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Thread: Heat Panels?

  1. #1
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    Heat Panels?

    Howdy!

    I am looking to get a radiate heat panel for my ball python. He is in a PVC tank right now, and I have been very excited to upgrade his heating finally. I was curious what brands you guys would recommend and your experience with different techniques for the probe placement. For reference, his tank is 23" deep x 15 3/4 high x 4 feet wide (2 feet deep 1.5 feet high 4 feet wide), and the room itself is quite chilly, but I am moving in a month and this new place is much warmer. I was thinking an 80 watt do well for us based on the tank size and the cold seasons.


    For brands, I had heard good things about Pro Products from Mostlysnakes, Alex's Agamids, and Nava Reptiles. When I do a quick google search Reptile Basics and All Reptiles come up first, but I haven't found as many reviews from them. Should I avoid those altogether and just stick to Pro Products?

    As for probe placement, I have seen arguments for keeping it on the hot side, cool side, 2 probes, and even a hanger method. I live in Alberta Canada, so it tends to get quite cold here for most of the year. I'd love to hear anybody's experience with placements, mistakes to avoid or tips you've all found.

    I was also curious if anybody had to make adjustments to the tank for the heat panel to be safer or work better. I only have one vent in my tank and I'm worried that I should have more just in general, but especially with a heat panel.

    My sources are listed below.
    Pro Heat (pro-products.com)
    ProProducts Radiant Heat Panel Thermostat Probe Setup (youtube.com)
    Probe Placement for ProProducts Radiant Heat Panels. (youtube.com)
    How To PROPERLY Install Pro Products Heat Panels & Herpstat 2 Probe Placement (youtube.com)
    How to use Radiant Heat Panels to Heat your Pet Reptiles! (youtube.com)
    [/COLOR]
    Last edited by Everpour; 03-13-2024 at 05:30 PM.

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  3. #2
    BPnet Veteran Charles8088's Avatar
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    I have 2 enclosures with Pro Products panels, and 2 with Vivarium Electronics panels (which is what Reptile Basics sells). Both brands have worked well for me. All my enclosures are black PVC (2 are from Animal Plastics). I think the heavyweight champion of the panels is Pro Products heat panels.... that's just my opinion. The Vivarium Electronics "looks" nicer in a black enclosure because the panels are black. Pro Products, their panels are white (though, depending where the enclosure is placed in the room, you might not necessarily see that). If color is no issue, between those two, I like Pro Products better. And, Bob from Pro Products is great for support if you need to ask him anything.

    The two Vivarium Electronics panels I purchased were purchased because I needed them quick, and I bought them from pangeareptile.com. Purchased at different times. Both times, I purchased on a Wednesday, and received it on that coming Saturday (3 days). Between Reptile Basics and Pangea Reptile, the latter was cheaper with shipping overall, and got to me faster. Pro Products, by contrast, they make them to order. Takes about 2-3 weeks, if not more.

    My ball python is in a 4'x2'x15", with an 80 watt panel. All my enclosures are kept in a room that can get as low as the low 60's (sometimes with A/C, has reached high 50's). A/C is for the house, but the basement gets the brunt of the cool air. Both brand panels have had no issues keeping the temps right. All the panels I have are 80-watt.

    Last note... I saw for the first time the Wilbanks brand. Never has one, but the few reviews I've read have been good. The same 80 watt panels are shorter and thinner... and I think they look nice. But, they are a bit more expensive. You can look at those as well. I was considering getting one of theirs this week. (www.wilbanksreptiles.com).

    I think you probably already know this, but any of these panels are going to need a dimming or pulse proportional temperature controller.

    Hope this info helps... let me know if you need any more specifics.
    Last edited by Charles8088; 03-13-2024 at 06:31 PM.
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    BPnet Veteran Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    I use both ProProducts and Reptile Basics heat panels (with Herpstats) and they work basically the same. I have settled in to buying ProProducts panels as I need more.

    I mount the probe a few inches under the panel (not necessarily in the center, but at least a little bit directly down from the panel) on a DIY mount made from aluminum stock, bolted securely to the wall of the enclosure and with the probe thoroughly attached (zip ties work well).

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    Re: Heat Panels?

    I've been using an 80w VE for about 3 years or so, and I don't have any complaints. I regulate it with a JumpStart on/off style thermostat. My probe is placed a couple inches below the RHP secured with bread ties.



    I would advise you to secure your RHP well. My Children's python exploited a small gap to get on top his. RHPs get really hot, so this was a dangerous situation. Thankfully, he was not injured.



    To solve this, I swapped out the screws for threaded brass inserts and bolts. I think they make it more secure.

    Last edited by Homebody; 03-14-2024 at 06:54 AM.
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    Re: Heat Panels?

    A couple more things. In addition to the RHP, you should use a UTH. I use heat tape and it works great. The heat from your RHP won't penetrate your warm side hide very well, so you'll want heat coming up from below.

    As for ventilation, I feel less is more, particularly, if your home is cool or dry. With more ventilation, there is a danger you'll end up venting away the heat and humidity your bp needs. It's much easier to regulate the environment in your enclosure if that environment is isolated from the environment in your home. That is, unless you want to keep your home at 80F and 60% humidity.
    Last edited by Homebody; 03-14-2024 at 08:40 AM.
    1.0 Normal Children's Python (2022 - present)
    1.0 Normal Ball Python (2019 - 2021)

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    BPnet Veteran Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    Re: Heat Panels?

