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Hello, I recently bought an Insitu Amazonia (with the gracious discount code dendrobuddy) directly from the Insitu website. I spent $400 on it. I have not yet started working on the tank, and I do not think that I will be continuing with this project.

I bought the tank to house a colony of 6 mourning geckos. My 3 have started having eggs, and I wanted to get a tank set up and running for when the babies mature. I do not mean to bash Insitu or anything, and I am sure their tanks work great for most, but from what I have experienced, the tank will not work for me.

I had no issues receiving the tank or setting it up, (except that my dimmer switch does not work, but I’m sure it’d be no issue to get a replacement).
My problems are with the basic functionality of the vivarium.
The circulation fans are way too loud, and have very little output I feel. I can only feel the flow on my hand about 3-4” away from the fan. Any further and it disappears.

The sliding glass doors rattle when the smallest bump is made to the table. They do not seem very secure in their tracks. They seem to fit as they were designed to, but I fear that my geckos will be able to slip out the small cracks if one of the doors leans the wrong way. Certainly not fruit fly proof either.

I think that the drainage aspect is really cool, and I appreciate the installed bulkhead as well. I like the look of the tank, but that brings me to my biggest issue, the lighting.

I am hoping that the dimmer switch replacement could help this issue, but the lights get waaaaaaaay too hot for an arboreal geckos species. For a climbing frog species too. I wish I had have known this before I ordered the tank. The top bit of the light gets to be 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit after running for about 3 minutes. It stays about that high after running for more time.
Then, the inside glass over the light bay reaches about 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit. A little gecko putting their toes on that would certainly come away with severe burns. It even hurts my hand to the touch.

I was really excited about my Insitu tank, but I don’t think it will work out for me. I don’t mean to rant and bash Insitu, but I think that the lights in particular need some redesigning to cool them off. The sliding doors could also be looked at and made more secure.
Does anyone have advice on how to fix my issues, or how I can better my experience?

Thank you.
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Hello, I recently bought an Insitu Amazonia (with the gracious discount code dendrobuddy) directly from the Insitu website. I spent $400 on it. I have not yet started working on the tank, and I do not think that I will be continuing with this project.

I bought the tank to house a colony of 6 mourning geckos. My 3 have started having eggs, and I wanted to get a tank set up and running for when the babies mature. I do not mean to bash Insitu or anything, and I am sure their tanks work great for most, but from what I have experienced, the tank will not work for me.

I had no issues receiving the tank or setting it up, (except that my dimmer switch does not work, but I’m sure it’d be no issue to get a replacement).
My problems are with the basic functionality of the vivarium.
The circulation fans are way too loud, and have very little output I feel. I can only feel the flow on my hand about 3-4” away from the fan. Any further and it disappears.

The sliding glass doors rattle when the smallest bump is made to the table. They do not seem very secure in their tracks. They seem to fit as they were designed to, but I fear that my geckos will be able to slip out the small cracks if one of the doors leans the wrong way. Certainly not fruit fly proof either.

I think that the drainage aspect is really cool, and I appreciate the installed bulkhead as well. I like the look of the tank, but that brings me to my biggest issue, the lighting.

I am hoping that the dimmer switch replacement could help this issue, but the lights get waaaaaaaay too hot for an arboreal geckos species. For a climbing frog species too. I wish I had have known this before I ordered the tank. The top bit of the light gets to be 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit after running for about 3 minutes. It stays about that high after running for more time.
Then, the inside glass over the light bay reaches about 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit. A little gecko putting their toes on that would certainly come away with severe burns. It even hurts my hand to the touch.

I was really excited about my Insitu tank, but I don’t think it will work out for me. I don’t mean to rant and bash Insitu, but I think that the lights in particular need some redesigning to cool them off. The sliding doors could also be looked at and made more secure.
Does anyone have advice on how to fix my issues, or how I can better my experience?

Thank you. View attachment 300301 View attachment 300302 View attachment 300303
Well the first thing to do would be to contact InSitu directly as they can help you one way or the other better than anyone here — it’s their product. Have you spoken with them about your issues? Maybe you got a defective light, for instance?


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Mourning geckos :)
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well the first thing to do would be to contact InSitu directly as they can help you one way or the other better than anyone here — it’s their product. Have you spoken with them about your issues? Maybe you got a defective light, for instance?


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Yes. I have contacted them. I’m just waiting on a reply. I guess that’s all I really can do. I’m hoping I do have a defective light.
 

