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Old 12-13-17, 06:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Heat source options pros/cons?

As with everything in this hobby, I am finding a lot of conflicting info and a lot is subjective. A lot is also from people that sell a particular product, which I always take with a grain of salt. So I am planning a custom plywood enclosure and am down to the heating and lighting. Any heating will be on a thermostat. So help me fill in the blanks while I plan this out?

Radiating heat panel - seems to be everyone's favorite. Easy mounting. Not hot to the touch so it's safe. More radiant, less directional. Most expensive option

Ceramic heat emitting lamp - overhead heating, very directional. Bulb and lamp can get warm and need a cage if inside an enclosure. Fairly inexpensive. Takes up space.

Heat pads - belly heat and can be a little intense. Some report burning. Inexpensive. Easy to install.

Heat tape - versatile mounting. That's about all I have on it right now
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Old 12-13-17, 06:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

radiant heat panels and heat tape/pads are pretty standard in reptile husbandry. MUST have them on thermostat though. I use Vivarium Electronic thermostats, others use Herpstat. Helix is another.

Bulbs and ceramic heaters, if not controlled will be extremely drying and tend to over do it in the heating area. They are great for spot heating for heat tolerant/desert type animals, but for most snakes, I would avoid the ceramic heat emitters.
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Old 12-13-17, 06:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

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radiant heat panels and heat tape/pads are pretty standard in reptile husbandry. MUST have them on thermostat though. I use Vivarium Electronic thermostats, others use Herpstat. Helix is another.

Bulbs and ceramic heaters, if not controlled will be extremely drying and tend to over do it in the heating area. They are great for spot heating for heat tolerant/desert type animals, but for most snakes, I would avoid the ceramic heat emitters.
I agree with MDT
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Old 12-13-17, 06:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

Good to know. And yeah, like I said, everything will be on a thermostat controls. CHE aren't really in my plan due to space. We have them now with thermostats control on the glass tanks but I am not crazy about them. One of my sons was the catalyst for all the snakes but I have become very interested as well. He did the setups and there are heatpads and small CHE lamps on the hotside. Seems like overkill but the humidity and temps are regulating OK. Like I said, they are on thermostat control so they kick off when it gets to the target.

For the custom enclosures, I was going to skip the lamps and just go with heat pads inside of the enclosure and sandwich them between plexi or some ceramic flooring tiles to diffuse the heat somewhat. Seemed good for the snake, economical, very fitting for the space, and easy to wire. I would still like to use it honestly, but a lot of reading about RHP has me considering them. I am thinking I will do the heat pads and maybe upgrade to RHP in the future.
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Old 12-13-17, 09:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

I think RHPs are the most efficient heat sources but all of the other options can still work if used properly. I've used CHEs, UTHs, and heat bulbs successfully with thermostats and dimmers. If you're going to use UTHs I would recommend the Ultratherm brand over others like Zoomed. They don't get as hot, even when unregulated, and you can transfer them between enclosures.

Ultratherm Heat Pads
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Old 12-17-17, 08:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

A lot of it comes down to what you're keeping, too. I have a variety of snakes and lizards and I use a lot of different heating options based on what works best for each setup.

As a general rule most snakes and non-basking lizards will be fine with heat tape. I have some solid racks with back heat and open racks with belly heat. RHP is preferable to me for snakes in enclosures than making the heat tape work hard enough to go through the enclosure floor. I suspect many lizards that do not need insanely high basking spots would also be fine with RHP. For basking lizards, I have not had any issues with bulbs but I do mist their enclosures as it has quite a drying effect for sure. A few species are fine at room temperature (70s) without a basking spot. My cave geckos and a few asian ratsnakes fall into this category. I had a hard time keeping my salamanders cold enough in the summer so I sold them off. Had I kept them, I would have needed to AC the basement during the hottest times of year. The snake and lizards rooms all have AC running about half the year.
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Old 12-18-17, 10:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

