Minimum enclosure size question

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Katrina
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Minimum enclosure size question

Postby Katrina » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:37 pm

Just for discussion purposes, I'm curious what everyone considers their personal minimum enclosure size for blueys. Please mention how many blueys you have and perhaps species, as some will be quite a bit smaller than others. What do you base your size on? How stressed the blueys seem? How much space they use? How long have you been keeping blueys?

Also, please remember that everyone is entitled to their opinions and so be respectful. There is no right answer, just opinions. :wink:

Was just thinking about that and how sometimes people think that their bluey is very active or bored when maybe it doesn't have adequate hides and is actually stressed....

Thanks for answering! :D
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Postby Elsvir » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:23 pm

I have 1 BTS, and s/he's a northern I believe.
My bluey is still on the small side (~12") so his/her 40gal is plenty of room, but as a general rule for all of my animals, I go by how much space they use. If I notice they move around a lot, I give them a bigger enclosure. But if they just sit like bumps on logs day and night, they stick with the average size (size recommended by caresheets) enclosures. :)
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Postby blackmailchan » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:08 pm

I have one Northern, he's about 15 inches right now and he has a 50 gal. tank. I still feel like there isn't enough room though. He has a big hide on one side, his basking spot somewhat in the middle, and his food on the other side. There's still a perfect heating gradient but I'd rather put the hide on the cool side because some nights he burrows inside his hide and others he burrows under his water bowl ( makes a mess too ). I wish I could go bigger so I had more space to decorate.

He's only active when I'm in the room. He watches me watch tv and do whatever it is I do before he goes to do whatever it is that he does. But other than that he sleeps with his head outside of his hide under the heat lamp, burrowed inside of his hide, or burrowed under his water bowls
Last edited by blackmailchan on Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby FIL » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:09 pm

I have one BTS, a Merauke to be exact, who is over a year and a half old and over 24" long. He lives in a 5' x 2' enclosure. In my opinion, a minimum cage size for a full-grown BTS is 4' x 2'. My BTS loves the extra room to play around and burrow.
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Postby Nae » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:34 pm

Hmmm...I guess that if you are looking at your common rectangle tank, then imo the width should be at minimum the length of the bluey plus half (Inc. tail) to allow for adequate turning. The length should be long enough to allow for a decent temp variant, so probably at least a metre and a half.

Size of the water and food bowls, hides etc also would need to be taken into account, you would want your bluey to easily be able to bypass those if he wishes. So with stuff like water bowls in mind, something like say a shingle could be kept in something smaller then say an meruke, as a shingle doesnt require a water bowl 24/7, where as a meruke does (I think?), so space is needed for both the bowl and for room for a meruke to easily go around the bowl if it wishes.

Again, imo, a tank should also have a large area of nothingness so it isnt too cluttered. Enough room for at least 2 hides, hides which help to create an extra level are very space efficient (For example, mine has one hide with basking room on top, then the other hide has the place where food and water is placed, then a large gap in the middle.) and so would allow for a smaller tank to be used.

And then of course if you have an active bluey, more open space is needed, a not so active one could be kept in something smaller or have most of its room dedicated to hides.

Keep in mind that Im only thinking of one bluey :lol:. Mazi has only ever lived in a MASSIVE large bird breeding aviary, so I honestly dont have much experience with tank kept reptiles. Also, here is WA (or at least as far as I know) we dont have stuff like '55 gallon breeder' or whatever - I honestly dont have a clue how big that is. Here the tanks just seem to be made to whatever size took the makers fancy at the time, especially reptile tanks.


Im sorry that my post doesnt seem to be in any logical order :doh: :lol:
Last edited by Nae on Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby critterguy » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:56 pm

Many breeders use 20 longs for adults-which I think measure about 2.5 feet. I think a 3 ft cage is adequate for an adult-though more room certainly doesn't do any harm. I have my one Northern in a 3ft x 1.5.

However their are some ways that space can be saved
-water dish does not need to be in cage/full every day. If large water dishes are used and they take up significant space they can be placed in every other day.

-with a decent layer of aspen-the bluey can hide wherever it wants to so their is no need to have hideboxes(except if you need a humidity box for shedding). I think old shirts make some of the best hides-mine loves them and they don't take up much extra space at all. put one at the warm end and mine uses it at night since it apparently stays warmest longest. Unlike half logs or other things they don't take up walking space.

As for mental stimulation I think trips outside the tank do a lot more than increasing cage size. If one is worried about the animal getting bored switching up the decor might keep things interesting as well as introduction of novel items.
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Postby Scotts1au » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:56 am

Depends what you are trying to achieve.

Natural behaviours? or compliant pet.
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Postby Coomassie » Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:07 am

I have Coomassie in a tank that is a little bit larger than a 40 gallon breeder. He seems rather content there at least. I feel that this size is sufficient assuming two things. The first is the substrate level. I provide 4 to 6 inches of substrate for him to burrow in. He only has two hides (a half long which was intended more to help him shed and a cork log which he is often in) because he spends most of his time burrowed. He has a large network of tunnels. The second thing is he comes out just about every night for at least half an hour, some times as long as three hours. This gives him plenty of exercise. We also feed him bugs so he has to chase down his food.
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Postby Katrina » Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:57 am

Scotts1au wrote:Depends what you are trying to achieve.

Natural behaviours? or compliant pet.


Yep. I was just curious to see what people thought and if that would even come up in discussion.
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Postby herpgirl2510 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 4:44 am

For the moment my baby northern is in a 40 breeder terrarium. I will be building a 4x2x2 enclosure for her.
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Postby Coomassie » Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:06 am

Scotts1au wrote:Depends what you are trying to achieve.

