Hello from North West England!

Reaney24

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Hi everyone, my name is Ste and have just really got into keeping tortoises. I just got my first one last week and is a Horsfield named Rex. He is only a baby and am unsure of his (or maybe hers) age but he is around 2-2.5" in shell length.
 

Yvonne G

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Welcome to the Forum, Ste!
 

Reaney24

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Hi all and thank you for the warm welcome. Here are just a couple of pictures of Rex and his "starter" set up: image.jpg image.jpg
 

Tidgy's Dad

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I'm not sure those pellets are a good idea.
Coco coir, orchid bark or cypress mulch are all better and can be moistened to keep up the humidity without going moldy.
That water bowl is a potential flip hazard, the tort can't climb up and have a drink facing down as they don't bend in the middle.
A shallow terracotta saucer, big enough to soak in and sunk into the substrate is the most popular suggestion here.
If that's a red light bulb used for night, then it can prevent the tortoise from sleeping properly, they need darkness to sleep. Red light also seems to encourage the tortoise to eat thing it colours red, like the substrate which is not a good idea.
Sorry if this all seems rather negative, but you have a really beautiful tortoise there and I hope I am helping with your set up.
 

Lyn W

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Hi Ste sorry but I agree with all of the above.
You don't need infra red,. As we are in the UK and hot sunny days are minimal the best you could get is mvb which gives uva/b rays (which are vital for your torts health), heat and light all in one bulb. I use Arcadia mini D3 £39 from Pets at Home. The Range also have reptile stock.
At night a black bulb or a CHE on a thermostat to keep temps even would be better. If you use reflector shades you direct heat/light down rather than lose it as it rises.
Also humidity will be a problem for you in an open table so think about covering part of it with plexiglass/ clear acrylic sheet once you have the new moisture retaining substrate. Until then make sure he has a humid hide and a couple of tort safe plants like spider plants in pots sunk in substrate will give him the security of ground cover see www.thetortoisetable.org.uk

Did you buy your tort from a pet store and did they recommend that you buy all that?
 
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johnsonnboswell

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Pet stores sell stuff. It's really a pity they give so much bad advice & sell the wrong stuff. Many of us have been mislead at one time or another.

All this is to say that those gentle suggestions from members on this list concerning the substrate & lights are vitally important. Compost the pellets & get something that holds mousture. Ditch the red light (get the store to take it back).

Welcome! Keep asking questions and read the care sheet.
 

Reaney24

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Thanks for the replies guys I didn't know there was that much of a problem with this. I got Rex from a reptile store and they advised me to get these bits yes. They did try to sell me a viv as well however I knew that was a definite no no. Next weekend when I get the chance then I will replace the substrate and light.

I don't really want to replace the ubv light I have in there so could I just use a basking bulb on a thermostat?

Also would top soil be an ok substrate to use?

Thanks
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Thanks for the replies guys I didn't know there was that much of a problem with this. I got Rex from a reptile store and they advised me to get these bits yes. They did try to sell me a viv as well however I knew that was a definite no no. Next weekend when I get the chance then I will replace the substrate and light.

I don't really want to replace the ubv light I have in there so could I just use a basking bulb on a thermostat?

Also would top soil be an ok substrate to use?

Thanks
As was said by johnsonboswell, pet stores sadly often know little about tortoise husbandry and are just trying to sell you what they have in stock.
A large viv is okay with the correct set up and they are good at retianing humidity but I think what you have here is better, it just needs some tweaking.
What type of UVB light do you have? I can't tell in the photo, but coiled or compact bulbs are a no no as they damage the torts eyes or don't provide enough UVB anyway. If It's a mercury vapour bulb it provides adequate heat and light, but you might need a CHE (ceramic heat emitter) for cold nights.
Top soil is often used as substrate, but you must ensure it doesn't have any added herbicides or pesticides, small stones or sand.
 

