ReptiFiles was provided a free Toxirium 40″ x 17″ x 17″ Reptile PVC Enclosure in exchange for an honest review, whether positive or negative. The review below is our honest, unbiased opinion.
When you think of a PVC reptile enclosure, one of the things that probably first comes to mind is size. After all, there are already plenty of smaller glass enclosures for small reptiles. But the question of housing gets tricky for anything that needs a front-opening enclosure larger than 40 gallons, which is when most people turn to PVC enclosure manufacturers.
Here’s the thing, though: glass enclosures are heavy — even empty, you’re looking at 60 lbs of unwieldy weight. Because they’re made of glass, they’re also quite fragile. And need I mention that these enclosures can be expensive? You pay a pretty penny for the aesthetic. A glass front-opening 40 gallon terrarium will typically run you anywhere between $240-$350.
PVC enclosures, by contrast, are known for being lightweight, strong, durable, and relatively affordable. They also hold heat well, which is a notorious weak point for glass enclosures.
Granted, glass has plenty of advantages, and PVC has its fair share of disadvantages. But with the above points in mind, it brings up an important question: Why aren’t smaller PVC enclosures more popular?
This is a topic I’ve wanted to explore for a while, so when Reptiz got in touch with me several months ago about contributing a couple of enclosures for review, I got my opportunity!
Who’s Toxirium? Toxirium (formerly known as Reptiz) is a very new reptile enclosure manufacturer just barely stepping into the American reptile housing market. Based in China, they claim to offer “ingenious,” “very durable,” and “high quality” reptile enclosures at budget prices.
Of course, anytime there’s a product being advertised for significantly cheaper than its competition, quality gets called into question. That’s where I come in. Is the Toxirium 40″ x 17″ x 17″ Reptile PVC Enclosure worth the skepticism, or is it actually hidden treasure?
- 39” x 16” x 16” = 44 gallon capacity
- White PVC panels
- Lightweight aluminum frame with black accents
- Acrylic sliding doors with door knobs
- Stackable with spacers
- Ships flat
- Tool-free assembly
- $50 shipping to the US
- Advertised as suitable for small reptiles
After waiting about two weeks for shipping, the Toxirium 40″ x 17″ x 17″ Reptile PVC Enclosure arrived on my doorstep in large, flat cardboard box. It was a little dinged up (honestly, that’s about the best you can expect when ordering a large package internationally), but not significantly damaged.
Upon opening the box and making a quick inspection, I found everything intact and well secured for shipment. However I did notice a significant amount of dust, and there were what looked like dirty fingerprints and smears on some of the panels. Fortunately, the acrylic doors were covered with protective film.
Aside from dust/dirt, a quick examination of the panels also revealed a few gray-colored scrapes and many tiny dents. This is one of the potential disadvantages of white PVC panels, and I would have liked to see them in better condition right out of the box.
The connectors show the strain of being tightly fitted to the frame during manufacturing, as they’re a little rough and frayed and could use some sanding. The frame also showed signs of wear, surprisingly. Many of the pieces were covered in scuffmarks — the kind that I would expect to see on a used enclosure, but definitely not something new out of the box.
Although the enclosure is advertised as not requiring any tools for assembly, there was still a double-faced soft mallet included in the box! I thought this was a very thoughtful addition, as in my experience, “tool-free” enclosures still benefit from the use of a hammer.
I was able to clean most of the dirt and smudges off the panels fairly easily with a gentle cleaner. The scuffs on the frame, as well as the scuffmarks on the panels, did not come off. Fortunately neither are clearly visible unless you’re looking for them.
I started assembly with the bottom piece, which actually came pre-assembled. It also had arrow stickers to indicate which side should be facing up, which is something that I’m always a fan of. Labels are always useful! (as long as they leave minimal residue, which they did)
From there, assembling the rest of the enclosure was straightforward enough without instructions, but it’s a good thing I have assembled this type of enclosure before. I imagine that someone with no experience would encounter some difficulty.
There is an extra track on the lower front part of the frame which appears to have no function. Weird, but at least it’s not harmful. There is also a track missing on the frame pieces for the sides on the front of the enclosure, which made installing the second door at the same time as the top tricky and a little frustrating.
Once the enclosure’s been cleaned and put together, it’s not a bad little terrarium!
There are many elements about the design of the Toxirium 40″ x 17″ x 17″ Reptile PVC Enclosure that I appreciate:
- The top and bottom of the enclosure come pre-assembled, making assembly faster and easier. It also helps ensure that the enclosure gets put together properly.
- The enclosure features a full mesh top. Full mesh tops are still rare in PVC enclosures, and I wish they were more common just for the sheer convenience of being able to place lamps without committing to the arrangement. The screen top had no wires poking out anywhere and was reasonably tightly fitted.
- The mesh is reasonably strong. It’s not as sturdy as Zen Habitats or Maximum Reptile, but it’s certainly sturdier than the flimsy stuff that comes with front-opening Exo Terra and Zoo Med enclosures. I have been able to place relatively heavy objects (ex: gallon of water) on top of the screen without visible signs of excess strain. I can’t say whether the enclosure is cat-proof, however.
