Open top enclosure Heat suggestions please

Jon c

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Mar 15, 2020
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Williamsville
So I am not a fan of basking lamps or direct heat from a CHE as these heating methods can dry out the shell. What I do is create a "heat zone". I set a dome lamp with a CHE directly on top of a floor tile suspended at the correct height(about 8" above top of shell) for a nice 95-100° spot directly under. It also does a nice job of fanning out around it creating a gradient. I leave it on 24/7 as well as a seedling heat mat mounted to the side. Well anyways, I'm looking for for better ideas/suggestions so I can get rid of the tile. I'm worried about a hazard if the tile ever cracks. I've been doing research on heat panels but it seems they can be finicky and are more designed for a closed chamber. Also I just saw today tgat arcadia makes a direct infrared basking bulb. Thoughts please.
 

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Tom

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So I am not a fan of basking lamps or direct heat from a CHE as these heating methods can dry out the shell. What I do is create a "heat zone". I set a dome lamp with a CHE directly on top of a floor tile suspended at the correct height(about 8" above top of shell) for a nice 95-100° spot directly under. It also does a nice job of fanning out around it creating a gradient. I leave it on 24/7 as well as a seedling heat mat mounted to the side. Well anyways, I'm looking for for better ideas/suggestions so I can get rid of the tile. I'm worried about a hazard if the tile ever cracks. I've been doing research on heat panels but it seems they can be finicky and are more designed for a closed chamber. Also I just saw today tgat arcadia makes a direct infrared basking bulb. Thoughts please.
Here are my thoughts:

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night.
  3. Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html Here in our climate, you shouldn't need indoor UV.
 

Jon c

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Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
99
Location (City and/or State)
Williamsville
Here are my thoughts:

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night.
  3. Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html Here in our climate, you shouldn't need indoor UV.
Im familiar with with this info as well as all the other care guides offered here. It's Great info that I do agree with and am essentially already doing except for using a basking bulb. In the past I always had used a basking lamp but I purchased this fantastic Carol S Tort from will @ kapidolo almost a year ago and under his fantastic care, this "heat zone" was one of his methods he used, as well as the seedling mat. It was then that I first learned that basking bulbs and CHE's will dry out the shell so I have just been doing what I thought seemed right. Will is quite brilliant and does sort of move to a beat of his own drum. Perhaps I should disregard the "heat zone" recommendation.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Joined
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Location (City and/or State)
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Im familiar with with this info as well as all the other care guides offered here. It's Great info that I do agree with and am essentially already doing except for using a basking bulb. In the past I always had used a basking lamp but I purchased this fantastic Carol S Tort from will @ kapidolo almost a year ago and under his fantastic care, this "heat zone" was one of his methods he used, as well as the seedling mat. It was then that I first learned that basking bulbs and CHE's will dry out the shell so I have just been doing what I thought seemed right. Will is quite brilliant and does sort of move to a beat of his own drum. Perhaps I should disregard the "heat zone" recommendation.
Is what you are doing working for the tortoise? Is it growing? Any problems?

If you are happy with the results following Will's advice, why are you asking for suggestions?
 

Jon c

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
99
Location (City and/or State)
Williamsville
Is what you are doing working for the tortoise? Is it growing? Any problems?

If you are happy with the results following Will's advice, why are you asking for suggestions?
It is working, no problems, haven't weighed him lately but he's great eats like a tank, def fat and happy. I am happy with my results thus far I geuss I'm just worried about the danger if that tile cracks but I can rig a screen under it to catch stuff if that happens. I also wanted to see what others use, what's out there and possibly get some info on heat panels those arcadia IR heat bulbs.
 

KarenSoCal

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How much heat do you need to add? Just the basking bulb?

I'm thinking that if you use some insulated drapes on that window you would save a lot of heat.

If that wasn't enough, have you considered putting a greenhouse over the enclosure to keep the heat and humidity in?

Then use a standard incandescent flood bulb for your heat/basking.
 

Blackdog1714

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Just watch the cord on that fixture for degradation due to the extra heat coming out the vent holes. Otherwise I like how you have a DIY heat panel
 
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