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beginner's problems

Vilt

New Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2019
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20
Location (City and/or State)
Lithuania
Hi, I'm kind of panicking, because everything seems to be going wrong..
Today while I was giving him a little bath, I noticed his eyes were swollen...
I'm also VERY scared that he might start pyramiding, because where I live it's very cold and i' m not able to give him a varied diet of weeds and grasses.. his current foods are easter grass growing in his enclosure which he doesnt seem to be eating so i cut it into his bowl, fresh fenugreek, lambs lettuce and a hay mix from the pet store that he doesnt even touch.. i add a little calcium or vitamins depending on the day.
Another problem is that he keeps eating the moss in his hide.
He seems less energetic too..
Also would the plastic lid melt if i cut holes a bit smaller than the size of the dome lamps and placed them on top ?
I' m worried about the pyramiding from the lack of humidity.20200113_211852.jpg 20200113_212347.jpg 20200113_211912.jpg 20200113_211852.jpg
thanks in advance !
 

tedthetortoise2

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Nov 27, 2019
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Well, I do have a solution to the pyramiding. To prevent it and add more humidity, spray your enclosure down with a squirt bottle and mix the substrate once and a while. Make sure to have a gauge to measure it as well.
 

wellington

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If hes eating the moss remove it. It could be dangerous to his insides.
Yes you can cut the plastic lid as you mentioned. Just line the rim of the plastic with tin foil. The tin foil will prevent the plastic from melting. I have done this several times and never a problem. The humidity is the bigger cause of pyramiding along with using a mercury vapor bulb.
 

Vilt

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Dec 27, 2019
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20
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Lithuania
Thank you! the thing is I spray it like 7 times a day, sometimes I spill some water on the grass and in the corners but the humidity just stays low, so I figured I'd use the lid :) would 2 baths a day for the hatchling be too much? he sometimes has trouble opening his eyes or something's stuck around them so I try to wash it off..
 

Vilt

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Dec 27, 2019
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20
Location (City and/or State)
Lithuania
If hes eating the moss remove it. It could be dangerous to his insides.
Yes you can cut the plastic lid as you mentioned. Just line the rim of the plastic with tin foil. The tin foil will prevent the plastic from melting. I have done this several times and never a problem. The humidity is the bigger cause of pyramiding along with using a mercury vapor bulb.
The mercury vapor bulb is heat UVA and UVB together right? I' m using it right now.. What should I use instead??
 

Lyn W

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I use an mvb for my leopard tort but he is much bigger and has a whole heated room to himself with other basking lamps and a che for night and extra heat when needed.
I struggle with humidity in his room but although he had pyramiding when I first got him but I think I have stopped it getting worse by warm soaking him most days.
I was advised that right temps + humidity = healthy tort but too cold + humidity = sick tort so make sure your temps are right.

Many people prefer the uvb tubes with other heat sources, they will be able to tell you the best sort to use but the mvb best suits my electricity supply at the moment.

Are you using a clamp for your mvb? It would be better if was hanging as clamps have been known to fail and cause fires and the tort isn't getting the full benefit of the bulb while it is at an angle. It is also easier to adjust temps by raising or lowering it.
Can you post some more pics of the whole of your enclosure without the lid and also show us the bulb?
If it is a coiled type of bulb then that could be causing the problem with his eyes as they have been known to damage tort eyes.
Also what do you use for night heat?

What species is he? The caresheet will tell you all about diet temps humidity and substrate etc.
In the UK I also have trouble accessing weeds at this time of year and have to resort to shop bought salad mixes like Florette Classic Crispy Mix which has a good nix of leaves including lambs lettuce. There are cheaper packs in shops like Aldi if you have stores in your country.
Lettuces like iceberg and little gem don't have much nutritional value but there are better alternatives like Romaine, Radicchio, Lollo Rosso, Frisee.
My tort also has Pak Choi and Kale and Spring Greens but they are part of varied diet so not fed everyday. Have a look www.thetortoisetable.org.uk to check for safe vegetables and other plants.
I soak all his leaves to rehydrate them before feeding.
My tort is a grass eater so I finely grind Readigrass in a blender and sprinkle some onto wet salad leaves to add fibre. I also add a pinch of calcium a couple of times a week and the same for vits (Nutrabal)
Hope that helps a little.
 

