Morgan P

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Fairview, TX
A few weeks ago we got a Brazilian Cherryhead red footed tortoise, but we are first timers and learning. It was born 6/3/2022. I bought a larger enclosure for it so it will last it a couple of years before we transition them outside. I have looked through threads for hours and figured it was time to ask for specific advice. Since the top is mesh we purchased plexi glass and cut it to fit the front half and then I put foil besides the lamps to try and retain heat and humidity/moisture. I have a sensor by the bulbs to keep the temp there at 92, and then I have a sensor on the opposite end that usually is around 80. Do you have any tips on how I can keep the temperatures higher in the “non-bulb” areas? And keep humidity higher and more consistent? Currently I spray down the enclosure morning and night and it usually keeps around 60% humidity in between.
 

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wellington

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If the substrate is moss don't use it. It can be eaten which a lot of tortoises do, it can get tangled around limbs and even inside if eaten and it molds easily.
Coconut coir with orchid/fir bark over it is best.
Then to raise humidity, pour warm water into the corners, wetting the coir but leaving the bark much dryer to prevent shell rot.
I don't believe you need or want hotter temps, but maybe @ZEROPILOT can help with that.
 

Yvonne G

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Look for Ceramic Heat Emitters (CHE) at your pet store (or online). You probably only need a 100 watt. Set it up in the non lighted area and be sure to use a fixture with a ceramic base.
 

Morgan P

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Fairview, TX
If the substrate is moss don't use it. It can be eaten which a lot of tortoises do, it can get tangled around limbs and even inside if eaten and it molds easily.
Coconut coir with orchid/fir bark over it is best.
Then to raise humidity, pour warm water into the corners, wetting the coir but leaving the bark much dryer to prevent shell rot.
I don't believe you need or want hotter temps, but maybe @ZEROPILOT can help with that.
If the substrate is moss don't use it. It can be eaten which a lot of tortoises do, it can get tangled around limbs and even inside if eaten and it molds easily.
Coconut coir with orchid/fir bark over it is best.
Then to raise humidity, pour warm water into the corners, wetting the coir but leaving the bark much dryer to prevent shell rot.
I don't believe you need or want hotter temps, but maybe @ZEROPILOT can help with that.
If the substrate is moss don't use it. It can be eaten which a lot of tortoises do, it can get tangled around limbs and even inside if eaten and it molds easily.
Coconut coir with orchid/fir bark over it is best.
Then to raise humidity, pour warm water into the corners, wetting the coir but leaving the bark much dryer to prevent shell rot.
I don't believe you need or want hotter temps, but maybe @ZEROPILOT can help with that.
If the substrate is moss don't use it. It can be eaten which a lot of tortoises do, it can get tangled around limbs and even inside if eaten and it molds easily.
Coconut coir with orchid/fir bark over it is best.
Then to raise humidity, pour warm water into the corners, wetting the coir but leaving the bark much dryer to prevent shell rot.
I don't believe you need or want hotter temps, but maybe @ZEROPILOT can help with that.
If the substrate is moss don't use it. It can be eaten which a lot of tortoises do, it can get tangled around limbs and even inside if eaten and it molds easily.
Coconut coir with orchid/fir bark over it is best.
Then to raise humidity, pour warm water into the corners, wetting the coir but leaving the bark much dryer to prevent shell rot.
I don't believe you need or want hotter temps, but maybe @ZEROPILOT can help with that.
Look for Ceramic Heat Emitters (CHE) at your pet store (or online). You probably only need a 100 watt. Set it up in the non lighted area and be sure to use a fixture with a ceramic base.
I do have CHE right now, two of them in those deep domes. But they are 60 watt, so maybe I need a higher wattage.
 

Morgan P

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If the substrate is moss don't use it. It can be eaten which a lot of tortoises do, it can get tangled around limbs and even inside if eaten and it molds easily.
Coconut coir with orchid/fir bark over it is best.
Then to raise humidity, pour warm water into the corners, wetting the coir but leaving the bark much dryer to prevent shell rot.
I don't believe you need or want hotter temps, but maybe @ZEROPILOT can help with that.
I do have coconut coir in there now. I was pouring warm water around and mixing it up some days, so I will make sure to just do the corners. Good idea!
 

ZEROPILOT

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I do have coconut coir in there now. I was pouring warm water around and mixing it up some days, so I will make sure to just do the corners. Good idea!
Your issue is heat or humidity or both?
Your temperature needs to be between 80 and 88.
The ideal (to me) temperature is 82 to 84. Aim for that. It's possible to achieve inside a house with a stable temperature. Otherwise you might need to use a thermostat controller.
Be very careful about hot spots. Redfoot get overheated pretty easily.
(They also aren't comfortable in harsh lighting)
Your humidity needs to be over 70%. The advice about adding water into the corners is great. No need to mix it in. Just allow the water to soak in a bit and it'll release humidity as it evaporates.
Do you have a UVB source?
A T5 HO UVB Linear strip florescent lamp is required. At the height of your enclosure. A 5.0 or 6% can be used. But a 10.0 or 12% would be a better choice and can be used with other enclosures where the lamp will be further away.
 

