Newredfoot24

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Hello everyone

I am a new tort mama, with a female red foot hatchling. I purchased her May 19 from a reptile show. The seller wasn’t helpful at all when asking him simple questions, he couldn’t even tell me her sex… I had to google image that. But anyways, I would love some help with her new home. I did have her in a Aivituvin wooden tank size - 38.1"L x 22.4"W x 39"H

She HATED it!!! She slept all the time, ate once or twice, had normal poop. But after 2 weeks she just stopped. So I purchased her a 40 gallon glass tank with a screen lid from the local pet shop. Moved everything & she DRANK, devoured her strawberry (her favorite) and walked around checking it all out.

Now my question is- since it’s a 40 gallon tank, do I have to change her lights?

The light wattages -
13 uv tube
75 heat
60 cle
Her humidity machine is arriving soon, in the meantime I have been soaking her & I do mist her room often. I know that’s not doing much but I am doing the best I can to make her happy.
Photos of NEW tank posted & her, Speedy.
 

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Tom

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Hello and welcome. You have found and followed the usual old incorrect advice. Here are some helpful tips.
1. No one can tell the sex of a hatchling. Not even google.
2. RF need dry substrate but with high humidity. To accomplish this you need a closed chamber with the heating and lighting inside. No open topped enclosure will work. All the constant wetness in a futile attempt to keep humidity up will result in shell rot. Also, humidifiers should not be blowing directly into tortoise enclosures.
3. RFs need a constant warm temp of around 82-86. This can be accomplished with your CHE set on a thermostat. Sometimes it helps to use 2 CHEs to spread the heat out, or better still, use a large radiant heat panel (RHP).
4. There is no 13 watt tube, so you must be using a cfl type UV bulb. These are not effective UV sources and some of them burn tortoise eyes. They should not be used. ZooMed make a 10.0 HO UV tube that is effective and safe. You only need to run it for a few hours mid day.
5. Ambient light will be important since your UV tube will be off most of the time.
6. RFs don't need a basking lamp. If you choose to use one, be sure it is a flood type bulb, not a spot, and be sure the temperature under it is mild to prevent pyramiding.
7. They will eat the moss and it can cause impaction. I'd remove that ASAP.
8. Those ramped water bowls are not safe. Many tortoises flip and drown in them. Remove it ASAP and replace it with a terra cotta saucer sunk into the substrate. Buy 4 saucers. 2 for food and 2 for water. Then you can switch them out for cleaning and sanitizing. This will also give you an extra of each for those inconvenient times when you drop one and the stores are closed.
9. Coco coir is not the best substrate for RF because you have to keep it damp to keep it from being dusty. The constant dampness is likely to cause shell rot in your species. Fine grade orchid bark will work much better. If you want to use the coir, hand pack it down firmly and keep it lightly damp. Watch for signs of shell rot daily.

More general info here:

Questions welcome.
 

Newredfoot24

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Thank you.
The large bowl in front was only used to flatten an area, it was empty but has been taken out. As for the lights, I have a 2 in one dome for the tube & heat bulb from ZooMed as well as the CLE which is in its own dome, off to the side. I only use that at night to keep the temp nice since I read that light bothers them in the dark. As I am very new, I had to look up what you meant by ‘pyramiding’
I’ll have to get a higher bulb setting for a 40 gallon I’m assuming? I have 2 thermometers and 2 for the humidity.

With the tank change the humidity has increased to 50%. That wooden take was just awful.

But how does one use a humidity machine if it’s not to be blown into the tank?

I’m still learning so I’m sorry for all my childish questions. I want to do this correctly
 

Yvonne G

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You don't use s humidity machine. One humidifies the enclosure by moistening the substrate and keeping a few plants inside, then covering the enclosure to keep the warm, moist air in and the cold air from the house out.

No question is childish. We don't judge.

Here is a picture of the UVB light you should use:

T-5 fluorescent bulb.jpg


Here is a picture of the UVB light you SHOULD NOT use:

CFL.jpg

For heat you could use this (Radiant Heat Panel):

BeanFarm_SweeterHeater_OverheadHeatPanel_Chicks.jpg


Picture is only to show you what I'm talking about. You can buy them wherever you find the best deal.