Tom

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Hi, I'm kind of panicking, because everything seems to be going wrong..
Today while I was giving him a little bath, I noticed his eyes were swollen...
I'm also VERY scared that he might start pyramiding, because where I live it's very cold and i' m not able to give him a varied diet of weeds and grasses.. his current foods are easter grass growing in his enclosure which he doesnt seem to be eating so i cut it into his bowl, fresh fenugreek, lambs lettuce and a hay mix from the pet store that he doesnt even touch.. i add a little calcium or vitamins depending on the day.
Another problem is that he keeps eating the moss in his hide.
He seems less energetic too..
Also would the plastic lid melt if i cut holes a bit smaller than the size of the dome lamps and placed them on top ?
I' m worried about the pyramiding from the lack of humidity.
thanks in advance !
Your species of tortoise is not a grass eating species. You can skip the hay and grass.

Try to find endive and escarole at the store. These are the best. Can you get Zoomed Grassland or Forest tortoise pellets there? If yes, soak a pellet and mix that in with the endive and escarole for more variety and fiber.

How about Mazuri? Can you get that? Original formula.

What are your four temps? Warm side, cool side, basking area, and overnight low?

Humidity is not that critical for this species. Damp substate and a humid hide should do it.

Lots of tips here:
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer for 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. You can mount a fixture on the ceiling, or hang a dome lamp from the ceiling. Go lower or higher wattage if this makes the enclosure too hot or not warm enough. Do not use "spot" bulbs, mercury vapor bulbs or halogen bulbs.
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. Unless your house gets unusually cold at night, you can skip this step for a Russian or other Testudo species. Night lows above 60 require no night heat for Testudo species.
  3. Light. I use florescent tubes for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. I've been using LEDs lately and they are great, and run cooler than a florescent. This can be set on the same timer as the basking bulb. If your tortoises room is already adequately lit, you don't need this one either.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside in a safe secure enclosure for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. It helps to have a UV meter to test and see what your bulb is actually putting out at your mounting height. Plexi-glass or screen tops will filter out some or all of the UV produced by your bulb. Regular "T 8" type UV tubes produce hardly any UV. CFL type UV bulbs are also ineffective, and sometimes dangerous, and should not be used.
More info:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
 

Vilt

New Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
20
Location (City and/or State)
Lithuania
Your species of tortoise is not a grass eating species. You can skip the hay and grass.

Try to find endive and escarole at the store. These are the best. Can you get Zoomed Grassland or Forest tortoise pellets there? If yes, soak a pellet and mix that in with the endive and escarole for more variety and fiber.

How about Mazuri? Can you get that? Original formula.

What are your four temps? Warm side, cool side, basking area, and overnight low?

Humidity is not that critical for this species. Damp substate and a humid hide should do it.

