Is the terrarium I'm planning to make good for my T's?

Eira007

Arachnopeon
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Dec 16, 2019
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I've planned a terrarium that I would use to house my P. Cambridgei female and my Borneo Black female, permanently. It would be their permanent enclosure. I can opt for bigger terrariums if needed, but preferably vertically, not so much horizontally.

The size is: (millimeters: 200 wide x 200 long x 307) (Inches 7.87 x 7.87 x 12) tall. I've attached a picture, design is on the left, on the right is the one with the actual measurements (I re-did the thing with better measurements but was too lazy to make it pretty). The top is plexiglass, and that's where the vent holes will be. It's also removeable, note the "slides", colored white. The front door works with hinges, colored white.


The question is, is this size enough to house a female p. cambridgei and a borneo black? Not together of course, I'm planning to make two terrariums. If it's enough, do you have any additional notes on the design, something to make it better? arboreal_t.png
 

Matt Man

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I house all my adult arboreal in things that are or are roughly 12 x 12 x18
 

Matt Man

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What does this even mean?
since P Cam can get 7" and the Borneo Blacks can get 6" I would say 'for both'. I think the OP was thinking it may work for 1 and not the other. Some arboreal cages are 10 x 10 x 20. others I have seen are 11 x 11 x 18. An 8 x8 x 12 just seems small for an adult.
Metric 280 x 280 x 500
 

TheInv4sion

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since P Cam can get 7" and the Borneo Blacks can get 6" I would say 'for both'. I think the OP was thinking it may work for 1 and not the other. Some arboreal cages are 10 x 10 x 20. others I have seen are 11 x 11 x 18. An 8 x8 x 12 just seems small for an adult.
Metric 280 x 280 x 500
I agree with this completely
 

scurry

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If you're building and have the space, I'd go 12"x12"x24". The difference in materials cost is small (I would actually guess for Plexiglass, you'd end up buying 12x12x24 anyways and cutting them down), and it puts you in more "standard" sizes. That's nice on DIY stuff if you end up buying pieces, like if you want a nice textured backdrop but don't want to make your own.

I've build 3 or 4 of my own lately, to varying degrees of success. I'm by no means a master (yet ;)), but these are some things I've learned to keep an eye on:

Supports. Acrylic/plexiglass is strong in the sense that it is hard to shatter; it is not strong in the sense that it doesn't flex. 1/8" acrylic without supports will flex, causing the seams to pull apart if there's not something structurally holding them in place (I have pictures if you want to see). Long story short, acrylic is much better as an aesthetic component than a structural (i.e. load-bearing) component. Looking at your design, I am concerned that the left and right pieces will flex outward from the weight of the acrylic on top of them (seriously, if flexes that easily) causing gaps along the sides of that front door, and maybe enough flex that it would drop the sheet on top out of those sliders. I've started having to think of the structural parts separately from the acrylic parts. My next enclosure I'm going to build a wooden cube out of 1x1's (or similar) and screw/bolt the acrylic to the wood. The wood holds all the weight, so I don't have to worry about flexing.

Cross-ventilation is important. You're going to want vent holes on the side as well. If you're going to drill them, make sure you sand/file/clean/something the holes; they tend to be really jagged and pointy because the acrylic usually ends up melting as you're drilling if you're using wood bits. Also, consider using a stepper bit. They're *way* faster than wood drill bits, and don't crack the acrylic nearly as often. If you're putting in screens/grates, hole saw bits make really nice, clean holes and they're cheap.

Before you start building, make sure you know how you're going to keep those doors closed. The top is pretty obvious, but I don't see any machinery in there to lock the doors. On my first builds, I always told myself "screw it, I'll just throw some magnets on the door when I'm done". And then I got to the end and realized that I don't have anywhere good to put the magnets. So I thought I'd just mount a piece of wood and glue magnets to it. Turns out, magnetic fields decay exponentially, so you either need the magnets to get really close together to engage, or you need really strong magnets. Pro tip: really strong magnets is a bad idea. I tried that. They did keep the door closed even though the magnets were at a 45 degree angle (which I think means a ~50% reduction in force, along with the drop from distance), but they were also strong enough to tear feeding tongs out of my hand if they got close. I mean seriously, tear them out of my hands and make them stick to the top of the enclosure. Anyways, plan out how you want to do that. Magnets can work if you're precise, as can that system where there's a pin that sticks out and a hook you drop over to lock it in place. There's probably dozen's more I'm not even thinking of. Random funny idea, I've never seen an enclosure that used zippers to seal the doors. Not super practical, but it is funny.

Last thing, I would consider raising the height that the joint for the door is at. It's not a huge deal, but it can be kinda nice if later on you decide you want more substrate for some reason, and it also adds a little bit of a barrier to your T running out if it's on the ground. It won't stop them, but mine sometimes stop on their own when they hit a wall. I emphasize "sometimes". It will not prevent them coming out at you if they get mad/spooked/whatever, but occasionally they will stop on their own. Doesn't need to be a huge height, just an inch or two so they have to climb a tiny bit to get on the door if you have it open.

Good luck, let us know how it turns out!
 

Matt Man

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If you're building and have the space, I'd go 12"x12"x24". The difference in materials cost is small (I would actually guess for Plexiglass, you'd end up buying 12x12x24 anyways and cutting them down), and it puts you in more "standard" sizes. That's nice on DIY stuff if you end up buying pieces, like if you want a nice textured backdrop but don't want to make your own.

