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  1. #1
    Registered User Mephibosheth1's Avatar
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    20 Gallon Tank Setup.....HELP!!!

    Thanks for checking this out


    I recently purchased a 20 Gallon All-Glass Aquarium at a yard sale for an insanely low price. I am planning on using it to house my ball python, and would like to get it up and running so I can transition him after he sheds (which should be in the next few weeks). However, I am very new at the reptile thing (this is my first snake) and would really appreciate a ton of help on this.

    My snake Mycroft is in a 10 Gallon reptile aquarium currently. He has a "log on the half shell" made of some synthetic material and a water dish as interior furnishing. For heating I am using an Under Tank Heater from Exo Terra (their jungle line), and am currently not supplementing the humidity any. I use a recycled pelleted paper product for the bedding.

    I would like to upgrade his furnishings, and try to get the environmental settings dialed in a little better in the 20 gallon, since it will be his home for a number of years. What kind of hide should I be using?? Should I be using a UTH, or a heat lamp?? Should I be regulating the humidity or not??
    I have tried to ask some of my contacts at the local pet shop (I breed mice there and sell them for the local reptile population) and haven't been able to get satisfactory answers.

    I appreciate your help (hopefully I posted this in the right forum), and look forward to hearing from you

    Mephi

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran KMG's Avatar
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    Start here.
    http://ball-pythons.net/forums/showt...ius)-Caresheet

    I'm guessing you do not have a thermostat on the uth?

    You can use either a lamp or uth. A uth needs a thermostat to regulate it. You can use either as long as it gives you the correct temps.

    The hide needs to be snug to the snake with one door.

    Misting with a spray bottle is widely used but we can give you other tips if you have a problem with it stating low. I suggest using cypress mulch to help this too.
    Last edited by KMG; 05-12-2013 at 11:29 PM.
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  3. #3
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    As someone who recently switched from glass tanks to an Animal Plastics T8, I strongly recommend you start with the UTH (on a thermostat) on the tank. If the UTH provides the tank with sufficient heat, avoid a heat lamp or CHE, particularly if you live in a dry climate (as I do). The heat lamps and CHEs dry out the tanks quickly. Right now, I've got my new snake in one of the old tanks temporarily and am using just a UTH (on a thermostat) and have covered 95% of the screen lid with plastic wrap and cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil. This is working much better and holding in the humidity than when I used a CHE.

  4. #4
    Registered User trdancer's Avatar
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    Re: 20 Gallon Tank Setup.....HELP!!!

    for me, I spray my tank with this giant 60oz pump mister a few times a day, and he just recently had a perfect shed, so that works.
    as for heating that all depends, recently one of my lights exploded, so I might be switching to a CHE, I tried a UTh but I found it defective because the part the cord connects to the pad, was bigger than the rubber feet they came with, so I couldn't use it, but they generally have good results if they work.
    Are you aiming for a more naturlistic look, or a bare minimum (2 hides, substrate, hard surface for shedding)?
    I find that the naturlistic look better to the eyes, and is good for display, but if you don't have a bunch of time to clean, setup, etc. than do a minimalist setup.
    I can give you more advice on setup if you specify the style of setup.
    I'm not a tub person, don't recommend tubs...
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  5. #5
    Registered User Mephibosheth1's Avatar
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    Im looking to try and preserve the "natural" look, but am also not too interested in using drastic measures to keep live plants, etc. I also do not want to use moss bedding (ive heard it can harbor mites??)

  6. #6
    Registered User Mephibosheth1's Avatar
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    @KMG–I read the care sheet, but still don't have any actual "advice" to speak of. Most of what was said was in generalities. Since I have NO experience at all with snakes, I would like something a little more concrete....
    My UTH doesn't seem to bring the temperature of the tank up hardly any; the cool side of the tank is the only one with a thermometer right now, and it stays at around 75 F. I have the water bowl on the side of the UTH right now, but since I don't have a hygrometer I don't know what the humidity is (I know I need to get one, but didn't want to overwelm my parents with all these different costs...you know the drill)

    I want to make sure that this new setup is better; should I be using a UTH??

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  8. #7
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    My bp started out in a 20 gallon aquarium, and I used a UTH successfully. You definitely need to get it on a thermostat though, because they can get really hot and burn your snake. I use a hydrofarm thermostat but there are also more expensive reptile-specific ones. If you only have one thermometer on the cool side, that is not a safe way to be monitoring your temperatures. The UTH will not heat up your entire cage, it pretty much just makes a hot spot right above it. You need to get a thermometer with a probe so that you can put the probe above the UTH to see how hot that particular spot is. The accurite thermometers from Walmart work great for this, and they are not super expensive. You put the probe on the UTH side and the actual thermometer box on the cool side, and it will give you both of your temperatures. They will also tell you the humidity of your tank. When I had my 20 gallon I covered half of the screen lid with a wet wash cloth and that worked pretty well to keep the humidity up, along with misting if needed.

    It's also a good idea to have 2 hides for your snake, one on the hot side and one on the cool side so that it can regulate it's temperature as needed.

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    Mephibosheth1 (05-14-2013)

  10. #8
    Registered User Mephibosheth1's Avatar
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    Thanks @toki

    does the probe need to go under the substrate?? And which type of UTH are you using?? Is there a particular brand or something??

  11. #9
    BPnet Veteran Inarikins's Avatar
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    Here's a good link to get you started with your tank.

    Your thermostat probe (the one that controls the heat source) goes outside the tank, between the bottom of the tank and your heat source, and your thermometer probe goes inside the tank over the heat source. You can really use any kind of UTH you want. I used a ZooMed one on one of my tubs for over a year (regulated with a Herpstat Basic) and an Ultratherm on the other (regulated with a Hydrofarm) for a little over a month, and both work just fine. If you have the money, though, I would go with the Herpstat for a thermostat. They're top-of-the-line. And the Ultratherm for a UTH, it's much more reliable than a ZooMed (or so I've heard )
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  13. #10
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    Re: 20 Gallon Tank Setup.....HELP!!!

    First and foremost please keep in mind a UTH will do nothing to heat the air in the tank. If the room temp is less than 80 degrees you prob need to add a secondary heat source to keep ambient temps up. I use heat lamps on rheostats and a thermostat just for ambient in addition to UTH for hot spot.

    Heat lamps are great but will dry out the tank, you can cover the top partially to help. When I had a 20 gal I got a sheet of plastic like they use for fluorescent light covers and drilled holes and suspended lamps above. Worked perfect for heat and humidity was not impacted. There are plenty of alternatives. The goal is to reduce the amount of the top open to the air but still have adequate ventilation.

    Also if nothing else make sure to have a thermostat for UTH, despite what the packaging may say this is not optional.

    Sent from my HTC6435LVW using Tapatalk 2

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    Kslab (06-23-2013)

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