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Old 07-28-17, 01:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Humidity Tips

Hey All!

I use the hardest form of enclosure for all my snakes and I know for humidty it's terrible. The dreaded glass aquarium. Back in the day I didn't but do now. Has anyone used a substrate that really helps with humidity? Currently I use a layer of reptile prime on the bottom then aspen on that. Misting is tricky not enough don't help too much health issues. I know in this enclosure it will never be perfect but if anyone has a tip or trick it would be truly appreciated! First time using them when I was a breeder I used racks, thanks!
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Old 07-29-17, 12:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

What snakes are you keeping in there? Aspen is not good for enclosures where you need humidity so depending on the species getting rid of that may be a good place to start.
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Old 07-29-17, 01:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

I use cocohusk chunks in my pvc cages for humidity. Just pour on water as needed to maintain the levels I want.
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Old 07-29-17, 05:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

When I used tanks, I controlled the air flow by covering part of the lid. Then I put the water bowl either under a heat light or on a heat mat, which evaporates the water and causes condensation in the tank. If you need higher humidity restrict the air flow and if you need less humidity increase the air flow.
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Old 07-29-17, 07:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

I live in a fairly arid climate (in the 30's) and we did just fine with glass. It is not the glass that is the issue. It is the screen top. Simply close in most of it with a sheet of plexiglass. Keep a good sized water dish on the warm side (as mentioned above) and use a substrate like shaved aspen or any of the others mentioned. With light misting, 80% humidity is not hard to maintain.
The biggest challenge we ran into with glass is temperature control. It take a lot of heat to get the ambient temp in the tank in the mid 80's when the room is in the low 70's.
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Old 07-30-17, 09:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

Thank you all so much for your advice and your time! Its appreciated, years ago I was carpet python breeder and had a collection of Argentine boas. Now many years later just sharing a pet hobby with he kids we have 7 of a few species. Think I may have to invest in some nice true snake enclosures not tubs but some nice enclosures ya know?
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Old 07-30-17, 11:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

Since I switched most of my focus from fish to snakes I have a number of them housed in aquariums simply because I had them on hand. For snakes that need higher humidity I use cypress mulch for substrate, and cover most of the screen top with styrofoam (foamboard from the dollar store, peel off the paper) and attach it to the screen top with a few zip ties for convenience. I've found that tera tie downs (order them from Amazon) work great for securing the screen tops, much better than the spring clips currently available.
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Old 08-01-17, 10:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

The method I use with my snakes I never really give a crap about humidity. However since I moved over to this bioactive experiment about a week and a half ago with my female I decided it was best to start paying attention to that side of the thermometer/hygrometer just to make sure that my watering of the plants weren't taking humidity too high for too long.

It hasn't dropped under 50% during the day and it shoots up to about 85% after I water the plant and some of the substrate. My waterbowl is about 5x5 inches in surface area, I'm in NE Ohio and don't use AC unless it hits the mid 90's. So if you're running AC all the time or live in a really dry area you might not have this effect or you'd have to water it more than I do.

But perhaps that's an option if you feel like researching and reading a bunch of random sources to piece together what the heck you're actually supposed to do. Can't speak to the overall effectiveness of the bioactive substrate as I've only been doing it for about a week and a half now, but the humidity seems to at least be very stable. There is another keeper on here who uses the bioactive substrates so maybe they might chime in with a bit more authority on the humidity aspect.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

I don't know where this myth about glass aquariums and poor humidity started. But, glass aquariums are designed to hold water. The LID is your humidity problem. If you're using a solid screen lid, just cover most of it with the method of your choosing.

Come on people, it ain't rocket surgery! (Not directed at the OP, as this is a prevailing thought in the reptile community.)
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Old 08-01-17, 12:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

I think it's partly to do with the fact that it is harder to heat (in particular) a large glass viv due to the poor insulation.

As relative humidity is a function of temperature it *can* ( though not always the case) be harder to control due to temperature variations.

That said I have an exo terra glass viv for my ATB and how I have a reasonable ambient temperature in the reptile room I have no issue keeping the humidity where I want it.
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Old 08-01-17, 01:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannybgoode View Post
I think it's partly to do with the fact that it is harder to heat (in particular) a large glass viv due to the poor insulation.

As relative humidity is a function of temperature it *can* ( though not always the case) be harder to control due to temperature variations.

That said I have an exo terra glass viv for my ATB and how I have a reasonable ambient temperature in the reptile room I have no issue keeping the humidity where I want it.
I talked to a guy on reddit a few months ago who was an engineer or something. He said that a huge farce in enclosure selection that a piece of PVC has better insulation than glass because the thicknesses we use are negligible in terms of holding heat in and the primary issue is that the design of most commercial glass enclosures made for many reptiles is stupid.

He said the reason heat is more stable in a PVC vivarium is because there just isn't as much ventilation in them because there usually is just a few dozen air holes and not an entire side made of screen. He seemed peeved about it enough to do a bunch of math about it but outside of the math it actually kinda made sense.

