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Old 09-29-2013, 05:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default CHE set up

I feel sort of dumb asking.. But can someone explain to me a CHE set up (how to do it, where to buy online maybe) in like straight plain English! I seem to be reading too many things and confusing myself
Right now I have been keeping my room at 25c but somehow it hopped up a few degrees and my boyfriend believes if is much too hot, for hedgie as well as our room. She is still brand new to home, and I am still brand new to her, so we are trying to figure this all out properly!!!

I've been so worried about her going into hibernation, but now I could have possibly warmed it up too much in here for her. That's why I am thinking a Ceramic Heat Emitter is the best bet. And possibly a 'snuggle safe disk' under her bed? Then keep the room at a mild temperature or not heated at all.

Please give me any info! I would love links to exact websites I can buy from, and even the exact way to set things up would be amazing. Her cage is wire (with white coating) and a plastic bottom. I am thinking once we move (which won't be for a few months) of getting her a bigger cage, possibly a Tommy cage.
Sorry again if I am asking silly questions and am asking far too much! Worried mama
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Old 09-29-2013, 05:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello, fellow Canadian!

On our side of the border, your shopping friend is Pets & Pond, as it is far cheaper than dealing with cross-border Amazon.

How big is your cage? That will determine number of CHEs & wattage.
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Your shopping list:

1. A thermometer (x1)
This will automatically turn the CHEs on and off to maintain a constant temperature in response to any fluctuation of the ambient (room) temperature. Your options are either a Zilla or a Zoomed thermometer. The 500W limit is sufficient for a single enclosure, although it isn't actually a problem if you get a 1000W instead. (It's a few dollars difference). If you buy a Zilla model, I think it only has one outlet-plugin (?), so you may need to also buy a power strip from a local hardware store. Your options: Zoo-Med 500W, Zilla 500W, or Zilla 1000W (pick one).

(If you pick a Zilla and need a power strip, buy a real power strip with a 3-prong grounded plug that is rated for at least 500W. Anything from a hardware store should match that description, but ask an employee if it isn't clear.)

2. CHE bulbs (x1 or x2; ? wattage)
For this, the size of the space you are trying to heat will determine the wattage of the bulb, and the number of bulbs you need. The Exo Terra CHEs are available in 40W, 60W, 100W, 150W, or 250W bulbs. Most people seem to use either 1 or 2 100W or 150W bulbs. If you get too few or too low of a wattage, they will be constantly on trying to heat to their maximum capacity, and burn out sooner. I don't know what would happen if you over-estimated your needs -- I'd guess the bulbs would turn on very briefly and rapidly heat everything up, so you might end up with more temperature fluctuation, maybe?

Some people have complained that CHEs have a high failure-rate (as in, you pull them out of the box and they're already broken), so it may be worthwhile to see if a local pet shop carries them to make potential returns easier. If you take that route, any brand is fine, just make sure the bulb is entirely black so it emits NO light.

3. Lamps (x1 or x2, ?? diameter)
CHEs require special lamps. They must have ceramic bases, and wider diameter lamps distribute the heat more easily. Most people seem to use the 10" clamp-lamp. This size can handle bulbs up to 250W safely, so it'll be fine with any choice you make for the CHE. The clamps are a bit flimsy and tend to work loose over time, so you'll want to either set it face-down directly on a wire surface above the enclosure, or else reinforce the clamp (run a ziptie through it, tie it on etc). Buy either 1 or 2 depending on the size of the enclosure you are trying to heat.

4. Thermometer (x1)
You'll want a simple thermometer to double-check the temperature, as the thermometer's temperature markings are either inaccurate (Zilla) or non-existent (Zoo-Med). You don't need anything fancy, but might want to look for features like recording the highest and lowest temperature in a period of time so you can track if anything weird happens. I didn't get mine from Pets & Pond, but it looks like the Marina thermometers are both good options: simple model with no alarms; more complex model with alarms

5. Light Timer? (x1)
Do you have a normal desk-lamp or other lighting source on a timer to keep your hedgehog on a regular day/night cycle? If not, you can add a basic timer to your shopping spree. (These are usually also available at most hardware stores.)

I hope that demystifies the situation somewhat! Good luck, happy shopping, and please do ask questions if you want clarification or other options.
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Last edited by Annie&Tibbers; 09-29-2013 at 06:33 AM.
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Just to add on to what Annie said. 1. should be a thermostat, not a thermometer- but that's most likely just a typo.

The Zilla 1,000w thermostat has 3 outlets, while the 500w one only has one.

I recommend getting at least 100w. Temperature won't fluctuate much, if any more, than having a lower wattage. Most thermostats won't kick in until it's a few degrees lower than what you set it at, to prevent it from turning on all the time and therefore saving you money. For example I have mine set to 78 or 79 degrees. So it will get to 75 or 76 before it will kick in.

