Good Thermostats For Ball and Boa?

BugToxin

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
269
Hey Everyone,
I just got my second snake. She is a beautiful Cay Caulker 2 year old female boa. Probably one of the most beautiful and friendly snakes I have ever seen. I have also had a ball python for a little over five months now, and he seems to be doing extremely well. He eats hearty, and appears alert and very healthy.

My question is on thermostats. I tried using a 50W infared bulb with no thermostat, but the cage always got too hot. I keep the entire room between 80 and 85 all year by means of a small ceramic space heater. I stopeed using the heat lamp because I worry about overheating, and the snake seems to be doing well without it. I suspect though that they both would do even better over the long haul if I did use an additional heat source on one end of the tank. So that means a thermostat. Actually two, one for each snake. Who makes a good thermostat? Are the Zoo Med thermostats any good? They are very reasonably priced it seams at about $35-$40 each, but I don't want to buy a piece of junk for such an important function. I also don't want to waste any more money if I don't need to.

Both snakes are currently housed in 20L glass aquariums. I know that the boa will eventually outgrow the tank she is in, and I will eventually move her to a large plastic or wood snake tank made for larger snakes. I just mention the size and type of tank here so you snake experts can better understand my thermostat needs. Ideally I would like the units I buy (thermostats) to work just as well in the 20L aquariums as they would in a 4' specialty snake enclosure. I will however always keep both snakes in display tanks and will never be moving to any type of rack system. Thank you in advance for your advice.
 

Midnightrdr456

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
1,088
The thermostats will work regardless of the size of the tank. I recommend Ranco or Johnson. They are both about $80 to get them prewired for you, so all you do it set them up. I have my boa setup with them and at 93 degrees on the hot spot it turns off. Then once it drops down to 91 it turns back on. This in turn keeps the ambient at about 84 and the hotspot at about 90ish.

I wouldnt use heat lamps at all honestly because they can dry out the enclosure pretty easily and Balls and Boas are very humidity dependent. I use flexwatt to heat my tanks, its cheap and effective, plus it provides belly heat which is what most snakes need anyway since they are on the floor. Just be sure to put the thermostat probe directly on the heat source, so once it comes up through the newspaper (or whatever bedding you use) its not as hot and wont risk burning your snake.

Both www.mgreptiles.com and www.reptilebasics.com sell both flexwatt and the thermostats. I prefer reptilebasics because i found them much more reliable with shipping orders as soon as you order them, and also responding to email. When I ordered from mgreptiles both times it took like 3 weeks+ to get the item. Just this weekend my flexwatt on my boas tank stopped working, I ordered a new thing of flexwatt strips from reptilebasics express order on saturday and received an email with a confirmation # stating it will be here tomorrow. So i definately recommend reptilebasics.
 

SPJ

Arachnosquire
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Apr 18, 2007
Messages
68

BugToxin

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
269
Thanks for the advice. I haven't heard anything but good stuff about Reptile Basics, so I will probably buy the Ranco ETC-111000 Pre-Wired from them. The price seems fairly reasonable too.

As for the heating, I may just go with Zoo-Med or some other locally available UTH pad for now. I don't like working with wiring, and don't mind spending a few extra bucks for the convenience. Eventually I would like to buy a couple of the nice big plastic cages that they sell at Reptile Basics as well, but not untill my snakes are a little bigger. Will big UTH's work with those, or will I need to have them custom wired up with flexwat due to the size?
 

Midnightrdr456

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
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Jan 17, 2006
Messages
1,088
Reptilebasics can wire your flexwatt for you free of charge. I just ordered 2x 11" flexwatt strips for my 4'x2'x11" boaphile cage for my female boa. They do it free for you and are very quick with responding to emails. I cant say enough good things about reptilebasics. Im horrible with wiring stuff too, so I just asked them, the only response i got was whether it was ok to have them both with seperate plugs or if i needed them both with one plug (since my ranco has 6 outlets on it the 2 seperate plugs were fine, and its arriving wed. for me).

If they are just in 20L tanks the store bought UTH are fine. But you can also just purchase a large tank. even a 1' boa can be kept in these tanks and just grow into them, so long as there are hides for it at a small age, too large is just a myth.

