New sulcata owner....

Crowley1103

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I'm very new to the tortoise world. I just got my baby yesterday. Sulcata and 6 months old. Purchased from tortoise town in New Jersey. I've been doing lots and lots of research but a lot of it is conflicting. I was super excited to find this forum! Everyone is so helpful and knowledgeable. My concerns so far are that my tortoise won't eat yet. Is this normal? I was thinking he might just have to get use to me and his new home first?? But how long should I wait for him to eat before I get a vet involved? Another worry is trying to keep his temps and humidity consistent. Any tips?? And anything else really important I should know or be doing besides soaking him?
 

Tom

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Hello and welcome.

Lack of appetite can occur when they are moved to new surroundings, but it is also often an indicator that temperatures are too cold. What are you using for heating, lighting, and UV? Night heat?

There is a lot of old, out-dated, incorrect info floating around out there. Please read these:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome. The threads Tom linked for you to read should help you get the enclosure, temps and humidity correct. Ask if you need further help. Please don't listen to most stuff outside this forum. As Tom said, most is old and outdated.
 

Crowley1103

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Right now he is in an open top box enclosure, which I just realized might be a problem. I have a clamp light with a 150 uvb bulb, an 18" 5.0 uvb, and a dual hanging dome light above his rock with a 13 watt 10.0 uvb on one side and a 75 watt basking spot lamp on the other. The temp is 87 degrees and the humidity is at 70 %.
 

Crowley1103

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And as for night light, I'm clueless so far. Last night I kept the clamp light on and this morning I added a heating pad under him because the temp in the box was 74.
Thank you for responding so quickly.
 

Big Charlie

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And as for night light, I'm clueless so far. Last night I kept the clamp light on and this morning I added a heating pad under him because the temp in the box was 74.
Thank you for responding so quickly.
You can get a ceramic heat emitter (CHE), which is a bulb that gives off heat but not light. They screw into the same sockets as your light and last forever.
 

Tom

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Right now he is in an open top box enclosure, which I just realized might be a problem. I have a clamp light with a 150 uvb bulb, an 18" 5.0 uvb, and a dual hanging dome light above his rock with a 13 watt 10.0 uvb on one side and a 75 watt basking spot lamp on the other. The temp is 87 degrees and the humidity is at 70 %.

1. Open tops let all your heat and humidity out.
2. 5.0 bulbs are good for lighting up the enclosure, but don't offer much UV.
3. The 13 watt CFL bulb might be the reason why he's hiding and not active. Those can sometimes burn their eyes. They hide from the pain inflicting light.
4. Spot lamps contribute to pyramiding. They concentrate too much heat and IR-A in one small area, and it desiccates the carapace. Use floods instead.
5. Where is the temp 87? There are four temps to know, monitor and adjust: Warm side, cool side, basking area and overnight low. Which one is 87?
6. It is very unlikely that humidity is 70% in and open topped enclosure with heat lamps. Are you using those stick dial type thermometer/hygrometers? Those are notoriously inaccurate and unreliable. Get a digital one with a remote probe from the hardware store.

All of this and more is explained in those threads.
 

Tom

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And as for night light, I'm clueless so far. Last night I kept the clamp light on and this morning I added a heating pad under him because the temp in the box was 74.
Thank you for responding so quickly.

Heat pads are no good for babies. The potential for damage to the tortoise is high.

Best to use a CHE set on a thermostat to maintain ambient temps and night temps.

Also, I need to let you know that those clamps always fail. Your lights need to be hung from over head. Just letting you know in case no one told you that already.
 

