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Thread: "Gettin Ghetto with Cotton!" Chapter 1

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South Carolina

    Default "Gettin Ghetto with Cotton!" Chapter 1

    Ok, so I tend to make alot of "Ghetto/Redneck" contraptions. And for the most part many of these ideas tend to work. So after thinking about it, I decided to put this post together. This way I can start sharing my ideas to save money. Basically in these posts I will share any new ideas for keeping geckos, or other reptiles. Cages, feeding, or any other aspects. Today my main focus will be showing you how to make a huge 55 gallon enclosure without spending all the money. I believe all this is well under $75 total. And that's including buying a new solder iron and glue gun. I believe 55 gallons are $150 plus without lights or anything?? Here is a list of supplies needed:

    By the way, this is my first edition of one of these, so alot of mistakes will be made, please be patient and I will get better. If you try this and see anything I missed, or have something to add, PLEASE feel free to post here!! Or if you decide to make one as well and just want to show it off, PLEASE post it here as well, I would love to see!!

    Storage Tupperware measuring 36 x 20 x 20-$10-$20
    Soldering Iron-$8-$15 depending on quality.
    Any type Glue Gun, and TONS of glue sticks.

    You will need some screen also. I purchased mine from Lowes. This screen cost me $12. This is a pet screen. It is very sturdy, and smooth. This screen is basically the same style that the "All Screen" cages use.

    Any type plants you want, and substrate.

    Lighting: I have two lights currently installed in this tub. One is a fluorescent hood Plant(Grow/18") light. And the other is a Spot Bulb that is also a Plant(Grow/65 Watt) light. I am using a clamp lamp fixture for that bulb, minus the clamp. Also I should note that the fluorescent was not installed till later. The spot bulb works great but does create a decent amount of heat. With an ambient temp in the room of 70-78 depending on time of day, the tupperware with both lights on stays right above 80 in the back on the cool side. So I would suggest NOT housing rhacs in this type cage UNLESS you are not using the spot bulb. I am currently housing my pair of White Line geckos in this cage.

    Now on to the photos.

    Here is what you are starting with.

    Now what you are going to do is start with the lid. You want to take the solder iron and cut a hole in the lid for your viewing pleasure. Now mine is set up arboreal. So I made the biggest view possible. I cut out the whole center of the lid to create a huge view.

    That is the after cutting above. And this(below) is with the lid on but without the screen in place yet.

    Now you want to go around the cut you made and smooth it out either with the smooth side of the solder iron or sand paper of some kind. This will create a snug fit with the screen. There are also some tabs on the inside of the lid you will need to remove with the solder iron in order to get the snug fit. Here is a photo of the tabs below.

    Now, on the lid. After you cut your hole you want to cute a piece of screen that fits it. Basically it is best if you leave it an inch to a half an inch bigger than your hole. This will leave enough "tab" of screen to glue down. After cutting your screen, place it on THE INSIDE OF THE LID! GLUE IT TO THE INSIDE OF THE LID. NOT THE OUTSIDE. This will make it look "somewhat" more professional. LOL!! You want a line about a half an inch wide of hot glue ALL the way around the lid/screen. LEAVE NO OPENINGS! Make sure and double check that all the outer line of the screen is glued down.

    Now on to the enclosure itself. As for the lighting. For the clamp lamp fixture I just cut a hole the same size with the solder iron where I wanted to lamp to be placed in the top of the enclosure. You want it to be fitted so it sits in the hole without moving. Now for my latest addition to the cage, I used the solder iron to cut a hole in the back of the top side. I cut the hole the same size as the fluorescent light I was going to use. Also I cut another piece of screen the same way I did with the lid to fit the hole, and then hot glued it in. You can do this many different ways. I don't have any photos of that process though.

    Now time to work on the inside. Now I went the cheap way, I cut a piece of 1 inch Styrofoam to fit the bottom of the cage. You have to have a divider between the lid and dirt area. With this size of view, and the fact that it is arboreal and the WHOLE lid comes off, if you don't place a divider, you are going to be cleaning everytime to you open it. You can use any stable object for this. Wood, plastic, or anything else you can think of. I plan to eventually put a piece of finished wood in there. I hot glued the wall in. And I let it sit for a number of hours before starting to fill it with dirt. You need a good seal to the inside of the cage to the wall, in order to prevent plant water from running out.

    I used perlite and gravel for my bottom layer. And then compost on top of that. Then potting soil and then a mixture of mulch/peat moss/sphagnum moss for the top layer. Research what plants are safe and do well in this environment before investing in them. These plants will be the prices est thing you purchase for this cage. And with the size of this enclosure, you have very little limits as to the size of plants you can use. Here are some photos of the finished product. Well not quite finished, but mostly. My lamp hood on the spot bulb is now on there, with a screen over it to protect the animals.

    And for size reference.

    ANY questions are welcome!!

    Now here are some other ways to save money on little things.

    **LIGHTING** This is a trick I have used for some time. If you go to Wal-Mart and go to the lighting isle(bulbs) and look through the floursecent section, they sell a fixture/bulb package. This a Plant/Grow light. This package is $10-$12!! You can't get a rep bulb light that for less than $20 just for the bulb. Now I am only suggesting using these for the purpose of growing your plants in natural vivs, and providing some natural lighting cheaply for the rhacs even though they don't require it. I do not know the actual UV/UVB specs on these bulbs, since I don't have any animals needing the UV/UVB from these particular bulbs. Now these may produce the same output ray wise as the rep bulbs do, I just don't know.

    CGD food bowls: Baby food jar lids/applejuice bottle tops/dipping dishes for condiments at restaurants...LOL. These work great for adult cresteds even though you have to clean them.

    "CottonBox" This is my version of a "Light Box" I will be doing a chapter on this as well. I am actually going to make a new one. But all you need is a white trash can, a solder iron, and light fixture.

    Any opinions welcome to this post. As I stated before, this is a new thing here for me. But I am going to try to make this a fairly regular thing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    San Diego, CA


    Awesome "how to"!
    I was going to try to do something along the lines of that size and use plexiglass but it would have been insanely expensive. Next time I need more room for cresties im definitely doing this. Thanks a ton! You're saving my wallet =]
    2.2.6 Crested Geckos
    0.1 Avicularia Versicolor
    0.0.1 Dyscophus Guineti
    0.1 Leopard Gecko
    0.0.1 Trachycephalus resinifictrix
    1.0 Argentinian Black and White Tegu

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    sacramento, ca


    Great idea, and I absolutely love your red haired gecko! what a pretty girl
    and the zoo

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Racine, WI


    Use a compact fluorescent spot lamp to save energy and avoid the heat issue. I'm always nervous about having an exposed bulb in a cage. The compact fluorescent bulb wouldn't have as much of a burn risk with the animals either.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Chicago area


    This is great. Ill be waiting for the incubator edition
    Lucy - Female Beardie
    Murtle - Female Russian Tortoise


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