Our new Closed Chamber for our new group of Tortoises

Markw84

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I have completed building a new enclosure for a new group of tortoises we are expecting to arrive the middle of this week. I wanted to go over the build to show what I did and how it is set up.

The enclosure is 3 foot x 8 foot by 2 foot high. It is built following @Tom enclosure plan as a general guideline.
I used 1/4" exterior grade, plug and sanded plywood to keep the weight down as much as possible, except the floor is 1/2". It is fully insulated with 1 1/2" Styrofoam insulation board between two layers of plywood. I used 2x2 boards for the frame (which are actually 1 1/2" x 1/1/2") so the insulation board fits perfectly between the plywood and ends up extremely stable and strong, despite using 1/4" plywood. I used 2x4 boards for the facing frame on front, I also built 4 - double pane glass doors for the front instead of tom's sliding style doors.

I painted the enclosure with a gloss enamel paint after sealing. This allow easy cleaning of the outside. The inside is sealed, all joints caulked, and then waterproofed with a few coats of a food grade counter top paint designed for food pre areas - so completely non toxic, yet completely seals and waterproofs the entire enclosure. IMG_2876.JPG

I am using fine grade orchid bark as the substrate. I have two humid hides - one in each back corner from black dish tubs purchased at Walmart with a hole cut in the side. I do have some prayer plants and spider plants for shelter, sight barrier, and food as they grow. I like to use very heavy 6" tall square and rectangular pots that are very stable and hard to move. The tortoises can reach up and browse on stuff that hangs over the sides, but cannot move the pots nor reach to the top.
IMG_2881.JPG I use clay saucers for water and feeding tray. The larger rectangular saucer is for the feeding station, while the large 14" round saucer is for water. I use 12" square pavers under the basking lights to create a nice warm spot for basking.
IMG_2880.JPG

I built in a thermostat - the Inkbird dual mode model. I installed it directly into the enclosure and wired it to the heat - 2 100 watt CHE's. It controls the heat and also can be set to turn on cooling if the temperature gets too high. I have not set up a cooling mode yet as I want to see how things work out as temperatures.

IMG_2879.JPG

The CHE's are in the large domes. The two smaller domes house 2 - 65 watt flood bulbs. The front fluorescent fixture is a 4' double t-8 fixture with two 6500K tubes. The back fluorescent behind the basking and heat is a 4' t-5 fixture with reflector with the HO 12% UVB. I have placed it at a height where my solar meter shows I am getting a solar index of 3.0 for basking. The CHE's are on the thermostat on constantly. The 65 watt basking floods and the double fluorescent 6500K bulbs are on a timer to turn on at 7AM and off at 8PM. The UVB is on a separate timer coming on at 11 AM and off at 3PM. I may actually cut that time down as I don't think they will need that much UVB exposure since vitamin D production happens so quickly with proper exposure. I've seen studies where 1000 IU of pre D3 per MINUTE is produced in the skin under full sun exposure. So and adequate dose takes just a few minutes. However, it does take a few hours of increased basking HEAT to complete the conversion from pre D to D3. So the basking lights stay on, but the UVB does not have to. Plus, they will have plenty of outside time here is Central California most of the year.

IMG_2877.JPG

I do have a temperature / humidity sensor taped to the inside top of the humid hide that reads on the unit on top of the enclosure as well as showing the room temp and humidity. I have another thermometer / hygrometer mounted in the center back of the enclosure at substrate level with a probe hanging under that basking light at tortoise height. The thermostat probe is at the cool side set for 81f, so that is the cool side reading.

If you look closely, next to the thermometer in the back is two vertical slats of wood. I have a divider that slides in so I can separate into two areas if I need to.

Any comments and suggestions are appreciated. The new tortoises should arrive soon!
 

Markw84

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Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Very nice work. The only thing I could add, is what kind of tortoise are you getting and how big of a group, the most important detail:p:D unless you stated it and I missed it:)
I will post pictures when I get them settled in...
2.3 sub adult Burmese Stars! A dream coming true!
 

bouaboua

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WOW! ! ! ! !

This is nice! ! ! !

Can't wait to see who is the luck guy to occupy this such nice enclosure.
 

Momof4

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Very impressive!! Now everything will be easy because you did it right the first time! Congratulations!!
 

Redstrike

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This is one of the nicest closed chambers I have ever seen. Your construction is immaculate and your attention to detail is inspiring. Well done!

Do you know the maximum wattage heater that the thermostat can handle?
 
Last edited:

Anyfoot

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Nov 24, 2014
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UK Sheffield
I have completed building a new enclosure for a new group of tortoises we are expecting to arrive the middle of this week. I wanted to go over the build to show what I did and how it is set up.

