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  • Writer's pictureDanni

Setting Up Your Wooden Vivarium With Birmingham Reptiles

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

When coming in to purchase an animal with set-up in store, we will always ensure to take our time to go through the setting up of the enclosure as well as the overall care for the animal.

In this weeks blog post I wanted to go into detail with diagrams on how we advise setting up your enclosures. This way then any customer is able to access this information if they ever need reminding of how it's done!

First things first, overall enclosure size will be dependent on the animal that you are purchasing - there may also be some differences depending on if the animal requires U.V. and so fourth. This blog will focus on covering the setting up for an animal such as a Bearded Dragon.

First things first, when you get your vivarium home, the first thing we advise is to take the glass out. To do this, if you push the glass further up into the top runner, you are able to then bring the glass forward and pop it out from both runners. Repeat with both panes of glass and set to the side.

Dependent on what size enclosure you have, there will be anywhere between 2-4 vents at the back of the enclosure. With the 2 vents at the end of opposite sides of the vivarium, we want to push them out- any vents in the middle of the vivarium can stay in place. Take a sharp knife or Stanley blade to make a cut within the vent - this enables you to feed your wires through the vents without making any extra holes.

Once that is done, the fun begins. Flip the vivarium upside down so that the roof of the enclosure on the bottom as we are going to need to do some drilling and it is a lot easier to drill down than it is to drill up.

Place your lamp holder about 6" - 8" in from one side, in between the front and back of the enclosure- it doesn't matter which side you choose, but it will come into play later down the line. We use the Arcadia lamp holders within our set-ups and they require 4 screws to hold in place. Once your lamp holder is screwed into place, you are able to feed the wire through the vent.

The next step is to fit the U.V.B. kit. We like to place our U.V. at an angle so that we can cover more of the enclosure. We use the Arcadia T5 kits in store - to fit your T5 there is two little clips within the kit that require one screw each. We recommend placing your fitting in the enclosure and marking down with a sharpie where the clips need to be screwed so that they line up. Once the clips are screwed in, the fitting just clips into place and then we can insert the bulb which twists into place. In the Arcadia T5 kits there is usually two wires - one with a mains plug on (which is the one you will need to plug into the U.V. fitting) and another wire which can be used to connect U.V. fittings together. Once the correct wire is fitted, feed the plug through the opposite vent to the heat bulb holder. The switch should be on the outside of the enclosure to turn the system on and off.

Fitting your thermostat

Once your heat bulb and U.V.B. has been fitted, it is time to connect your thermostat. Flip the enclosure back over so that the electrics are now on the roof of the viv. We have lots of different options when it comes to thermostats in store- we primarily use the Microclimate B1 Dimmers with our set-ups. On your thermostat there will be 3 wires - one for the mains, one for the heater and your probe. You want to plug in your lamp holder to the socket that is connected to the heater part of your thermostat. The mains plug will just go in to your household socket and your probe will come in on the opposite end to where your heat bulb is. The same vent in which your U.V.B. wire comes out of. You want to let your probe dangle at the back of the vivarium around 1" - 2" above substrate - this way then the probe can accurately monitor the ambient air temperatures.

Once all of the electrics are complete you can proceed to fit the vents in place, put the glass back in and begin decorating the enclosure. This part of the setting up process is very dependent on what animal you are purchasing, so this is something we could discuss with you in store.

I hope that this blog has been helpful to anyone setting up their new enclosure!

Thanks for reading! From,


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