Closed "Chambers"

Tom

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How do you maintain airflow in an enclosed tank? I bought an open reptile tank with the slide on top. I see above how I can cover that with foil to enclose it (including lamp? Is that a fire hazard?) I didnt do my homework before I was mislead and brought our little one home. I've only had it a few hrs and am trying to correct all of the mistakes I have already made. I feel like a horrible tort mom
Foil will work as a short term fix and it is not flammable. The best long term solution is a large closed chamber. Like these:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/new-stack-of-animal-plastics-closed-chambers.165626/
 

A.Vazquez

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Foil will work as a short term fix and it is not flammable. The best long term solution is a large closed chamber. Like these:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/new-stack-of-animal-plastics-closed-chambers.165626/
Beautiful set up! I realized the foil wouldnt be a problem last night and implemented it to the enclosure. Its holding some humidity, I expect it to hold more once I can find the orchid bark. Could you please reccomend an online source for the orchid bark?
 

Tom

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I think it was @Markw84 that found a good place to get it at a reasonable price. Lets see if he'll see this and chime in.

I buy mine locally, so I don't know of any on-line sources.
 

A.Vazquez

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A.Vazquez

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Tom

The Dog Trainer
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I'm trying to build one on the site. Would you reccomend led lighting? Will the fluorescent light provide enough heat? How do I include a basking light?
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 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.
  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 like sulcatas or leopards.
  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.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside 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.
The florescent and basking bulbs will probably keep the chamber plenty warm during the day, and the thermostat will keep the heating equipment off during the day as long as the temperature is warm enough. At night when the lights are all off, the thermostat should kick the heat on and keep things warm enough.

I do use LED and no problems so far. They use less electricity and produce less heat than florescent bulbs too. The room where my enclosures sit is already heated to 80 day and night, so I don't need any additional heat day or night. Overheating can be a problem for me. In a normal room will cooler temperatures, the extra heat from a florescent tube might be just right in your enclosure. Only your thermometer can answer the question.
 

Tom

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I'm trying to build one on the site. Would you reccomend led lighting? Will the fluorescent light provide enough heat? How do I include a basking light?
15" is too short. Get the T 13. More floor space and cheaper than the T 11 or T 12.

Also, realize that if your sulcata is healthy and grows at a normal rate, it will outgrow even the T13 in 6-8 months. My babies that are started with optimal hydration and conditions outgrow that size in about 3 months. Might be worth it to just bite the bullet and get the bigger one now so you don't have to upgrade in a few months. I use the T 65 size. I divide it in half for hatchlings and remove the divider as they grow. Just wanted to forewarn you.
 

A.Vazquez

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15" is too short. Get the T 13. More floor space and cheaper than the T 11 or T 12.

Also, realize that if your sulcata is healthy and grows at a normal rate, it will outgrow even the T13 in 6-8 months. My babies that are started with optimal hydration and conditions outgrow that size in about 3 months. Might be worth it to just bite the bullet and get the bigger one now so you don't have to upgrade in a few months. I use the T 65 size. I divide it in half for hatchlings and remove the divider as they grow. Just wanted to forewarn you.
Thank you so much!
 

Markw84

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Beautiful set up! I realized the foil wouldnt be a problem last night and implemented it to the enclosure. Its holding some humidity, I expect it to hold more once I can find the orchid bark. Could you please reccomend an online source for the orchid bark?
Here's the best online source I have seen for Orchid Bark. 2 cu ft runs $20 so more than my garden center, but still way less than a "reptile bark" at the pet stores. Also about the only option if you are not West Coast for orchid bark.

Orchid bark - Tropical Plant Products
 

Bountyboy

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Jan 13, 2019
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I use several different sizes. Last winter I used mostly 20 gallons (24" x 12" x 16".) This year, I have two 15 gallon longs (same footprint as the 20s, just not as tall.) One will be for my Greek yearling, the other is for my two little Stars. For my Redfoot (who is around 4") I have a 20 gallon long (30" x 12" x 12".) The "Three Amigos" (Dee, Dusty, and Devon, Sulcata hatchlings produced by Tom) have a 27 gallon long (36" x 12½" x 13") and the two slightly older Sulcatas (Kasey and Kendall, just over 4") share a 55 gallon (48" x 12½" x 21".) For my four yearling Manouria I have a 90 gallon (48" x 24" x 17".)

