Cooling the Uroplatus (part 2)

Winter is pretty much over and summer comes around. The solutions described in the first part are about to reach their limits. To keep the temperature in check we’ll need to look into more powerful ways to cool our terrarium.

There are quite a few crazy solutions around like modifying an old fridge to serve as a terrarium. Honestly: The idea sounds pretty darn cool but I couldn’t really imagine putting a fridge with in our living room and I don’t want to put the animal in a closet or the basement – why would I even get an animal if I could never see it? The electricity bill will probably be a nightmare, too.

A more efficient solution would be to enhance the cooling what we already have. We just need something cool to blow the air from our fans from the first part through: A radiator.
Thinking back to my PC watercooling days I got the idea to misappropriate a dual 120mm radiator and mount it inside the terrarium. Fixing it to the top air vent allows the fans outside to blow right through the radiator fins into the terrarium.

After adding a pump, reservoir and a few hoses we have a complete water circuit and just need something to keep the water inside it at the desired temperature. Fortunately the watercooling community has a solution for this too. For a long time now you can buy aquarium compressor cooling units complete with adapters and connectors to fit our other watercooling components.

Now it’s just a matter of selecting the correct target temperature and fan speed. For reference I’ll list our current settings but keep in mind that these values vary heavily based on ambient temperature, tank size, water throughput, fan size and speed and so on.

The water target temperature is currently at 17°C. Keep in mind the required minimum temperatures for you animal. In case of Uroplatus Fantasticus the minimum temperature is 18°C and there’s always the possibility of the gecko climbing on top of the radiator (I have only seen it once in the last few months but your experience may vary). Therefore you need to consider the radiator’s temperature and should not go much lower than the minimum temperature for the animal.

Adjusting the fan speed is key to get the perfect balance of temperature without too much loss of ambient humidity due to the airflow. A slow speed during the day and slightly higher during the night to lower the temperature a little more are probably the way to go. Don’t let them spin too fast.

Here’s what a decent day night cycle could look like at around 23°C ambient temperature.

Slow fan speeds will cool down the terrarium smoothly without spikes. Let’s compare it to an earlier test where the fans only blew for a few minutes at a time but with a high speed.

You can clearly see the spikes where the fans spin up. Especially the first spike is probably not the healthies thing for a reptile.

In conclusion: Depending on your location and animal a few fans combined with a misting solution could be enough. But if you need a more powerful solution you should look into something else – don’t take risks. No matter how you decide you should always tweak your setup to fit your needs. Accidentally cooling your terrarium too low or not having enough cooling power on a hot day could result in the animal getting sick or worse.

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