Cherry head season change and lighting advice

Jackson7

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Sep 14, 2023
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Hello,

I've moved cherry and berry into a new home (pictures attached) and I have some questions about lighting. Its fall here in MN and I noticed that they were slowing down and eating less, which seems like it's normal for cherryheads. I also have seen a lot of conflicting advice on basking spots and UV light for red foots. I guess I have big three questions that have some sub questions:

Do I need a basking spot for temperate reasons?
The ambient temp is 82 (80%RH). Will they benefit from a temperature gradient. It would be really easy to provide but I've seem people advice against it. I've heard low 80's is best but you shouldn't let juveniles drop below 80F. (Cherry and Berry are 5.5in. which means they are older than juveniles right?) Should I let the ambient temp drop a little at night?

Do I need a basking area for UV reasons?
This is where I've heard the most conflicting advice. I hear they get it from there food (I feed them a low fat cat food twice a month), I hear it hurts there eyes. I hear every reptile needs it I hear in the wild they actually get a fair amount even in the shade.

Should I match the ambient lightning in the room to MN weather or artificially make a tropical lighting schedule?
What are peoples philosophies on this. They have windows on 3 sides (not south) so they get a good deal of natural light. Along with that would they maybe enjoy some artificial plants to hide under, or to provide some shade?

I have the means to make any of those things happen, a lot of it just lying around form the old enclosure, I'm just not sure whats best for the torts.

jackson tort enclosure 1.jpg

jackson tort enclosure plus torts.jpg
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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In short. Yes. The temperature can drop a bit overnight. As long as it gets back above 80 the next day. Even into the 60s is usually ok. But I (we) do not recommend extremes like that simply because in an artificial environment it can be easily avoided. And why risk possible illness?
Your temperature seems perfect. And a temperature gradient is not required. But is OK because it's probably unavoidable in most indoor enclosures. Especially if every temperature in that gradient is a safe temperature. Say 78 to 92.
Redfoot CAN SURVIVE in colder temperatures. And they can survive in uncomfortably higher temperatures. (Im sure someone will point that out) But we should strive for what's best for them. Not what's easiest for us to provide.
Fake plants get nibbled on. I recommend real plants in pots.
The sunlight is fine for lighting only. But glass blocks out almost 100% of UVB. So you'll still need a T5 10.0 LINEAR STRIP FLORESCENT TUBE system. Or some time outdoors. No animal gets UVB from their food. They can get some calcium. But they can't process it without uvb.
Also, your humidity needs to be over 75%. How are you providing that?
How many RF are in that single enclosure and what exactly is the entire diet?
 
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Jackson7

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The enclosure is a 6'x10' that's been split down the middle (so 2 3'x10's with no access between the two sides) that have one cherry head each. Its in a unused hot tub room that can take high humidity so I have a big ultrasonic humidifier pointed in the enclosures general direction. I think the walls must catch the mist because I have it set to 70% and the hygrometers I've lined the tank with read 78%-80% on the drier side 85% on the side closer to humidifier.

For the diet is has been every other day: 2 feedings of greens, 1x fruit, 2x greens, 1x fruit, 1x animal protein. So a two week cycle. Now that they are separated and in a bigger enclosure I'm thinking of switching to everyday to promote gazing and wandering around. Maybe less food than I had been giving them but every day? Probably don't want animal protein every week though. Though on a schedule?

Greens: Mostly a green house spring mix (green leaf, red leaf, kale, arugula, spinach, romaine) that I can get year round. This summer I gave them dandelions when I could. (I hear hibiscus is pretty popular with torts, how do people source that?)
Fruit: Carrots are common. Blackberry, strawberry, mango, maybe some apple here and there.
Protein: Very low fat cat food.
Calcium: cuddle fish bones,

For UV I have some T5 10.0 LINEAR STRIP FLORESCENT TUBE from the old tank I'll bring down. I had 7% bulbs marked for shade dwellers, is that right? How much of the space should get the light. Will one 1 10" per side? or do I need more?

