I'm inheriting a pair of red foots

Jurassic Pork

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Hi everyone,

In a month or so I'm going to be getting two red foot tortoises from my friend and I need some advice on what I should be doing with the vivarium set up and general red foot care.

Having researched a bit already I think he has been neglecting them, so I'm determined not to make the same mistakes that he has.

1) His current set up doesn't have any night time heating. I'm from the UK and it gets pretty cold here in the winter months. Being tropical tortoises I know they need constant heat and humidity. I'm assuming they've somehow adapted to cooler night time conditions.

Would you suggest I get a ceramic heat emitting bulb? I'm not sure about correct wattage though and how it all attaches to the vivarium. An explanation would be really appreciated.

2) My mate has said that he bought the male tortoise from a pet shop a number of years ago and he already had some pyramiding. Do you recon this is from a lack of humidity in the enclosure? Going forward if I get a spray bottle and mist the vivarium a couple of times a day, would that suffice? Also is it okay to spray their shells directly?

3) the male is a cherry head and the female a slightly older and larger red foot. They have been kept in the same vivarium for years, however I will be separating them as I have read they should never be kept in pairs as it could cause the female distress. I've ordered a custom made 6ft vivarium, which should give her a lot of space.

4) substrate - currently they just have a layer of orchid bark chippings. I'm going to get some coco fibre bricks to mix with the bark chippings. Hopefully it'll increase the humidity levels and allow them to burrow.

I'd really like to get them a few plants for their vivariums. Would a couple of fake ones be okay?

Any other suggestions on what to do would be greatly appreciated!
 

Maro2Bear

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Greetings.

Both CHEs and Radiant Heat Panels are convenient to increase & maintain the overall ambient temperature in your enclosures, esp closed ones like vivs. The nice thing is that when hooked up via a thermostat (with a sensor probe) you just “set it & forget it”. The thermostat senses the temp & turns your CHE or RHP off & on as required to maintain the temp you need. In your case, for Redfoots roughly 80-85 F. (Personally, I like RHPs ‘cause they don’t get as hot, won’t burn if touched, but work well. )

I like & use this type - https://www.reptilebasics.com/rbi-radiant-heat-panels

If you have a sell regulated & enclosed viv, you really shoudnt have to spray down (Much). Get your substrate moist & build your enclosure to maintain the high humidity. Some spraying, yes, but you don’t want to rely on just the spraying. Yes, you can spray them directly - just like the rain would do in a rain forest.

Plants - the more real live plants you use, the better your little micro-climates will be. Plastic looks nice, doesnt add anything other than looks. Plants like pothos, spider plants work well in lower light/moist conditions.

Good luck with your new Redfoots

Ps - Care Sheets - https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/redfoot-tortoise-caresheet.172531/
 

Jurassic Pork

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Greetings.

Both CHEs and Radiant Heat Panels are convenient to increase & maintain the overall ambient temperature in your enclosures, esp closed ones like vivs. The nice thing is that when hooked up via a thermostat (with a sensor probe) you just “set it & forget it”. The thermostat senses the temp & turns your CHE or RHP off & on as required to maintain the temp you need. In your case, for Redfoots roughly 80-85 F. (Personally, I like RHPs ‘cause they don’t get as hot, won’t burn if touched, but work well. )

I like & use this type - https://www.reptilebasics.com/rbi-radiant-heat-panels

If you have a sell regulated & enclosed viv, you really shoudnt have to spray down (Much). Get your substrate moist & build your enclosure to maintain the high humidity. Some spraying, yes, but you don’t want to rely on just the spraying. Yes, you can spray them directly - just like the rain would do in a rain forest.

Plants - the more real live plants you use, the better your little micro-climates will be. Plastic looks nice, doesnt add anything other than looks. Plants like pothos, spider plants work well in lower light/moist conditions.

Good luck with your new Redfoots

Ps - Care Sheets - https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/redfoot-tortoise-caresheet.172531/

Thank you so much for your response. What side of the vivarium would you put the radiant heat panel - the opposite end from the basking light?

I'll deffo see if I can get some of those plants you've mentioned too. I'm sure they will love their new home!
 

Maro2Bear

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Wherever they best fit. Since their purpose is to warm up the entire viv exact location doesn't matter. They come in different sizes as well, so best for you to look at your enclosure & sizes of RHPs (or CHE) and fit in. The key is hooking them up with a good thermostat.
 

