Lighting and Lid Questions from a Beginner

5 Replies, 2011 Views

Hey! I'm new to the hobby and I've been doing a lot of research in regards to creating a proper vivarium, but I'm still unsure about a few things regarding lighting and lids.

Lid- I have purchased an ExoTerra 18x18x24 tank which came with a mesh-like lid.. I know this will not work out so well for ventilation purposes. I was wondering if I just placed a piece of glass or acrylic on top of the mesh if it will help with the humidity? Should I leave parts of the mesh "open" to allow for a little ventilation?

Lighting- Is a light-cycle recommended? If so what kind. Also, if I would get a glass top to cover up the mesh, would it be best to put the light on top of the glass or below... not sure if the glass would interfere with any of beams and such.

Hopefully these questions don't seem too stupid.

Thanks for your help!!
Hello and welcome to DartDen! Here's a good thread on lids:

You can lay pieces of glass on top of the existing screen but I found it easiest to just remove the screen and plastic frame and silicone in a piece of glass with a front vent. Keep in mind the existing top screen is not fly proof Smile

I use 12h on 12h off for my cycle. There are new fixtures on the market with sunrise / sunset cycles but they are not necessary. I would spring for LED lamps as they cut down on heat transmission into the Viv. Watch your venting on top of the Viv either way (CFL or LED) as you can overheat your Viv if your lamps are too close to the glass.

Your lighting should be on the outside of the glass. If you intend to use UV then you would need additional stainless steel venting under the UV bulb, or you would have to locate materials that allow for UV transmission. Most folks opt for non UV and this is ok for most frogs as long as proper supplementation is provided.

Hope this helps. Good luck and remember to start a build thread!
Jim from Austin |
fantastica nominant | summersi | reticulata
Good reply from Jim, as always.

I'm a big fan of not 'hard modding' (modification) the top lids of the Exoterra or Zoo med glass enclosures, especially for beginners. If you ever want to repurpose the enclosure or sell it ect, it will probably be easier with the original screen intact. Some metal screen used by either or both companies above have been reported to rust but I feel that is a case by case basis and like some automotive companies - a case of 'bad' steel for a year or two's production.

I recommend going to Home Despot or Lowes or similar cheap-o hardware store where they cut glass cheaply. Make a cardboard template of the size of your screen top. You can go either two ways here - the full 100% or have them cut 85-90 %. If you have them cut the full size, you can enjoy the ability to slide the glass this way and that to achieve more ventilation or less ventilation. If you have small children or jumping pets, you may want to factor that into the 'free floating' glass lid.

in any case, kids or no kids, you will want to sand and buff the sharp edges down with sandpaper or emory cloth or whatever they recommend at lowes or home depot when you get the glass.

The cost for a glass lid at a cheap-o hardware store should be around 6-7 ducats.

UVB and 'specialized' lighting is not nessa. The plants will benefit from a little better lighting, but if you don't have rare $20.00 each plants and bromeliads, ect. I'd go cheap on the lights to start out as well. 64K from Lowes and ect here too.

Avoid setting the light directly on the glass top. The heat transfer inside the tank will be big but also the fixture and bulb itself will get too hot and burn out early. Be careful of hoods and shrouds for this same reason.

The best bulb is LED (cooler) combined with any fixture or ability to have the housing and bulb to be about 2-4 " off the glass lid/top

hope that helps.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
I agree, when it comes to lightning the vivarium sunrise to sunset is not necessary but I personally enjoy the feature. I don't believe the frogs care one way or the other but it is sure nice to look at.
Good Luck
I have two Exo Terra 18x18x24 enclosures and this is what I did...I take the lid off and I carefully lay two strips of Saran Wrap across the top and then lay the lid back on and then secure it back down with the latches. I then carefully trim the excess and tape what little bit of edges are exposed with clear scotch tape. Depending on the time of year I pull back the front piece about 3/4" to 1" to let air in and out.

I normally run two hoods with two Sylvania 26 watt 6500K CFLs in each socket so it's a total of 4. The Saran Wrap does not effect the amount of light coming into the tank and all the plants thrive, including the Bromeliads.

In the beginning I did cut two pieces of Lexan and put them in each section of the lids but after two years the screen started rusting a little and that's when I started using the Saran Wrap.

I know the Saran Wrap method is usually considered a temporary application but I haven't had any problem with it as far as keeping in the humidity. If there is another reason not to rely on it I'm not aware of it.
On my setups I uses tetra fauna tanks do to the bulk heads that comes predrilled already. I get a piece of glass cut to almost exact measurements leaving the front screen exposed about 2inches or so front and back and install little computer fans. For ventilation. That sunrise set is a cool feature but not needed. My light goes over glass top , plants are happy as well as frogs. Good luck on your build.

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