Many will disagree, but hear me out!

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Hey guys, I recently got a tortoise as many know and apparently I don’t have all of the right supplies. I have already been lectured on everything, so I don’t need any more please. I just wanted everybody to know what I am doing. I am getting a 40 gallon fish tank for my baby sulcata tortoise to live in. Many people think that is too small, but that is what I am doing. This is a giant upgrade from the last cage and I am doing it because of all of the helpful people who have said my cage is too small. My tortoise spends most of the day roaming my back yard anyways, with me keeping an eye on it. I also have a UV lamp, that is not the wattage some people say is right. Some people also say that if your tortoise stays outside there is no use for a UV light. Because of this I am going to continue to take my tortoise outside daily, and use my UV light for 8-10 hours a day. I am getting a humidifier for my tortoise, and a humidity meter. A lot of people say that the humidity won’t stay in an aquarium, but I have had luck in the past. I feed my tortoise Iceberg lettuce, Roman lettuce, carrot, apple, and aloe. I also add calcium every other day. My tortoise usually eats normal grass when grazing outside, clover, dandelion, and more. Even though I offer all of the food in its bowl, it will only eat the lettuce. This is ok though because it eats a lot of variety’s outside. I soak my tortoise for 15 minutes every day, at about 80 degrees. It had a hide out which will need to be updated i about a month, because it is a little smaller than I had hoped. I am telling everybody all of this not to get feedback or for anybody to judge. I just wanted everybody to know what I am doing, whether is is wrong or right. In the future, I will update everything, and in 2 years it will live in my backyard. I am sorry if you have a problem with this, but this is how I will do it.
 

jaizei

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I think you said elsewhere that your UVB light was 25w? That sounds like one of the halogen spot lamps, esp if you bought it from Amazon. Wattage doesn't matter as much as which brand & type it is and how it is mounted.
 
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I think you said elsewhere that your UVB light was 25w? That sounds like one of the halogen spot lamps, esp if you bought it from Amazon. Wattage doesn't matter as much as which brand & type it is and how it is mounted.
All I know is that it is a reptile lamp. My tortoise loves to sunbathe under it, and according to the care guide, if you take your tortoise outside daily it doesn’t need a UV light but I still use one just for extra insurance.
 

Tom

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Hey guys, I recently got a tortoise as many know and apparently I don’t have all of the right supplies. I have already been lectured on everything, so I don’t need any more please. I just wanted everybody to know what I am doing. I am getting a 40 gallon fish tank for my baby sulcata tortoise to live in. Many people think that is too small, but that is what I am doing. This is a giant upgrade from the last cage and I am doing it because of all of the helpful people who have said my cage is too small. My tortoise spends most of the day roaming my back yard anyways, with me keeping an eye on it. I also have a UV lamp, that is not the wattage some people say is right. Some people also say that if your tortoise stays outside there is no use for a UV light. Because of this I am going to continue to take my tortoise outside daily, and use my UV light for 8-10 hours a day. I am getting a humidifier for my tortoise, and a humidity meter. A lot of people say that the humidity won’t stay in an aquarium, but I have had luck in the past. I feed my tortoise Iceberg lettuce, Roman lettuce, carrot, apple, and aloe. I also add calcium every other day. My tortoise usually eats normal grass when grazing outside, clover, dandelion, and more. Even though I offer all of the food in its bowl, it will only eat the lettuce. This is ok though because it eats a lot of variety’s outside. I soak my tortoise for 15 minutes every day, at about 80 degrees. It had a hide out which will need to be updated i about a month, because it is a little smaller than I had hoped. I am telling everybody all of this not to get feedback or for anybody to judge. I just wanted everybody to know what I am doing, whether is is wrong or right. In the future, I will update everything, and in 2 years it will live in my backyard. I am sorry if you have a problem with this, but this is how I will do it.
You are making some mistakes here. We only want to help you avoid problems and keep your tortoise healthy.

