Future Skink Owner Enclosure Question

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Cron14
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Future Skink Owner Enclosure Question

Postby Cron14 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:43 pm

Good evening all! This is my first post on this forum but I've been lurking for quite a while. After over a year of research, and hours of watching reptilemountain tv, I am seriously considering purchasing a Northern BTS. I have one ball python, a western hognose, and a crested gecko. I almost pulled the trigger this breeding season on a BTS but I am glad I held off. Here are my enclosure questions:

1) I have an AP T-8 for my BP and am thinking of doing the same for the BTS. Do blue tongues need a basking light or could I use an RHP with no additional lighting other than whats coming through the window? (The cage will not be placed in direct sunlight) I'd prefer just an RHP but obviously understand the animal's needs trump my preferences.

1a) For you AP owners, I am thinking of purchasing the fluorescent lighting option so that I can install a UVB light inside if needed. Does anyone have an opinion on whether a T-8 (4'x2'x1') or a T-10 (4'x2'x15in) is better? Given the distance, what tube strength should I use?

I understand that the breeding season is over but, given AP's lead times, I want to be fully prepared come next year. Thank you in advance for your response!
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Re: Future Skink Owner Enclosure Question

Postby kingofnobbys » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:19 pm

Not into snakes.

Can you tell me the internal dimensions of the vivs you plan on installing each of your BT skinks in , I think you will be very wise to house them separately except for brief encounters to do the deed.

Males are very territorial and adult BTs are fully capable (and have been known) to kill by crushing the head of the "intruder" + it will be extremely stressful for two adult BTS to be forced to live together in a very confined space (indoor viv) even a M+F pair .
I learnt this the hard way when my eastern BTS pair were juveniles and my girl attacked the boy , giving him a very bad head injury (took crown scales off in the bite)…. I've kept my pair in separate tanks since.

I would recommend no less than a 4ft L x 2ft W x 1.5ft T tank for each Northern.

The specs on the UV tube are dependent on
> species of BTS , nornthern BTs require 10%UVB minimum,
> height of the tank , if the viv is taller than 12" you will need a T5HO 10%UVB or even better a T5HO 12%UVB tube and the tube needs to be unobstructed (no mesh under it) and in a reflector hood.
A T8 tube will not be strong enough or bright enough, and forget a T10 tube. You are aiming for about 170 - 200 microW UVB/sq.cm at the basking spot.
> distance to basking platform .
> length of tube ideally is no more than 2/3 the length of the viv ,this allows a UV gradient from high UV(A+B) to zero UV(A+B). The skinks will not aways want to be getting UV irradiated.

Northerns require an overhead sunlike basking globe (either a par38 halogen or incandescent, or a MVB will work well) , aim for a basking spot at 35 degC to 37 degC.
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Re: Future Skink Owner Enclosure Question

Postby Cron14 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:30 am

Thank you for your response! I believe there is a bit of misunderstanding. I plan on getting one BTS and it will be housed in its own enclosure.

As for the enclosure, the T-8 and T-10 I referred to are pvc cages, not bulbs, with their deminsions listed next to them.

I appreciate the info on the UV bulbs that definitely helps.
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Re: Future Skink Owner Enclosure Question

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:22 am

Cron14 wrote:Thank you for your response! I believe there is a bit of misunderstanding. I plan on getting one BTS and it will be housed in its own enclosure.

As for the enclosure, the T-8 and T-10 I referred to are pvc cages, not bulbs, with their deminsions listed next to them.

I appreciate the info on the UV bulbs that definitely helps.



I wouldn't be keeping a bluetongue or any reptile in PVC cage …. irrespective of the claims of he manufacturers, PVC outgases very nasty fumes and gases when exposed to temperatures like you will find at the base of the ceramic e27 light fittings you will be mounting a CHE and a MVB or halogen basking globe in.
Cron14
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Re: Future Skink Owner Enclosure Question

Postby Cron14 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:32 pm

kingofnobbys wrote:
Cron14 wrote:Thank you for your response! I believe there is a bit of misunderstanding. I plan on getting one BTS and it will be housed in its own enclosure.

As for the enclosure, the T-8 and T-10 I referred to are pvc cages, not bulbs, with their deminsions listed next to them.

