willkeeton524

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is this a good enclosure for my baby Sulcata?
It’s a mixture of cypress mulch, organic top soil, and sphagnum moss. I planted some grass seeds, as well as an aloe plant and 2 other succulents. It stays about 80 degrees in there with the lights on and between 30-50 humidity if i spray it a few times a day.
He’s either walking around, or in his pot sleeping. Haven’t seen him bask but a couple times. The heat lamp and the UVB/UVA lamp are 75 watts and about 7 inches above the enclosure. Is this sufficient?

73DE99B5-E50B-4A8E-82C5-41C421965ED3.jpeg
 

TechnoCheese

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Welcome to the forum! Sadly, there are definitely things that need to be changed.

-your tortoise requires heat and humidity to stay above 80 at all times, day and night. There is no way you’re going to be able to do this with an open topped enclosure.

You need to cover the top of your enclosure to create a closed chamber, or create a new one all together.

I also see no night heat. You should be using a ceramic heat emitter or radiant heat panel.

-you are likely using a coil/compact uvb. These are very inefficient at producing UVB, and can cause eye burns. You should be using a tube fluorescent, like the reptisun 10.0.

-If you are using those analog thermometers on the left side of the enclosure, you need a digital one with a probe or a temp gun. Non-digital thermometers and hygrometers are very inaccurate.

-you may have to change your substrate to completely cypress mulch, fine grade orchid bark, coconut coir, or a mix of these. Top soil can become muddy when wet, and tortoises will often eat sphagnum moss.

-I would add a few more hides to the enclosure.

-be sure that the succulents you put in Have not been raised with any pesticides or fertilizers. If newly bought from a store, they likely have been.

Please give these a read, and keep in mind that your tortoise will probably need a larger enclosure very soon depending on its dimensions.

How To Raise A Healthy Sulcata Or Leopard, Version 2.0 https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php...ealthy-Sulcata-Or-Leopard,-Version-2.0.79895/

For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata... https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/For-Those-Who-Have-a-Young-Sulcata....76744/

Beginner Mistakes https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Beginner-Mistakes.45180/
 

willkeeton524

New Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
Texas
Welcome to the forum! Sadly, there are definitely things that need to be changed.

-your tortoise requires heat and humidity to stay above 80 at all times, day and night. There is no way you’re going to be able to do this with an open topped enclosure.

You need to cover the top of your enclosure to create a closed chamber, or create a new one all together.

I also see no night heat. You should be using a ceramic heat emitter or radiant heat panel.

-you are likely using a coil/compact uvb. These are very inefficient at producing UVB, and can cause eye burns. You should be using a tube fluorescent, like the reptisun 10.0.

-If you are using those analog thermometers on the left side of the enclosure, you need a digital one with a probe or a temp gun. Non-digital thermometers and hygrometers are very inaccurate.

-you may have to change your substrate to completely cypress mulch, fine grade orchid bark, coconut coir, or a mix of these. Top soil can become muddy when wet, and tortoises will often eat sphagnum moss.

-I would add a few more hides to the enclosure.

-be sure that the succulents you put in Have not been raised with any pesticides or fertilizers. If newly bought from a store, they likely have been.

Please give these a read, and keep in mind that your tortoise will probably need a larger enclosure very soon depending on its dimensions.

How To Raise A Healthy Sulcata Or Leopard, Version 2.0 https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/How-To-Raise-A-Healthy-Sulcata-Or-Leopard,-Version-2.0.79895/

For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata... https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/For-Those-Who-Have-a-Young-Sulcata....76744/

Beginner Mistakes https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Beginner-Mistakes.45180/
is this a good enclosure for my baby Sulcata?
It’s a mixture of cypress mulch, organic top soil, and sphagnum moss. I planted some grass seeds, as well as an aloe plant and 2 other succulents. It stays about 80 degrees in there with the lights on and between 30-50 humidity if i spray it a few times a day.
He’s either walking around, or in his pot sleeping. Haven’t seen him bask but a couple times. The heat lamp and the UVB/UVA lamp are 75 watts and about 7 inches above the enclosure. Is this sufficient?
Thank you! This habitat is temporary. Within the next couple weeks i will be putting together a larger one. I have already ordered a digital gauge for the temperature and humidity. The top soil is in between 2 layers of cypress mulch, i did this to try to grow grass in there! But i will strongly consider your input with the new enclosure!
Do you think you could provide me with links where i can order the appropriate lighting for my little guy?
 

TechnoCheese

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Thank you! This habitat is temporary. Within the next couple weeks i will be putting together a larger one. I have already ordered a digital gauge for the temperature and humidity. The top soil is in between 2 layers of cypress mulch, i did this to try to grow grass in there! But i will strongly consider your input with the new enclosure!
Do you think you could provide me with links where i can order the appropriate lighting for my little guy?

Keep in mind that if your weather is nice, you can just put your tortoise outside for a few hours a week instead of buying a UVB bulb and fixtures.

Here’s an example of one you can use-
https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-t8-re...MIhO-co7rH4gIVTLjACh1eYQBnEAQYASABEgI-svD_BwE

You can get a normal florescent fixture at most hardware stores that fits it.
 

willkeeton524

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Keep in mind that if your weather is nice, you can just put your tortoise outside for a few hours a week instead of buying a UVB bulb and fixtures.

Here’s an example of one you can use-
https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-t8-reptisun-100-uvb/dp/126591?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=Zoo Med&utm_term=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhO-co7rH4gIVTLjACh1eYQBnEAQYASABEgI-svD_BwE

You can get a normal florescent fixture at most hardware stores that fits it.
So how can i accomplish a fully enclosed habitat and proper lighting? He will be indoors most of the time for at least the next 6 months until i get a house with a private yard. At that point ill build him a nice area he can hang out all day and night. He is about half the size of a baseball right now. Should i just build a big box out of plywood and mount the lights on the ceiling about 12” up?
 