Speedy-1

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Ok. I'll get one ASAP. Thank you.
They look like this , heat but no light !
201172515405790252.jpg
 

Crowley1103

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1. Open tops let all your heat and humidity out.
2. 5.0 bulbs are good for lighting up the enclosure, but don't offer much UV.
3. The 13 watt CFL bulb might be the reason why he's hiding and not active. Those can sometimes burn their eyes. They hide from the pain inflicting light.
4. Spot lamps contribute to pyramiding. They concentrate too much heat and IR-A in one small area, and it desiccates the carapace. Use floods instead.
5. Where is the temp 87? There are four temps to know, monitor and adjust: Warm side, cool side, basking area and overnight low. Which one is 87?
6. It is very unlikely that humidity is 70% in and open topped enclosure with heat lamps. Are you using those stick dial type thermometer/hygrometers? Those are notoriously inaccurate and unreliable. Get a digital one with a remote probe from the hardware store.

All of this and more is explained in those threads.[/QUOTE
I am using the dial..... And his basking rock was where I was getting the 87.
As happy as I was to get him I feel like I'm failing him already. But I'm determined to make sure I do everything right. I've been reading through all of the threads. Lots of information to process. I'm going to work on his enclosure this weekend and hopefully come up with a better plan.
 

Tom

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I am using the dial..... And his basking rock was where I was getting the 87.
As happy as I was to get him I feel like I'm failing him already. But I'm determined to make sure I do everything right. I've been reading through all of the threads. Lots of information to process. I'm going to work on his enclosure this weekend and hopefully come up with a better plan.

It is a lot to process. I know it might feel overwhelming at first, but please don't be discouraged. We will help every step of the way, and we'll explain everything you have questions about. You are not alone. This happens to people all the time. It gets better and tortoise keeping is awesome. Its just hard to go back and re-do the whole darn enclosure once you learn all the right stuff. But once its done, you'll be on easy street and you can just sit back, feed your little growing monster, and enjoy. I promise those days will come, and we are here for you along the way.
 

Crowley1103

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It is a lot to process. I know it might feel overwhelming at first, but please don't be discouraged. We will help every step of the way, and we'll explain everything you have questions about. You are not alone. This happens to people all the time. It gets better and tortoise keeping is awesome. Its just hard to go back and re-do the whole darn enclosure once you learn all the right stuff. But once its done, you'll be on easy street and you can just sit back, feed your little growing monster, and enjoy. I promise those days will come, and we are here for you along the way.
Thank you so much
 

Fredkas

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It is a lot to process. I know it might feel overwhelming at first, but please don't be discouraged. We will help every step of the way, and we'll explain everything you have questions about. You are not alone. This happens to people all the time. It gets better and tortoise keeping is awesome. Its just hard to go back and re-do the whole darn enclosure once you learn all the right stuff. But once its done, you'll be on easy street and you can just sit back, feed your little growing monster, and enjoy. I promise those days will come, and we are here for you along the way.
You never said those sweet thing to me :(:( :p


Anyway, @Crowley1103 i like to sumarize about the 4 temp and humidity for you to remember it easily "all 80 plus 105" then you are done.
It means, minimal of "80%humidity, 80f of cool side temp, 80f of night temp" and "105f right under bask lamp."
 

Crowley1103

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Thank you so much
Hello and welcome.

Lack of appetite can occur when they are moved to new surroundings, but it is also often an indicator that temperatures are too cold. What are you using for heating, lighting, and UV? Night heat?

There is a lot of old, out-dated, incorrect info floating around out there. Please read these:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
Hi Tom! I read that you use mercury vapor bulbs. I bought 1 100 watt bulb. Will that be strong enough?
 

Tom

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Hi Tom! I read that you use mercury vapor bulbs. I bought 1 100 watt bulb. Will that be strong enough?

Only your thermometer can answer that question.

My issue with the current crop of MVBs is that apparently, at least some of them, only produce UV for about 3 months, even if the bulbs still works and make heat and light. Personally, I would not rely on them as a source of indoor UV unless I had a meter to check it. These are the meters to use:
https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html

My current preferred strategy is to use:
1. A 65 watt flood bulb from the hardware store for heat and light.
2. A regular 10.0 or HO tube for UV, depending on mounting height.
3. A regular florescent tube n the 6500K color range for more light, if needed, like in a closed chamber.
4. A CHE set on a thermostat to maintain ambient and overnight temps, if needed, depending on species and room temps.
 

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