    Quote Originally Posted by Homebody View Post
    A couple more things. In addition to the RHP, you should use a UTH. I use heat tape and it works great. The heat from your RHP won't penetrate your warm side hide very well, so you'll want heat coming up from below.
    Good point to consider, but not necessarily true for all enclosures and might need some testing in the specific enclosure in the specific ambient conditions.

    I don't use heat tape on any of my PVC enclosures that run RHPs, and even the ones on the bottom of the stacks (12" and 15" tall units) don't have any problems keeping the warm hides in the right temp range. It looks like your viv is considerably less well insulated and more ventilated than stock PVC enclosures, and you're also not using substrate that can help to both insulate and even out enclosure temps (the latter by acting as thermal mass).

    Also, in situations where the enclosure is near a cool floor and that is complicating heating, a sheet of insulation under it can make a big difference and do so more simply than running heat tape. Just another option to consider.

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  13. #7
    BPnet Veteran Charles8088's Avatar
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    On a side note, my first RHPs were from Pro Products. Speaking to Bob from Pro Products, he had recommended placing the probe on the cool side (as anyone who's spoken to him probably knows), and setting the thermostat to the cool side temps. I realize some keepers do not like this method, and maybe even it doesn't work well for them. I'm sure the size of the enclosure matters as well. However... that's how I have all my enclosures setup now. When setting up a new enclosure, I ALWAYS set it all up with the RHP installed, then I have about 6 different thermometers with the wired probes, and I place the probes all over the enclosure to get temp readings of all the areas. I place the RHP probe where I think might work (I always start with the cool side placement). I just tape all the probes down, since there are no animals in there, and its just for testing. I set the thermostat (I use the Herpstat controllers) and I give it at least 24 hours. I then take the the readings (I double-check temps using the infrared laser thermometers). I do some tweaking here and there, wait more time, and when I am finally happy with the correct readings I will place the permanently place the probe. In my case, it has always worked out for me to place the probe on the cool side.

    All my current snakes are terrestrial, for the most part, and in low-height enclosures. On an arboreal setup, this might not work. BUT... you should do the same thing with a few temp probes and get readings, and tweak, until you get what you need. Easier to do it when there's no animal in there.
    0.1 Mexican Black Kingsnake (Tynee)
    0.1 BEL Ball (Luna)
    0.1 Sunglow Boa (Pippi Longsnake)
    0.1 Woma Python (Uma)


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    - Mangrove Snake

    - Russian Rat Snake
    - Eastern Indigo
    - Black Milk Snake
    - False Water Cobra
    - Rhino Rat Snake
    - Thai Bamboo Rat Snake
    - Western Hognose
    - Kenyan Sand Boa

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  15. #8
    BPnet Royalty Gio's Avatar
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    I like the RHP route,

    As some above have stated, Pro-Products are a fine choice. I run 4 of them and they are all set up basically the same.

    For a twist, I actually have the probe on the cooler side of the cages (Three 4 footers and One 6 footer) which gets my ambient temp where I want it. That method was actually suggested by Bob, the maker of the P/P panels.

    A lot is species dependent, ambient room temperature dependent and whether or not you are stacking cages. In the situation here, I have no need for any UTH. The room is never below 68, and all cages, even the Royal's cage have perching options. The animals will perch, or lie directly below the panel if they need heat, and will move to the cooler side when they are "charged up".

    There are various climate zones, especially in the 6 foot cage. Hot spots in certain areas can reach close to 100 degrees, however the cooler side, or coolest area can be in the mid 70's, and when using a night drop, which I do use, the cool areas will hover roughly 6 degrees over the ambient room temp. Temps are adjusted with the seasons running cooler by a few degrees in the winter.

    Having a high quality stat is extremely important. Your animals should not be kept in eternally hot conditions, nor should they have to battle a constantly cool climate.

    The temp subject could be covered at length, but that is best for another thread.

    The OP mentioned being in a cooler climate and that to me means getting a good ambient temp in both your reptile room, and within the cage. We deal with very cold winters typically, although not this year, however running a room heater is something I'd recommend for areas with real winter temp drops.

    Bob at Pro-Products is very helpful and usually gives good advice based on cage dimensions, cage material, species of animal and your location.


    This is one of the cages here. (6 footer)

    The panel here is almost fully to the left. It is a larger panel than the units in the 4 foot cages. Perches are excellent basking areas that can get pretty hot up top close to the panel but are slightly cooler under the panel.

    The snakes know where they want to be and reposition when need to warm or cool.



    The 4 foot cages on the left. (Royal's cage on top)



    These are below the Royal's cage but the panels are in the same spot. Just a note if you happen to notice, the species are different. The Retic was placed with a breeder, and I replaced him with a Bredli. My first coastal carpet passed and she was replaced with another coastal.

    The BC and the royal have been here from day one.



    This is probably a better view of the 4 foot cages. Unfortunately I don't have many pictures that show the panels.


    I am unfortunately running out of time to post, so let me mention you should purchase a Temp Gun. Don't be discouraged if you don't notice the cage hitting ideal temps when you first set up.

    Substrate and decor change how heat is retained and how long it takes to get the cage dialed in, as does the ambient room temp.

    A lot of folks think their panel isn't working the first 24 hours and then find out after 48 hours it is doing the job.

    Apologies for finishing early. I had more to say but getting info from multiple sources will help you.

    My set up may not work for somebody else.

    Best of luck!

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