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  1. #1
    Registered User jumpingscxles's Avatar
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    Could I just use a tank designed for fish instead of reptiles?

    I'm upgrading my snake's tank, and I'm currently looking at different places near me that have different size tanks and what the prices are. Could I just get a fish tank instead of a reptile tank? A 40 gallon aquarium is 55 bucks, versus a 40 gallon reptile tank is 130. Would it be bad if I just got an aquarium instead? Of course I'd have to get a top as well, but still.

  2. #2
    bcr229's Avatar
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    Fish tanks with the lids are not escape-proof even with the metal spring clips. I had two ball pythons and a king snake go on unauthorized slither-abouts before I ditched the fish tanks and got proper reptile enclosures because they pushed past the clips.

    If money is an issue these are cheap, secure, and retain heat and humidity better than any fish tank:
    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Hefty-25-Ga...Lid/1000505547

    Combine it with a UTH on a thermostat and it's fine.

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  4. #3
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    It's just fine- in fact, personally I prefer aquariums because they're sturdier- water is super heavy & they're made to hold water. You can buy a screen top (make sure you get locking clips or preferably find a better way to secure the top- some of those clips can fail- or maybe weren't used quite correctly?) or make your own tops, which is what I do & have done for many years- out of finished pine & "hardware cloth" (welded wire) or perforated metal (one side is very smooth). IF you're keeping a snake that might nose-rub on the top, make sure you use non-abrasive wire mesh or metal for the top. I have a few tanks made for reptiles- that came with sliding screen tops- the tops are flimsy compared to what I make, but when I moved & needed some tanks quickly, I had to settle for a couple of them (& they were also a good deal at the time). But otherwise, aquariums are all I ever buy. And I've never liked or used those locking clips. I'm glad you asked. (Any of my snakes that need better security aren't in the reptile tanks with sliding screen tops either.)

    Assuming you're planning to keep a BP in this tank- IF you use a glass tank, be aware that you'll need to block MOST of the air-flow to retain necessary humidity- that's something I don't care about as I don't keep BPs at all- the snakes I keep are fine with more air-flow. Basically you do have options- we don't all do things the same way, & it's fine as long as you create the environment needed by your snakes- the right range of temperatures, & for some species, adequate humidity. And it goes without saying- ESCAPE-PROOF, lol.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 05-09-2022 at 12:24 AM.
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  6. #4
    BPnet Lifer dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Could I just use a tank designed for fish instead of reptiles?

    I am not sure if you are asking two questions here, but I'll answer two.

    1. IF you are dead set on a glass tank, and the reptile "version" is more expensive, there is no reason to go with that version (unless it comes with front opening doors - which you might like, heating equipment, latches to ensure the snake stays in, etc.).

    2. Depending on the kind of snake, you might want to do as bcr229 says, and go PVC.

    PVC tanks are:

    -lighter
    -better insulated and therefore retain heat and humidity better
    -stackable (usually and if all same dimensions)
    -More secure
    -can get bigger sizes

    If this is a BP, or other species that likes heat and humidity, it's the best option in the long-term, IMO.

    If you are talking a colubrid, like a corn snake, king snake, etc. that doesn't require a ton of humidity or space AND you have a specialty clips and a special top to prevent escapes, etc. than a glass tank might work well.

    It's not a right or wrong, it's really about species, size, requirements, and how much you want to have to modify/fiddle with the a glass tank to make it work for a species like a BP.

    In my experience, and keeping mostly boas and pythons, I have large PVC tanks (Boaphile). I have had good experience, others here like AP. There are also other options if you plan to add your own heating equipment, like reptile basics.

    I do have two corn snakes, but they live in the PVC tanks as well because they are all stacked. They don't need a 4X2' PVC tank (my smallest), but they use the room and it works with my setup. For what's worth, Figment, my hypo lavender corn, spent a large majority of his life in glass tanks.

    If you need any clarification just ask.

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  8. #5
    BPnet Veteran Homebody's Avatar
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    Re: Could I just use a tank designed for fish instead of reptiles?

    Quote Originally Posted by jumpingscxles View Post
    I'm upgrading my snake's tank, and I'm currently looking at different places near me that have different size tanks and what the prices are. Could I just get a fish tank instead of a reptile tank? A 40 gallon aquarium is 55 bucks, versus a 40 gallon reptile tank is 130. Would it be bad if I just got an aquarium instead? Of course I'd have to get a top as well, but still.
    It's tough to adapt something that is not a reptile enclosure into a reptile enclosure and save money. It takes time, skill, tools and materials to do so, and that costs money. In the end, you may very well end up with an enclosure that doesn't look as nice, work as well, and costs more. So, don't compare the cost of the reptile enclosure to the fish tank. Compare the cost of the reptile enclosure to the fish tank plus all you'll need to adapt it. If you're handy, you have access tools and cheap materials, you may be able to make it work. If not, I think the reptile enclosure is the better deal.
    Last edited by Homebody; 05-09-2022 at 10:25 AM.

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  10. #6
    Registered User Snagrio's Avatar
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    As someone who personally experienced retrofitting a fish-styled aquarium into a snake one (for a BP specifically no less), don't. It was okay for a temporary setup until I could get him a PVC home, but I would not recommend it long term. The humidity was all but impossible to maintain even after covering the top, the heat was wonky to get right, and it was all around awkward having to access him and his amenities from above (that and snakes spook more easily if grabbed directly above, as birds are among their biggest enemies in the wild). That and I still needed to buy extra things like a different lid and clamps to secure it on top of other things like foamboard to block out the sides so he could have more privacy. All in all, if I did it all again, I would've just had him in a tub to start with. In fact that's exactly what I'm doing with my young corn snake while he's going through quarantine and it's going swell.

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  12. #7
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    One of my BPs is in a 20l tank with a mesh lid. It's fine...?
    It's not as easy as my tubs, but it works.
    He's also a bit disabled so he's not likely to push his way out against the clamps as an older healthy one may do.

    The most important thing is your animal's health.
    I have had multiple BPs that do not tolerate glass tanks. Even the front opening ones. They will be nervous and refuse to eat or strike at anything that moves, risking injury when they hit the glass.
    You will need to identify any possible issues you new friend can have and that may be the need to just go get a big plastic tub instead of the glass tank.

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  14. #8
    Registered User jumpingscxles's Avatar
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    Re: Could I just use a tank designed for fish instead of reptiles?

    After reading everything- I think my snakes just stupid at this point lol. He's the most like- weirdo ever. Guaranteed his name is Melvin- He's a ball python, and I'm very thankful he's an amazing eater, but he's never pushed at the top of the tank or anything. Also with humidity, when I first got him I made sure to keep it up there, but he never shed correctly. I missed out on his shed because I was away so I wasn't able to keep it up, and it was perfect. but thank you so much! I've had him for a few years, I currently have a tank AND a tub, but something happened in the room he's in so I had to move him for a few days and think that I should just get him something new. At this point, I may just get him another tub.

  15. #9
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Could I just use a tank designed for fish instead of reptiles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snagrio View Post
    ...The humidity was all but impossible to maintain even after covering the top...
    That's probably because the tank was taller & held a lot more air, making it more difficult to raise the humidity even when air flow was restricted- just my guess, anyway.

    I agree that some snakes (like BPs) do better with more privacy- you can easily cover the sides of a glass tank to make that "work" for a BP- but as already mentioned, it comes down to how many modifications you want to make for whatever you're keeping.

    I don't find that snakes are more apt to bite or be nervous with my overhead access at all, but "your mileage may vary".
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 05-10-2022 at 11:05 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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