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Old 09-02-17, 03:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Reptile Heat Panel Heater

Just wondering if anyone else uses these panel heaters from Exo-Terra (just scroll down a little to see them):
’Ž— Ž”ˆ—p•i •‰Š˜A—p•i ƒGƒLƒ] ƒeƒ‰ ƒWƒFƒbƒNƒXŠ”Ž‰Ž

They're the only Exo-Terra under tank heaters available here in Japan, and don't adhere to the bottom of the enclosure like the ones I've seen available overseas. They just lie on the floor underneath the viv, leaving a gap of about 10mm between the heat panel and the floor of the viv.

I've been running mine for the past couple of days without any substrate, and the glass floor surface directly above the heater is getting up to 38C/100F. The instructions (and dealer) say a thermostat isn't necessary as the panel has a safety fuse, but common sense is telling me this is too hot! I'm going to put some newspaper down and test it again to see if the temperature will come down a few degrees, otherwise I'll use the thermostat I have on my heat bulb and just run the bulb without a thermostat for now (left running 24 hours the warm side air temps don't get above 33-34C/91-93F, cool side at 28C/82F).

Last edited by scales.jp; 09-02-17 at 03:18 AM..
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Old 09-02-17, 05:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

You are going to need a thermostat, I don't care what the manufacturer says.

Every snake is different and you need to find a temperature sweet spot for that snake.

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Originally Posted by scales.jp View Post
Just wondering if anyone else uses these panel heaters from Exo-Terra (just scroll down a little to see them):
঒ pi ۉ֘Api GL] e WFbNX

They're the only Exo-Terra under tank heaters available here in Japan, and don't adhere to the bottom of the enclosure like the ones I've seen available overseas. They just lie on the floor underneath the viv, leaving a gap of about 10mm between the heat panel and the floor of the viv.

I've been running mine for the past couple of days without any substrate, and the glass floor surface directly above the heater is getting up to 38C/100F. The instructions (and dealer) say a thermostat isn't necessary as the panel has a safety fuse, but common sense is telling me this is too hot! I'm going to put some newspaper down and test it again to see if the temperature will come down a few degrees, otherwise I'll use the thermostat I have on my heat bulb and just run the bulb without a thermostat for now (left running 24 hours the warm side air temps don't get above 33-34C/91-93F, cool side at 28C/82F).
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Old 09-02-17, 07:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

I told the shop staff I wanted a separate thermostat for the mat and he convinced me I wouldn't need one. Classic case of BS baffles brains! I might just buy a CHE as I originally intended, and keep the heat bulb I have for a basking spot.
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Old 09-02-17, 01:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

It may not get too hot to touch or cause fires due to safety features but that doesn't mean it will hold x temperature in every situation. You would have to adjust the enclosure or size and setup of the heater to get a specific temp and that would only hold if the room then held very specifically. Without a thermostat it's subject to the conditions and fluctuations of the enclosure and surrounding area. Same with a CHE or anything else. Not that it can't be done with some species that have evolved to deal with temp fluctuations but you have to calculate a lot of variables and match the heat source size, height, spread.... with everything else to a specially setup enclosure for temperature gradients in a room kept temp stable no matter what. For most situations and species no heat source will work safely without a thermostat and certainly it won't keep a very accurate temp for species that don't do fluctuations.
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Old 09-02-17, 04:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

You pretty much just always need a tstat if you're keeping reptiles.
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Old 09-02-17, 04:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

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Originally Posted by pet_snake_78 View Post
You pretty much just always need a tstat if you're keeping reptiles.
To play devil's advocate, can you think of an instance for no thermostat?
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Old 09-02-17, 06:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

My bulls don't all have them. Technically if I could replicate a sun warmed and a sheltered enough area I could just open the windows and they'd live in my local temps except how deep of brumation is needed in full winter but not wanting my house to be outdoors instead I try to copy it in a more temp controlled surrounding. My house is never without a.c. or heat to a specific temp with the circulating fan on for all rooms to stay even. If we have a temp increase my chinchillas can die at high 70s and other things won't have strong enough heating before the bulls get too cold so I have to correct things long before basic room temp is outside bull snake livable. They have long cages with caves on dirt that at the hottest out of season temp spike in winter led to a cool side cave not quite reaching 80f and that's where the snake went right away. I found not all species have that strong of instinct and the blood python would mostly just sit and wait it out. Provided a section of the cage is not really heated the bulls and many NA colubrids along with rosy boas immediately go there, settle into the dirt, and they don't even experience what they would outside as a native species. I mostly just worry if they recently ate full meals and the power goes out in the cold, which has nothing to do with the function of a thermostat. My house has blown nearly every incandescent and 2 actual power strips overnight before. More complex electronics, fluorescent, and che were fine. I mostly have everything replaced but I have to order che online only so my desert snakes and younger ones are prioritized over adult colubrids if I run out of che versus incandescent.

