My Set Up

ShellingtonTheFirst

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Shelly my Greek tortoise is in a 6ftx4ft viv with a 100w (just raised it up and switched it out from a 75w solely to up ambient temperature on that side) floodlight that I keep at 35c at ground level. I figure his shell is a few inches higher than that so he’s getting adequate basking temperatures at shell height as long as the slate beneath the light is 35c/ish. In the middle of the viv I have a 150w CHE on a thermostat. My problem is that it seems no matter the wattage of light I go for, his ‘warm side’ doesn’t really get any warmer than what I set his thermostat to (26c with the probe at shell height on the cool side) even with the basking bulb on his warm side. The area around the basking bulb about a foot in either direction gets to about 29c, but then as you near the corners it drops to 26c. The middle of his enclosure is warmer, around 30c, probably because of the culmination of heat from the bulb and CHE gathering around it. So he doesn’t have a ‘warm side’ per se, just a basking bulb, the middle being his ‘warm side’, and then his cool side and the corners being considerably cooler. Is that okay? Should I move his CHE to the warm side?
 

ShellingtonTheFirst

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I’m also finding his coco coir/orchid bark mix is getting dry SO FAST but his humidity is still staying relatively high, which I really don’t like or want. I’d like to keep his humidity at 50%ish aside from inside his hide. For instance, last night I chucked a few glasses of water into the substrate, mixed it all up so it was nice and damp for him and by this morning the top layer is bone dry again yet humidity still at 77%! How on Earth?! Could it be because his water dish is almost directly beneath the CHE?

I actually just got a mini rose head watering can because misting in an enclosure so big is proving a little bit pointless. I’m adding another 20L of orchid bark today because his substrate isn’t deep enough and plan on sprinkling the watering can everywhere to dampen the coir again, but I can only imagine it’s going to raise his humidity even higher and considering his humidity has been high for 2 weeks now, that makes me super uncomfortable.
 

Tom

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Shelly my Greek tortoise is in a 6ftx4ft viv with a 100w (just raised it up and switched it out from a 75w solely to up ambient temperature on that side) floodlight that I keep at 35c at ground level. I figure his shell is a few inches higher than that so he’s getting adequate basking temperatures at shell height as long as the slate beneath the light is 35c/ish. In the middle of the viv I have a 150w CHE on a thermostat. My problem is that it seems no matter the wattage of light I go for, his ‘warm side’ doesn’t really get any warmer than what I set his thermostat to (26c with the probe at shell height on the cool side) even with the basking bulb on his warm side. The area around the basking bulb about a foot in either direction gets to about 29c, but then as you near the corners it drops to 26c. The middle of his enclosure is warmer, around 30c, probably because of the culmination of heat from the bulb and CHE gathering around it. So he doesn’t have a ‘warm side’ per se, just a basking bulb, the middle being his ‘warm side’, and then his cool side and the corners being considerably cooler. Is that okay? Should I move his CHE to the warm side?
Those temps sound fine for a greek. Set the thermostat on the CHE a little higher if you want it to get warmer.

Are you leaving the CHE 24/7? What is the overnight low in your house?

I figure his shell is a few inches higher than that so he’s getting adequate basking temperatures at shell height...
Don't figure. Measure it with a thermometer laid on its back at that height. Rest the thermometer on a small block of wood or stone, or an upside down bowl, or something to get it to the correct height, and let it cook for an hour or more.

We make suggestions for temps and conditions to shoot for, and now you are to the point that every keeper must advance to. The point of observing your tortoise's behavior and fine tuning these parameters for best results with YOUR tortoise in YOUR enclosure. Every enclosure is a custom job. The guidelines offered should get you close, but every enclosure must be "dialed in", so to speak. If your tortoise never basks, then ambient may be too warm, or the basking area might be too hot. If your tortoise is constantly basking, then ambient may be too cool, and the basking area not quite warm enough. If you get a good balance with some basking, some sleeping, and some exploration and eating, then you've probably got it right. Most of us fiddle with lighting and temperatures for a while until we feel like we've got it "just right". Once you feel you've got it right, then you can get on with the daily maintenance chores and just sit back and enjoy your tortoise.
 

ShellingtonTheFirst

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Those temps sound fine for a greek. Set the thermostat on the CHE a little higher if you want it to get warmer.

Are you leaving the CHE 24/7? What is the overnight low in your house?


Don't figure. Measure it with a thermometer laid on its back at that height. Rest the thermometer on a small block of wood or stone, or an upside down bowl, or something to get it to the correct height, and let it cook for an hour or more.

We make suggestions for temps and conditions to shoot for, and now you are to the point that every keeper must advance to. The point of observing your tortoise's behavior and fine tuning these parameters for best results with YOUR tortoise in YOUR enclosure. Every enclosure is a custom job. The guidelines offered should get you close, but every enclosure must be "dialed in", so to speak. If your tortoise never basks, then ambient may be too warm, or the basking area might be too hot. If your tortoise is constantly basking, then ambient may be too cool, and the basking area not quite warm enough. If you get a good balance with some basking, some sleeping, and some exploration and eating, then you've probably got it right. Most of us fiddle with lighting and temperatures for a while until we feel like we've got it "just right". Once you feel you've got it right, then you can get on with the daily maintenance chores and just sit back and enjoy your tortoise.
Thanks Tom! Your expertise is always appreciated. I don’t want the ambient any warmer, just the ‘warm side’. I’d like the typical gradient instead of all random different temps across the enclosure. For that reason I’m pretty convinced I’m going to move his CHE from the middle to the left side where his basking bulb is. Good advice about the bowl idea for shell temperatures. I’ll do that this afternoon.

Luckily he seems pretty happy where he is. He basks for an hour here and there throughout the day, does his little patrols around the place, eats like an absolute pig… you’re right in that I’m just fine tuning at this point.

CHE is on until it hits the desired temp and then it stays off. The viv holds heat very well until I inevitably get bored and open the glass to watch Shelly doing his thing lol. House hits about 6c in the night but his CHE is set to 18c from 9pm-7am, then 26c (cool side) in the day. :)

Have you any advice about his humidity? 77% is too high for a Greek is it not?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Thanks Tom! Your expertise is always appreciated. I don’t want the ambient any warmer, just the ‘warm side’. I’d like the typical gradient instead of all random different temps across the enclosure. For that reason I’m pretty convinced I’m going to move his CHE from the middle to the left side where his basking bulb is. Good advice about the bowl idea for shell temperatures. I’ll do that this afternoon.

Luckily he seems pretty happy where he is. He basks for an hour here and there throughout the day, does his little patrols around the place, eats like an absolute pig… you’re right in that I’m just fine tuning at this point.

CHE is on until it hits the desired temp and then it stays off. The viv holds heat very well until I inevitably get bored and open the glass to watch Shelly doing his thing lol. House hits about 6c in the night but his CHE is set to 18c from 9pm-7am, then 26c (cool side) in the day. :)

Have you any advice about his humidity? 77% is too high for a Greek is it not?
77% is higher than it needs to be for an adult greek, but I don't think it will cause any problem. It is certainly lower than that under each heat source too.
 

ShellingtonTheFirst

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77% is higher than it needs to be for an adult greek, but I don't think it will cause any problem. It is certainly lower than that under each heat source too.
I’d think so to. I have one thermometer with a built in humidity meter thing (hydrometer?) to monitor his cool side (I take his other temps with a laser gun) and that’s set in his cool side in one of the corners, so that makes sense. In fact, that’s just reminded me to buy a couple more for around his viv, mainly to keep an eye on humidity. Cheers again Tom! You’re an angel!
 
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