Boaphile Plastics Cages as Display Cage

indyana

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Massachusetts, United States
Does anyone have experience using cages from Boaphile Plastics for leopard geckos? If so, have you found any drawbacks worth mentioning?

I am trying to find a stackable solution to caging, as I would like to expand my gecko collection with limited floor space. I've ruled out using racks for adults, as I want to have a decorative setup, so I'm concentrating on display cages like Boaphile Cages, Animal Plastics, and Vision. While AP would be less expensive, I really like that the Boaphiles come pre-constructed and ready to use, and I think the quality is probably better.

In particular, I'm checking out the 421 Trilogy cage. The full size is 48" x 24" x 11.5", which will provide floor space of about 16" x 24" for each gecko.

I found a few older threads that mention using Boaphile cages for geckos, and online reading has verified that the pre-installed heating option can reach the right temps for leopard geckos. Just wanted to know if anyone is currently doing this or has any cautions.

Thanks ahead of time!

Old threads:
 

rothsauce

Voodoo Shop Hop
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138
Location
MN
Nice! Will be fun to see how the setup works for the geckos, looks like it should do quite well.

Currently I'm trying to find a safe way to heat a generic 'critter cage', as it's temporarily housing a new baby for its quarantine period.
 

indyana

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I think heat pads are pretty safe when regulated with a thermostat, but I believe ZooMed also makes a "mini" size specifically designed for use on small, plastic cages. Not certain what size cage you're working with.
 

indyana

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Woo, got my trilogy cage today! I'm very pleased with the build quality. This thing looks awesome...

It needs to air out for a few days as it finishes curing. I'll probably try to get it set up and running this weekend. Depending how the heat regulation goes, I may have Amoré moving in to his new home next week. :) I'll post some pictures when I get the setup going...
 

indyana

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Massachusetts, United States
Sorry for the wait, but I was a little unprepared for the smell on the Boaphile cage. I had it airing out for almost a week because I was worried it was fumes from the glue. I finally went on the Boaphile forum and discovered that the glue fumes disperse within a day or two, but the cages do have a "new cage" smell that disperses more gradually and is not toxic or hazardous. I ended up taking out the dividers and washing it down with hot water and a bit of dish detergent, wiping with hot water to rinse, then giving it a good spray with chlorhexidine disinfectant and wiping well with hot water again. It still has a bit of a smell to it, but that cut it down a little.

On to the setup!

Attached the thermostat probe to the bottom center of the Flexwatt heat pad with little strips of Gorilla tape. The thermostat I have right now is a HerpStat Intro+.


The spot I have for the cage is on a desk, and I didn't want it sitting flat on the wood, so I got some ceramic wall tiles to raise it up a bit. Squares of non-slip shelf liner were cut to go under the tiles, both to protect the desk surface and keep the tiles from sliding around so easily.


You can see the center back tile lines up with the thermostat and will keep it secure.


I wanted to have low-level UVB lighting in the cage, so I bought a Zilla Slimline fixture and replaced the provided bulb with a Repti Glo 5.0. The fixture is held to the ceiling with strips of Scotch fasteners. Just a tip, I put a strip on either end that stretched almost the width of the fixture, and it's complete overkill. I could have gotten away with strips 1-2 inches long. The small ventilation gap around the edges of the front door is just wide enough to run a standard cord through on the side, so I'll just run the light cord out the front door rather than deal with drilling a hole and cutting/splicing the light plug.


I plugged everything in and monitored it for the day using a temp gun. I ended up setting the HerpStat to 95 F to get the floor inside steadily at 90 F or a little above. I'm going to continue keeping an eye on it though, as I have a feeling the temperature will vary a little as the ambient room temperature changes. I just don't want it to get too hot on warm afternoons.

And here's everything moved in! Amoré already had a store-brand cave (back corner), and I added an Exo Terra Gecko Cave (large), and a Zilla Herp Hotel (medium). The Gecko Cave is nice, but I think I'll be looking at Repti Shelters for any females that will be digging, as the cave door only has a small lip and wouldn't do a good job keeping substrate inside. Amoré uses paper towels, so that's not a problem for him. The Herp Hotel medium is pretty snug. I'm not certain if he's going to use it or not, but the large sounded gigantic... we'll see.


