Barely eating

Joined
Oct 29, 2022
Messages
71
Location (City and/or State)
North Little Rock, Arkansas
So I've posted a few different things and now Megatron has lost some weight. She has lost 2 grams, weighs 131g now. She/he is about 7 months old.
We started off on the wrong foot. I have two other posts and thought we were finally on the right path. She/he has started eating but barely. Temps are on the warmer side. The basking spot is about 100F, opposite side of the basking is 89F, Middle is 84 and humidity hide and cool side is 82F.

I have an infrared heat temp gun to double check temps. Her humidity is 89-90 other then directly under the basking light.

I have been soaking twice a day for 30 minutes in the morning and 20 in the afternoon.

Food has been, mustard greens, prickly pear, kale, arugula, hibiscus flower, Christmas cactus flower, clovers, I added the Massuri pellets after they have been soaked. I've never seen her try them yet. I've tried a few other things but have been sticking to things she ate previously to try to get her to eat.

It's like she wants to eat but misses the food then gives up. She tried to take a bite a few times out of the cactus but I thought it was too thick so the next time I slice it in half to make it thinner. It's like she couldn't open her mouth wide enough.

Posting a video it's not the best but just maybe you can see what I'm talking about. Previously she would go straight for the hibiscus flower and I could even have her eat the prickly pear out of my hand.

 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
59,372
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
What are you using for UV? Is there any additional lighting other than the basking bulb?
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2022
Messages
71
Location (City and/or State)
North Little Rock, Arkansas
What are you using for UV? Is there any additional lighting other than the basking bulb?
I have the T5 Arcadia 12% it is 16 inches above her. No other lighting, although I did just buy a LED strip light that goes up to 6500. I did wonder if not having other lighting my be an issue. I have grow light next to her enclosure but I doubt it helps much.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
59,372
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I have the T5 Arcadia 12% it is 16 inches above her. No other lighting, although I did just buy a LED strip light that goes up to 6500. I did wonder if not having other lighting my be an issue. I have grow light next to her enclosure but I doubt it helps much.
You might be burning her eyes. The UV bulb is not meant to be a light source for 12 hours a day. It is far too strong for that. There is little UV in morning or afternoon sun. Each day starts at zero and the UV level starts ramping up mid to late morning, reaches a mid day high level, and then tapers off in the afternoon. There are a lot of day light hours on either end with little to no UV at all. Mid day summer UV levels all day every day is not good for them. With that as the only light source, it is even worse.

Also, 16 inches is too close for that tube. I run mine at about 20 inches away and get high UV readings from my meter. I run that same bulb and its on from about 11am to 2pm daily.

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.
What size is your enclosure?
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2022
Messages
71
Location (City and/or State)
North Little Rock, Arkansas
You might be burning her eyes. The UV bulb is not meant to be a light source for 12 hours a day. It is far too strong for that. There is little UV in morning or afternoon sun. Each day starts at zero and the UV level starts ramping up mid to late morning, reaches a mid day high level, and then tapers off in the afternoon. There are a lot of day light hours on either end with little to no UV at all. Mid day summer UV levels all day every day is not good for them. With that as the only light source, it is even worse.

Also, 16 inches is too close for that tube. I run mine at about 20 inches away and get high UV readings from my meter. I run that same bulb and its on from about 11am to 2pm daily.

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.
What size is your enclosure?
Thanks, the UVB light is only on for 2 hours in the afternoon. I'll raise it higher. I went by that height from a lighting FB group's recommendation.

I'm adding the LED lights tomorrow morning. This should help.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
59,372
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I went by that height from a lighting FB group's recommendation.
I have heard nothing but bad info out of those FB groups. Other than looking at a few pretty pictures, I would stay away from those people. They will steer you wrong.

I have the T5 Arcadia 12% it is 16 inches above her. No other lighting...
Here is your problem. Your tortoise is in the dark all day. This is not good for them and you are seeing the results. You mentioned a basking bulb in post number one. Those are not enough light, and the light they emit is usually around 2000-2500K, while you want 5000-6500K light for day time brightness.

What are you using for night heat?

What size is the enclosure?

You are doing okay with the diet, but you need more variety. Also, kale and mustard greens are both okay once in a while, but neither should be a staple. Favor endive and escarole for staples. Any grocery store greens need to be amended. Its fine to use any of the lettuces as a base, as long as you are adding amendments to improve the quality of the food. Good amendments include a wide variety of dried leaf options from @Kapidolo Farms , any of the soaked ZooMed pellets, soaked horse hay pellets, herbal hay from @TylerStewart at tortoisesupply.com, and Kapidolo Farms also has a fantastic opuntia flour that you can sprinkle on top for added calcium, flavor, variety, and an enticing smell that most tortoises love.

When spring rolls back around, take the time to learn your local weeds, flowers and leaves, as these make the best diet for your tortoise and they are absolutely free. Look for dandelions, sow thistles, thistle, mallow, broadleaf or narrow leaf plantain, and so many others. Grape vine leaves and mulberry leaves are also a great addition. Rose of Sharon will thrive in your climate and the leaves and flowers are great tortoise food. There are so many options that are better than expensive grocery store foods...
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2022
Messages
71
Location (City and/or State)
North Little Rock, Arkansas
I have heard nothing but bad info out of those FB groups. Other than looking at a few pretty pictures, I would stay away from those people. They will steer you wrong.