Morgan P

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Fairview, TX
Your issue is heat or humidity or both?
Your temperature needs to be between 80 and 88.
The ideal (to me) temperature is 82 to 84. Aim for that. It's possible to achieve inside a house with a stable temperature. Otherwise you might need to use a thermostat controller.
Your humidity needs to be over 70%. The advice about adding water into the corners is great. No need to mix it in. Just allow the water to soak in a bit and it'll release humidity as it evaporates
Heat and humidity both. I can keep it around 80 during the day in the areas away from the CHE bulbs. If I changed them to 100 watt from 60 watt should that help the heat in the outlying areas? I have a thermostat controller on the CHE bulbs for 92 so right underneath them it is warmer but the rest of the areas aren’t.
I will try the soaking the corners daily to see if I can get the humidity to stay more consistent daily.
Thanks for the tips!
 

ZEROPILOT

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92 won't harm him in a local area.
It's not ideal. But it's not dangerous.
How closed is that top?
A closed chamber holds in warmth pretty well and I'd keep the two 60 watt CHE.
You don't need to soak the corners. And you also don't need to do it daily.
Once a week or every few days will work once you've figured out the correct ratio.
I'm thinking that there's already enough water in that substrate to get going as is
 

Morgan P

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Location (City and/or State)
Fairview, TX
Your issue is heat or humidity or both?
Your temperature needs to be between 80 and 88.
The ideal (to me) temperature is 82 to 84. Aim for that. It's possible to achieve inside a house with a stable temperature. Otherwise you might need to use a thermostat controller.
Be very careful about hot spots. Redfoot get overheated pretty easily.
(They also aren't comfortable in harsh lighting)
Your humidity needs to be over 70%. The advice about adding water into the corners is great. No need to mix it in. Just allow the water to soak in a bit and it'll release humidity as it evaporates.
Do you have a UVB source?
A T5 HO UVB Linear strip florescent lamp is required. At the height of your enclosure. A 5.0 or 6% can be used. But a 10.0 or 12% would be a better choice and can be used with other enclosures where the lamp will be further away.
Yes, I have a UVB strip that is the length of the enclosure. I will have to verify the % of it to make sure I have the best kind.
I originally had a heat bulb but removed that after the breeder saw and advised for just the CHE bulbs. Just don’t know how to keep the heat in. Now that I have the CHE’s at 92 I can keep the rest of the space close to 80, so don’t know if I should have 3 instead of 2 because of the length (3 ft) and 100 watts on the CHE instead of 60 maybe?
 

ZEROPILOT

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Yes, I have a UVB strip that is the length of the enclosure. I will have to verify the % of it to make sure I have the best kind.
I originally had a heat bulb but removed that after the breeder saw and advised for just the CHE bulbs. Just don’t know how to keep the heat in. Now that I have the CHE’s at 92 I can keep the rest of the space close to 80, so don’t know if I should have 3 instead of 2 because of the length (3 ft) and 100 watts on the CHE instead of 60 maybe?
I'm guessing that you'll need to close off more of the top of the enclosure..
But that is only a guess.
The good news is that it sounds like your breeder knows his or her stuff!
Thank God for that
 

Morgan P

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92 won't harm him in a local area.
It's not ideal. But it's not dangerous.
How closed is that top?
A closed chamber holds in warmth pretty well and I'd keep the two 60 watt CHE.
You don't need to soak the corners. And you also don't need to do it daily.
Once a week or every few days will work once you've figured out the correct ratio.
I'm thinking that there's already enough water in that substrate to get going as is
The front part we have put plexi glass on top of the mesh and foil on the back. I haven’t found a way to make or buy something that would make it totally closed.
 

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Morgan P

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I soaked the corners today and my humidity is still only 60😞 80 in the outlying areas and 91 under CHE right now
 

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Morgan P

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i got a Govee Limited-time deal: Govee WiFi Thermometer Hygrometer H5051, Bluetooth Indoor Temperature Humidity Monitor with App Notification Alert, Smart Humidity Sensor for Greenhouse Wine Cellar, 2 Years Free Data Storage Export https://a.co/d/avIgfDO
Maybe that is the ISD
What type of gauges are you using to read the humidity?
Is it down by the substrate or near a che?
I got the Govee https://a.co/d/avIgfDO. maybe it’s not good at measuring it because I stuck it on the side maybe 2” above the substrate. Do you have a better method of measuring it?
 

ZEROPILOT

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i got a Govee Limited-time deal: Govee WiFi Thermometer Hygrometer H5051, Bluetooth Indoor Temperature Humidity Monitor with App Notification Alert, Smart Humidity Sensor for Greenhouse Wine Cellar, 2 Years Free Data Storage Export https://a.co/d/avIgfDO
Maybe that is the ISD

I got the Govee https://a.co/d/avIgfDO. maybe it’s not good at measuring it because I stuck it on the side maybe 2” above the substrate. Do you have a better method of measuring it?
That's a lot more elaborate than the $10 ACCURITE that I've used.
 

