The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
- Jan 9, 2010
- Location (City and/or State)
- Southern California
I'm really glad that you are really glad to be here and also glad we can help.Hi Tom, I just saw your post. This is her set up for now. Has been since we found her almost 6 months ago. In the photo I posted with my Husband holding her, it appears shallow. I now see what you and Ray meant lol. We have on the outside, all around cardboard, so she doesn't go nuts trying to go through it. I read this too, on those other care sheets. They said, the Torty's shouldn't see through the glsss? Before we did it, she did pace, and push her head against the glass. This lasted all of less than 2 days. I read what to do as soon as I noticed. All the lights are on to show her enclosure, she was soaking when we took this a month ago. We had redone her lights for the 4th time. We had a night light that was red, I didn't think that was any good, so we bought a no light night time ceramic heat lamp. It gets up to 72 to 78. Ray--Opo just informed me after reading on another post I did about her night time temp being to low. I agree, now I'm worried. Ugh! I have good news, we ordered a nice Tortoise table, and I found the Orchid substrate you recommended. I ordered 2 bags from Amozon. I can't wait until both arrive. I'm feeling like a bad Torty Mom, I've read so much like I've mentioned. My heat was to low, humidity not high enough, then heat was to high with to low humidity. Night time heat to low in the 70's. I will say this often, I'm so glad to be here, I feel it's in the nik of time. She seems healthy, nice shell, a good eater. However, we're stepping her care ASAP! A question, she sleeps in her log a lot. It's up against the glass, so it's not open on both sides. It's more humid in there. However, if she's in there all the time, aside when she eats, soaks, and basks. How can she get the UVB she needs? I've also decided to buy a non clear tub for outside, I will put the Orchid substrate in there, water, and have it 50/50. Half shade, half sun. Also her log as well. I feel she really needs real sun NOW. Also a nice water soak when she's out in the sun. We will not leave her in the tub unsupervised. Also a make light screen for her with chicken wire over the tub. So I'm going to watch her behavior, and see if she seeks shade after sunning. I am open to all advice. Thank you to you both.
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Here are some things I see in your post:
- Glass tank are fine, but they get too small really fast, and the open tops are a problem.
- Tortoise tables are no good for this species. The open top allows the cool dry room air to freely circulate with the warm humid air you are trying to create and maintain. You can't keep it warm enough or humid enough with and open top. You need a closed chamber.
- You've got all kinds of light stuff going on up there.
- There are four elements to heating and lighting:
- Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. You can mount a fixture on the ceiling, or hang a dome lamp from the ceiling. Go lower or higher wattage if this makes the enclosure too hot or not warm enough. Do not use "spot" bulbs, mercury vapor bulbs or halogen bulbs because these bulbs are overly desiccating and cause pyramiding even in good living conditions.
- 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 like sulcatas or leopards. I like this thermostat: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller. Put the probe in the coolest corner away from all heating elements. You may need more than one heating element to spread the heat out for a given enclosure.
- Light. I use florescent tubes for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. I've been using LEDs lately and they are great, and run cooler than a florescent. This can be set on the same timer as the basking bulb.
- UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. I like the ZooMed 10.0 HO, and the Arcadia 12% HO. Which type will depend on mounting height. It helps to have a UV meter to test and see what your bulb is actually putting out at your mounting height. Plexi-glass or screen tops will filter out some or all of the UV produced by your bulb.
- You need 3-4 inches of substrate and the lower layers need to be wet. This will help with humidity.
- Your tortoise is likely trying to hide in the log to get some much needed humidity in an enclosure that is far too dry. Open ended logs are not humid enough. You need a proper humid hide. It could also be the lighting too.