Or you can use this (Ceramic Heat Emitter):

ceramic heat emitter.jpg
 
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Yvonne G

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Redfoot tortoises don't need real bright light. They have evolved living in or at the edge of the rain forest - lots of shade provided by plants and a warm, humid environment.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Thank you.
The large bowl in front was only used to flatten an area, it was empty but has been taken out. As for the lights, I have a 2 in one dome for the tube & heat bulb from ZooMed as well as the CLE which is in its own dome, off to the side. I only use that at night to keep the temp nice since I read that light bothers them in the dark. As I am very new, I had to look up what you meant by ‘pyramiding’
I’ll have to get a higher bulb setting for a 40 gallon I’m assuming? I have 2 thermometers and 2 for the humidity.

With the tank change the humidity has increased to 50%. That wooden take was just awful.

But how does one use a humidity machine if it’s not to be blown into the tank?

I’m still learning so I’m sorry for all my childish questions. I want to do this correctly
Try and follow all the advice Tom has given you, orchid bark would be much better and definitely get all the moss removed asap.

For the lights, personally with our red foot we opted to use just the CHEs to create a temperature range of 80-86 throughout the entirety of her enclosure, then for the lighting itself we used a LED strip set on a 12 hour timer. You can by all means us a floodlight for day heat backed with a CHE for the nighttime, the CHE won’t need to be on a timer but needs to be on a thermostat, the floodlight will need to be on the 12hr timer. Ultimately red foots aren’t really a ‘basking species’ (though some do, depends on the tort) hence you dont necessarily need to have a floodlight and can simply rely on the ceramics for heat, so long as you have led lighting during the day. I think it makes things simpler personally and you know your heat levels are consistent.
Uv wise, you need to get yourself a t5 strip bulb, lots of people here use the aricadia brand, myself included. It’ll need mounting about 18-20 inches from the substrate for 12%, this is on a separate timer for a few hours at noon. The type of uv bulb you’re using are renowned for not giving off enough uv and can damage the torts eyes, so get that switched up as soon as you’re able🙂

As for your humidity, this little one needs far higher than 50%, they need 80+ 24/7 as hatchlings and red foot’s have high humidity requirements for life. To achieve this I’d recommend a ‘closer chamber’ set up, greenhouse toppers work great for this, I’m not sure how I’d suggest you hang your lights from a greenhouse frame with this tank but perhaps other members could make suggestions. If not not I’m happy to attach pics on what we mean to inspire you to build one? They can be made very cost effective and work great! I wouldn’t use a humidifier personally, I’ve read too many people say they’ve caused an RI, to create the humidity, simply pour some Luke warm water(not loads but enough to dampen the under layer of substrate)into the corners, adding some live plants will help too! Then just monitor the levels, you shouldn’t have to do pours too often, then to avoid the drier top layer getting too dusty, simply turn the substrate every now n then, gives a humidity boost without adding more water too🙂

Just to expand on Yvonne’s point of them not needing too much light, also absolutely correct, again hence we opted not to use a floodlight, the led strip we have isn’t too bright and we’ve created lots of hide spots, they’re forest floor dwellers so like lots of shade😊
 

Newredfoot24

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Thank you!!! These are the lights I am using. I also canceled the order for the humidity machine. I’ll do my best to wrap up part if not most of the lid with saran wrap or tinfoil.
I’d hate to start all over again after spending a nice price tag on that tank. 😅
 

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Newredfoot24

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Ohio
Try and follow all the advice Tom has given you, orchid bark would be much better and definitely get all the moss removed asap.

For the lights, personally with our red foot we opted to use just the CHEs to create a temperature range of 80-86 throughout the entirety of her enclosure, then for the lighting itself we used a LED strip set on a 12 hour timer. You can by all means us a floodlight for day heat backed with a CHE for the nighttime, the CHE won’t need to be on a timer but needs to be on a thermostat, the floodlight will need to be on the 12hr timer. Ultimately red foots aren’t really a ‘basking species’ (though some do, depends on the tort) hence you dont necessarily need to have a floodlight and can simply rely on the ceramics for heat, so long as you have led lighting during the day. I think it makes things simpler personally and you know your heat levels are consistent.
Uv wise, you need to get yourself a t5 strip bulb, lots of people here use the aricadia brand, myself included. It’ll need mounting about 18-20 inches from the substrate for 12%, this is on a separate timer for a few hours at noon. The type of uv bulb you’re using are renowned for not giving off enough uv and can damage the torts eyes, so get that switched up as soon as you’re able🙂

