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Old 11-12-17, 01:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Better to have depth or height

I have a 55 gallon aquarium that I want to convert into a snake enclosure. Its 48 inches long, 12 inches deep, and 18 inches high. I was thinking about putting it on its side and making it front opening. Would it be better to leave it as is with the current dimensions or to make it short but deep? Im not sure exactly what snake I plan to put in it yet but it would definitly be a terrestrial species.
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Old 11-13-17, 10:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Better to have depth or height

On it's side would be good for anything from a corn or king snake to a ball python. But would be too small for a boa. Most enclosures have a depth of 2 feet. So it may be a bit slender for some species. Stay with less active animals though and you will be fine.
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Old 11-13-17, 12:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Better to have depth or height

I personally wouldn't keep any snake in a tank of those dimensions.

Set up vertically then it is not wide enough, on its side not high enough.

Corns, kings and balls all climb somewhat of given the opportunity and I'd always advocate providing the option. Of the three I'd be most comfortable with a king but even then I'd rather just get a decent viv for one.

I also find 12" a pain from a heating and lighting perspective also. Too low to get a good overhead heat source set up and nigh on impossible to install a good lighting rig.
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Old 11-14-17, 11:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Better to have depth or height

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Originally Posted by dannybgoode View Post
I personally wouldn't keep any snake in a tank of those dimensions.

Set up vertically then it is not wide enough, on its side not high enough.

Corns, kings and balls all climb somewhat of given the opportunity and I'd always advocate providing the option. Of the three I'd be most comfortable with a king but even then I'd rather just get a decent viv for one.

I also find 12" a pain from a heating and lighting perspective also. Too low to get a good overhead heat source set up and nigh on impossible to install a good lighting rig.
Why would you prefer the king? I've found rat snakes to be much more inclined to take advantage of climbing opportunities.
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Old 11-15-17, 12:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Better to have depth or height

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Originally Posted by Grim13Tidings View Post
I have a 55 gallon aquarium that I want to convert into a snake enclosure. Its 48 inches long, 12 inches deep, and 18 inches high. I was thinking about putting it on its side and making it front opening. Would it be better to leave it as is with the current dimensions or to make it short but deep? Im not sure exactly what snake I plan to put in it yet but it would definitly be a terrestrial species.
First off, it's like a 45 gallon tank. I've honestly never seen those dimensions before, any idea of the manufacturer?

18 inches deep is probably the minimum depth I'd accept for just about any but the smallest species. Height is always going to be the dimension that gets the least attention but CAN be very useful in my opinion.

I would say that if you utilized every cubic foot of the enclosure with say a custom made background you could in theory provide enough usable space to make up for the lack of depth in the enclosure. Personally I'd go for the more slender species of the smaller rat snakes that are likely to utilize the height. So Baird's Rat Snakes, Corns, and I THINK the Yellows and Everglades Rats stay more slender on average as well. The important thing to remember is that any of these snakes can get relatively rotund if they are fed on aggressive schedules once they get older so keep that in mind.

Most individuals of those particular species would utilize the vertical space and also prefer smaller hides, with most comfortably fitting within a 8x8 inch footprint of which you could fit a few in those dimensions.

If you do get one of these as a baby there is always a chance that the snake grows up to be larger than you expect, there is a girl on youtube with a Baird's that's hitting 6ft even though most max out around 4-5ft. So keep that in mind or make the decision to purchase an adult that is already around that average size and done growing, shouldn't be more than 100-300 bucks depending on what you purchase, sometimes even cheaper depending on the time of year.

Now, I'm just offering a way that I think that you could be successful with what you have because in my mind (assuming you decorate it and provide useful area) what you'd be offering is more rewarding both to you than a tub. That and combined with, square footage wise, there is more floor space than most tubs as well. Personally I prefer 18 inch deep minimum for most of the small-medium sized snakes even the little hoggies and rosy boas simply because there is more room for decor and the depth really makes it just FEEL like the snake has more room to move around.

That said, it wasn't long ago that 20 gallon was the recommended terrarium size for just about every snake under 6 feet in length and I have no doubts that any of the species I recommended would do well in a tank that size even if it is a bit of a tight squeeze.
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Old 11-20-17, 05:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Better to have depth or height

House snake? They're small and slender enough that the floor space should be adequate, and they like to climb. You could set up a pretty elaborate jungle gym in a long, tall cage like that.
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