Does reptile carpet mask heat?

WyrmSwarm

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I use a zoo med heat mat for my glass enclosure for my leopard gecko. I’ve stuck it to the bottom, and placed the thermometer probe on the inside on the heat mat. As the substrate, I use reptile carpet, however I notice that the basking spot does not reach 90 degrees like it should. I use a zoo med temp scanner and when I scan the heat pad without the reptile carpet, it reads what it should be, at 92 degrees. When I scan the basking spot with the reptile carpet over it, it only reads somewhere in the 80s. Is there a better option for a substrate? Or am I doing something wrong?
 

Dandrobates

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You are going to lose some heat through the carpet but I would recommend incorporating a quality thermostat into the equation in the event the UTH overheats. I have gotten temperatures in excess of 140 degrees on UTHs and they shouldn’t be trusted without one. On a side note though I would discourage you from using reptile carpet altogether. It is a nightmare to clean and can harbor a lot of waste. Spot cleaning is almost impossible so I would look into another substrate. Nonetheless it’s nice to see you are doing the research
 

WyrmSwarm

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You are going to lose some heat through the carpet but I would recommend incorporating a quality thermostat into the equation in the event the UTH overheats. I have gotten temperatures in excess of 140 degrees on UTHs and they shouldn’t be trusted without one. On a side note though I would discourage you from using reptile carpet altogether. It is a nightmare to clean and can harbor a lot of waste. Spot cleaning is almost impossible so I would look into another substrate. Nonetheless it’s nice to see you are doing the research
I do use a zilla thermometer controller and it does it’s job like it’s supposed to and regulates the mat temperatures. I was getting worried that it wasn’t making it warm enough but it is very accurate when I use the temp gun. So it’s really just a matter of changing out the substrate then. Do you think coco fiber would be okay? I know I shouldn’t use sand or anything like that, but I’m not sure what to use and I don’t really want to use just plain paper towel. I want to avoid using anything that could cause impaction too.
 

basin79

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I use a zoo med heat mat for my glass enclosure for my leopard gecko. I’ve stuck it to the bottom, and placed the thermometer probe on the inside on the heat mat. As the substrate, I use reptile carpet, however I notice that the basking spot does not reach 90 degrees like it should. I use a zoo med temp scanner and when I scan the heat pad without the reptile carpet, it reads what it should be, at 92 degrees. When I scan the basking spot with the reptile carpet over it, it only reads somewhere in the 80s. Is there a better option for a substrate? Or am I doing something wrong?
You want a ceramic bulb overhead to create a suitable basking spot. A ceramic bulb connected to a pulse proportion thermostat.

Your reptile carpet or any substrate is going to stop the full heat. And if you turn up your thermostat you'll get thermal blocking. So on top of the sub/carpet you'll get 90f but under it will be really hot. Dangerously hot. Cause a fire hot.
 

Brachyfan

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You want a ceramic bulb overhead to create a suitable basking spot. A ceramic bulb connected to a pulse proportion thermostat.

Your reptile carpet or any substrate is going to stop the full heat. And if you turn up your thermostat you'll get thermal blocking. So on top of the sub/carpet you'll get 90f but under it will be really hot. Dangerously hot. Cause a fire hot.
Leo's don't bask. They spend all day in their caves and come out at dusk to look for insects. That's the main reason why they do not require uv lights of any kind.

Totally agree about the thermostat. Absolutely necessary.

How I set up my leo enclosures:

Attach heat mat to the outside bottom of the tank. Set up carpet / sand mat. Attach thermostat probe on top of mat. Then calibrate a thermometer probe to read the same.

Alternately you can place the probes under the carpet/mat and then take a reading on top and just dial the thermostat to read what you want. This kinda fail safes it a little because the temp will be a few degrees cooler up top.

I would advise against any loose substrate due to impaction risk. I personally have used paper towels for quarantine but prefer exo terra sand mats. These always have loose stones so i make sure to knock all the loose stones off and take a toothbrush to it to remove any semi loose ones. One good benifit is you don't have as much to worry about toe shedding as the excess shed tends to get pulled off when they are out walking around.
 

basin79

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Leo's don't bask. They spend all day in their caves and come out at dusk to look for insects. That's the main reason why they do not require uv lights of any kind.

Totally agree about the thermostat. Absolutely necessary.

How I set up my leo enclosures:

Attach heat mat to the outside bottom of the tank. Set up carpet / sand mat. Attach thermostat probe on top of mat. Then calibrate a thermometer probe to read the same.

