Vote for BP.Net for the 2013 Forum of the Year! Click here for more info.

» Site Navigation

» Home
 > FAQ

» Online Users: 376

3 members and 373 guests
Most users ever online was 6,337, 01-24-2020 at 03:30 AM.

» Today's Birthdays

tygarys (54)

» Stats

Members: 73,069
Threads: 246,957
Posts: 2,557,647
Top Poster: JLC (31,651)
Welcome to our newest member, bigsnakedaddy
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1
    Registered User BonnieBallPython's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-07-2016
    Location
    Tarpon Springs, Florida
    Posts
    20
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Question Achieving proper temperature gradient thru several inches of substrate? (TL;DR)

    (TL;DR included at bottom)

    Hello, I have a 6-year-old female ball python. I keep her in a 40-gallon tank, 36x16x16 inches. The heating pad I have now is a 24watt iPower 8x18 inch heating pad, about the same size recommended for a 50-60 gallon tank. It covers 1/4 of the floor, but it really doesn't work that well; I can only put about an inch of substrate to feel the heat coming through. Using the heating pad and a 75-watt daytime heat bulb, I am able to achieve 88 degrees on the warm side in the hottest spot (the hides do get a few degrees warmer on the inside). By the way, I live in Florida and it's summer, so my house is never colder than 72 degrees even at night.

    At night, I turn on a second, smaller heating pad to compensate for when the daylight bulb is off. But it's a lot of electronic accessories, you know? I'd like to be able to use only one heating pad.

    Anyway, I decided to spend some money towards making this tank bioactive. So I want to put a good few inches of substrate, make the terrain look layered, go all-out. I don't believe my current heating pad will be able to heat the substrate beyond 1 inch. I would be relying entirely on the 75watt daytime bulb to heat the warm side of the tank, I think. Will bringing the substrate higher and closer to the heat lamp be enough to compensate for this? Even so, I would have to buy a second dome lamp so I can use an infrared bulb to keep the tank warm at night...

    So...

    TL;DR: What products do you use to heat your 40-gal tank if you have several inches of substrate? I am using both an 8x18 heating pad and a 75watt daytime heat bulb, achieving only 88F in the warmest corner of the tank, with only 1 inch of substrate.

    ALSO... My python tends to hang out on the cool end (75F) of the tank anyway, so do I even need to worry about all this?

  2. #2
    Bogertophis's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-28-2018
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    17,895
    Thanks
    24,468
    Thanked 16,395 Times in 10,082 Posts
    First, if your snake is hanging out on the cool end (75*) most of the time, it suggests that your snake is too warm, so I'm wondering how accurately you're taking the temps. inside the enclosure- I just want to make sure you know that you cannot rely on what a t-stat is set to, you need to verify all temps. independantly. Most here use a "temp. gun" to read the temps.

    UTH- is usually low wattage- yours is 24 watts- that CANNOT penetrate thru thick substrate- you need less than half inch of substrate over the UTH to be effective, and also, IF your UTH is not vented (installed correctly per instructions), you run the risk of it overheating & shorting (could cause a fire) so for safety, please re-think the amount (or type) of "insulation" (aka "substrate") you have over the UTH.

    If you must have thick substrate, you'll need to heat (using various options) only from overhead.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bogertophis For This Useful Post:

    GoingPostal (07-30-2022),Homebody (07-30-2022)

  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran Caitlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-11-2019
    Posts
    448
    Thanks
    971
    Thanked 1,037 Times in 356 Posts
    Images: 45
    I have to say I would not do a bioactive setup for anything other than a gecko or a tiny snake in an enclosure that small. Between the necessary deep substrate and the heating/lighting requirements for bioactive, you are looking at a real challenge in maintaining an appropriate temperature gradient along with safe and adequate lighting. With enough substrate depth, you aren't going to be able to provide UVB safely in an enclosure that size.

    The fact that your snake is hanging out on the cool side, you've been relying on UTH, and you're uncertain about how to set up bioactive (there's nothing wrong with that - it's complicated!) suggests that you'd be well served to slow down a bit and re-think your plans - ideally saving up for something like a 4x2x2 enclosure and very gradually going bioactive from there if that's something you feel you need to do.
    1.0 Jungle Carpet Python 'Ziggy'
    0.1 Brazilian Rainbow Boa 'Mara'
    1.1 Tarahumara Mountain Boas 'Paco' and 'Frida'
    2.0 Dumeril's Boas 'Gyre' and 'Titan'
    1.0 Stimson's Python 'Jake'
    1.1 Children's Pythons 'Miso' and 'Ozzy'
    1.0 Anthill Python 'Cricket'
    1.0 Plains Hognose 'Peanut'
    1.1 Rough-scaled Sand Boas 'Rassi' and 'Kala'
    0.4 Oregon Red-spotted Garters
    1.0 Ball Python (BEL) 'Sugar'
    1.0 Gray-banded Kingsnake 'Nacho'
    1.0 Green Tree Python (Aru) 'Jade'

