Invert rack build thread

Rhino1

Arachnobaron
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I completely agree, but everyone is different and it isn't an ethics or cruelty argument, sometimes you just have to accept it. Ive been active in the hobby since around 2000-2001 and the single most impressive collection of XL adult spiders I've seen of any hobbyist here, all reside in sterilite tubs of dirt, in a cupboard, in the dark and just quietly, it drives me absolutely crazy everytime I visit.
 

ArachnidSentinl

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I completely agree, but everyone is different and it isn't an ethics or cruelty argument, sometimes you just have to accept it. Ive been active in the hobby since around 2000-2001 and the single most impressive collection of XL adult spiders I've seen of any hobbyist here, all reside in sterilite tubs of dirt, in a cupboard, in the dark and just quietly, it drives me absolutely crazy everytime I visit.
Yeah, no judgement. Honestly I've kept hundreds of tubs of dirt in the past, I've just been making a concerted effort to do something else recently.
 

BepopCola

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This is great! Has there been any warping of the fronts so far?
 

ArachnidSentinl

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This is great! Has there been any warping of the fronts so far?
Thank you! This has been a lot of fun so far and it's cool to see it working out.

No warping so far, but that usually takes a while. I'd still prefer polycarb or glass, but with the way these are constructed (internal door & good ventilation), I'm thinking they'll be fairly resilient over time. I'm also not going crazy with the humidity, outside of watering the plants semi-daily.

COVID-19's got me on semi-hiatus with this project, as I'm trying not to go out unless totally necessary. Stay tuned, though! I still have the bottom half or the rack to do, and a whole 'nother rack afterwards!
 

ArachnidSentinl

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Sitting here in quarantine, twiddlin' my thumbs! I'm doing my best to keep moving with what I got, but I ordered a few things from Glassbox Tropicals and Josh's Frogs to supplement. Today, my Glassbox order came in (highly recommended vendor, btw): 5lbs of cork and some oak leaves.

Time to get the hardscape done in the fives, at least! Fortunately I have plenty of coco fiber, top soil, and peat on hand:

IMG_20200330_124302.jpg

As always the cork order from Glassbox was magnificent. Unfortunately, this time is was a little too big! One of the only downsides to this style of front is that it restricts you somewhat in terms of viv furntiure. It can be tough to find appropriately sized pieces, especially when you're standing at a herp show doing the math in your head!

IMG_20200330_125146.jpg

Sometimes you can finagle the cork in there by twisting and turning (not looking forward to any rehousing, btw), but in this case that was mostly a no-go. I had to break one tube into two halves, and the other I had to saw (which always feels criminal, in a way). Everything more or less worked out in the end.

Keep in mind that this is without plants (some of which are coming) and ground cover, but here's how the second shelf of fives is looking so far:

IMG_20200330_132019.jpg

IMG_20200330_132011.jpg

And here's what it looks like in situ:

IMG_20200330_131958.jpg

For those wondering about the plants, most have rooted and some are seeing impressive growth. The most successful so far (and arguably my favorite) is the, Scindapsus pictus (satin pothos), which is absolutely blowing up in the two tens in which it's planted. The silver spots really pop under the lights, too!

IMG_20200330_125835.jpg

Some of the other plants are just getting established, but turning a corner. Unbelievably, the Begonia thelmae that had almost completely died after shipping/transplant is coming back. Looks a little spindly and bare for now, but after seeing the growth I got over the course of the last week, I think she'll fill in nicely.

IMG_20200330_125809.jpg

Most of the Pellionia pulchra is doing well, too, although I did lose one plant. I'm anxious to see what this looks like once it fills out. Definitely a cool plant, and breathtaking when wet!

