anything that strong yet.

Anyway the room is usually in the 60's, but 70's when hot and 50's in the winter, I think. And the humidity is up in the 70's on average. Can't do much about those external conditions. Anyone have any thoughts on a good set up for the Zen tanks in these kind of conditions?

many thanks!
zampano
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:19 pm

Here is a pic of how I have my Zen set up - the CHE is in the back of the tank in the middle it is only used for winter months 100 watt keeps my tanks in the 70's - I live in MN and the room I have them in is my office/ computer room - it is a warmer room - I am using a zoom Med 150 watt bulb for winter I have had to lower the wattage to 100 for the summer - both tanks were getting too hot w/ the 150 watt - I will haft to go back to the 150 this winter -- your room you have them in will play apart on what you use for bulbs - its going to be trial and error just make sure you have a digital probe thermometer - my basking bulbs sit on top of the tank the only thing in the tank is the UVB and they are Zoo Med fixtures w/ one a Reptisun 10.0 T 5 and the other one in the other tank is a Arcadia 14% getting changed next week to the Reptisun 10.0 T 5 - when I tried ordering Arcadias no one had them they were all out of stock --
this is Blazes tank
[Click image to enlarge]

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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby zampano » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:50 pm

always most helpful, thank you Karrie!

I'm going to borrow what I can from your setup and work my way out from there for now ;)

Of course am going to have more questions eventually and will have pics to share one we're a little more set up.

all the best
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby zampano » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:26 pm

Ok, picked up a few things, not everything, but off to a good start!

I got a new dome that could handle a 150W zoo med bulb and have that set up on the right side, towards the back corner. I'm using the hideaway as a temporary stand-in for Anti's basking log, and I measured to ensure they are the same height. Under the lamp, in the basking spot, it's right at 110 right now.

The rest of the tank STILL wasn't heating up much though, in the 70's - lower 80's. So I tried using the 65W CHE I already have in the combo dome I already have. On top of the mesh, it didn't make much a difference at all. But then I hung it inside the tank, in the middle/back, and finally, finally got the general temperature in the lower 80's on the left, 91 under the CHE in the middle, and 89 on the right (the ground in front of where the basking branch would be).

* I also have the Zoo Med 24" 10.0 HO uvb light currently sitting above the mesh, which I just thought maybe would add even 1 degree of heat perhaps. I know it doesn't emit much heat, but still. Am going to buy some UV resistant zip ties to hang it inside however, and who knows, maybe that helps a tiny bit too. I also put a lightweight towel over the left half of the mesh screen to see if I could 'trap' some more heat inside.

Now because I don't have much furniture in there right now, the ambient temps are being taken on the substrate/matt. Since it's so tall, I imagine there's a gradient just going up and down to some degree, but I kind of wish it were a little warmer. Maybe okay for an adult but a little low for a kid.

The room the viv is in is 70 right now and this seems to be the best I can do with the tools I have. Not super breezy right now but it often is in SF and there's not a whole lot I can do about that most the time, and that will usually bring things down a little bit.

Also I realize I've been relying heavily on the basking lamp in the little tank we have now to help dehumidify the thing. Right now I am FINALLY getting a reading of about 41% humidity in the middle of the tank, and I have the obligatory box of Arm & Hammer helping me out as well, but I'm going to be a little nervous about keeping that lower as well. I looked online at all sorts of small dehumidifiers that were recommended and animal-safe, and most of them sound like junk. At least the ones I could afford.

So I'm thinking about 2 things right now:

1. How to increase the ambient temp by 5-10 degrees as needed. I could buy a newer, stronger CHE? I could even buy a 2nd one if that isn't too crazy and use two side by side in that combo dome?