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Yes. I have contacted them. I’m just waiting on a reply. I guess that’s all I really can do. I’m hoping I do have a defective light.
It seems to be running unusually hot. That can’t be standard operating temperature…


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Don't run at it full, it is way too bright and way too hot. Most people run them at 50% power. Obviously you can't do that without a working dimmer - but that is your issue there.
 

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You run it at full for only a few hours a day and dim it down to simulate the sun. My Spectral design light hoods don't get hot. They get warm to the touch at the top, over 100 degrees but never unpleasantly warm. My lights are not in my viv, they sit on top. Ditch the dimmer and use a TC420.
 

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I've used an Insitu for a while now. In general I'm very happy - definitely better for darts than standard exos or whatever else, but there are some items I've found are tweakable, most notably:
  • Doors are not entirely fruit fly proof - there is still a bit of a gap between the doors (despite the silicone notch / seal)
    • You can close this up via a second seal. I’ve made that tweak on my end and meaningfully cut down escapees (including smaller fruit flies) with 0 impact to visibility / usability
    • I also cleaned up / redid some of the siliconing and gluing around the edges and smoothing out the door tracks since they were a bit wobbly. Just a bit of a picky person where no viv (even my self-builds) are perfect
  • Yes, it does tend to run "hot", especially with the lighting feature cranked up to 100%. Main reason why is that the LED strips are clustered closer together than other spectral designs (the manufacturer) LED panels to make room for all the vents / pass-throughs
    • If you look at the spectral designs website, they actually offer another "taller" panel with more air inside that will keep things cooler
    • Also I don't recommend running LEDs at 100% - difference between 70 and 100% is mostly heat, very little light
    • If it's still hot, just throw on a PC fan. I've modified my spectral designs / insitus extensively (going as far as to slap on a heatsink + fan)
A few other pet peeves of mine:
  • No water-level indicator? Would be super helpful especially if using the Rio (the water feature insitu sells)
    • Also, on that water feature (using it for a drip wall in one of mine), I’ve also found that attaching an external reservoir that gravity-feeds the pump lets me manage the water level a bit more consistently / safer
  • Finally, there are no "plugs" for the below-door vents - ight be helpful to cut down airflow in the colder / drier months
Overall definitely a great out of the box viv that I'd highly recommend.

I know Bill from Insitu is actually on this board. @InSitu FYI.
 

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I wonder if the temp gun aimed through the diffuser is actually reading the LEDs themselves rather than the diffuser surface temp. A more accurate temp reading would come from putting a piece of masking tape on the diffuser and taking the temp of the tape.

Your IR gun might be bad, though. My Amazonias run at about 75%, but I just turned them up from there to 100% for a couple minutes, and couldn't measure higher than 102F on top and 90F on the diffuser. For reference, I measured a random RHP in one of my snake enclosures (radiant heat panel, designed to be used inside reptile enclosures with animal contact) and the hottest spot was 158F -- hot to the touch, but not dangerously so. Not as hot as my driveway any day of the last two weeks, and the garter snakes love it out there.

As to the fans, I replaced mine with Noctuas that are quieter but don't put out more air. Run at full power, they dry the viv out considerably; more air movement wouldn't necessarily be a plus, IMO (I actually run mine at about 25% currently.
 

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I wonder if the temp gun aimed through the diffuser is actually reading the LEDs themselves rather than the diffuser surface temp. A more accurate temp reading would come from putting a piece of masking tape on the diffuser and taking the temp of the tape.

Your IR gun might be bad, though. My Amazonias run at about 75%, but I just turned them up from there to 100% for a couple minutes, and couldn't measure higher than 102F on top and 90F on the diffuser. For reference, I measured a random RHP in one of my snake enclosures (radiant heat panel, designed to be used inside reptile enclosures with animal contact) and the hottest spot was 158F -- hot to the touch, but not dangerously so. Not as hot as my driveway any day of the last two weeks, and the garter snakes love it out there.

As to the fans, I replaced mine with Noctuas that are quieter but don't put out more air. Run at full power, they dry the viv out considerably; more air movement wouldn't necessarily be a plus, IMO (I actually run mine at about 25% currently.
Yep - forgot to include, but I also swapped out the fans with noctuas. Very simple / easy fix and a real game changer (think they are around 15-20 each and not audible). Would be a big fan of those coming stock / as an option.
 