Now, please understand, I am well aware of the fact that all of these tortoises are going to at one point outgrow their enclosures. None of these are meant to last longer than a single winter. I have a storage building that is PACKED with tanks. I have tanks from 220 gallons on down. Once these tortoises move past the "baby" stage, they won't be housed in aquariums at all. I utilize very large tables for my adult tortoises.

I have two racks that hold the tanks. One I purchased from Home Depot, and the other I built myself.
Hello I believe I have a juvenile Russian tortoise what size table or tank should I go with I have 2 box turtles as well I don't have that much room in my house and I don't want to put them in the basement what size should I go with any help would be appreciated
 

Tom

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Hello I believe I have a juvenile Russian tortoise what size table or tank should I go with I have 2 box turtles as well I don't have that much room in my house and I don't want to put them in the basement what size should I go with any help would be appreciated
Kristina isn't really on the forum anymore. She stoped posting years ago.

You'll need a 4x8' enclosure for the Russian, and also one for each of the box turtles. You might be able to get away with 3x6', but bigger is better,
 

Bountyboy

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Thank you so much for the info. I just gotta figure out where in my house to put it I definitely don't want it in the basement
 

LaSunshine

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Does anyone know why I can’t see any pictures posted?
QUOTE="Tom, post: 304363, member: 3441"]Been meaning to do this one for a while now...

Over the years I have kept a lot of reptiles in a lot of different ways. I've learned a lot of stuff about a lot of species. Since finding and joining this forum almost two years ago, I've learned a TON more. Now I'm not just stumbling around alone in the dark. Now, with the help of all the fantastic TFO members, I can see and experience everyone else's enclosures and styles too.

There are a lot of good ways to house a tortoise indoors. Tank, tub, trough, table, and... closed chamber. Different methods work best for the various species and ages. Through all of my "experiments" and sharing the vast experience of others here on the forum, I have reached my current conclusion that "closed chambers", with a basking lamp inside, are the best means of housing the babies of most species. Everyone's situation is different, and we all live in different climates... heck our torts are all from different climates too. Still, overall, I have personally experienced the best results and seen the best results from others, in this style of enclosure. Several people come to mind, but Tyler, Neal, Kristina and KBaker, have especially shown their enclosures and the results. There are lots of others too, but these members have had the biggest influence on me recently.

Only in a closed chamber can I control the humidity properly. Its very dry where I live, and its a constant battle to maintain any humidity at all in most enclosures. In a closed chamber, its a piece of cake. I've used glass tanks and various styles of tortoise tables for years to house my chelonians, but the open tops let out all that beneficial humidity and heat. By putting my heat lamps and CHEs INSIDE the closed enclosure, they do NOT dry things out AND they use a lot less power to give me the same amount of heat. Plus, once they heat everything up and the thermostat kicks them off, the heat just stays in there. I'm using less electricity on my 4x8' closed chamber than I am on my 40 gallon open topped glass tank! (I have little electric meters called "Kill-A-Watt EZ"). The humidity is lower directly under the heat lamp, but its as high as I want to keep it all around that area and the rest of the enclosure.
105a0qf.jpg

radxzl.jpg


In theory this all sounds reasonable, but what happens in the real world? I've gotten the best results I've ever gotten in this type of enclosure. On a lot of my glass tanks I end up covering as much of the top as I can. It seems like the more and better I cover them, the better the results I get. But I still lose all my heat and humidity out of the hole that has to be there for my light fixtures. Like this one:
1z8002.jpg


