New Setup - Good read for beginners

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TestudoGeek

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This weekend I finally found a couple of hours to work on my Hermann's enclosure. I'd been thinking about adding a little length to what I had, because it was hard to keep the old setup from getting to dry to soon.

I also started planting Dandellions and Hawkbit in small pots inside the enclosure, and needed a little more room.

For the record, this was the old setup.

And here are the pics of the new one (double the size of the first):

DSC_9295.jpg


The enclosure is split(able) in half. This is good for cleaning.

DSC_9297.jpg


On the left side, over the hide, I have a ceramic heater keeping air temps at 70ºF (night and day). I had it a little lower at first, but the tort wouldn't come out...

DSC_9299.jpg


Yes, that's Alfalfa Hay next to the grass pot. I know it has to much protein. Just didn't know it when I bought it... I'll change that later on (my tort doesn't really pay any atention to it anyway).

DSC_9300.jpg

DSC_9302.jpg



DSC_9303.jpg


The day's menu consisting of weeds, clover & turnip greens.

DSC_9304.jpg


Ceramic Heater is on a thermostat.

DSC_9308.jpg


Transplanted feeders:

DSC_9313.jpg


Dandellion and Hawkbit:

DSC_9314.jpg



I'm still monitoring things cause this change is only 2 days old. Feddback is welcome and appreciated.
 

JustAnja

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RE: New Setup

I think it looks fantastic. I think you have enough going on around the outer edges that the transparacy of tote is not going to be an issue with your little one. I love the idea of cheap caging and cutting the sides of those two totes and putting them together was excellent. What type of containers is the dandelion in? They almost look like PVC pieces, which would be a great idea. (*heads to the supply store!) Inexpensive caging ideas are really helpful for newcomers trying to setup a new cage after the expense of purchasing a tort hatchling and ideas like this one can help them to do so and not be out a ton of $$. Thanks for sharing.
 

TestudoGeek

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RE: New Setup

JustAnja said:
I think it looks fantastic. I think you have enough going on around the outer edges that the transparacy of tote is not going to be an issue with your little one. I love the idea of cheap caging and cutting the sides of those two totes and putting them together was excellent. What type of containers is the dandelion in? They almost look like PVC pieces, which would be a great idea. (*heads to the supply store!) Inexpensive caging ideas are really helpful for newcomers trying to setup a new cage after the expense of purchasing a tort hatchling and ideas like this one can help them to do so and not be out a ton of $$. Thanks for sharing.

Anja,
This is Indeed a cheap solution. The plastic containers cost 6,00Euros each. As you said, I simply cut off one side in each and lined them together.

As for the transparency, the only side that needed taping was the far letf one (see the 3rd pic). Everyother side is covered with pots or walls, etc

The dandelion containers are ceramic, made by IKEA. We had a bunch of them lying around that were outgrown by some cactus a while ago.
 

JustAnja

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RE: New Setup

I have asked Josh to sticky this thread so that it stays at the top of the Enclosures board. This is a great resource for new tort owners!
 

jlyoncc1

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RE: New Setup

Your set-up looks great. I am inspired to redo my hatchlings. Yours looks alot more fun! What is the substrate you used?

Dee
 

TestudoGeek

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RE: New Setup

Thank you for your comments.

jlyoncc1 said:
What is the substrate you used?

Dee

That's Coconut Husk as substrate (Bead a Beast type stuff). Comes in the form of a brick that expands with water.
 

Crazy1

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RE: New Setup

Wonderful set-up
Ok, I am inspired, now I am redoing mine!
 

barbie69

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RE: New Setup

Awesome set up!! I never thought about the two totes together before....now I am going to have to try it! :DLooks GREAT!! Thank for sharing!
 

Fiddlerchick

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RE: New Setup

WOW!!! Now I really have "enclosure envy" (and resourcefulness regret). Sure wish I'd found this forum and your wonderful post when our little Farishta wandered into our yard the beginning of this month before I went on a clueless shopping rampage and spent us homeless trying (and repeatedly failing!) to get her set up properly. :rolleyes:

Super job, and many thanks for the exceptionally helpful and detailed info for the new tort "parents"!!

-Brenda K
 

wayne.bob

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RE: New Setup

the substrate looks like eco-earth (i think)
Amazing job on the set up!
 

TestudoGeek

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RE: New Setup

blackTITAN said:
Okay so you have definatly motivated me to being more creative. Right now I have a UV light and heat lamp. You have 3 lamps. I'm really really really new at all this. Can you give me your best recomentations and tell me about your Ceramic heater/thermostat and what it does, along with your other lights, and why you placed them where they are?

Thanks!
kat

Hello Kat,
On the right side of the enclosure, I have the compact UVB light & the heat lamp over the rocks. You really have to make sure both these lamps point to the same spot, so the tort gets all the good rays while basking.

In my case, I had to reposition the UVB closer to the basking spot since I have a ReptiGlo 5.0 wich is not that strong 8.0 or 10.0 is better for THH).

On the left side, I have the ceramic heat emitter, that basically serves as a temp. monitor. If the temps fall below 70ºF, it turns on and heats up the place back to that value. Without this the lower temps on the left side of the enclosure wouldn't encourage my hatchling to leave its den.

