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My first hatchling: enclosure is nearly complete

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosures' started by C-Turtle, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. C-Turtle

    C-Turtle New Member

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    Hi there,

    I just wanted to put a post up with a picture of my artificial habitat that is for a redfoot hatchling. I am waiting for a couple of bulbs that I ordered, but I think that almost everything else is in place. I do have a strawberry plant and an aloe plant that I would like to add to this habitat, and I am hoping to hang them out of my tortoise’s reach. Does anyone have any experience with hanging plants inside an enclosure? I plan to use rope to hang them from the “side rooves” (pieces of wood that are attached to the top of the terrarium - see picture).

    I just installed my humidifier today, and my thermometer/hygrometer is holding at 88F and 76% in the hot side of the enclosure. The infrared thermometer gave readings for the hot spot (110F) and the hide (82F). The hide also should become warmer when I add the 50w night time bulb that is arriving by the end of the month.

    Please let me know if I am forgetting anything! I know this is not an ideal enclosure, but I bought this terrarium before I knew about tortoise tables. I did add cardboard around the sides of the terrarium to keep my little tort from looking out the glass all day. Also, this enclosure is temporary, and I plan to move my tort to a tortoise table or a shed after 4-5 years in this enclosure...

    I’m already starting to think the cardboard idea might not be the best. It is getting very damp from the humidity. I doubt it can hold together for said 4-5 years. Does anybody have any other suggestions for ways to restrict the view?

    Thanks!
    -c

    Attached Files:

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  2. Beasty_Artemis

    Beasty_Artemis Active Member

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    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    Duct tape would work. You can buy different colors, and i like the camouflage colored stuff that has foliage patterns on it. It adds a nice jungle vibe. I always have to go to the camping/ hunting section of a store to track that style down.
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  3. ColaCarbonaria

    ColaCarbonaria Active Member

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    110 degrees is way too hot. Just get the entire tank 84-85 degrees. Put the cardboard on the outside.
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  4. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    The picture will not enlarge for me so I cannot see it properly.

    What is your substrate?
  5. Taylor T.

    Taylor T. Well-Known Member

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    Redfoots don't really need a basking spot and it dries out their shell causing pyramiding. There still should be a warm and cool side though.
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  6. C-Turtle

    C-Turtle New Member

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    Coconut fiber.
    It’s Zoo Med Eco Earth.
  7. C-Turtle

    C-Turtle New Member

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    Thanks everyone!

    Something I forgot to mention is that there is heating cable beneath the floor of the terrarium (don’t worry, it’s on the outside!)...

    I plan to remove the cardboard and the heat emitter bulb. I let them run for a few hours and tested them again, and the hottest spot I measured was ~140F! I will go to the camping section of my nearest store for duct tape (thanks Beasty!), and I plan to install a thermostat that I can connect to the heat cable to make sure I don’t cook my baby!

    Taylor, thank you for your input. I’ve done a little research on pyramiding, and I am under the impression that RFs still need some UVB. I just have the one fluorescent bulb (150w UVB), and I plan to put it on a timer with a 12hr on/off cycle. The other light fixture will have a 50w night time heat bulb. I plan to remove the middle fixture completely. Is this too much light for RF hatchling??

    Thanks in advance!
    -c
  8. Taylor T.

    Taylor T. Well-Known Member

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    They definitely need UVB, I'm sorry if I made it sound like they didn't. What I meant was they do not need a spot in their enclosure with an elevated temperature temperature compared to the surrounding enclosure. Florescent tubes are my preferred choice for UVB as they do not produce a desiccating heat.

    That shouldn't be too much light as long as you provide shade for it to retreat under. Plants work well for this.

    What type of florescent bulb do you have that uses 150W? Most I've seen are a lot lower than that.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  9. C-Turtle

    C-Turtle New Member

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    I have this bulb (not 150w, but 150 something [?]). Says it is a desert bulb but I also read that it is okay to use with forest species as long as the light fixture has a cover.
    Thanks,
    -c

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  10. Taylor T.

    Taylor T. Well-Known Member

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    That type of bulb is not recommended. They have been reported to cause eye issues in tortoises, especially younger ones. I would recommend switching to a long tube florescent bulb. (I like the Arcadia brand ones)
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  11. Mizcreant

    Mizcreant Well-Known Member

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    Most folks on this forum recommend against using the curly-Q bulbs. Use a mercury vapor lamp instead like this one:

    [​IMG]
  12. Taylor T.

