Meet Fred

Alex and the Redfoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2023
Messages
2,393
Location (City and/or State)
Cyprus
Well you’ve well and truly scared me that’s for sure, but thank you for this information. I do not have the box for the lamp, stupidly I threw it away. He’s light has just come on, so not sure if you can see the photo of the bulb properly, but they said to me that it’s an all in one bulb and I didn’t need anything else. This is also Arcadia, everything I had was that make. Currently this is a 4ft box, I was told he’ll eventually need a 5ft box. So should I buy him an enclosed glass tank?

Orchid bark, not a problem I can get that straight away. Water dish I can change.
Hi!
The lamp you have if it's really all one one - is a mercury vapour bulb (MVB). While on paper they look great, in fact they don't:
1. Hard to balance basking zone size, temperature and UVB level (you can't adjust only one of three) and use basking light/UVB on different timers.
2. Relatively short lifespan (only 6 months) until UVB output fades below useful.
3. Some evidence, that output spectrum of these lamps is desiccating and contributes to shell pyramiding.

So the idea to have separate basking and UVB light definitely makes sense. Even with higher initial cost, it's cheaper in the long run and provides more healthy environment. Here is what you need (check SwellReptile, for example, for ordering):
1. Get Arcadia Solar Basking Floodlight (not Spotlight). 75w is a good start. It's around 7-8 pounds and fits your existing lamp dome. Set on 12hr timer.
2. Arcadia ProT5 Desert 12% kit, 24W - it's between 50-80 pounds. Set on 4hr timer. This lamp is expected to work for 2-3 years. Lamp should be mounted at 18-21 inches above substrate. Preferably to make adjustable height (UVB fades out with time and you can lower the lamp to compensate this).
3. Any simple LED light source for ambient light (bulb or LED panel/strip/tube).
4. A bit later - ceramic heat emitter with a thermostat to sustain ambient temperatures at 75F (24C).

4ft. enclosure will last for a 2-3 years. It's easier to think in square ft., just in case - 8-10 sq.ft. for babies and yearlings and around 30-40 sq. ft. for an adult tortoise. No need to order tank or vivarium, just get a portable greenhouse to enclose whole enclosure.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,566
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Well you’ve well and truly scared me that’s for sure, but thank you for this information. I do not have the box for the lamp, stupidly I threw it away. He’s light has just come on, so not sure if you can see the photo of the bulb properly, but they said to me that it’s an all in one bulb and I didn’t need anything else. This is also Arcadia, everything I had was that make. Currently this is a 4ft box, I was told he’ll eventually need a 5ft box. So should I buy him an enclosed glass tank?

Orchid bark, not a problem I can get that straight away. Water dish I can change.
It being an ‘all in one’ sounds like a mercury vapour bulb which aren’t appropriate, they’re notorious for not giving out enough uv and can be damaging to the tortoises eyes, it’s unfortunate you were sold that bulb, so many pet shops do😣
This is the kind of bulb you need for the basking area, it’s a incandescent floodlight, and this is the type of uv you’ll need(about 18-20 inches from substrate)it comes with a reflector fitting which is important to not waste any uv light. I’ll also attach a few pictures for how some people secure the uv for your kind of set up.
They’ve also been naughty telling you he’ll eventually only need a 5foot box, that is absolutely not the case and reptile stores here in the uk are notorious for telling people you’ll need far too small a size as a permanent future home, it’s because they realistically know, most people don’t have an indoor 8x4 foot space, but they’re desperate to make a sale, they’ll tell you any old outdated info to convince you that size will be appropriate, but I promise you, for a tortoise that would roam miles in the wild, it simply isn’t😔I know that’s probably hard to hear right now after what you’ve been told.
As alex has said above, this table will still last you for now, no need to buy an ‘enclosed chamber’ simply add the greenhouse topper as mentioned in my previous replies(again don’t worry if you can’t find an exact fit for your table, simply place over the entire thing, just pop some liner on your floor under base and cover) I’m guessing you have a 4x2 though? I’m pretty sure they make that exact size topper🙂
Don’t worry too much about a future set up for now, but just to reassure you, they’re plenty of ways people make a large cost effective enclosures, for example some take a large ikea bookcase, remove the shelves and place it flat, lining it with pond liner and making their own light stands out of timber, it’s requires very minimal diy skills😊we can help you every step of the way when the time comes.

For now let’s focus on getting this guy more comfortable in this set up, give all our replies another read, and step by step make the needed changes, I’d say start with the dish and substrate, then the bulbs&topper(follow the previous instructions on how to help your humidity)get yourself a monitor that measures the humidity once you’ve put your topper on, this is important to know you aren’t over or under doing it.
The ceramic Alex mentioned is to make sure your heat isn’t dropping below the 60’s at night, I doubt that’s the case right now in the milder weather, but it could be in winter, so again we can help you there when needs be, the ceramic will need a thermostat.

