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 [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure

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Shakudo
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Shakudo

Number of posts : 870
Age : 34
Location : Tiel, The Netherlands.
Registration date : 2013-01-20

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PostSubject: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/6/2013, 9:13 am

Hello,

I would like to share my experience with making a desert enclosure, in this case for my Hadrurus Arizonensis.
It was very fun to make, and I could pour a lot of my creativity in it and made it with a lot of love.

In the following report I will try to explain a few things and show you how I did it. Perhaps I could help you get idea's for your own enclosure, and I hope it will be informative.

Take care!


Joey


Getting started:

Terrarium: €49/$63 (Exo Terra Mini Wide)
Compact top and light: €27/$35

The top supports bulbs to 26 watts.
[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 207390_510417338997676_1902507207_n

Sand: I used both regular red sand and sand with clay additive mixed about €12/$15
I used about 70% sand with clay and 30% "normal" sand.

The Trixie "Hohlensand" is sand with a clay additive to support burrowing
[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 479850_510420128997397_817601183_n

Accessories: Moorkienwood, moss, stones, bottle cap water dish, leaves etc, The wood is sterilized moorkienwood, catappaleaves came in a pack of 12 which I used for all terrariums. €31 / $41,50

The fossilized wood I used:
[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 574565_510417118997698_692998729_n


The actual scorpion: €50 ($64!!) ( Very expensive due to international export laws, shipping, profit margin etc.)
[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 374436_512961018743308_296608688_n


Total cost of everything including the scorpion: +- €170 / +-$220

However, prices here are very different from those in the USA, this is Europe.
For example, I saw the terrariums that I use, all of them Exo Terra Mini Wide models, at a petco webshop for $53.54, that is €41 euro's thus being cheaper in the USA. However, I did not have to pay shipping so you might match me at some point.


I made some choices that could have been made cheaper, I now understand, like purchasing sand.
The ridiculousness of buying "terrarium sand" instead of regular playsand or aquarium sand is an unnecessary cost.
You could save money buying aquarium sand (WITHOUT fertilizer of course, really check that before you buy.)
It saved me a lot of money with my other enclosure!

My tip for people wanting to make a natural enclosure is this, save money buy sensible, don't spend a lot on brands because sometimes that's all they are... brands... I don't care if my sand comes from zoo med/exo terra/ or a nameless house brand if it works it works.

I believe the most money goes in to equipment. I choose to only use exo terra terrariums because they work for me.
In this case I stick to this brand because I find it very high quality and it's very easy to come by parts/accessories etc.

I believe you could make a decent enclosure with this terrarium for = $150, including the animal.

I use only natural materials, and you could save money, looking around the garden for dead twigs/stones/ etc.
I would advise sterilizing them of course, boiling wood and making it dry.
Don't spend money on ridiculously expensive stones sold by terrarium specialist shops, go to your local gardening center and take your pick for a fraction of the money!

And of course if you choose a cheaper form of housing you could save a lot of money. However, this was the part I didn't want to save money in because I want safe quality made enclosures, the biggest perk I think with these terrariums if their really cool finish, they have excellent ventilation and are very secure. But that is of course a matter of taste and choice.

The time:
Took about a week for the sand to sufficiently dry, for decoration, I took about half a day.
Trying, tweaking, testing, looking, and changing again, until I was satisfied with all the placed objects.

Tweaking the terrarium a bit...
[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 164484_511122142260529_1554673773_n

You can edit and try different things for contrast and functionality
[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 226798_511133538926056_205624845_n

Make sure that you know if your desert scorpion is a burrower, for example Hadrurus Arizonensis is known to make extensive tunnels and spiraling constructs. They need a thick layer of sand and the possibilty to display thhis natural behavior. That only benefits your scorpions quality of Life with you as a keeper, and it decreases stress and gives them the opportunity to hide and retreat.

[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 13187_511343438905066_1926223971_n

Don't forget, if you have a burrowing scorpion, they tend to "bulldoze" all the sand out and dump it on their doorstep;)
You could leave some room in the front of the terrarium to accommodate the excess sand.

[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 487288_511343368905073_688568680_n

When I was satisfied with the endresult....
[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 419249_511344982238245_564505427_n

I gave it some time, and added a few things here and there.... a desert like the Sonoran or Mojave desert is not sterile with only sand and a few twigs, there are all sorts of things present, which I try to replicate, to make the enclosure visually pleasing, as I have to look at it very often, as my scorpion tends to retreat a lot in to it's burrow.

