Newbie Set Up

ryan57

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We have lots of places in the US with high humidity. Florida being one of them and their outside humidity only works well for them when they are big enough to live outside
We have many UK members on here too. It's no different there than here when it comes to raising hatchlings. They all need the closed chamber, high humidity.
As far as thinking that a nice looking (your proposed enclosure is nice looking) enclosure will allow you and your daughter to see and interact with the tortoise... think terrarium. You know the humidity is right when there are water droplets on the inside of the walls... pretty much.

You absolutely will need a temperature gun where you can measure the temperature precisely in specific locations and the enclosure you showed has another great positive attribute. Height. The reason is because you can use an adjustable stand for the lights and heat so it is the right temperature at tortoise level and you can adjust as it gets larger.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B091NBDSB2/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

You also need a thermostatic control so it will heat efficiently without overheating your tortoise.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYXX9L3/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

As strange as it sounds, even with a "closed chamber", I have found that some fresh air is essential to controlling mold growth. A small opening at the lower level lets air exchange and keeps mold at bay with the temps and humidity.

My first tortoise had a hole in his "burrow" that he could walk out of and his enclosure never had mold even though it was mid 80's and water dripping on the sides. My little one I kept enclosed with no ventilation and 3 or 4 times in the first 2 months I had to dump the substrate because of white mold. The last time this happened I cut a small hole a bit higher than he could walk out of and the humidity is the same, heat is the same AND no mold after 5 months. This is the basis for my concluding that ventilation IS necessary only for the purpose of keeping the substrate from growing mold. Remember, all food that enters that enclosure has the potential to cause mold growth rapidly even when changed and cleaned multiple times daily in that hot and muggy environment.
 

EppsDynasty

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@Kala .... What a whirlwind! So cool you are doing what NEEDS to be done for comfort, security and health. To not get a little frustrated or bent out of shape and keep trucking, great job on your part. Lucky tort you've got.
 

wellington

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As far as thinking that a nice looking (your proposed enclosure is nice looking) enclosure will allow you and your daughter to see and interact with the tortoise... think terrarium. You know the humidity is right when there are water droplets on the inside of the walls... pretty much.

You absolutely will need a temperature gun where you can measure the temperature precisely in specific locations and the enclosure you showed has another great positive attribute. Height. The reason is because you can use an adjustable stand for the lights and heat so it is the right temperature at tortoise level and you can adjust as it gets larger.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B091NBDSB2/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

You also need a thermostatic control so it will heat efficiently without overheating your tortoise.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYXX9L3/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

As strange as it sounds, even with a "closed chamber", I have found that some fresh air is essential to controlling mold growth. A small opening at the lower level lets air exchange and keeps mold at bay with the temps and humidity.

My first tortoise had a hole in his "burrow" that he could walk out of and his enclosure never had mold even though it was mid 80's and water dripping on the sides. My little one I kept enclosed with no ventilation and 3 or 4 times in the first 2 months I had to dump the substrate because of white mold. The last time this happened I cut a small hole a bit higher than he could walk out of and the humidity is the same, heat is the same AND no mold after 5 months. This is the basis for my concluding that ventilation IS necessary only for the purpose of keeping the substrate from growing mold. Remember, all food that enters that enclosure has the potential to cause mold growth rapidly even when changed and cleaned multiple times daily in that hot and muggy environment.
Nice to know that works on the mold. I think the importance here is you didn't put it at the top, where the heat and humidity will flow too. Being closer to the bottom worked without changing the temp and humidity. So many want to vent too high up. Even premade enclosures have vents at the top.
 

ryan57

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Nice to know that works on the mold. I think the importance here is you didn't put it at the top, where the heat and humidity will flow too. Being closer to the bottom worked without changing the temp and humidity. So many want to vent too high up. Even premade enclosures have vents at the top.
Another pro tip from a beginner. Put the air opening on the cool side opposite of the CHE.
 

Kala

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@Kala .... What a whirlwind! So cool you are doing what NEEDS to be done for comfort, security and health. To not get a little frustrated or bent out of shape and keep trucking, great job on your part. Lucky tort you've got.
Thank you :) We would never commit to a pet before we made sure we had everything just right for them. I’m going to go with the vivarium from Swell Reptiles and then extend or upgrade when they grow a little bigger. Almost finalised my list of items to order to then get the viv all set up and tested before we go to collect our new little family member :)
 

Kala

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I found this whilst looking for a thermostat. Is it worth it or unnecessary?

Not for the dimming aspect, I know we don’t need that. Thinking more as an all in one control centre. It would be better for me if I can view/control everything in one place. I definitely need to be able to have everything set on timers because I will undoubtedly forget.

