Cage drainage system

Discussion in 'Enclosures And Supplies' started by clarkrw3, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. clarkrw3

    clarkrw3 New Member

    In the Flooding thread a few asked about different ways to adequately drain a cage so that you did not have flooding issues or standing water on the bottom of the cage. The way I do it isn't anything great or really that original but just something I came up with taking different ideas and making them my own. I was asked to post pictures so here they are. I am using a LLLReptile drain tray that I modified and I have NO affiliation with the company just liked the idea.;)

    Here is what I started with. The tray is from LLL and they make sizes to fit most common sizes of chameleon cages.

    Here is the package I got from lowes it has a few parts in the bag but I was only interested in one part.

    Here is the important part

    I have found through trial and error that the easiest way to make the correct hole for the brass tube is with an RC car body reamer like the one pictured.

    And this is the hole. At this point I also put 4 additional little holes in the support at this corner so that if the one hole in the support gets clogged you don't have back up. Sorry I didn't get pictures of the additional holes in the support.

    and here is the brass fitting super glued into the hole.

    Now that you have it looking like this you can heat up some plastic tubing in some boiling water and press fit it over the brass fitting in your tray.


    and run the tubes into whatever bucket you want. You can see from this picture that I have a couple of holes in the lid and there has been some water on the lid. This was due to me experimenting with how to drill the hole in the drainage tray. One of the first ones was drilled with a wood drill bit and a drill and it ripped up the tray a little bit. I was always going to add cocking around the bung to seal off the hole but found out that the water would just run down the tubing on the outside and to the top of the lid. With a couple of holes drilled in the lid it wasn't a problem. I would have fixed it "correctly" but it was on a baby cage that I wasn't planning on using past a month or two and when it isn't being used I will fix the ripped hole I have the bung through.


    Then the only other things I did was to put a 1/4" something (doesn't matter what I have a little lid under it) on the opposite corner from the drain. Then place a few holes in low lying areas of the plastic in the bottom of the cage around where your plants sit or in the corner directly above the drain hole.
  2. KatCham

    KatCham Established Member

    Great idea!!!:)

    All I've done is drilled a few holes in the bottom panel which the plant pots then sit on top of. Most of the water comes down the plants and through the plant pots themselves.

    I've got the enclosure raised a little, with a tray underneath to catch the water.

    Seems to do the job, but obviously needs emptying more often then a big tub would.

    Works for Simba tho ;)
  3. clarkrw3

    clarkrw3 New Member

    You are right there are many ways to do it all...I think you could go a month without emptying the container I have and that is with two cages and misting 8 times a day. But I empty once a week at least.
    Connan_183 likes this.
  4. That works out ok in the corner like that? I have these pans, and I sell them. I like to use PVC glue to secure a PVC fitting to the side near the corner but outside of that little triangle. I find that these pans can hold a lot of water before they start to drain. I had almost 3 gallons of water between a 2'x2' and a 16"x16" pan. I use shims now to direct the water to one side to avoid large water build up.

    BTW the pans are made of PVC, that is why you can glue a PVC fitting to the side of them. I can post photos if you have any interest.
  5. chendy

    chendy New Member

    does home depot have pvc sheets to make a custom base tray for a cage?
  6. nacho

    nacho New Member

    The sheets used are called I believe Expanded Foam PVC (example). I purchased a few sheets at a plastic fabrication store. I had made a few trays, for the cost of 1 large tray. I used the 2007 plastic adhesive
    Hope this helps.
  7. PeriTanz

    PeriTanz New Member

    yea post pix! :)
  8. clarkrw3

    clarkrw3 New Member

    I have had zero problems with it! I think some of the keys to make it work is that it is in the bottom so you get better gravity drainage I put 4 more holes in that support so that drainage can't get hung up by junk or air bubbles and I place 1/4" riser in the opposite corner on the smaller trays and on the 18" and 24" trays I add a 1/2"-3/4" riser in the opposite corner to the drain.

    I have ZERO standing water it drains well and completely dries out between mistings and understand I was at one time misting 8 times a day. You will hear dropping water in an empty tub within a min of the misting starting.

    I understand that it's PVC and you could use the two stage PVC cement but I used Zap-Gap CA which is also designed for PVC and is hobby grade CA used for making models etc and with the flange on the pipe I used there is no problems with it and it is less messy and user friendly I had both and the CA worked better.
  9. Lovereps

    Lovereps Avid Member

    Appliance pans

    Lowe's in my area carries large white plastic appliance pans designed to be placed beneath washing machines.
    The pans have 8 raised ridges molded into them, so the cage is held about 1/2" above the rest of the pan.
    There are 2
    They are 30" x 32" outside and are about 2 1/2" high.
    27" x 30" inside.
    I used 1/2" elbow plastic fittings, pre-threaded at one end for a plastic nut and I pushed clear pvc tubing over the other end to a drainage container. The fittings were made for running electrical wires through them.
    My home made cages have screen bottoms, so everything drains through to the pan.
  10. chendy

    chendy New Member

    Lovereps do you have any photos you could share?
  11. Lovereps

    Lovereps Avid Member

    Chendy, sorry I don't have any pics.
    It's a very simple setup, though.
  12. It sounds like you've got it all figured out. I didn't mean to make it sound like you should use the PVC glue. I was directing that to people in general who have not seen these in use.



  13. Rottsko

    Rottsko Avid Member

    so are all the people using this method using the substrate tray as well? i'm not using the substrate tray and ONLY the water tray. the only problem that i have is that bc the cage sits on the risers, there is a gap/opening along the edges of the cage and the water tray. i havne't sen any crickets escape but there is an opening.

    i thought i saw a thread somewhere that others were doing it this way too but i cant find it now. i'd like to close the gap some how but haven't figured out a way yet...any ideas?
  14. mbondy

    mbondy New Member

    Oh that's awesome, great idea!! I'm going to go ahead and see if my Lowes carries them, that would be perfect :D
  15. meleondollars

    meleondollars New Member

    I used your idea to do my own today. A few things I discovered for others that want to try it.
    1. The brass fitting says 5/8" diameter. This is the diameter of the flared end, not the diameter of the hole to drill. Almost messed that up. Drilled half way and though this looks a tad large.

    2. A small pipe clamp is helpful on the hose to brass fitting connection.

    All in all a relatively cheap and easy solution.
  16. clarkrw3

    clarkrw3 New Member

    Glad it worked well for you. I have been extremely happy with this set up. I never measured the hole because I was using a reamer that didn't have measurements so I just kept going till it was a tight fit. Thanks for putting that up for others. Also with the tubing you are right it would be more secure with a hose clamp...I just used smaller diameter tubing that I ended up having to heat up to go over the brass and it hasn't come off but both things are good notes for sure.
  17. BMAlcantra808

    BMAlcantra808 New Member

    How much are selling the pans fa
  18. They are listed on my website at
  19. Mike Fisher

    Mike Fisher Established Member

    Interesting use of Sintra.
  20. MerkCity

    MerkCity New Member

    Thanks for the thread. I just ordered two sheets(24"x48") off of amazon. Plan on making two or three 24"x24" water trays. Adding a new ambilobe to my home :)

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