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  1. #1
    Registered User sufficio's Avatar
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    Max safe UTH temp

    Hi, sorry for another question, couldn't find answers on google.

    Info: New larger glass tank, UTH regulated with thermostat, heat lamp with control dial, 3 sides and 2/3 of the top fully covered in insulation foam, beneath the UTH is ceramic tile. Measuring with heat gun

    Previously I had it around 90-92 and that worked perfectly to maintain temps, but in this one even at 95 the temps are a bit low.

    There should be no direct access to the glass itself, there is reptile carpet underneath 2-3 inches of substrate. If he really really wanted to, he could probably get under the carpet, but it would be immediately noticeable to me and would require uprooting large decor. So far he's shown no interest in burrowing, but I'm considering buying more ceramic tile to lay on top of the reptile carpet beneath the substrate just in case since I know direct glass contact would be the biggest concern for burns.

    Right now with the thermostat set to 95, the absolute warmest reading I can get digging under the substrate is ~85, but most of the warm side is closer to 75-80 with the cool side around 70-75.

    My question is, what is the max temp you can safely set the UTH to without risking burns?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. #2
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    First off, snakes are PUSHY, & it's always when you're "sure" they won't be- so do NOT exceed safe temperatures ON the interior surface of the glass where the snake "may" touch. Snakes love to wait until you're asleep (not watching) to mess with things- they're more active at night anyway.

    Some prefer not to exceed 88* (in part because equipment may always be a bit off calibration ) but generally 90* is safe for a BP, but I would suggest not going above that. You do so at your own risk (& that of your pet)- keep in mind that burns to a snake are painful, very slow to heal, need expensive vet care & may cause death, either directly or from resulting infections. Best prevented & avoided.

    You're most likely asking way too much of your UTH (they're not all the same power). It's necessary to have shallow substrate over the UTH, because the heat needs to rise thru the substrate- too much becomes "insulation" that prevents heat from rising. Not only is that unhelpful for keeping your snake warm, but it can result in UTH malfunction (overheating can be a safety issue- melting wires can short & cause fires- just saying). I'm not trying to scare you- UTH is VERY safe when used as directed (with a little air gap too). I've been running a houseful of UTH for literally decades with no problems at all. But I tend to follow directions, lol.

    It's simple: It doesn't matter what your t-stat says- set it to whatever gets you the proper (& safe) level of heat IN the tank & where the snake can touch. You need to set up UTH & run it for about a week BEFORE you trust putting a snake in. During that time, re-check the temperature ON the glass multiple times, & tweak the setting as needed. It can take days for heat from UTH to build up* & be a reliable reading, so while the testing period is something that many people skip, they do so at the peril of their pets. (*It also depends on how warm (or chilly) your room/house is, & how well insulated your tank is.) Please don't be "one of those" that rushes the snake into a newly-set-up enclosure/tank. And reduce that substrate over the UTH.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 11-27-2022 at 03:49 PM.
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  4. #3
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    If you can't resist giving your snake deep substrate to play in- consider containing it within your tank (like in a sterilite box). Put it on the cool side or in the middle. My snakes love a "humid hide"- with deep moist sphagnum moss- that's another option. There's SO many ways to creatively set up glass tanks- that's all I use, I've tried the other options & much prefer glass tanks, unlike many others here. There's more than one way to do things. Also, if your hides are the right size* for the snake (so they feel snug) he won't need the deep substrate anyway. If you have oversized hides that your snake will "grow into"-you can wad up some paper to make them feel more snug until they get bigger- & adjust as they grow.
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  6. #4
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    Re: Max safe UTH temp

    Quote Originally Posted by sufficio View Post
    My question is, what is the max temp you can safely set the UTH to without risking burns?
    Per the forum caresheet, the max basking temp is 94 degrees. You should aim for an average basking temp of about 90 degrees. To achieve this, keepers frequently need to set the thermostat regulating the heat source to a temperature that's higher than that.

    In your enclosure, you'd measure the temperature using your temp gun on the glass right over the UTH and adjust your thermostat until that temp averages 90 degrees. If that means you have to set the thermostat to 95 to 100 degrees that's alright. It's not the temperature where your thermostat's probe is that matters. It's the temperature your snake has access to that matters.

    Now, if you add repticarpet and two to three inches of substrate, you are correct that your snake isn't going to have practical access to that heat. So, don't add all that substrate. Thin it out until the temperature reaches your desired basking temp. When measuring the temp, be patient when making adjustments. It may take a while for your UTH to heat the repticarpet and/or thin substrate layer.
    Last edited by Homebody; 11-27-2022 at 03:59 PM.
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  8. #5
    Registered User sufficio's Avatar
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    Awesome, thanks so much for all the advice and info! Much appreciated.

    I'm going to adjust the tank so there's no thick substrate over the heat mat area at all, fingers crossed that will help a good bit! I didn't realize the heat had such a hard time working thru the substrate but that definitely makes sense. Thankfully he's full grown and has perfectly sized hides that he seems very secure and comfy in, the deep substrate was just added for enrichment so it's no issue to thin it out. He does also have a sphagnum moss humid hide as well so he'll still be able to burrow somewhere if he chooses

    Definitely want to avoid burns at all costs so in the case that thinning it out doesn't reach ideal temps without the glass getting too hot I'm planning to get a second UTH to cover more area so I can set them lower while maintaining temps.

    I'm going to do some work on his tank and see if I can get the temps balanced out better with the adjustments. Will be pulling up the carpet to keep checking that the glass temp is still safe, it was reading ~90(absolute highest I could get was 93) when the tank was pre-set up but before most of the substrate and decor was added, I'll keep a close eye on it. Definitely wouldn't put it past this little booger to find his way underneath the carpet somehow lol

    Thanks again for all the advice, will update once things are adjusted

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  10. #6
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    We're happy to help. When you've been doing this for a while, it gets easier & makes a lot more sense. And for a BP (or any snake needing more warmth), a 2nd UTH sounds like a good idea, as long as you have at least a third of the "floor" that's not heated- just for safety, since even t-stats can fail. I agree that's better than trying to get too much heat out of just one UTH.

    In general, most UTH won't heat the air very well- especially in a chilly room, but it makes for comfortable hides where snakes can digest & all. Every set up is a little different- that's why no one can give you an exact "recipe" & why we all have to test out what we do. But I can tell that now you're "got this".
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    Registered User sufficio's Avatar
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    I'm amazed how much clearing out the substrate made a difference! Didn't change the thermostat temp but the warm side is up to ~85-90 and cool side ~75-80. Glass is still the same 90-93 max. Going to continue monitoring temps to make sure everything is stable but it's all looking good. Thanks again for all the advice, really appreciate it!

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