Hi Im new and looking for starter info.

WarrenPeace

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My new sulcata tortoise is about 8 weeks old. I'm terrified lol.
How much humidity and how do I control it.
I read to soak them then I read not to...
I read don't change what they eat alot (they were feeding spring greens) then I read feed them what is good for them.
Also spring greens has spinach and I read they shouldn't have it?
The internet is failing me lol. Can anyone give me some basics so I can get this guy comfortable while I'm catching up? Thank you so much!
 

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jsheffield - In Memoriam

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Welcome to TFO!!!


Jamie
 

Tim Carlisle

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The link Jamie gave you is great info to help you get started. But to directly address your concern, I've found that a closed-top enclosure (so that the heat / humidity doesn't escape) is definitely the right approach. I use about 3-4 inches of damp coconut coir or orchid bark, keep it damp, and turn the substrate weekly. Many folks use foggers and humidifiers, but I find those completely unnecessary (and often dangerous) if the aforementioned conditions exist.
 

Tom

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Hello and welcome. This one will help too:
 

WarrenPeace

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The link Jamie gave you is great info to help you get started. But to directly address your concern, I've found that a closed-top enclosure (so that the heat / humidity doesn't escape) is definitely the right approach. I use about 3-4 inches of damp coconut coir or orchid bark, keep it damp, and turn the substrate weekly. Many folks use foggers and humidifiers, but I find those completely unnecessary (and often dangerous) if the aforementioned conditions exist.
I will add the damp coir...I have a screened lid and read you can drop a shirt or cloth over it. Maybe I can find another lid to accommodate. I have 2 heat lamps to have the heat high enough..that's probably why. I ordered night lamps but have 2 bottom heaters too. I have a humidifier machine in my cart..I'll take it out lol. I have a mercury bulb and the tort is in a bay window. Once I fix humidity I think it will feel better. Not that it is acting strange. Just..my nerves lol
 

Tim Carlisle

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I will add the damp coir...I have a screened lid and read you can drop a shirt or cloth over it. Maybe I can find another lid to accommodate. I have 2 heat lamps to have the heat high enough..that's probably why. I ordered night lamps but have 2 bottom heaters too. I have a humidifier machine in my cart..I'll take it out lol. I have a mercury bulb and the tort is in a bay window. Once I fix humidity I think it will feel better. Not that it is acting strange. Just..my nerves lol
Another quick suggestion (if I may): get a couple of terra cotta saucers: 1 for water and 1 for food. Should only run you a couple or few bucks at most places. Dangerous to allow them to eat food right off the substrate due to impaction risk should they eat the substrate along with the food. The likelihood of impactions decreases dramatically by using coco coir for substrate though. Still a good practice to keep food and water in a dish. Bury the saucers even with the top of the substrate. The terra cotta will also assist in helping to keep the beak trim.
 

WarrenPeace

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Okay great advice thank you so much. When it comes to the abundance of lighting that they require.
Knowing the correct bulbs in the correct setup is a little difficult with so much information and visualization of it. Any suggestions so I can be sure I'm getting the right things? I want to get them asap to get the temp and humidity right.
 

WarrenPeace

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Okay great advice thank you so much. When it comes to the abundance of lighting that they require.
Knowing the correct bulbs in the correct setup is a little difficult with so much information and visualization of it. Any suggestions so I can be sure I'm getting the right things? I want to get them asap to get the temp and humidity right.
And do they need a calcium block?
 

Tim Carlisle

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Okay great advice thank you so much. When it comes to the abundance of lighting that they require.
Knowing the correct bulbs in the correct setup is a little difficult with so much information and visualization of it. Any suggestions so I can be sure I'm getting the right things? I want to get them asap to get the temp and humidity right.
My tried and true lighting system is the T5 HO 10.0 (or higher) long tube for UVB. I use a 65w incandescent flood bulb for basking heat since the T5's don't really produce any heat. My ambient lighting is a cheap 7500k LED shop light that I picked up on sale from Harbor Freight for $10 years ago (still works!). I think a good bit of the members here would recommend against anything with mercury vapor or halogen due to the drying effect they have on the keratin between the scutes. They actually contribute to pyramiding.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Okay great advice thank you so much. When it comes to the abundance of lighting that they require.
Knowing the correct bulbs in the correct setup is a little difficult with so much information and visualization of it. Any suggestions so I can be sure I'm getting the right things? I want to get them asap to get the temp and humidity right.
To maintain the temperature in the enclosure you will need CHE (ceramic heat emitter) or RHP (radiant heat panel) put on the thermostat. They don't give off any light and can be used at night. CHE are cheaper and easier to get, usually they are enough.

Night bulbs (if you mean blue light dark glass lamps) and bottom heaters (heat mats) should not be used.

The post above (by Tim) - outlines correct daylight setup. For ambient light you may opt in for 6000-6500K LED light (7500K makes things bluish and less natural looking, but this is matter of taste). For the lightning you will need sockets with timers (or "smart sockets") so you can set ambient and basking bulb on for 10-12 hours a day and UVB light for 2-4 hours in a midday. UVB light should be placed near the basking bulb. This way you mimic natural sunlight.

And yes, MVB and halogen lights are too harsh for tortoises (however they may be a perfect fit for other reptiles).
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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And do they need a calcium block?
Missed this one :) You can get a cuttlefish bone in a pet shop (white oval thing for birds) and leave it in the enclosure. This would provide a source of calcium and occasional beak trimming. Don't worry if tortoise would ignore it for a while - sometimes they bite a small piece and go away, but few weeks later they can eat the whole thing.
 
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