Exo Terra heating - Styrofoam backgrounds, melting lids

StampFan

Arachnodemon
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
760
I recently housed a new reptile in an Exo Terra.

1) I've seen numerous cases of folks melting the plastic crossbars on the lid when a heat lamp is placed too close. Is there a way to help insulate this, like electrical tape, or perhaps a creative 3M product? I have a lamp with a 75W bulb in a dome fixture placed and secured near the middle away from the plastic, but just wondering if there is a simple product to help insulate that plastic a little better. Saw a completely melted one at the pet store the other day, so it seems to happen....I don't want to use one of those Exo Terra stands, they seem quite flimsy and they take the heat further away from the bottom, causing one to use an even higher wattage bulb and fixture.

2) I've seen numerous reports online of a heat lamp or a heat pad causing the nice styrofoam backgrounds to melt, but no pictures or substance. The melting point (for lack of a better phrase) of polystyrene appears to be quite high, higher than most heat lamps would get, is this a legitimate concern? I haven't seen any actual pictures of confirmation of this being a concern.

These seem like significant design flaws for popular enclosures used for lots of different reptiles that require heat mats or bulbs.

Thank you!
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,898
I recently housed a new reptile in an Exo Terra.

1) I've seen numerous cases of folks melting the plastic crossbars on the lid when a heat lamp is placed too close. Is there a way to help insulate this, like electrical tape, or perhaps a creative 3M product? I have a lamp with a 75W bulb in a dome fixture placed and secured near the middle away from the plastic, but just wondering if there is a simple product to help insulate that plastic a little better. Saw a completely melted one at the pet store the other day, so it seems to happen....I don't want to use one of those Exo Terra stands, they seem quite flimsy and they take the heat further away from the bottom, causing one to use an even higher wattage bulb and fixture.

2) I've seen numerous reports online of a heat lamp or a heat pad causing the nice styrofoam backgrounds to melt, but no pictures or substance. The melting point (for lack of a better phrase) of polystyrene appears to be quite high, higher than most heat lamps would get, is this a legitimate concern? I haven't seen any actual pictures of confirmation of this being a concern.

These seem like significant design flaws for popular enclosures used for lots of different reptiles that require heat mats or bulbs.

Thank you!
The background would need to be removed completely if you used a heat mat on the back as it'd stop the heat actually getting into the enclosure and would cause thermal blocking. Very dangerous. You could of course use a heat mat on the side of the enclosure.

The only thing I can think of if you want to use the original lid whilst using a lamp would be to either raise the lamp up or get a bulb that will screw into a smaller reflector that will sit between the plastic.
 

StampFan

Arachnodemon
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
760
The background would need to be removed completely if you used a heat mat on the back as it'd stop the heat actually getting into the enclosure and would cause thermal blocking. Very dangerous. You could of course use a heat mat on the side of the enclosure.

The only thing I can think of if you want to use the original lid whilst using a lamp would be to either raise the lamp up or get a bulb that will screw into a smaller reflector that will sit between the plastic.
Yep, the smaller reflector in between the plastic is what I'm testing, Zilla has a cool little spring device that holds a dome light in place so it can't get knocked over.

I'm still not sure if putting the heat lamp in in the opening near the back of the cage so its a few inches from the Styrofoam background is too close. I'm familiar with melting plastic, but not deforming Styrofoam....
 

MARC NORMAN

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
15
I have a ceramic heater sitting on the mesh in between the plastic. It has never melted the plastic or the Styrofoam, there is also a heat pad on the side of the glass, part of it is touching the Styrofoam and it's not melting.
 
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