The enclosure is 3 foot x 8 foot by 2 foot high. It is built following @Tom enclosure plan as a general guideline.
I used 1/4" exterior grade, plug and sanded plywood to keep the weight down as much as possible, except the floor is 1/2". It is fully insulated with 1 1/2" Styrofoam insulation board between two layers of plywood. I used 2x2 boards for the frame (which are actually 1 1/2" x 1/1/2") so the insulation board fits perfectly between the plywood and ends up extremely stable and strong, despite using 1/4" plywood. I used 2x4 boards for the facing frame on front, I also built 4 - double pane glass doors for the front instead of tom's sliding style doors.

I painted the enclosure with a gloss enamel paint after sealing. This allow easy cleaning of the outside. The inside is sealed, all joints caulked, and then waterproofed with a few coats of a food grade counter top paint designed for food pre areas - so completely non toxic, yet completely seals and waterproofs the entire enclosure. View attachment 167630

I am using fine grade orchid bark as the substrate. I have two humid hides - one in each back corner from black dish tubs purchased at Walmart with a hole cut in the side. I do have some prayer plants and spider plants for shelter, sight barrier, and food as they grow. I like to use very heavy 6" tall square and rectangular pots that are very stable and hard to move. The tortoises can reach up and browse on stuff that hangs over the sides, but cannot move the pots nor reach to the top.
View attachment 167632 I use clay saucers for water and feeding tray. The larger rectangular saucer is for the feeding station, while the large 14" round saucer is for water. I use 12" square pavers under the basking lights to create a nice warm spot for basking.
View attachment 167638

I built in a thermostat - the Inkbird dual mode model. I installed it directly into the enclosure and wired it to the heat - 2 100 watt CHE's. It controls the heat and also can be set to turn on cooling if the temperature gets too high. I have not set up a cooling mode yet as I want to see how things work out as temperatures.

View attachment 167639

The CHE's are in the large domes. The two smaller domes house 2 - 65 watt flood bulbs. The front fluorescent fixture is a 4' double t-8 fixture with two 6500K tubes. The back fluorescent behind the basking and heat is a 4' t-5 fixture with reflector with the HO 12% UVB. I have placed it at a height where my solar meter shows I am getting a solar index of 3.0 for basking. The CHE's are on the thermostat on constantly. The 65 watt basking floods and the double fluorescent 6500K bulbs are on a timer to turn on at 7AM and off at 8PM. The UVB is on a separate timer coming on at 11 AM and off at 3PM. I may actually cut that time down as I don't think they will need that much UVB exposure since vitamin D production happens so quickly with proper exposure. I've seen studies where 1000 IU of pre D3 per MINUTE is produced in the skin under full sun exposure. So and adequate dose takes just a few minutes. However, it does take a few hours of increased basking HEAT to complete the conversion from pre D to D3. So the basking lights stay on, but the UVB does not have to. Plus, they will have plenty of outside time here is Central California most of the year.

View attachment 167640

I do have a temperature / humidity sensor taped to the inside top of the humid hide that reads on the unit on top of the enclosure as well as showing the room temp and humidity. I have another thermometer / hygrometer mounted in the center back of the enclosure at substrate level with a probe hanging under that basking light at tortoise height. The thermostat probe is at the cool side set for 81f, so that is the cool side reading.

If you look closely, next to the thermometer in the back is two vertical slats of wood. I have a divider that slides in so I can separate into two areas if I need to.

Any comments and suggestions are appreciated. The new tortoises should arrive soon!
Excellent work Mark. Really impressed, as usual.
 

Markw84

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5 Year Member
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Joined
Jan 17, 2012
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4,275
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
This is one of the nicest closed chambers I have ever seen. Your construction is immaculate and your attention to detail is inspiring. Well done!

Do you know the maximum wattage heater that the thermostat can handle?
That thermostat is rated to handle up to 1000 watts as is but you could wire in a relay to handle more if needed
 

Pearly

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Central Texas, Austin area
Looks like commercially done in some factory where all kinds of machines and equipment is available. And I mean it in a good sense! Just doesn't look "make shift" or "hand made" at all!!!! This is one of those times when I wish I was born male, with stronger physique, then learning all kinds of handiwork would make more sense. Well, I should be grateful for my other skills and many of them... Still..., I'd love to be able to build something like that! You could keep that in your living room!!!
 
M

Maggie Cummings

Guest
You wanted comments??? Here's mine...holy sh*t!!! I also am in awe, for the enclosures and the species of tortoises. I'll have to stop in and see that in person next time I go visit my sis. That is if I had an invitation....:rolleyes:
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,275
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
You wanted comments??? Here's mine...holy sh*t!!! I also am in awe, for the enclosures and the species of tortoises. I'll have to stop in and see that in person next time I go visit my sis. That is if I had an invitation....:rolleyes:
You would be welcome. Just let us know when you're around.
 
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