IMG_20200330_125752.jpg

Most of the tanks only have one or two plants so far, which is largely a function of just not having access to a nursery right now. It should also be noted that most also have little or no leaf litter either, which is mostly because I haven't added a cleanup crew yet. I'd eventually like to get some isopods in there, but I need to do some research into what the best species may be for low to moderately moist soil. Fortunately I know some local guys, and isopods are so hot right now! :rofl:

Lastly, just for kicks, I did a quick background on a horizontally-oriented 10 gallon tank. I bought two of the I Heart Geckos 10 Gallon HORIZONTAL Aquarium Terrestrial Conversion Kit just to try it out, and I hope to mount it up tomorrow. It may end up being of little utility for spider keepers on account of its lack of substrate dam ("MOAR SUBSTRATE!" as the kids say), but I'm going to try sloping up the sub and see where that gets me. On the upside, it fits really well on the 24x12 wire shelf I have perpendicular to the big rack. I'm thinking it'll be a cool display rack for some NW terrestrials. This one may house my big ol' G. pulchripes; we'll see.

Side note: the coco fiber didn't take too well to this background, so she'll need some TLC. I'll have to nuke it with moss.

IMG_20200330_131745.jpg

That's all for today! Stay safe out there, friends.
 

ArachnidSentinl

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Today I received a small order of plants from Josh's Frogs. Included in that shipment was a Philodendron cordatum 'Brasil' and several Epipremnum aureum (neon pothos). I overestimated my need for the latter and now I have too much; guess I have a new houseplant!

IMG_20200401_165403.jpg

I split up the pothos and philodendron and planted them in the fives, as well as some clippings of Tradescantia zebrina I have laying around. I'm finding that all the pothos and wandering jew I plant in these vivs absolutely blows up! The philodendron seems to be coming in a bit slower. After I planted everything, I added a nice layer of oak leaves and then hosed it all down. I don't plan on keeping these vivs that wet, but I want to kickstart this growth as much as possible.

IMG_20200401_165238.jpg

And here's the other side, after receiving a nice layer of live oak leaves:

IMG_20200401_165328.jpg

Tomorrow I pick up a bunch of Porcellionides pruinosus, blues and oranges, from my man @Ztesch and add the clean up crew! Then all there is to do with these 18 vivs is to get everything established, keep them nice and watered, and grow them out for a few months! All in all, I'm quite satisfied with the first two (lol) shelves of this rack/project.

As a quick detour, let's take a look at this random terrestrial 10 gal I'm piecing together. I wasn't sure what to do with the lighting for this small rack of terrestrial setups, as most of my NW terrestrials are the stereotypical bulldozers and I'm opting for fake plants in these setups. I still would like them to have decent lighting, as a) I want this rack to match, and b) enclosures are all in the lighting, anyway. I snagged a few cabinet LED pucks off Amazon on the cheap and this was the result:

IMG_20200401_152727.jpg

I also got a lamp dimmer to try and bring down the light a bit, but it ended up not working. Fortunately, I might not need it. I'm planning on mounting it up like this:

IMG_20200401_165716.jpg

Here's the enclosure lit with the puck. As you can see, I've mounted the front. I'm still torn on whether to add anything to the background or not; it's clear that the coco fiber didn't entirely take on the back. I may just be too lazy to fix it at this point...

At any rate, I have to wait on the silicone to dry on the front before I move forward. Tomorrow I'll dress it up, add some fake succulents, and see how viable it looks for my G. pulchripes.

IMG_20200401_165759.jpg
 
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mantisfan101

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This is taking tarantula keeping to a whole other level and I absolutely love it. Maybe you could even incorporate some sort of automatic misting system although I’m not sure how that’d run while keeping the Ts contained.
 

ArachnidSentinl

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Today I picked up some Porcellionides pruinosus "Powder Blue" and "Powder Orange;" about 50 of each. I put 3-5 in each vivarium, seeding the top 8 ten gallon enclosures with the blues, and the second shelf fives with the oranges (I mean, gotta stay organized!).

