Hermann Tortoise Checkup / Questions

Kisobel

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2024
Messages
54
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
Also for what it’s worth, being from the uk myself, I can safely say our weather is pretty terrible almost all year round😂
Our summer this year has been very mild baring the odd heat wave, and very wet, like none stop wetness haha🙃

Yup I 100% agree, the heatwave wiped me out and now I can't go and do stuff bc how bad the rain is 🤣
I too be complaining as soon as it hits 20's "its like we on holiday or something" - whilst America sitting at a low 30 degrees considering it "cold" lol
 

Kisobel

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2024
Messages
54
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
Hello!
Thanks for posting the UVB lamp label (perhaps, I have overlooked it in your older posts). "Euro Range" are a bit cheaper and a bit weaker versions of D3+ lamps (10% UVB output instead of 12% for Desert series). At 6.5 inches under the middle of the lamp you will get approximate UVI of 3-3.5 (now even less, because this lamp was in use for 6 months). After 9 months this lamp will be an ineffective UVB source.

You can buy a replacement lamp or get a short (24") T5 HO fixture and lamp (Arcadia ProT5 Desert, mentioned a dozen of times, it seems). T5 lamp mounted at 21" and on 4-hour timer will serve you for 3-4 years. And then you can lower it to 14-16" eventually to maintain optimal UVB level for even longer time (something I would not recommend doing without a Solarmeter 6.5).
I too need to respond to Alex!

Good thing you mentioned about the timer, I honestly forgot. I will then reduce the time, 10am to 2pm seems the appropriate time. How my window is compare to the vivarium too allows direct sunlight to shine into the hot area where he seems to enjoy sitting too, he does like sitting in the hot sun spots occasionally.

Thank you :)!
 

Alex and the Redfoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2023
Messages
2,313
Location (City and/or State)
Cyprus
I too need to respond to Alex!

Good thing you mentioned about the timer, I honestly forgot. I will then reduce the time, 10am to 2pm seems the appropriate time. How my window is compare to the vivarium too allows direct sunlight to shine into the hot area where he seems to enjoy sitting too, he does like sitting in the hot sun spots occasionally.

Thank you :)!
This sunlight heats vivarium as well. So your only option is to get a less powerful basking lamp for the summer (50W is the lowest wattage available from Arcadia). This will save you some electricity bills and 75W will last a bit longer.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,354
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Yay that’s great you got the uv😊mounting height for that one should be around 18-21 inches, without a meter it’s trickier to say the exact height but shoot for inbetween those numbers and save for a meter if you can🙂
Give the height of your viv a measure, it should be fine to screw into the top, mount it closer to the basking bulb in the warmer end👍

I’d also grab another temp gun if you can, they come in so handy!

I think lowering the watt to 50 could hopefully help your overheating problem.

Just the orchid bark on its own like you have it is fine, but yeah I’d try getting some lining under it to help stop the leaks👍those pours will go a long way in helping your humidity.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,354
Location (City and/or State)
UK
I ordered a humidity and temp stat that I am going to place into the hot side as that probably counts more, however do you mean get a greenhouse cover if I had an open top? Say I also cannot achieve 80% humidity, what is the leniency on it?
Sorry I overlooked this bit, yes a greenhouse topper would be if you upgraded to a big open top design, 75-80 is ideal whilst still young and growing, hopefully once you get some lining in and can do the pours again, that will help you maintain it🙂
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,102
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
The main shop I would use for grocery shopping is Asda and we don't seem to have a larger variety of additional greens for the tortoise unless there is an exact grocery store guide, would be good to create one actually. I may do so for UK people :)

I used ace high as it was advised I used it back when my little guy was not feeling great (turns out lad just had all the wrong setup that you later helped me fix and he all happy now)

The rest of this was answered in my response to @Littleredfootbigredheart Sorry I forgot to @ you in it too.

Thank you for the help btw, just want the best for the little guy.