Alternately you can place the probes under the carpet/mat and then take a reading on top and just dial the thermostat to read what you want. This kinda fail safes it a little because the temp will be a few degrees cooler up top.

I would advise against any loose substrate due to impaction risk. I personally have used paper towels for quarantine but prefer exo terra sand mats. These always have loose stones so i make sure to knock all the loose stones off and take a toothbrush to it to remove any semi loose ones. One good benifit is you don't have as much to worry about toe shedding as the excess shed tends to get pulled off when they are out walking around.
I use a back mounted mat for my Tokay but of course there's no substrate on the back of enclosure. Personally wanting 90f on top of substrate means the mat is going to be far hotter due to thermal blocking so I wouldn't do it. Although I'll be honest I haven't ever done it.
 

Brachyfan

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I use a back mounted mat for my Tokay but of course there's no substrate on the back of enclosure. Personally wanting 90f on top of substrate means the mat is going to be far hotter due to thermal blocking so I wouldn't do it. Although I'll be honest I haven't ever done it.
Makes sense for a tokai! I think the issue is when you don't have a gap under the tank. That would definitely be a fire risk! I'm not sure how it works across the pond from me but all the heat mats i get here come with those rubber feet. I use exo terra enclosures that have a design that allows this but i still attach the feet just to be safe. That way a lot of the heat build up dissipates under the tank. 4 leopard gecko tanks and I haven't seen a sand mat that looked worse for wear yet .

I learned these techniques from breeders. But you absolutely need a thermostat. No stat and you would cook it for sure :)
 

basin79

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Makes sense for a tokai! I think the issue is when you don't have a gap under the tank. That would definitely be a fire risk! I'm not sure how it works across the pond from me but all the heat mats i get here come with those rubber feet. I use exo terra enclosures that have a design that allows this but i still attach the feet just to be safe. That way a lot of the heat build up dissipates under the tank. 4 leopard gecko tanks and I haven't seen a sand mat that looked worse for wear yet .

I learned these techniques from breeders. But you absolutely need a thermostat. No stat and you would cook it for sure :)
Heat mats here don't have feet so that's interesting.

I think I'd still go with a ceramic and maybe slate so hold onto to the heat. I use a heat mat under my tricolour hognose snake's enclosure but I set the temp to the bottom under the sub as she digs. So there's no thermal blocking to degree that's a worry.
 

The Snark

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And always keep in mind the k. Conductivity of material such as a carpet. Heat transference is not on a linear scale but a logarithmic one. HUH?

Simplified, the mean ambient temperature will always lag behind the thermostat setting.
Example: You set the thermostat to 80 F. The heat may happily go up just hot enough to melt aluminum and set your pants on fire before the ambient heat in the enclosure comes up to 80 F. The thermostat then turns things off and after the stored heat dissipates, maybe 3 or 4 days where it hovers around pizza in 3 minutes it will slowly drift back down to sub-arctic and the thermostat kicks back in again.
Unless the k is way way way up there, like the carpet is made of silver, there will always be some lag.

(Under certain circumstances like infant incubators stuffed full of blankets and hardware and that wonderful plastic tub, getting the (rhymes with clucking Bell) thermostat calibrated can leave you sitting in some corner humming complex one note tunes to yourself)
 
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Brachyfan

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Heat mats here don't have feet so that's interesting.

I think I'd still go with a ceramic and maybe slate so hold onto to the heat. I use a heat mat under my tricolour hognose snake's enclosure but I set the temp to the bottom under the sub as she digs. So there's no thermal blocking to degree that's a worry.
That works because the slate just acts like a heat mat. For leopards it is all about the belly heat. My only concern with using a ceramic heat emitter is that it might wreck the thermal gradient in the cage. But your advice would definitely work my friend:)

Interesting to see the differences in husbandry between North America and Europe!
 

Brachyfan

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I use a zoo med heat mat for my glass enclosure for my leopard gecko. I’ve stuck it to the bottom, and placed the thermometer probe on the inside on the heat mat. As the substrate, I use reptile carpet, however I notice that the basking spot does not reach 90 degrees like it should. I use a zoo med temp scanner and when I scan the heat pad without the reptile carpet, it reads what it should be, at 92 degrees. When I scan the basking spot with the reptile carpet over it, it only reads somewhere in the 80s. Is there a better option for a substrate? Or am I doing something wrong?
Just figure out what the temp is reading on top of the carpet and dial a thermostat up to compensate. And if the bottom is reading over 94 degrees tape the carpet down so the gecko can't crawl under there :)
 

The Snark

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I think I'd still go with a ceramic and maybe slate so hold onto to the heat.
Thermal battery. But always keep in mind it causes even greater lag between thermostat and ambient.