IMG_20200403_174538_896.jpg

IMG_20200403_175143_243.jpg

I'm trying to decide how I want to proceed on this rack. I have about half of it left and I'd like to maximize its potential. The main problem is finding terrestrial enclosures I like, however. I inquired about a custom option - a variation on the vertical 5 gallon fronts that would provide for a substantial substrate dam/space for burrowing. I'm hoping that option proves fruitful, otherwise I suspect I'll build some glass enclosures myself. Either way, I see the potential for approximately 20 additional enclosures on this rack. At this point, I'm going to eagerly hover over my plants as I wait to hear back about the custom inquiry. Stay tuned!

If you'll indulge me a brief epilogue to this post, one particularly exciting addition today is this beautiful 2019 Boa constrictor occidentalis. She's in a bit of a spartan set up right now, but rest assured this is another project in progress. Ultimately I have a 10x3 enclosure build in mind for her once she puts on some size.

IMG_20200403_163217.jpg

---

This is taking tarantula keeping to a whole other level and I absolutely love it. Maybe you could even incorporate some sort of automatic misting system although I’m not sure how that’d run while keeping the Ts contained.
Thank you!

I do have a ProMist PM-60 which I've used in the past on a large planted vivarium with great success. It's nice to have a mister running if the viv is a tropical setup with a high moisture requirement, but I think it would take a bit of experimentation and an awful lot of trust for it to work with a drier setup. A key piece of that would be getting a timer that runs for seconds instead of minutes. I have one, but I'm planning on being targeted with my watering, so I'll just be doing it manually as needed. That said, I will keep such automation in the back of my mind!
 

Arthroverts

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Simply...amazing. Truly incredible what you are doing. Wish I could do the same, but I can only imagine how much time and money it takes (I can already see the amount of room that I don't have...) you to put everything together.

Quick suggestion with plants BTW: have you considered using Cissus discolor at all? I am finding it is one of my favorite vining plants and it grows like a weed.

Thanks,

Arthroverts

P.S Your signature is quite excellent. I have thought of doing something similar but I've practically run out of signature space, ha ha.
 

ArachnidSentinl

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Simply...amazing. Truly incredible what you are doing. Wish I could do the same, but I can only imagine how much time and money it takes (I can already see the amount of room that I don't have...) you to put everything together.
Thank you! It's been a lot of fun so far, and it's been great to hear others validate the project. I never had an overabundance of room for my collection in the past. Buying a house really opened up some possibilities; I refinished an old storage room in the unfinished part of the basement, demo'd the whole thing, moved a wall, redid electrical, etc. The walls, ceiling, and floor are matte black, so all the enclosures really pop with the LED lighting. In the end, I have a little under 200 sq ft of room. A significant portion of that will be taken up by my snake enclosures - initially planned for 8'x3', though now I'm thinking I may just build enclosures the full/near width of the room (why not!? :cool: ). I've flirted with getting a 300 gal stock tank for a snapping turtle, but my girlfriend has vetoed that plan...

In terms of cost, it ran me about $60 per enclosure, more or less. I was able to save a lot of money by buying things in bulk, getting cheap plant cuttings, and/or having friends that cut me deals on various things. It hasn't been cheap, but doing everything at once has really helped with the cost.

Time-wise, I think you'd be surprised at how quick this actually went up. To be honest, the worst part was sourcing materials and waiting on packages to arrive. Waiting for Great Stuff and silicone to cure overnight was also a bit of a pain, but I'd crank out the backgrounds in batches of 5-10 at a time. In honesty, GS background are some of the simplest and fastest ones you can do. In the future I want to do some more rocky surfaces with dry-lock and such; I think that will be a bit more time consuming, what with carving, multiple coats, etc. Of course, the COVID-19 quarantine helped me source some free time, as well.

Quick suggestion with plants BTW: have you considered using Cissus discolor at all? I am finding it is one of my favorite vining plants and it grows like a weed.
I have not, but it's on my radar now! Thanks for the suggestion. I'll see if I can source some. The problem I had with plants is that by the time I was on to the planting phase, Illinois had (rightly) shut down all nonessential businesses and ordered shelter-in-place. I usually get my plants from a semi-local nursery which has everything, but since the shutdown I've been restricted to getting whatever I can by mail. I'm trying to order sparingly, as I'm concerned for the warehouse and delivery crews out there. When this blows over, it's time for a plant shopping spree!

