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How to build an incubator


Every year when it is the time of year when eggs are laid, people ask for incubation methods.


15 - 30L (5-10 gallon) aquarium.
Glass cover or other other air-proof cover for aquarium.
Aquarium heater with thermostat.
One or two bricks.
Plastic shoebox (with lid) that fits into the aquarium.
Bag of Vermiculite (TM).
Aquarium thermometer.


-Put aquarium in a safe and undisturbed plaace.
-Arrange bricks in aqurium to make pedestall for shoebox.
-Add water to level of brick tops
Install aquarium heater into aquarium.
-Fill shoe box about halfway with a mixturee of 1:10 or Water: Vermiculite; blend well. Err on the dry side, not the wet side. You can always add a bit more water.
-Make small holes into the lid of the box...
-Put thermometer into shoebox on top of Verrmiculite.
-Add eggs.
Close lid.
-Place shoebox on bricks and cover the tankk.
-Turn on heater.
-Adjust aquarium heater until desired tempeerature in the shoebox is maintained.

Just before hatching

-(Assuming it is summer and the room where the incubator is is at least at room temperature.)
-Turn heater off and remove heater and briccks.
-Drain water.
-Place newspaper at bottom and shoebox on ttop and a shallow water bowl next to it.
-Close up setup and wait for the miracle too happen:
-Hatchlings can and will crawl out of the sshoebox onto the newspaper.
-Check box every few hours for hatchlings tthat need help.
-Once all eggs have hatched, I remove the sshoebox, add a hide place and a heating pad (under 1/3 of the tank), and the nursery is complete.

Hints and Tricks

-Check eggs every few days; this also ensurres that there is enough air.
-Put the lid on the shoebox slightly proppeed, so that if there should be water drops, they will collect at one end of the box where I don't put any eggs.
-Use filtered water to moisten the Vermicullite.
-Make a small square whole into the box soo I can see the thermometer without opening the lid.
-Note that you must keep the same side up aat all times for turtle eggs, or the eggs will die. Snake eggs can be turned.
-Handle eggs as little as possible to keep your germs away from them.
-When removing the lid, be careful not to drip water on the eggs:
When adjusting the temperature, check during the hottest time of day. It is ok to err on the cool side! Eggs will just take a bit longer to hatch.
-This incubator is also ant-proof!
-Instead of a lid on the shoebox, you can uuse Saran Wrap (TM) and leave a small airgap on one side. That way you can see the eggs. Make sure it is on tightly. If it sags and touches the eggs, water will collect there and the eggs might get hurt.




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Site Created: 1/8/2002, Last modified: 12/7/2003 by Petra Grujic