1. You need to know exactly what type of bulb you are using over your tortoise. Some are harmful, and some are good.
2. Roaming outside is not safe and will eventually result in the loss of your tortoise in one of many ways. Make and enclosure and don't let the tortoise free roam. Also, its not good for babies to be outside all day. My general rule is one hour of ACCESS to sunshine per inch of tortoise. Be sure the enclosure is shady AND sunny, escape proof, and safe from dogs and other tortoise predators.
3. Your tortoise needs indoor lighting for at least 12 hours a day. UV bulbs only need to run for 2-4 hours mid day, but the basking and ambient lighting should be on for 12-13 hours.
4. Humidifiers should not be used in tortoise enclosures. Its not good for them to be breathing that mist. You can use it to help humidify the entire room, but don't blow it directly into the enclosure.
5. If you must use grocery store greens, use the right types, and add amendments. I'll link the care sheet with that info for you. You should not be using iceberg lettuce, carrots or apple. These not good tortoise foods for sulcatas. Some aloe is okay once in a while, but not everyday, and most of them won't eat it. Try spineless opuntia instead.
6. Soak water needs to start at 95 degrees and it will quickly cool. 80 is much too cool.
You can't post things you are going to do to your tortoise on a tortoise forum that are bad for your tortoise and expect us not to speak up. That's not reasonable. You can do better, and we are eager to help you do better. If you choose to ignore this info, and refuse to learn the easy way, you will eventually learn these things the hard way as so many before you have. I'm sharing this info with you so that you don't have to learn the hard way at your tortoises expense. Don't make your tortoise suffer for you to learn. The info is right here.

Please take the time to read through this and then re-read the sulcata care sheet near the bottom. This may not be what you want to hear, but its what you need to hear for the benefit of your baby tortoise. We are not here to upset and argue with you. We are here to help you and your tortoise.
 

SinLA

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I think UVB can cause damage if not done correctly so if you don't need it b/c they get outside sun that is not something I would do "for insurance". If it genuinely gets sun almost every day, you don't need it. Bulbs are important and tricky so you don't want to do it wrong.

But that said, I think coming to a group that advises "here are the way we advise things be done for the best health" and you choose to not do it - fine. But going to that group and saying "too bad, this is what I'm doing it, like it or not" I kind of don't see the point of that. Like, just DO what you are going to do, no one here can stop you. TELLING everyone what you are doing "whether they like it or not" doesn't really accomplish much other than goad people into saying things that are going to annoy you.

You do you. This forum is a resource for you to use - or not. This type of post doesn't really make sense to me. Come here to get advice. Use it, don't use. But waiving a flag that says "I'm here but I'm not using your advice", I just don't see the point.

So, just consider that there are a lot of people here to help you, if you want it. But people may not want to try to help you if goad them. If you don't want the help, then that's fine, but this is one of the best places you can find information. A sulcata is a giant, needy little life that is going to rely on you for a very long time. You want to do right by it.
 
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Yvonne G

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I totally agree with SinLA. Take the advice given you by keepers who have "been there. . . done that", or don't take it. No need to brag about not taking it. We'll still be here in a few weeks when you come back with your badly pyramided, sickly tortoise. We'll try to not say, "Haha, I told you so."
 

jsheffield - In Memoriam

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I just wanted everybody to know what I am doing, whether is is wrong or right... I am sorry if you have a problem with this, but this is how I will do it.
This isn't asking for advice or even being open for debate about tortoise care... it's just informing people who care deeply about tortoises that you're choosing to ignore the knowledge and experience available here on TFO.

I hope you reconsider some of the decisions you outlined... your tort will thank you.

Jamie
 
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I just want to say that I really am sorry for being kind of pushy. I was getting kind of stressed when I wrote that because of all of the changes I have to make. You all have been so helpful and I have been kind of stubborn. I still really need all of your inputs whether I act like it or not. What kind of bulb do I need exactly for it to be perfect? Just say which one and I will get it. Also, how do you keep the humidity up in the cage? I am 100% still getting the 40 gallon tank, but I am willing to redo everything else. When I get a 40 gallon tank, how will I keep the humidity from having a chimney affect. I really need your guys help, and I am so sorry I have been kind of ungrateful. I have just been running around trying to figure out what to do, and it kind of got to me. What kind of food should I feed it? Lecture me on everything (except the tank). Again, I am so sorry I snapped. Please forgive me!
 

jsheffield - In Memoriam

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I have been stupid, please forgive me because I don’t want to wait until it is too late. Lecture me!!!
No lecture, just read these great posts and do what they say:




Jamie
 
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Ok, so I found a bulb that I think will work. I will put a picture so you guys can correct me in case it is the wrong kind. Also, it says that I shouldn’t but vegetables for it in a grocery store. Do you want me to just go outside and pick some weeds and grass? What I will do to keep the humidity and temperature is put something over the top, but have a spot for the lamp to go through, and also so it doesn’t suffocate. Lecture me on any of this please!
 