This leads me to a big problem that has come up recently with several potential new tortoise keepers. Where does one go buy a "closed tortoise chamber" for their new pet? Most conventional enclosures are too shallow to have a closed top and still allow enough room for a hanging fixture with a hot bulb in it. I like the Vision tubs, but they are too short for this purpose. My leopard enclosure is 24" tall and that just barely accommodates things safely. When I build the next one it will be around 30" tall. I have not seen a pre-made enclosure with the right dimensions. Tyler showed me this one that he is using. I can't remember which species he is housing in this.
k9hm5z.jpg


Remember we are talking about housing babies. Not adults or even juveniles. Discussion is welcome here. I'm always wanting to learn more.[/QUOTE]
 

LaSunshine

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Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
43
Location (City and/or State)
California
Your CHE needs to run through a thermostat, not a timer. Just set the temp where you want it, and it will do the work for you. In a large enclosure like yours, you might need two CHEs to spread the heat out a bit.

If you find the enclosure is getting too hot from the use of the basking bulb, use a smaller bulb. I use 65 watt flood bulbs in my 4x8' chambers.
What is a CHE? thanks :)
 

LaSunshine

Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
43
Location (City and/or State)
California
Been meaning to do this one for a while now...

Over the years I have kept a lot of reptiles in a lot of different ways. I've learned a lot of stuff about a lot of species. Since finding and joining this forum almost two years ago, I've learned a TON more. Now I'm not just stumbling around alone in the dark. Now, with the help of all the fantastic TFO members, I can see and experience everyone else's enclosures and styles too.

There are a lot of good ways to house a tortoise indoors. Tank, tub, trough, table, and... closed chamber. Different methods work best for the various species and ages. Through all of my "experiments" and sharing the vast experience of others here on the forum, I have reached my current conclusion that "closed chambers", with a basking lamp inside, are the best means of housing the babies of most species. Everyone's situation is different, and we all live in different climates... heck our torts are all from different climates too. Still, overall, I have personally experienced the best results and seen the best results from others, in this style of enclosure. Several people come to mind, but Tyler, Neal, Kristina and KBaker, have especially shown their enclosures and the results. There are lots of others too, but these members have had the biggest influence on me recently.

Only in a closed chamber can I control the humidity properly. Its very dry where I live, and its a constant battle to maintain any humidity at all in most enclosures. In a closed chamber, its a piece of cake. I've used glass tanks and various styles of tortoise tables for years to house my chelonians, but the open tops let out all that beneficial humidity and heat. By putting my heat lamps and CHEs INSIDE the closed enclosure, they do NOT dry things out AND they use a lot less power to give me the same amount of heat. Plus, once they heat everything up and the thermostat kicks them off, the heat just stays in there. I'm using less electricity on my 4x8' closed chamber than I am on my 40 gallon open topped glass tank! (I have little electric meters called "Kill-A-Watt EZ"). The humidity is lower directly under the heat lamp, but its as high as I want to keep it all around that area and the rest of the enclosure.
105a0qf.jpg

radxzl.jpg


In theory this all sounds reasonable, but what happens in the real world? I've gotten the best results I've ever gotten in this type of enclosure. On a lot of my glass tanks I end up covering as much of the top as I can. It seems like the more and better I cover them, the better the results I get. But I still lose all my heat and humidity out of the hole that has to be there for my light fixtures. Like this one:
1z8002.jpg


This leads me to a big problem that has come up recently with several potential new tortoise keepers. Where does one go buy a "closed tortoise chamber" for their new pet? Most conventional enclosures are too shallow to have a closed top and still allow enough room for a hanging fixture with a hot bulb in it. I like the Vision tubs, but they are too short for this purpose. My leopard enclosure is 24" tall and that just barely accommodates things safely. When I build the next one it will be around 30" tall. I have not seen a pre-made enclosure with the right dimensions. Tyler showed me this one that he is using. I can't remember which species he is housing in this.
k9hm5z.jpg


Remember we are talking about housing babies. Not adults or even juveniles. Discussion is welcome here. I'm always wanting to learn more.
Do you know why I can’t see any of your pictures? There’s just a sad emoji.
 
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