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  1. #1
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    "Great Stuff" spray foam coated in silicone for tank walls

    Hi guys.
    I just picked up a 3-foot long glass tank to move my BP into but since it won't quite fit in the secluded spot his smaller tank is in I wanted to cover the sides and back with something to make it look cool but also provide him with more seclusion. I found this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svEB0eTe5Cg) that uses Great Stuff spray foam coated with silicone, coated in moss and coco fiber and wanted to know if this is safe for my BP. I read something ages ago about never using silicone in a snake tank in case they somehow ingested some, so wanted to get your thoughts on this technique before starting.
    Thanks!
    Nick

  2. #2
    Grabbin life by the Balls Snow Balls's Avatar
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    Re: "Great Stuff" spray foam coated in silicone for tank walls

    I personally wouldn't recommend it but I am not sure how toxic silicone is for BPs, someone with more knowledge on the subject should be able to tell you
    "I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not" -Kurt Cobain

  3. #3
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    Here's my thoughts on this:

    The only silicone* I'm familiar with is that sold specifically for sealing the corners of glass aquariums- and once it's completely dry (with NO off-gassing) it's safe for herps. I would be very cautious to read the fine print on any other formulations of silicone that are made for purposes other than live animal-keeping. Note- silicone aquarium sealant can take "forever" to dry completely IF it's applied thick- the "inside" doesn't dry well & off-gases irritating vapors for a long time unless it's used sparingly so it can truly dry. (*The silicone stuff they're showing is made for use with a caulking gun- cannot vouch for it being safe.)

    As far as a snake ingesting a bit of fully dried silicone, I think they'd be unable to digest it, so as long as it was small enough to pass easily, I think it would do no real harm & you'd "be seeing it again some day" when it's passed in the stool. Larger pieces could cause an obstruction though.

    I can't speak for the expanding foam, as I've no experience with using that- I think some others have, but again, plastics & similar materials tend to off-gas unhealthy things- & with the reduced air flow practiced by most BP keepers, just keep in mind that snakes are far smaller, delicate & susceptible to chemicals than we are, which they'd be forced to inhale "24/7". Our own sense of smell is not as good as a snake's, so I'd say if you can smell it at all, never expose a snake to it. The same goes for any furniture finishes which I can guarantee are mostly toxic to snakes. Any paints used for pet enclosures should be "No VOC", & while harder to find, they do exist. ("VOC" = volatile organic compounds- That refers to chemical vapors that may continue to off-gas.)

    I'll admit that such naturalistic backgrounds are wonderful to look at, & probably enjoyed by the occupants, but what concerns me is that there's no way to really clean all those crevices. For disinfectants to be effective, the dirt & debris needs to be removed, & "good luck with that" in such an enclosure. My personal preference is keeping decor very simple, washable, & easily replaceable. Instead of putting all that stuff on the inside, I'd attach scenery to the sides & back of the tank- & if you live in a cold climate, you can also "insulate" behind that, to help the heat stay in the tank. Inside I use hides, branches or driftwood, & substrate, but nothing that I can't remove to clean or replace.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 10-11-2021 at 07:13 PM.
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  5. #4
    BPnet Veteran nikkubus's Avatar
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    I've used that method and it's fine after fully curing if you use the correct type of silicone. Ingesting isn't something that should happen, as it should be fully secured if you do it right. After it's dried, you have to clean out any loose debris and toss it.

    Bogertophis is right about not being able to easily clean it. I wouldn't do this method unless you are going bioactive + are properly quarantining animals away from the enclosure with this.
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    Re: "Great Stuff" spray foam coated in silicone for tank walls

    I have bought Aquarium landscaping foam to do things like this. It says it's fish safe. And I only use aquarium silicone in my enclosure, the ones with vinegar. But I am not sure of the longtime effects eather.
    Still so many youtubers use this method and foam and their reptiles seem to be fine.
    Last edited by CakeLike; 10-12-2021 at 04:25 AM.

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    Re: "Great Stuff" spray foam coated in silicone for tank walls

    Quote Originally Posted by CakeLike View Post
    I have bought Aquarium landscaping foam to do things like this. It says it's fish safe. And I only use aquarium silicone in my enclosure, the ones with vinegar. But I am not sure of the longtime effects eather.
    Still so many youtubers use this method and foam and their reptiles seem to be fine.
    Fish are quite sensitive, so yes, if it says "safe for fish" that's what you want. (re- "aquarium silicone"- it smells like vinegar until it cures completely)

    Hopefully all is well, I'm just very cautious, maybe because I know that harmful effects can be subtle & silent & take a while to be noticeable, & our pets deserve the very best care.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 10-12-2021 at 11:32 AM.
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    Re: "Great Stuff" spray foam coated in silicone for tank walls

    This is great info - thank you everyone. I think I got injecting silicone mixed up with breathing the fumes, so I'm straight on that now.

    I think I will take Bogertophis advice and keep it simple, add a background and some branches for the BP to climb on and leave the rest as he has it now with two hides and a water bowl. Like you said, those foam sculptured sides look great, but I was worried about cleanliness.

    I appreciate all the input - thanks guys!

    Nick

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    As nikkubus pointed out in post #4 above, this sort of enclosure is best suited to a bioactive set-up (ie. one that is "self-cleaning" to some extent), which is out of my area to advise on. I've never worked with bioactive, nor do I plan to. It's important to set up your snake's enclosures in ways you're comfortable with & knowledgeable about maintaining. I'm glad to see these creative options explored & discussed here though- we don't all want the same things.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: "Great Stuff" spray foam coated in silicone for tank walls

    All sound advice. I will plan something more simple, with a printed background but want to get some climbing branches in there so may go with sealed plywood slides so I have something to support branches going across the tank. I will use a water-based sealant on the woods after disinfecting anything I bring in from the outside.

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