As for your humidity, this little one needs far higher than 50%, they need 80+ 24/7 as hatchlings and red foot’s have high humidity requirements for life. To achieve this I’d recommend a ‘closer chamber’ set up, greenhouse toppers work great for this, I’m not sure how I’d suggest you hang your lights from a greenhouse frame with this tank but perhaps other members could make suggestions. If not not I’m happy to attach pics on what we mean to inspire you to build one? They can be made very cost effective and work great! I wouldn’t use a humidifier personally, I’ve read too many people say they’ve caused an RI, to create the humidity, simply pour some Luke warm water(not loads but enough to dampen the under layer of substrate)into the corners, adding some live plants will help too! Then just monitor the levels, you shouldn’t have to do pours too often, then to avoid the drier top layer getting too dusty, simply turn the substrate every now n then, gives a humidity boost without adding more water too🙂

Just to expand on Yvonne’s point of them not needing too much light, also absolutely correct, again hence we opted not to use a floodlight, the led strip we have isn’t too bright and we’ve created lots of hide spots, they’re forest floor dwellers so like lots of shade😊
Sadly I just bought this tank yesterday. I’d hate to have to clean another one & send back. I will be more than happy to see a green house top. If I can put some sort of cover over part of the metal top, would that help?

Also just for ranting sake, why are the closed chamber tanks not sold at stores? They give us the wrong items for fun or what 😅😅😅
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Thank you!!! These are the lights I am using. I also canceled the order for the humidity machine. I’ll do my best to wrap up part if not most of the lid with saran wrap or tinfoil.
I’d hate to start all over again after spending a nice price tag on that tank. 😅
Ok so I’m not certain on the ceramics here cause seeing ‘infrared’ on the box is throwing me however it also says non light emitting so I’m not sure, I’m also just now noticing the Aricadia ceramics have infrared on the box(forgive me, we don’t use either of those brands for our ceramics) and I know people on here use those, so they might be ok, but hang tight for more input on those! Sorry the labelling has thrown me a bit there lol.

However the reptisun is a coil type uv, definitely not appropriate and will need replacing with the t5 strip light people have added🙂

As for the ‘basking bulb’ if keeping a light emitting heat source, you will need a incandescent floodlight, I’ll attach a pic for you😊

Oh and for the dome, I think they’re ok, but maybe the others can tell you if the size is alright for the bulbs🙂
 

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Yvonne G

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The lights in the first picture are bad. The compact fluorescent one is harmful to their eyes. You could get by with it if you mount it horizontal instead of vertical, but why would you as they're not good UVB providers.

Pet stores are in business to sell things and make a profit. I doubt there are many of them who research what the animal needs. They stock what sells, good or bad. It's up to the buyer to research and learn what's needed.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Sadly I just bought this tank yesterday. I’d hate to have to clean another one & send back. I will be more than happy to see a green house top. If I can put some sort of cover over part of the metal top, would that help?

Also just for ranting sake, why are the closed chamber tanks not sold at stores? They give us the wrong items for fun or what 😅😅😅
I completely understand that, let me see if I can find some examples for you, bare with. I would bear in mind though, looking at the size this tank may only last you a year or so.

lol trust me reptile stores can be infuriating! They tend to sell them in the form of wooden vivs, which are always so pricey! And honestly unless getting a huge custom size built that you can seal really well, they are absolutely not worth investing in when the smaller sizes for a hatchling won’t last 5 minutes! Greenhouse style set ups are the way forward imo🙂
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Sadly I just bought this tank yesterday. I’d hate to have to clean another one & send back. I will be more than happy to see a green house top. If I can put some sort of cover over part of the metal top, would that help?

Also just for ranting sake, why are the closed chamber tanks not sold at stores? They give us the wrong items for fun or what 😅😅😅
Covering the tank will certainly help with the humidity.

As for pet stores and reptile shows, well it is a combination of a multitude of things. But most of all, most chains are there just for the money, not the welfare of the animals. If you buy the wrong products, you will be coming back buying new stuff over and over again. Plus, if they were to do some research, they would first face all the outdated info. And the third thing, at least here in Finland a ton of things are sold for tortoises, that are actually meant for other reptiles. If it is safe for lizards, why not tortoises, seems to be their thought pattern.
 