An additional thing tho, recently he has been sleeping directly under the heat lamp, like napping. when he sleeps fully he goes and hides. Is this normal to nap in the open? I always though it was peculiar behaviour, I provided a photo.

It still terrifies me with the thought or anything remotely similar to him being lethargic due to him being ill when I first got him. Does he seem alright?

However you saying this,



Come to England and you will see how crap the weather is most / if not all year around, the heatwaves are either wayy too hot and rarely happen. Or there is nothing but rain. The last 5-6 days where I live right now has been badly raining, the sun may shine in a few days however the actual "Air" will still be -1298418. UK weather makes no sense.
Sorry to hear about your weather. That is a bummer.

Sleeping out in the open is normal as they get older, bolder, and more comfortable with their environment. However, spending way too much time under the basking lamp can indicate that ambient temps in the rest of the enclosure may be too cool.
 

Kisobel

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2024
Messages
54
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
Thanks for the in depth reply!

For the diet side of things perhaps you’ll find this website below handy to look through! If you click on the wildflowers section there’s so many plants that grow perfectly in uk climate, you perhaps you could order some seeds online, plant them in organic soil in a planter outside tortoise won’t have access to. You can forage from them as they grow🙂


Yes from my understanding t8 bulbs are less powerful, when it comes time to replace I’d go for a t5 bulb with the same brand, I’ll go into that below.

Have you got a temp gun to check your temp under the basking light? If not I’d recommend one, they’re very useful.

Does the enclosure get too hot with just the basking light running? Because if the thermostat the CHE is on, is set to a night time temperature it shouldn’t be getting too warm in there, what watt is your floodlight? I wouldn’t worry about the ventilation side of things with opening the glass, opening up to daily husbandries is enough air exchange.

Does your enclosure have a lining? If not the pours will definitely cause leaks, I’d recommend putting some cheap pond liner, or a mould resistant shower curtain under the substrate to stop leaks, if your bottom layer of substrate is damp in an enclosed chamber like yours, humidity should be fine, the sooner you can get something to measure that the better.

I’m going to include some information below on the types of equipment to use, how to maintain humidity, and a cost effective way for you to get a suitable sized enclosure, hopefully it helps inspire an idea for you🙂

Basking light should be an incandescent floodlight(example attached) on a 12 hour timer.

Basking temperature directly under the floodlight should be 95-100f. The rest of the enclosure should be ranging 75-80 during the day.

You may also wish to add ambient lighting on the same timer, providing shady areas with hides and safe plants.

Then CHE/CHE’s(ceramic heat emitters) always on a thermostat, for night heat if your house drops below 60’s at night. Set the thermostat for a night temperature place the probe in their cooler end.

Uv should be a t5 fluorescent tube, avoid the compact and coil uv bulbs, they don’t give out enough uv and can hurt the tortoises eyes. The uv can be on a 4 hour timer from noon. I’ve attached the one I recommended you upgrade to when the time comes🙂

With lighting always avoid anything labelled halogen or mercury vapour.

For substrates, either coco coir, dampened and packed down by hand as a base, with a layer of orchid(fir not pine) bark or forest floor on top, or just the orchid bark/forest floor. Never use anything with sand mixed in, no top soils and no kinds of moss.

You want to aim to have the bottom layer of substrate damp, to do this pour lukewarm water into the corners, not loads but enough to dampen the entire bottom layer. To stop that top layer getting a little too dry/dusty, mix the substrate now n then, which also helps boosting humidity or give the top a spray. Check your monitors and substrate to do the pours as and when needed. I don’t recommend misters or foggers, they get the air too wet and cause respiratory problems.

Humidity for young growing tortoises needs to be maintained around 80%, 24/7, you’ll find that difficult to achieve with an open top so it’s good you’ve got a closed chamber, for the set up I’m recommending I’d get a greenhouse cover. Once the tortoise is older a cover won’t be needed.

To maintain humidity whilst the tortoise is younger a greenhouse style set up works well and provides more space, as an adult this tortoise is going to ideally need a minimum of an 8x4, the bigger you go the better, it’s ideal if you can build your own base to go as big as you can for the room you have.