Lots of tips here:
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer for 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. You can mount a fixture on the ceiling, or hang a dome lamp from the ceiling. Go lower or higher wattage if this makes the enclosure too hot or not warm enough. Do not use "spot" bulbs, mercury vapor bulbs or halogen bulbs.
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. Unless your house gets unusually cold at night, you can skip this step for a Russian or other Testudo species. Night lows above 60 require no night heat for Testudo species.
  3. Light. I use florescent tubes for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. I've been using LEDs lately and they are great, and run cooler than a florescent. This can be set on the same timer as the basking bulb. If your tortoises room is already adequately lit, you don't need this one either.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside in a safe secure enclosure for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. It helps to have a UV meter to test and see what your bulb is actually putting out at your mounting height. Plexi-glass or screen tops will filter out some or all of the UV produced by your bulb. Regular "T 8" type UV tubes produce hardly any UV. CFL type UV bulbs are also ineffective, and sometimes dangerous, and should not be used.
More info:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
The temperatures are: basking- about 30°C- 86 degrees
cool side - about 25°C -77degrees
warm side- about 27°C-80 degrees
at night my room drops to 19°C so i bought a black night bulb and now it's 22°C- 71 degrees
i have two bulbs set up
repti-planet solar UVA UVB all in one 125W
repti-planet night heat 75W
should i order mazuri or zoomed forest? l'm ordering from Ebay, so it'll take some time before i get it.
i'll put the plastic lid on with cut out holes and rimmed with tin foil for the bulbs to keep the heat and humidity closed.
I bought a salad mix (picture below)is it fine to feed it? Thanks so much for the help!
20200114_194829.jpg 20200114_194829.jpg 20200114_194328.jpg 20200114_190518.jpg 20200114_190654.jpg should i remove the grass growing in the enclosure?
 

Attachments

Tom

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  • Basking temp needs to be around 36-37 all day.
  • Other temps all look good.
  • I prefer a Ceramic Heating Element over the black bulbs, but use what you can get.
  • The ZooMed food is the right stuff.
  • The Mazuri is the wrong stuff. You want the original. 5M21 is the code for it. The one you found is okay, but some torts don't care much for it.
  • We call that salad mix "spring mix". Its okay as part of the diet, but add in these other things we've been talking about to "amend" it. Best to use mostly endive and escarole, with spring mix, cilantro, kale, collard, mustard and turnip greens for variety once in a while.
  • The "All-in-one" mercury vapor bulbs will cause pyramiding. The items I linked in the previous post are my preferred way to go.
  • You will never solve the heat and humidity problem with the lights on the outside. You need to buy or build something different and get all that stuff inside the enclosure. You will need much smaller bulbs once you do this. A 125 watt MVB will over heat even a large closed chamber.
Your questions and conversation is welcome. Please ask for more explanation is anything isn't clear.
 

Vilt

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Dec 27, 2019
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Location (City and/or State)
Lithuania
  • Basking temp needs to be around 36-37 all day.
  • Other temps all look good.
  • I prefer a Ceramic Heating Element over the black bulbs, but use what you can get.
  • The ZooMed food is the right stuff.
  • The Mazuri is the wrong stuff. You want the original. 5M21 is the code for it. The one you found is okay, but some torts don't care much for it.
  • We call that salad mix "spring mix". Its okay as part of the diet, but add in these other things we've been talking about to "amend" it. Best to use mostly endive and escarole, with spring mix, cilantro, kale, collard, mustard and turnip greens for variety once in a while.
  • The "All-in-one" mercury vapor bulbs will cause pyramiding. The items I linked in the previous post are my preferred way to go.
  • You will never solve the heat and humidity problem with the lights on the outside. You need to buy or build something different and get all that stuff inside the enclosure. You will need much smaller bulbs once you do this. A 125 watt MVB will over heat even a large closed chamber.
Your questions and conversation is welcome. Please ask for more explanation is anything isn't clear.
How do you install the HO fluorescent tube inside the enclosure? I'm afraid i might not be able to fit one inside..
and also should the flood bulb be in a corner with a thermometer near or in the middle of the enclosure?
I' ll try to build or somehow set up a new enclosure in spring/ summer.
Just a question- how do people maintain humidity and heat in long open tortoise tables ?
20200114_214000.jpg Could i use this bulb? 65W soft flood light.
I couldn't find 5M21 formula for sale, i bought the zoomed forest :)
 
Last edited:

