The Dragon's Lair

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Makes sense, I was thinking those were probably going to be your reasons, but it does make sense from the maintenance side of things too, which I didn't consider.

I think it will definitely be some cool enrichment for Jackson to get some rainy day hydration every once in awhile. What a lucky beardie.

-Brandon
 

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
Before the dirt goes in, I decided to put in a drainage layer. I debated and went back and forth.. I've never used one with the Terra Sahara on my other builds ,but I figured it couldn't hurt. Also since I am planning on adding a lot of heavy rocks, at the very least it will help disperse the load a bit.

Used Hydroballs from amazon.. about 1 ½ bags. They are very lightweight and inexpensive and totally inert.

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I've seen various methods of isolating the drainage from the substrate, but I am borrowing a method that I use for my aquariums, popularized by MD fishtanks if anyone is familiar. He puts Aquasoil in plastic filter bags and buries them in sand to hide them.. In this case we will put the Clay Pebbles in the bags.. I really like this idea as the drainage layer is more secure.. If he does decide to dig all the way to drainage layer it would be really hard for him to do much damage or pull up the barrier. Time will tell...

Here are the bags I used..
They are a fine mesh and have a plastic zipper.. nothing metal that can rust!

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I fill them about 1/3 way or (fill too much and the drainage layer will be too thick! I just wanted a 1 inch layer. It also helps to rinse out the hydro balls to get rid of all the dust before putting them in. The bags also worked as a great vessel to rinse them in too.
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magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
Well that was a lot of work! Hand mixed the DIY substrate for a better part of a day. This enclosure used A LOT of substrate.. enough for 8 to 10 inches of depth! One of the reasons I wanted a 3 foot high Enclosure and one like Kages that has a super tall substrate dam.

I kinda lost track but here's a rough breakdown of materials used..

  • 4.5 bags of topsoil
  • 4 bags of sand
    • Helps with drainage
  • 2.5 Kg Coco Coir Brick
    • Helps form moisture pockets in substrate for CUC
    • Resists compaction
    • Assists in aeration of soil
  • One 44 pound Exo-Terra Stone Dessert
    • Clay based
    • Helps maintain burrows and hides

I also added...
  • 1 Quart Horticultural Carbon
    • Supports CUC such as springtails
    • Helps absorb smells/ keep substrate fresh
    • Helps with drainage
  • 4 cups of Earthworm casings
    • Good source of food for CUC
    • Natural source of nutrients for plants
  • 2 to 3 Quarts of locally collected Leaf litter (live oak from this last fall)
    • Mixed into the substrate
    • Provides food source to CUC
    • Helps resist compaction
    • Breaks down and provides nutrients to plants

Now I have an expensive box of dirt.. with a very "fresh,earthy" smell LOL!! 😋
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magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
I'm waiting for hardscaping materials and plants, so I thought it would be a good time to clean up some of the wiring. I hate having a mess of cables and hoses scattered about. I really like these cable organizers for cleaning things up...

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They come in two pieces. The bottom cable tray sticks to the surface with two-sided tape and the plastic tray cover just snaps into place. It's really easy to take on and off as needed and it comes with nifty little connection pieces to connect it all together.

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Back of enclosure. Main power cable for thermostat and power plug for the Lumenize run through center. Basically, only two power cords for lighting!! The Arcadia system is great as you can link all the lights together and not need as many plugs.

Also had room to run the water lines for dripper system a misting system to be fully hooked up later.
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Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Looking good.

Have you been able to confirm temperatures in the enclosure yet with your lighting setup? Curious if the amount of wattage is going to make it difficult to keep the cool side... cool. Pvc insulates pretty well.

-Brandon
 

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
Looking good.

Have you been able to confirm temperatures in the enclosure yet with your lighting setup? Curious if the amount of wattage is going to make it difficult to keep the cool side... cool. Pvc insulates pretty well.

-Brandon
Thanks :)

Over heating definitely on my mind.. It probably helps to have the lighting mostly ON TOP and not INSIDE the enclosure like I've done ,but the Herpstat thermostat will also start dimming the bulb as a last resort if things start getting out of hand.. for example going over 85F on the shade side of the enclosure.

The thing is that I am trying to get a certain amount of radiation from all the sources of light at basking spot to be around 300watts/ M3 , which is generally accepted amount for BD basking in its natural environment. Understood that this method of setting up a basking spot is not as commonly used and is more advanced than others ,but I wanted to try and give it a go.

..and I have a new toy on the way to compliment my Solarmeter 6.5
SOLAR POWER METER
Amazon.com

1706413788426.jpg


I'm curious to see how close I can get to the recommended 300 watts/M3 with all the lights it has on it including the LED spot.  