If you can’t find an exact fit for your base with the cover, then place it over like the one with the white base in the photo, I’d put lining down under the base and cover though to stop condensate getting on your floor.
When making your base, just make sure the material is safe, some use flower beds or just make their own, for both these options I’d line with cheap pond liner to protect the base, making sure the liner goes up the sides too and make sure those sides are deep enough to prevent escapes.

Some people even hang their lighting from the greenhouse frame! Simply wrap the wire round so it’s at the height you need(check with temp gun/put thermostat in, 18-21 inches for uv I recommend) then secure with cable ties.
I’ve also included examples of stands people make/buy. You could throw some pvc covering over the stands if youre struggling for a topper, but again if you do that, I’d put lining down under the base to stop condensate.

For a water dish a shallow terracotta saucer is considered safest, they have grip in the event your tortoise flips themselves, most pet store options are a known hazard. The one you’re using is quite smooth.

Definitely try and up soaks to weekly.

Ignore whatever else is in these enclosures in the photos, they’re just to give you an idea👍

I’d also always recommend getting your hands on a temp gun, they’re SO handy when setting up a new environment or for checking your monitors are correct🙂
I bought the new T5 as stated, however do you know what power connector I need to buy for it too? I completely overlooked that factor.

I too showed a picture of the one I’m using now however are you sure this is okay? The one I currently have is very long and much bigger in diameter whilst this one is rather small in both length and diameter.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_5693.jpeg
    IMG_5693.jpeg
    1.1 MB · Views: 1
  • IMG_5692.jpeg
    IMG_5692.jpeg
    2.5 MB · Views: 1
  • IMG_5691.jpeg
    IMG_5691.jpeg
    1.2 MB · Views: 1

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,354
Location (City and/or State)
UK
I bought the new T5 as stated, however do you know what power connector I need to buy for it too? I completely overlooked that factor.

I too showed a picture of the one I’m using now however are you sure this is okay? The one I currently have is very long and much bigger in diameter whilst this one is rather small in both length and diameter.
Yay that’s awesome! It should come with everything you need to hook it up, ours came with the connection lead, pop the bulb into the reflector(it should slot into the fitting then you twist it to lock it in) then it should have come with a lead? You plug that into those two holes you’re seeing👍

Don’t worry about the length being shorter, from what I remember yours was more or less the length of your enclosure, uv only needs to take up less than a half of the enclosure closer to the basking end, the strength it is, is perfect for your little one, one way to make absolute sure you are achieving the correct UVI zone is a solar meter 6.5, but I will say they aren’t cheap, they are a very good buy though in that they stop you having to replace expensive bulbs too soon, definitely worth the investment for tortoises that have to be housed indoors, their uv is so important so having a way to measure that is definitely ideal.
For now though, mount 18-20 inches from the substrate, and maybe consider a meter down the line if you’re able to save, you’ll know exactly what reading you are getting then, this brand is very reputable though so for right now you’ll definitely be getting enough uv from it🙂
 

Kisobel

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2024
Messages
54
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
@Alex and the Redfoot @Littleredfootbigredheart @Tom

Well thank you all for the help, yes I’m going to better mount the light however it’s about 19 inches right there. Also got my monitor up now. As you can see it’s not very humid under in yhere, need to sort that out. Also need to buy a lower wattage heat bulb for the summer. Aka gonna buy it right now.

Even got myself a heat sensor, it’s reading about 38 under the heat lamp and that’s with no glass on so I presume it gets hotter so yeah lower wattage it is.

