Confused and needing help!


New Member
Jan 21, 2021
Location (City and/or State)

Hope you guys can help. My son has a horsfield's tortoise that he got for Xmas. We have went through about three basking bulbs in that time so I have been looking into a CHE.

I have been looking loads online but there is so much conflicting information!

We have a table set up. We have a heat mat in the enclosed area and in the open area we have a zoo med double holder, model LF - 19EC, which holds a 75w basking bulb (which keeps blowing!) and a Exo Terra UVB200 bulb, which sits above the warm part of his enclosure.

I want to get a CHE as they seem to last longer than the basking bulb but I have a few questions.

I have been looking at a CHE bulb and a separate holder for it which I was going to set up at the warm part of his table. The UVB bulb can stay in the other holder and then I was thinking of putting a normal bulb in there just for light? Would that be OK? Is there a certain type of bulb or wattage I should get? I just figured it was just for light so something that would give enough light just to light it up during the day.

What type of thermostat would be best to use for it? From what I can see pulse seems to be recommended the most.

I've also seen a few people say that they aren't good for juvenile tortoise, we think he is about six months old, and that it can burn or kill them.

I would just like to get something that heats but doesn't blow every week!

Amy tips on how to position the CHE and the double holder would be much appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance,


Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I think your problem is the dual fixture. When you use a light or a CHE you need a big bell shaped fixture because the light and CHE get very hot and the dual dome doesn't allow for heat dissipation. Look into getting a T5 fluorescent UVB bulb and fixture. You can find them at or Then for heat you'll use the CHE with a thermostat and keep it on day and night. The thermostat will go on and off to maintain the temperature.


The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 9, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
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. 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.
  3. 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 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. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: Here in our climate, you shouldn't need indoor UV.
Most of the care info you find is going to be old, out-dated and wrong. Here is the correct care info: