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 #2319189


Eyad1022
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 Tips/guidance

Hey guys, new poster, but am somewhat familiar with the website and respect the fact there is alot of people here who have far more experience than I, hence why am coming here for advice. The animal safety comes first and I just want to be able to provide the best environment for the animals that I can. The two are young monitors, both ~5 months old. One of which is a mertens water monitor, other is a spiny neck Solomon island. Humidity in both cages ranges from 50-80ish throughout the day, temperature basking wise measured with a temp gun for both is about 100, "cold side" gets to high 70s, and night mid 70s. Have them both on ecoearth substrate and for the time being they are in exoterras, which are the 36inch. Due to the screen top though I covered the tops with some towels for now to retain humidity, but there is still some screentop open which is why the Lowest the humidity gets is 50s. As far as substrate is concerned I have them both on ecoearth, few inches deep. Both eat fine, mostly prefer crickets over anything else. Im planning however over the next 2-3 months to get them into the permanent enclosures. Probably something 6-7ft long, and 4ft wide, 4ft high. I plan to switch out this ecoearth with a better substrate and one thing I’ve heard people speak of is top soil that lowes sells, it’s a 40lb bag. My questions here are....
Is my husbandry in the right direction? should I make adjustments?
Substrate wise... Is the top soil a good option for these species?
And as far as heating the permanent enclosures, I plan to purchase floods 50 watt and adjust from there to set the proper temperatures for basking, ambient, and cool.
Sorry for long post. Just trying to get the most information out. I would post a pic but am having problems doing so. Any comments would be appreciated... Thanks for reading!



08/01/16  07:42pm

 #2319192


Varanid74
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319189


 Tips/guidance

Your husbandry is off. ditch the Exoterra’s they are not suitable for monitors (or any reptile, but that’s another story).
You need a solid topped enclosure with the lights inside the enclosure. You will be looking for a temperature gradient of 70F-120F -24 hours a day,that’s surface temps not air temps. You need to allow the animal to chose when it will bask, not forced day/night cycles.
You will need deep substrate, not from home depot or lowes. You are looking for sandy loam, not top soil. Top soil sold in bags is not suitable for reptiles, you need a low organic soil, with low clay content, think sandy river bottom. Try material yards or just go out and find some in the wild (from an area with no pesticides). You can mix sand with low clay content, low organic "sifted" or "clean" dirt to make your own sandy loam if none is available in your area. Use the bagged crap and you will be rewarded with flying pests, mold and mushrooms.

Monitors do not tolerate sub par conditions for long so you will need to fix your husbandry post haste.
Best of luck.



08/02/16  01:48pm

 #2319196


Varanus Sapien
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  Message To: Varanid74   In reference to Message Id: 2319192


 Tips/guidance

Organic bagged is fine, buy it at home depot for around $6, it comes with sand and soil. Build a huge enclosure out of wood, don’t use an aquarium or any all glass cages. Use a huge trough for the soil and build the enclosure around it. Here is an example of a good set up, http://panoptesv.com/HBD/tricks.html, use your imagination and create a nice home instead of a cage. It is not a requirement for 24 hours of constant light, I do 16 on 8 off, but I stay up late. Husbandry is full of opinions and these forums aren’t reliable or friendly.



08/02/16  05:40pm

 #2319197


Varanid74
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  Message To: Varanus Sapien   In reference to Message Id: 2319196


 Tips/guidance

use organic bagged, you will be kicking yourself later when the springtails and fruit flies show up. $6 a bag is crazy expensive and wasteful. Most material yards sell clean sifted dirt for less than $40 a yard (equivalent to approx 20 bags). Or go into the wild, then it’s free.

Quote:

It is not a requirement for 24 hours of constant light

This is not the point, the idea is that you want to offer proper basking temps 24/7 so the animal can choose when to bask, has nothing to do with light. With deep substrate you don’t need to worry about constant light as the animals will burrow (no light in a burrow).
Plenty of reliable, friendly info as long as you can spot the dill weeds and ignore them.



