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  1. #1
    Registered User Abby_Dog's Avatar
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    First time with rack system? Q's

    I've never used a rack before. I was thinking of buying AP's 6 shelf AP375 Economy rack, with 3" heat tape (belly heat), to house juvenile to adult Western Hognose snakes. The room they'll be kept in ranges from 75-78F ambient. I have a couple questions regarding this set-up;

    1.) Can this particular rack system be reliably controlled by a Vivarium Electronics VE-100 (700 watt)?

    I've read from ReptileBasics that 3" heat tape is 4 watts per foot, and a 500 watt thermostat will run 90 feet total. I doubt the AP375 has 90 feet of tape. I don't know how it's set up, but am projecting it would be closer to 15 feet of tape or 60 watts. Even if it is closer to 100 watts, it should be safe, right? Or am I missing something? If it isn't reliable, what would you recommend?

    2.) Is belly heat in racks bad for juvenile snakes?

    ReptileBasics, one of my main sources for rack information, states, "belly heat with any size element is just plain dangerous to the animals living in them". Going on to say, "in our tests using the I-60 rack with these tubs, we found that in a 75F room temp we could still see close to 130F at the rear of the tubs, and close to 100F at the front using a low wattage 3 inch element. The potential for harm is simply too great to justify use of belly heat in this system". You can read more here... https://www.reptilebasics.com/rack-f...%20per%20rack. (For reference, the I-60 tub used by ReptileBasics is similar in size to the 375 tub used by AP.)

    I have not heard any accounts of AP rack systems killing snakes. I assumed that the basking spot would not exceed the set temperature by more than 2-to-3 degrees maximum. Also, shouldn't the temps be well regulated since both ReptileBasics and AP racks have a slot to set the thermostat probe? What am I not understanding?

    NOTE: I apologize for this long question. Since selling my entire collection a few years ago in a move, I have no animals, but I'm planning for the near future. I'm a hobbyist keeper- not breeding; I just want a healthy number of snakes and will probably be picking up some juvies to start again. Thank-you for your time and any guidance you can provide. I sure need it.

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    First time with rack system? Q's

    1. That thermostat should work just fine.

    2. The tub sizes for the two racks you are comparing are vastly different in size.

    The AP rack is for 15qt and 32qt tubs. The reptile basics rack with I-80 and I-160tubs youre referring to are like 13x3x2 and 13x6x2 respectively and designed for hatchling/juvenile size colubrids, whereas the 375 and 575 tubs are about 13x9x5 and 22x13x5 respectively.

    A tiny tub and very short tub will be affected by the heating element much more dramatically than a larger tub.


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    Last edited by jmcrook; 07-24-2020 at 08:56 PM.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Abby_Dog's Avatar
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    Re: First time with rack system? Q's

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcrook View Post
    1. That thermostat should work just fine.

    2. The tub sizes for the two racks you are comparing are vastly different in size.

    The AP rack is for 15qt and 32qt tubs. The reptile basics rack with I-80 and I-160tubs youre referring to are like 13x3x2 and 13x6x2 respectively and designed for hatchling/juvenile size colubrids, whereas the 375 and 575 tubs are about 13x9x5 and 22x13x5 respectively.

    A tiny tub and very short tub will be affected by the heating element much more dramatically than a larger tub.


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    Ah, I had looked at the I160 Hatchling tub instead of an I-60 tub on the ReptileBasics site. That would explain a lot. My mistake. Thank-you very much.

  5. #4
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    Re: First time with rack system? Q's

    Quote Originally Posted by Abby_Dog View Post
    Ah, I had looked at the I160 Hatchling tub instead of an I-60 tub on the ReptileBasics site. That would explain a lot. My mistake. Thank-you very much.
    No problem at all. Im relatively new to racks and only have one but I must say its nice if your room stays warm enough to maintain ambient temps or if youre keeping cooler climate species. My room is around 78-80 most of the year so I have supplemental heat in my enclosures/racks via radiant heat panels or heat tape and have no issues. Im using a reptile basics rack with the ve 108-11 and ve 108-23 tubs for growing out some younger Morelia and I like it.


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  7. #5
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    Question 2 was answered perfectly.

    Now to question #1

    I've read from ReptileBasics that 3" heat tape is 4 watts per foot, and a 500 watt thermostat will run 90 feet total. I doubt the AP375 has 90 feet of tape. I don't know how it's set up, but am projecting it would be closer to 15 feet of tape or 60 watts. Even if it is closer to 100 watts, it should be safe, right? Or am I missing something? If it isn't reliable, what would you recommend?
    Most PVC racks are wired in serpentine which means one piece of heat tape running through the entire rack, it is the case with AP, I cannot tell you about RB since I do not use their racks.

    Most reliable thermostat such as VE or Herpstat have a 500 watt output which is more than enough for most rack.

    With your AP rack which is 6 shelves you are looking at about 15 feet of heat tape or 60 watts total output.
    Deborah Stewart

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