Small Breed Rescue of Southern California
We require that all potential adopters first assemble an appropriate enclosure along with some basic care items to ensure you will be successful. Once you have assembled everything and it is ready for the dragon, we will review your setup, make any suggestions if needed, and finalize the adoption.
Basics of a complete setup
We discourage using slide top enclosures. The hot lighting/heating tends to burn your hands and the edge of the enclosure when you open the top. It ends up being very inconvenient.
(Best Reccomendation) Zen Habitats 48"x24"x16" Original PVC Reptile Enclosure
Most front opening PVC enclosures measure at 4'x2'x2' which is roughly 120 gallons, however some produce enclosures that are not as tall which are much better suited for turtles. PVC retains heat very well and is best suited for higher humidty. They are mostly sold online and shipped dissasembled however assembly is usually pretty easy. Brands like Dubia Roaches, Zen Habbitat, and Symton have screen top front openers. Due to the size of these enclosures, compact flourescent bulbs are not advised. Instead run T5 tube flourescents of 24-36". Undertank heaters cannot be used with PVC so an additional infrared heat emitter like a deep heat projector with a thermstat will need to be added to the lighting. Prices vary from $200-$600
*Not all PVC enclosures have screen tops which can make the enclosure too warm and nearly impossible to get a wide thermal gradiant without heavy modification. This includes adding a lot of additional vents, mounting internal light fixtures, and caging off all the lights so the dragon cannot burn themselves. This will require extra scrutiny to ensure you can create a thermal gradient and hot items are protected.
Most front opening melamine enclosures measure at 4'x2'x2' which is roughly 120 gallons. Wood retains heat very well, almost too well. Wood typical does not do well with high humidity requirements The are mostly sold at specialy reptile stores. Undertank heaters cannot be used with melamines so an additional infrared heat emitter with thermstat will need to be added to the lighting.
*Most melemine enclosures do not have screen tops which can make the enclosure too warm and nearly impossible to get a wide thermal gradiant without heavy modification. This includes adding a screen top or adding lot of additional vents, mounting internal light fixtures, and caging off all the lights so the dragon cannot burn themselves. This will require extra scrutiny to ensure you can create a thermal gradient and hot items are protected.
Enclosure Top Screens - The screens on top of the enclosures play a big role in the safety of your animal from other animals like cats that may also live in your house. However, they can also complicate the Infrared, UVA, and UVB lighting by blocking a substantial amount of incoming light. The punched screen top of the Thrive enclosure, while offering the best protection, also blocks the most light so is not suitable for compact flourescent bulbs. You must use a T5 linear flourescent fixture of at least 36 inches long. Additionally, you will need a 75 watt Halogen in a dimmable fixture to tailor the infrared and UVA light.
Lighting - You are going to want strong UVB lighting with strong UVA lighting. We have found that a combination of fluorescent UVB and halogen UVA lamps work the best to recreate natural sunlight. The combination of these two generates a manageable basking area easily without the complications and risks of overheating that can happen when using a single mercury vapor bulb or underheating/flash heating when using a ceramic heat emitter. Note that not all halogen lights are safe for your reptiles, some have internal reflectors that do not diffuse light well, so they create intense hot spots light a magnifying glass even at a distance.