P.S Your signature is quite excellent. I have thought of doing something similar but I've practically run out of signature space, ha ha.
I adapted that from an old saying in the cycling community (another hobby of mine) about owning more than one bike. Feel free to use it!
 

SigiSpider

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Thanks for documenting this process. I'll be doing my own build later this year, and I love the inspiration. Gotta get my Ts off my dining table at some point. 😆
 

ArachnidSentinl

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Most of the plants have been doing well and filling in, with a few notable exceptions where the clippings were having trouble taking root. I decided to snag a few more 4in pots of various philodendrons to help move things along. I split up some small pots of Philodendron cordatum and Philodendron cordatum 'Lemon' between the more sparsely planted vivs. I also purchased two small Aeschynanthus radicans, just to experiment (somehow managed to miss a picture of that; stay tuned).

Here's a few random pics. Note that this rack is perpendicular to the wall, parallel to another rack (holding my snakes at the moment), and is closely bordered on the other side by another wall. This was all done in an effort to maximize the space in my new hobby room (effectively giving me ~24in aisles), but it makes it difficult to get full pictures of the rack as a whole. So bear with me!

IMG_20200416_164240.jpg

IMG_20200416_164315.jpg

IMG_20200416_164302.jpg

Since I'm still trapped indoors on account of COVID-19, I've been trying to find creative ways to expand the scope of this project. On the suggestion of my girlfriend, I ordered a label maker. In this case, I bought a Brother P-touch, PTH110 off Amazon, which cost me about $25. I paired that with some off-brand black label tape and got to work labeling all the plants.

Overall, not bad. Previously I had been using masking tape and sharpie, so this is a nice step up (though I suspect not nearly as economical). When the time comes, I'll probably print the spider binomials in another color (white?).

IMG_20200416_171455.jpg


IMG_20200416_173049.jpg

Of course, this process was carefully observed by the foreman:

IMG_20200414_144939.jpg

That's all for now. Stay tuned!
 

Arthroverts

Arachnoprince
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Thank you! It's been a lot of fun so far, and it's been great to hear others validate the project. I never had an overabundance of room for my collection in the past. Buying a house really opened up some possibilities; I refinished an old storage room in the unfinished part of the basement, demo'd the whole thing, moved a wall, redid electrical, etc. The walls, ceiling, and floor are matte black, so all the enclosures really pop with the LED lighting. In the end, I have a little under 200 sq ft of room. A significant portion of that will be taken up by my snake enclosures - initially planned for 8'x3', though now I'm thinking I may just build enclosures the full/near width of the room (why not!? :cool: ). I've flirted with getting a 300 gal stock tank for a snapping turtle, but my girlfriend has vetoed that plan...

In terms of cost, it ran me about $60 per enclosure, more or less. I was able to save a lot of money by buying things in bulk, getting cheap plant cuttings, and/or having friends that cut me deals on various things. It hasn't been cheap, but doing everything at once has really helped with the cost.

Time-wise, I think you'd be surprised at how quick this actually went up. To be honest, the worst part was sourcing materials and waiting on packages to arrive. Waiting for Great Stuff and silicone to cure overnight was also a bit of a pain, but I'd crank out the backgrounds in batches of 5-10 at a time. In honesty, GS background are some of the simplest and fastest ones you can do. In the future I want to do some more rocky surfaces with dry-lock and such; I think that will be a bit more time consuming, what with carving, multiple coats, etc. Of course, the COVID-19 quarantine helped me source some free time, as well.



I have not, but it's on my radar now! Thanks for the suggestion. I'll see if I can source some. The problem I had with plants is that by the time I was on to the planting phase, Illinois had (rightly) shut down all nonessential businesses and ordered shelter-in-place. I usually get my plants from a semi-local nursery which has everything, but since the shutdown I've been restricted to getting whatever I can by mail. I'm trying to order sparingly, as I'm concerned for the warehouse and delivery crews out there. When this blows over, it's time for a plant shopping spree!



