Our Custom Enclosures

The Idea

I was sitting at an expo talking to potential customers when an issue came to light. One of the people looking at my geckos asked the question "What all do I need to set a gecko up?" As I ran through the list of  20 gallon aquarium, heat pad, thermostat, etc. I could see their eyes widen and begin to look around at the tables selling supplies. Most of the items were available for sell, but not all. This customer left without purchasing, and I began to wonder how many of my geckos were going home without the proper setup. I knew I needed to create a solution so that my geckos were properly maintained, my customers were properly prepared, and I could have piece of mind sending these animals to a new home. 

Designing the Enclosure

I set out to create an all in one setup.  It needed to be display quality and appeal to not only new owners, but also experienced keepers. The design had to be simple so that new owners were not struggling to figure out the setup. 

I could remember the days before I used racks, and tried to correct all the issues I experienced with converting an aquarium into a suitable vivarium for a gecko.

  • Size: Aquariums were built for fish, and measured in gallons meaning the measurement is volume rather than floor space. I took the basic measurements of both a 10 gallon, and a 20 gallon and extended the depth to 15 inches instead of the standard 12 inches of an aquarium. The extra floor space makes my enclosure more similar to the dimensions of a room than a hallway. Who wants to live in a hallway?
  • Access: I wanted the enclosure to be front opening, as approaching an animal at his/her level is much less stressful for an animal than reaching in from above. 
  • Cleaning/Weight/Cords: All three of these issues are related. I could remember the hassle of having to remove the screen lid, unplug the heat mat from the thermostat, and carry a heavy aquarium, with heat pad still attached and cord dangling, to the sink and try to clean it without getting water on the heat mat. Then carry it all back, only to have to reinstall everything before putting the cage decor back in. I designed a PVC base that would house the heat and thermostat allowing the acrylic tank to be easily removed, without disconnecting a single cord. The acrylic is significantly lighter than a heavy glass tank.
  • Security: Aquariums are see through on all sides. It is common for keepers to utilize some sort of material such as poster board to cover three sides of the tank. This is just another layer that has to be removed for cleaning, and creates another avoidable hassle. The base to my enclosure is designed to cover roughly 38% of the total visible area, creating a more secure environment for the animal, but allowing maximum visibility for the owner. Also for those with little ones, or other pets like cats, my enclosures feature lockable cams, preventing your reptile from escaping, and everything else from getting in.
  • Heat: Perhaps the most misunderstood, and difficult task for new owners is the proper installation of heat and thermostat. I chose to use heat tape as a heat source, and vivarium electronics as the controller (thermostat). My enclosures have 6 inch heat tape for the 20x15, and 12 inch heat tape for the 30x15. The base is routed where the heat tape is installed preventing hot spots, and giving an even distribution of heat. The heat tape runs through a slot in the back of the base, and into an access area in the bottom. It is double sided taped to the base allowing easy removal and replacement as needed. The thermostat probe is attached directly to the bottom of the heat tape and is accessible in access area in the bottom of the base.  

Purchase here

The Enclosures

Then end result is an enclosure that looks great in your home, is easy to use, and addresses all the issues with the traditional glass aquarium. No more shopping pet stores, and multiple websites to get the basics for the correct setup for your gecko. Simply set it in its location, plug in the thermostat, set and verify your temps, and decorate. My enclosures are all handmade. Take a look at the pics below to see the building process and finished enclosure.