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Is my tort starting to pyramid?

Discussion in 'Radiated and Ploughshare tortoises' started by kelogz08, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. kelogz08

    kelogz08 Member

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    I also have seen people using flood bulbs. But arent those halogens also?
  2. 8james8

    8james8 Active Member

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    Getting to this a little late. The current growth looks smooth meaning you are doing things right as @Tom stated. Like many said if you have a way to measure the intensity and such it's a huge help since you take out the guess work.

    @Tom suggestion to raise night time ambient temps I feel is a good idea. I keep a ceramic heat element running to keep the cool side at 77 and the warm side at 81 to 82 ish. My torts really seem to like having the choice and they are always swapping back and forth.

    As far as diet goes, I offer mine a variety of items and I supplement their diet with the Mazuri and Marion. They have it offered with each meal but my guys all prefer to have fresh greens and such. They make their choice on what to eat but they all pretty much have a little bit of IT all.

    Smooth shells and good solid weight gains. I use the same methods as @zovick @deadheadvet @coastal I received my animals from them and I wanted to mimic their care as closely as possible. It's paid off in spades and my group is thriving and exploding with color.

    There is no one way to raise them. Obviously you care a great deal and it's good that you're willing to take information and apply it. Your tortoise can only benefit:)
  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I would love to hear how you are housing them. Seems to me that this info would be relevant to kelogz thread given that it is working well for you. If not, I'd love to see the info in a thread of your own.
  4. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I think CHE's are some of the better options we have. They give off a much lower energy type of heat. IR in the 2500nm - 6,000nm range. That is deeper heating type of IR and not as desiccating. The floods bulbs you see so many using are incandescent bulbs. To me, an acceptable choice in a lower wattage, to try to mitigate the IR. They, like halogens are way too "red" and near-IR in emission. So, when I use a flood incandescent, I always use as low a wattage as I can to get the temps I want. And I add to that a 6000K or so fluorescent to balance the colors and give a more natural overall light. I am also going more and more to LEDs. You can now get really great color balanced LEDs and they put out virtually no IR. I'm switching out a few of my enclosures with LEDs on 14 hrs, for ambient light, a T5 HO 12.0 UVB tube on for 4 hours a day, and a CHE for basking heat right next to a bright LED bulb. That way I can much better control the heat, and the heat given off is with NO near-IR.

    I am also very impressed so far with everything I've seen about the new HID (metal halide) lamps. Good UVB and UVA and a CRI of 95! And HID's put out very little IR. I am going to be testing some of those.
  5. 8james8

    8james8 Active Member

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    All my setups are identical. Animal plastic T8 close chambered enclosures. Though I plan to upgrade to larger enclosures here in the fall before the cooler weather comes. My animals are housed in groups (not singles or pairs). I also watch for behavior changes and dynamics just incase I must adjust their living arrangements. I also weight them often and I track their progress via spreadsheet. The dynamic of the group's all seem to work well and they eat like pigs.


    Each has a 5.0 reptisun high output lamp at 11 inches. It takes care of half of the set up. I have an MVB and CHE unit on one side of the enclosure. The high output tub is mounted in the ceiling of the other side.

    I replace the bulbs at about 6 to 7 months as their output drops off significantly from their out of the box levels. The MVBs tend to last a bit longer for me.


    I have a climist misting system that sprays for 90 seconds 3 times per day. I used distilled water and a 5 gallon bucket as my reservoir. I was using cocoa coir but I just swapped to sphagnum moss to see how the torts like that. So far their exploration of it seems very positive. They also have a moss mat on the warm side to give variety.

    I feed them all natural greens. Baby spinach. Spring mix. Kale. Ect. Mazuri and Marion zoologic offered with each feeding. I will offer a small piece of strawberry watermelon tomato and such here and there. I have humidity and heat sensors that monitor my set ups. If the set ups jump under 70% my hygrotherm will kick the mister on for an additional 20 second spray. It has only done this once while I was doing some internal cleaning. My enclosures are 70-80% at all times.

    I have 3 hides offered 2 on the cool side and a large one offered on the warm side. They have a water bowl on each side as well.

    Temp gradient is high 90s to mid 80s (warm/dry side to cooler/more moist) during the day. At night the gradient is mid/high 80s warm side and high 70s on the cooler side (no lights on just use a ceramic heat element). I will also use a spray bottle to augment or just give a little condensation boost on the days where it's really warm here in Alabama. They receive 12 to 14 hours of MVB and 8 hours of high output. (Some of this overlaps). Then at night they have roughly 9 hours of darkness.

    I soak them for 30 minutes everyday. They are fed immediately after and I leave their food in there for the remainder of the day. Depending on how much of the greens they eat I will remove that so it doesn't attract insects (they can get in through the screen on the roof that holds the CHE and MVB lamps). During these soaks they receive natural light if the clouds and such allow. I also try to let them walk around in the grass from time to time to soak in extra sun and exercise. They usually snag a small snack too. I hover of them closely. Next year they will have a dedicated outdoor enclosure to accomplish this (they are just too small for my comfort to do this for now).

    I also give them light dustings of vitamins twice per week with their meals.