[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 486839_515833851789358_1186147383_n

The entire set up is a blue print in my mind, and I could take it all a part and put it back together in the same way.
It is not hard, just take your time in choosing colors, what contrast nicely with your background?? Your substrate?? Your scorpion??
Make it a puzzle and when it's all done it's the big picture out of your thoughts and it is in harmony with each other.
I try to accomplish this, by looking at Nature, the habitats of the scorps, looking at the different colors, contrasts, materials present, even the consistency of the ground is important, it can make something look natural, or very sterile and artificial.
Which I very much hope to have made, and most of all, hope that the scorpion can have a happy and healthy life with me as a keeper.

[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 221659_523313557708054_285334649_n

[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 482215_523287577710652_1808880975_n

Most of all, I really love what I do, I loved putting it all together, I loved working on it, tweaking it, and I was very happy with the end result, it is something from me to my scorp and I take great pride in that. Don't forget to enjoy yourself, it's a lot of fun! lol!

Thank you for reading, and I wish you good luck!
[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure 300729_523287581043985_2114106841_n


If there are any more questions feel free to ask them and I will try to clarify.



Joey van Westering
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Scorpion19981000
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Scorpion19981000

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/6/2013, 2:24 pm

cheers

_________________
"Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don’t let yourself believe it will happen to you."
-Muhammad Ali

My Youtube Channel.
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Bayss
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Bayss

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/7/2013, 12:56 am

Props Joey! This is excellent!
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shadowfoot
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shadowfoot

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/7/2013, 3:53 am

Nice!
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shaneshac
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shaneshac

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/7/2013, 12:53 pm

Good work. How deep is the substrate at its deepest point?
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Shakudo
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Shakudo

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/7/2013, 2:06 pm

Scorpion19981000 wrote:
cheers

Bayss wrote:
Props Joey! This is excellent!

shadowfoot wrote:
Nice!

shaneshac wrote:
Good work. How deep is the substrate at its deepest point?


Thank you very much everybody!


Shaneshac, the subtrate is 13,5/14 cmters thick.
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shaneshac
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shaneshac

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/7/2013, 3:58 pm

Ok thanks for clarifying. I am planning to build a viv so they have 30cms substrate to tunnel in. Lets see if that makes a difference in getting them to breed succesfully
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Shakudo
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Shakudo

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/7/2013, 4:04 pm

shaneshac wrote:
Ok thanks for clarifying. I am planning to build a viv so they have 30cms substrate to tunnel in. Lets see if that makes a difference in getting them to breed succesfully

You're welcome, and that sounds interesting! I'll keep watching your thread!
Goodluck!


Take care,


Joey
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shaneshac
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shaneshac

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/7/2013, 4:12 pm

Last question, you mention using a 25W bulb. I it IR or ceramic and does it provide sufficient heat.

I was planning either 40 or 60W ceramic but i may be going overboard
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Shakudo
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Shakudo

Number of posts : 870
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/7/2013, 4:44 pm

shaneshac wrote:
Last question, you mention using a 25W bulb. I it IR or ceramic and does it provide sufficient heat.

I was planning either 40 or 60W ceramic but i may be going overboard


I do not use IR or ceramic I use a plain incandescent bulb, I don't like purely red light in my terrariums, for me it takes away the opportunity to enjoy my enclosures in their respective natural colors.

But that's my personal taste , I use the Exo Terra sunglo neodymium daylight lamp, it has a reddish glow and brings a nice warmth to the colors.

[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Daytim10

For me it works fine, but other factors are involved...

My room is heated almost always by central heating, except for of course in the summer.

I placed an extra 8 watts Exo Terra Heat Wave mat to the back of the tank.
Temps vary but are always within acceptable boundaries, it ranges from 18 degrees Celcius at night up to 27/28 degrees celcius during the day, but as I sayd, my room is heated so that adds to the heat as you understand.

With me it depends on these factors:
- How is the room heated
- How big is your terrarium
- Is the lamp the only heat source?
- Do you want full spectrum or only IR light?

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Roy Lubbers
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/29/2013, 2:22 pm

Nice Work joey!!
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Shakudo
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Shakudo

Number of posts : 870
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure   [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure Empty4/29/2013, 2:47 pm

Roy Lubbers wrote:
Nice Work joey!!

Thanks man:)
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