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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran The Serpent Merchant's Avatar
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    How to set up a PVC cage (AP T8) With Pictures!

    I've seen a good number of people on here ask questions about PVC cages so I figured that I would post a thread on how I set up my PVC Cages (Animal Plastics T8's/T12's).

    Some PVC cages come pre-assembled or are made from a single piece of plastic (boaphiles, and visions are good examples of this style). Others come disassembled to save you money on shipping (Animal Plastics)

    I use Animal Plastics cages so I have to assemble them when they arrive. this is very simple and usually takes 10-15 minutes. Their directions are very good and all that is required is a phillips head screwdriver.

    Heating:

    There are 2 ways to heat a PVC cage: Flexwatt & Radiant Heat Panels

    Flexwatt: is my preferred choice to heat PVC cages it is cheap and most PVC cage manufactures will have an option to have the cage set up with it. Flexwatt is taped to the bottom of the outside of the cage and will increase the temperature of the floor of the cage directly over it. Flexwatt does not however greatly affect the air temperature inside the cage. When using flexwatt you must keep the layer of substrate as thin as possible since the heat has to get through it. I suggest using paper towels/newspaper/butchers paper/corrugated wrap when using flexwatt.

    Radiant Heat Panels: are mounted to the top of the inside of the cage and heat everything below them (very similar to heat lamps but do not kill the cage humidity) Radiant Heat Panels are nice of you want to use a thick layer of substrate as the heat is coming from above and not below like with flexwatt.

    Humidity:

    PVC cages hold humidity in great. My cages stay around 60% without having to mist (I do live in an area where the humidity is very high though) Humidity can be raised by misting, or by drilling holes into the cage and using PVC pipe to route the output of a humidifier into the cage.

    Lighting:

    Your snake does not need any lights in the cage but the cage will be dark without one. I use white fluorescent lights in my cages, they are mounted to the top of the inside of the cage.

    Cage Locks:

    Some PVC cages require locks to keep the door in place while others do not. The Animal Plastic cages do not need cage locks but are a nice feature.

    This is what they look like











    How to Set Up a PVC Cage (specifically an Animal Plastics T8)

    What you will Need:

    • A PVC cage (I prefer the Animal Plastics T8 4'x2'x1' for ball pythons)
    • A heat source (flexwatt or a Radiant Heat Panel)
    • A Thermostat to regulate your heat source (Proportional thermostats are preferred I like herpstats)
    • A digital thermometer with probe (2 if you are using a divider in your cage)
    • Substrate of your choosing
    • 2 or more hides
    • A water dish
    • And any additional cage decor that you want
    • *Optional* a fluorescent light (2 if you are using the divider)



    To set up a T8 first you need to decide wether you want to use a divider to create 2 separate enclosures or use the full enclosure for 1 snake.
    I will be showing how to set up a T8 with the divider but will also explain how to set up a T8 for use without a divider as well.

    When using a divider and flexwatt you need to tape the flexwatt to the center of the cage so it can provide a hot spot on both sides of the divider



    You can see where the flexwatt should go on the right side of the cage if you are not using the divider. as well as the slot where the thermostat probe goes



    The back of the cage will look something like this:



    Here you can see the Flexwatt's power cord and the thermostat probe's cord



    I drill holes for my thermometer probe's cord (this is not required but makes the cage look cleaner)



    Animal Plastics drills holes for the power cord of fluorescent lights if you order them with the cage



    This is what the cage looks like without the divider or glass doors on



    This is the divider (can be taken out and put back in as needed)



    Here is the cage with the divider in place



    As I mentioned before I drill holes for my thermometer probes... this is how i mount them







    At this point you should put in whatever substrate/hides/water dishes/decor that you are going to use. (I keep a very minimalistic set up but you can decorate the cage as much or as little as you want)

    This is one side I have a 350 gram female pastel ball python in



    And here is the full cage (the other side houses my year old carpet python)



    Once you have your cage set up the way that you like it, it's time to get the temperatures right. Wether you are using flexwatt, a Radiant heat panel or both a thermostat is a must.

    Flexwatt: Because the flexwatt is on the outside of the cage an the thermostat probe is attached to the flexwatt you will have to set the thermostat to a temperature above 90 so the heat can penetrate the bottom of the cage and heat the floor of the cage. (mine are set in the low 100's)

    Radiant Heat Pannel: The thermostat probe will need to be secured inside the cage directly under the Radiant Heat Panel. the thermostat will then be set to 90 degrees.

    Both Flexwatt and a Radiant Heat Panel: This is the best option if your room is cold, the flexwatt will provide the hot spot and the radiant heat panel will maintain the rest of the cage at 80 degrees. it requires 2 thermostats. The radiant heat panel will do fine with a hydrofarm/ranco thermostat (non-proportional) but the flexwatt should still be used with a proportional thermostat. This set up costs less than using 2 separate proportional thermostats. another option is the Herpstat 2. The herpstat 2 has2 separate thermostats in 1 box.