- There are also vents in the side panels. You can tell that this thing was designed for excellent ventilation! Each side has a grid of 36, 1.5” long horizontal slats. The slats start at about 5.5” up from the base, which means that substrate is unlikely to spill out.
- There is a 4” tall substrate guard/tray. This is one of those features that I consider absolutely essential in a reptile enclosure, because it facilitates deep substrate layers for either bioactive setups or simply to allow the reptile a chance to dig and burrow (which many like to do!).
- These enclosures are designed to be securely stackable. Each of the four corners on the top as well as the base have little cutouts to accommodate the insertion of spacers. If you don’t plan to stack the enclosure, it comes with eight little caps that attractively cover the holes.
- When empty, this enclosure is extremely lightweight. It weighs about 12lbs and feels like less! That’s a huge difference compared to the fact that the average glass 40 gallon weighs about 60lbs.
Other notes I made about this enclosure:
- The PVC panels are thin and very flimsy by themselves. They bend easily when pressure is exerted, but resist breaking very well. Because the panels are stabilized by a frame, the flimsiness doesn’t seem to present much of a problem for the functionality of the enclosure.
- Because the PVC is white and fairly soft, I expect that these panels are likely to be easily scratched, stained, and dented with normal use, substantially reducing the enclosure’s potential for longevity.
- The doors slide open/closed easily and quietly, and the doorknobs are convenient for access.
- The doors can’t be popped in/out for routine cleaning or maintenance. Considering that all of my sliding door enclosures have this feature, which has been very convenient in my experience, I have to say that this fact is a bit of an annoyance.
- This enclosure offers 624 in2 of floor space. This is 24 square inches less space than a standard 36” x 18” x 18” 40 gallon enclosure. It’s not much of a difference, but it’s still a difference. (Fun fact: the average 36” x 18” x 18” enclosure actually has a 50 gallon capacity, not 40, according to Tankarium.)
- Comparative readings with a Solarmeter 6.5 revealed that the mesh blocks approximately 46% of UVB. Considering that this enclosure is too short to really accommodate UVB mounted on the inside, once would have to reduce the recommended distance between lamp and basking area by about half to achieve optimal results without using a Solarmeter 6.5. Using a Solarmeter is highly recommended to make sure your reptile is getting the amount of UVB that it needs.
Things I Liked About the Toxirium 40″ x 17″ x 17″ Reptile PVC Enclosure
- Low price
- Straightforward assembly
- Full mesh top
- Reasonably strong mesh
- Ventilation slats on sides
- Aluminum frame adds stability
- Relatively deep substrate tray
- Doors are quiet and easy to use
- Doors tuck into the frame to help prevent escape
- White panels reflect light, resulting in a brighter interior
- Pieces fit tightly together
- Extremely lightweight
Things I Didn’t Like About the Toxirium 40″ x 17″ x 17″ Reptile PVC Enclosure
- Product arrived dirty and minorly damaged
- PVC panels are soft and easily damaged
- White color gets easily discolored
- Needs assembly instructions
Conclusion: Passable in a Pinch, but Doesn't Age Well
Conclusion update — August 2022:
It’s been over two years since I reviewed this enclosure, and since then I have been using it to keep a small colony of ocellated skinks. I’ll be perfectly honest with you: this enclosure…has not aged well. While I was satisfied enough with it at first, the last two years of use have revealed some annoying and downright concerning flaws:
- The doors are impossible to replace — at least, not without pulling the entire enclosure apart and rebuilding it. Once the doors have become scratched and cloudy (which happens very easily), you’ll just have to live with it, because replacing with glass or new acrylic is not an option.
- The ventilation slats are too large. At first I thought these ventilation slats are a genius idea. Now I realize that mesh inserts or similar would have been a better idea, because they are large enough to allow CUC, feeder insects, and even baby ocellated skinks to escape!
- Loose construction. Somehow the floor panel has come loose from its frame, and now it leaks substrate every time the enclosure is moved! I suspect that silicone sealant could have helped improve the longevity of the build, but moving the enclosure would inevitably pop the sealant loose.
For the reasons outlined above, I have revised my previous ReptiFiles Rating of 4 stars to 2 stars. At a listed price of now $249 USD as of 2022, this enclosure’s lackluster function and longevity makes it not worth the buy.
My advice for using this product:
- Reduce the recommended distance for using UVB bulbs by about half to compensate for mesh blockage.
- To prepare this enclosure for a bioactive or humid setup, seal the seams with additive-free 100% silicone sealant to help prevent leaking.
- Don’t use anything even mildly abrasive on the acrylic doors, as this will scratch and cloud them.
- Cover the ventilation slats with window mesh/screen to prevent escapes.
- Avoid moving/shifting the enclosure as much as possible.
Are you a reptile product manufacturer with an awesome new product that you want the world to know about?
Reach out to Mariah at email@example.com to pitch your product for review!
Yes, DIY is almost always the most affordable option when it comes to reptile housing. However keep in mind that there are many people who do not have the time, skills, tools, or interest in DIY. Furthermore, converting a used glass tank to front-opening presents its own set of problems, including the fact that UVB lighting and overhead heating can’t be used with this option and ventilation becomes severely limited.
With the shipping cost, you are saving approximately $20.. It seems like getting a used tank from any of the multitude of places to find them, and converting it to front opening yourself would be a much better option.