Do I need a higher watt bulb?

GabeH

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New tortoise mom here. I have the bulb that I posted a picture of. Under the bulb seems to be 85-90 on average. I have a tortoise table that is 12.4 inches high. I have the ceramic lamp piece that sits right on the mesh of the tortoise table. Should I get a 100 watt bulb instead?
 

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wellington

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What you can do is raise the basking area, mound up the substrate or put a piece of flat slate on the basking spot to raise the temp a bit. Don't forget to temp the area so its not too hot and also temp the top of the tort when its basking. The temp you are getting now might actually be warmer where it it's the top of the shell.
 

GabeH

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What you can do is raise the basking area, mound up the substrate or put a piece of flat slate on the basking spot to raise the temp a bit. Don't forget to temp the area so its not too hot and also temp the top of the tort when its basking. The temp you are getting now might actually be warmer where it it's the top of the shell.
Thank you so much! She just started basking so I’m going to take the temperature of her carapace when she’s been under there for a while. I ordered piece of slate to put under the basking spot, it should be here this week!
 

Tom

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New tortoise mom here. I have the bulb that I posted a picture of. Under the bulb seems to be 85-90 on average. I have a tortoise table that is 12.4 inches high. I have the ceramic lamp piece that sits right on the mesh of the tortoise table. Should I get a 100 watt bulb instead?
I wouldn't recommend using that type of bulb at all. They are unreliable and cause pyramiding if your animal is still growing.

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. In most cases 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. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient 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 LED 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. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.
Most of the care info found online and at pet stores is all wrong. Give this a read:

Measure temperature directly under your heat lamp by placing a digital thermometer under it at tortoise shell height and letting it bake for an hour. This will tell you how hot the tortoise's carapace is getting under your bulb.
 
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