Also those links are the exact deal i had with MGreptiles. I originally ordered just a thermometer and hemostats. They never came and i emailed him and he said he sent another one and if I recevied them both to send one back. I received one and never the other. Then I ordered my Ranco from him, and it took 3 weeks because he said "i dont keep them in stock and need to order them". I think its nothing more than he is lazy and ships them out when he feels like it or if someone complains. I recommend reptilebasics or many other companies WAY ahead of MGreptiles as I will never do business with them again.
 

BugToxin

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
269
Reptilebasics can wire your flexwatt for you free of charge. I just ordered 2x 11" flexwatt strips for my 4'x2'x11" boaphile cage for my female boa. They do it free for you and are very quick with responding to emails. I cant say enough good things about reptilebasics. Im horrible with wiring stuff too, so I just asked them, the only response i got was whether it was ok to have them both with seperate plugs or if i needed them both with one plug (since my ranco has 6 outlets on it the 2 seperate plugs were fine, and its arriving wed. for me).

If they are just in 20L tanks the store bought UTH are fine. But you can also just purchase a large tank. even a 1' boa can be kept in these tanks and just grow into them, so long as there are hides for it at a small age, too large is just a myth.
Ok, I took your advice and had them do up some Flexwatt for me. I called them to ask what they would suggest for the 20L tanks and they told me that 1' of the 11" tape would be enough for each tank. Both tape setups cost less than $17.00, which is definately a sizable savings over some brand name UTH from the pet store. They are indeed very friendly and helpful!!!

As for the big tanks, they are definately on my list. The boa can still fully stretch out in the 20L she is in, so she should be ok for 3-6 more months. I will probably buy two tanks and give one to my ball python as well at that time. They told me that the tanks are already wired for heat. Was your boaphile like that when you got it? I notice that they won't ship the 2X4X14 anymore because of the cost of shipping. I haven't seen these cages in person, so I'm wondering if there is a big difference between that one and the 2x4x12? I know it's only 2", but I suspect that it might be nice to have the extra 2" for cleaning and maybee giving the snake a climbing perch or two.

One final Flexwatt question. Do you put anything between the glass and the substrate when you use it, or is it ok just against the glass under the substrate with the thermostat?

Thanks again for the great advice!!!
 

SPJ

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 18, 2007
Messages
68
Place it on the bottom of the glass. Do not put it inside. You can attach it with aluminum tape (Home Depot, Lowes).
Raise the cage slightly to allow airflow underneath. Hook it up to the thermostat to prevent it from getting too hot. Put the probe under the substrate for the reading in case the snake burrows. This will prevent a burn if the glass is too hot and you are taking the reading above on the substrate.
 

Taceas

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
May 12, 2006
Messages
659
I've been highly satisfied with my Spyder Robotics Herpstats. They are very consistent with temps.

I've had my Helix DBS-1000 to fritz on me twice, the second time killing 4 yearling cornsnakes in a rack. :(

I also mirror the sentiment about avoiding MG Reptiles. I bought my Herpstat from him, it took forever, nearly a month from ordering it to get it and virtually no communication at all. When I'd email about still having not received it it was excuse after excuse.

He used to be really good and before I even bought I had heard nothing but great things about him, but I don't know what happened but he really lost his reputation in a bad way fast.

I've bought quite a bit of stuff through Reptile Basics and they are awesome to deal with, I think you'll be pleased.

I have two of the 2' x 4' x 14" cages and I can truly say that 2" isn't going to make a whole lot of difference. I've got my Hog Island Boa in one of them and he really doesn't use the height much at all. I do know the bottoms fit newspaper just perfectly, no having to fold it to make it fit. They're awesome cages though, if only I had the money I'd have more of their racks and cages for all of my snakes.
 

Midnightrdr456

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
1,088
yeah my boaphile i got with heating too, but it isnt working and Im not sure why. With how cheap flexwatt is i just decided to redo it myself. I just put the flexwatt under my tank and about 5 sheets of newspaper with the thermostat probe underneath the paper. No problems thus far.
 

Midnightrdr456

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
1,088
just a quick update. I got my flexwatt today and its basically perfect. Got it installed and its all going well now.
 
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