crispyfishsticks replied to your post: “I’m a little disappointed with the zoo med UTH… Especially the medium…”:No, sadly this is something I have learned today (yay learning!) I’ve been looking at thermostats, I’m having an..odd time trying to understand exactly how they work though?Are you using a thermostat? All heat sources should be on one. THG heat tape & a hydrofarm thermostat destroys zoo med stuff any day.I’ll probably have to switch to the THG Heat tape ( not probably, I am most likely going to, especially with the possibility of three BPs coming in).How do the thermostats work with the THG?
They work by measuring and regulating the temperature of the hot spot. I wouldn’t trust any heat source without one, even the little zoo meds (you just never know, and it’s not worth the risk to the animal imo). Here’s Cherry Coke’s quarantine tub. It’s sparse & sized for a 4’ animal. Hides on the hot & cold sides, water bowl, and a humidity monitor she pushed into one of her boxes:
I typically set up my tubs with a piece of THG adhered to the outside of the bottom on one side with aluminum tape. The thermostat probe is taped to the inside on the hot spot so it can measure the heat.
If you go through RBI, you can buy a 12”, 6”, or 4” strip of THG - whatever fits your tub. Make sure to also buy a wire/clip/insulator kit and ask them to assemble it in the comments unless you want to put everything together when it arrives.
I get mine pre-assembled so it’s plug and play when it ships in. The heat tape plugs into the thermostat, I set the thermostat to the desired holding temp, and then tape the thermostat probe to the hot spot inside the tub because I’m looking to regulate the spot where the snake is going to sit and not necessarily the heat tape itself… which will have to heat more or less depending on ambient room temps/enclosure material/substrate.
Both THG & flexwatt tape reach high temps (~120F+). They’re also cheaper, longer lasting, and more reliable than what you’ll find at pet stores. Too, this stuff is way more convenient where re-usability is concerned so if you’re planning on expanding your collection in the future it’s definitely a better way to go. Compare a strip of THG (under $10 assembled) )that’s been used on more than one quarantine tub since it’s been here:
To a few of the old zoo meds ($30+ a pop for mediums) I bought in my first year of keeping. These pads were expensive, they don’t seem to heat as thoroughly, and they get gross if you use the adhesive. They’re technically not made to be used more than once. They’re sold as a ‘permanent’ heat source, and removing them from the bottom of an enclosure can ruin them (although there are ways around that and they come off tubs with less effort and no chemicals, you just have to be careful). The point is to keep you coming back to buy more.
Anyway, back to thermostats.
Hydrofarms are low cost, reliable thermostats that work well running singular UTH heat sources (heat tape, heat pads, whatever you’ve got). They are great for quarantine tubs, although I would not recommend them for running entire racks or RHPs.
If you’d rather look into higher quality herp thermostats now, I would recommend herpstats or the Vivarium Electronics models. The former has a ton of options depending on what version(s) you buy, and works fantastically on pretty much everything. The latter I’ve no experience with but I know several boa breeders who use them (and they’re stackable, which is awesome).
And then, if you want to double/triple check the hot spot temps, you can grab a temp gun and/or digital thermometers.
Hope that helps!
Awesome write up, Crispy!
And just to put it out there, those cheap Zoo Med heat pads are definitely capable of getting hot enough to do some damage. I think like a week after I got Mosh (so like, two years ago now??) I had a Zoo Med short circuit and melt the bottom of his tub as well as leave a scorch mark on the shelf I had his tub on, and that even was with a thermostat to regulate things.