Natural behaviours? or compliant pet.


Can we get your response for both? I'm also curious to see what you have to say.
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Postby Fatal_S » Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:59 am

I'm constantly expanding my tanks, I really like giving my skinks lots of space. My personal minimum for a skink tends to be 3x2 feet, with 4x2 feet preferred. Bigger would be way better in most cases though. I've got a couple skinks who I find too skittish for giant tanks, so they stay in the smaller tanks (the tanimbars for example). But if I could right now I'd give all my active skinks giant tanks filled with climables and deep substrates and hides.

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Postby Spindown » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:28 pm

3 of our 4 are in 40 gal tanks (one is a square 40 gallon, so cool!) and our Northern is in a 75. They all wander around but dont seem to feel that their tanks are too small...they utilize all of the space, but its not like they are super active (cept the northern, he actually comes out a lot!). At some point we would like to build multi-level tanks for them. 2 of my skinks (my indo and young I.J. are only about 18'' so they seem to have plenty of room, my 22'' inch Merauke hides all day (silly goose) but for the rare times she emerges, she seems to have enough room.
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Postby Rush » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:03 pm

I thought Fatal made a geat point about how skittish they are. My 2 year old Merauke that's 24''+, and is high maintenance wantying out all the time loves to roam and explore, has a 4'x2'; whereas my skittish 1yr old Indo that hides all the time and only comes out to eat and bask, is in a 3'x1.5'.
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Postby Scotts1au » Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:11 pm

Not sure that I can put a fine point on it, given that all of the blueys I've kept indoors have appeared "depressed" or probably a better word is suppressed relative to those that I have living outdoors. I'm not sure that this is going to be changed by any particular size enclosure other than if you think of it, a bluey on the loose in your house is more likely to act in a natural way, i.e run from you if you try to catch it, go searching for food. The absolute other end of the spectrum is holding a bluey in your hand, in most cases even wild ones will tame (for the most part) within a few minutes. Once they feel constrained they seem to resign themselves to their fate whatever that may be - blueys in small enclosures to me seem to act in a similar way.

An from my experience is that blueys kept in an indoor enclosure without a hide tend to be tamer than those with the ability to recluse. So environmental enrichment seems to stimulate them more to the wild side. Size of enclosure is one of those factors.
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Postby Lauriek » Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:19 pm

Personally, the bigger the better but minimum would be 1 metre by 45 cm. Can't work out the volume. Brain not thinking :doh: :lol:
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Postby Alioop » Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:39 pm

My Adult IJ (I don't think I've ever measured him but he's probably 24") is in a 40 breeder, so 36" x 18". I feel that this tank is too cramped for him, as he does move around a lot and really seems to enjoy being able to wander the house. In the tank I have two 12x12 tiles with 2" feet on them. One is on the hot end (black slate) for a basking rock, the other is on the cold end and his water dish sits on top. In between the two I have a half log hide as well. This gives him the opportunity to hide at various temps, but he can also easily climb over the tops of these hides.

The Easterns are in enclosures that are slightly smaller than a 40 breeder (like 32x16ish I think?) They are smaller than the IJ (no recent length measurements on them, sorry), but I've never gotten the impression that these enclosures are too small. Their substrate isn't super deep, but enough that they can cover themselves up. They also have a couple different hides (cardboard tubes, pasta boxes are a favorite too :wink: , and each one has a sock- they LOVE these).

I look at these enclosures as very suitable, but for me they are temporary. When I have the means I plan to custom-build enclosures that are 48" x (at least) 24". I look at what I have them in now as the bare minimums, but personally the custom enclosures are probably going to be my "ideal" tank size for bts. I only say probably because I haven't had my guys in them yet, so its possible I could come to a different conclusion after observing them in tanks this size.
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Postby El Lobo » Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:59 pm

It would be helpful if descriptions were in lineal measurements, either inches or the more advanced metric. :wink: Quoting a volume measurement does not take into account the floor length and depth (footprint) which is the most meaningful for BTS, rather than the height. A lower ceiling height also allows the use of lower wattage lamps for heat. All my lamps are in fixed ceramic holders and controlled by dimming thermostats which also prolong lamp life.

I have two custom made enclosures 1200mm x 600mm x 380mm (48" x 24" x 15") and another 1200 x 600 x 450. The slightly taller one allows better heat dispersion in hot weather. That is the minimum size in my opinion as it allows reasonable heat gradient and enough floor space to exercise by walking. The three blotchies are 50cms plus in length so can turn around in apparent comfort.

I can't agree with removing water dishes to save space. It is my view that any animal should have potable water supplied ad libitum. This is supported by the fact I have seen my blotchies come out from their hides after all lamps have been turned off for several hours, have a drink and return immediately to the hide. Dehydration of any animal is a potentially life-threatening situation.

On the subject of hides, my view from observation is that blueys prefer a hide that only has one entrance/exit which they will occupy with their heads facing toward the opening; hence only having one position to defend from predators without the threat of an attack from behind. When I first got them, all three of the blotchies would burrow into the substrate overnight until they were provided with a single entrance hide; from that time on they have always used the hides in preference to burrowing.
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Postby Coomassie » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:06 pm

El Lobo, I'm confused. Are those the dimensions for enclosures to house 1 blotchie or more than one?
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Postby El Lobo » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:10 pm

[quote="Coomassie"]El Lobo, I'm confused. Are those the dimensions for enclosures to house 1 blotchie or more than one?[/quote

One blotchy per enclosure.

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