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Old 01-11-04, 08:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation PLEASE HELP: Placing a tank on the side

Hey guys--
I had my ball python, Marla, in a 55gal that was placed on its side for space reasons. The screened side, which used to be the top, became a side opening, and I placed the lights on top of the tank, on one of the glass sides.

This setup worked well for almost three months. Then, for winter break, Marla went to live with someone else, who maintained the same setup. However, her tank returned with a huge spider crack under where the lights are placed. The girl taking care of her told me when it happened, and she taped it to secure the glass as I asked. I put Marla back where she used to be, and plugged in her light as I usually do, but I elevated it a little bit.

Tonight, a day later, when I changed her day light to a night light (which wasn't elevated, incidentally), I started to hear these cracking noises. I looked at the tank and the crack was spreading to underneath the night light.

I've now moved Marla's tank to a place in the room where it can be upright, since I'm worried that the safety of the tank will be compromised if it cracks anymore.

However, I'm wondering how all of you who reported placing glass tanks on their sides do this successfully. Do you only use UTHs and not lights? I'm pretty unhappy with the tank's position right now, but i'm sure I'll figure something out.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 01-11-04, 09:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey, haven't seen you in a while. I'm sorry to hear you've been having problems.
I don't think to many people use just lights. A UTH (atleast mine, which are zoomed and a couple of ones called heat wave.) go to about 110 degrees and it was still climbing when I decided to stop seeing how hot it would get.

Just use the proper sized UTH, go to wal-mart and get a lamp dimmer, they are about $8.98 without tax (unless your in new hampshire). I have two rubbermaids (same size) that are hooked up to one lamp dimmer.

I plugged the lamp dimmer in, put a extention cord in (That has 3 prongs, one to ground it) and hooked them up to the other extention cord. and it keeps their hot sides 90-95 degrees.

I think alot of people say that lamps dry out the snakes and enclosure.
If you want to put light on it still, use a clamp light, and put it to where it is on the front part of the tank where the light is shinning through the wire......

I hope that helped. If not I'm sure there are other people here with good ideas to.
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Old 01-11-04, 09:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would elevate both of them. I had the same problem with my plexi glass lid. When I placed the lights on the top of the wire top with the plexi glass underneath it began to melt the plex glass from the heat. I had to hang the lights from the celing with fishing line. One thing you have to take into account is the further away the light is the the less effective it is for heat. I only use the light to keep the ambiant air temps up. For my surface temps I use UTH heaters, they work much better I find then the light alone.
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Old 01-11-04, 10:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A UTH is the only way to go with a tank on it's side. Your snake could burn itself on the glass if it is getting hot enough to crack.
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Old 01-11-04, 11:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yup elevate the lights. Believe it or not, I put a new light on my Bibron's geckos today and Tim yelled at me to "come out here" and sure shoot the sliding glass on my hexagon tank had shattered. Guess the light was too close. I'm gonna have a heck of a time replacing the glass piece. But lesson taught, lesson learned! LOL

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Old 01-11-04, 11:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm a little confused about your arrangement. Have you taken an aquarium with a wire mesh locking lid and simply tipped it forward so that the mesh is facing you? I have done this with my female BP and I have her on a set of steel shelves. I am using a 60W bulb shone through the front screened side pointed diagonally down and into the enclosure. I've used the clamp attached to the light's reflector to mount it to the side of the shelves. You should never point a light at glass. If it's close enough to the glass to heat the inside then it will be close enough to heat the glass to the breaking point. I found this out the hard way myself years ago when I had an iguana. I would recommend you get yourself a rubbermaid container to get your snake out of the cracked aquarium. Cracks are bad and tape has a whole other set of potential problems.
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Old 01-12-04, 12:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks, guys. I should have elevated the lights as you all said from the start. I'm worried about putting any lights facing the glass now that the side of the tank has suffered so much damage. Angling the lights into the screen would have been a good idea too, Mousekilla.

My initial reaction to the breaking glass was "freak out," which included moving Marla's tank immediately to somewhere that it could stand upright, which happened to be where Huxley was situated. Huxley is now upright where Marla was (his tank is smaller), and to solve the problem of lost surface area on my desk, I've elevated Marla's tank onto a pair of plastic drawers that I put on my desk. now she'll just have to get used to being at eye-level with people, rather than being a foot or two above them, as she used to be.

<quote>Hey, haven't seen you in a while.</quote>
Hehe, thanks. I post when I can. Missed ya'll, though.
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Old 01-12-04, 01:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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PS--I might end up rigging the lights for an on-the-side tank next year, when my rooming situation is different.
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Old 01-12-04, 01:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Also don't forget, when heated many types of tape give off vapors that are harmfull.

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Old 01-12-04, 07:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You can use aquarium silicone on both sides of the crack (inside and out) successfully. I have two tanks with cracks as you have described and have done the same to both..no problems. When the silicone cures, you are good to go. I would simply lose the heat lamp all together and stick with a UTH. Good luck

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Old 01-12-04, 03:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm sorry to hear about your tank but this is one of those things that never should happen if we made a list called "Learn from my mistakes." I've never made this mistake because I was fortunate enough to hear about it before I tried it. Just like sticking heat pads to tanks, another no, no.
Anyway this is what mine look like,

I use UTH because as you know heat lamps placed on glass crack glass and you can stack the tanks this way too.

What kind of 55 do you have, high or long?
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Old 01-12-04, 03:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by BoidKeeper
I'm sorry to hear about your tank but this is one of those things that never should happen if we made a list called "Learn from my mistakes." I've never made this mistake because I was fortunate enough to hear about it before I tried it. Just like sticking heat pads to tanks, another no, no.
So those heat pads that are made to stick to the glass of a tank are not supposed to be stuck to the bottom of the tank?
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Old 01-12-04, 03:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Why not just lose the lights and go with a UTH?

p.s. They (UTHs) are made to be stuck to the tanks but it makes it pretty hard to get them off when you want to. It's much easier to just tape them in place or set them so that they are in contact with the surface of the enclosure.
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Old 01-12-04, 04:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I have some UTHs with the adhesive, & find they dont' stick all that well to Rubbermaid containers. Last week I bought a Cobra UTH & it has no adhesive so you tape it in place. Hopefully that will work better. Are you saying its ok to use regular adhesive tape on those other UTHs too? (The Cobra UTH has an area of plastic all around the outside so the adhesive tape is not actually over the area that gets warm - I wasn't sure adhesive tape would work so well if placed over the part of the UTH that is actually getting hot).
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Old 01-12-04, 05:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I am confused, I never knew people heat reptiles right through the glass. Anyhow, I would suggest a UTH .
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