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The Purple Onion   JackAsp   The Purple Onion   Reptileruler1   JackAsp  
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The Purple Onion
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 Preparing for new baby....please check

Hello! I’m anxiously awaiting my new baby collards in about 3-4 weeks. (a trio)

I think I’ve got my enclosure set up pretty well, I just need to tweak a few things and i was hoping someone could give me some advice.

Currently I have a 40 gallon breeder tank, a 24 inch repti sun 10, and a basking log that runs diagonally from the left to the right at an angle, and several stones set around the tank for decor effect. I use a screen top and my lights are currently on top (which i’m not accustomed to, nor do i like very much). Is there any way around this? The basking site 3/4 of the way up is approximately 115F and decreases closer to the middle of the tank. The far left side of the log (furtherest away from the basking light) sits at about 86-88F. I’m using regular play sand as substrate. I breed crickets, roaches, mealies and food isn’t a problem.

Did I forget anything? Thanks for the help

07/15/10  04:07pm


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  Message To: The Purple Onion   In reference to Message Id: 2162816

 Preparing for new baby....please check

Strip lights on top of a removeable top aren’t so bad, you can take it all off as one unit. Thjose cheap sliding things that 40 breeders come with... not as sturdy. I think you’ll be happier in the long run if you switch tops. But you’ll still have to hang the heat lamp. Some fixtures will claqmp right onto a doorframe or whatever’s handy. I prefer to put a closet bar above the tank and hang lights off it. With some of those little hook-chains you could also hang the striplight, if you wanted to. There is no way around having the lights above. There are only DIFFERENT ways of having the lights above! lol

Make sure that the heat bulb is in a ceramic fixture. Also, do not use one of those long metal gooseneck things that some pet stores sell for the purpose of elevating reptile lamps. That is the only model that I ever actually had catch fire. About two months after the one year warranty ran out. Fortunately, I was home at the time.

Use a temp for precise measurements. You will find that, especially in the morning, they sometimes like hotter tamps than you’ve been led to expect. Having a hot spot of 135 (and it’s okay if on a warm day it gets hotter, I’ve still seen them basking in the 150s) is what I was taught was ideal by the breeder who produced ny own stock, and he based that on actual field-tests of basking spots. (He lives in the southwest, and actually goes out and laser-temps where he sees them basking.) The nice thing about a branch is that it will have a wide range of temps on it, so even at 135 there will plenty of spots everywhere from about 90 all the way up for them to choose from. Wood doesn’t conduct heat as rapidly as stone the same thickness would, so it’s very gradient-friendly. Your far left temps are about what the mininum ground temp needs to be to keep them active and healthy in captivity. So if the sand is even cooler, you may need some mild undertank heating... although if you up the branch temps the floor will warm up anyway, so one thing will probably solve the other.

Remember, if the branch is thin, that you’ll have to upgrade. They like branches they can run on, rather than "climb" on. Try to keep the diameter at least the snout to vent length of the lizard.

45 degree angle is okay, but if you can get it more horizontal, that’s even better. Try standing up a brick under the low end. If they have a big horizontal stretch of nice warm gradient log to hang out on, they will practically LIVE there during the afternoon. And it keeps the floor clearer, so crickets can’t hide quite as easily, cleaning is easier, and sometimes they have a few more square inches of running space. Also, the more time they spend elevated, the easier they are to hand-feed or take out.

They need hide caves, and they need to be low to the ground. Or buried in it to make a nice crushed-paper-towel-tube tunnel. Your preference. When they’re awake they’ll be out anyway.

Large slate tiles are a very under-rated cage prop. Poke around Lowes or somplace in the flooring section and look for the coursest stone squares you can find available for individual sale. Where I live, Lowes has a better choice of choice of 16 inch styles than Home Depot, where the good stuff usually tops off at 12 inches, but this may vary by individual store. These tiles can either be securely positioned flat against the glass, to allow the lizards to run the entire length of the tank, then scurry right up the wall, jump back, and continue running, sort of like a Matrix character, or they can be leaned at an angle, under the heat lamp, which gives an nice range of temps, but has the downside of shading all the floor area under it. So if you use one that way, make sure that, during the day, a lizard in that shady area can see bright light on both sides of the shady area. (In the wild, the sun moves. The tank lights don’t.) If they can, then you’re set, then just put the caves under there to prevent the whole area from going to waste.

With a 12" tile, you can even use it to make the cool end more shaded, still have a few inches at each end of the shaded area for them to see where the light is, and hace a nice basking slope leading right up to branch level. But if you do that, I suggest also having a 16 inch wall liner at the shady end so if they go charging up the ramp they can still do a "spiderman turn" instead of banging into the end.

Who’d you order from?

07/15/10  09:32pm


The Purple Onion
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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2162877

 Preparing for new baby....please check

I ordered from Eve.

so it doesn’t sound like i’m off to a bad start. Just a bit of tweaking as i thought.

I’ve raised several different species of lizard, but these are my first collards, so I really wanna get it right before they arrive. I like the idea of hanging lights. In some of my other reptile cages, the lighting is mounted internally, but i’d assume you can’t do that with these guys.

The sand on the cool side is measuring 82-85F depending on location with a temp gun. Should I put a UTH under the tank?

The branch i have is about as large around in diameter as a paper towel roll (the inside) I can elevate the cool end like you suggested with the hide I need to make. Should there be a separate hide for each baby? Or one on each end?

Do I need a water bowl and how large should it be?

Can you explain a "wall liner"

07/16/10  09:29am


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  Message To: The Purple Onion   In reference to Message Id: 2162953

 Preparing for new baby....please check

You need a small water dish. You shouldn’t need an under tank heater. You can have 1 hide if it’s big enough but 2 if not.

07/18/10  05:22pm


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  Message To: Reptileruler1   In reference to Message Id: 2163331

 Preparing for new baby....please check

If you want to be extra certain (I tend toward being paranoid about babies) get an extra timer and rig an UTH to it. Don’t run the floor heat aLL day, but have it click on right when the light does, then off maybe two hours later. By that time, there’s been time to bask and wake up and get hungry. As time goes by, you may or not decide the same trick is necessary the following summer, but for establishment in a new home followed by a bunch of crappy seasons... yeah, can’t hurt. I don’t know that it’s necesary, but it’s one less thing to worry about.

When they’re little, anything can be a water dish. For really small ones, 3" terra cotta flowerpot drainpans are fine, but as you get into bigger circles there starts to be more wasted cornerspace, so I like those water dishes that atre actually built to fit the corner.

By "wall liner," I just meant wedging a nice tectured tile securely against that particular tank wall. Some people like to de-emphasize a stress area by taping paper over it. I say screw that; let ’em play Spiderman and have something they can scramble around on a little.

07/19/10  12:56am

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