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    Default Setting up wood, melamine, or plywood enclosures?


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    I've seen a bunch of keepers use wood, melamine, or plywood enclosures (whether separate or in a bookshelf fashion) and thought of making my own, but I have a ton of questions.

    How thick should each material be for the floor to ensure proper heat goes through but can support the terrarium?

    If I'm using any of the materials above, should I use paper towels, non-adhesive shelf liner, or would 3/8" tile be ok?

    Can I use glass as the floor of each one if I were to make a bookshelf? If so, how thick should that be?

    Heat cable, heat tape, or uth?

    Which is better; glass or acrylic doors?

    Is it better to build from scratch or to purchase a bookshelf and go from there?

  2. #2
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    Most leopard gecko keepers prefer UTH as their main heating method. Heat tape/cable is also an option, but personally I find it more trouble than I'd like. Some people like to install radiant heat panels on top of the enclosure, but the downside to this is that it doesn't create belly heat.

    If using wood/melamine/plywood, the UTH needs to be installed inside the tank. Putting it underneath requires turning the heat up, which can damage the wood at best and presents a fire hazard at worst. So you will need some kind of barrier between your leopard gecko and the UTH to make sure it doesn't get burned. In Europe, where wood/melamine enclosures are popular, they solve this problem by placing a sheet of glass (no thicker than 1/4") over the UTH. Glass conducts heat well, unlike wood, so you won't need to turn the thermostat any higher than normal. Then you can place paper towels/contact paper/tile/substrate of choice over the glass.

    About the doors, personally I prefer glass. It looks better and lasts longer than acrylic since it doesn't scratch easily or become discolored.

    I'd recommend looking around for discounted bookshelves/furniture that you can convert first. If you can't find anything suitable, then building it yourself would be the next step. Always try to save yourself some work first.
    Mariah Healey
    Author of several care guides on ReptiFiles, The Reptile Blog for Reptile People
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  3. #3
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    Here are a couple links complete with photos which demonstrate how folks use UTHs inside wooden and melamine enclosures.


    You may find @Seth9999's thread helpful: Questions??

    Have you checked out GU's DIY subforum: http://www.geckosunlimited.com/commu...yourself-diy-/
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 11-02-2017 at 06:06 PM.
    "If you can hear crickets, it's still summer." ;)

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    Click: Leo Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    ===> No plain calcium, calcium with D3, or multivitamins inside an enclosure <===

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Phelsuma barbouri ~ Ptychozoon kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (L kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
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