For a sulcata tortoise would a CHE be better used in a dome or cage clamp?

BigBack tortoise

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Hey guys. I’m new to this owning a tortoise and have question about the light. I recently bought my first tortoise at a reptile expo and was asking questions. I was sold a dual dome with a CHE with it and was told I am able to use the CHE in the dome. I bought a single clamp dome today and installed the CHE in there. I noticed the dome gets really hot and want to know what’s best. Should I just go with a bulb or should I go with cage clamp. My baby tortoise has been sleeping a lot and eat here and there but not as much.
 

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Tom

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Hey guys. I’m new to this owning a tortoise and have question about the light. I recently bought my first tortoise at a reptile expo and was asking questions. I was sold a dual dome with a CHE with it and was told I am able to use the CHE in the dome. I bought a single clamp dome today and installed the CHE in there. I noticed the dome gets really hot and want to know what’s best. Should I just go with a bulb or should I go with cage clamp. My baby tortoise has been sleeping a lot and eat here and there but not as much.
Hello and welcome.

Either a dome or cage type will work, as long as it is rated for double the wattage you are using. I get mine at Home Depot and they are good for 300 watts.

What is not going to work is that type of enclosure for a sulcata. There is no way to maintain the correct heat and humidity with an open top. You have received the wrong care info. Is that how the breeder told you to house it? If yes, then that breeder almost certainly did not start the baby correctly either.

Please read through this thread at least twice and take it all in. There is a sulcata care sheet near the bottom and questions are welcome. Your tortoise's like literally depends on you getting and using this info ASAP.
 

BigBack tortoise

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Jun 24, 2024
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San Jose Ca
Hello and welcome.

Either a dome or cage type will work, as long as it is rated for double the wattage you are using. I get mine at Home Depot and they are good for 300 watts.

What is not going to work is that type of enclosure for a sulcata. There is no way to maintain the correct heat and humidity with an open top. You have received the wrong care info. Is that how the breeder told you to house it? If yes, then that breeder almost certainly did not start the baby correctly either.

Please read through this thread at least twice and take it all in. There is a sulcata care sheet near the bottom and questions are welcome. Your tortoise's like literally depends on you getting and using this info ASAP.
Thank you for that. Also have another question. Is it possible that my baby tortoise doesn’t like romaine lettuce. I try feeding it but doesn’t eat it. And when I take him out to the grass he starts eating grass. I was told to not do this.
 

Tom

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Thank you for that. Also have another question. Is it possible that my baby tortoise doesn’t like romaine lettuce. I try feeding it but doesn’t eat it. And when I take him out to the grass he starts eating grass. I was told to not do this.
The double domes usually come with a compact florescent bulb for UV. Those sometimes burn their eyes and they should not be used. This might be why he doesn't want to eat indoors. I would turn that off ASAP.

Here is a breakdown of the four heating and lighting essentials:
  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.
Who told you not to put the baby outside to eat grass? Specifically what did they tell you? You should not have the baby out loose walking around. That part is correct, and you will likely lose him if you do that. An hour or two of outside time in a safe enclosure with lots of shade and access to sunshine and grass is very good for them.
 

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