Newredfoot24

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The lights in the first picture are bad. The compact fluorescent one is harmful to their eyes. You could get by with it if you mount it horizontal instead of vertical, but why would you as they're not good UVB providers.

Pet stores are in business to sell things and make a profit. I doubt there are many of them who research what the animal needs. They stock what sells, good or bad. It's up to the buyer to research and learn what's needed.
I’m so glad I kept the receipt. I’ll take away the double light / hood combo & purchase the strip & flood bulb you’ve sent photos of.

Thank you!!!
 

Newredfoot24

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Covering the tank will certainly help with the humidity.

As for pet stores and reptile shows, well it is a combination of a multitude of things. But most of all, most chains are there just for the money, not the welfare of the animals. If you buy the wrong products, you will be coming back buying new stuff over and over again. Plus, if they were to do some research, they would first face all the outdated info. And the third thing, at least here in Finland a ton of things are sold for tortoises, that are actually meant for other reptiles. If it is safe for lizards, why not tortoises, seems to be their thought pattern.
I have covered a section off. I really want to help her thrive. I’ll be going to the store & sending back those lights I had originally bought. I wish I had known the proper products before hand. I feel bad for disturbing her/him so often
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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I have covered a section off. I really want to help her thrive. I’ll be going to the store & sending back those lights I had originally bought. I wish I had known the proper products before hand. I feel bad for disturbing her/him so often
Good good, I will say, having it party uncovered will still cause a battle with your humidity, the whole thing needs covering, I’m just trying to work out a way for you to do that with this tank so that the lights aren’t shining through a covering, I’ll keep searching for some good examples! But hopefully others can guide you there too.

Also please don’t feel bad! Sooo many of us have made these mistakes, we should be able to rely on ‘experts’ it’s just sad we can’t. The most important thing is you’re here on this forum now, it has all the correct up to date information, if there’s anything you’re unsure of before buying, post a pic here and people will help you on if it’s worth getting😊
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Thank you so much!!!! I truly appreciate all the help. Hopefully with the light change their eyes won’t stay shut 😁
Hello!
Please, keep us updated on progress! Also, you can check with us before ordering if everything's fine.

As for the "good enclosures" - they exist on the market, e.g. Animal Plastics, Kages and a few more make PVC and HDPE enclosures. They are pricey and are built in small quantities (usually by pre-order). Probably, that's why pet stores don't carry them. A decent size enclosure for an adult redfoots would be only custom built.

There are some great DIY options (e.g. raised garden bed kits, hydroponic tents and so on). With some efforts they can be repurposed into a good tortoise enclosure. And building your own out of expanded PVC panels is what some keepers do.
 
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Newredfoot24

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Ok so I’m not certain on the ceramics here cause seeing ‘infrared’ on the box is throwing me however it also says non light emitting so I’m not sure, I’m also just now noticing the Aricadia ceramics have infrared on the box(forgive me, we don’t use either of those brands for our ceramics) and I know people on here use those, so they might be ok, but hang tight for more input on those! Sorry the labelling has thrown me a bit there lol.

However the reptisun is a coil type uv, definitely not appropriate and will need replacing with the t5 strip light people have added🙂

As for the ‘basking bulb’ if keeping a light emitting heat source, you will need a incandescent floodlight, I’ll attach a pic for you😊

Oh and for the dome, I think they’re ok, but maybe the others can tell you if the size is alright for the bulbs🙂
Hi again. I’m at the store, would a Arcadia 24W uvb T5 work?
 

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Littleredfootbigredheart

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Ok so I couldn’t necessarily find a photo of a greenhouse topper on a tank, but I’m sure someone on here has figured out how to do it. My thinking is, if you can’t find a topper the exact measurements of your tank, that you could perhaps fashion something like the first picture? And make sure your lights are securely hung from the frame. Unless @Alex and the Redfoot do you have an easier way for their set up aside from the topper and how to hang their lights?
I’m also including some pics of a typical greenhouse set up to give you a rough idea when it comes to an upgraded size, some people make their own large bases and line them with pond liners, then attach the frame to the base, or if you’re starting with a smaller base and can’t find the perfect fit topper, you can place it like the one in the second pic, I’d just put some lining under the base and cover to avoid condensate getting on your floor. Or you could also look for a large flower bed base and fix it to that🙂hopefully that give you some ideas😊
 

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