Changing Substrate!

TortyJay

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So after reading the feedback give. To other enclosures I too found Jerri not enjoying the sand mix I first bought. Too dusty and dry and the little stones I also found alarmed me. So I’ve made some changes and these are the results. Just giving Jerri a nice bath then popping torty back in.
 

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Krista S

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The new substrate looks great!! I’m sure your little one will like this better. I don’t know if it’s the angle of the picture, but the water saucer looks like it may be too deep for your tiny tort. If you find that Jerri has a hard time getting in and out of the dish, you can try adding some rocks in the dish to make it easier until she gets bigger. This is what I’ve done with my water dish and it’s worked really well. I just found rocks outside, gave them a good scrubbing before adding them to the water dish.

91A54F09-0CAD-4E2A-9C63-97A10719A62C.jpeg
 

TortyJay

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Thanks! I normally have a few bits of slate in the dish. Just didn’t put them back in yet as they’re soaking from the clean out. I will sink the dish in further, though it’s fairly level the camera is right above the dish if you look at the other picture it might be clearer that it’s more level. Yours looks brilliant! The water level is very misleading in the picture, it’s the normal height I double checked 😅

Do you find the water often soiled with having it so level with your substrate?
 

Yvonne G

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You've done a real nice job on the enclosure! Yes, the water gets dirty. But too bad. That just means you clean it more often, and besides, a little dirt never hurt anybody! If you take your fist and lightly pound the substrate down all over the enclosure, it makes it easier to walk on, and not so easy to drag into the water and over the food.
 

TortyJay

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You've done a real nice job on the enclosure! Yes, the water gets dirty. But too bad. That just means you clean it more often, and besides, a little dirt never hurt anybody! If you take your fist and lightly pound the substrate down all over the enclosure, it makes it easier to walk on, and not so easy to drag into the water and over the food.
That’s a good idea. I think I may add a little more soil to the mix next time. It looked fine at the time but when I added some moisture it does seem that the finer soil has settled at the bottom. I guess that’s fairly normal to happen given the mix. Certainly so much better for maintaining healthy moisture in the environment than the rubbish I started with!
 

TortyJay

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After a good bask Jerri found a new hidey spot. Im pretty sure that’ll be the spot for tonight 😍
 

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Krista S

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Thanks! I normally have a few bits of slate in the dish. Just didn’t put them back in yet as they’re soaking from the clean out. I will sink the dish in further, though it’s fairly level the camera is right above the dish if you look at the other picture it might be clearer that it’s more level. Yours looks brilliant! The water level is very misleading in the picture, it’s the normal height I double checked 😅

Do you find the water often soiled with having it so level with your substrate?
That’s great that you already did that with the water dish. The pictures of little Jerri enjoying the enclosure makeover are so cute!! As for soiled water, it is not an issue for me at all with using fir bark for substrate. I could see it being a constant battle with the substrate you’re using though. If you’re able to find some Reptibark (aka fir bark or orchid bark), you could put a layer of it around the outside of the water dish so the other substrate doesn’t get carried into the water dish as much. In fact, if you put a layer of the bark on top of the substrate you’re using now, it’ll help retain the humidity better too.
 

TortyJay

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That’s great that you already did that with the water dish. The pictures of little Jerri enjoying the enclosure makeover are so cute!! As for soiled water, it is not an issue for me at all with using fir bark for substrate. I could see it being a constant battle with the substrate you’re using though. If you’re able to find some Reptibark (aka fir bark or orchid bark), you could put a layer of it around the outside of the water dish so the other substrate doesn’t get carried into the water dish as much. In fact, if you put a layer of the bark on top of the substrate you’re using now, it’ll help retain the humidity better too.
With the previous substrate I used some slate chips around the water dish but the sand was just terrible as it was too fine. I’m at work tomorrow, so I won’t get chance to watch over his habits tomorrow but will look at it Tuesday. I can tell it’s made the world of difference already! I might add some slate again I figure it would be good for those claws anyway!

Since it’s a viv I’ve had really good moisture levels even with the previous though we did spray twice a day. This new substrate is great for moisture I’m gutted I didn’t change it sooner poor thing!

