Enclosure Progress & some questions 🐒

jaizei

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Thanks for looking over my list! I appreciate your help :)

The "mezzanine" level will be the basking zone. We didn't think about how to hang the lights, so I'm glad you asked! For the tube light we will use command strips to attach it to the bookshelf above the enclosure. For the dual heat lamp, I've added an adjustable stand to the wish list.

Honestly I chose the succulents because they look nice lol but also because they were on the list of edibles plants from Tortoise Table, but I just ordered the seed mix you shared!

I haven't used the command strips for anything, so idk if they work (well) from above or even if they did if I would trust them. I prob wouldn't trust any adhesive since the heat of the light might affect how well they work.

You could prob use aircraft cable wrapped around the shelf supports/under the shelf to hold the tube fixture. Would also be fairly easy to make adjustable that way
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Thanks for looking over my list! I appreciate your help :)

The "mezzanine" level will be the basking zone. We didn't think about how to hang the lights, so I'm glad you asked! For the tube light we will use command strips to attach it to the bookshelf above the enclosure. For the dual heat lamp, I've added an adjustable stand to the wish list.

Honestly I chose the succulents because they look nice lol but also because they were on the list of edibles plants from Tortoise Table, but I just ordered the seed mix you shared!
I absolutely second jaizei's statement on "don't trust the glue".

Perhaps, you can make a frame out of PVC pipes and connectors and hang all lights from the frame. UVB lamp is usually mounted at 18-22" above substrate with some room for adjustment. Check if it fits under the shelf.

As for the list:
1. You have found right type of the UVB lamp. However, I would recommend to look at Arcadia ProT5 kit (Desert, 12%) or ZooMed Reptisun 10.0 tubes. Like this: https://www.lightyourreptiles.com/arcadia-pro-t5-fixture-12-bulb-22-5-sale-now-only-69-99/ (check Amazon if there are better prices) The reason is that cheaper UVB lamps aren't that long-lasting and often have less predictable spectrum and UV output.

2. Double-barrel fixtures aren't really good - they give narrow beam of light. Wide domes are better.
Also, I would not put CHE in the basking area: you need some ambient heating in the enclosure. I would suggest to put CHE under the mezzanine.
And it's good to have some sort of cover over the right part of the enclosure (like a plexiglass or polycarbonate sheet or PVC film) - you likely won't need it during warmer months, but it will help to retain heat on colder days.

3. You have found really powerful incandescent lamps, congratulations! I don't know if it fits under the shelf to provide temperatures we need for the basking area. Often less powerful lamps are enough (like 100-150W). A dimmer can help but not too much (as light spectre shifts to reds/orange).

4. LED strip looks just right for the first level. Over the basking area you can use just a simple LED bulb (I expect it would be easier to mount).

5. You need a thermostat to use with CHE (so you can just set the temperature and forget about it). Also, timer sockets for basking, ambient and UVB lights will make things easier for you.

6. You may opt to get two hygrometer thermometers for the different parts of the enclosure. If you are tech-savvy, smart thermometers (and smart sockets) can be a good option.

7. Yes, succulents look nice, no problem to plant them too. Testudo Seed Mix provides a good variety of leafy greens so it's a nice addition.

Maybe that's all. Don't hesitate to ask more questions!
 

sunny_27

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I haven't used the command strips for anything, so idk if they work (well) from above or even if they did if I would trust them. I prob wouldn't trust any adhesive since the heat of the light might affect how well they work.

You could prob use aircraft cable wrapped around the shelf supports/under the shelf to hold the tube fixture. Would also be fairly easy to make adjustable that way
Good point! I didn't think about the heat affecting the glue. We use command strips for hanging a lot of things but we've never done a light before. Better safe than sorry! Thanks for the advice :)
 

sunny_27

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I absolutely second jaizei's statement on "don't trust the glue".

Perhaps, you can make a frame out of PVC pipes and connectors and hang all lights from the frame. UVB lamp is usually mounted at 18-22" above substrate with some room for adjustment. Check if it fits under the shelf.

As for the list:
1. You have found right type of the UVB lamp. However, I would recommend to look at Arcadia ProT5 kit (Desert, 12%) or ZooMed Reptisun 10.0 tubes. Like this: https://www.lightyourreptiles.com/arcadia-pro-t5-fixture-12-bulb-22-5-sale-now-only-69-99/ (check Amazon if there are better prices) The reason is that cheaper UVB lamps aren't that long-lasting and often have less predictable spectrum and UV output.