  5. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Caitlin For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (07-30-2022),GoingPostal (07-30-2022),Homebody (07-31-2022)

  6. #4
    Registered User BonnieBallPython's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-07-2016
    Location
    Tarpon Springs, Florida
    Posts
    20
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Re: Achieving proper temperature gradient thru several inches of substrate? (TL;DR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    First, if your snake is hanging out on the cool end (75*) most of the time, it suggests that your snake is too warm, so I'm wondering how accurately you're taking the temps. inside the enclosure- I just want to make sure you know that you cannot rely on what a t-stat is set to, you need to verify all temps. independantly. Most here use a "temp. gun" to read the temps.

    UTH- is usually low wattage- yours is 24 watts- that CANNOT penetrate thru thick substrate- you need less than half inch of substrate over the UTH to be effective, and also, IF your UTH is not vented (installed correctly per instructions), you run the risk of it overheating & shorting (could cause a fire) so for safety, please re-think the amount (or type) of "insulation" (aka "substrate") you have over the UTH.

    If you must have thick substrate, you'll need to heat (using various options) only from overhead.
    I have 4 different thermometers in the tank. 2 came from a pet store, advertised for reptiles; 1 with a humidity gauge. The other 2 are cheaper indoor hygrometer/thermometers I bought online. They are all consistent with each other within a degree or so, when put in the same spot. Otherwise, I probably would buy a temp gun.

    As for insulation, the bottom part has good space for airflow and I keep the substrate low above the heating pad, about 0.5-1 inch. The wire is not pinched and I am constantly checking the temps in a day.

    Thanks for the rest of your response as well. I will probably end up ditching the pad I bought altogether.
    Last edited by BonnieBallPython; 07-30-2022 at 06:34 PM.

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to BonnieBallPython For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (07-30-2022)

  8. #5
    Bogertophis's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-28-2018
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    17,895
    Thanks
    24,468
    Thanked 16,395 Times in 10,082 Posts

    Re: Achieving proper temperature gradient thru several inches of substrate? (TL;DR)

    Quote Originally Posted by BonnieBallPython View Post
    I have 4 different thermometers in the tank. 2 came from a pet store, advertised for reptiles; 1 with a humidity gauge. The other 2 are cheaper indoor hygrometer/thermometers I bought online. They are all consistent with each other within a degree or so, when put in the same spot. Otherwise, I probably would buy a temp gun.

    As for insulation, the bottom part has good space for airflow and I keep the substrate low above the heating pad, about 0.5-1 inch. The wire is not pinched and I am constantly checking the temps in a day.

    Thanks for the rest of your response as well. I will probably end up ditching the pad I bought altogether.
    There's nothing wrong with the old fashioned thermometers for checking temps.- especially since you've checked several against each other. Temp. guns aren't perfect either.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 07-30-2022 at 06:43 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  9. #6
    BPnet Royalty OhhWatALoser's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-28-2007
    Location
    Suburbs of Detroit
    Posts
    4,982
    Thanks
    526
    Thanked 2,712 Times in 1,473 Posts
    Images: 2
    It might not be effective enough but, you could try putting the pad on the side/back of the tank. takes the substrate out of the equation, but obviously side heating isn't as efficient.

    If you are using a thermostat (which i highly recommend when using any heating pad for a live animal) you could put foam board insulation box over it to direct more heat into the side of the enclosure. If the thermostat is working properly and your probe is between the pad and the enclosure, it wouldn't get hot enough to be a risk to damage the heat pad.

    if not radiant heat panel (aka RHP) might be the way to go. still recommend a thermostat with that as well. probe right on the panel, theyre a little more difficult to dial in because of the different heating element, so dont get discouraged when youre finding you gotta set the thermostat to an odd temperature so you have your 88 degree hot spot.

  10. #7
    BPnet Senior Member GoingPostal's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-09-2009
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    1,297
    Thanks
    3,571
    Thanked 1,520 Times in 680 Posts
    You aren't really going to feel the heat through substrate, snakes are going to burrow down against the bottom of the tank anyways so you don't want to risk cranking up your thermostat, it'll just end up with your snake being burned when it does. (it is on a thermostat I hope)

    88 degrees is plenty hot and if it's warmer on the inside of the hides than yes that is too hot for your snake to hang out in. Also a thermometer set on the glass is not necessarily going to give you the same temp result as a temp gun would, it's also useful because heat pads tend to heat unevenly so there may be hotter spots all over, for $25 I highly suggest you pick one up. Indoor/outdoor ones or digital probe ones are great for a quick check on temps and to judge fluctuations though. You also might consider a CHE on a dimmer instead of your heat bulb with light