Here is your problem. Your tortoise is in the dark all day. This is not good for them and you are seeing the results. You mentioned a basking bulb in post number one. Those are not enough light, and the light they emit is usually around 2000-2500K, while you want 5000-6500K light for day time brightness.

What are you using for night heat?

What size is the enclosure?

You are doing okay with the diet, but you need more variety. Also, kale and mustard greens are both okay once in a while, but neither should be a staple. Favor endive and escarole for staples. Any grocery store greens need to be amended. Its fine to use any of the lettuces as a base, as long as you are adding amendments to improve the quality of the food. Good amendments include a wide variety of dried leaf options from @Kapidolo Farms , any of the soaked ZooMed pellets, soaked horse hay pellets, herbal hay from @TylerStewart at tortoisesupply.com, and Kapidolo Farms also has a fantastic opuntia flour that you can sprinkle on top for added calcium, flavor, variety, and an enticing smell that most tortoises love.

When spring rolls back around, take the time to learn your local weeds, flowers and leaves, as these make the best diet for your tortoise and they are absolutely free. Look for dandelions, sow thistles, thistle, mallow, broadleaf or narrow leaf plantain, and so many others. Grape vine leaves and mulberry leaves are also a great addition. Rose of Sharon will thrive in your climate and the leaves and flowers are great tortoise food. There are so many options that are better than expensive grocery store foods...
I just added 6500 LED strip lights. I put them closer to the tope of the enclosure should them be lower to brighten things up? The one FB group that looked like they knew what they were talking about 😞

I have many of the good weeds in my yard, up until two weeks ago most were still growing. I have rose of Sharon, I have hibiscus plants, they're in the house now under grow lights. clover, banana plant when it comes back in the spring, grape Vines, white mulberry trees. I have started dandelions in the house too. There's even kudzu or how ever it's spelled. I kept ripping it out and it comes back. So I guess that will also be in her diet I will add endive and escarole. I was going to buy them then she stopped eating and didn't want to turn her off even more. I will go get some today. I have the websites above booked marked and will be ordering seeds, and the flour sounds like a good idea.

Night time heat I have a heat panel on the top and a heat puppy blanket on the bottom. They are both on thermostat to watch and regulate. It never drops below 81. The enclosure is just a 50g bucket. I've ordered the expanded pvc panels to make a closed enclosure. I have the top of her bucket covered and it is keeping the temps and humidity nicely. Since I'm home all day I get to watch it closely.
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2022
Messages
71
Location (City and/or State)
North Little Rock, Arkansas
@Tom Where on earth do I find endive and escarole? Six stores and not a one carries it. I don't think they sell that stuff here. I'll have to order seeds I think. My husband never hear of it, but I could be slaughtering the pronunciation as I don't eat veggies so never looked for it before.
 

PollyAda

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2022
Messages
61
Location (City and/or State)
West Midlands, England
You might have better luck searching for chicory or radicchio in larger supermarkets if you can't find endive.


This might help distinguish between them:
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
59,372
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Joined
Oct 29, 2022
Messages
71
Location (City and/or State)
North Little Rock, Arkansas
You and me both! I only know all these plants because of the tortoises.



They sell it everywhere here. Maybe you could ask your favorite store to order it for you?
I'll have to check the Fresh Market, Sherwood, North Little Rock and Maumelle does not carry them or even know what it is. I'll have to drive to Little Rock.
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2022
Messages
71
Location (City and/or State)
North Little Rock, Arkansas
We are back to not eating. Megatron just wants to sleep. I started carrot baths again. Foods are all stuff she has been eating previously. I tried a few new things like Christmas cactus flowers, clovers, dandelions. She's not touching anything again. Last week we had a gain but now she lost 4 grams.

Temps are all good they have stayed consistent. 99 ish in the basking area. 83 on the cool side. Humidity is anywhere from 80 and up.
UVB light is one 3 hours a day and it is 20 inches from her shell. She has been staying out of the basking area lately too.

I offer her opuntia, kale and mustards greens with anything new as she was eating those pretty consistently. If I place her in one spot she has no issues getting up and moving to another.

Advice, vet time, I have no idea what next? I'm going to pick up Pedialyte tonight because why not.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
91,856
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
@Tom Where on earth do I find endive and escarole? Six stores and not a one carries it. I don't think they sell that stuff here. I'll have to order seeds I think. My husband never hear of it, but I could be slaughtering the pronunciation as I don't eat veggies so never looked for it before.
Go online and search for a store in your area that sells 'Santa Barbara Salad Mix.' Here in my area I get it at Smart and Final. Santa Barbara is endive, escarole and radichio.

I think you'll have better luck getting the baby to eat if you cut up the food in small pieces
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2022
Messages
71
Location (City and/or State)
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Go online and search for a store in your area that sells 'Santa Barbara Salad Mix.' Here in my area I get it at Smart and Final. Santa Barbara is endive, escarole and radichio.

I think you'll have better luck getting the baby to eat if you cut up the food in small pieces
Thanks, I'll look for it. I've been trying to find endive and escarole here but man all they seem to have is greens this greens that. I've been cutting her food up smaller. It was suggested to me earlier and I thought that solved it but back again at not eating.
 

New Posts

Top