There are other thermostats than the ones that Annie mentioned, those are just the most commercially available ones. I have a digital one that works very well that's not one of the ones listed.
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Old 09-29-2013, 07:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for catching the typo!

Yes, lots more brands & options available, just not as readily or as affordable from a single-supplier on this side of the border. Thermometers (the real ones, not the typo!) are pretty easy to find in pet stores, hardware stores, and hydroponic gardening stores. I will forever sigh longingly when y'all southern folk talk about this mythical Amazon...

Forgot before: in your original post you mentioned using a snuggle-safe heat disc. Those are pretty good to have around for emergency situations (power outages, travel, injury & illness, old age...), but not so great for day-to-day heating. Heat pads and similar items heat the ground, not the air, so a hedgehog can actually get triggered into hibernation by the temperature difference of leaving the heat-pad!
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The size of the cage, type of cage and temperature of the room dictates how many and what size emitter you will need.

My personal feelings are to go with an emitter that will do the job, but is not over kill. If a 100 watt emitter works, you don't need to go higher.

Right now Samson is in a 42" x 20" wire cage and he has a 100w emitter set on top in the middle and a 60w to the left of it over his igloo. This arrangement works well and keeps his cage a comfortable 75F. I'm using a ReptiTemp 500R and it holds the temperature within 1F. Even last week when the bedroom got down to 61F, his cage stayed at 75F.

Position of the cage in the room also makes a difference. Being on an inside wall, away from a window, and table or dresser height helps as well.

You may also find you need to enclose the sides of the cage. Right now I don't need to, but have had to in the past. I use heavy clear plastic like is sold at fabric stores. I use binder clips or clothespins to hold it on. Clear plastic holds the heat but still allows light through.

The fixture should be wired to the top of the cage to prevent it sliding off. The clamps that come with the fixture are known for coming loose with time and movement which allows fixture to fall.

Using a 10" fixture not only spreads the heat out further, but helps prolong emitter life. Make certain the fixture you buy is rated for a CHE. Not all are, and if it doesn't say it is, it's not safe.

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Old 09-29-2013, 12:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie&Tibbers View Post
Your shopping list:

1. A thermometer (x1)
This will automatically turn the CHEs on and off to maintain a constant temperature in response to any fluctuation of the ambient (room) temperature. Your options are either a Zilla or a Zoomed thermometer. The 500W limit is sufficient for a single enclosure, although it isn't actually a problem if you get a 1000W instead. (It's a few dollars difference). If you buy a Zilla model, I think it only has one outlet-plugin (?), so you may need to also buy a power strip from a local hardware store. Your options: Zoo-Med 500W, Zilla 500W, or Zilla 1000W (pick one).

(If you pick a Zilla and need a power strip, buy a real power strip with a 3-prong grounded plug that is rated for at least 500W. Anything from a hardware store should match that description, but ask an employee if it isn't clear.)

2. CHE bulbs (x1 or x2; ? wattage)
For this, the size of the space you are trying to heat will determine the wattage of the bulb, and the number of bulbs you need. The Exo Terra CHEs are available in 40W, 60W, 100W, 150W, or 250W bulbs. Most people seem to use either 1 or 2 100W or 150W bulbs. If you get too few or too low of a wattage, they will be constantly on trying to heat to their maximum capacity, and burn out sooner. I don't know what would happen if you over-estimated your needs -- I'd guess the bulbs would turn on very briefly and rapidly heat everything up, so you might end up with more temperature fluctuation, maybe?

Some people have complained that CHEs have a high failure-rate (as in, you pull them out of the box and they're already broken), so it may be worthwhile to see if a local pet shop carries them to make potential returns easier. If you take that route, any brand is fine, just make sure the bulb is entirely black so it emits NO light.

3. Lamps (x1 or x2, ?? diameter)
CHEs require special lamps. They must have ceramic bases, and wider diameter lamps distribute the heat more easily. Most people seem to use the 10" clamp-lamp. This size can handle bulbs up to 250W safely, so it'll be fine with any choice you make for the CHE. The clamps are a bit flimsy and tend to work loose over time, so you'll want to either set it face-down directly on a wire surface above the enclosure, or else reinforce the clamp (run a ziptie through it, tie it on etc). Buy either 1 or 2 depending on the size of the enclosure you are trying to heat.

4. Thermometer (x1)
You'll want a simple thermometer to double-check the temperature, as the thermometer's temperature markings are either inaccurate (Zilla) or non-existent (Zoo-Med). You don't need anything fancy, but might want to look for features like recording the highest and lowest temperature in a period of time so you can track if anything weird happens. I didn't get mine from Pets & Pond, but it looks like the Marina thermometers are both good options: simple model with no alarms; more complex model with alarms

5. Light Timer? (x1)
Do you have a normal desk-lamp or other lighting source on a timer to keep your hedgehog on a regular day/night cycle? If not, you can add a basic timer to your shopping spree. (These are usually also available at most hardware stores.)

