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.....Many years ago, when I first began keeping Emeralds, I experimented with several different cage set-ups. Standard aquariums were my first attempt. Although this "worked" , I was not satisfied with the ventilation only through the top of the tank. I was getting stagnate air, mold and bacteria soon formed on the lower branches and substrate . Cleaning was also a nightmare. Open air cages similar to large bird cages were also tested, and although these worked great in the summer months, heating the room in the winter left me with excessively dry air and sick Emeralds. I quickly realized this was not going to work.

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..... I began searching the market for other alternatives; and after a while, came to the realization that nobody had really given an arboreal cage design a lot of thought. I therefore set out to design my own arboreal set-up. I realized from my open air units that a front opening door would be more functional than that of the top access of an aquarium. Cleaning was also a major concern. The design had to be easy to clean, hence, the tray concept was born. With a water-tight tray in the bottom of each cage, I had a choice of substrates, ranging from a wood shaving to water. Side venting was incorporated along with a large vent at the top of each unit for additional heat was also worked into the design.

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.....These new features were tested on a prototype unit that a friend of mine helped me put together in his garage late one night. I knew after only a couple of days that this was what I had been looking for. The new unit was not only functional but aesthetically pleasing as well. The animal was clearly visible from many locations in the room, not just from in front of the unit. Although the design has been slightly refined and modified over the years, I still have, and use that first prototype unit in my facility to this day.

.....Heat tape is housed under the units and in the winter months is run at about 50-60% to raise the humidity level in the cages. I find it's a lot easier to try to control the humidity in the individual cages than to keep the whole room humidified. Salt water treated drift wood is used for the branches and thus gives the cage a naturalistic appearance.



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Tony Nicoli

Awesome Arboreals


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