Horsefield lighting configuration

Coganada

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Hi guys,
I have recently built a new enclosure for my horsefield tortoise . The measurements are 4ft x 3ft with a height of 1ft. What would be the optimal heat and lighting setup for indoor only?

I'm thinking about somehow attaching a T8 UVB to one of the sides with a clamped on ceramic heater?

Or would a single mercury vapor bulb be sufficient?
 

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wellington

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If your tortoise is bigger then a hatchling this is way too small and should be closed chamber for a hatchling.
How big is your tort and post a pic of him.
 

Tom

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Hi guys,
I have recently built a new enclosure for my horsefield tortoise . The measurements are 4ft x 3ft with a height of 1ft. What would be the optimal heat and lighting setup for indoor only?

I'm thinking about somehow attaching a T8 UVB to one of the sides with a clamped on ceramic heater?

Or would a single mercury vapor bulb be sufficient?
I have some bad news for you:
1. This is less than half the size it needs to be.
2. The walls are too short once you add sufficient substrate.
3. This enclosure won't be able to handle the necessary damp substrate.
4. T8s produce hardly an UV and are a waste of money.
5. ANY UV tube must be mounted overhead, and not on the side.
6. MVBs should never be used.

Here is the good news:
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. 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. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.

Please realize that info online and from pet shops is almost always wrong. The above info is the correct way to house, light and care for them. Questions are welcome. :)
 

Coganada

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How come you should never use a MVB? On your Russian care sheet that you wrote in 2013 you say that its fine to use?
 

Tom

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How come you should never use a MVB? On your Russian care sheet that you wrote in 2013 you say that its fine to use?
10 years ago they appeared to be a good option. Many of us were using them. That is when we started to see all the problems.
1. They are expensive.
2. They are fragile.
3. They are temperamental sometimes.
4. The cool down timer built in to them confuses many people.
5. They are inconsistent. Some of them make way too much UV, and others make none.
6. We had a veterinarian member here that started testing them with a UV meter and found that some of them dropped to 0 UV after three months of use.
7. They cause pyramiding in young growing animals.
 

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