Please do ignore the cable management I’ll sort it all out properly when he gets a “property expansion”
 

Attachments

  • IMG_5694.jpeg
    IMG_5694.jpeg
    1.9 MB · Views: 1

Kisobel

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2024
Messages
54
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
Yay that’s awesome! It should come with everything you need to hook it up, ours came with the connection lead, pop the bulb into the reflector(it should slot into the fitting then you twist it to lock it in) then it should have come with a lead? You plug that into those two holes you’re seeing👍

Don’t worry about the length being shorter, from what I remember yours was more or less the length of your enclosure, uv only needs to take up less than a half of the enclosure closer to the basking end, the strength it is, is perfect for your little one, one way to make absolute sure you are achieving the correct UVI zone is a solar meter 6.5, but I will say they aren’t cheap, they are a very good buy though in that they stop you having to replace expensive bulbs too soon, definitely worth the investment for tortoises that have to be housed indoors, their uv is so important so having a way to measure that is definitely ideal.
For now though, mount 18-20 inches from the substrate, and maybe consider a meter down the line if you’re able to save, you’ll know exactly what reading you are getting then, this brand is very reputable though so for right now you’ll definitely be getting enough uv from it🙂
So.

I can only get to I believe 17 inches, thats as high it is at the roof to the substrate. Is this still okay? and also yeah I had a look at the solar meter 6.5 previously but seen the price so I pretended I didn't see it 🤣

No, in real note I will eventually buy one tho.

p.s. I can't remember if you answered this, the little gaps I have in the viv. What can I use to seal these? my little guy seems to bite everything he doesn't know what it is. So is there any "safe" sealing things I can use?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,102
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
So.

I can only get to I believe 17 inches, thats as high it is at the roof to the substrate. Is this still okay? and also yeah I had a look at the solar meter 6.5 previously but seen the price so I pretended I didn't see it 🤣

No, in real note I will eventually buy one tho.

p.s. I can't remember if you answered this, the little gaps I have in the viv. What can I use to seal these? my little guy seems to bite everything he doesn't know what it is. So is there any "safe" sealing things I can use?
17 inches should be okay for the ZooMed 10.0 HO tubes. I think it is verging on too close for the Arcadia 12% tubes, but we are just guessing without the meter.

I use tape on the outside of the enclosure to close any excess venting.
 

Kisobel

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2024
Messages
54
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
17 inches should be okay for the ZooMed 10.0 HO tubes. I think it is verging on too close for the Arcadia 12% tubes, but we are just guessing without the meter.

I use tape on the outside of the enclosure to close any excess venting.
thanking you :) Clear tape or ducktape? does it not make the viv look ugly? I know its not about looks but, mastering both is cool
 

Alex and the Redfoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2023
Messages
2,313
Location (City and/or State)
Cyprus
Just a small tweak - move the thermometer closer to substrate to tortoise shell level, in the middle between ceramic heater and basking lamp. Ideally a few inches away from the wall.

I'm not sure if it's a reflection, but it looks that lamp is not screwed to the ceiling how it should be. Proper installation is when it's oriented straight top-down. Take an inch or two from the back wall to avoid bending the reflector.
 
Last edited:

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,102
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
thanking you :) Clear tape or ducktape? does it not make the viv look ugly? I know its not about looks but, mastering both is cool
Whatever you want. I use white duct tape on my white PVC plastic enclosures, and black electrical tape on my black PVC enclosures.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,354
Location (City and/or State)
UK
So.

I can only get to I believe 17 inches, thats as high it is at the roof to the substrate. Is this still okay? and also yeah I had a look at the solar meter 6.5 previously but seen the price so I pretended I didn't see it 🤣

No, in real note I will eventually buy one tho.

p.s. I can't remember if you answered this, the little gaps I have in the viv. What can I use to seal these? my little guy seems to bite everything he doesn't know what it is. So is there any "safe" sealing things I can use?
It may be a bit too close for the 12%(I should’ve got you to measure the height of your enclosure first, my bad😣) but don’t worry too much, it’ll be ok for now, just maybe put it on a 3 hour timer instead of the 4 until you upgrade.

Sealing wise, inside we personally used aquatic seal, but it would mean having to let the enclosure air for a good few days/until the smell fades, we had her in her old enclosure but I’m not sure you have anywhere else to house your tortoise. So any sealing I’d probably do on the outside with some sort of tape like Tom suggested🙂
 
Top