Part of the fun of keeping tarantulas, in my opinion, is the endless search for the perfect “found enclosure.” Sure, there are many gorgeous and professionally-designed cages to choose from, and they make lovely displays for any showcase Ts that you are particularly fond of. However, those with large collections can find housing all of their beloved spiders in these top-of-the-line terrariums much too expensive. That’s why many enthusiasts haunt their local WalMarts, Targets, craft stores, and Family Dollar’s looking for various canisters and containers that can be used “off label” as make-shift tarantula cages.
Sterilite has produced dozens of types of plastic storage containers over the years, and their products have long been used by budget-conscious T enthusiasts hoping to keep costs down as their collections expand. They offer containers in a ridiculous number of sizes, making them ideal for any larger T. And with prices often as low as $1.99 for smaller sizes, they won’t hurt the wallet as much.
I recently discovered their series of lockable and stackable storage containers, and was delighted to learn that they come in a number of convenient sizes. Instead of just drilling holes this time, which definitely works but is tedious and, in my opinion, not as attractive, I decided to use vents. The following is a little step-by-step tutorial for those interested.
NOTE: I know that some folks will argue that drilling holes is a bit cheaper (the vents I’m using her will run you an extra $1.90 or so per cage) or more attractive. Still, I like the look of these, and I find the vents less tedious to install. I also have plenty of enclosures with drilled or melted air holes, so I have NO problem with these.
- Aquarium safe silicone and sealant (or hot glue) ($5.99)
- 2″ hole saw ($8.88)
- Sterilite stackable containers (6 for $26.22)
- Utility knife
- Clamp (or a willing relative with strong hands)
- Paper towels
- 2″ round vents ($0.86 each)
1. Buy the Sterilite Containers.
2. Get Some Aquarium-safe silicone.
3. Get 2″ round plastic vents.
4. Grab a 2″ Black & Decker (cheap!) hole saw.
5. Clamp the container down before drilling.
6. Carefully drill your holes.
7. After drilling the holes, clean edges with a utility knife.
8. Put a thin bead of silicone (or hot glue) around the rim of the vent.
8. Line up the vent and carefully pop it in.
9. Newly vented cages stacked in a cluttered garage.
10. Modified cages in use.
A small note about ventilation: I find that the 2″ vents work very well with this size enclosure. However, after noticing some condensation collecting on the lid of one of my cages after moistening the substrate, I added a row of holes in the lid above the sphagnum moss to allow for a bit more airflow. The moss stays moist, but I no longer get the condensation. Still, I’ve only done this to one enclosure that housed a T that required more moisture.