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IMO you should not feel the air of circulation fans very far away, that is fine. Kind of like if you are just sitting outside on a normal day you don't feel wind, but its still there at a low level creating circulation. Thats said being loud would be annoying and I bet they are small fans to save money.
 

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I'm very happy with my InSitu Amazonia. If you run the lights on 50% it solves your lighting problem (I realize your dimmer doesn't work). I get far fewer fruit fly escapees than on my Exo terra. I have no problem with my doors or fans. It's leaps and bounds better than an Exo terra in my experience.
 

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In their set video they recc to not run the lights at full power unless you need to. Their rational was the higher output was for some orchids that need it. I would fix the dimmer and revaluate. I haven't had issues with ff escapes. I keep reticulata in mine and they are very sneaky so if it wasn't secure they would escape.
 

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Add me to list of people that swapped in Noctua fans. I even tied them into an analog pc fan controller to control their speed. I found they dry things up a little too much, so right now they run at only about 5%. I'll probably ramp them up when I simulate a dry season, but honestly I think the viv would be fine without fans altogether. I will say the door tracks on both of mine are a weak spot, as it takes some technique to open them without the glass binding in the top of the track and getting stuck. I think the tolerances here are the cause of your door rattle, but I would not be worried about any inhabitants escaping. In my opinion, I still prefer them over the swing open doors on an Exo Terra. I would for sure reach out for a new dimmer for the light. Like everyone else, I run mine between 50%-75% (I've played around with them recently to try to color my broms up more). I've noticed they get warm when run full out, but certainly not hot enough to burn my hand. If a new dimmer doesn't fix your issue, maybe try to get a new light?
 

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If a company sells a product meant to safely house reptiles, and they give you the ability to run their lights at 100% power, then that light should be safe to use at 100% power. Either your light is defective or they are selling an dangerous product for reptiles.

Period.you should be able to safely run at full power, OR they should design a product that is incapable of running at full power since that's too hot.
 

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If a company sells a product meant to safely house reptiles, and they give you the ability to run their lights at 100% power, then that light should be safe to use at 100% power. Either your light is defective or they are selling an dangerous product for reptiles.

Period.you should be able to safely run at full power, OR they should design a product that is incapable of running at full power since that's too hot.
The lights are designed to grow plants, not reptiles. The enclosures aren't even designed for reptiles, so I'm not sure what you are going on about. Read the rest of the thread before you comment.

The full power of the lights is necessary to grow certain types of high light plants. It gives customers the option of using them for that purpose. They come with a dimmer included and instructions on what lighting intensity to use for what purpose. The problem is that the dimmer is acting up for the OP. Again, read the thread before you comment, especially when your comments could be detrimental to a product/company.
 

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The enclosures aren't even designed for reptiles,
FWIW, they are marketed for frogs and dwarf geckos.

Period.you should be able to safely run at full power, OR they should design a product that is incapable of running at full power since that's too hot.
This isn't the case for herp heat mats, which require thermostats, nor for lighting, which requires timers. Tangentially, it isn't the case for a wide range of consumer products, virtually all of which require some human control and restriction (cars can't safely be driven at top speed, you can't safely drink the whole case of wine, you have to turn the faucet off manually when the sink is full, etc).

Not only is there reason to think that this is an anomolous case (since none of the rest of us see these temps), but I've pointed out that even the high temps are within the range of accepted herp-contact surfaces. Let's not make any implications that have been disproven earlier in the thread.

@Crockett H , I'm certain that Bill would have gotten back to an email by now -- what did InSitu say about the situation?
 

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The lights are designed to grow plants, not reptiles. The enclosures aren't even designed for reptiles, so I'm not sure what you are going on about. Read the rest of the thread before you comment.

The full power of the lights is necessary to grow certain types of high light plants. It gives customers the option of using them for that purpose. They come with a dimmer included and instructions on what lighting intensity to use for what purpose. The problem is that the dimmer is acting up for the OP. Again, read the thread before you comment, especially when your comments could be detrimental to a product/company.
I did read the thread, thanks. And they do market it for housing animals. It says "vivarium" plastered everywhere on their site. What other pets could go in a vivarium besides reptiles and amphibians? Hamsters.

The light should not be capable of burning inhabitants with or without a dimmer. I don't appreciate your condescending tone, especially since your speaking to someone who ran a research greenhouse. I know just a little about high light plants.
 
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