08/02/16  06:06pm

 #2319198


3240
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  Message To: Varanus Sapien   In reference to Message Id: 2319196


 Tips/guidance

Varanus Sapien, can you point us towards a reliable and friendly forum? Oh wait, you’ve been banned from all of them.



08/02/16  06:27pm

 #2319199


Eyad1022
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  Message To: Varanid74   In reference to Message Id: 2319197


 Tips/guidance

Thanks for the responses guys. There is a material yard not too far from where am at, I live in Chicago so don’t have much the option of grabbing anything from outside. They sell mason sand, torpedo sand, and topsoil. Would I want to mix the soil with either one of the sands? Also for caging, custom enclosure is something I plan to do, but is there any other option of caging or would be custom the best route to take? Being as they are still few months old would it be too early to put them into a permanent enclosure? Also another question as far As rocks and hides go, what would be the best option/type to get? I see pet stores sell them but they go for an arm and leg to get a decent amount



08/02/16  06:32pm

 #2319200


Eyad1022
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319199


 Tips/guidance

Also Im not one to be angry from feedback, I just want to quickly make adjustments and keep the animals safe and "happy". I know there is tons of super experienced guys here and every forum will have people who are not helpful but few apples can’t ruin the bunch. It’s an awesome hobby and positive atmospheres in every hobby are ideal. At the end of the day, I’m sure there is a common agenda of doing what’s best for the longevity of the animals. Clearly I made mistakes but hopefully within a week or so everything can be adjusted. Again I do appreciate the help



08/02/16  06:38pm

 #2319201


3240
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319189


 Tips/guidance

I’ve used a mixture of top soil from Home Depot (not potting soil), sand, and coco peat with good results. But a sandy loam soil, as described by Varanid74, is your best bet if available. I don’t keep my lights on 24/7, I use a 14 hour on, 10 hour off, cycle. However, my enclosures have radiant heat so it’s easy to keep temps up. If your enclosures tend to get too cool a 24 hour light (heat) cycle is fine as long as the monitor has the ability to shelter/burrow.

Most concerning is your choice of species. Mertens are neat monitors but need water and lots of it. You can find some decent Mertens set ups on-line if you do a little research. They’re a very specialized monitor. I avoid all water monitors because water is a messy PITA.

Spiny neck monitors make for difficult captives. I had 5 of them several years ago and gave them to a friend (Krusty) on a breeding loan. Within a year all five were dead. They’re picky eaters and don’t acclimate well to captivity. The mortality rate is sky high.

I don’t recommend keeping them together. The mertens in CBB but the spiny neck is WC and probably full of parasites. Make separate habitats for them.

You’ve got your hands full. Good luck.



08/02/16  06:43pm

 #2319203


Eyad1022
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319201


 Tips/guidance

No I don’t have them together they are separate, I purchased the spiny as cbb. I am going to check out the yards in the area and see if I can get the sandy loam soil. But what type
Of sand do you mix? Just like a play sand? Heat is on 24/7. Would it be too early to move them into permanent enclosures? And is there any recommendation permanent enclosure wise of best Materials to use for long term that can withstand the humidity and the heat?



08/02/16  06:53pm

 #2319204


Eyad1022
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319203


 Tips/guidance

Spiny were CH* sorry



08/02/16  06:57pm

 #2319205


Varanus Sapien
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319203


 Tips/guidance

Don’t worry about the ramblings of the other guy about spiny monitors being very difficult to keep. You have one and now take action to keep it happy and healthy. The water monitor being messy bit, all monitors are messy but it’s just difficult to maintain a large body of water with turtles much less large lizards. With some ideas from others with mertens; you should be fine. I look to Facebook, join BIAWAK and ask for help there. These forums are chalk full of arrogance and mean individuals on their personal crusade to attack anyone outside their circle.



