Aldabra enclosures

incognet

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So... progress is being made on the enclosure. I should have lights/heating ordered soon; this design has undergone multiple revisions since the weekend. I'm talking with Bob of Pro Products (about radiant heat panel), and members of the Reptile Lighting FB group.

These fixtures are important, but I also need sensors (humidity and temperature) for both reptile enclosures. My boxie has several temp probes in/around her tank, but humidity is just being inferred since I discontinued use of reptile fogger (with bundled hydrometer). We don't have a laser temp gun... yet.

Based on what I've read here (and elsewhere on the interwebs), it seems like SensorPush brand products are my best option for remote humidity and temperature monitoring.

EtekCity brand (which I'm already familiar with from digital scale purchase) Lasergrip 1260 is one of the better laser temp guns, and I see earlier models being recommended by knowledgeable people on this forum. Do the contents of my shopping cart pass muster, or have I overlooked something?
 

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incognet

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UPDATE: The enclosure plants arrived yesterday! Tripple Brook Farm (of Massachusetts) is one of the few no-spray nurseries that I've found online. Apryl and Joe are great people to do business with; we received multiple tortoise-safe freebies.

As for the enclosure, it's been thoroughly cleaned and will migrate to solarium in a few days. We just need to address a sliding glass door that's blocking our path.

In other news, we ordered the SensorPush bundle and laser temp gun through Amazon. They'll arrive soon.
 

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Tom

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UPDATE: The enclosure plants arrived yesterday! Tripple Brook Farm (of Massachusetts) is one of the few no-spray nurseries that I've found online. Apryl and Joe are great people to do business with; we received multiple tortoise-safe freebies.

As for the enclosure, it's been thoroughly cleaned and will migrate to solarium in a few days. We just need to address a sliding glass door that's blocking our path.

In other news, we ordered the SensorPush bundle and laser temp gun through Amazon. They'll arrive soon.
Its not the insecticide sprays that you have to worry about. It is the required systemic pesticides in the soil that cause the problem. These toxins are taken up into the plant's tissues and cannot be rinsed off. It takes weeks or months for it to clear after replanting.

Many of the people selling the plants do not know about these toxins. There is a small nursery near me that also sells bees and bee-keeping equipment and they are very proud to advertise that none of their plants are sprayed, and they use no insecticides, and all the plants they sell are safe for the bees and other insects. I went in to get some plants for a couple of planted terrariums that I was making, and I started asking the employee what the source was for these plants and if they did not have the systemic pesticides in the soil. The guy had no idea what I was talking about, and the owner over heard us talking and came out of the back room to join in the conversation. I explained the federal laws to her and her employee, and since it was the weekend, she told me she'd call her supplier on Monday. She called me back on Monday afternoon and was sorry to tell me that I was right. All the wholesalers that sell plants to all the retailers are required to use these toxins. Most of the retailers don't even know about it. The only way around this would be if the people are propagating all of their own plants in-house and getting away with not using the toxic soil. Its not practical or reasonable for a retailer to propagate all of their own stuff. They buy it from wholesalers like most every other business.

Sorry to bring you potentially bad news, but it would be a real bummer to find out the other way...
 

Big Charlie

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Its not the insecticide sprays that you have to worry about. It is the required systemic pesticides in the soil that cause the problem. These toxins are taken up into the plant's tissues and cannot be rinsed off. It takes weeks or months for it to clear after replanting.

Many of the people selling the plants do not know about these toxins. There is a small nursery near me that also sells bees and bee-keeping equipment and they are very proud to advertise that none of their plants are sprayed, and they use no insecticides, and all the plants they sell are safe for the bees and other insects. I went in to get some plants for a couple of planted terrariums that I was making, and I started asking the employee what the source was for these plants and if they did not have the systemic pesticides in the soil. The guy had no idea what I was talking about, and the owner over heard us talking and came out of the back room to join in the conversation. I explained the federal laws to her and her employee, and since it was the weekend, she told me she'd call her supplier on Monday. She called me back on Monday afternoon and was sorry to tell me that I was right. All the wholesalers that sell plants to all the retailers are required to use these toxins. Most of the retailers don't even know about it. The only way around this would be if the people are propagating all of their own plants in-house and getting away with not using the toxic soil. Its not practical or reasonable for a retailer to propagate all of their own stuff. They buy it from wholesalers like most every other business.

Sorry to bring you potentially bad news, but it would be a real bummer to find out the other way...
Does potting soil have these pesticides?
 