    The breeders i purchased from started these animals nicely (I've had them come in at 1 month to being several months old). Neither of my rads have pyramiding of any sort. When making my purchases the individuals I mentioned were super helpful in assisting with set up tweaks and recommendations on their care and husbandry. @zovick has a very nice document he created that outlines his methods and I'm sure he would share it with you if you ask him @kelogz08.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
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  6. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    kelogz08 and 8james8 like this.
  7. tglazie

    tglazie Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Very good info, 8james8. All of the kids I got are approaching a year old later this month, with the exception of one animal I got from Chris H, which is already a few years old. They are all spending their days in a secure outdoor run now, though I was keeping them indoors using a very similar method to yours before the summer season got underway. I have a few differences, but they're not ones I would necessarily advocate for everyone. I keep my guys in a tortoise room that also serves as a turtle room, with a 300 gallon stock tank that houses a trio of pink bellied sliders. With the filter I made from a sterlite three tier drawer and a pump, there's a constant movement of water, ensuring that the humidity within the room itself remains at a more or less constant seventy five, though when I turn the submersible heater and it's accompanying thermostat on during the winter months, the humidity can climb to as high as ninety percent. I often open the door in the morning for an hour before I leave for the office so that there's some air circulation. It's like a jungle in there much of the time. Of course, I had to water proof everything in the place when I did this, which was a job I wouldn't want to do again, but hey, I'm glad I did it.

    The outdoor enclosure is heavily planted, has a screen cover for security, and is situated beneath a large Pakistani mulberry, ensuring that the sun only hits the enclosure in the early morning and late afternoon. I also installed an irrigation system to mist the enclosure four times per day at two minute intervals, to ensure that they have the proper humidity levels they enjoyed indoors. So far, combined with the natural humidity enjoyed as a feature of my local weather, this seems to be working out. I don't let them outdoors whenever the rains plunge the temps below eighty, and I never let them outdoors when the rain pours to the point of flooding, though I situated their enclosure on raised ground just in case this occurs, but I tend to be a rather avid weather watcher, and really, anytime it says there's a possibility of rain in the forecast, I generally err on the side of caution. And of course, every evening, I bring them inside into their indoor enclosure. Before putting them to bed, I soak them for thirty minutes, and when I take them out the next morning, I soak them for thirty minutes. I've done this ritual with every hatchling under my care for the past decade, and I haven't been able to find anything wrong with the results. One thing I hadn't counted on when I first set up this outdoor run, I've gotta say, is how much baby rads eat compared to other babies I've kept in times past. I have a similar setup for my baby marginated tortoises, similar meaning minus the irrigation, I just hand water their smaller enclosure, and one of the things I've always done is keep the enclosure heavily planted with broadleaf weeks. The tortoises often use these as hiding places, though now, in the hot of the summer, they all run to the main insulated shelter with the plastic door flap that I made from a ziploc bag (babies, I've found, have difficulty getting through the linoleum, which I use for all of my adult animals). Anywho, the rads eat so much that despite the dense overgrowth of chickory and plantain I managed to create for them during the wet winter and spring months, and despite the significant amount of moisture created by the daily water changes, the hand watering, and the misting, these six little rads are sure to decimate all of the plant cover by mid summer. It is extraordinary. I mean, none of my adult marginated tortoises have done as much damage to their natural grazing areas as these rads have. They just eat and eat, pooping at every soak and leaving their watering bowls fouled with feces every single day. And I put food down for them, lots of food, every day, and yet they still eat everything and resume to take down the natural graze that I hoped would last them the summer. Already I'm devising a bigger, second enclosure so that at some point in the summer, I can move them to it and allow some chance for regrowth. I can only imagine how much these kids will eat when they're older.

    kelogz08, I had a question. When you purchased your tortoise, how old was it? How long has it been under your care? From what I've seen, I've got to agree with Tom and, well, everyone else here in saying that you shouldn't have anything to worry about. The pyramiding seems to have been a result of a time when the kiddo was raised dry. Some of my rads have pyramiding given that my breeder didn't really do the intensive hydrating thing of which I'm a big proponent. I think I changed his mind when I showed him some of my margies, though. I mean, I've got some good looking beasts. I need to snap some pictures of them from this year. Chris H's animal is an exception to that. He was using the Dr. Z method, so of course his little beast was smooth like a snow globe. But despite the lumps, my kids seem to be smoothing out. And they're getting bigger, faster than I figured they would, given the 25 years to sexual maturity wait. I used to be a real stickler for initial pyramiding, and I made a point of not getting any baby tortoises who had any, given that they wouldn't be these perfect little beasts later on in life. I'm still a stickler about this with babies that I've produced. But when it came to these rads, I have to say I didn't care as much. My first one was a gift, and after that, all I cared about was getting more rads. Didn't matter what they looked like. It was just important to me that they were rads and that they were healthy, given that I get to keep rads. I mean, my goodness, I never imagined, when I was a little kid reading those TFH books on pet care that were just loaded with misinformation, I never imagined that I would ever get the privilege of keeping this amazing species, and yet here I am, with a bunch of them, and I can see them on my phone anytime I want, and I get to bathe and sit in front of their enclosure and watch them grow.

    T.G.
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  8. kelogz08

    kelogz08 Member

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    TG, sorry for the late response. I got the tort from his previous owner last 5/20/17. The owner stated that the tort was a year old on 5/19/17.

    Here are some pics the previous owner sent me

    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1498268282.527266.jpg
    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1498268295.231514.jpg

    Question, does the shell still have a chance to smoothen out? Given the right parameters in the tank.

    I am actually trying my best to follow Dr zovick's caresheet for his radiateds
  9. kelogz08

    kelogz08 Member

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    Here is another picture of my tort taken a few seconds ago

    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1498268531.899931.jpg

    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1498268614.675094.jpg

    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1498268672.949368.jpg

    I am currently not using any light for heating, only CHE's and 2 T8 reptisun tube 10.0 spaced apart. Also above is the reading of my hygrometer/thermometer (the white thing dangling between the light fixtures)
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