In my opinion one should simulate nature as much as possible. I'm not a fan for UTHs or heat tape heating from the bottom. Many snakes avoid heat by digging into the substrate or going into hides, having heat underneath defeats this behavior. Additional to that any species which is active during the day (which also include many species which are considered in the hobby as nocturnal) should have appropriate lighting available (full spectrum), which in turn can also provide heat.
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Old 12-18-17, 10:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

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In my opinion one should simulate nature as much as possible. I'm not a fan for UTHs or heat tape heating from the bottom. Many snakes avoid heat by digging into the substrate or going into hides, having heat underneath defeats this behavior. Additional to that any species which is active during the day (which also include many species which are considered in the hobby as nocturnal) should have appropriate lighting available (full spectrum), which in turn can also provide heat.
I think this makes sense. In my opinion however, the snake doesn't care as long as it gets the heat it needs.
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Old 12-28-17, 03:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

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I think RHPs are the most efficient heat sources but all of the other options can still work if used properly. I've used CHEs, UTHs, and heat bulbs successfully with thermostats and dimmers. If you're going to use UTHs I would recommend the Ultratherm brand over others like Zoomed. They don't get as hot, even when unregulated, and you can transfer them between enclosures.

Ultratherm Heat Pads
the ultratherm look nice. If I have a 2x4 or 2x6 enclosure, how much heat pad coverage should I be looking at?
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Old 12-28-17, 03:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

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the ultratherm look nice. If I have a 2x4 or 2x6 enclosure, how much heat pad coverage should I be looking at?
I like for the UTH to cover 1/3 of the bottom of the enclosure.
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Old 01-10-18, 02:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

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I like for the UTH to cover 1/3 of the bottom of the enclosure.
so for a glass tank with a 48x18 floor you would ideally use a 16x18 pad? That is 288 sq inches. Ultratherm has 11x23 which is 253 sq inches or almost 30%. Seems like the closest I am going to get from them. next size up is 45% coverage.

For my plywood enclosure that will be 84x24, 1/3 would be 384 sq inches. An 11x35 pad is 385 but I dont know if I like 35 of the 48 inch width having a heat pad. Thats only 13 inches of cool floor. What if I did 2 pads? one 11x23 and one 6x23 ? that would give me 391 sq inches and be 34% of the floor space.

lol...or am I overthinking this a little? I just want all the little suckers to be comfortable.
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Old 01-10-18, 04:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

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so for a glass tank with a 48x18 floor you would ideally use a 16x18 pad? That is 288 sq inches. Ultratherm has 11x23 which is 253 sq inches or almost 30%. Seems like the closest I am going to get from them. next size up is 45% coverage.

For my plywood enclosure that will be 84x24, 1/3 would be 384 sq inches. An 11x35 pad is 385 but I dont know if I like 35 of the 48 inch width having a heat pad. Thats only 13 inches of cool floor. What if I did 2 pads? one 11x23 and one 6x23 ? that would give me 391 sq inches and be 34% of the floor space.

lol...or am I overthinking this a little? I just want all the little suckers to be comfortable.
Your definitely overthinking it. If you want to be precise you can use heat tape, but getting a approximate size for a heat mat would work fine.
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Old 01-10-18, 04:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

I have made a heat pad myself from nichrome wire, CD disk, glue and glass. I placed it in a hide box and buy Chinese thermostat . So my carpet python have hide box and it's warm one ) 1/2 of hide box...
So it cost very cheap.
the better way is using not a glue but silicone sealant.
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Old 01-10-18, 04:42 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

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Your definitely overthinking it. If you want to be precise you can use heat tape, but getting a approximate size for a heat mat would work fine.
yeah, I tend to get lost int he details sometimes, thanks
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Old 01-14-18, 05:55 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Heat source options pros/cons?

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I have made a heat pad myself from nichrome wire, CD disk, glue and glass. I placed it in a hide box and buy Chinese thermostat . So my carpet python have hide box and it's warm one ) 1/2 of hide box...
So it cost very cheap.
the better way is using not a glue but silicone sealant.
Probably a better idea to buy an actual heat pad and thermostat of good quality unless you fancy to burn your snake or house down one of these days...
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