I adapted that from an old saying in the cycling community (another hobby of mine) about owning more than one bike. Feel free to use it!
Yeah, I currently don't have an overabundance of space, ha ha. Maybe one day though...
The amount of effort you are putting into this reminds me of the zealous salt water aquarium enthusiast who builds the house around the tank; very impressive!

Was it the 300 gallon tank or the snapping turtle that got your plan vetoed ;)?

$60 per enclosure x 20+ enclosures still takes a bit out of the wallet. Probably more than I spend on my animals in a year.
Maybe you should do a video of the process to show how long it takes? Might be something worth considering, IF you have any more enclosures to make, ha ha.

Yeah, I think it might look really good in some of those enclosures.

I can't reuse someone else's signature line, ha ha. I'd have to come up with some other clever version of it if I were to use it.

Thanks,

Arthroverts
 

Hydrophilus

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Holy bug room goals, batman! This is an awesome thread. I look forward to seeing the progress continue!

How do you heat the space in your basement? I assume you are supplying some sort of room heating as opposed to heating individual cages?
 

ArachnidSentinl

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Yeah, I currently don't have an overabundance of space, ha ha. Maybe one day though...
The amount of effort you are putting into this reminds me of the zealous salt water aquarium enthusiast who builds the house around the tank; very impressive!

Was it the 300 gallon tank or the snapping turtle that got your plan vetoed ;)?

$60 per enclosure x 20+ enclosures still takes a bit out of the wallet. Probably more than I spend on my animals in a year.
Maybe you should do a video of the process to show how long it takes? Might be something worth considering, IF you have any more enclosures to make, ha ha.

Yeah, I think it might look really good in some of those enclosures.

I can't reuse someone else's signature line, ha ha. I'd have to come up with some other clever version of it if I were to use it.

Thanks,

Arthroverts
Well, I never said it was cheap. But that's what that stimulus check is for! :rofl:

Actually, I have always appreciated the reef subculture. There's something about that subculture - where people take pride in their nuanced husbandry and radical builds - that I think is really missing from arachnoculture and herpetoculture. Subjectively, it's just a different vibe in that scene (although I don't have a reef tank; I enjoy affording food). At any rate, I haven't quite taken it to such an extreme, but...we'll see how this escalates further.

Videos are definitely a possibility in the future. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with the bottom half of the rack - whether I'll convert standard-sized tanks, order some custom-fabricated ones, or what. Right now I'm investigating the possibility of getting some glass euro-vivs made for the terrestrials. Once I get the form factor figured out, I'll do at least one vid for this thread.

I haven't been able to find Cissus discolor yet, btw. Glassbox was out of stock and I didn't see any on Josh's Frogs. I'll take a trip to the nursery once all this COVID-19 stuff blows over.

As for the turtle build, she vetoed the snapper, lol.

Holy bug room goals, batman! This is an awesome thread. I look forward to seeing the progress continue!

How do you heat the space in your basement? I assume you are supplying some sort of room heating as opposed to heating individual cages?
Thank you! There's definitely more to come, so stay tuned!

This room is the closest to the furnace, so it tends to be a lot warmer than the rest of the house. I'm supplementing the normal heat with a 1500W oil radiator heater (just for the winter), and between the two the ambient temp stays at about 72-75 degrees. Humidity remains a problem that I'll need to lock down (in the winter, it's about 30%).
 
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Arthroverts

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Well, I never said it was cheap. But that's what that stimulus check is for! :rofl:

Actually, I have always appreciated the reef subculture. There's something about that subculture - where people take pride in their nuanced husbandry and radical builds - that I think is really missing from arachnoculture and herpetoculture. Subjectively, it's just a different vibe in that scene (although I don't have a reef tank; I enjoy affording food). At any rate, I haven't quite taken it to such an extreme, but...we'll see how this escalates further.

