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Humidity inside the Incubator question

John Ramos

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Joined
Aug 22, 2014
Messages
52
Location (City and/or State)
San Jose, CA
Hi All,

I have been through scads of material on incubating tortoise eggs and think I just about have a handle on it but...

If I put the eggs in a Glad or other container, have a few holes in the container, half full of medium vermiculite, eggs half way in it, damp, lid on loosely, in the incubator at 35-89 degrees F, what should the humidity inside the incubator be? 80-90? Is it only controlled by putting water in the bottom channels? And, what about bacterial growth and the possibility of mold in the moist atmosphere? If it takes 75 or more days, I can only imagine what could grow in it. Pink stuff, black stuff...

Am I getting too crazy?

Thanks, John
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
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Yes, you are! And you're over thinking it. Besides the moist vermiculite, I fill the channels with water plus I keep a little cup of water in there. I've never measured the humidity level, don't even own a device to do so, and I've hatched a few eggs in my time. I DO have to add water occasionally to keep the vermiculite moist and the channels filled.
 

shellfreak

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Jun 13, 2010
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What kind of eggs? I can only give advice on Russian eggs and eastern box turtle eggs. My Russians are kept at 60-70 percent humidity. If it's too high their shell cracks. The ebt I keep around 90 percent humidity. If I keep it too low, they seem to have a greater chance of shriveling up. I used to use hatch right. This year I switched to vermiculite. I seem to like it a little better.
 

John Ramos

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Aug 22, 2014
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Location (City and/or State)
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Yes, you are! And you're over thinking it. Besides the moist vermiculite, I fill the channels with water plus I keep a little cup of water in there. I've never measured the humidity level, don't even own a device to do so, and I've hatched a few eggs in my time. I DO have to add water occasionally to keep the vermiculite moist and the channels filled.
If you could put a number on it, 80-90% ??
 

John Ramos

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Joined
Aug 22, 2014
Messages
52
Location (City and/or State)
San Jose, CA
What kind of eggs? I can only give advice on Russian eggs and eastern box turtle eggs. My Russians are kept at 60-70 percent humidity. If it's too high their shell cracks. The ebt I keep around 90 percent humidity. If I keep it too low, they seem to have a greater chance of shriveling up. I used to use hatch right. This year I switched to vermiculite. I seem to like it a little better.
Russians. 60-70%, medium or regular vermiculite?
 

shellfreak

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Jun 13, 2010
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636
Not sure what kind I use. To be honest, I didn't know there was a choice. This is the first year I've used it. I bought mine on LLLreptile.
 

Tom

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I use fine grade vermiculite. Other successful breeders (or I guess I should say "hatchers") of russians do not dampen the vermiculite for the reason that shell freak mentioned. I've got no experience hatching russians, but that's what I've read here on the forum and seen in person. If you do dampen it, I'd only dampen it a little and then rely on a bowl of water and the water in the channels to maintain humidity inside the incubator.

I've never had a problem with mold or bacterial growth in any of my incubators and I keep them at 90+% and around 90 degrees for sulcatas and leopards.
 

turtlemanfla88

Active Member
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Jul 2, 2014
Messages
443
i also put very little of damp not wet spagnum moss on top of my eggs and I fell the acids help break down the egg shell and I have had better hatching rate. I let it dry out then spray it with a water bottle.
 

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