TechnoCheese

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So how can i accomplish a fully enclosed habitat and proper lighting? He will be indoors most of the time for at least the next 6 months until i get a house with a private yard. At that point ill build him a nice area he can hang out all day and night. He is about half the size of a baseball right now. Should i just build a big box out of plywood and mount the lights on the ceiling about 12” up?

Keep in mind that your tortoise shouldn’t be living outside full time until it is 8-10 inches.

You can do that, yes. You can also build a frame out of something and cover it with a shower curtain to put on top of your enclosure.
 

willkeeton524

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Keep in mind that your tortoise shouldn’t be living outside full time until it is 8-10 inches.

You can do that, yes. You can also build a frame out of something and cover it with a shower curtain to put on top of your enclosure.
How about this? Built it today. Will be adding the lights you suggested and a temperature/humidy controller tomorrow. Its 4ft long,2ft wide, and 18” tall. The entire top opens up. Built in hide out thats about 16”x24”
 

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TechnoCheese

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How about this? Built it today. Will be adding the lights you suggested and a temperature/humidy controller tomorrow. Its 4ft long,2ft wide, and 18” tall. The entire top opens up. Built in hide out thats about 16”x24”

Looks great!
 

Tom

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How about this? Built it today. Will be adding the lights you suggested and a temperature/humidy controller tomorrow. Its 4ft long,2ft wide, and 18” tall. The entire top opens up. Built in hide out thats about 16”x24”
That looks great. Just be aware your little one will outgrow it within a few months.

Another thing you will too notice is that with a closed chamber and the lights inside, you will need much lower wattage bulbs to maintain the correct temperatures. I've had to go as low as a 25 watt basking bulb in some of mine.

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. Go lower wattage if this make it too hot. I like the overnight low to be 80, and daytime high to rise into the low 90s for a sulcata baby.
  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. I like this thermostat: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller
  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. I've been using LEDs lately and they are great, and run cooler than a florescent.
  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.
 

willkeeton524

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You don't think he’ll have more than just a few months? This box is relatively large and he is very very small
 

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willkeeton524

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50EDC01E-42CF-4798-B7D2-8656726303BB.jpeg BDA3F570-C8CF-4042-9402-CCAE29A978EE.jpeg
That looks great. Just be aware your little one will outgrow it within a few months.

Another thing you will too notice is that with a closed chamber and the lights inside, you will need much lower wattage bulbs to maintain the correct temperatures. I've had to go as low as a 25 watt basking bulb in some of mine.

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. Go lower wattage if this make it too hot. I like the overnight low to be 80, and daytime high to rise into the low 90s for a sulcata baby.
  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. I like this thermostat: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller
  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. I've been using LEDs lately and they are great, and run cooler than a florescent.
  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.
Ok so i THINK i have it set up pretty good!

In the main area, I have a 60 watt basking bulb for 12hrs/day. (On the left) It keeps the area directly under about 95 degrees, and the surrounding areas anywhere from 75-90 degrees. Also in the main area (on the right) is a 100 watt ceramic bulb for night time. Haven't had the chance to monitor the temps on that yet. And an 18 inch Reptisun 10.0.

In the hideout there is a 50watt night bulb that keeps it about 75 degrees in there, and a compact UVB for when he goes in there during the day.

All the lights are about 6” above the substrate, except for the Reptisun 10.0 which is about 12 inches above the substrate

I have a digital temp/humidity gauge with a probe, that seems to be pretty accurate according to my temp gun.

Here are some pics, what do you think?
 

Tom

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View attachment 274662 View attachment 274661
Ok so i THINK i have it set up pretty good!

In the main area, I have a 60 watt basking bulb for 12hrs/day. (On the left) It keeps the area directly under about 95 degrees, and the surrounding areas anywhere from 75-90 degrees. Also in the main area (on the right) is a 100 watt ceramic bulb for night time. Haven't had the chance to monitor the temps on that yet. And an 18 inch Reptisun 10.0.

In the hideout there is a 50watt night bulb that keeps it about 75 degrees in there, and a compact UVB for when he goes in there during the day.

All the lights are about 6” above the substrate, except for the Reptisun 10.0 which is about 12 inches above the substrate

I have a digital temp/humidity gauge with a probe, that seems to be pretty accurate according to my temp gun.

Here are some pics, what do you think?

Here is what I think:
  • Stop using the cfl immediately. They are not effective UV sources and they can sometimes damage reptile eyes. The hide area should be dark for him.
  • Replace the night bulb with another CHE. Colored bulbs are no good for tortoises. Messes with their circadian rhythms and makes the world look funny to them.
  • Run both CHEs on one thermostat and set the thermostat to 80. Put the thermostat's probe somewhere in the cool side away from any heat source so that the coldest part of the box will not drop below 80.
  • Hopefully, during the day, the heat lamp and florescent tube will warm the box up into the low 90s all around.
  • I think you'll need to cover up all those screen areas. The screens will let all your heat and humidity out and defeat the purpose of making a closed chamber. There is plenty of air flow around the top and along the seams, plus fresh air will flood in every day when you open the box for food, water, soaking and handling.
  • With warm temps, good hydration and decent food, a sulcata can reach 800-1000 grams in their first year. A 4x8' box would be on the small side for that size tortoise. A 2x4 will probably be outgrown within a few months, unless your guy is a slow grower. Time will tell.
  • I would lower the 18" Repti-Sun tube. At 12" very little UV will reach your tortoise. Try to drop it down to 9-10" if you can.
 

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