2. Double-barrel fixtures aren't really good - they give narrow beam of light. Wide domes are better.
Also, I would not put CHE in the basking area: you need some ambient heating in the enclosure. I would suggest to put CHE under the mezzanine.
And it's good to have some sort of cover over the right part of the enclosure (like a plexiglass or polycarbonate sheet or PVC film) - you likely won't need it during warmer months, but it will help to retain heat on colder days.

3. You have found really powerful incandescent lamps, congratulations! I don't know if it fits under the shelf to provide temperatures we need for the basking area. Often less powerful lamps are enough (like 100-150W). A dimmer can help but not too much (as light spectre shifts to reds/orange).

4. LED strip looks just right for the first level. Over the basking area you can use just a simple LED bulb (I expect it would be easier to mount).

5. You need a thermostat to use with CHE (so you can just set the temperature and forget about it). Also, timer sockets for basking, ambient and UVB lights will make things easier for you.

6. You may opt to get two hygrometer thermometers for the different parts of the enclosure. If you are tech-savvy, smart thermometers (and smart sockets) can be a good option.

7. Yes, succulents look nice, no problem to plant them too. Testudo Seed Mix provides a good variety of leafy greens so it's a nice addition.

Maybe that's all. Don't hesitate to ask more questions!
Alrighty! I've made some adjustments to the list based on your suggestions and recommendations: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3MRK6VZWVZN46?ref_=wl_share

I swapped the UVB lamp for the ZooMed kit and found some wider fixtures that clamp. We were thinking we could attach the UVB lamp to the shelf with screws instead, although it wouldn't be adjustable if we did that. Is it very important that we can adjust that one? We will mostly be using that in the winter months and darker days since he will also have his outdoor enclosure :)

Thanks for the tip on containing the heat with the plexi glass! We will definitely look into adding some clear plexiglass glass to the main level. That might also help with keeping our cats away!

I swapped out the incandescent light for one that is 150w and added two hygrometer thermometers.

Hopefully that covers all our basis! 🌞🐒
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Okay. Closer to perfection :)
1. The Sylvania lamp you've found is PAR type, likely it's a spot and not a flood lamp. Petsmart has Arcadia incandescent Floodlights - https://www.petsmart.com/reptile/en...reptile-solar-basking-floodlight-5312298.html
2. UVB lamp is Repti Zoo, not ZooMed (I believe it's intentionally confusing naming). Arcadia ProT5 kits also available at Petsmart: https://www.petsmart.com/reptile/en...res/arcadia-reptile-prot5-uv-b-kit-65058.html
3. You can check local plant nurseries if they have fine/small grade orchid (fir) bark or cypress mulch in large bags. This will be way cheaper than ReptiBark. For a 6x3 feet enclosure you need about 5 cu.ft of substrate (to get a 4-6 inches thick layer).

If you can adjust UVB light height - you can move it lower eventually to provide meaningful UVB level instead of changing the lamp (as UVB lamps output degrades over time). Another reason - if distance is too small, UVB can be harmful to tortoise.

Also, note that plexiglass is flexible and bend under its own weight - you will need one or two supporting planks to prevent it.
 

sunny_27

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Okay. Closer to perfection :)
1. The Sylvania lamp you've found is PAR type, likely it's a spot and not a flood lamp. Petsmart has Arcadia incandescent Floodlights - https://www.petsmart.com/reptile/en...reptile-solar-basking-floodlight-5312298.html
2. UVB lamp is Repti Zoo, not ZooMed (I believe it's intentionally confusing naming). Arcadia ProT5 kits also available at Petsmart: https://www.petsmart.com/reptile/en...res/arcadia-reptile-prot5-uv-b-kit-65058.html
3. You can check local plant nurseries if they have fine/small grade orchid (fir) bark or cypress mulch in large bags. This will be way cheaper than ReptiBark. For a 6x3 feet enclosure you need about 5 cu.ft of substrate (to get a 4-6 inches thick layer).

If you can adjust UVB light height - you can move it lower eventually to provide meaningful UVB level instead of changing the lamp (as UVB lamps output degrades over time). Another reason - if distance is too small, UVB can be harmful to tortoise.

Also, note that plexiglass is flexible and bend under its own weight - you will need one or two supporting planks to prevent it.
Okay my friend!