Do you have a favorite potted plant for this sort of thing? Otherwise I'll just look for something safe that grows easy.
 

ZEROPILOT

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The enclosure is a 6'x10' that's been split down the middle (so 2 3'x10's with no access between the two sides) that have one cherry head each. Its in a unused hot tub room that can take high humidity so I have a big ultrasonic humidifier pointed in the enclosures general direction. I think the walls must catch the mist because I have it set to 70% and the hygrometers I've lined the tank with read 78%-80% on the drier side 85% on the side closer to humidifier.

For the diet is has been every other day: 2 feedings of greens, 1x fruit, 2x greens, 1x fruit, 1x animal protein. So a two week cycle. Now that they are separated and in a bigger enclosure I'm thinking of switching to everyday to promote gazing and wandering around. Maybe less food than I had been giving them but every day? Probably don't want animal protein every week though. Though on a schedule?

Greens: Mostly a green house spring mix (green leaf, red leaf, kale, arugula, spinach, romaine) that I can get year round. This summer I gave them dandelions when I could. (I hear hibiscus is pretty popular with torts, how do people source that?)
Fruit: Carrots are common. Blackberry, strawberry, mango, maybe some apple here and there.
Protein: Very low fat cat food.
Calcium: cuddle fish bones,

For UV I have some T5 10.0 LINEAR STRIP FLORESCENT TUBE from the old tank I'll bring down. I had 7% bulbs marked for shade dwellers, is that right? How much of the space should get the light. Will one 1 10" per side? or do I need more?

Do you have a favorite potted plant for this sort of thing? Otherwise I'll just look for something safe that grows easy.
That uvb is probably adequate for the species.
I use Spider plants and Pathos. Both are inexpensive and not very light needy. Especially the Pathos. Both grow fast and put out shade.
Your humidity sounds OK. But just trying to provide high humidity into an open topped enclosure is kind of futile. Something like a greenhouse on top would be great. How it would look or how you'd like it, I can't say.
A greenhouse would make it a closed chamber enclosure. It's the very best and easiest way to keep in both warmth and humidity. But do whatever works for you.
We all have different things that do it.
As far as foods go, Redfoot can eat just about anything that you eat that is fresh and unprocessed. That includes vegetables, fruits, animal protein, flowers, mushrooms and cactus. Hundreds of things. Thousands of things?
There are probably a dozen items right now in your refrigerator or growing right outside of your house that can be fed tomorrow.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Hello!
A small note on 7% UVB, ShadeDweller lamps. At least Arcadia lamps make meaningful UV levels on relatively low mounting height, something about 1-1.5ft. Probably math is the same for other makers.

For plants you can try to use wall and corner-mounted pots (or plant wall pockets), so they don't take space from enclosure and have less risk of being stomped and chewed down to the roots. Besides pothos and spider plants you can also look at Tradescantia Zebrina.

And you can "play" a little with substrate to make hills and cliffs, so tortoises have to climb and go down. And they happily use these spots for thermoregulation and hiding from excessive lights.

With humidity of 80% all around the room you can probably get condensate on the walls and such, where temperatures lower than average. My enclosure literally drips inside when I open it to change food or water. That's another point to make a closed type enclosure (and mister would probably be redundant with covered enclosure).
 

Jackson7

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Pathos and Wall mounted pots sound like a good start.

@ZEROPILOT That's a good point on food. I'll get a little more curious about what's in and yard and fridge.

Good call on the effective UV height, I'll be sure to check what I have.

I definitely have condensation on the windows, but its the room was a later add on that was built for hot tub use so the windows all vinyl, the walls are sealed, the rooms is not connected to my central air, ect. I would not recommend my strategy unless you have my very specific set up or something similar. Its a little extra work on my part, but the humidity stays high enough and the glass doors to the room mean I can see them from the dining room table.

Thanks for that vid.
 

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