What if your heaters are not enough? My Pacman frog terrarium setup is very simple and includes the following equipment:
- 100 Wt Ceramic heater at the top of the mesh lid,
- Fluker’s 29050 Heat Mat (medium size, 12 Wt),
- BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Controller.
Pretty much basic setup, isn’t? The thermostat sensor is located in the “hot” area of the terrarium, above an inch from the substrate level:
After the first dry run test, I’ve realized that those heaters are not enough to achieve the desired 83 °F in the “hot” zone. The room has 70 °F during the winter, so the desired difference that needs to be compensated by the terrarium heaters was about 10-15 °F. The thermostat’s probe was showing the only 78 °F , and the second thermometer, located at the “cool” area, was never above 73 °F . A little bit colder than I have expected.
OK then. I decided that increasing the heating power is the wrong way, as they can pose a risk of skin damages if used incorrectly. Instead of that, I have purchased the cheap bubble wrap film from Walmart to see if the wrap can help with insulating the terrarium from the room air.
I’ve placed the bubble wrap on the back wall along with the sides, leaving only the front side uncovered. The bubble wrap was cropped to fit the size of the glass and then fixed with the Scotch tape. It might sound obvious, but don’t put the insulation inside of the enclosure!
A part of the mesh lid that covers the “cool” zone of the terrarium has been lined with the aluminum cooking foil to prevent heat loss and excessive evaporation.
WARNING: never use the plastic wrap or any other flammable material in the close proximity of the ceramic heater. It will cause a fire! Be very cautious as the heater has the surface temperature at 515F.
Surprisingly, the bubble wrap “insulation” did its job pretty much well. I’d estimate the difference as +5 °F , which is high enough to reach my planned 83F at the thermostat. To make the long story short, currently I have the following temperature map in the terrarium:
- Backing rock surface, “hot” zone: 84.2 °F
- Substrate surface near the heat pad: 80.2 °F
- Substrate at 1 inch deep, “hot” zone: 77 °F
- The frog’s skin, when it is burrowed in the “cold” zone: 71.9 °F
While it is not a good idea to use the glass thermometer in the Pacman frog terrarium, in this particular case I believe that it is OK because I have a juvenile frog. It won’t (and I doubt that it can do it at all) attack the thermometer. For the voracious adults, I won’t use the glass inside of the enclosure.
Questions? Comments? Please share your experience in the comment section below or directly to the author.
Also, there is a good article at zillarules.com: “Tips For Keeping Reptiles Healthy In Cold Weather“. Highly recommended to read.