russian yearling, table or vivarium?

grumpytort

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Hi,

I have a yearling russian (called Tort) who i’ve had for 3 weeks now, he’s in a 4 x 2 ft tortoise table with a 125W UVB lamp. Attached is a photo of his current set up. This is my first tortoise and i thought i did lots of research before bringing him home but have realised i think his set up may be wrong. The temps on the cool side are around 20C, basking gets up to 35.5C (too hot?) and his warm side 30C. Humidity in his table varies day to day, from 50-70%, does it have to be around 80%?
here’s a photo of my set up currently: IMG_0591.jpg

I now realise i have the wrong substrate and need it to be more humid for him, i am getting him coco coir and fine orchid bark (5cm deep) after being recommended them on another post on here. The lady I bought Tort from did not tell me about humidity and how important it is for baby torts. I am giving the guy daily soaks.

So my question is, should he be in be a vivarium rather than a table? My concerns are that with living in the UK, temperatures will start to drop very soon and I feel that i won’t be able to control them that well in his current set up.

If i do go with a vivarium (i do have a spare wooden vivarium, about 4 x 1.25 ft), i would have to get a lower wattage uvb and also a thermostat? I know vivariums aren’t recommended by Tortoise Trust due to lack of air (thought about having holes in the viv to solve this?) and lack of space but I kind of feel that him being at the correct temperate and humidity during the winter is a bit more important. Of course I plan on having him outside when the weather permits but with living in England, that won’t be for a while.

Apologies for all the questions, just feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the conflicting info out there and just want to get it right.
ANY advice is greatly appreciated, and tell me if you notice that i’m doing anything wrong :)

here’s a photo of Tort :) IMG_0599.jpg
 

woodygawek

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Hiya you sound just like me! I'm a new owner too. How old is yours? I'm confused about what age they become an adult because mine is 2 years old and going off what the internet says he's not far off fully grown really. Do you have a uvb light? I know that is really important.
Jennifer
 

grumpytort

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Hiya you sound just like me! I'm a new owner too. How old is yours? I'm confused about what age they become an adult because mine is 2 years old and going off what the internet says he's not far off fully grown really. Do you have a uvb light? I know that is really important.
Jennifer

Mine is a year old, that's what I have been told anyway :) I think a two year old is called a juvenile tortoise but hopefully someone with more knowledge will know. I do have a UVB bulb. How are you housing your tort?
 

woodygawek

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Something very similar to yours...
 

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woodygawek

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I'll tag you into a conversation I had with a very knowledgeable lady so you can have a read of it all
 

Tom

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Hi,

I have a yearling russian (called Tort) who i’ve had for 3 weeks now, he’s in a 4 x 2 ft tortoise table with a 125W UVB lamp. Attached is a photo of his current set up. This is my first tortoise and i thought i did lots of research before bringing him home but have realised i think his set up may be wrong. The temps on the cool side are around 20C, basking gets up to 35.5C (too hot?) and his warm side 30C. Humidity in his table varies day to day, from 50-70%, does it have to be around 80%?
here’s a photo of my set up currently:
I now realise i have the wrong substrate and need it to be more humid for him, i am getting him coco coir and fine orchid bark (5cm deep) after being recommended them on another post on here. The lady I bought Tort from did not tell me about humidity and how important it is for baby torts. I am giving the guy daily soaks.

So my question is, should he be in be a vivarium rather than a table? My concerns are that with living in the UK, temperatures will start to drop very soon and I feel that i won’t be able to control them that well in his current set up.

If i do go with a vivarium (i do have a spare wooden vivarium, about 4 x 1.25 ft), i would have to get a lower wattage uvb and also a thermostat? I know vivariums aren’t recommended by Tortoise Trust due to lack of air (thought about having holes in the viv to solve this?) and lack of space but I kind of feel that him being at the correct temperate and humidity during the winter is a bit more important. Of course I plan on having him outside when the weather permits but with living in England, that won’t be for a while.

Apologies for all the questions, just feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the conflicting info out there and just want to get it right.
ANY advice is greatly appreciated, and tell me if you notice that i’m doing anything wrong :)

Sounds to me like your current parameters are excellent. You seem to already understand what you are doing and what needs to be done. Whether you use an open table or viv is a personal choice. I find it much easier to maintain good conditions in a large chamber that is closed off from the room air. Some people prefer to raise this species in open tables, and it can work that way too.

I'm in a bad area and I can't get your pics to come up right now, but your text was all the info I needed to answer your question.
 