Your guy still being under a year old is in a vital stage of their development, so as much as these changes are going to be a bit of an expensive to make at first, in the long run it will be of great benefit and is very important to get done as soon as possible, should they not be made your tortoise could suffer life long consequences, meaning you’ll be spending much more on future vet bills(these guys can take years to show the effects, they’re very resilient by nature)so in the long run, this will save you money.

Please keep asking questions for anything you’re unsure about and run your purchases by us, we can help guide you🙂
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1669.png
    IMG_1669.png
    149.5 KB · Views: 1
  • IMG_1683.png
    IMG_1683.png
    151.5 KB · Views: 1
  • IMG_1670.jpeg
    IMG_1670.jpeg
    65.1 KB · Views: 1
  • IMG_1671.jpeg
    IMG_1671.jpeg
    64.5 KB · Views: 1
  • IMG_1672.jpeg
    IMG_1672.jpeg
    84.7 KB · Views: 1

MrsO09

New Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Uk
Hi!
The lamp you have if it's really all one one - is a mercury vapour bulb (MVB). While on paper they look great, in fact they don't:
1. Hard to balance basking zone size, temperature and UVB level (you can't adjust only one of three) and use basking light/UVB on different timers.
2. Relatively short lifespan (only 6 months) until UVB output fades below useful.
3. Some evidence, that output spectrum of these lamps is desiccating and contributes to shell pyramiding.

So the idea to have separate basking and UVB light definitely makes sense. Even with higher initial cost, it's cheaper in the long run and provides more healthy environment. Here is what you need (check SwellReptile, for example, for ordering):
1. Get Arcadia Solar Basking Floodlight (not Spotlight). 75w is a good start. It's around 7-8 pounds and fits your existing lamp dome. Set on 12hr timer.
2. Arcadia ProT5 Desert 12% kit, 24W - it's between 50-80 pounds. Set on 4hr timer. This lamp is expected to work for 2-3 years. Lamp should be mounted at 18-21 inches above substrate. Preferably to make adjustable height (UVB fades out with time and you can lower the lamp to compensate this).
3. Any simple LED light source for ambient light (bulb or LED panel/strip/tube).
4. A bit later - ceramic heat emitter with a thermostat to sustain ambient temperatures at 75F (24C).

4ft. enclosure will last for a 2-3 years. It's easier to think in square ft., just in case - 8-10 sq.ft. for babies and yearlings and around 30-40 sq. ft. for an adult tortoise. No need to order tank or vivarium, just get a portable greenhouse to enclose whole enclosure.
Lovely thank you so much. I have ordered a new heating lamp and uv light. I’m going to line the current one I have with pond liner, then fill with top soil and coir. I have changed his food. Hopefully all this will help.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,566
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Lovely thank you so much. I have ordered a new heating lamp and uv light. I’m going to line the current one I have with pond liner, then fill with top soil and coir. I have changed his food. Hopefully all this will help.
Sounds great! I think you’ll personally find the orchid fir bark alone easier to deal with(pouring Luke warm water into corners to dampen under layers, mix every now n then to avoid top layer getting too dusty) you can use coco coir, but it can get quite messy lol, just make sure it’s damp and packed down firmly, if left to dry out it can become dusty which can cause respiratory problems
 

MrsO09

New Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Uk
Sounds great! I think you’ll personally find the orchid fir bark alone easier to deal with(pouring Luke warm water into corners to dampen under layers, mix every now n then to avoid top layer getting too dusty) you can use coco coir, but it can get quite messy lol, just make sure it’s damp and packed down firmly, if left to dry out it can become dusty which can cause respiratory problems
Ok I’ll keep that in mind for next time. I think someone else mentioned orchid bark before. I’ll keep a note.
 

MrsO09

New Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Uk
Ok I’ll keep that in mind for next time. I think someone else mentioned orchid bark before. I’ll keep a note.
Should I spray with water every now and then to prevent it going dry?
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,566
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Should I spray with water every now and then to prevent it going dry?
I recommend pouring Luke warm water into the corners, not loads so you end up with a mud pit😂but enough to get the under layer nice and damp, mix it up and always firmly pack down the coir once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to see if you’ve added too much water. Spraying the top layer won’t do enough to keep all the coir nice and damp which is what you’ll need
 

