Ultratherm FAQ

Ultratherm Undertank Heaters

Do I need to use a thermostat or rheostat?

Ultratherm under tank heaters, or "heat pads", use a low wattage density heat element. Essentially this means the element does not get very hot and uses very little electricity. Typically you can expect a surface temperature on these heaters to reach about 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit in an average room temperature. Just about perfect for a basking area for most captive reptiles. If you need to get a more precise, steady temperature regardless of room temperature fluctuations we suggest you use a thermostat. Unlike the flexwatt heat tape, thermostats are not typically required! Once you have installed the pad, monitor it carefully for a few days and check your temperatures!! You do not want any of your animals to get thermal burns and you are the only one who can ensure that your installation is correct!!! If you are seeing temps above 100 degrees you may need to consider a thermostat or rheostat. Generally this will only occur when the pad is used in a vivarium with other heat sources or in a warm room temperature.


Do these under tank heaters come assembled?

Yes, they are ready to plug in right out of the package.


How do you install Ultratherm heat pads?

Generally it is preferred they be installed underneath the vivarium, out of the way of chewing rodents, moisture, etc. This installation can be accomplished with several different types of tape (duct, packing, etc) or just placed under the tank. If you need to attach it in place we recommend a couple of small pieces of duct tape. When you use tape you can remove the pad later on and move it to a new cage. We really DO NOT like the adhesive backed pads available on the market-once they are stuck on it is very difficult to remove them later on. A nice gimmick to get you to buy more! These pads last a very long time- use that to your benefit.

Should you be using the heat pad with a wood or melamine cage you will likely need to install it inside the cage. In this application you can attach it to the floor with clear silicone, available in small tubes at about any hardware store or Walmart. Apply a thin bead of the silicone to the edges on one side of the pad (go all the way around) and "smush" it into place in the cage. We like to get it all the way to the rear or side of the cage so that as little of the cord is in the cage as possible. You may have to drill a hole in the cage first to get your cord through. Allow the silicone to dry for about 24 hours before introducing the animal. Installing the pad in this manner will prevent urine, feces, feeder insects, etc from getting underneath the pad.


Will this heater heat through my substrate? Can I place this directly on carpet or furniture?

Yes, but.............

The thicker the substrate the worse off you are. A thick layer of substrate will act as an insulator and cause your pad to get abnormally hot- even lead to failure. For these, or about any heater, to work consistently and effectively they need to be able to dissipate the heat they generate. Use thin layers of substrate and you will get much better results!!


DO NOT place a vivarium with a heat pad underneath it directly on carpet! You will not like the results. While unlikely to actually start a fire the pad can fail and melt or discolor your carpet. This does not smell all that great either. Similar to the substrate- you must allow the heat to dissipate and carpet does not allow that to happen. We like to use under tank heaters on hard surfaces. Also, while OK on hard furniture surfaces you may want to increase the air gap under the vivarium with small shims to let the heat dissipate. We have occasionally seen furniture discolor over time from the constant heat.