Creating a suitable and comfortable habitat for your tegu is essential to ensure their well-being.
Despite the fact that grow tents were originally designed for indoor gardening, they have become a popular option for reptile enthusiasts seeking a cost-effective and controlled environment for their tegus.
Grow tents are versatile structures designed for indoor gardening and cultivating plants.
While initially not intended for tegu enclosures, some reptile owners have succesfully adopted them as a cost-effective and humidity-controlled housing option.
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A grow tent can be a great option for housing a tegu lizard because they are relatively inexpensive, easy to set up, and can be customized to meet the specific needs of your tegu.
While it does have some drawbacks, using a grow tent as a tegu enclosure is especially beneficial for beginners and those with limited budgets.
Most tegu owners who choose to house their pet in a grow tent do so while they are still juvenile (under two years of age), and may decide to rehouse them into a larger, solid enclosure once they grow into adults.
VIVOSUN R846 4×8 Grow Tent
Zazzy Grow Tent, 96″x48″x78″
Gorilla Grow Tent Lite Line 8×8
How to Set up a Grow Tent as a Tegu Enclosure
Step 1: Acquire the Ideal Grow Tent
When setting up a tegu enclosure using a grow tent, the first step is to acquire the ideal tent for your reptile companion. It is important to select a grow tent that is sturdy and features an all-metal frame.
While various sizes are available, a 4′ x 8′ x 8′ tent is generally recommended. This size provides sufficient space for your tegu while avoiding unnecessary height, which could lead to additional heating costs. Keep in mind that the size of the tent will depend on the overall size of your tegu.
Adult Argentine tegus and Red tegus can reach lengths of up to 5 feet, although Blue tegus and Colombian tegus tend to be shorter, around 3 feet. Additionally, males usually grow larger than females. By considering these factors, you can ensure that the chosen tent meets your tegu’s specific requirements.
Step 2: Customizing the Tent
Once you have acquired the grow tent, the next step is to customize it to suit your tegu’s needs. Before assembling the tent, gather the necessary materials, including heavy-duty clear vinyl, heavy-duty thread or fishing line, and heavy-duty sewing needles. These materials will enable you to create a secure window on the front flap of the tent, which will serve as the door to the enclosure. By having a window, you can easily access and interact with your tegu while ensuring their safety.
Cut out the desired window size, leaving a generous border for overlap, and sew the clear vinyl in place using the heavy-duty thread or fishing line. It is essential to reinforce the stitches to guarantee a sturdy window that can withstand the tegu’s curious nature. This customization will not only provide practical functionality but also enhance the overall aesthetics of the enclosure.
Step 3: Building a Solid Foundation
To ensure stability and provide ample support for the substrate and decorations within the enclosure, it is important to build a solid foundation.
Craft a rectangular base by assembling 2″ x 12″ boards, which fit snugly inside the tent. This foundation will serve as a sturdy platform for your tegu’s habitat.
You can consider having the boards cut to your desired dimensions by a lumber store for added convenience.
By creating a solid foundation, you provide a reliable structure for the enclosure and ensure that it can withstand the activities and movements of your tegu.
Step 4: Fortifying the Tent
To enhance the integrity of the grow tent and minimize the risk of leakage, it is essential to fortify the structure. Attach a pond liner to the exterior frame of the tent using a staple gun or a similar tool. This additional layer of protection will prevent water and moisture from escaping the enclosure, ensuring that the surrounding area remains undamaged.
It is important to pay close attention to the proper installation of the pond liner to create an effective barrier. By fortifying the tent in this way, you provide a secure and controlled environment for your tegu.
Step 5: Setting the Stage
Once you have prepared the tent and fortified its structure, it’s time to transform the space into a tegu-proof residence. Place the assembled foundation inside the tent structure, ensuring a secure fit. Now, you can begin adding the essential elements that will create a comfortable and enriching habitat for your tegu.
Start by incorporating a substantial amount of substrate to the enclosure. Consider using a mixture of sifted topsoil and cypress mulch to create a foot-deep layer. This substrate combination provides an optimal environment for your tegu’s natural burrowing instincts and helps maintain appropriate humidity levels within the enclosure.
Additionally, you can add various hides, rocks, and logs to create hiding spots and climbing opportunities for your tegu. These elements not only serve as environmental enrichment but also contribute to the overall aesthetics of the enclosure. A retes stack is an especially useful addition which can double as a hiding spot and basking structure for your lizard to more efficiently thermoregulate its body.
You can also explore the option of creating a bioactive enclosure. This approach mimics the tegu’s natural habitat and promotes a self-sustaining ecosystem within the enclosure. Incorporate plants like ferns, bromeliads, and pothos, which offer hiding places and climbing structures while helping regulate humidity and purify the air. Introducing beneficial insects such as isopods or springtails aids in waste breakdown and provides a natural food source for your tegu, stimulating their natural foraging behaviors.
Step 6: Adding UVB Lights & Heating
Proper lighting is crucial for your tegu’s well-being and overall health. Install appropriate lighting systems, such as heat lamps and UVB lights, to meet your tegu’s specific requirements.
Heat lamps provide essential warmth, while UVB lights offer the necessary UV radiation that helps your tegu metabolize calcium and maintain proper bone health. It is important to position the lights strategically within the enclosure to create thermal gradients and ensure that your tegu has access to both a basking area with higher temperatures and cooler areas for thermoregulation.
These lighting sources not only fulfill your tegu’s physiological needs but also contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of the enclosure, providing a visually appealing and naturalistic environment.