Managed to dig and find his reply which was in response to a user asking about condensation in their cage and also to my apparently misguided thoughts that a heat source can actually "sap" humidity from an enclosure, some really interesting information overall:

You can get high humidity levels at high temps, the challenge with high-humidity enclosures are condensation (dew point) and ventilation. If your enclosure is 85F with 90% humidity, the dew point (the temperature at which condensation will form) is 81F. This means that unless the room that you have the enclosure in is >81F, you are going to end up with condensation (ie. the walls of the tank will be closer to the temperature of the room than the interior of the enclosure and condensation will form on them). Condensation is bad because it decreases the hygienic conditions in the enclosures. The solution to condensation is either to: increase ventilation, but this lowers humidity, or increase the temperature of the room that you keep your enclosures in, which is typically expensive and can be uncomfortable (and even unsafe for some animals). A good example are Exo-Terra enclosures, they have a ventilation design that increases airflow across the front windows to reduce condensation. You can very easily modify an Exo-Terra Enclosure to hold humidity in very well while retaining this function, by covering about 95% of the top of the enclosure with plastic wrap (except about an inch on the front near the doors).

It's actually a bit of a pet peeve of mine when people say that heat sources "sap humidity," what's really happening is either: ventilation is changed, for example, with a CHE or heat lamps to be used with most enclosures, you need to introduce a screened area on top of the enclosures which increases ventilation (hot air rises too, so it increase ventilation more than holes on the side of a PVC enclosure, for example, and if the enclosures ALREADY has holes on the side, it creates a suction effect) OR the humidity is getting lower in the cage because you are raising the temperature (which raises the saturation vapor pressure of the air) without introducing more water vapor into the enclosure.

I guess a side note at this point is that ANOTHER pet peeve of mine is often-recited claims about glass vs pvc's insulating and humidity-holding capacity. Their R-value per inch is the same (they are very bad insulators, the both of them), its just that PVC enclosures tend to be thicker and painted (higher albedo and lower refraction index), so they tend to be a bit warmer. Commercially available glass enclosures are just poorly designed, like I mentioned you could easily modify an Exo-Terra into a temporarily passable (unfortonately Exoterras max out at 38"L making them unsuitable for the adults of many species) boid or python enclosure with minimum maintenance requirements, you just need to keep the ambient temps in the room around 80F. You could further modify an Exoterra with a RHP, but it would look hella ugly...and you can set up a pvc enclosure that will last a boid/python its entire life for slightly more money, but a lot less headache.

Some other Temp-R. Humidity-Dew Point Scenarios:
90F-70%RH-DP: 79F
80F-70%RH-DP: 71F


You should be able to keep an enclosure at a steady 82F with a 60%-75% RH with minimum condensation, etc. if you keep your reptile room at 75F.

Your house is likely drying out very quickly because your attic's ventilation rate is adjusted for the summer. If you get a humidifier and consult with some sort of an attic-person with getting your attic ventilation system adjusted during the winter months you might suffer less. Unfortunately, you might end up having to suffer through winter because too-high humidity in the house will translate to condensation (dew points!) and molding in the attic during the winter.
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Old 08-01-17, 02:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

^ Yes, that and people do not read or understand exactly what "Relative" humidity means. The relative is the relation to temperature as air can hold significantly more water when it's warmer. To give an example of this;

Lets say that at 21C (70F) the RH is 71% this is equal to 40% RH at 31C (88F) at both these temperatures the amount of water held by the air is 13 gram/m3. It will not feel more "moist" at 21C then it does at 31C.

When a humidity meter reaches 100% relative humidity it simply means that it has reached it's dewpoint at the current temperature. As a consequence it is potentially very dangerous and unhealthy if one doesn't know this and places their humidity meter either on the cool side or on the hot side. when it's on the hot side and you try and "bump up humidity to 80% during shed" one could potentially make it far too moist to be healthy, likewise when it's on the cool side it may be too dry. The ideal place for the humidity meter is at a place in the vivarium with 1) a stable temperature and; 2) the natural ambient temperature of the environment of the animal. F.e. when you have a snake from Brazil the temperature in the rainforest is pretty stable around 26-28C all year round. If you know that humidity at that temperature is around 80% based on whatever information source you use (and which you know is correct for your species), then you have a good measurement point.

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Old 08-01-17, 03:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

Lots of useful info in this thread, ladies and gents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eminart View Post
I don't know where this myth about glass aquariums and poor humidity started. But, glass aquariums are designed to hold water. The LID is your humidity problem. If you're using a solid screen lid, just cover most of it with the method of your choosing.

Come on people, it ain't rocket surgery! (Not directed at the OP, as this is a prevailing thought in the reptile community.)
Yes it's true, glass is a great insulator...and yes the lid is the issue...you answered your own statement. The "myth" started and is perpetuated because people used to use heat bulbs in conventional screen top tanks, making their snakes live like a piece of chicken waiting to be sold at KFC...but I wouldn't call it a "myth" taking that into consideration...add in the fact that certain geographical ranges are very dry during certain time periods within a household (read as "winter anywhere that it's cold") and voila, the myth is no longer a myth. I hate tanks myself because they're heavy and need modification to keep the proper temps/humidity (some are quick and easy, but some look pretty undesirable and sloppy) and you have to build a shelf to put them on if you want to utilize your space well. I'd rather build or buy custom instead of spending money on something that I have to modify after the purchase...less fuss and it looks nicer in my opinion. I'd never recommend a tank as a first choice...I'd probably recommend it as the very last choice, actually. This of course doesn't account for the many other different styles of glass caging that are now available. So...one of those things that's a myth...but it also isn't...context, specifics, and situation is important. People say tanks suck because they don't always want to get into the specifics...or are tired of doing so.
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Old 08-04-17, 12:06 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Humidity Tips

JJHILL001 that was great information thank you for posting that!
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