Then we have his poop tile and a Repti-Ledge stand. I've also put a little AcuRite temp/humidity monitor in there. The one thing I'm a little concerned about with the Boaphile is humidity. The back left corner is a bit bare right now. I'm going to try to make a fake plant to put in there to spruce the place up a bit. If that project goes well, I'll post in the DIY forum.


And now, time for more geckos... muahaha. You can see Amoré's old 10-gallon quarantine tank up top.
 

indyana

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So, after a few more days, I had to pull out the slimline fluorescent fixture. It was generating heat, and the fact that it stretched across the cage messed with the temperature gradient. I've replaced it with a Exo Terra Compact Top Nana fixture and a UVB100 13W compact fluorescent in the back corner on the warm end. We'll see how that does...

Humidity is absolutely fine so far. I have a second humidity monitor right outside the cage, and both usually read the same thing, so the inside of the cage is adjusting to the room. Note that I have a very small serving cup with only a little water in it though. Putting a larger water dish would surely start to increase the humidity inside the cage.
 

indyana

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Massachusetts, United States
Thanks, everyone! Having fun setting all this up...

Update on setup:
I probably should have realized this sooner, but the tile underneath the thermostat probe turned out to be a bad idea. The tile retained heat better than the surrounding open space, so while that spot would get up to temp, the rest of the heat tape would not because it had air circulating under it. It was doing fine until the weather got colder, at which point the temperature difference began to increase as the ambient air temperature got lower. So, I have since removed the tile from the back where the thermostat probe is and the temp has equalized across the floor.

Unfortunately, I can't go back and edit the initial post to remove that picture, so hopefully anyone who tries to set up something similar in the future will read this far!

After living with the cage a few weeks, I still feel it's a bit bare. I'm going to try making a home made rock formation to add some climbing area. Stay tuned... :)
 
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indyana

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I've completed a fake rock formation for the back wall. It has some structures for climbing that also serve the purpose of shading the inside of his warm hide, as well as two levels of crawl spaces. I hope he will enjoy the exercise!

A few pictures of the inner crawl spaces.



Outer wings of the formation create shaded tunnels around his warm cave.


Entire space with addition of rock formation.




You can see the build process for the rock formation over here:
http://geckoforums.net/f173-do-yourself/102589.htm

Thanks for reading! While I feel this cage system is a good middle ground between racks and full tank setups, my next big project is going to be setting up one of the compartments as a bioactive desert area. I'll continue to post updates here as I set up different compartments and expand so you can see how the system as a whole is doing. :)
 
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Herbiebug

New Member
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106
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Canada
Bioactive desert viv, eh? That sounds really cool. Looking forward to posts on that! I have just started dabbling in live planting my rhac's tanks.
 

zakdat

New Member
Messages
39
Location
Edmonton
That looks really cool! I like how you shaped your rock formation to blend with the surrounding area. I had so much fun building my first couple of hides, I'm starting to get the creative itch again. All I need is the grout (and maybe some more paint). ;)
 

indyana

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Location
Massachusetts, United States
I've been managing humidity fairly well in the Boaphile cage by limiting the sources of humidity, but with my plan to try a bioactive desert setup, I realized I would need more ventilation.

Today, I added twenty 1/2" holes to the back of each compartment near the top. I hope this will provide enough air flow. The next time I order a cage, I'll call and see if they can put in some additional ventilation at point of manufacture. If not, this didn't take too long to do. I think it took longer to decide on the grid measurements and mark them all than it did to actually drill the holes.

 

indyana

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Location
Massachusetts, United States
A little update. I rearranged Amoré's compartment today to allow for a live plant (one of the haworthias I'm trying to maintain).





Also, starting to prep the second compartment for Hawkeye, my male juvenile. He should hopefully be out of quarantine next month after undergoing worming.



When Amoré got back in, he had to investigate everything. His approach to the new plant was too cute.



 
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