MrsO09

New Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Uk
It being an ‘all in one’ sounds like a mercury vapour bulb which aren’t appropriate, they’re notorious for not giving out enough uv and can be damaging to the tortoises eyes, it’s unfortunate you were sold that bulb, so many pet shops do😣
This is the kind of bulb you need for the basking area, it’s a incandescent floodlight, and this is the type of uv you’ll need(about 18-20 inches from substrate)it comes with a reflector fitting which is important to not waste any uv light. I’ll also attach a few pictures for how some people secure the uv for your kind of set up.
They’ve also been naughty telling you he’ll eventually only need a 5foot box, that is absolutely not the case and reptile stores here in the uk are notorious for telling people you’ll need far too small a size as a permanent future home, it’s because they realistically know, most people don’t have an indoor 8x4 foot space, but they’re desperate to make a sale, they’ll tell you any old outdated info to convince you that size will be appropriate, but I promise you, for a tortoise that would roam miles in the wild, it simply isn’t😔I know that’s probably hard to hear right now after what you’ve been told.
As alex has said above, this table will still last you for now, no need to buy an ‘enclosed chamber’ simply add the greenhouse topper as mentioned in my previous replies(again don’t worry if you can’t find an exact fit for your table, simply place over the entire thing, just pop some liner on your floor under base and cover) I’m guessing you have a 4x2 though? I’m pretty sure they make that exact size topper🙂
Don’t worry too much about a future set up for now, but just to reassure you, they’re plenty of ways people make a large cost effective enclosures, for example some take a large ikea bookcase, remove the shelves and place it flat, lining it with pond liner and making their own light stands out of timber, it’s requires very minimal diy skills😊we can help you every step of the way when the time comes.

For now let’s focus on getting this guy more comfortable in this set up, give all our replies another read, and step by step make the needed changes, I’d say start with the dish and substrate, then the bulbs&topper(follow the previous instructions on how to help your humidity)get yourself a monitor that measures the humidity once you’ve put your topper on, this is important to know you aren’t over or under doing it.
The ceramic Alex mentioned is to make sure your heat isn’t dropping below the 60’s at night, I doubt that’s the case right now in the milder weather, but it could be in winter, so again we can help you there when needs be, the ceramic will need a thermostat.

Your guy still being under a year old is in a vital stage of their development, so as much as these changes are going to be a bit of an expensive to make at first, in the long run it will be of great benefit and is very important to get done as soon as possible, should they not be made your tortoise could suffer life long consequences, meaning you’ll be spending much more on future vet bills(these guys can take years to show the effects, they’re very resilient by nature)so in the long run, this will save you money.

Please keep asking questions for anything you’re unsure about and run your purchases by us, we can help guide you🙂
Thank you. I am taking it all in, I just can’t believe how much nonsense they’ve told me at the shop. I’m going to start making new changes now, and in a few years time I’ll either get a large viv or a bookcase like you said. I do have quite a big living room so it shouldn’t be a problem.
 

MrsO09

New Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Uk
I recommend pouring Luke warm water into the corners, not loads so you end up with a mud pit😂but enough to get the under layer nice and damp, mix it up and always firmly pack down the coir once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to see if you’ve added too much water. Spraying the top layer won’t do enough to keep all the coir nice and damp which is what you’ll need
Thank you 🙏🏼
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,566
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Thank you. I am taking it all in, I just can’t believe how much nonsense they’ve told me at the shop. I’m going to start making new changes now, and in a few years time I’ll either get a large viv or a bookcase like you said. I do have quite a big living room so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Just noticed this response I missed! I know I’m so sorry you’ve been told all that, even if you went in now and explained the changes you’re making, at a place like that they’ll give you SO many bs excuses as to why their way is fine.. it’s the exotic pet industry for you😕they like selling inadequate equipment, because one, you’ll keep coming back to buy more when you realise it’s not doing the job, and two, most simply don’t know any better and are stuck in old outdated ways, they’re convinced they are correct because so called ‘breeders’ who have been doing it decades told them so🙄
Here members have spent time learning from one another the most up to date care, that actually results in the healthiest tortoises long term, all our advice is free and we’ve nothing to personally gain like a sale, we just simply want the best for tortoises and to help spread the correct information😊

I’m sorry all my info has scared you a bit, believe me I’ve been exactly where you are when I first started researching! There’s SO much misinformation out there both online and in stores, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish the good from the bad, especially when there’s pages with BOTH good and bad advice. All I can say to that is, this is the best possible place to get your information, keep posting threads/questions and you will soon be in the swing of it I promise!