If I can pre set it like;
Heat lamp 12 hours a day
LED 12 hours a day
UVB 2-3 hours at midday
Radiant heat panel 2-3 hours at midday

That would be amazing
 

Kala

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I found this whilst looking for a thermostat. Is it worth it or unnecessary?

Not for the dimming aspect, I know we don’t need that. Thinking more as an all in one control centre. It would be better for me if I can view/control everything in one place. I definitely need to be able to have everything set on timers because I will undoubtedly forget.

If I can pre set it like;
Heat lamp 12 hours a day
LED 12 hours a day
UVB 2-3 hours at midday
Radiant heat panel 2-3 hours at midday

That would be amazing
Not for the dimming aspect, I know we don’t need that. Thinking more as an all in one control centre. It would be better for me if I can view/control everything in one place. I definitely need to be able to have everything set on timers because I will undoubtedly forget.

If I can pre set it like;
Heat lamp 12 hours a day
LED 12 hours a day
UVB 2-3 hours at midday
Radiant heat panel 2-3 hours at midday

That would be amazing
Is this the right lamp/bracket for the floodlight bulb? Do I need particular lamps if I want to set timers or are the lamps irrelevant? I really do have little to zero technical knowledge/common sense

 

Alex and the Redfoot

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1. The mounting bracket is the right one.

2. This "control center" looks a bit of "overkill" to me. And may be a pain to program it at first. But it should do the job: set timers for UVB/LED/basking lamp, use on/off thermostat socket for the radiant heat panel (or ceramic heat emitter). Dimming thermostat and hygrostat channels will remain unused. Personally, I would get separate thermostat and timer sockets from a hardware store: easier to setup, cheaper and won't fail all at once.

3. Any lamp will work with timers (it basically flips the switch on and off, but in an automated fashion).

Setting lights on timers and a heater on a thermostat is a certainly the right way to do things. :) For everyone :)
 

Kala

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1. The mounting bracket is the right one.

2. This "control center" looks a bit of "overkill" to me. And may be a pain to program it at first. But it should do the job: set timers for UVB/LED/basking lamp, use on/off thermostat socket for the radiant heat panel (or ceramic heat emitter). Dimming thermostat and hygrostat channels will remain unused. Personally, I would get separate thermostat and timer sockets from a hardware store: easier to setup, cheaper and won't fail all at once.

3. Any lamp will work with timers (it basically flips the switch on and off, but in an automated fashion).

Setting lights on timers and a heater on a thermostat is a certainly the right way to do things. :) For everyone :)
Thank you! I didn’t even know socket timers were a thing 😅 Can you recommend a particular thermostat/hygrometer that you know to be reliable? I started researching and the reviews are so mixed, one person will say they’re great, the next person will say it’s 4 degrees Celsius out.

Re the LED lighting, the choice is just too vast. Could you give me a couple of recommendations at all? I tried to find a kit that supplies the mounting bracket and bulb, but I’m struggling to find the specifications of 5000-6500k that Tom recommended. Those specs don’t seem to be listed, just the wattage.
 

ryan57

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Not for the dimming aspect, I know we don’t need that. Thinking more as an all in one control centre. It would be better for me if I can view/control everything in one place. I definitely need to be able to have everything set on timers because I will undoubtedly forget.

If I can pre set it like;
Heat lamp 12 hours a day
LED 12 hours a day
UVB 2-3 hours at midday
Radiant heat panel 2-3 hours at midday

That would be amazing
Thank you for finding this. I will be purchasing this unit...
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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1. Habistat are known to be reliable. This is the simpliest one: https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/habistat-600w-temperature-thermostat
2. Any digital (with a display) thermometer/hygrometer from a hardware store will work to measure temperature and humidity. The price tag is around 10 pounds or less.
3. For the LED lights, something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CKTY7VXV/?tag= should work (I'm not sure about this exact brand.. Something alike definitely can be found in Homebase, IKEA and similar stores). Color temperature is usually listed under Product details, sometimes it's referred as a "Neutral daylight" or "Cold daylight".
 

Kala

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1. Habistat are known to be reliable. This is the simpliest one: https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/habistat-600w-temperature-thermostat
2. Any digital (with a display) thermometer/hygrometer from a hardware store will work to measure temperature and humidity. The price tag is around 10 pounds or less.
3. For the LED lights, something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CKTY7VXV/?tag= should work (I'm not sure about this exact brand.. Something alike definitely can be found in Homebase, IKEA and similar stores). Color temperature is usually listed under Product details, sometimes it's referred as a "Neutral daylight" or "Cold daylight".
Brilliant, thank you so much. The habitat thermostat says compatible with heat mats but not ceramic heaters so I’ll go with a mat. Do you think a 12w 11inch x 11inch mat would be right for a 45 x 15 inch viv? I understand from the description that it can just be taped on the side panel of the viv, no need for any special holders etc?
 