I appreciate the info on the UV bulbs that definitely helps.



I wouldn't be keeping a bluetongue or any reptile in PVC cage …. irrespective of the claims of he manufacturers, PVC outgases very nasty fumes and gases when exposed to temperatures like you will find at the base of the ceramic e27 light fittings you will be mounting a CHE and a MVB or halogen basking globe in.


I am going to be using an RHP so CHE or MVBS aren't really my concern. I have limited experience with PVC enclosures but my BP has been thriving in one for the past three years. I know on the BP forum that PVC cages appear to be the enclosure of choice.

Again, I am by no means an expert on this subject matter but this is the first I've really heard about health concerns with PVC enclosures.
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Re: Future Skink Owner Enclosure Question

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:48 am

Cron14 wrote:
kingofnobbys wrote:
Cron14 wrote:Thank you for your response! I believe there is a bit of misunderstanding. I plan on getting one BTS and it will be housed in its own enclosure.

As for the enclosure, the T-8 and T-10 I referred to are pvc cages, not bulbs, with their deminsions listed next to them.

I appreciate the info on the UV bulbs that definitely helps.



I wouldn't be keeping a bluetongue or any reptile in PVC cage …. irrespective of the claims of he manufacturers, PVC outgases very nasty fumes and gases when exposed to temperatures like you will find at the base of the ceramic e27 light fittings you will be mounting a CHE and a MVB or halogen basking globe in.


I am going to be using an RHP so CHE or MVBS aren't really my concern. I have limited experience with PVC enclosures but my BP has been thriving in one for the past three years. I know on the BP forum that PVC cages appear to be the enclosure of choice.

Again, I am by no means an expert on this subject matter but this is the first I've really heard about health concerns with PVC enclosures.


This will open your eyes : http://www.styreneproducts.com/media/files/SPI%20EPS%20MSDS(1).pdf and is not something the petshop or the viv makers want their customers to be aware of.

I'm a retired research physicist/engineer hence I know how to find this uncomfortable information whereas most keepers don't know how to find it, or are even aware there are risks.

extract
Image
overheating emissions include hydrochloric acid fumes , chlorine gas....

Ceramic e27 light sockets are rated safe up to 230 degC , and the metal base of a halogen par38 or MVB can warm to 200 degC , see http://www.lampholder.net/lampholders/tag/e27-ceramic-lamp-holder .

Melting Point:
PVC sheet softens at 80 degC to 104 degC ==> not suitable for a lizard viv where there are basking globes and CHE in use.

The Grenfell Tower fire in London that resulted in large numbers of deaths - PVC cladding / insulation was the culprit.
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Re: Future Skink Owner Enclosure Question

Postby vana » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:00 pm

King of Nobbies, correct me if I am wrong, but it appears the MSDS you are linking to is for a material other than PVC (Expanded Polystyrene).

There is controversy about PVC fumes outgassing as King of Nobbies mentions.

I have an AP cage I bought before I read about the possible issue.

I do not know the truth about the controversy.

You may want to look into another plastic cage made of ABS, hpde or similar food-grade plastic. There are cages made of other types of plastic. If I could do it over again, this is what I probably would do just to be on the safe side. I do think plastic cages are a good idea, not 100% sure about PVC though.

I use a radiant heat panel with a thermostat. It is a very good product (proheat). Keeps the cage toasty warm in the winter, without generating light, so it is no issue at night. It also does not get very hot (can put your hand on it with only a bit of discomfort) so it is much safer than a halogen bulb.

I use a T5 UV bulb mounted to the roof of the cage (inside the cage). In my opinion, it is much much better than the older T8 bulbs. This is what I would recommend. Much slimmer and very bright.
Last edited by vana on Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Future Skink Owner Enclosure Question

Postby vana » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:02 pm

And yes, you should give your skink a UVB bulb, and not just light from the window. They are day-active animals, and the cage will be very dark without one. And better safe than sorry about getting adequate UVB.
Cron14
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Re: Future Skink Owner Enclosure Question

Postby Cron14 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:41 pm

Thank you for your responses. I will definitely take the new info into consideration and do some more research. This is exactly why I wanted to ask questions way ahead of time.

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