Help with winter night heating

Maxatron4000

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Oct 13, 2023
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Tucson AZ
Hi All,
Its finally gotten cold in Arizona but not enough for me to turn on my heater inside and what was enough heating before is now not enough for my enclosure.
I have a florescent bulb on during the day that has no problem keeping my enclosure 85 degrees and the 2 24w heating pads were enough to keep it at 80 degrees at night but they're not doing the job now that the house is getting colder.
20231026_073227.jpg

What do you use to keep your enclosure warm during the night? Should I get some more 24w heating pads? Is a night heating bulb the answer here?

Tort tax; snoozing in the sun lamp
20231123_150658.jpg
 

TheReaIMartian

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Nov 28, 2023
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I’d suggest a radiant heat panel to increase the ambient temperature in the enclosure, just make sure you have a thermostat to regulate it. Heat mats will not increase your ambient temperatures, so I would not buy more of them.
 

ryan57

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Please throw a blanket over the enclosure at night that is large enough to drape over the entire enclosure and down the sides. This will prevent the hot air from escaping to a practical extent.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Hi All,
Its finally gotten cold in Arizona but not enough for me to turn on my heater inside and what was enough heating before is now not enough for my enclosure.
I have a florescent bulb on during the day that has no problem keeping my enclosure 85 degrees and the 2 24w heating pads were enough to keep it at 80 degrees at night but they're not doing the job now that the house is getting colder.
View attachment 363782

What do you use to keep your enclosure warm during the night? Should I get some more 24w heating pads? Is a night heating bulb the answer here?

Tort tax; snoozing in the sun lamp
View attachment 363783
Heat mats should not be used with tortoises. It goes against their instincts and is likely to burn or kill them.

Night heat should come from CHEs or RHPs controlled by a thermostat.

Looks like your little guy needs a humid hide in there.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Hello!

I've been typing for too long and most of the points have been nailed already :)

1. Yes, no more heat mats. They warm enclosure from below, with wet substrate it usually results in extreme humidity. And they aren't very well suited for tortoises (especially, ones that like to burrow) - there is a risk of overheating and sometimes plastron burns. Heating from the above is more natural for torts.

2. I like RHP (radiant heat panel) or chicken brooder panel idea. Panels ensure even and safe ambient heating. In your case, it can serve as a thermal insulation under the glass top as well. Just don't let it contact the glass directly, leave a small gap.

3. Cheaper, more common and more accessible option is to use CHE (ceramic heat emitter) with a wide lamp dome.

4. You mentioned fluorescent lamp used for daytime heating. If it's heat + UVB lamp (mercury vapour bulb, MVB) - this is not a good option. It's too drying for tortoise shell, which results in pyramiding even with high ambient humidity. If you meant incandescent lamp - it's fine. I just cannot see all your lightning setup from the photo.

5. Glass top loses much heat. You can cover this part with any kind of insulation material (whatever you have at hand - even yoga mats or car windshield screen will help).
 

Maxatron4000

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Oct 13, 2023
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Tucson AZ
Thank you all for the replies; looks like I didn't understand the difference between heat pads and a radiant heat panel when I was designing this enclosure.
I've ordered a RHP and will have it installed asap. Simply going from a 24W to a 200W is going to make a huge difference. I already have the thermostat so this will be a simple addition.

While I know that this enclosure leaks air; I actually appreciated that as it keeps it from becoming to stagnant and boggy. I'm ok doing the extra work to make up for the heat loss.

Yes I have an incandescent bulb not a fluorescent lamp, my mistake. There is also a specific UVB lamp which seems to be working well.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Hm, this brooder panel is for wall or standalone mounting (not for ceiling). While I think it's possible to mount it on the ceiling, some caution is needed: perhaps heater lacks back panel insulation (and advertise it as "combining convection and radiant heating") and internal thermostat might go nuts.

See no problem to mount it to the wall, though - just make sure tortoise can't touch the surface. I would try to use it on a minimal (100W setting) first. Of course, put it on a thermostat (and tweak the probe placement).

Air gaps or vents in the enclosure are fine, if they help to maintain proper humidity/temperatures.

And if Tom has suggested to make a humid hide - it worths the efforts. I like ones made of a plastic box with a ceramic saucer on top (like in this thread - https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-make-a-clay-pot-hide.197183/) - easy to make your own.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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63,640
Location (City and/or State)
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Thank you all for the replies; looks like I didn't understand the difference between heat pads and a radiant heat panel when I was designing this enclosure.
I've ordered a RHP and will have it installed asap. Simply going from a 24W to a 200W is going to make a huge difference. I already have the thermostat so this will be a simple addition.

While I know that this enclosure leaks air; I actually appreciated that as it keeps it from becoming to stagnant and boggy. I'm ok doing the extra work to make up for the heat loss.

Yes I have an incandescent bulb not a fluorescent lamp, my mistake. There is also a specific UVB lamp which seems to be working well.
Keep us posted on how the new RHP works. Keep an eye on humidity. Sulcatas are not desert animals. They come from forrest edge and grassland areas, and they hatch during the start of the very wet very humid very hot rainy monsoon season over there. They need 80% humidity or higher.

More here:
 
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