I think we got it right this time πŸ˜…πŸ˜­

What do you think?
https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3MRK6VZWVZN46?ref_=wl_share

For the grow light fixture thing we will just switch out the light bulb to the Zoo Med one. And we will put this inside the mezzanine level towards the edge so it'll also illuminate the bottom level.
We hope that works just fine! 🀞🏽

We will look around locally for the substrate, thanks so much for the tip about where to find it in bigger quantities and cheaper!! And thanks also for your note about plexi glass πŸ‘πŸ½

We added the ramp and pool liner :) check out the progress pic! PXL_20240506_215145618.MP.jpg
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Okay my friend!

I think we got it right this time πŸ˜…πŸ˜­

What do you think?
https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3MRK6VZWVZN46?ref_=wl_share

For the grow light fixture thing we will just switch out the light bulb to the Zoo Med one. And we will put this inside the mezzanine level towards the edge so it'll also illuminate the bottom level.
We hope that works just fine! 🀞🏽

We will look around locally for the substrate, thanks so much for the tip about where to find it in bigger quantities and cheaper!! And thanks also for your note about plexi glass πŸ‘πŸ½

We added the ramp and pool liner :) check out the progress pic! View attachment 370154
I don't know what happened, but the list is empty... :( Maybe you can post a screen shot of the list..

And the enclosure is ... it's BEAUTIFUL! Looks great!
 

sunny_27

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Alex and the Redfoot

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Thank you so much! It was a fun project and good excuse to get creative :)

Oh how weird! Here is the link, I think it should work now :)
https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3MRK6VZWVZN46?ref_=wl_share
Now it's fine!
T5 fixture is a great finding (I didn't even know such things exist). My small concern is the quality of the reflector (good reflector almost doubles effective UVB under the fixture). I've seen keepers here using cheap T5 fixtures from hardware stores, so unlikely it will be the issue. But the only way to know is to get Solarmeter 6.5 (which is rather expensive, but helps to save on lamps and you are always sure that UVB levels are correct). I'll give this fixture a try anyway.

The Fluker's basking bulb is labeled as a spot light and I can't find the beam width anywhere. Spotlights aren't recommended for tortoises. You may use Daytime Daylight bulb they make (typical, A type, pear-shaped) with a reflector dome instead.
 

sunny_27

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Now it's fine!
T5 fixture is a great finding (I didn't even know such things exist). My small concern is the quality of the reflector (good reflector almost doubles effective UVB under the fixture). I've seen keepers here using cheap T5 fixtures from hardware stores, so unlikely it will be the issue. But the only way to know is to get Solarmeter 6.5 (which is rather expensive, but helps to save on lamps and you are always sure that UVB levels are correct). I'll give this fixture a try anyway.

The Fluker's basking bulb is labeled as a spot light and I can't find the beam width anywhere. Spotlights aren't recommended for tortoises. You may use Daytime Daylight bulb they make (typical, A type, pear-shaped) with a reflector dome instead.
Awesome! I'm happy it worked this time :)

Good to know about the reflector. I imagine the rescue has a way to measure UVB. Perhaps when they do the home visit they can test ours and make sure it's fine.

Oh dang! I didn't even notice it was a spot light 🀦🏽 at least that is the last adjustment we need to make for lighting! I've learned so much already and glad that we can be on a good foundation before ethe little guy comes to his forever home.

I'm gonna go on my search for substrate this week :) i'll keep you posted! Thank you SO MUCH for all your help!! This would have been so much harder figuring out all this on my own. 🐒🌞
 

sunny_27

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You are welcome! Keep us updated!
Hello Alex! I hope you are having a happy week so far 🐒🌞🌿

I started working on the lighting setup :) I wasn't sure if it mattered too much where the thermometers were placed but I was thinking of mounting them in the areas marked in the picture.Screenshot_20240508-181452.png

LED strip is installed now and CHE with thermostat almost ready to go. I was also going to mount the thermostat. Does that placement look okay?PXL_20240508_221247119.MP.jpg
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Looks great so far!

Yet a few tweaks are needed:
1. Lamp clamps are unreliable. These things fall when you expect it least. With a CHE inside it easily can cause fire or injury. You need to hang the lamp from a hook, to reenforce the clamp or to add some some measures (like short chain) to prevent fixture from falling.

Some domes have a hanging bracket in a box, some don't but there are always holes in the dome to attach hooks. Many use coffee cup holder screw hooks (with a carabine) and metallic chains to hang things.

