Standard Tank Sizes
©2000 Melissa Kaplan
"So, what tank size do I need for my [fill in species name]?" is a question I'm often asked. It is a question often asked of pet store employees, too. Unfortunately, pet store employees too often give the wrong answer, something like, "Oh, you can house your iguana in that 10 gallon tank for its entire life!" (Why pet stores haven't figured out that they can make more money selling the equipment and supplies reptiles need, rather than some pet product manufacturer marketing person's idea of what is cute is beyond me...then again, they still sell iguana ponchos and skin moisturizers, don't they...)
As discussed in Reptile Housing: Size, Dimension and Lifestyle, there is a rule of thumb to determining what size enclosure your reptile will need. The thing that most herp keepers don't keep in mind is that size will vary throughout the early years of its life as the reptile grows. So, the enclosure size suitable for a one year old iguana, boa constrictor or savanna monitor may not be the size suitable for that same reptile two, three or five years later. Since reptile species attain their full adult size at different ages, you need to be aware of the expected growth rate of your species. Again, pet stores and people who have listened to pet stores as to how to care for and feed their reptiles are not a good source of information as pet stores understate adult size and their care recommendations lead to stunted, undersized animals.
After you do the calculation to figure out what size tank you will need, you can compare it to the standard enclosures typically sold for reptiles.
Rubbermaid Stock Tanks
Other stock tanks made by other companies are available in the same or similar capacity as these Rubbermaid tanks. Rubbermaid model numbers 4242, 4245 and 4247 have a drain plug.
Other Commercial Enclosures
The gallon size indicated on the Big Apple website is Imperial gallons (277.4193 cu. in./gal), not US gallons (231 cu. in./gal)
Don't ask me which of the above I think are good for an iguana. I do not think any of them are by virtue of how fast iguanas grow. As for the enclosures made primarily of mesh, bars, or screening materials, it is difficult to impossible to keep an iguana heated properly in an enclosure made out of such materials.
To calculate the capacity of any enclosure, simply multiply the height x width x depth, in inches. This gives you the total cubic inches (cu. in.). Divide this by the following factor to get gallons:
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