Kala

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Brilliant, thank you so much. The habitat thermostat says compatible with heat mats but not ceramic heaters so I’ll go with a mat. Do you think a 12w 11inch x 11inch mat would be right for a 45 x 15 inch viv? I understand from the description that it can just be taped on the side panel of the viv, no need for any special holders etc?
1. Habistat are known to be reliable. This is the simpliest one: https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/habistat-600w-temperature-thermostat
2. Any digital (with a display) thermometer/hygrometer from a hardware store will work to measure temperature and humidity. The price tag is around 10 pounds or less.
3. For the LED lights, something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CKTY7VXV/?tag= should work (I'm not sure about this exact brand.. Something alike definitely can be found in Homebase, IKEA and similar stores). Color temperature is usually listed under Product details, sometimes it's referred as a "Neutral daylight" or "Cold daylight".
Is there any reason why we’d need the 600w thermostat over the 300w for a 12w heat mat? It’s more expensive but I can’t see any differences besides the wattage
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Is there any reason why we’d need the 600w thermostat over the 300w for a 12w heat mat? It’s more expensive but I can’t see any differences besides the wattage
Heat mats are low-wattage heaters and don't work well for heating large enclosures (12 watts is way too little heat). And generally not recommended for tortoises when put on the floor. So your options are radiant heat panels (more expensive) or a ceramic heat emitter. Ceramic heat emitters are mounted in the same type sockets as a basking bulb.

The question about wattage is totally right. I just see, that 300W thermostat is not recommended to use with CHEs... And to be honest I can't explain why :) Their wattage is totally within the rating of the 300 watt thermostat.. CHE and radiant heat panels might have higher amperage, so that could be the reason.

You've mentioned 45x15 inches vivarium. This will suffice for a year or two. You plan to upgrade to a larger one then?
 

Kala

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Heat mats are low-wattage heaters and don't work well for heating large enclosures (12 watts is way too little heat). And generally not recommended for tortoises when put on the floor. So your options are radiant heat panels (more expensive) or a ceramic heat emitter. Ceramic heat emitters are mounted in the same type sockets as a basking bulb.

The question about wattage is totally right. I just see, that 300W thermostat is not recommended to use with CHEs... And to be honest I can't explain why :) Their wattage is totally within the rating of the 300 watt thermostat.. CHE and radiant heat panels might have higher amperage, so that could be the reason.

You've mentioned 45x15 inches vivarium. This will suffice for a year or two. You plan to upgrade to a larger one then?
What wattage is needed for an enclosure of this size? Yes will be extending or upgrading when they grow bigger
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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What wattage is needed for an enclosure of this size? Yes will be extending or upgrading when they grow bigger
I think, that one 100 watt CHE will be enough. Thermostat will keep it off when it's warm enough, so no enormous electricity bills are expected. Maybe even lower wattage (like 60 or 75W) will work, but it depends on room temperatures.
 

Kala

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I think, that one 100 watt CHE will be enough. Thermostat will keep it off when it's warm enough, so no enormous electricity bills are expected. Maybe even lower wattage (like 60 or 75W) will work, but it depends on room temperatures.
Great thanks. We have a warm house even throughout the winter. Come spring/summer my daughter’s room will be like a sauna as it has all the hot water pipes running beneath her floor. I might even need to look at something to cool the tank rather than heat it then 😅

I’m pretty sure my electricity bills will still be enormous with 4 different light/heat fixtures being needed each day 😂 I’m guessing from the shops you’ve mentioned you’re also in the UK so know how much our electricity costs 😅
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Great thanks. We have a warm house even throughout the winter. Come spring/summer my daughter’s room will be like a sauna as it has all the hot water pipes running beneath her floor. I might even need to look at something to cool the tank rather than heat it then 😅

I’m pretty sure my electricity bills will still be enormous with 4 different light/heat fixtures being needed each day 😂 I’m guessing from the shops you’ve mentioned you’re also in the UK so know how much our electricity costs 😅
Well, I'm not in the UK, but in Cyprus. But electricity costs and "how to cool the tortoise" are real problems for me as well :)

Actually, lightning and heating costs for a small tank are neglible (montly cost is approximately just as a few hours of running an electric heater or AC).
 

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