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Warming the viv: space heater?

I haven't seen a lot on this topic except for what not to do (aquarium heaters, heating pads). It's only November and the vivarium is getting down to 60 degrees at night. I'm only checking the temperature on the floor, which is reliably the same as the temperature right outside the enclosure. (I'm going to try a temp/hygro meter that has a probe soon.)

It's usually in the '60s during the day, barely reaching 70 these days, and the frogs seem much more reluctant to come out of hiding, although that's just correlation and not necessarily causation. When they are out, they are hungry, energetic, and acrobatic, so I'm not really worried about them at the moment.

From what I can tell, the viv can get pretty cold at night without any problems -- especially since I think the three of them are all sleeping together inside a log -- but I don't want it at 60 during the day. Once it gets a little colder, I was thinking of setting up a small space heater about two feet away from the viv. It's great because it's very programmable, with two settings and the capacity to shut off once it gets to a certain temperature. I thought maybe a little bit of low heat might help things without causing any damage to the enclosure and with no danger of overheating.

Does this sound like a good plan or have I forgotten the one thing that is going to KILL MY FROGS if I do this?

A girl named Joey.

An oil filled radiator heater would be your best bang and it is what I use in my frogroom. I set it on the opposite side from the frogs so they do not receive direct heat from the actual heater, but more or less ambient heat from it....if that makes any sense. I just worry about the heater putting out too much heat and cooking frogs if set too close to a tank. I have nothing to support that, just my personal experiences and thoughts...

I'd also run the unit (if you get a radiator style heater) outside in a well ventilated area for a few hours to get rid of the smell that can be produced with you first use it.

Fine Spot Leucs, Bakhuis, Variabilis, Varadero, Fantastica, Green Sirensis

That's really not doable for me, unfortunately. I don't have a frog room, just one viv in my bedroom/office, which is large enough for me to use a space heater without me feeling it, but not anything larger. Because of a chronic illness, I do not do well with heat, which is why the frogs are in no danger of overheating during the summer.

At the lowest setting, and especially when set to turn off when the heat goes up even just a tad, I don't envision a possibility where the frogs get cooked. I spend about 90% of my time in here, too, so I'll be able to monitor the situation almost 24/7 to make sure nothing goes wrong.

And of course when I use the heater for myself, I never *ever* leave it on when I leave the house, and this would be no different.

A girl named Joey.

If that is the case, (if you have a temp gun or something similar) I'd just monitor the heat that is coming off the heater to make sure. What you've explained should be fine though. I would just test it out and double check before, as the space heater will be trying to heat the room opposed to just the tanks.

Fine Spot Leucs, Bakhuis, Variabilis, Varadero, Fantastica, Green Sirensis

Yeah, Brian's suggestion is the way that I would go.... I use a space heater in heat my frog room, but I would be wary of putting it two feet away from the viv, unless the heater will be on the floor and the tank is up on a shelf/dresser/stand etc...

I would guess that heating your room just a few degrees would make the difference, say 66-68 at night and 70-72 during the day, I would guess would get them out more. Another option would be using a light that puts off a little more heat. You could get a compact fluorescent light that is going to put off more heat than a typical fluorescent and that could help to warm your tank the few degrees that you are looking for...

monitor it carefully. One slip up either way -too hot or shuts off and it's bye bye frogs.

There's also those temp alarm systems that are now both affordable and smart phone app friendly.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".

cbreon Wrote:I would guess that heating your room just a few degrees would make the difference, say 66-68 at night and 70-72 during the day, I would guess would get them out more. Another option would be using a light that puts off a little more heat. You could get a compact fluorescent light...

Yeah, I'm already using two CFLs, even though they're a tad blinding at night. 8)

Controlling the temperature in this room is nearly impossible; it's so big, and also on a west-facing corner of the house, so in the late afternoon the sun can be a factor. Basically it's like microclimates in here. I could have the space heater on the viv and still be shivering in bed. That's why it seemed like the best option.

Thank you everyone for your warnings; I'm taking them all into consideration and will definitely monitor carefully. Unfortunately I don't have a choice about the best place for the heater, but I can have it turn on low for about five minutes at a time and then turn off. It's not even powerful enough to have any effect on low in a cold room at more than two or three feet. And at the moment I have zero plans to use it after I've turned the viv lights off and/or least not until I know to within a degree or two exactly what settings work well.

A girl named Joey.

Joey the oil heaters work great, some have a temperature setting plus safer than space heaters. I have used one we have as a backup and in my garage in the winter when working on vivs. Have some friends from Finland that gave me info on them, they use them for heating rooms. They maintain temps well without getting the room too hot.
Also if it is cooler in the evenings you could do a reverse light cycle where the lights come on at night off during the day, which could help keep the vivs warmer.


A little update on this. All my tests have been really successful so far. Depending on the temperature I can set up the heater to blow for about 30-60 seconds every ten minutes or so. This keeps the glass from getting warm, but can raise the temperature of the viv by 3-4 degrees F after a while. What's happening is the airflow is hitting the glass but then moving up and over the vent strip on the top of the viv, and that's what warms it up. I only have to keep a close eye on the humidity as this can dry out the viv surprisingly quickly.

When the heater's on, the glass and substrate inside are not remotely warm enough to harm a frog, but exactly where the fan hits the glass does get rather warm for as long as it's on. This would only be a problem if my acrobat decides to start climbing up the glass at that point, and even then I'm pretty sure it would stop if it started moving into an uncomfortably warm spot. (And I only run the heater at night when this isn't an issue.) So for a more permanent solution, all I need to do is raise up the heater so the warm air is flowing only across the top and not directly at the glass. Not currently possible with my setup, but that's the benefit of having an engineer for a husband. Big Grin

Thanks for everyone's input on this. It hasn't been cold enough yet to require regular usage of this setup, so your comments and suggestions really helped me figure out how best to do this should it suddenly become necessary (not that likely). It's been *freezing* in my room while the viv remains above 60 degrees F, so I'm pretty sure the house heat will be on before this spot fix is needed.

A girl named Joey.

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