Thermal battery from H***.
A friends son worked in a mill. He built an airtight stove out of massive sheets of thick steel. It weighed around 450 lbs. They loaded it up with wood and fired it up.
The next morning, frost on the ground, I went over to their place. I could see right through their house, the front and back doors wide open. My friend was sitting on the back steps wearing only a T shirt on top. As he described it, they were freezing all evening as the stove just wouldn't put out heat. They gave up and went to bed. Around 03:00 he woke up covered in sweat. Checking the stove it was still chewing on a huge log they had shoved in it. He rousted his son out and they got the log out of the stove and put it in the garden. It didn't help. Come sunrise it was a sauna in their house, the coals still heating the stove. They had all the doors and windows open but it wasn't helping much.
Later I helped his son calibrate the stove. The lag between lighting a good fire and the body of the stove coming up to temperature was 6 to 8 hours.
 

Brachyfan

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Thermal battery. But always keep in mind it causes even greater lag between thermostat and ambient.

Thermal battery from H***.
A friends son worked in a mill. He built an airtight stove out of massive sheets of thick steel. It weighed around 450 lbs. They loaded it up with wood and fired it up.
The next morning, frost on the ground, I went over to their place. I could see right through their house, the front and back doors wide open. My friend was sitting on the back steps wearing only a T shirt on top. As he described it, they were freezing all evening as the stove just wouldn't put out heat. They gave up and went to bed. Around 03:00 he woke up covered in sweat. Checking the stove it was still chewing on a huge log they had shoved in it. He rousted his son out and they got the log out of the stove and put it in the garden. It didn't help. Come sunrise it was a sauna in their house, the coals still heating the stove. They had all the doors and windows open but it wasn't helping much.
Later I helped his son calibrate the stove. The lag between lighting a good fire and the body of the stove coming up to temperature was 6 to 8 hours.
Jeez...
 

basin79

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That works because the slate just acts like a heat mat. For leopards it is all about the belly heat. My only concern with using a ceramic heat emitter is that it might wreck the thermal gradient in the cage. But your advice would definitely work my friend:)

Interesting to see the differences in husbandry between North America and Europe!
I'd imagine a lot use heat mats for their leopards here but I just wouldn't be comfortable using 1. That typed maybe I'd change my mind if I actually set 1 up myself and could put my own mind at ease.

A thermal gradient should still be possible depending on the size of the vivarium. Once the slate was up at 90f the bulb wouldn't have to come on much.
 

WyrmSwarm

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Thanks for everyone’s replies! I changed out the carpet for regular paper towel for now and it seems to work well. My Leo’s basking area is now 90 degrees like it should be even with the paper towel over the area.
 

Tim Benzedrine

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It is a nightmare to clean and can harbor a lot of waste. Spot cleaning is almost impossible so I would look into another substrate. Nonetheless it’s nice to see you are doing the research
I agree that spot cleaning can be a bit tough, but I do find the carpets easy to clean otherwise. I remove the carpet, replace it with a clean one. Then I scrape off solid wastes, and soak the carpet in a mild bleach solution and then toss it in the washer to wash, without detergents.
I keep a lot of the carpeting, so it is only a periodic effort. The longest part of the procedure is removing the carpet and replacing it, and even takes up minimal time.
 

darkstar305

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I agree that spot cleaning can be a bit tough, but I do find the carpets easy to clean otherwise. I remove the carpet, replace it with a clean one. Then I scrape off solid wastes, and soak the carpet in a mild bleach solution and then toss it in the washer to wash, without detergents.
I keep a lot of the carpeting, so it is only a periodic effort. The longest part of the procedure is removing the carpet and replacing it, and even takes up minimal time.
My issue with reptile carpet is cleanliness, but your cleaning regimen is pretty solid.
 

Brachyfan

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My issue with reptile carpet is cleanliness, but your cleaning regimen is pretty solid.
I think carpet is ok for some species. Just not the ones I keep. Leopard gecko for instance. They can lose claws from getting caught on it. For them I prefer sand mats. Plus the sand mats have the added bonus of dealing with the ever dreadful toe shed. Neither of my leos have much of a problem with this.

My other reptiles burrow and/or need humidity.

But for something like a beardie it might be a better choice.
 
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