    If you have any questions feel free to post them below or send me a PM
    Last edited by The Serpent Merchant; 02-17-2012 at 08:24 PM.
    ~Aaron

    0.1 Normal Ball Python (Zed) 1.0 Spider Ball Python (Q.) 0.1 Pastel 100% Het Clown Ball Python (Hestia) 1.0 Pastel Ball Python (Zeus) 1.0 Mojave (Needs a Name)
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  3. #2
    Registered User Trochu's Avatar
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    Re: How to set up a PVC cage (AP T8) With Pictures!

    I don't have a T8, but solid write up!
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Trochu Motor League

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  5. #3
    BPnet Veteran Trackstrong83's Avatar
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    Aaron is the man!!!!!!

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    Very nice! I am in the process of setting up a pvc enclosure for my GTP and this give me some ideas! Thanks!
    ~ Kali
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    Check out my collection:
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  9. #5
    BPnet Veteran The Serpent Merchant's Avatar
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    Next time I get a new cage I will video tape/take pictures of the assembly process and post them on this thread... I'll probably be getting another late summer
    ~Aaron

    0.1 Normal Ball Python (Zed) 1.0 Spider Ball Python (Q.) 0.1 Pastel 100% Het Clown Ball Python (Hestia) 1.0 Pastel Ball Python (Zeus) 1.0 Mojave (Needs a Name)
    1.0 Coastal/Jungle Carpet Python (Shagrath)
    0.1 Dumeril's Boa (Nergal)
    0.1 Desert Kingsnake (Sekhmet)

    0.1 Bearded Dragon (Gaius)

    1.0 Siberian Husky (Picard)
    0.1 German Shepherd/Lab Mix (Jadzia)

    ASF Breeding Colony

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  11. #6
    Registered User Vinny 4's Avatar
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    Thanks. Great writeup, you pretty much answered just about every question I had.

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  13. #7
    BPnet Veteran Mike41793's Avatar
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    Excellent idea Aaron. I would sticky this in the caging section. I see many people asking about PVC cages...
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  15. #8
    BPnet Veteran The Serpent Merchant's Avatar
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    Re: How to set up a PVC cage (AP T8) With Pictures!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike41793 View Post
    Excellent idea Aaron. I would sticky this in the caging section. I see many people asking about PVC cages...
    I don't think I have the power to do that, if I do I guess I could.
    ~Aaron

    0.1 Normal Ball Python (Zed) 1.0 Spider Ball Python (Q.) 0.1 Pastel 100% Het Clown Ball Python (Hestia) 1.0 Pastel Ball Python (Zeus) 1.0 Mojave (Needs a Name)
    1.0 Coastal/Jungle Carpet Python (Shagrath)
    0.1 Dumeril's Boa (Nergal)
    0.1 Desert Kingsnake (Sekhmet)

    0.1 Bearded Dragon (Gaius)

    1.0 Siberian Husky (Picard)
    0.1 German Shepherd/Lab Mix (Jadzia)

    ASF Breeding Colony

  16. #9
    Registered User Natassja's Avatar
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    Great post!

    I have one question, Is they easy to un-assemble again?
    When moving or etc,.
    Newbie
    0.1 Normal/Original Sasha

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  18. #10
    BPnet Veteran The Serpent Merchant's Avatar
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    Re: How to set up a PVC cage (AP T8) With Pictures!

    Quote Originally Posted by Natassja View Post
    Great post!

    I have one question, Is they easy to un-assemble again?
    When moving or etc,.
    So far I haven't had to unassembled one, (I will though in the next few years though) it should be just as easy to dissemble with the exception that you will have to remove the sealant on the bottom joints on the inside of the cage that you apply to make the cage water tight. it will probably take awhile but shouldn't be too hard. (you don't have to seal the bottom section, but it is a good idea too (you don't want a spilled water dish or snake urine to seep into the cracks and possibly even leaking completely out of the cage)

    ~Aaron

    0.1 Normal Ball Python (Zed) 1.0 Spider Ball Python (Q.) 0.1 Pastel 100% Het Clown Ball Python (Hestia) 1.0 Pastel Ball Python (Zeus) 1.0 Mojave (Needs a Name)
    1.0 Coastal/Jungle Carpet Python (Shagrath)
    0.1 Dumeril's Boa (Nergal)
    0.1 Desert Kingsnake (Sekhmet)

    0.1 Bearded Dragon (Gaius)

    1.0 Siberian Husky (Picard)
    0.1 German Shepherd/Lab Mix (Jadzia)

    ASF Breeding Colony

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