View Full Version : My setup: Criticize me!

01-26-2004, 09:49 PM
Last week I bought a young western hognose snake, and would like to describe the setup I've currently got her in. If there is anything I am doing wrong, or anything I am not doing that I should be doing, please let me know. I'm basically looking for criticism here, so let me have it : )
Here we go:
The 6 inch snake is in a 5 gallon glass aquarium with screen cover. The substrate consists of about 3 inches of aspen shavings. Decor includes one of those replica half-log hiding places that you see in the pet stores, a ceramic water dish, and a basking rock (just a normal rock, not a heat rock). The log and dish are at one end of the tank, the rock at the other.
I've got one of the repti-therm heating pads under the side of the tank where the rock is. Honestly, I'm not sure it's doing much. Is it possible that the 3 inches of aspen is too much to allow the pad to heat up the substrate?
For light and additional heat, I've got an 'exo-terra' 60W "sun glo" bulb (for day time), and an 'exo-terra' 75W "night glo" bulb (for night, obviously, lol).
These bulbs are shaped like normal light bulbs, not strip lights. I place them on the same side of the tank that the pad is on, away from the water and log.

Well, that's it. Please give me your opinion!

01-26-2004, 10:29 PM
Have you put a thermometer on substate below lights and then on other end of cage? I think you would surprised.

That much light/heat - if in a "clamp" style fixture sitting on top of screen cage, with under tank heater - has got to be 100+ degrees or more - waaaayyyyyy too hot. Plus - it's a small cage so there is very little temp gradient - at least not enough to save your snake. I would guess cool end would be mid to high 80's or even 90.

I have used undertank heating, several inches of aspen, and a 25 watt bulb in a ten gallon aquarium and been able to get hot end to 88-90 and low end mid-70's. A very good gradient. In a 5 gallon you are using 2x or more the heat source, and less area/smaller cage so less possibility for heat gradient.

I suggest you measure temps and then - if I am right - reduce light to 15-25 watts max. You also don't need the nite light - the under tank should be sufficient to maintain adequate temps at night. Most retiles appreciate a little cooler temps at nite.

You also don't need those expensive sun glow lights for snakes - snakes like to hide and don't do basking thing very often - they just do it to warm up. Lizards need UVA and UVB light but not snakes. A regulat 25 watt household incadescent will be great for you.

Hope you can make the changes ASAP and avoid killing your snake.

01-28-2004, 03:40 PM
Thanks for the info! I'm glad you told me about this. I just switched the old 60W for a 25W. I ended up buying one of the special sunlight mimicing bulbs...only because I could not find a normal 25W bulb that would fit my reflector dome! According to the thermometer it is probably about 80degrees in there now.
To be honest, it seems to me like the pad is not really doing much. I think I've got too much substrate in there in order for it to work properly. Yet I know hognoses are burrowers, so having 3 inches of aspen in there is probably a good idea.
I don't know. Between the normal room temperature and the light, the temperature should be OK.
Honestly, I'm just surprised how well this snake is doing. Very calm, takes water from the dish, and eats (unscented pinkies) without a problem. The last thing I want is for her to die do to my own stupidity and/or lack of education.
So...thanks again!

01-28-2004, 10:26 PM
I would lay a thermometer on top of aspen directly under light and get a temp and then lay it on cool side to get a temp - lay it right on top of aspen. I use those $2.99 metal fish thermometers (I don't leave them in there - just for spot checks).

80 degrees sounds like it's too cool under a light with heat pad. Is heat pad under entire tank or just the hot side (that would be a tiny tiny heat pad if it's just under hot light side on a 5 gallon aquarium). 80 is too cool for hot side especially if the light is on that side and the heat pad is there, too. Why don't you email me webb.m@insightbb.com and we can figure it out - something does not sound right.

01-28-2004, 10:42 PM
I just sent you an email.
Thanks for all the help!

05-18-2004, 07:12 AM
NO HEAT ROCK, replace w/ heat pad, also replace aspen shavings with a jungle mix type substrate. Add about 6 inches of substrate, and look into getting a bigger tank with a glass top.