08/02/16  10:03pm

 #2319206


Eyad1022
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  Message To: Varanus Sapien   In reference to Message Id: 2319205


 Tips/guidance

Appreciate your input brother. One question I have... Being as these guys are still super small... I heard of metal tape. Being as they are alreAdy in these enclosures, I was initially thinking of using metal tape to cover as much of the tops as I can, this would allow for more humidity retention no? Then when they are due for a larger encsloure I could go with the full sealed enclosure. As far as fixing the basking issue I figure if I add some cork hollows closer to the basking light, this would give that increased temperature of 120-130. Then as long as I swap out the substrate I would imagine my humidity retention problem should be solved as well as the basking temperature. No?



08/03/16  12:47am

 #2319207


Eyad1022
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319206


 Tips/guidance

Another option to could be a friend of mine has an extra vision cage lying around, 36 x 28 x 18, he used it for monitors before and with the substrate issue he put plexiglass by the sliding door that way he could add some good substrate (being as its small monitor inside) and not have any issues. Would that be a good option , for the current size of the monitor?



08/03/16  01:20am

 #2319209


3240
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  Message To: Varanus Sapien   In reference to Message Id: 2319205


 Tips/guidance

Varanus,

Spiny monitors are difficult to keep. Have you ever kept them? Water monitors are messy due to the water. Have you ever kept them? The only arrogance and mean individual on this forum is you. Isn’t that why you (and all of your user names) have been banned from most forums?



08/03/16  09:21am

 #2319210


3240
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319207


 Tips/guidance

Don’t use a vision cage. They just don’t work. An easy enclosure is a trough with a plexiglass top. Troughs hold lots substrate and, with a top, they hold heat and humidity well. Plus, they’re cheap. Down the road you can always build something that looks nicer if you want but a trough is tough to beat.

[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/p81EiYJmj]

[/URL]


Here are a couple of lousy pics of the spinnies that I used to keep. They resided in a trough. Very interesting, and nice looking, species but picky eaters and prone to stress.

[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/03photo8kcj]

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[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/05photo6pelj]

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[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/1xphoto7eoj]

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I’ve used Exoterra enclosures as raise up cages for dwarf monitors. You can go on their website and purchase a lighting mount that allows you to put a small wattage bulb inside of the enclosure. Cover the top with duct tape, card board, whatever. Problem is the enclosures don’t hold much substrate, Also, you need to be very careful when you open the doors. Smaller monitors can dart out and escape. I’ve lost a few this way. That’s why I like enclosures that open from the top for smaller species/hatchlings.

[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/04crocinjury016j]

[/URL]
[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/04crocinjury015j]

[/URL]



08/03/16  09:39am

 #2319211


3240
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319210


 Tips/guidance

Hard to believe but the basking spot in the pic above, with the small wattage bulb, reached 115F.



08/03/16  09:41am

 #2319212


3240
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319211


 Tips/guidance

I wish I had a better picture of this enclosure. It’s two large troughs with an enclosure built over them. Total length was over 8’. I didn’t worry too much about moisture because I kept Egyptian Uros in this enclosure. Humidity was low.

[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/41emerine005op4j]

[/URL]

You could always use a two trough system for your Merten’s. One trough would be full of substrate and the other water. Just make sure you have a drain installed at the bottom of the water filled trough so you can change the water.



08/03/16  09:49am

 #2319213


Varanid74
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319209


 Tips/guidance

Eyad,
It is true that you have chosen some very hard to care for properly species of monitor, not impossible but it will be a huge undertaking to care for both of these animals. You should be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time and money to be able to house them in any humane way. That is not to say it’s impossible, just difficult.
The exoterra’s are worthless and the vision cages are just as bad. Vision cages do not allow for any substrate, they are weak as heck and will sag, droop and fail. Basically anything that is marketed for reptiles or is packaged with a reptile on it is worthless, most pet stores don’t sell anything even close to suitable for a monitor, you will have to build your own and fast.
There is no such thing as a permanent cage, these are living animals , not static, always growing, changing and their caging will have to grow and adapt with them. That is what keeping monitors is all about, if you are not into building enclosures and tweaking them, you should not own monitors.
For hides you will need to find deadfall branches, preferably hollowed out, you may have to trek to find them if you are in a city. (Love Chicago by the way, fun city, great people) half round logs or any hide sold in a pet store is worthless, animal need to be snug in it’s hide, body touching the walls of the hide (another reason this cannot be static as you animals grow)
Sorry I’m out of time, got to get back to working on a V.komodensis project.
I’ll try to drop back by later with more info, best of luck, don’t be discouraged, but you have a lot of work ahead.