Tom

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How do you install the HO fluorescent tube inside the enclosure? I'm afraid i might not be able to fit one inside..
and also should the flood bulb be in a corner with a thermometer near or in the middle of the enclosure?
I' ll try to build or somehow set up a new enclosure in spring/ summer.
Just a question- how do people maintain humidity and heat in long open tortoise tables ? Could i use this bulb? 65W soft flood light.
I couldn't find 5M21 formula for sale, i bought the zoomed forest :)
  • They make the HO UV tubes in a variety of sizes from 22" up to 46". Get the one that fits in your enclosure. If a 22" tube doesn't fit in your enclosure, then your enclosure is too small. These bulbs make strong UV. Mount them at least 18" over the tortoise and I only run mine for about 3 hours mid day.
  • Basking bulb (flood) should be over to one side. Your tortoise can go lay under it when it wants, and move away from it once he/she feels warm enough.
  • People don't maintain heat and humidity in open tables. That is why I say not to use them for babies. Those only work when the ambient room conditions are suitable for the individual tortoise living in it. For example, adult Testudo who are already grown are fine in open topped enclosures where room temp is 70-ish and conditions are fairly dry. A humid hide, and a basking area are enough to suit them. A baby needs things a little warmer and a little more humid.
  • Is the bulb you found a 65 watt "replacement LED"? Or is it a 65 watt incandescent? You need one that makes heat and LEDs don't make heat.

I forgot about your grass question in the previous post: What are the little white flecks in the soil you are using? It looks like perlite, and that will kill your tortoise eventually. The grass is fine, but I think you need to replace that soil ASAP. I don't recommend soil as a tortoise substrate. One reason is because of those kinds of additives that always seem to be present.
 

Vilt

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Dec 27, 2019
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Lithuania
  • They make the HO UV tubes in a variety of sizes from 22" up to 46". Get the one that fits in your enclosure. If a 22" tube doesn't fit in your enclosure, then your enclosure is too small. These bulbs make strong UV. Mount them at least 18" over the tortoise and I only run mine for about 3 hours mid day.
  • Basking bulb (flood) should be over to one side. Your tortoise can go lay under it when it wants, and move away from it once he/she feels warm enough.
  • People don't maintain heat and humidity in open tables. That is why I say not to use them for babies. Those only work when the ambient room conditions are suitable for the individual tortoise living in it. For example, adult Testudo who are already grown are fine in open topped enclosures where room temp is 70-ish and conditions are fairly dry. A humid hide, and a basking area are enough to suit them. A baby needs things a little warmer and a little more humid.
  • Is the bulb you found a 65 watt "replacement LED"? Or is it a 65 watt incandescent? You need one that makes heat and LEDs don't make heat.
I forgot about your grass question in the previous post: What are the little white flecks in the soil you are using? It looks like perlite, and that will kill your tortoise eventually. The grass is fine, but I think you need to replace that soil ASAP. I don't recommend soil as a tortoise substrate. One reason is because of those kinds of additives that always seem to be present.
It's sand , and i know that's bad too, I' ve already got coconut coir and I' ll change it tomorrow . Is your enclosure a vivarium? or is it built from wood?
 

Tom

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It's sand , and i know that's bad too, I' ve already got coconut coir and I' ll change it tomorrow . Is your enclosure a vivarium? or is it built from wood?
It's sand , and i know that's bad too, I' ve already got coconut coir and I' ll change it tomorrow . Is your enclosure a vivarium? or is it built from wood?
My enclosures are made of expanded PVC.

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/new-stack-of-animal-plastics-closed-chambers.165626/#post-1600958
 