Jurassic Pork

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That makes good sense. Thanks.
I'll need to get two thermostats then. That'll be expensive, but that is what I'm going to have to do!!
 

Maro2Bear

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That makes good sense. Thanks.
I'll need to get two thermostats then. That'll be expensive, but that is what I'm going to have to do!!

Depends how you have things set up, so not necessarily. You can easily run a few devices (CHE, RHP, heat pad) from one thermostat.
 

Tom

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That makes good sense. Thanks.
I'll need to get two thermostats then. That'll be expensive, but that is what I'm going to have to do!!
You only need one thermostat to control ambient heat. You don't need a basking lamp for a RF. You can run and LED or an HO UV tube, or both, on a timer.

A 6 foot viv is going to be way too small for an adult RF. Fine for growing a baby, but much to small for anything over 5 or 6 inches.
 

Jurassic Pork

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You only need one thermostat to control ambient heat. You don't need a basking lamp for a RF. You can run and LED or an HO UV tube, or both, on a timer.

A 6 foot viv is going to be way too small for an adult RF. Fine for growing a baby, but much to small for anything over 5 or 6 inches.

Thanks for your suggestions. I'll see if I can get a UV tube.

Damn, Looks like I've underestimated the size of vivarium I'll need. Hopefully I can cancel my order and get a bigger one. Biggest they can do is 8ft I think.
 

jeannettep

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I chose 2 che bulbs with a double lamp with 2 independent cords. 1 I have connected to inkbird, 1 stays on all the time, but I keep the house cool all the time. I have multiple uvb bulbs because I wanted the flat hood, & it was small. But someone with more red foot knowledge would know better, seems they dont need a lot of uvb, I have mine outside & they love the jungle feeling. My inside set up is for a leopard. Lights are set to a timer. I use betazoozer reptile humidifiers connected to inkbird so it turns off when at desired level, i have multiple of these. I got the largest humidfier available at the time. But make sure the inkbird sensor is attached to the wall so they dont clog it with dirt & the humidifier works best if the tube goes down or sometimes it clogs with water accumulations. I run all water thru a zero water filter because we have hard water & it makes things last longer. I regularly test with a temp gun all the corners. Even though live plants get mowed over or dont survive, I still replace them. Verify they are ok for torts. I figure dont put anything in their you dont want them to eat otherwise make sure they cant eat it. I use coco coir, I was told if they eat it, it will come out, nothing to get stuck. Forget the pretty dishes, that was a waste of money, terra cotta saucers which also keep nails filed. I like as much to run automatically & give everything a daily check. I'm not the expert for pyramiding, Tom has wrote a lot about it. It's been awhile since I read it, but humidity. I started a little pyramiding with my leopard, it wasnt humidity but too much protein in the diet so I was told to lay off of the mazuri some, only 3x a week. But red foots can have protein.
 

Jurassic Pork

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I chose 2 che bulbs with a double lamp with 2 independent cords. 1 I have connected to inkbird, 1 stays on all the time, but I keep the house cool all the time. I have multiple uvb bulbs because I wanted the flat hood, & it was small. But someone with more red foot knowledge would know better, seems they dont need a lot of uvb, I have mine outside & they love the jungle feeling. My inside set up is for a leopard. Lights are set to a timer. I use betazoozer reptile humidifiers connected to inkbird so it turns off when at desired level, i have multiple of these. I got the largest humidfier available at the time. But make sure the inkbird sensor is attached to the wall so they dont clog it with dirt & the humidifier works best if the tube goes down or sometimes it clogs with water accumulations. I run all water thru a zero water filter because we have hard water & it makes things last longer. I regularly test with a temp gun all the corners. Even though live plants get mowed over or dont survive, I still replace them. Verify they are ok for torts. I figure dont put anything in their you dont want them to eat otherwise make sure they cant eat it. I use coco coir, I was told if they eat it, it will come out, nothing to get stuck. Forget the pretty dishes, that was a waste of money, terra cotta saucers which also keep nails filed. I like as much to run automatically & give everything a daily check. I'm not the expert for pyramiding, Tom has wrote a lot about it. It's been awhile since I read it, but humidity. I started a little pyramiding with my leopard, it wasnt humidity but too much protein in the diet so I was told to lay off of the mazuri some, only 3x a week. But red foots can have protein.

Wow thank you for such a detailed response. I have quite the list of things to purchase now!

I'll see what my local store has tomorrow, but will focus on getting the main things.

Thermostat with sensor probe
Humidifier
Temperature gun
CHE bulbs and lamp
UV tube or bulb with lamp
Substrate - Coco coir
Terra cotta bowls
Calcium powder
Disinfectant

I'll add plants and other things as I go along.
 

jeannettep

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Wow thank you for such a detailed response. I have quite the list of things to purchase now!

I'll see what my local store has tomorrow, but will focus on getting the main things.

Thermostat with sensor probe
Humidifier
Temperature gun
CHE bulbs and lamp
UV tube or bulb with lamp
Substrate - Coco coir
Terra cotta bowls
Calcium powder
Disinfectant

I'll add plants and other things as I go along.
I use cuddlebone for birds instead of calcium powder. They nibble on it when desired.
 

Jurassic Pork

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I use cuddlebone for birds instead of calcium powder. They nibble on it when desired.

Ah yeah good shout. I saw a video where someone had cuttle fish bone and also tortoise chalk in their enclosure. I can imagine tortoises might avoid eating their food if it's covered in calcium powder.

I'll add it to the list. Thanks
 

ZEROPILOT

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Thanks for your suggestions. I'll see if I can get a UV tube.

Damn, Looks like I've underestimated the size of vivarium I'll need. Hopefully I can cancel my order and get a bigger one. Biggest they can do is 8ft I think.
Space will definitely be an issue.
Go as large as you possibly can.
 

Zoeclare

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It's hard to find radiant heat panels in the uk some stores will try and sell you a heat mat but that's not the same thing
 

jeannettep

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I would put in order the most important things, then work from there. If you have time and the possibility of giving them outside sunlight, with places to get out of the sun, then a nice water soak after. You can always spray water on substrate & put water on a sponge to help with humidity. For me temperature was my biggest concern so I addressed that 1st. I was concerned of getting to hot when I was not there so i got the inkbird for the extra che. I always worry about fire, so that is why I went with 2 smaller ones. My red foots are quite the characters and like a good tummy rub, head, neck & back. I know it seems overwhelming, so work with the most important 1st. Then add too.
 

ZEROPILOT

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I would put in order the most important things, then work from there. If you have time and the possibility of giving them outside sunlight, with places to get out of the sun, then a nice water soak after. You can always spray water on substrate & put water on a sponge to help with humidity. For me temperature was my biggest concern so I addressed that 1st. I was concerned of getting to hot when I was not there so i got the inkbird for the extra che. I always worry about fire, so that is why I went with 2 smaller ones. My red foots are quite the characters and like a good tummy rub, head, neck & back. I know it seems overwhelming, so work with the most important 1st. Then add too.
Two smaller wattage CHE are better than one larger one.
Redfoot do overheat and do not require a very hot enclosure.
Smaller CHE also do less to lower the humidity.
Nice choice
 

Jurassic Pork

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Hiya,

Do you think this florescent tube and fixture is suitable?


The current set up has a 100watt MVB and I'm keen to get rid of it

Thanks!
 

Mystic_Queen (Rosa)

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Hiya,

Do you think this florescent tube and fixture is suitable?


The current set up has a 100watt MVB and I'm keen to get rid of it

Thanks!
Yes a T5 12% kit is perfect. My T5 fits the length of the enclosure. And I offer plenty of hides so my tort can move out the way of the light when desired. As they don’t like it bright. I have a damp area too. I have her humidity at 80%. And her heated side is set to 29c/30c.
I also feed my red foot on a piece of slate which you can get from eBay for £8.99. Mine has her name engraved onto it and a picture of a tortoise. I’ll happy send you the link if desired. The slate helps to keep there beaks nice and trim. You can also use a terracotta plate which I know a lot of people use for feeding aswell as using for the pool so they have a nice size water area that is easy for them to get in and out of. Cuttlebone is also a great way to give calcium as they will eat what ever they need. And it’s another good way to keep there beaks trim
good luck with your red foots. They will be a delight to have. I’ve had my girl for a few days. And I’m in awww haha ?. Be warned you will be mesmerised and watch them for hours. Or is that just me being a crazy deranged lady ???
 
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Jurassic Pork

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Hi this reply is a bit late but that's the light I use for my red foot ?

No problem, appreciate the response! :)

I'm thinking if I get rid of the MVB and replace it with this flourescent tube lamp, then use a 125w CHE as a day/night heat source, connected to a pulse thermostat.
 

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