Advertisement Part 1: Getting Started Recently I started a planted, bioactive vivarium build for a Chrysopelea paradisi (paradise flying snake). I'm only partially through the process at the moment, and it occurred to me that I might do a build thread. I know it's not for an invertebrate, but a lot of the processes involved are just as relevant when constructing a display viv for pretty much any exotic animal. After keeping some larger snakes (morelia, boa, etc.) requiring substantial enclosure footprints (no tubs, here), I decided to lean toward smaller (albeit more focused) projects in the future. My big carpet python passed away in January, and I sold the larger stack of melamine enclosures I had and purchased one Animal Plastics A10 enclosure for a then-undecided small, arboreal snake. The dimensions of this particular enclosure are 24(1/4)W x 23D x 35(3/4)H. AP is infamous for it's glacial lead times, so I expected a bit of a wait. For what it's worth, I was the first to order this model with some additional features (sliding glass doors and top vent), so it lengthened the wait a bit. Four months later, it finally arrived: It was like Christmas! I couldn't resist, and (figuratively) skipped down to the basement with my flat-packed enclosure in tow. My frustration with the wait was immediately forgotten, as the craftsmanship was absolutely superb. Instructions were clear, hardware provided, and with the help of a cordless drill I effortlessly assembled the enclosure in no time. One of the (many, many) reasons I decided on a PVC enclosure was a close-call I had with my previous melamine enclosure stack and a CHE mounted in a ceramic fixture (kaboom!). For both safety and feasibility reasons, I opted to install a radiant heat panel in this build. I've seen some pretty harsh discussions online regarding RBI RHPs, so I opted to order one from Pro Products. I spoke with Bob via email and phone, and after discussing the parameters of the project, I decided on a Pro Heat model PH-3 (222 BTU/h, 65 watt, 12" x 18" x 1"): Despite not having plugged it in yet, this thing looks great! It's got that hard-to-describe heft of a quality, durable product. As a side note: Pro Products has some great customer service. Bob was very accommodating, even when the northeast was being pounded with repeated severe winter storms. I also ordered a Pro Mist PM-50D which I've yet to unbox or install (which I will, of course, touch on later). Because of the way the top screen is installed, the RHP covers about half of it. I knew this would be an issue ahead of time, but I wanted the additional ventilation available. Unfortunately, because of the way the screen is mounted inside the AP A10, the RHP does not sit 100% flush. I had to find some longer (3in) machine screws, and there's approximately a half inch gap between the back of the panel and the screen. This will be no problem for the snake and/or feeder lizards to get into, so I'm contemplating either inserting a piece of half inch PVC above it or filling the gap with fire-resistant Great Stuff. Thoughts? I drilled some small holes in the back for the power cord and the thermostat probe (a metal-tipped probe controlled by a Spyder Robotics Herpstat 2). I did a sloppy job for some reason, but it's unnoticeable from the front. I imagine I'll be drilling a third access hole for a hygrostat probe eventually, but I need to research the best location for this. On the front left corner, I installed one bulkhead for the Pro Mist. This will eventually utilize their PM-MNH, which is their micro-fine misting nozzle. I may install another nozzle, but I want to test the system first. After test-fitting all the peripheral accessories, I got to work on the foam background. I coated the inside with silicone. Like an idiot, I used GE II, but I don't suspect this will be much of an issue, as it will eventually be covered by Great Stuff, more silicone, and coco fiber/moss. Here's the initial coat. Note that I removed the bulkhead and RHP panel for the next step, I just got overeager here, haha. Next up, Part 2: Installing the Background!