Tyrannosaurus Pets

Heating Equipment Information

All reptiles have specific environmental conditions which need to be maintained to ensure a happy and healthy life. As reptiles come from such a diverse range of habitats, the housing requirements for each species can be vastly different. Probably the most important environmental control is the access to the correct range of temperatures. Without the use of the correct equipment this range can be impossible to achieve.

While each animal will require different conditions the principle is the same. You need a heating system, a control system, and a monitoring system.

Heating Systems 

This is any equipment used to provide heat to the animal.

Heat mats – These are simple under tank heaters. They only heat solid objects such as the floor of the tank, rather than the air temperature in the tank. When using heat mats the thermometer must be placed on the floor of the tank above where the mat is sited. Heat mats should always be underneath the tank as they are not water proof. They must be regulated by a thermostat. Unregulated heat mats can attain temperatures in excess 50’c

Spot Lights - When attached to a dimming thermostat these are a very good way to heat temperate and desert animals, which require little or no night temperature.

Infra Red Lights – These are rarely true infra red, but a deep red. These disrupt the day / night cycle less than red coloured lamps, and so can be used for tropical species such as baby boas. As these emit a visible light they have to be controlled by a dimming thermostat.

Ceramic Lamp – These emit heat only. This makes them the most economical heater. Ideal for most applications but their high power (up to 250w) makes them especially useful for large tanks.

Control systems

These are used to adjust the heater system to maintain a stable temperature (we only stock Microclimate Thermostats, the following principles may differ in other manufacturers)

On Off Thermostat – These are simple low power units. When the sensor is below the desired temperature the heater is turned on. When the temperature goes above the desired temperature, it turns the heater off. This produces a range of temperatures at the basking site which can fluctuate by up to 4’c. This form of thermostat is best used for temperate species which can tolerate the temperature changing. These are only suitable for use with heat mats.

Pulse Thermostat – These more advanced systems are used with non light emitting heaters, such as ceramic lamps, and heat mats. These units pulse power to the heater. When the tank is cold, the heater receives full power, as the tank warms up the thermostat pulses the power to maintain the temperature at the desired level.

Dimming Thermostat – The dimming thermostat is the most advanced of the thermostat systems, and can be used with any type of heater. When the tank is cold the unit puts full power out to the heater, as the tank warms up the level of power is dimmed down in a similar manner to a household dimming switch. These thermostats are able to hold a very steady and stable temperature within the tank.

ME Thermostat systems – The ME (Magic Eye) thermostats have a built in light sensor. These allow the simple control of a natural drop in night time temperatures. When there is light hitting the sensor the unit operates at the day time setting. When the room goes dark the thermostat automatically lowers the temperature in the tank by the number of degrees set on the unit. These are available on both pulse, and dimming thermostats.

Monitoring systems

They should always be placed where the animal is going to be. To measure the basking temperature the thermometer should be placed on the floor of the tank (for under tank heaters like heat mats), or on the log, rock, or hide directly under the lamp (for over head heaters such as spot lamps and ceramics).

Strip Thermometer – These LED strips are very cheap and often seen on fish tanks. Unfortunately these are next to useless in vivariums. When attached to the tank inside they give the temperature of the wood which holds heat for a long time so don’t give an accurate temperature while trying to calibrate the thermostat. If attached to the glass of the tank, the thermometer will be showing the room temperature.

Dial Thermometer – These cheap and simple thermometers are fairly accurate and can be safely used in a variety of applications.

Digital Thermometer – More accurate than the dial thermometer these often also have a maximum/minimum feature so you can check the extreme temperatures through the day and night. The temperature is measured by a sensor on the end of a wire with a digital readout. This allows the temperature to be monitored without having to disturb the animal to check the reading.

Infra-red Thermometer – These offer very accurate and quick temperature measurement. When the button is pressed the basic models read the temperature of any solid object they are touching. Advanced models can take the temperature of an object from the other side of the room. 

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Tyrannosaurus Pets