Tom

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Does potting soil have these pesticides?
No. Not necessarily, but some of them do and it should say that on the bag. What I have been told by several people in the nursery business is that this is federally required to protect the agricultural industries, and also to ensure the plants make it to market looking healthy and bug free.
 

jaizei

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I explained the federal laws to her and her employee, and since it was the weekend, she told me she'd call her supplier on Monday. She called me back on Monday afternoon and was sorry to tell me that I was right. All the wholesalers that sell plants to all the retailers are required to use these toxins. Most of the retailers don't even know about it. The only way around this would be if the people are propagating all of their own plants in-house and getting away with not using the toxic soil. Its not practical or reasonable for a retailer to propagate all of their own stuff. They buy it from wholesalers like most every other business.

Can you explain these federal laws requiring the use of systemic pesticides to me? Preferably with a citation to the CFR since I like to read the text myself.

No. Not necessarily, but some of them do and it should say that on the bag. What I have been told by several people in the nursery business is that this is federally required to protect the agricultural industries, and also to ensure the plants make it to market looking healthy and bug free.

How do you know what you were told by these people was accurate? Did you confirm the veracity of what they told you before repeating it as fact?
 

incognet

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Its not the insecticide sprays that you have to worry about. It is the required systemic pesticides in the soil that cause the problem. These toxins are taken up into the plant's tissues and cannot be rinsed off. It takes weeks or months for it to clear after replanting.

Many of the people selling the plants do not know about these toxins. There is a small nursery near me that also sells bees and bee-keeping equipment and they are very proud to advertise that none of their plants are sprayed, and they use no insecticides, and all the plants they sell are safe for the bees and other insects. I went in to get some plants for a couple of planted terrariums that I was making, and I started asking the employee what the source was for these plants and if they did not have the systemic pesticides in the soil. The guy had no idea what I was talking about, and the owner over heard us talking and came out of the back room to join in the conversation. I explained the federal laws to her and her employee, and since it was the weekend, she told me she'd call her supplier on Monday. She called me back on Monday afternoon and was sorry to tell me that I was right. All the wholesalers that sell plants to all the retailers are required to use these toxins. Most of the retailers don't even know about it. The only way around this would be if the people are propagating all of their own plants in-house and getting away with not using the toxic soil. Its not practical or reasonable for a retailer to propagate all of their own stuff. They buy it from wholesalers like most every other business.

Sorry to bring you potentially bad news, but it would be a real bummer to find out the other way...
It would be tragic to accidentally poison a pet. I've written off several retail nurseries because of issues (pesticide, herbicide and disease) with 3rd-party wholesale stock. Most recently, we received thornless blackberry with incurable orange rust. Another retailer neglected to mention broad spectrum insecticide used on butterfly bushes he sold us. I was especially concerned about neonicotinoids like Imidacloprid, but Tripple Brook doesn't use them.

TB propagates their own stuff (afaik). Joe mentioned this on website and phone conversation we had a few weeks ago. What I received appears to be field-grown; the bamboo was shipped bare-root, and every plant has residual MA soil on root hairs.
 

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incognet

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UPDATE: I had unforseen problems moving the AP enclosure; our sliding glass door has a stationary panel that wouldn't budge. The best option was a full teardown & reassembly of the enclosure in sunroom. We also applied fresh aquarium sealant, which should be fully cured in 3-4 days.

Every day brings another delivery via UPS or FedEx. Some are packaged more securely than others. Thankfully, none of the plants that we received from Josh's Frogs were damaged or wilted.
 

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incognet

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UPDATE: I've fallen behind schedule, thanks to heat and holiday plans, but should have this enclosure finished by next week. We finally settled on a repurposed doghouse as best interim hide. Only the upper half (not floor) will be needed indoors, but that may change once lil' tort moves outside.

All the plants which I've mentioned should be washed and re-potted tomorrow afternoon. Our main priority today was light installation.
 

incognet

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UPDATE: The enclosure is basically finished now. All hardware, substrate and rocks are in place; some plants will be added this weekend (I had to order small hanging pots from Amazon). I'm also searching for a hollow log (preferably natural) to put in vacant space of rear LH quadrant.

We still need to choose a washbowl. I have mixed feelings about using unglazed terra cotta, but found multiple food-safe glass dishes/trays which may be appropriate. My box turtle soaks in a paint roller tray... so maybe that's another possibility to consider for young Aldabra (?)
 