My lighting and heating strategy is explained really well in this blog post...
What lights should I use with my Bearded Dragon? | Tomaskas
 

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
I also installed a circulation fan onto the enclosure to help.. This one fit's perfectly over the upper side vent... Added brass screws to keep the theme going of black/gold :cool:
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Like you say PVC is almost too good at holding in heat and humidity from what I hear so to help cool the enclosure without cutting more vents , I'm trying this one out. It's super high quality. Comes with a potentiometer to control speed and is very quiet. It seems to be generally recommended to install these on an upper vent so that the hot air is drawn out of the enclosure and then fresh air is drawn through the other vents. This is very important as we do not want upper respiratory infections.. Good air flow is key!!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WSZWNMM?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1


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NickAVD

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Foxy
Why didn't you want to put ventilation holes on the roof of the terrarium? I think they would work better than the side ones, you might not need to install fans.
 

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
Why didn't you want to put ventilation holes on the roof of the terrarium? I think they would work better than the side ones, you might not need to install fans.
Definitely crossing my mind, but trying to work with what I have. Either way I want to run a fan for enrichment. I'll have to experiment once I get it set up more.
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
The fans and their positions should work well. You could even set up a thermostat to the fans so they can ramp up/kick on as cool side temps start approaching a set number.

PS, you can't let the grills on those fans stay silver.... Pull them off and paint them black or brass :)

-Brandon
 

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
The fans and their positions should work well. You could even set up a thermostat to the fans so they can ramp up/kick on as cool side temps start approaching a set number.

PS, you can't let the grills on those fans stay silver.... Pull them off and paint them black or brass :)

-Brandon

Great minds think alike 😉

I was watching Brad's Bioactive Builds on YouTube.. wow that guy is talented.. he uses Govee products for his temperature monitoring. The stuff is very affordable and does so much. They have the more expensive wifi version that allows you to check remotely and this less expensive Bluetooth one which you check on the phone app within Bluetooth range. They also log all the temperature and humidity data so you can go back and look at it.

I picked a 3 pack of these Bluetooth temp/humidity sensors for only $30 on Amazon..
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But that's not it.. you can pair them with their smart plugs to turn things on and off... like the fan 😀 by setting up IFTT. (If This Than That) rules. It's all home automation stuff. For example IF temp is above 80 THAN turn on fan output.. an opposite rule can be made to turn off! It's pretty cool stuff.
 

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
PS, you can't let the grills on those fans stay silver.... Pull them off and paint them black or brass :)

Darn you got me. Im going to have to up my game lol 🤣

What actually started this whole brass thing is my kitchen and since his enclosure is in the breakfast nook next to kitchen it just was a no brainer and ties in really nice.
 

NickAVD

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Foxy
Great minds think alike 😉

I was watching Brad's Bioactive Builds on YouTube.. wow that guy is talented.. he uses Govee products for his temperature monitoring. The stuff is very affordable and does so much. They have the more expensive wifi version that allows you to check remotely and this less expensive Bluetooth one which you check on the phone app within Bluetooth range. They also log all the temperature and humidity data so you can go back and look at it.

I picked a 3 pack of these Bluetooth temp/humidity sensors for only $30 on Amazon..
View attachment 86987



But that's not it.. you can pair them with their smart plugs to turn things on and off... like the fan 😀 by setting up IFTT. (If This Than That) rules. It's all home automation stuff. For example IF temp is above 80 THAN turn on fan output.. an opposite rule can be made to turn off! It's pretty cool stuff.
Yes, SmartHome systems are great for controlling lighting and heat in a terrarium. For example, I have the LED light turned on based on the light level outside. I have a light sensor, it is directed towards the window. As soon as it becomes bright day outside, my additional LED light turns on. This emulates periods of sunny and cloudy weather in the terrarium. When it’s cloudy outside, the LED lamp turns on later and turns off earlier. I'm currently working on how to control a heating lamp with a wireless ZigBee dimmer using a temperature sensor. My UV light turns on according to time, although in the future I plan to link the turn on to geographic sunrise.
all this is built on the basis of the home assistant. Special thanks to @Chris. for his help in choosing a control system.
 

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
Yes, SmartHome systems are great for controlling lighting and heat in a terrarium. For example, I have the LED light turned on based on the light level outside. I have a light sensor, it is directed towards the window. As soon as it becomes bright day outside, my additional LED light turns on. This emulates periods of sunny and cloudy weather in the terrarium. When it’s cloudy outside, the LED lamp turns on later and turns off earlier. I'm currently working on how to control a heating lamp with a wireless ZigBee dimmer using a temperature sensor. My UV light turns on according to time, although in the future I plan to link the turn on to geographic sunrise.
all this is built on the basis of the home assistant. Special thanks to @Chris. for his help in choosing a control system.
Yeah there is so much untapped potential in the Smarthome space to be applied to what we are doing for sure. Woud be awesome to tie it all into central Aus weather data.
 

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