2. How I can control the humidity in there a little more. Maybe I just need a family size box of baking soda? :p

thanks and best yall[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby KarrieRee » Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:25 am

Your humidity if fine --- 41% is good ---- you may haft to put your lights in the tank to increase ambient heat --- My tanks are in a sunny room so it helps w/ the temps- I would look at putting your tank in a warmer room of the house and off the floor --- what is the tank sitting on now? Its odd that tank is not heating up more in a room that is 70 degrees- that is what my room is and my tanks have no problem getting to the temps I need them - I would get your decor in there and then start taking temps on the decor pieces that is where he will be sitting --
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby zampano » Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:58 am

Thanks Karrie,

So I'm just kind of using that table as a workspace while I do this, but the viv is gonna go on top of a bookshelf in the middle of the living room. It's really the only room big enough for this thing! The room is the only room with windows. The windows are up very high, like 10-15 feet. We live in a repurposed department store so it's a tall loft-style setup with concrete walls all around. No real direct sunlight where the tank will be but there will be some natural light. Plus it's San Francisco so it's more often than not VERY foggy outside and sun overcast. We kind of need to keep the windows open most of the time so we get some air circulation in our place. This also lets in the cold (was 60 out there around 9am today) and the cold winds.

I'll play around today and see how easy it might be to hang that dome on the inside, as I'm sure that would do it. Might need to downgrade back to the 100W if I can pull that off, but we'll noodle around. Might need to get something shorter than the current basking log.

Good the humidity seems okay. I've had more success keeping it closer to 30 in the small tank but I'm also guessing once I get the temp up a little bit in the new one, the humidity will probably drop a few degrees too.

Need to start collecting more decor. I never expected wood and rocks to be so costly! :)

you're the best thank you!
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby KarrieRee » Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:05 am

Just make sure to bake that outside decor to kill whatever is living in it-- PetSmart has nice decor-
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby zampano » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:45 pm

Finally got some good temps! The heat lamp (150w) was too much inside, so it’s back on the roof. The CHE though (60w) needs to be inside or it doesn’t do anything really.

[Click image to enlarge]

As you can see, little Anti is popping out of her skin all the time now. Bigger by the day (good news!). So while the new viv ain’t quite ready, I’m letting her hang out in there a little bit each day so she’s used to it, and so she has a little more play room. She really likes her new basking branches it seems, and maybe a little confusion that half the stuff in there is wood instruments so far :P

[Click image to enlarge]


Anyway here’s the challenges I had so far:

1. FYI for anyone who might find it helpful, getting a 120gal tank warm and dry enough can take a LOT longer than a tiny 10gal tank. Go figure. At first I had the heat bulb inside the tank.

2. I was testing lights at first off just an ungrounded extension cord/splitter. Not the best idea. I blew out the first 150w bulb I had after just one day. Fortunately the dome is fine and I replaced it (ZooMed) with a ExoTerra 150, and have been more careful with the electrics since. This was the first time I started thinking “hey, all this could totally start a fire at some point!”

So Im waiting in the mail for a timer power strip/surge protector. All the affordable ones have some unavoidable bad reviews, but I took the plunge on the BN-LINK analog model as it seemed to have the best overall feedback.

Also waiting on some UV resistant zip ties so I can hang the UVB inside as well*

3. I’m provably answering my own question by bringing this up- but when I first got the CHE I had the dome hanging off the roof of my tank for a few and it melted the plastic part of the roof to hell. The lid still slides on/off and the CHE still works but...after that the CHE surface itself looked different. Not cracked per se but more like how an old ceramic plate starts to look (pic below)

[Click image to enlarge]


I’ve been trying to avoid spending another $30-40 for another CHE quite yet so I’ve just been using it, when dragon not in cage, to ensure it works okay. But does this look especially dangerous to anyone? I looked online and there’s plenty of cheap ones but I feel like I should be getting a brand name in this case. If it’s at serious risk of cracking sometime soon then I probably need a new one. But if this is just how they start to look after a whole and hold up okay, that’d be a relief to know. I don’t mind replacing bulbs but these CHEs are costly...