08/03/16  09:49am

 #2319214


Eyad1022
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319210


 Tips/guidance

Awesome thanks for the great input. I think I’ll go with trough. Any recommendations as far as size and heating goes?



08/03/16  09:50am

 #2319215


3240
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319212


 Tips/guidance

I found another picture of my uro enclosure.
[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/1ddirt334iz4j]

[/URL]



08/03/16  09:52am

 #2319216


3240
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  Message To: Varanid74   In reference to Message Id: 2319213


 Tips/guidance

Varanid brings up a good point about hides. Monitors like a secure hide that they squeeze into.
[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/f099BqoDj]

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[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/ejgilleni037my7j]

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[URL=https://imageshack.com/i/ejgilleni027dy3j]

[/URL]



08/03/16  09:58am

 #2319217


3240
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319214


 Tips/guidance

Start with a 4’ trough and build a plexiglass cover for it. The spinnie can probably reside in a 4’ trough indefinitely. The trough in the picture that I posted uses a 45 watt outdoor flood (not spot) light. When an enclosure is sealed properly they retain heat, with low wattage, extremely well.



08/03/16  10:00am

 #2319218


Eyad1022
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319217


 Tips/guidance

Awesome. Also from what I seen there seems to be people on both sides, but is the UV necessary or only should I use the flood? Also, is there any fire hazards to worry about that with the light being directly in the enviornment with the high humidity? It seems like you just cut a hole through for the light to go in?



08/03/16  10:57am

 #2319220


3240
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319218


 Tips/guidance

UV certainly can’t hurt but I’m not convinced that it helps. Also, UV bulbs are high wattage, expensive, and very fragile. If you get any water on them while spraying/misting the cage they tend to burst. Outdoor flood (again, not spot) lights work well and can handle getting wet.

I’ll admit that I do sometimes use UV bulbs but I don’t think they’re neccessary.



08/03/16  02:02pm

 #2319221


3240
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319218


 Tips/guidance

If wired properly there’s really no need to worry about a fire hazard. Use a ceramic fixture. Do not cut a hole in the top of the enclosure as it allows humidity and heat to escape. Mount the bulb fixture to the inside of the top so it’s inside the enclosure.



08/03/16  02:06pm

 #2319223


Eyad1022
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319221


 Tips/guidance

Ok awesome thanks I really appreciate the guidance. My two routes I see it is custom for the mertens with the 2 trough and enclosure on top,and then one trough for the spinny. One more question though, are there any cages out there that can be ordered that will suit the monitors? I can see the concerns with most companies being lack of height for substrate. But figured I would ask if anything could work that can be ordered? I heard of a company called beegerboxes I think? Being as they can customize I would imagine so long as height is met it should work? And again I’m going more than likely to do as you suggested 3240, just asking if anything else is out there. Thanks again major help



08/04/16  08:15am

 #2319227


Eyad1022
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319223


 Tips/guidance

Also in regards to the spiny, out of the foods I’ve tried only thing it’ll eat is crickets.



08/04/16  07:07pm

 #2319238


Varanus Sapien
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319227


 Tips/guidance

Why did you buy such a rare and difficult species instead of one of the many easier variety? Was it an impulse buy at a show?



08/05/16  05:53pm

 #2319240


Eyad1022
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  Message To: Varanus Sapien   In reference to Message Id: 2319238


 Tips/guidance

Not at a show, but was a bit of an impulse



08/05/16  07:31pm

 #2319241


Varanus Sapien
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  Message To: Eyad1022   In reference to Message Id: 2319240


 Tips/guidance

Were they expensive? Both are listed pretty high on Fauna Classifieds, hope all goes well.



08/05/16  08:09pm

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