I hope that demystifies the situation somewhat! Good luck, happy shopping, and please do ask questions if you want clarification or other options.

This is SO helpful!! Thank you!! On Pets and Ponds though, I cannot seem to find a CHE bulb.. Or maybe under a different name? Is this acceptable:
http://www.petsandponds.com/en/repti...p17172761.html

I was given my cage so I do me know the exact measurements.. Will measure when I have tape. It's not teensy, but fairly small, a friend of mine houses a rat in it before and upgraded because it was far too small. Poor Ginger turned her cage all upside down and messed it up again, we haven't got our wheel yet and I think she burrows at night out of boredom!!
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Old 09-29-2013, 12:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Here's a video of Sophie's setup.

http://youtu.be/PhjrdkIx_Xc
.........................

I would not use the 'snuggle safe disc'. If you need it, then there is a problem with the heating design.

Too hot does not pose the immediate threat to life that too cold does. Your hedgie will probably be fine all the way too 90 degrees. Uncomfortable perhaps, but not in danger.

If you upgrade to a larger cage, you might think about wire linen-shelving. I prefer it to C&C.
http://youtu.be/ZSCLhN_PBaE?t=13m10s
.........................
.........................
.........................

Video description:

This video gives an overview of how I heat Sophie's room and cage. I keep her room at 65 degrees using a room heater. Then I bump the temperature in her cages to 75 degrees with ceramic heat emitters.
.........................

A couple of additional notes:

If the ceramic heat emitters (CHEs) seem to be on an awful lot, that is a problem. Either the room is not warm enough, forcing the CHEs to work harder they should --- or, heat is escaping the cage at a rate faster than is desirable. The latter can be a problem if the cage is located along an outside wall that is not well insulated. CHEs should not be on for long periods of time. Their purpose is to supplement heat, not to do the heavy lifting.

Also, I use large binder clips on the top of the emitters to help 'drape' the cord away from the lamp.
.........................

Oili-filled, radiator-type, room heater: DēLonghi (10,000 BTU; 350 sq. ft.; Model: Pinguino PAC N100E)

Thermostat, 1,000 watts, three outlets: Zilla #11939

10", 250 watt lamps with ceramic fittings: Fluker Repta Clamp Lamp with switch

150 watt ceramic heat emitters (CHEs): Zoo Med ceramic infrared heat emitter

Thermometer: La Crosse Technology, Model 302-604-S
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Old 09-29-2013, 12:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bossyxox View Post
This is SO helpful!! Thank you!! On Pets and Ponds though, I cannot seem to find a CHE bulb.. Or maybe under a different name? Is this acceptable:
http://www.petsandponds.com/en/repti...p17172761.html

I was given my cage so I do me know the exact measurements.. Will measure when I have tape. It's not teensy, but fairly small, a friend of mine houses a rat in it before and upgraded because it was far too small. Poor Ginger turned her cage all upside down and messed it up again, we haven't got our wheel yet and I think she burrows at night out of boredom!!
Okay never mind you tottaly linked everything.. Sorry it's early and before my coffee!!! One thing, the clip lamp, will it work with THAT CHE bulb? It says on the bulb 'to be used with Exo terra light bracket only' ???
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Old 09-29-2013, 03:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, everything I linked will work happily together. The lamp and bulb are different brands, but the lamp has the special base required to work with a CHE.

Full disclosure: I actually use bulbs from my local mega-chain petsore, PetSmart, because it lets me easily return bulbs if they're broken. So, I'm using an All Living Things CHE and a nothing-special no-particular-recommendation ZooMed digital thermometer to check temperatures. The rest of my heating setup (and timer) came from Pet & Pond, and I'm totally happy with their customer service, shipping speed, quality, etc.

Everyone else's advice on this thread is solid. I know the pain of, "I live in small-town Canada where no one local has anything, and most online shops have ridiculous cross-border shipping fees." There are certainly other suppliers if you look hard enough, I just found Pet & Pond stellar for having everything in one place for one package of hedgehog-heating happiness!

If you upload a photo of your cage, we might be able to suggest how to make heat and light work. It also helps to know what your ambient house temperature is or where the cage is located, as that can also help predict how hard the CHEs will need to work to maintain temperature.

If the cage is fairly small, 1 lamp is probably fine.
If the cage is fairly big, 2 lamps is probably needed.
If your household temperature is generally above 22C and the cage is away from windows, outside walls, etc, you probably need a 100W bulb.
If your household temperature is generally below 22C or the cage is near windows, outside walls, etc, you probably need a 150W bulb.
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