What is the best method of heating my vivarium?
Wish I had a pound for every time I have been asked this.
The most commonly used method of heating a Vivarium or Terrarium is with Heat Mats, they come in different sizes and wattages. The bigger the Heat Mat the higher the wattage.
Heat Mats come in two types the square or oblong types for vivariums and Terrariums and the long Heat Strips that are used for heating a row of smaller containers and small plastic tanks usually holding hatchling snakes or tarantulas.
Heat mats work by emitting invisible ultra long wavelength infra red heat which heats the animal and furnishings, rather than the air which can remain quite cold if the room it is in is cold.
Though saying this heat mats do get warm and the animal can lie under or on top of the mat. I find it best to tape the mats down or onto the vivarium floor or back wall with masking tape. Do not use any other type of tape as they are difficult to remove from the animal if it gets entangled in it. Or place a piece of slate on top of it if on the floor of the vivarium.
Do not place too much substrate on top of heat mats, no more than 37mm (1.5”), or cork bark as they will reflect a lot of the Infra Red back into the heat mat causing hot spots in the heat mat.
Under normal usage heat mats are perfectly safe giving off a gentle heat, though accidents happen and I have seen a couple of heat mats where the plastic outer envelope has melted and in one case actually caught fire. So ValueAquatics recommend the use of a thermostat with heat mats.
For all glass Vivariums and Terrariums like the popular Exo Terra range of Terrariums the heat mats should be placed under or on the outer wall or walls. Exo Terra make two types of heat mats for these the Rainforest Heat Mat and the Desert Heatmat both come in three sizes available from ValueAquatics. The Rainforest Heat Mat gives out a very gentle heat simulating the rainforest and the desert Heatmat give out a more heat simulating the heat of the desert. Both types are Self-adhesive making them easy to install to the outside glass base or wall of the Terrariums.
Do not use them where there is excessive moisture, they are not waterproof.
- Safe to use
- Gentle heat
- Not intrusive
- Easy to clean
- Low maintenance