Rachels

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A few weeks ago we got a Brazilian Cherryhead red footed tortoise, but we are first timers and learning. It was born 6/3/2022. I bought a larger enclosure for it so it will last it a couple of years before we transition them outside. I have looked through threads for hours and figured it was time to ask for specific advice. Since the top is mesh we purchased plexi glass and cut it to fit the front half and then I put foil besides the lamps to try and retain heat and humidity/moisture. I have a sensor by the bulbs to keep the temp there at 92, and then I have a sensor on the opposite end that usually is around 80. Do you have any tips on how I can keep the temperatures higher in the “non-bulb” areas? And keep humidity higher and more consistent? Currently I spray down the enclosure morning and night and it usually keeps around 60% humidity in between.
No glass enclosure please. We bought glass 70 gal and returned to Petco. Now Happy Mojo is a big boy...They bounce off the glass thinking its another tortoise. How cruel..Now Mojo has an area that I let him roam in..soon as hes a bit older please get him away from the glass. We have the heat/uva/uvb lamps attached to a drawer 3 feet away. Boxes scattered in the room as he loves hide and peakout..in the cold weather a heating pad in an area he sits on..and rests. Regulated 2 hr on/off and low heat..and a humidifier for the room we bought at Walgreens. We enjoy that too. He is almost 7 pounds..In the summer some people has bought big outdoor planters and made them into enclosures. Congratulations on your newcomer..ps they really don't hibernate. Just slow down. We feed him mixed with fruit Mazuri Tortoise food..yellow squash..lots of greens (not lettuce) and a pinky once a month as a treat..
 

herschel

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If the substrate is moss don't use it. It can be eaten which a lot of tortoises do, it can get tangled around limbs and even inside if eaten and it molds easily.
Coconut coir with orchid/fir bark over it is best.
Then to raise humidity, pour warm water into the corners, wetting the coir but leaving the bark much dryer to prevent shell rot.
I don't believe you need or want hotter temps, but maybe @ZEROPILOT can help with that.
Hi - new silent member here - we have a 2 year old (we think) red foot Herschel and I have some moss in his 'sand box' but are you saying this is not a good idea?! Thank you!
 

wellington

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Hi - new silent member here - we have a 2 year old (we think) red foot Herschel and I have some moss in his 'sand box' but are you saying this is not a good idea?! Thank you!
Moss and sand are both bad. Both can cause impaction and moss can and has tangled limbs and if eaten can tangle inside.
 

Tom

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No glass enclosure please. We bought glass 70 gal and returned to Petco. Now Happy Mojo is a big boy...They bounce off the glass thinking its another tortoise. How cruel..Now Mojo has an area that I let him roam in..soon as hes a bit older please get him away from the glass. We have the heat/uva/uvb lamps attached to a drawer 3 feet away. Boxes scattered in the room as he loves hide and peakout..in the cold weather a heating pad in an area he sits on..and rests. Regulated 2 hr on/off and low heat..and a humidifier for the room we bought at Walgreens. We enjoy that too. He is almost 7 pounds..In the summer some people has bought big outdoor planters and made them into enclosures. Congratulations on your newcomer..ps they really don't hibernate. Just slow down. We feed him mixed with fruit Mazuri Tortoise food..yellow squash..lots of greens (not lettuce) and a pinky once a month as a treat..
The glass thing is a myth. An often repeated myth. It is not stressful, and certainly not cruel. I, and many other experienced tortoise keepers, have been starting babies in glass tanks for decades with no problems. I believe the myth started because someone bought a wild caught Russian from a pet store, stuck it in a tiny 40 gallon tank and the thing spent all day climbing the walls and stressing out. The problem here was not the glass, but a tiny barren enclosure and an animal that is not yet acclimated to captivity. That same Russian would do the same thing in a wooden box of the same type and dimensions. Meanwhile, CB babies appear to enjoy watching their world from inside the safety of their enclosure, and their people enjoy watching them.

Loose on the floor is not safe, cannot be made safe, and is not warm enough. This is a dangerous an inappropriate way to house tortoises, an we see several deaths, impactions and injures each year here on the forum, and I see many more cases with my vet friends here. Tortoises need their own large enclosure of the correct size and type for the species in question.

Heat mats are not safe either. And why would you have it set for 2 hours on and two hours off? Your tortoise needs that heat 24/7, not half the time.

Finally, RFs and CHs, are tropical animals. They need the correct warmth and conditions year round and they should not be "slowing down". If they are slowing down, it is an indicator that something is wrong.

I don't know where you have gotten this info, but it sounds like FB, YT, and Reddit info which is almost universally wrong info. You've gotten the wrong ideas somewhere, and I am not typing this up to insult or offend you. I am typing this up to help your tortoise and prevent another tragedy. You have two choices here: 1. Get mad and call me names, or 2. Think about why I would take the time to type all this up and potentially have number 1 happen. There is a lot of bad tortoise info circulating around out in the world, and we are here to try to help stop the spread of it. My intention here is only to help you and your tortoise, and also inform other people that are reading these posts.
 

Morgan P

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Tom, with glass enclosures…since most come with mesh tops, do you know of a solution to retain the humidity in easier? I have put plexi glass on the front half and foil on the back half in between the CHE lamps.
 

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