2. Thermometer placement looks okay - but just wait a little until you put all substrate, hides and all that things in. Thermometer should be 1-2 inches above substrate, ideally at some distance from enclosure walls. Also, you will need to measure temperatures and humidity all across the enclosure for the first few days - it's better to have freely movable thermometers for that period. Later then you will find optimal placement.
 

sunny_27

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Looks great so far!

Yet a few tweaks are needed:
1. Lamp clamps are unreliable. These things fall when you expect it least. With a CHE inside it easily can cause fire or injury. You need to hang the lamp from a hook, to reenforce the clamp or to add some some measures (like short chain) to prevent fixture from falling.

Some domes have a hanging bracket in a box, some don't but there are always holes in the dome to attach hooks. Many use coffee cup holder screw hooks (with a carabine) and metallic chains to hang things.

2. Thermometer placement looks okay - but just wait a little until you put all substrate, hides and all that things in. Thermometer should be 1-2 inches above substrate, ideally at some distance from enclosure walls. Also, you will need to measure temperatures and humidity all across the enclosure for the first few days - it's better to have freely movable thermometers for that period. Later then you will find optimal placement.

Hi Alex! Another update for you and anyone else following my journey :)

Thank you for the heads up about the potential for clamp failure. I will definitely reinforce them. I really like the cup holder hook and carabineer idea!

We just bought a bunch of coco coir and cypress mulch. I tried finding the fir bark but none of the local places carried it expect one and it was super pricey 😬 I saw others use cypress mulch on here and I figured that was a good alternative.

Great notes about the thermometer placement, will definitely wait until we've got all the stuff added.

While we figure out more lighting stuff for the indoor enclosure, we made some significant progress on the outdoor one.

Check it out!PXL_20240515_220122404.MP.jpgPXL_20240515_220130084.MP.jpg
Little hobbit hole!! 🀣 And we planted a bunch of the testudo seed mix and some creeping vines to cover the Hobbit holes. I hope it works out okay!

The hostas were from my garden that I just relocated to the enclosure. They have never been treated with chemical or pesticides and no perlite in the soil.

What do you think? We still need to add the cover for safety and corner pieces to prevent climbing.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Hi Alex! Another update for you and anyone else following my journey :)

Thank you for the heads up about the potential for clamp failure. I will definitely reinforce them. I really like the cup holder hook and carabineer idea!

We just bought a bunch of coco coir and cypress mulch. I tried finding the fir bark but none of the local places carried it expect one and it was super pricey 😬 I saw others use cypress mulch on here and I figured that was a good alternative.

Great notes about the thermometer placement, will definitely wait until we've got all the stuff added.

While we figure out more lighting stuff for the indoor enclosure, we made some significant progress on the outdoor one.

Check it out!View attachment 370705View attachment 370706
Little hobbit hole!! 🀣 And we planted a bunch of the testudo seed mix and some creeping vines to cover the Hobbit holes. I hope it works out okay!

The hostas were from my garden that I just relocated to the enclosure. They have never been treated with chemical or pesticides and no perlite in the soil.

What do you think? We still need to add the cover for safety and corner pieces to prevent climbing.
I think it looks great! That's gonna be one more happy tortoise, for sure!

Cypress mulch is a good alternative to fir bark. And can be used indoors too. Make sure it's non-colored and non-treated mulch if you get it from a garden center.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Thank you!! Here is a different view of the ramp :)View attachment 371384
Looks incredible!
A few tweaks to do:
1. Move thermometer down, 1-2 inches over substrate - you need to know temperatures where your tortoise is.
2. Hang the dome with CHE from the ceiling, clamps are unsafe and it will work better pointed straight top down
3. And some "anti-slip" measures on the ramp - thin wooden planks, rubberized mat for kitchen cabinets or something like that.
4. Reenforce the basking lamp clamp to prevent it from falling. Or add a metallic cord/chain from UVB fixture frame to the dome so if clamp fails the dome would hang on it. Of course, hanging the basking lamp on adjustable stand is better.

The wonderful day is coming! Give Sunny a welcome warm soak and keep us updated!
 

jaizei

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Thank you!! Here is a different view of the ramp :)View attachment 371384
2. Hang the dome with CHE from the ceiling, clamps are unsafe and it will work better pointed straight top down
4. Reenforce the basking lamp clamp to prevent it from falling. Or add a metallic cord/chain from UVB fixture frame to the dome so if clamp fails the dome would hang on it. Of course, hanging the basking lamp on adjustable stand is better.


If thats the position of the lamps you want, screw a couple of 3/8 straps over the clamp part of the fixture to keep it from moving.
 
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