Vilt

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Lithuania
  • They make the HO UV tubes in a variety of sizes from 22" up to 46". Get the one that fits in your enclosure. If a 22" tube doesn't fit in your enclosure, then your enclosure is too small. These bulbs make strong UV. Mount them at least 18" over the tortoise and I only run mine for about 3 hours mid day.
  • Basking bulb (flood) should be over to one side. Your tortoise can go lay under it when it wants, and move away from it once he/she feels warm enough.
  • People don't maintain heat and humidity in open tables. That is why I say not to use them for babies. Those only work when the ambient room conditions are suitable for the individual tortoise living in it. For example, adult Testudo who are already grown are fine in open topped enclosures where room temp is 70-ish and conditions are fairly dry. A humid hide, and a basking area are enough to suit them. A baby needs things a little warmer and a little more humid.
  • Is the bulb you found a 65 watt "replacement LED"? Or is it a 65 watt incandescent? You need one that makes heat and LEDs don't make heat.
I forgot about your grass question in the previous post: What are the little white flecks in the soil you are using? It looks like perlite, and that will kill your tortoise eventually. The grass is fine, but I think you need to replace that soil ASAP. I don't recommend soil as a tortoise substrate. One reason is because of those kinds of additives that always seem to be present.
so the UVB and UVA will be from the HO fluorescent tube?
 

Abdulla6169

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so the UVB and UVA will be from the HO fluorescent tube?
Yep. A basking bulb would provide heat, while the tubes provide UV light. Not super sure about UVA, but a set up with those two would be enough for most tortoises. :)
 

Tom

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Are these two sufficient?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/PHILIPS-BC25R14-N-Incandescent-Lamp-R14-Bulb-Shape-25W-/333235513558
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Osram-24-Lumilux-Output-Fluorescent/dp/B001WQ2UZ4#detail_bullets_id
I wouldn't buy them from ebay or amazon.. I really want to purchase the right ones :)
Also can I just put the incandescent bulb in the dome lamp?
The "R" rating tells you how narrow the beam is. R 14 is more of a spot lamp. You want something closer to R 30. And 25 watts MIGHT be enough, but that is really low wattage. I use 25 watt bulbs in my closed chambers in summer when I want to keep the heat down, but most applications will need more than that. Only your thermometer can really answer this question. Some people need 150 watt bulbs, and others can get by with a 25 watt. Depends on your enclosure and your temperatures.

The florescent tube for light looks good, but the product info doesn't share the "K" rating. You want one around 5000 K. Most bulbs are 2000-2500 K and those look yellowish. I don't like them. Also, the HO tubes use more electricity and generate some heat. OK for some enclosures, but too much for others. I prefer LEDs now for ambient light. Low power usage and very little heat generated. I use the HO tubes for UV only. I prefer the Arcadia brand, but the ZooMed HO tubes are fine too, so say friends of mine who use them.
 

Greentort

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Joined
Oct 18, 2019
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Horsham
Hi, I'm kind of panicking, because everything seems to be going wrong..
Today while I was giving him a little bath, I noticed his eyes were swollen...
I'm also VERY scared that he might start pyramiding, because where I live it's very cold and i' m not able to give him a varied diet of weeds and grasses.. his current foods are easter grass growing in his enclosure which he doesnt seem to be eating so i cut it into his bowl, fresh fenugreek, lambs lettuce and a hay mix from the pet store that he doesnt even touch.. i add a little calcium or vitamins depending on the day.
Another problem is that he keeps eating the moss in his hide.
He seems less energetic too..
Also would the plastic lid melt if i cut holes a bit smaller than the size of the dome lamps and placed them on top ?
I' m worried about the pyramiding from the lack of humidity.View attachment 284892 View attachment 284893 View attachment 284894 View attachment 284892
thanks in advance !
It is useful to have a uvb meter, I found one of my mercury vapour bulbs produces excessivly high levels. Could be his eyes are "sun" burnt. Best thing is always seek advice from a decent vet if poss.
 

Markw84

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The "R" rating tells you how narrow the beam is. R 14 is more of a spot lamp. You want something closer to R 30. And 25 watts MIGHT be enough, but that is really low wattage.
In other parts of the world bulbs are labeled differently.
The R stands for standard reflector. Same as our BR or flood light. SP is their spot light we see as PAR.
The 14 is the same as all lights everywhere. IT is the diameter of the light bulb in 1/8ths of an inch. So a R14 bulb is a flood bulb that is 1 3/4" in diameter. (25 watt bulbs are often smaller like that.
 

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