Reaney24

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As was said by johnsonboswell, pet stores sadly often know little about tortoise husbandry and are just trying to sell you what they have in stock.
A large viv is okay with the correct set up and they are good at retianing humidity but I think what you have here is better, it just needs some tweaking.
What type of UVB light do you have? I can't tell in the photo, but coiled or compact bulbs are a no no as they damage the torts eyes or don't provide enough UVB anyway. If It's a mercury vapour bulb it provides adequate heat and light, but you might need a CHE (ceramic heat emitter) for cold nights.
Top soil is often used as substrate, but you must ensure it doesn't have any added herbicides or pesticides, small stones or sand.

The ubv bulb is an Exo terra reptile ubv 100
 

johnsonnboswell

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My experience with top soil is that it turns to mud. Finished compost, on the other hand, has enough organic material to hold moisture and stay clean.

Others use a variety of things successfully. My preferred substrate these days is a mixture of coconut coir and my own organic compost. You could substitute clean topsoil in a coir mix, too.
 

Reaney24

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My experience with top soil is that it turns to mud. Finished compost, on the other hand, has enough organic material to hold moisture and stay clean.

Others use a variety of things successfully. My preferred substrate these days is a mixture of coconut coir and my own organic compost. You could substitute clean topsoil in a coir mix, too.

What's the difference between normal compost and finished compost?
Thanks
 

Tidgy's Dad

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The ubv bulb is an Exo terra reptile ubv 100
I think that's a variety of coiled bulb.
if so, that also needs to go back to the pet store, i'm afraid.
These bulbs have been known to damage torts eyes and even blind them or kill them.
Modern ones claim to be safe but seem not to produce the correct levels of UVB and old ones are still sometimes for sale. I would replace it asap.
Not your fault.
 

Reaney24

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I think that's a variety of coiled bulb.
if so, that also needs to go back to the pet store, i'm afraid.
These bulbs have been known to damage torts eyes and even blind them or kill them.
Modern ones claim to be safe but seem not to produce the correct levels of UVB and old ones are still sometimes for sale. I would replace it asap.
Not your fault.

What could I use then instead of the 2 bulbs I currently use?

Thanks
 

Lyn W

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Thanks for the replies guys I didn't know there was that much of a problem with this. I got Rex from a reptile store and they advised me to get these bits yes. They did try to sell me a viv as well however I knew that was a definite no no. Next weekend when I get the chance then I will replace the substrate and light.

I don't really want to replace the ubv light I have in there so could I just use a basking bulb on a thermostat?

Also would top soil be an ok substrate to use?

Thanks
Unfortunately pet shops are only interested in profit not aftercare so double check everything they told you here, as this is the most up to date website for tort care.

If you have a look at the caresheet for Horsefields/ Russians under species specific that will be a good guide on substrate, temps humidity diet etc to start you off. Also have a look at the Enclosures thread, and Beginners Mistakes is also useful to learn from other people's mistakes.
A viv may have been a better for humidity, but it would have needed to be quite big to give him space.
Which uvb bulb do you have? Assuming you mean the white bulb as long as its not any coiled type which damages eyes it will prob be OK.
I don't know if the basking bulb would work on a thermostat I only use one with my CHE for night heat, but a basking or red bulb would be no good at night anyway as torts need darkness to sleep - I know some use black bulbs.
Anyway read the caresheets and try to follow that advice as best you can and just remember
heat+humidity = healthy tort
cold +humidity = sick tort.
 

Tidgy's Dad

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An MVB (mercury vapour bulb) is what I use, it provides heat, light and uvb.
For night the CHE is a good idea if it gets cold.
You can use a strip UVB light but then you would probably need a basking light as well.
 

Lyn W

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What could I use then instead of the 2 bulbs I currently use?

Thanks
Use the one I mentioned above - MVB arcadia mini d3 gives light heat and uva/b rays all in one bulb for day - brilliant!
At night and cooler days a CHE (ceramic heat emitter) with a thermostat.
Use them with ceramic bulb holders for safety.
 

Reaney24

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Use the one I mentioned above - MVB arcadia mini d3 gives light heat and uva/b rays all in one bulb for day - brilliant!
At night and cooler days a CHE (ceramic heat emitter) with a thermostat.
Use them with ceramic bulb holders for safety.

How would you ensure that the temperature in the basking spot didn't exceed the 30-32 degrees without a thermostat on the mob bulb?

Thanks
 
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