I’m sorry my responses have been so long too, I just want to make sure I’m getting across all the details you need, take your time taking it in. I know it can overwhelming at first.
If there’s absolutely anything you feel you need simplifying, please ask and I’ll try to break the information down for you!
Wishing you all the best on this journey and I hope to see you stick with us here, you’ve got this🙂
 

MrsO09

New Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Uk
Th
Just noticed this response I missed! I know I’m so sorry you’ve been told all that, even if you went in now and explained the changes you’re making, at a place like that they’ll give you SO many bs excuses as to why their way is fine.. it’s the exotic pet industry for you😕they like selling inadequate equipment, because one, you’ll keep coming back to buy more when you realise it’s not doing the job, and two, most simply don’t know any better and are stuck in old outdated ways, they’re convinced they are correct because so called ‘breeders’ who have been doing it decades told them so🙄
Here members have spent time learning from one another the most up to date care, that actually results in the healthiest tortoises long term, all our advice is free and we’ve nothing to personally gain like a sale, we just simply want the best for tortoises and to help spread the correct information😊

I’m sorry all my info has scared you a bit, believe me I’ve been exactly where you are when I first started researching! There’s SO much misinformation out there both online and in stores, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish the good from the bad, especially when there’s pages with BOTH good and bad advice. All I can say to that is, this is the best possible place to get your information, keep posting threads/questions and you will soon be in the swing of it I promise!

I’m sorry my responses have been so long too, I just want to make sure I’m getting across all the details you need, take your time taking it in. I know it can overwhelming at first.
If there’s absolutely anything you feel you need simplifying, please ask and I’ll try to break the information down for you!
Wishing you all the best on this journey and I hope to see you stick with us here, you’ve got this🙂
Thank you. So do you think that over the next few days/weeks, If I change the light to a separate heating lamp and UV light, change the beechwood to top soil, stop with the peppers tomatoes, and only giving the calcium powder 2/3 days a week that he will become more active, and eat and poop more?
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,566
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Th

Thank you. So do you think that over the next few days/weeks, If I change the light to a separate heating lamp and UV light, change the beechwood to top soil, stop with the peppers tomatoes, and only giving the calcium powder 2/3 days a week that he will become more active, and eat and poop more?
If you wish to go the ‘dirt’ route, I wouldn’t use top soil, just coco coir. With soil you can't know what type of composted yard waste it is made from and it could be something toxic. That and it can be so muddy😣
I’d definitely recommend using just orchid bark, but if you’ve already ordered coir, just make sure it’s nice and damp(not muddy) and firmly packed down.

But yes, with better substrate, the right heat, lighting, humidity levels, daily soaks and an improved diet, in time, he shall become more active and eating more, once more active he’ll start pooping properly🙂
Bare in mind he’s still in a new environment, and new changes have to be made which will initially be stressful for him too, so things may take weeks for him to settle and improve, you won’t see changes in days but he’ll get there😊
 

MrsO09

New Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2024
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
Uk
If you wish to go the ‘dirt’ route, I wouldn’t use top soil, just coco coir. With soil you can't know what type of composted yard waste it is made from and it could be something toxic. That and it can be so muddy😣
I’d definitely recommend using just orchid bark, but if you’ve already ordered coir, just make sure it’s nice and damp(not muddy) and firmly packed down.

But yes, with better substrate, the right heat, lighting, humidity levels, daily soaks and an improved diet, in time, he shall become more active and eating more, once more active he’ll start pooping properly🙂
Bare in mind he’s still in a new environment, and new changes have to be made which will initially be stressful for him too, so things may take weeks for him to settle and improve, you won’t see changes in days but he’ll get there😊
You’ve been wonderful! Thank you so much. Yes I’ve already got the top soil, I’ve checked it’s the right one and got coir, but think I’ll just go for the orchid bark in future.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,566
Location (City and/or State)
UK
You’ve been wonderful! Thank you so much. Yes I’ve already got the top soil, I’ve checked it’s the right one and got coir, but think I’ll just go for the orchid bark in future.
No problem at all, always here to help when I can🙂
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
7,651
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
The top soil is never a good choice for any tortoise. Who recommended it? It often contains harmful stuff that will cause your tortoise problems if he swallows it! Please use the orchid bark! Sorry but that's just the truth and everything we say here will make all the difference to how your tortoise grows in your care! Thanks.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,566
Location (City and/or State)
UK
The top soil is never a good choice for any tortoise. Who recommended it? It often contains harmful stuff that will cause your tortoise problems if he swallows it! Please use the orchid bark! Sorry but that's just the truth and everything we say here will make all the difference to how your tortoise grows in your care! Thanks.
No one did on this thread, only the coir or orchid bark, but perhaps op saw it recommended elsewhere😣
 

zolasmum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
2,238
You haven't mentioned how Fred responds to you - how does he react to being handled and so on ? He has probably been fairly overwhelmed by all the changes in his life, but when you feel he is calm enough,do try to offer him gentle strokes on his shell, and on his head if he will let you. If you can get him relaxed in your hand,then it will be so helpful if he ever needs to be examined by a vet , as well as being very pleasant and rewarding to you !
Angie By the way, can you give an idea where in the UK you live ? I live on the Devon/Cornwall border, more or less.
 

New Posts

Top