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Tom

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We still need to choose a washbowl. I have mixed feelings about using unglazed terra cotta, but found multiple food-safe glass dishes/trays which may be appropriate.
What are your mixed feeling about? Glass and plastic are too slippery. Everything about the terra cotta saucers works perfectly. I've been using 100s of them for decades for all species, sizes and ages. Well... that's not entirely true. The giant species outgrow the largest terra cotta saucers and I have to use other things for them, but their babies start with terra cotta...
 

incognet

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What are your mixed feeling about? Glass and plastic are too slippery. Everything about the terra cotta saucers works perfectly. I've been using 100s of them for decades for all species, sizes and ages. Well... that's not entirely true. The giant species outgrow the largest terra cotta saucers and I have to use other things for them, but their babies start with terra cotta...
If I remember correctly, unglazed terra cotta is porous and difficult.to sterilize. While human food safety guidelines may not be strictly applicable here, I generally scrub pet bowls every day. Some are textured plastic, and more difficult to clean (less slippery though).

I'm also worried about chemicals leaching into water. Pennington (most common terra cotta brand in my area) claims their product doesn't contain lead, but I can't get a firm answer about other heavy metals.

One flytrap keeper recently measured the TDS contribution of crushed terra cotta to rainwater. 122ppm is still considered "excellent" for drinking purposes. I suspect that TDS value could be much higher for a saucer left in reptile enclosure 24/7. Maybe I'm over-thinking this?
 

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Tom

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If I remember correctly, unglazed terra cotta is porous and difficult.to sterilize. While human food safety guidelines may not be strictly applicable here, I generally scrub pet bowls every day. Some are textured plastic, and more difficult to clean (less slippery though).

I'm also worried about chemicals leaching into water. Pennington (most common terra cotta brand in my area) claims their product doesn't contain lead, but I can't get a firm answer about other heavy metals.

One flytrap keeper recently measured the TDS contribution of crushed terra cotta to rainwater. 122ppm is still considered "excellent" for drinking purposes. I suspect that TDS value could be much higher for a saucer left in reptile enclosure 24/7. Maybe I'm over-thinking this?
You are over thinking this. I use them for brand new hatchings and have for decades. Those hatchings grow up and make their own hatchlings. The canary in the coal mine is alive and well.

There is no need to sterilize tortoise water bowls ever. They drink from turd filled, mosquito infested, mud puddles in the wild. Mammal feces makes up some percentage of the diet of at least some wild tortoises, and probably most of them. A routine of dump, rinse and refill is all that is needed. I don't even bother to remove the algae most of the time. If you could see and smell the mud puddles that my tortoises make and lay in all day in this summer heat...

When they poop and pee in their food bowls, a simple plastic bristled scrub brush is all that is needed. I have extra saucers, so I let their scrubbed bowls dry in the sun. Water bowls seldom get scrubbed. I just wipe them out with my fingers and rinse them before refilling.
 

dd33

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I have found that some of the terracotta saucers have a crappier glaze than others. The ones that are more porous can get a bit stinky but leaving them out in the sun for a day will fix that. Or just replace them with one that has a better quality finish.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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I have had problems with one unglazed porus terracotta saucer emptying out by draining into the surrounding substrate, but otherwise I have had no problems.
 

incognet

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You are over thinking this. I use them for brand new hatchings and have for decades. Those hatchings grow up and make their own hatchlings. The canary in the coal mine is alive and well.

There is no need to sterilize tortoise water bowls ever. They drink from turd filled, mosquito infested, mud puddles in the wild. Mammal feces makes up some percentage of the diet of at least some wild tortoises, and probably most of them. A routine of dump, rinse and refill is all that is needed. I don't even bother to remove the algae most of the time. If you could see and smell the mud puddles that my tortoises make and lay in all day in this summer heat...

When they poop and pee in their food bowls, a simple plastic bristled scrub brush is all that is needed. I have extra saucers, so I let their scrubbed bowls dry in the sun. Water bowls seldom get scrubbed. I just wipe them out with my fingers and rinse them before refilling.
I'm convinced, thanks. We're going to use some unglazed Pennington brand saucers.
 

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incognet

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UPDATE: This enclosure is ready for a new tenant. I hung two spider plants from LumenIZE chain and scattered grass seed (African grazer mix) over the substrate. We also have some herbs (mint, cilantro, thyme) and self heal to add. 👨‍🌾
 

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Tom

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I have had problems with one unglazed porus terracotta saucer emptying out by draining into the surrounding substrate, but otherwise I have had no problems.
I call those seepers. I get one of those about every 10 or 20. I just use them for food instead of water.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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I call those seepers. I get one of those about every 10 or 20. I just use them for food instead of water.
Yeah, I stopped using it and bought another one from a diffrent brand just to make sure. Maybe it wasn't the brand, maybe it was just a "Monday piece" as we a´say here in Finland 😁
 
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