    2.0 Python brongersmai
    1.1 Python breitensteini
    1.0 Python curtus
    1.0.1 Python regius
    1.0 Acrantophis dumerili
    1.0 Boa constrictor
    0.1 Heterodon nasiscus nasiscus
    0.0.1 Pantherophis guttatus

  11. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to GoingPostal For This Useful Post:

    Armiyana (07-31-2022),Bogertophis (07-30-2022),Homebody (07-31-2022)

  12. #8
    Registered User BonnieBallPython's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-07-2016
    Location
    Tarpon Springs, Florida
    Posts
    20
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Re: Achieving proper temperature gradient thru several inches of substrate? (TL;DR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    I have to say I would not do a bioactive setup for anything other than a gecko or a tiny snake in an enclosure that small. Between the necessary deep substrate and the heating/lighting requirements for bioactive, you are looking at a real challenge in maintaining an appropriate temperature gradient along with safe and adequate lighting. With enough substrate depth, you aren't going to be able to provide UVB safely in an enclosure that size.

    The fact that your snake is hanging out on the cool side, you've been relying on UTH, and you're uncertain about how to set up bioactive (there's nothing wrong with that - it's complicated!) suggests that you'd be well served to slow down a bit and re-think your plans - ideally saving up for something like a 4x2x2 enclosure and very gradually going bioactive from there if that's something you feel you need to do.
    What would you recommend using as opposed to UTH? Using a heater on the side? Daytime UVB bulbs, CHE, etc?

    I appreciate your response and want to know what I should be doing instead. I will also bear in mind what you said about a larger tank, as I was considering going bigger anyway. At this point I've spent enough money on the supplies (which I haven't implemented yet) that I would be willing to go bigger. I'm just not sure it would fit on my current table, lol.

  13. #9
    Registered User BonnieBallPython's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-07-2016
    Location
    Tarpon Springs, Florida
    Posts
    20
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Re: Achieving proper temperature gradient thru several inches of substrate? (TL;DR)

    Quote Originally Posted by GoingPostal View Post
    You aren't really going to feel the heat through substrate, snakes are going to burrow down against the bottom of the tank anyways so you don't want to risk cranking up your thermostat, it'll just end up with your snake being burned when it does. (it is on a thermostat I hope)

    88 degrees is plenty hot and if it's warmer on the inside of the hides than yes that is too hot for your snake to hang out in. Also a thermometer set on the glass is not necessarily going to give you the same temp result as a temp gun would, it's also useful because heat pads tend to heat unevenly so there may be hotter spots all over, for $25 I highly suggest you pick one up. Indoor/outdoor ones or digital probe ones are great for a quick check on temps and to judge fluctuations though. You also might consider a CHE on a dimmer instead of your heat bulb with light
    I've heard about a dozen times over that a BP should have a basking spot of 90-91*. I've set my thermometer in many different spots on the warm side of the tank to try to locate the hottest spot and find its temp. As I said, 88* seems to be the hottest it gets. Do I not need to provide a 91* basking spot?

    Also, won't the hides on the warm side always stay a little warmer than the surrounding air? If my hides are too warm now, what temperature should I be going for outside the hides, to ensure they are not getting too warm on the inside?

    Why do you recommend CHE as opposed to a daytime heat bulb?

    Thank you for your response, by the way.

  14. #10
    BPnet Veteran
    Join Date
    06-07-2018
    Posts
    596
    Thanks
    658
    Thanked 913 Times in 445 Posts
    Images: 5
    88 is fine. 90-91 is okay but is also right at the border of too hot. Shooting for 88-89 gives you a small buffer in case something goes wrong so your snake avoids injury.

    The main concern I think we have is there's something that is making your BP avoid the hide and it could be the surface temps are actually above that 91. The heat gun when used correctly will give you a much more accurate surface temp. Using a separate thermometer may have the temps off slightly because of the housing on it, if the snake moves it away from where it needs to be or if it pees on it.

    GoingPostal also has the same concern I do, if you are using a thicker substrate, the bottom of that terrarium will be HOT. Make sure there's enough airflow between the bottom of the tank and whatever it's situated on to avoid damage. I saw one used wrong once (didn't put the sticky feet to raise the tank) and the glass bottom just shattered.
    Also using our own senses for a feeling of heat can be off. for example, our natural body temp around 98 is actually uncomfortable for a lot of bps when directly contacting us. So what seems warm to our touch may be too much for them when you feel the substrate. You do need to be accurate and that heat gun is the way to go with the thermometers being a casual check in. You still want to check them regularly with the gun as well even after properly adjusting

    If your night temps are never under 72, I would not even bother with a second pad. Your snake will figure it out and head to the warm hide as long as it is the proper temps.

  15. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Armiyana For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (07-31-2022),Homebody (07-31-2022)

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.1