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Posted by veronicag on May 06, 2003 at 18:07:28:

In Reply to: Help With Supplies! posted by TheNakedCowboy1 on May 06, 2003 at 16:57:01:

Hello Kevin. My husband and I have build a few beardie cages and it's not an easy task. Our first tank was a purchased one from Petco. It was a 55 or 60 gallon reptile aquarium with a screen lid on half and a removable glass top on the other half. It was $100 and worked really well. I would highly recommend one. It's a lot easier. I don't blame you for wanting to build something custom and I'm not going to try to talk you out of it. There's a certain satisfaction that comes from building your own enclosure. I'll answer your questions the best that I can to help you out.

Length/width/height: It can vary, but take into consideration that if you get high powered UVB bulbs (mercury vapor) like I have, you need to have a height of at least 18 inches. The mercury vapor lights have to be at least 12 inches away from the beardie's basking spot. But can be up to 2 feet away to still get the benefits from the UVB. If you are going to use something like a Reptisun 5.0 florescent tube, you will need to get the beardies basking spot close to it - less than 12 inches or 10 inches is better. So that kind of gives you an idea about how tall to make it. Ok, the length ... beardies thermoregulate, which means they use their surroundings to cool or heat their bodies. They need a basking spot around 100 - 105 degrees to properly digest their food and a cool side around 75 - 85 degrees. If your tank is too short you will either have a cool side that is too hot or a basking spot that doesn't get warm enough. I would recommend having your tank at least 3 feet long. Go longer if you have the room. The width of my tanks is about 2 1/2 feet. You're going to need the room to place a basking spot, hiding spot, water dish, and food dish. You're going to need extra room for the beardie to roam.

Substrate depth: It all depends on what substrate you are using. I use the indoor/outdoor green carpeting and have extras so I can change it every week. I've tried the sand, and bran and everything else under the sun. I keep coming back to the green carpeting. It looks nice and my beardies seem to enjoy it the most. When I used sand, I had a depth around 1 to 1 1/2 inches. When I used bran I used more, like around 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep. It all depends on what you prefer and you will soon discover what your beardie likes the best if you change the substrate from time to time.

Hood: I've never made a hood. Our first store bought tank came with a screened top on half of it. We just place our clamp lights directly on the screen. No problems. In our custom enclosures we use outdoor light fixtures mounted directly inside of the wooden cage.

Lights & wattage: Ok, I know some thing about this! You will need a bulb or two (depending on the size of tank you are heating) that produces heat, and possibly one for night time if the temp in your house drops below 65 at night. Zoomed makes a great basking bulb that comes in any wattage you could need. You'll have to play around with the wattages and temperatures when your tank it finished. It's all trial and error. You will also need a bulb that produces UVB as the Zoomed basking bulb only produces UVB. Reptisun 5.0 or the Zoomed Powersun 100 watt flood (mercury vapor) both work great. I have personally had better results with the mercury vapor bulbs. T-Rex also makes on called Active UV. They are a little spendy but well worth it. They should last a year. Also, if you decide to go with the mercury vapor, know this ... they also have a heat element. They are UVB and heating rolled into one. Kinda nice. And the amount of UVB the produce is outstanding.

Mounting lights: This depends on what type of top you decide to go with. You can place the clamp lights directly on the screen tops.

Good luck with your new cage!

Veronica

:Well, I have definately decided to get a BD, and I really need some help designing my tank! I am still undecided on the substrate, and most everything else!

:I can design fish tanks as they are very very simplistic, but I need some help with my first reptile tank. I know that it needs to be at least 4 feet long, but thats about it! I dont know the following for a year old BD and up:
:- Appropriate Length/Width/Height
:- Substrate depth
:- How to make a hood?
:++++Do I buy one of those hoods from ReptileDirect.com?
:++++Do I get a screen top and mount the lights onto there?
:- What kind of lights do I need?
:- What wattage for the tank?
:- How do I mount the lights onto it where I can still get to the tank?

:
:Ahh! Sorry I still have a lot of questions! If you can help or provide a link that will help that would be great!

:Thanks and God Bless!
:-- Kevin





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