Videos are definitely a possibility in the future. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with the bottom half of the rack - whether I'll convert standard-sized tanks, order some custom-fabricated ones, or what. Right now I'm investigating the possibility of getting some glass euro-vivs made for the terrestrials. Once I get the form factor figured out, I'll do at least one vid for this thread.

I haven't been able to find Cissus discolor yet, btw. Glassbox was out of stock and I didn't see any on Josh's Frogs. I'll take a trip to the nursery once all this COVID-19 stuff blows over.

As for the turtle build, she vetoed the snapper, lol.



Thank you! There's definitely more to come, so stay tuned!

This room is the closest to the furnace, so it tends to be a lot warmer than the rest of the house. I'm supplementing the normal heat with a 1500W oil radiator heater (just for the winter), and between the two the ambient temp stays at about 72-75 degrees. Humidity remains a problem that I'll need to lock down (in the winter, it's about 30%).
Ha ha!

Yes, the reefing hobby is definitely something to behold, but you have two things missing when you go off into the deep end with that: time and money. My setup was pretty cheap to set up, but it is bare-bone's and it sure isn't the most spectacular marine aquarium you'll see by a long shot.

Well, I look forward to whatever comes out of it!

I might be able to get you a cutting or two once it grows back a little bit. If you still haven't found any available after a little while let me know.

O.K, so no snapper, but go ahead the tank ;)! I'd be interested in seeing what you'd put in a setup like that, whether it be a reptile, fish, or even the most amazing invertebrate enclosure I've ever seen, ha ha!

Thanks,

Arthroverts
 

ArachnidSentinl

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Ha ha!

Yes, the reefing hobby is definitely something to behold, but you have two things missing when you go off into the deep end with that: time and money. My setup was pretty cheap to set up, but it is bare-bone's and it sure isn't the most spectacular marine aquarium you'll see by a long shot.

Well, I look forward to whatever comes out of it!

I might be able to get you a cutting or two once it grows back a little bit. If you still haven't found any available after a little while let me know.

O.K, so no snapper, but go ahead the tank ;)! I'd be interested in seeing what you'd put in a setup like that, whether it be a reptile, fish, or even the most amazing invertebrate enclosure I've ever seen, ha ha!

Thanks,

Arthroverts
She'll come around! Truthfully, she's just worried about my daughter's fingers, which I totally get. I'm mostly being facetious with the blame-the-gf thing (I like to tease her about it; in truth, she's amazingly supportive).

And honestly, I'm trying to restrain myself from getting back into aquatics anyway. In addition to the inverts, I'm poised to begin construction on at least one 8ft snake enclosure whenever my Animal Plastics order arrives. I have equally grandiose plans for that build, although I can't do plants on account of my cribo being an absolute madman. With all these ongoing projects, I'm bleeding chips! I'm gonna need to start stripping soon...

Check out YouTube for some stock tank turtle builds, though! There's more than one channel with some outrageous/over-the-top stuff you'll enjoy.
 

ArachnidSentinl

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Thought I'd post a few updates on the plants I've mentioned but haven't gotten around to posting. Here's one of the Aeschynanthus radicans I planted; never had one of these before, so we'll see how she does!

IMG_20200419_092446.jpg

Also, that Begonia thelmae that melted earlier has seen an explosive recovery. That, and it's flowering! Definitely a cool touch to the viv.

IMG_20200419_092500.jpg

And finally, just an overall pic of the left side of the rack so far. I think this'll look really awesome in a few months if I can get all these vines to grow up the cork and/or background. They're just starting to take hold. It's hard to have patience!

IMG_20200419_092435.jpg
 

Mjc5281

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Messages
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This looks amazing! I'm looking into starting something along the same lines as what your invert rack. I was just curious as to what you're doing as a heating element. At the moment I have a heat lamp on my t's and a space heater in the room but I'm trying to clean everything up and make it more aesthetically pleasing.
 
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