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Old 12-27-17, 10:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr-2015
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First DIY, please be gentle :)

Hi Everyone,
I thought here would be one of the best places to ask for help. I have a 3.5 year old female JCP. I moved to MI and it gets really cold here so I want to take the time to upgrade her tank and get it better insulation. So I thought about repurposing an old cabinet (they have a fair few around here), since building from complete scratch might be a bit much.
My questions have to do with insulation, waterproofing, and lighting. I've seen on home improvement sites someone said to use foam insulation and to cover it with fire safety drywall. People also say that they use RHPs, though I don't know if there's a reptile version if they aren't talking about those found in say home depot. I want as little heat escaping as possible. I know I might have issues with the doors in the front but other than there I don't want heat to leave anywhere else except by the vents. I've also seen videos where people do apply waterproofing to wood enclosures, however does that work with insulation? If so, how? And light installations, is it a matter of just cutting holes in the top of the cabinet to fish out the wiring or is there a more secure way to do it where you can replace them more easily? I know that some people put their lights in meshes so snakes don't wrap themselves around it. As a JCP shes definitely a climber.
The reason for waterproofing is that I snake a humidifier tube into her tank and also I might later want to turn her cage into a paludarium. Of course I would like to save money where I can, but overall I want this to look nice and be a great habitat for her. I'll definitely have more questions but these are the first one's I thought of. And this is my first DIY.
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Old 12-28-17, 11:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct-2017
Posts: 431
Re: First DIY, please be gentle :)

If you are making a wooden enclosure, with a heat light inside that should provide plenty of heat. However, if you want to minimize heat loss, you can use styrofoam. Definitely either cover the light with mesh, inside the enclosure, or make the light external. If you are putting the light in an external position however, you will have trouble with humidity. I am also not sure how good most reptile bulbs survive in high humidity, so you might want to research that. For making cages more water resistant, Home Depot sells this,

Which works really well for extending the life of reptile enclosures. It's completely non-toxic, so you don't have to worry about chemicals to your animal. I don't think you could ever make wooden enclosures completely waterproof, but this stuff should help nonetheless.
I am no expert. I’m just knowledgeable in reptiles, I’ll do my best to help you.
“The Only Difference Between Fear and Respect is Knowledge”(Daniel Jensen).
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Old 12-28-17, 04:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct-2005
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Age: 52
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Re: First DIY, please be gentle :)

Use LED lights, as they are asthetically better and DON’T put out a ton of heat. You’ll not have to fret the “insulation”. Use a RHP on a thermostat. Yes, it is an investment, but you’ll save time, headaches, and (trust me on this), a ton of money in the long run.
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