Homemade incubator


8 Years
May 23, 2011
I'm making a homemade incubator out of a 10 gallon fish tank my husband had laying around. I was going to be heading out tomorrow to get a light/heat source for it and wondered if anyone who has made their own incubator could recommed which wattage bulb would be best to get the desired temperature.
Its a little more expensive but consider trying a reptile heating mat instead. I originally used a bulb in my home-made (25W btw) but then took it out and replaced it with a reptile heating mat and I now prefer that because it creates a more even heat. The light bulb worked great really, but I worried that the eggs nearest to it would get too hot while the eggs farthest from it might not get warm enough. The reptile heating mat (they come in different sizes) covers most of the base of my incubator so the whole incubator is at the same temp all the time.
with a homamade incubator you HAVe to get something to regulate the heat
just because it's 100 F one day doesnt mean it'll stay that way. with my first bator i used a wattage regulator also called a rheostat. they are so cheap, the one i got was $10 and i hatched 8 out of 10 eggs!!
I did a search for that. Do you just mean a rheostat switch? How does that hook up to the light?
You can make a rheostat for only a few dollars and a few supplies. I made several a few years ago (and I'm a woman who is very dense when it comes to anything electrical). I bought an electric "box", an electric outlet, and a light switch cover that includes a lamp dimmer switch. Hooked it up to an electric cord via those little plastic colorful screwy things (you stick the ends of the wires in and screw down the plastic thing until the wires are so jammed together they have to connect (and yes, that IS the technical term for the process
) and voila!

Having said that, I used a reptile thermostat for my home-made. I was lucky to have one sitting around from when I needed it for reptiles. I believe they are about $35 to purchase brand new, which would increase the overall cost of the home-made but is worth it in my opinion. I've heard so many people complain about difficulties keeping their incubator (both commercial and home-made) at a steady temp using hot water heater thermostats etc. A HW thermostat is around $10 and doesn't keep temp very stable by all accounts. The reptile thermostat is $25 more and keeps the temp extremely stable. It didn't seem to matter how much the temp in my house varied - the incubator temp was always exactly where I wanted it.

Oh - but the rheostats I made DID come in handy after the chicks were hatched. I used it for the brooder, where it was easy to turn the temperature up and down according to the chick's needs as they grew.

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