Is the Reptisun UVB 5.0 Compact suitable for my horsefield tortoise?

GMac91

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2 weeks ago I bought a 4-5 month old horsefield tortoise with a 3 foot vivarium, ceramic heat bulb and Reptisun 5.0 compact which the pet shop stated would provide enough UVB.

Looking at the setup, I feel that he is not getting enough UVB because he left a large calcium deposit in his food bowl and seems to take a little while to wake when turning the UVB on in the morning. I fear he might not be getting the amount of UVB he needs to start his day, or to process the calcium supplement in his food properly.

He was quite lethargic for the first few days so I switched his hide around which was causing a shadow in his favourite digging corner that he spent a lot of time in, to allow the light to reach him. I also increased his night time temperature from 24 degrees celcius to 27 degrees as recommended after a phone call to the pet shop, they said it was likely the 24 degrees was on the colder side which is what you'd have when preparing for hibernation.

This did improve his activeness through the day, but it was 2 days ago I discovered the calcium deposit so I'm still unsure if he is getting the UVB he needs. The light is on for 12 hours per day.

I have searched and cannot find a straight forward answer to whether the Reptisun 5.0 compact is aqequate. I have seen alot being mentioned about the Reptisun T5 HO 5.0 and 10.0 linear bulbs, but getting mixed information about light placement and distance they should be.

The inside of my viv measures 14 inches from the roof to the substrate. I would prefer to switch to a linear bulb to make sure I'm giving him the best I can, but not sure which one is safer/adequate enough for him.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Tom

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2 weeks ago I bought a 4-5 month old horsefield tortoise with a 3 foot vivarium, ceramic heat bulb and Reptisun 5.0 compact which the pet shop stated would provide enough UVB.

Looking at the setup, I feel that he is not getting enough UVB because he left a large calcium deposit in his food bowl and seems to take a little while to wake when turning the UVB on in the morning. I fear he might not be getting the amount of UVB he needs to start his day, or to process the calcium supplement in his food properly.

He was quite lethargic for the first few days so I switched his hide around which was causing a shadow in his favourite digging corner that he spent a lot of time in, to allow the light to reach him. I also increased his night time temperature from 24 degrees celcius to 27 degrees as recommended after a phone call to the pet shop, they said it was likely the 24 degrees was on the colder side which is what you'd have when preparing for hibernation.

This did improve his activeness through the day, but it was 2 days ago I discovered the calcium deposit so I'm still unsure if he is getting the UVB he needs. The light is on for 12 hours per day.

I have searched and cannot find a straight forward answer to whether the Reptisun 5.0 compact is aqequate. I have seen alot being mentioned about the Reptisun T5 HO 5.0 and 10.0 linear bulbs, but getting mixed information about light placement and distance they should be.

The inside of my viv measures 14 inches from the roof to the substrate. I would prefer to switch to a linear bulb to make sure I'm giving him the best I can, but not sure which one is safer/adequate enough for him.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
You've got all sorts of the typical wrong info. I'm glad you found us, and hope we can help. Pet stores are infamous for giving out bad info and selling the wrong products.

What size is your tortoise? If its anything other than a tiny hatchling, your viv is too small. At 4-5 months old, your tortoise is till probably relatively small, but you'll need something larger in the next few months.

Not only is the 5.0 an ineffective UV source, it is also potentially harmful. Some of those bulbs burn tortoise eyes and they should never be used. They don't need UV to start their day. It doesn't work that way. Your tortoise is likely lethargic because that bulb hurts his eyes, and he can't get away form it.

That is not a calcium deposit. The white stuff is urates. It is a by-product of protein digestion and a sign of dehydration. You need to be soaking your tortoise every day.

Your set up is missing a basking bulb. The CHE is good for ambient temperature maintenance when used with a thermostat, but it does't replace the basking bulb.

Bulb heights need to be set with a thermometer for the basking bulb, and a UV meter for the UV tubes. No one can tell you the correct height for your bulbs in your enclosure. We can guesstimate based on previous experiences with similar bulbs, but that is only a starting point for you. CHEs should be set on a thermostat, so height doesn't matter as much a long as its not too close.

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. 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.
  3. 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 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 the UK, 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

24 C is plenty warm for a horsfield. Maybe too warm for night time. 27 is what a tropical tortoise would need. Your tortoise needs cooler nights with warm days. 18 C is a good night temp to shoot for. 24-27 is a good day time ambient, and that basking area directly under the basking bulb should be 36-37C.

All the correct care info is here:

Questions are welcome.
 

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