My crested geckos also don't have thermostats but they don't really need heat. People will breed them in high 60s without heat sources and they shouldn't go over 80f with fluctuations in the 70s normal for their environment so some have enough heating to raise about 3 degrees to keep part of the tank in ideal 70s part of the day for better breeding. Exact temp is unimportant and not even fully agreed on within that range limited by area and not run 24hrs.
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Old 09-02-17, 07:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

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Originally Posted by Scubadiver59 View Post
You are going to need a thermostat, I don't care what the manufacturer says.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pet_snake_78 View Post
You pretty much just always need a tstat if you're keeping reptiles.
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Originally Posted by REM955 View Post
To play devil's advocate, can you think of an instance for no thermostat?
I would never set up an viv without a thermostat, but I was planning to use mine in conjunction with the main heat lamp to provide a steady 24 hour air temperature (it's a black bulb that puts out almost zero light). In the past I used stats with tube heaters to do do the same thing in my Panther chameleon enclosures.

This is the first time I've set up a viv since coming to Japan, and the first for a medium/large snake. I was told I would need the heat panel to provide additional heat for when it gets colder as houses here aren't central heated.

After being persuaded I wouldn't need a thermostat, I imagined it would run just warm enough to provide gentle additional belly heat. I also imagine most people here that buy them don't even bother testing them first, but just do as they're instructed, probably with a thick substrate to absorb a lot of the heat.

Anyway, I put it on a thermostat set at 32C/90F overnight and it works fine. The heat lamp is now running without a stat and the overnight temp on the warm side was around 29C/84F (cool side 26C/79F). It will warm up during the day, but things are now pretty much exactly where I want them.
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Old 09-03-17, 07:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

Never trust petshop owners..

PS. I have no thermostats! But I have different control method. Also not using CHE, RHP, Heatmats.. for those things stats are a must.
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Old 09-03-17, 04:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

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Never trust petshop owners..
He seemed like he was genuinely trying to help me set things up in the best way possible for the snake I was considering (an Angolan python, but now it looks like I'll probably be getting a Carpet python instead). I just think he was giving advice based on the maker's instructions, which are potentially dangerous.
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Old 09-03-17, 04:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

It can be all in good faith but most petshop workers simply go by whatever instructions they've read on the packages of the products.. ie- if a heatmat doesn't specifically states that it needs a thermostat it won't be needed (as per manufacturer's instructions). It's actually not the poor guy's fault, they just go by what manufacturers state on their products.
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Old 09-04-17, 09:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

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Originally Posted by REM955 View Post
To play devil's advocate, can you think of an instance for no thermostat?
If you're keeping monitor lizards/bearded dragons and your tank is as big as it's supposed to be with proper ventilation, they bask in temps up in the 140+ Fahrenheit range. You'd be able to find a CHE/light combo that hits that temp probably pretty easy making the thermostat kind of useless if the CHE and Light are operating at max capacity.

In terms of active baskers IE diurnal lizards (basically that's it) I would probably shoot for finding the right sized bulb that I wouldn't need a thermostat. Having a light click on and off all day is probably not the best idea for your reptiles or your own sanity.

Back in the wild west days I never once used a thermostat for anything and honestly never had much of an issue however I do chalk that up to dumb luck and the fact that most of my collection was native amphibians at the time so I didn't really need much in the way of heating except for a few snakes and a leopard gecko.
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Old 09-05-17, 12:57 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

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You'd be able to find a CHE/light combo that hits that temp probably pretty easy making the thermostat kind of useless if the CHE and Light are operating at max capacity.
I could do that in the colder months, and turn the heat bulb off completely during the warm/hot months. It's the in between months where having a thermostat would make life easier.
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Old 09-05-17, 07:09 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

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Originally Posted by REM955 View Post
To play devil's advocate, can you think of an instance for no thermostat?
Species that require no heating device and can be kept successfully at room temp.
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Old 09-05-17, 04:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Reptile Heat Panel Heater

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Originally Posted by REM955 View Post
To play devil's advocate, can you think of an instance for no thermostat?
The sun is substantially hotter than any light/CHE bulb, the only reason why the ground isn't freaking hot outside is because there's plenty of ventilation. With other words; if you ventilate your vivarium with a controlled fan, have a stable ambient temp outside the viv, then you don't need a thermostat for heating. You can literally keep ambient at room temp, say 25 C, and have a large 45 C basking area in a 2' vivarium by providing airflow. No amount of thermostats, lamp combinations, heating elements, etc, is going to enable such temperatures in such small space.

But this is extra setup, monitoring, costs... And yea, you still need a thermostat on the COOL end for safety if the fan fails.

So, to answer the question; no you don't necessarily need a thermostat to moderate the heating to get a certain temperature, but you do need one for fail-safe.

This is how I setup my vivs. I want high basking temps, but normal ambient temps. Species which bask in tropical/desert environments around the equator may life in environments that have ambient temps at or about 28- 29C but the ground temperature on which they bask is a whole lot higher.
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