Pets are often worth a labour of love. [leftthegan] — in want of a corn snake — found that Sweden’s laws governing terrarium sizes made all the commercial options to too small for a fully-grown snake. So they took matters into their own hands, building a bioactive vivarium for their pet!
[leftthegan] found an IKEA Kallax 4×4 shelving unit for a fair price, and after a few design iterations — some due to the aforementioned regulations — it was modified by adding a shelf extension onto the front and cutting interior channels for cabling. For the vivarium’s window, they settled on plexiglass but strongly recommend glass for anyone else building their own as the former scratches and bends easily — not great if their snake turns out to be an escape artist! In the interim, a 3D printed handle works to keep the window closed and locked.
Throughout this build, [leftthegan] has kept the potential of future disassembly in mind, so all the interior surfaces have been individually coated in a layer of vinyl to keep moisture away from the MDF, and the heat lamp and LED lighting has connectors for easy separation.
After coating the bottom of the vivarium with pond liner and a generous amount of silicone, they added leca pebbles as a drainage layer with insect netting over top to keep the custom mix of soil substrate separated. They also added oak leaves — which are reptile safe — and some assorted plants alongside the branches and rocks from their snake’s previous habitat to make it feel like home. The waste cleanup crew for this vivarium is two cultures of springtails and a collection of tropical isopods to minimize the maintenance of the enclosure. The vivarium’s various electronics rest inside one of the shelf’s cubbies, while the rest are filled with storage boxes.
[leftthegan]’s snake seems happy for now, so the next logical step is to automate all the things.