I've build 3 or 4 of my own lately, to varying degrees of success. I'm by no means a master (yet ;)), but these are some things I've learned to keep an eye on:

Supports. Acrylic/plexiglass is strong in the sense that it is hard to shatter; it is not strong in the sense that it doesn't flex. 1/8" acrylic without supports will flex, causing the seams to pull apart if there's not something structurally holding them in place (I have pictures if you want to see). Long story short, acrylic is much better as an aesthetic component than a structural (i.e. load-bearing) component. Looking at your design, I am concerned that the left and right pieces will flex outward from the weight of the acrylic on top of them (seriously, if flexes that easily) causing gaps along the sides of that front door, and maybe enough flex that it would drop the sheet on top out of those sliders. I've started having to think of the structural parts separately from the acrylic parts. My next enclosure I'm going to build a wooden cube out of 1x1's (or similar) and screw/bolt the acrylic to the wood. The wood holds all the weight, so I don't have to worry about flexing.

Cross-ventilation is important. You're going to want vent holes on the side as well. If you're going to drill them, make sure you sand/file/clean/something the holes; they tend to be really jagged and pointy because the acrylic usually ends up melting as you're drilling if you're using wood bits. Also, consider using a stepper bit. They're *way* faster than wood drill bits, and don't crack the acrylic nearly as often. If you're putting in screens/grates, hole saw bits make really nice, clean holes and they're cheap.

Before you start building, make sure you know how you're going to keep those doors closed. The top is pretty obvious, but I don't see any machinery in there to lock the doors. On my first builds, I always told myself "screw it, I'll just throw some magnets on the door when I'm done". And then I got to the end and realized that I don't have anywhere good to put the magnets. So I thought I'd just mount a piece of wood and glue magnets to it. Turns out, magnetic fields decay exponentially, so you either need the magnets to get really close together to engage, or you need really strong magnets. Pro tip: really strong magnets is a bad idea. I tried that. They did keep the door closed even though the magnets were at a 45 degree angle (which I think means a ~50% reduction in force, along with the drop from distance), but they were also strong enough to tear feeding tongs out of my hand if they got close. I mean seriously, tear them out of my hands and make them stick to the top of the enclosure. Anyways, plan out how you want to do that. Magnets can work if you're precise, as can that system where there's a pin that sticks out and a hook you drop over to lock it in place. There's probably dozen's more I'm not even thinking of. Random funny idea, I've never seen an enclosure that used zippers to seal the doors. Not super practical, but it is funny.

Last thing, I would consider raising the height that the joint for the door is at. It's not a huge deal, but it can be kinda nice if later on you decide you want more substrate for some reason, and it also adds a little bit of a barrier to your T running out if it's on the ground. It won't stop them, but mine sometimes stop on their own when they hit a wall. I emphasize "sometimes". It will not prevent them coming out at you if they get mad/spooked/whatever, but occasionally they will stop on their own. Doesn't need to be a huge height, just an inch or two so they have to climb a tiny bit to get on the door if you have it open.

Good luck, let us know how it turns out!
I would never suggest using 3mm (1/8th) for anything bigger than sling / juvie boxes. I use 4.5 mm (.177" called 3/16) and 6mm (.236" called 1/4) pretty exclusively
 

scurry

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I would never suggest using 3mm (1/8th) for anything bigger than sling / juvie boxes. I use 4.5 mm (.177" called 3/16) and 6mm (.236" called 1/4) pretty exclusively
That's probably my problem then. In that case, maybe it could work as a structural material. Are 4.5mm and 6mm thick enough to use in a 12-24" enclosure without issues? Any downsides to thicker acrylic, in terms of visibility?
 

Matt Man

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That's probably my problem then. In that case, maybe it could work as a structural material. Are 4.5mm and 6mm thick enough to use in a 12-24" enclosure without issues? Any downsides to thicker acrylic, in terms of visibility?
yes, either would work, but for that size I would go 6mm. As far as visibility, if the acrylic is cast, yes it may have some slight issues. I use extruded which is a higher grade, has uniform thickness (which makes it also better for assembly) and is clear as a bell.
Use WeldOn cements as well. This lid is .236 extruded, I also heat bend the forward edge. You can see how clear it is.
For a 4' x 8' sheet (48 x 96) it is typically over $200

SafeTLid 2.jpg
 
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scurry

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That looks awesome! One last question and I'll leave you alone. How are you aligning those vent holes? They look too uniformly spaced to do with a ruler and freehand drill.
 

scurry

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That's about what I was expecting lol. One day I'll win the lottery and actually get a full workshop in the garage. Until then I hear the local makerspace has laser cutters I might try out to see if I can get the same effect.
 

Matt Man

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That's about what I was expecting lol. One day I'll win the lottery and actually get a full workshop in the garage. Until then I hear the local makerspace has laser cutters I might try out to see if I can get the same effect.
I work with these materials for a living. I have 4 table cutters, and know how to design for them. I use the machines when they are down and cut lids out of scrap
 

Eira007

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Dec 16, 2019
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should probably mention that Im pretty restrained in terms of materials, I live in a small town in Romania, so I don't really have a wide variety of materials available... Im lucky if I even find a plexiglass...
 
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