Since I put this setup together however, I found some shortcomings:

1) As mentioned, the 5.0 UVB wasn't strong enough to be that far from the basking spot;
2) The ceramic heat emitter was to far up, so the temps didn't "push" the tort out of the den in the cold winter mornings. I dropped it a little, and it works pretty good. The new problem was that it dried up the substrate terribly fast, so what I then did was to also turn it off at night along with the other 2 lights. I also added another den\cave on the right side of the enclosure;
3) Coco husk, by itself, can become to dusty to fast (although in my experience this can vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer);
4) Plant growth inside the enclosure requires clear access to the uvb bulb, so I had to move things around as they grew;
5) Torts seem to prefer complex\denser surroundings to clear open areas (maybe because my tort is a baby and thus feels more safe in denser landscape);

That said, this is the new shape of the enclosure (sorry about the "darker feel", but I took these at night - tort is sleeping on the cave below the basking spot):

DSC_9448.jpg


The left side of the enclosure is more or less the same. The alfalfa hay is gone, and the substrate now is 100% natural Top Soil (unfertilized), wich I find holds moisture alot better, and also improved the tort's footing.

DSC_9443.jpg


UVB bulb now has direct access to The Basking spot.

DSC_9442.jpg


Right side alot more bushy, with another cave and some dry grape leafs on the corner for interest.

DSC_9437.jpg


Vetch really grows fast...

DSC_9436.jpg


Ground zero.

DSC_9434.jpg


The new Den (if you look closely, you can actually see the pattern of the tort's shell in there)

DSC_9432.jpg


View from left to right.

DSC_9429.jpg


Hope I answered all your questins. If not, feel free to ask.
 

wayne.bob

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RE: New Setup

this setup has inspired me to build a new setup for my torts, starting tomorrow
 

TestudoGeek

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RE: New Setup

blackTITAN said:
So I was asking this question earlier in the Greek forum, and since you know a lot about the enclosures, my baby greek sleeps A LOT. Danny mentioned it might be the diet im feeding him, which I will change come friday, but do you think it could be the enviroment? My enclosure it about the same size as one of your tubs. I have a UV and Heat light pointed on the same rock (95 deg). On the shady side (70deg) he has a little log den he loves to burry himself in at night and he burrys himself in the dirt by the heated rock durning the day.

However I am noticing he is over sleeping. I am trying to believe it is because I had to move him from my boyfriend's apartment to mine just this last weekend. He was so active at his house, but it seems all he does is sleep at mine and I'm worried :( When I come home from work he isn't crawling all over the place anymore but hiding in the dirt. :(

I set up his space the same way, with the only exception being I switched from a lid to a rock that his food sits on. What are your thoughts?

Kat, Danny is usually right, so the first thing i'd do would be - like he said - to change the diet.

But since you used the same diet before, and he was active, i'm wondering if your house could be colder than your boyfriend's. What are the temps on the rest of the enclosure (away from the basking light)? The 70ºF you mention is just fine. Just make sure you're measuring at ground level. I had an issue with low temps during the day on the the cool end of my enclosure when I added the 2nd tub. If the overall temps don´t rise in the morning the tort tends to slow down or not move at all. But when my enclosure was smaller, I had no such problem, because the average temps on the cold side would always be above 70ºF.

I also find that my tort gets stressed when I move alot of stuff around inside the enclosure. How long ago was the move? Is it a shy tort?
 

TestudoGeek

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RE: New Setup

blackTITAN said:
I put the temperature gauge at the far end of the shady side, and put it on the ground like a rock. I re-checked it this morning and it stays for the most part at 70deg. So do you think I need another light that maybe keeps it around 75deg?

I´d say 70ºF is just fine for the cool end.

blackTITAN said:
The move was last week, and I have been changing his plants out probably more frequently then I should and then I just took them out altogether because I'm going to put seeds in them instaed of keep repotting fresh herbs, etc... That probably caused him some stress, like you mentioned.

As for shyness, yesterday I woke him up after work and gave him a bath. He usually hiccups so much (last bath was about 4 days ago), but I was able to brush his shell and put some water on his head while he walked around the dish without him hiccuping or hiding in his shell. :D yey! I'm hoping that means he is relaxing a lot more :) Also while he was drying off, I held him for the second time in about a week, and he was calm and even munched on kale and carrots; he seemed really relaxed. When he got back in his cage he was crusing around- munching on more food and then sat on his sunny rock for a bit. When I checked back on him a few hours later he was back sleeping under his log lol. >_<

Sounds like your care is just fine. Try to change the diet to what Danny suggested and see what happens.
 
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lynncharlene

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RE: New Setup

How do you get a ceramic heater with a thermostat?
 

TestudoGeek

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RE: New Setup

lynncharlene said:
How do you get a ceramic heater with a thermostat?

Actually this one I got from a friend who has a company that imports Pet supplies, but I've seen them for sale in reptile-specialized Pet Shops.
 

Itort

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I have a thermastat rated at 500 watts with a double outlet. I think it is a exo-terra. I'm running a total oy three emitters totalling 250 watts. I dropped the senser prode in the enclosurer most likely to lose heat and it works like a charm. As I said it is a seperate unit.
 

Jamberry

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What size totes are you using?

Do you not need UV on both ends? Sorry if that's a dumb question, lol. I'm new to tortoises; none of my current reptiles require UV lighting. I'm trying to get an indoor Russian Tortoise pen set-up a.s.a.p, and you've given me some great ideas.

Do you mist the enclosure?

Last question, heh. How old is that little fellow?
 
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