Is there any thoughts on water temp - should it be closer to the lamp to keep it warmer? I figured that would great even more moisture maybe too much. Even at my low end temp are around 22-23 as I’ve yet to add an exhaust to the top. However Jerri seems very happy over at the hot side, generally even sleeps at that end and completely ignores the shelter so I added a plant for shelter 🤦‍♂️
 

Jan A

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With the previous substrate I used some slate chips around the water dish but the sand was just terrible as it was too fine. I’m at work tomorrow, so I won’t get chance to watch over his habits tomorrow but will look at it Tuesday. I can tell it’s made the world of difference already! I might add some slate again I figure it would be good for those claws anyway!

Since it’s a viv I’ve had really good moisture levels even with the previous though we did spray twice a day. This new substrate is great for moisture I’m gutted I didn’t change it sooner poor thing!

Is there any thoughts on water temp - should it be closer to the lamp to keep it warmer? I figured that would great even more moisture maybe too much. Even at my low end temp are around 22-23 as I’ve yet to add an exhaust to the top. However Jerri seems very happy over at the hot side, generally even sleeps at that end and completely ignores the shelter so I added a plant for shelter 🤦‍♂️
Well done with adjustments. This is an ongoing process....it's called tweaking. The only wrong answers are low temps, low humidity & head lettuce.
 

Tom

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That’s a good idea. I think I may add a little more soil to the mix next time. It looked fine at the time but when I added some moisture it does seem that the finer soil has settled at the bottom. I guess that’s fairly normal to happen given the mix. Certainly so much better for maintaining healthy moisture in the environment than the rubbish I started with!
Soil should not be used as tortoise substrate. There is no way to know what composted material it is made from, and it could be something toxic.

Coco coir is good. Hand pack it down like Yvonne suggested to minimize the mess. Fine grade orchid bark works best once they get around 3-4 inches in length.
 

TortyJay

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Soil should not be used as tortoise substrate. There is no way to know what composted material it is made from, and it could be something toxic.

Coco coir is good. Hand pack it down like Yvonne suggested to minimize the mess. Fine grade orchid bark works best once they get around 3-4 inches in length.
It is coco coir - I meant that not soil 😬
 

Sarah2020

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Hi and welcome., I had one if those cacium blocks and found it covered in flies and eggs so just be aware and check I now have cuttle fish bone and add cacium to the fresh leaves. I use orchid bark which is worth a try if you decide to change the coir.
 

TortyJay

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Hi guys just as an update since I changed the substrate I’ve noticed Jerri has increased hiding a lot! He gets up in the morning for a bask and quick nibble (eating a lot less) then a bask and generally then hides for the remainder of the day. He’s still responsive if I pick him out, and generally is moving around just fine when he is about. I feel he knows even at <1 than winter is here and is maybe scared since I changed the substrate. I’ve been monitoring the temps daily and increased them a little now with the new substrate. But they are as per the guide on here 35 in spot and around 24 cool end. He generally hides with heat range of the basking lamp.

do you think he’s just a little scared. I’m just a little worried about the drop in eating. It’s a nibble at best, so far he’s not dropped weight and I can see no signs of bubbles etc from nose or trouble breathing.

Ive made no change to his food. Offering dandy leaves and crispy mix. Pellets mixed in, dried pettles and flowers saturated in water and bath him daily (though I’ve skipped the odd day now just in case he’s scared of human contact)

thanks!
 

Karen(pebbles)

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Mine is doing the exact same thing, this is my first winter owning a tort and s/he is 18 month's old, at first I was concerned and worried but after reading many posts on here I now just let the little guy get on with it, some days I wonder why I even put food into the vivarium 😂😂, s/he just stays in the hide under the basking spot most of the time just looking at me! But when s/he does come out I make sure to soak for at least 20 mins, it's worrying but I guess in time we'll get used to it.😂😂
 

TortyJay

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Mine is doing the exact same thing, this is my first winter owning a tort and s/he is 18 month's old, at first I was concerned and worried but after reading many posts on here I now just let the little guy get on with it, some days I wonder why I even put food into the vivarium 😂😂, s/he just stays in the hide under the basking spot most of the time just looking at me! But when s/he does come out I make sure to soak for at least 20 mins, it's worrying but I guess in time we'll get used to it.😂😂
4BDADF88-DE5D-4444-9B1B-877C3B32D21D.jpeg

just popped him in the food dish and I get the… yes… and…. Look 🤦‍♂️
 
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