New DIY tall viv build - help before I get started!


New member

We've recently rehomed a 2.5yo Beardie and I feel his enclosure is too small. We've been gifted a glass fronted cabinet and plan to turn that into a custom vivarium for him.

The measurements are approx 47"x 47"x 16" Its a completely empty box effectively so we can build what we want, however we want.

He loves to climb so I thought this would give him plenty of space to do so and plan to fill it with drift wood, fake rocks and a mix of potted and fake plants.

Does anyone think this size would be ok? I'm a bit worried about the depth, his current enclosure is about 45"L x 19"D x 16"H and I'm hoping the loss of a couple of inches depth is made up for in the addition of so much height.

Second concern is the lighting. We are hoping to use the lighting from his old viv and then add anything else needed to save some money!

He currently has one heat lamp which I think is currently 100W and two UVB strips, one at the back and one at the front. I'd need to check the spec of these as we've not replaced them yet, but I'm hoping to use the mounts / surround regardless and use the t5 bulbs I see recommended on here.

My main question is, how much extra lighting should I use, where would you put these, and what distance should I keep the platforms from the bulbs?

I was thinking of having two heat lamps at the top as I am not sure how I could incorporate a heat lamp within the enclosure itself. And then put additional UVB lower down under a platform to ensure there is UVB throughout?
I don't intend for any platforms to go all the way across and section off any part of it, so hope heat and light will reach all areas and it will form a nice temperature gradient (something I'm struggling to achieve with his current small tank)

The unit is made of melamine, does this need further sealing in any way?

Any help greatly appreciated, I really want to get this build right from the start, and also don't want to get far into it and then find out it's not suitable or I've got the specs wrong.



CooperDragon Sicko
Staff member
I think that will make a fantastic enclosure! You could build some shelves to provide multiple levels that you can set up to provide different heat/light exposure. For example, one could have a basking light and a UVB tube and provide high heat and high UVB. Another could just have a basking light and provide heat with no UVB so he can move around and choose what he wants at a given time. I think in this case, the extra height should help make up for lack of depth. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!


New member
Original Poster
Thanks, that's reassuring!

I definitely envision it being 'zoned' to give him options and choice; it's just working out the logistics of such!

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