New enclosure design, with a cave!

ArborealSapien

New Member
I am designing a new 150 gallon terrarium, hoping to keep some form of Pygmy or minor/lateralis, but I want to test the temps and humidity for quite some time to see how things look. I am not married to any species yet, I want to see how the terrarium runs and find the inhabitant that would fit best, I am just hoping I can get it to work for a smaller chameleon.

This begins pretty typical, drainage layer, substrate, live plants, but buried all the way through the substrate/drainage layer, is a PVC pipe, in a large L shape. One end of the L is in the "cave" at the very back/bottom, sealed with PVC mesh, the PVC L then runs all the way to the other side and comes out the top of the terrarium, catty-corner to the "cave". The "cave" itself has drainage in it and thus will not hold water, all liquids that goes in, will feed to the drainage layer.

I have one goal and one experiment in mind with this "cave":

The goal is to be able to send more spring tails straight to the substrate layer by pouring them through the PVC vent, washing them down to the base of the "cave" and then into the drainage layer, an unobtrusive re-inoculation of CUC.

The experiment is with temperature and humidity, I wonder if warm are will flow into the cave, get pulled through the PVC, cooled by the substrate, then vented out or back in the terrarium above the soil level. Or vice-versa?

What is everyone thoughts? Think it may work? Anyone tried anything like this? Any species recommendations for a setup like this? Maybe the inhabitants will interact with the cave? Maybe I can create a micro-climate around the mouth of the cave? Caves tend to be damp in nature, will there be a moisture pocket?
 

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ArborealSapien

New Member
Some more pictures and some data!

Ambient temperatures are sitting right about 90 F in almost all areas of the tank, some spots dip to 87 in the shade. Basking areas are averaging around 105, but a few have spots up to 115. The lowest recorded temperature was in the "cave", at 83F.



The humidity with the lights off is almost always 100% and sits there real nice, when the lights are on, we lose about 10% humidity an hour, I haven't let it drop below 40% but I am sure the lights will get it to zero. Misting for about 30 seconds on each end of the tanks raises humidity back up to 100%.

So I will either have to raise the lights up or take some bulbs out, right now i have 4 6500K bulbs running 8 hours a day. Going to drop it to 1 6500k and 1 UVB 6% to see if I can drop these temps or not.

Pretty much no way a chameleon could take the heat as it is now, but maybe a Green Basilisks would love it as is?

Going to keep playing with temps and see what I come up with!
 

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Beyond it being a hide though, I am interested in air flow and its effects on humidity and temperature near a "cave" that actually sucks air through the substrate.
Have you determined if the "cave" is actually moving the air? I'm curious to the answer here as well. My spatial awareness is kind of "meh" and I'm definitely not an expert in thermodynamics, I'm curious as how much "airflow" you're trying to get around the cave?

Are you just trying to get enough air to move through it and keep it from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria?

Is your "L" shape pipe sloped/graded?

Creating a subsystem around the mouth of the cave seems like an Fing brilliant idea. I think you just gave me an idea for my next build... might be a good idea to hook up a low CFM fan and/or a fogger to the cave to create a cool damp "airflow".

If none of this is what you're after I apologize in advance.
 

ArborealSapien

New Member
Have you determined if the "cave" is actually moving the air? I'm curious to the answer here as well. My spatial awareness is kind of "meh" and I'm definitely not an expert in thermodynamics, I'm curious as how much "airflow" you're trying to get around the cave?

Are you just trying to get enough air to move through it and keep it from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria?

Is your "L" shape pipe sloped/graded?

Creating a subsystem around the mouth of the cave seems like an Fing brilliant idea. I think you just gave me an idea for my next build... might be a good idea to hook up a low CFM fan and/or a fogger to the cave to create a cool damp "airflow".

If none of this is what you're after I apologize in advance.

Thank you for your interest! This is pretty much exactly what i am going for!

It is graded, the lowest end being the cave.

The cave is pulling air in and venting out the top of the PVC tube, the temp of the air going in is around 87 and coming out its around 85. I do not have a good way to measure the air pressure, but you can see a lighter flamer move a bit in the flow.

I have also added 5 baby green anoles to keep ants in check, they have been loving it so far, but I have seen no interaction with the cave so far. However they are in a very large enclosure for just the 5 of them, so more time to explore is needed.
 
Thank you for your interest! This is pretty much exactly what i am going for!

It is graded, the lowest end being the cave.

The cave is pulling air in and venting out the top of the PVC tube, the temp of the air going in is around 87 and coming out its around 85. I do not have a good way to measure the air pressure, but you can see a lighter flamer move a bit in the flow.

I have also added 5 baby green anoles to keep ants in check, they have been loving it so far, but I have seen no interaction with the cave so far. However they are in a very large enclosure for just the 5 of them, so more time to explore is needed.
Do you have any reason for them to have an interest in the cave? I.e. planting some fruit fly media in the cave to attract them...
Otherwise are you planning for the cave to be a cooler spot/hide?

Overall I'm kinda impressed that you cool 2 degrees from something so simple. Its definitely given me inspiration to do some sort of cave with a fogger setup, maybe for when I can get into dart frogs. Seems like a cool project, keep posting status updates.
 
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