Bee62

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Hi,

I have a yearling russian (called Tort) who i’ve had for 3 weeks now, he’s in a 4 x 2 ft tortoise table with a 125W UVB lamp. Attached is a photo of his current set up. This is my first tortoise and i thought i did lots of research before bringing him home but have realised i think his set up may be wrong. The temps on the cool side are around 20C, basking gets up to 35.5C (too hot?) and his warm side 30C. Humidity in his table varies day to day, from 50-70%, does it have to be around 80%?
here’s a photo of my set up currently: View attachment 255230

I now realise i have the wrong substrate and need it to be more humid for him, i am getting him coco coir and fine orchid bark (5cm deep) after being recommended them on another post on here. The lady I bought Tort from did not tell me about humidity and how important it is for baby torts. I am giving the guy daily soaks.

So my question is, should he be in be a vivarium rather than a table? My concerns are that with living in the UK, temperatures will start to drop very soon and I feel that i won’t be able to control them that well in his current set up.

If i do go with a vivarium (i do have a spare wooden vivarium, about 4 x 1.25 ft), i would have to get a lower wattage uvb and also a thermostat? I know vivariums aren’t recommended by Tortoise Trust due to lack of air (thought about having holes in the viv to solve this?) and lack of space but I kind of feel that him being at the correct temperate and humidity during the winter is a bit more important. Of course I plan on having him outside when the weather permits but with living in England, that won’t be for a while.

Apologies for all the questions, just feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the conflicting info out there and just want to get it right.
ANY advice is greatly appreciated, and tell me if you notice that i’m doing anything wrong :)

here’s a photo of Tort :) View attachment 255231
Hi grumpytort. Basking spot should be 40 C. Russian torts need high temps by day and lower temps at night. They need a lot of bright light too to be active because they are animals of the steppe.
In a vivarium you can control the heat and humidity better than in an open enclosure. The holes in a wooden vivarium are fine to give your tortoise enough fresh air to breathe.
 

grumpytort

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Location (City and/or State)
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Sounds to me like your current parameters are excellent. You seem to already understand what you are doing and what needs to be done. Whether you use an open table or viv is a personal choice. I find it much easier to maintain good conditions in a large chamber that is closed off from the room air. Some people prefer to raise this species in open tables, and it can work that way too.

I'm in a bad area and I can't get your pics to come up right now, but your text was all the info I needed to answer your question.

Thank you Tom, that's good to hear. I do think i'm going to change it to a vivarium so I can control his temperature and humidity a bit easier than in an open-topped table, especially as the colder months are coming.

What lamp to you recommend in a viv? Currently have a 125 wt UVB lamp for his table but would that make the viv too hot? Was thinking either a lower wattage UVB lamp or a ceramic heat lamp and then a UVB strip?

This forum is a life saver, thanks again.
 

grumpytort

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looks like the one I have now, and they do a 80W one too so that's an idea. Shame because the 125W was expensive but sure it'll come back into use in the future.

Thanks Bee62 :)
 

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Bee62

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looks like the one I have now, and they do a 80W one too so that's an idea. Shame because the 125W was expensive but sure it'll come back into use in the future.

Thanks Bee62 :)
Yes, you only have another brand. 80W should be enough for a closed vivarium. You must try and measure the temps.;)
 

grumpytort

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Yes, you only have another brand. 80W should be enough for a closed vivarium. You must try and measure the temps.;)

I have one probed thermometer and a dial one showing temp and humidity (unsure on accuracy) and planning on getting a temperature gun for more accuracy. Thanks for the tips [emoji217]
 

Tom

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MVBs run hot. You'll have to test yours in your individual enclosure.

I prefer to run:
1. A low wattage regular flood bulb on a timer for basking.
2. A UV tube for UV, if needed, also on a timer.
3. An additional 6500K tube, or LED strip for more light, if needed, on the same timer as the basking lamp.
4. CHE or RHP on a thermostat to maintain ambient temp, if needed.
 

grumpytort

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Update:

I’ve changed Tort’s set up to a vivarium, with a CHE and UvB strip. He seems so much happier, i know it’s hard to know if they are happy but he’s been so much more active already, wondering about and digging around :) very glad I changed it for him. IMG_0636.jpg
 

woodygawek

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Hiya that looks nice for him. What cactus plants do you have in there? I want more plants in mine
 

grumpytort

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Hiya that looks nice for him. What cactus plants do you have in there? I want more plants in mine

Hi woodygawek, they are just fake cactus plants :) i’d love to have real ones in there but i’m unsure what’s safe and don’t think they would last long with him in there!!
 

woodygawek

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It's a good idea to make it look nicer but I was scared he'd have a nibble thinking it was real although the more I watch him and get to know him I don't actually think he would. I have spider plants in mine, in small pots so he can't completely wreck them but gives him something to nibble and somewhere to hide if he wants to. Spider plants are house plants so they withstand most things and don't wilt. I want to plant some aloe Vera but I'm waiting for some baby shoots to grow and I'm also trying to grow some dandelions and pansy's on my windowsill haha!! I'm not green fingered at all but it's an interesting project
 
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