    Taylor T. Well-Known Member

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    MVBs are not ideal for tropical species (or any species in my opinion) as they are much more desiccating to tortoises shells than tube florescent bulbs.

    They also stop producing UVB very quickly even if it still lights up.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  13. Mizcreant

    Mizcreant Well-Known Member

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    I certainly stand corrected then. Thanks for the info.
  14. C-Turtle

    C-Turtle New Member

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    Thanks everyone for all the input! I have definitely read mixed reviews about bulbs, and I think that I’m just going to take my chances with this one. I used it to start a couple of pots of jalapeño plants, which worked well, so I definitely know it’s putting out enough good stuff that my tort can get some uvb from it. I hope to take tort outside for sunshine daily if I’m able. I also don’t plan to keep him or her in this enclosure past year 5. I have read that redfoots mostly hide in the shade during that stage of their life, so hopefully the potential for it to damage the eyes will be minimal. I’ll definitely get a bulb that is easy on the eyes (forgive the cliche) for tort’s permanent living space one day down the road. For now, I’m just trying to get the temperature right. I’ve got two night time heat emitter bulbs on the way: a 50w and a 75w. I plan to Goldilocks the heck out of it until I can get the temperature to hold at 80F on the cool side and 88F on the warm side. The light will be on a 12hr on 12hr off timer, and there is a thermostat that I will install to cut off the heat when it gets too hot. I’m going to be adding plants soon, as well...

    Does it sound like I’m on the right track? Am I missing anything obvious?

    Thanks again for all the input. This community is an amazing resource. I appreciate the warm welcome!
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  15. Taylor T.

    Taylor T. Well-Known Member

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    I REALLY would not keep using the coil bulb. Nobody knows exactly what it does to their eyes, but it's possible it's slowly causing permanent loss of vision. Also, people on this forum with UV meters say that they don't produce very much good UVB compared to tube type bulbs.

    Unless you have a UV meter, you should replace even good UVB bulb every six months or so, simply because they CAN stop producing UVB that quickly. This doesn't mean that they usually do, but if
    you have no way of knowing, it is better to play it safe.

    It you are interested in investing in a UV meter, I believe the Solarmeter 6.5 is what most people use.

    However, if you let your tortoise outside for about 30 minutes daily, you won't need any source of artificial UVB at all. Maybe try to do your daily soaks outside in the sun? Just make sure there is a corner of the soaking container that is in the shade so he won't overheat.

    Your temperatures sound good.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  16. C-Turtle

    C-Turtle New Member

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    Gotcha. Makes sense. Do you have any specific models that you can recommend?
  17. Taylor T.

    Taylor T. Well-Known Member

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  18. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    I have changed all my MVBs over to the fluorescent tube type UVB lights:

    T-5 fluorescent bulb.jpg

    You can buy the bulbs and the fixture from lightyourreptiles.com. Amazon also sells them.

    Then I have LOTS of plants around inside the enclosure to provide a lot of shade for my YF baby.
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  19. C-Turtle

    C-Turtle New Member

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    Thanks Taylor and Yvonne! These look and sound like amazing bulbs and fixtures that I will probably be buying down the road when I build tort's permanent enclosure. However, unless I read something substantially scientific, I think I am going to take my chances and use the bulb I've got and similar, USA made compact fluorescent bulbs for the first 4-5 years. I have been searching the reptile forum sites for good, peer-reviewed journal articles about eye damage associated with compact fluorescent bulbs, and I cannot find any. I just have too many questions about the individuals that did experience eye damage (ie- were they given proper shade? How far was the bulb from the substrate? Was there more than one tortoise in the enclosure, and did both experience the same level of eye damage?). I did find a study that was done by a member of a turtle forum (please see quote below).
    If anybody out there can point me in the direction of literature from a similar study, I would be delighted.

    Thanks again!
    -c

    PS: I wish I had the time and resources to set up two enclosures side by side, one with compact fluorescent and one with tube fluorescent, both with RFs, in order to determine the real reality of things...
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  20. Taylor T.

    Taylor T. Well-Known Member

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    C-Turtle likes this.
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