Step 7: Ensuring Security and Observation
As a responsible tegu owner, it is crucial to ensure the security of the enclosure while allowing proper observation of your reptile companion. To address concerns about potential escapes, you can secure the perimeter of the grow tent by attaching plastic chicken wire around its structure.
This preventive measure acts as a barrier, preventing your tegu from accessing the fabric walls of the tent. This way, you can ensure their safety while still allowing proper airflow within the enclosure.
It is important to regularly monitor the integrity of the enclosure, looking out for any signs of wear and tear or potential escape routes. By promptly addressing any issues that arise, you maintain a secure and stimulating environment for your tegu.
Best Grow Tents for Tegu Lizards
The VIVOSUN R846 4×8 Grow Tent is a spacious enclosure measuring 96″x48″x72″ (8’x4’x6′) in feet, making it an excellent choice for housing Tegu lizards. With its light-proof sealing and interior 100% litchi reflective mylar lining, this tent ensures that light is efficiently distributed to your plants from all angles. The high-quality 600D Oxford canvas construction is water-proof and tear-resistant, ensuring durability.
One standout feature of this grow tent is its roof-top design. The slanted top and supporting poles allow you to hang grow lights and ventilation equipment, maximizing space for your Tegu lizards to grow and stretch. Additionally, the sturdy metal poles and corner connectors securely lock the structure in place, providing stability and peace of mind.
Setting up the VIVOSUN R846 4×8 Grow Tent is a breeze, even for beginners. No additional tools are required; simply fit each metal pole into place and put on the tent cover over the frame. The zippers slide smoothly, providing easy access for plant maintenance without disturbing the lizards. The observation window flap adds convenience, allowing you to monitor your Tegus’ growth without hassle.
The Zazzy Grow Tent with its dimensions of 96″x48″x78″ (8’x4’x6’6″) offers ample space for Tegu lizards to thrive. Made of superior quality reflective 600D mylar, this tent ensures efficient light blocking, enhancing the intensity of your grow lights while retaining heat. The all-steel poles are sturdy and rated to handle at least 110 lbs, providing a secure framework for the enclosure.
The easy-access door of the Zazzy Grow Tent unzips smoothly, and the observation window allows for convenient monitoring of your Tegus’ activities. The tent is designed for quick and tool-free assembly, even for novices. The user-friendly instruction manual included in the package ensures a hassle-free setup process.
With its durable PA material and adjustable tightness, the upgraded connectors of the Zazzy Grow Tent offer reinforced support and anti-rust properties. The tent’s polyethylene terephthalate (PET) inner material further adds to its durability and longevity.
The Gorilla Grow Tent Lite Line 8×8 is a high-quality enclosure measuring 96″x96″x79″ (8’x8’x6’7″) in feet, providing a spacious and comfortable habitat for Tegu lizards. This tent is designed for indoor gardening, making it perfect for your reptilian friends. It features a Lite Line construction that offers professional features at a lower cost without compromising on quality.
The Gorilla Grow Tent Lite Line 8×8 boasts adjustable height, allowing you to grow taller plants. With a height range of 6’7″ to 7’7″, you can easily accommodate the needs of your Tegus. The sturdy alloy steel frame provides a secure structure, while the all-steel poles and industrial-strength zippers ensure durability and easy access.
This grow tent offers 360˚ full garden access and includes features like light-tight zipper covers, double cinching duct ports, deep spill trays, dual EZ view windows, and a tool pouch. The strong and reliable build of this tent, coupled with its user-friendly design, makes it a reliable choice for Tegu owners.
Pros of Using a Grow Tent as a Tegu Enclosure
Cost-Effectiveness: Grow tents are generally more affordable than custom-built enclosures, making them an attractive option for tegu keepers on a budget. A lower-price grow tent can be purchased for around 200$-400$, whereas a solid enclosure of the same size can easily set you back a thousand dollars or more.
Humidity Control: Grow tents often feature materials like Mylar, helping maintain the higher humidity levels required for tegus. This is beneficial for tegus that thrive in humid environments, and especially Red Tegus which are prone to skin diseases and shedding issues.
Ease of Setup: Grow tents are relatively easy to set up and assemble, providing a convenient option for tegu owners without advanced construction skills or tools. Since they were originally designed to grow plants, they usually already come with a UV lightning system, ventilation system, hygrometer and thermometer to measure requirements within the enclosure.
Cons of Using a Grow Tent as a Tegu Enclosure:
Limited Visibility: Grow tents typically have fabric walls made of materials like canvas or nylon, which are not transparent like glass or acrylic enclosures.
The main drawback of housing a tegu into a grow tent is your inability to observe and interact with them while they are inside the tent.
However, some grow tents may include observation windows or viewing panels made of clear plastic, allowing you to see inside the enclosure without having to open it
Lack of Natural Behaviors: Grow tents may not offer the same opportunities for burrowing, climbing and foraging as solid enclosures or naturalistic habitats.
Additional enrichment items, such as hides, logs, and climbing structures, can compensate for this limitation and enhance the tegu’s well-being.
Customized Enclosures for Tegu
If you can afford it, you should consider purchasing a large enough enclosure for your tegu once it reaches adult size. In most cases, you will need an 8-foot enclosure with plenty of room to wander, hide, and burrow.
Essential 8 Foot PVC & Aluminum Enclosure – 96 L x 48 W x 48 H
Essential 8 Foot PVC & Aluminum Enclosure – 96 L x 48 W x 72 H
PetsWithScales.com is an informational website about big lizard pet care. We collect and provide information from different sources across the web on how to keep and care for reptiles as pets. The species we mainly deal with are tegus, monitor lizards, skinks and geckos. Our aim is to provide high quality information to help pet owners make better, more informed decisions about their animal’s diets, health and life.