Anyway if anyone has any thoughts on that particular or needs to brow beat me for not replacing it ASAP feel free)

Any other notes on the viv as well! They are great I gotta say. Only real complaint so far is that the bamboo panels don’t support suction cups very well. Even when I change out to heavy duty cups it can only hold so much weight.

Other positive reviews: the Bend-a-Bridge that you can buy at Petco in the hamster section is like $5 and makes an awesome little hide/bridge that you can make any shape you want. Love it.

Also, the little ladder I made out of a bamboo pan pipe I had. When she climbs up/slides down it it makes musical sounds!

Anyhow, once I have a final setup we’ll be sure to share. And ask for more feedback I’m sure. Ordered a set of harness/leashes too in hopes she might be big enough to fit into a small by now ))

Take care y’all
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:58 pm

I use a 100 watt che on top of screen in winter months- keeps my tanks 70 degrees- I have the same issue w/ my suction cups on the digital probe thermometer too so I don't use them-- I am assuming your going to put a decor piece directly under the UVB 12-15 inches? The temp of the room makes a difference w/ basking temps-- warm room shouldn't have a problem cold room not so much-- no floors also an issue-- the only light i have in my zens is the uvb
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'A

Postby zampano » Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:17 pm

Hm, so you mean like she should have something to bask on under the UVB as well? Like she should have something for basking right under the UVB in *addition* to the decor under the heat lamp?

I could already tell it would be difficult to make that 12-15 happen but I was hopeful I could make it work with some clever zip tying. But this seems trickier than the little tank. (Using a ZooMed 24” fixture with the Reptisun 10.0 HO in the new one)

As for the CHE wattage that dome is only for 75 max so I was thinking if I get a stronger one I’d have to get a stronger dome too. To your point though, I might just sleep a little better not having it inside the tank just in general. The mesh top seems like a pretty good safety precaution. So guess Ill try to bite the expense when I can if I can’t fix the temp some other way.
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby zampano » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:30 pm

Hey Karrie,

Just wanted to thank you again for all the help. Today was the big move!

[Click image to enlarge]


Antidamn seemed a little apprehensive at first but after just an hour in her new digs she’s making herself totally at home. She’s got more than enough (hopefully not too much) playful decor in there, places to hide, basking spots under the heat as well as under the UV, and given how quickly she just scarfed her dinner down I think she’s gonna be plenty comfy.

And as we’re having a heatwave I’m grateful to get those heat lamps away from my bedside and have her lights on a timer finally :)

I’m still gonna have a bunch of longwinded questions no doubt, but until then!

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


Thanks and best
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby KarrieRee » Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:20 am

Your UVB bulb did you get the 14% Arcadia bulb? And is it directly over the rock or towards the middle or over the long branch in the back -- I cant tell -- I am assuming its over the rock---- if its not the 14% I would suggest either lowering the fixture more so its the 12-15 inches for the 12% or getting the basking decor w/ in that range -- other than that the tank looks really good
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby zampano » Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:25 am

It’s the Reptisun 10.0 HO. I basically copied your set up so it’s above the rock toward the front, and it doesn’t look like it in the picture but I just measure it about 13” directly above the top of the rock :)

I got used to her in the 10 gal tank where getting both heat and UVB at the same time was easy. This set up seems more like she has choice to either bask on that branch under the heat (back/right) or on her rock if she wants UVB, does that seem right? So far she’s moving around from place to place but not spending *as much* time under either of those bulbs as she used to, by default. She also seems grateful for the expanded hiding space. She’s no genius but I’m hoping she knows what’s best for her!
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby KarrieRee » Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:39 am

She does she will go to the light she needs- mine do the same-- some days they don't bask under the UVB just heat-- blaze seems to bask under his UVB in the morning for a few hrs then moves over under his heat lamp then will retreat to under his cave or rock- hes sitting under his UVB now been there since he woke up this morning- so you have good distance and she's moving around that's good
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Re: Need lighting tips for Zen Habitat 2x2x4'

Postby zampano » Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:04 am

Great, thanks!
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