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Ok, guys also… you better be proud of me because I just told my dad we couldn’t get the 40 gallon glass aquarium, and sent him the enclosure part of the list. He is not home right now, and hasn’t answered me but I am hoping to find a big enclosure on Facebook marketplace because everything is a little cheaper on there. Wish me luck!
 

SinLA

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So again UVB is really tricky and I'd suggest holding off on that for now, if your guy is getting legit sun. Its not the most urgent thing. with UVB its not just about the bulb its also how far the bulb is from the tort and how old/powerful it is.

I have this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HCL4J8D/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

but you also need a UVB monitor to make sure its the right amount at the right distance. Again I don't really use one, so I'll rely on others to better guide you here. Best wait until you have a firm grasp of it before running out and buying anything. TRULY this can wait if they are getting outside sun.

Not using grocery store greens is IDEAL, but we all don't live in an ideal world. It would be great if you can grow the weeds you need and harvest them from safe places (ie: not the side of a road or a place that uses pesticides) but that will take time to find and might be a challenge. In the meantime: store bought radicchio, endive, dandelion greens, mustard greens, and escarole (even better if you have a farmer's market, or farmer's produce stall - maybe a local hispanic or asian market) is fine to use until you can get your own weed situation going

I can't speak to fruits and veggies b/c I don't have a sulcata, but using the sheets provided should give you the info you need.
 
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My dad said that we couldn’t get a fancy enclosure, and we are just going to stick with the 40 gallon one 😢😭. Sorry, that part isn’t up to me. Do you want me to just stop using my bulb in the meantime? And I have plenty of weeds in my backyard. Thank you!
 

SinLA

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Question for you - what is the game plan for when it outgrows the 40 gallon tank? You won't be able to keep it outside year round where you live unless you invest in a heated outdoor enclosure. Your tort can get up to hundreds of pounds...

More importantly what are your PARENT'S game plan? This little one is (hopefully) going to live into their retirement
 
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We have a giant storage room outside we will keep it in. It is kind of like a shed. It came with the house when we bought it. I know I can’t change my dads opinion, so if I kept it in a bathroom which is always really humid, with the heater going, would it be ok-ish? For the humidity and temperature.
 

SinLA

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Ok, so just thinking about the future - the storage shed is going to take quite a bit of renovation to make it warm enough for an adult sulcata to be able to live out there. Now don't get me wrong, you'll have a few years to decide, but EVENTUALLY you may find yourself with a VERY LARGE (therefore very difficult to re-home) tortoise that you may not be able to provide for its needs. You may have some pretty massive heartbreak ahead of you. You just MAY want to reconsider that a sulcata tortoise is really the right pet for you.

Don't get me wrong, LOTS of people sell baby tortoises exactly in your situation - without the people buying them really understanding the amount of space and expense they need for it. Its like if someone tried selling you a baby pony, your parents would probably be like "oh no, we can't do this" but honestly its NOT all that different for a Sulcata
 
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I am sorry, but I personally will not rehome my sulcata. I am doing everything I can to make it not stressed, and have the best life. Just because I don’t have all the right supplies right away doesn’t mean that I can’t raise it right. The one thing I can’t change is the aquarium. That is a small part of everything. I am not the only one who has gotten the wrong stuff because of Google and youtube. I am willing to risk for it, and I understand what it will be like in a few years. That is why I am here, searching for help.
 
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I am sorry, but there is no way I am less qualified than anybody else. Just because of one mishap that almost all tortoise owners go through. I am going to raise a sulcata tortoise, and raise it right if you guys will help me.
 
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