Setting up my first tort enclosure.

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Zergy

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I have never owned a tort before and I plan to get a baby Red-Footed Tortoise soon. (I go to a reptile show next month.) I have been doing research on their care and have seen so many different set-ups it boggles my mind. So please offer me tips and advice if you think I need it. Especially if I am doing something wrong and bad for my tort.

So here are my enclosure options. Please help me pick.

1. 40 Gallon Tuff Stuff stock tank. This tub is: 39" long x 28" wide x 13" tall. Bottom of the tub it is: 32" long x 21" wide. This tub cost $33.

Tuff Stuff Tub by Mothi03, on Flickr

2. Unknown round tub found in my shed. I think I used this as a playpen for a parakeet I had. The diameter is 23" and is 6.5" tall. The bottom diameter is 21". Below is a picture of it along with the Ruff Stuff stock tank.

Possible Tort Tubs by Mothi03, on Flickr

3. Screen patio location. The maximum size enclosure that can be placed in the space is 7 feet long by 3 feet wide. New substrate will have to be added and a wall created.

Patio by Mothi03, on Flickr

Question: Is the saying "bigger is better" true for a baby tort enclosure if proper environment is created? Or is there the possibility of "overkill"?

Question: I was considering having 2 Tuff Stuff stock tanks. One for inside and one outside. A stand will be created for both (with wheels). One problem is the depth of substrate to bring the surface of the substrate high enough to get adequate lighting without making it easy for the tort to escape. Does this sound the most ideal of my enclosure options I posted above?

Question: Would it be bad for the baby tort to have a floor height enclosure? Or should I just wait until he is bigger to make use of the dirt/rock part of the patio? Is an elevated set-up better for a baby tort?

Question: Can I use cypress mulch (shown in first picture) in a baby cage? I also bought Mosser Lee Sphagnum Moss for the hidebox. I plan to feed on tiles and bowls to keep food items away from the substrates.
 

slowpoke

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i dont own any Red-Foots but im sure some one will be along soon to help you out , but i always say bigger is better for my russians , and i use a mix of coco coir and cypress mulch , if you got the cypress from your hardware store make sure it dont have any chemicals in it ...
 

ascott

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Option three would be my first choice...taking into account of course securing with sides and a secure predator proof top --this would be my choice based on where you live...I would also have an indoor enclosure set up in the event of emergency and or bad weather...:D
 

Momof4

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I choose #3 too! It's perfect. I think you will get a couple of good years out of it while he's young.
 

Zergy

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Okay, option #1 as the indoor enclosure and use #3 (outdoor enclosure obviously).

I need to set-up the indoor enclosure first, then I can work on the outdoor one.

My thought is:
Substrate - cypress mulch and sphagnum moss. (Maybe false bottom to keep bottom from being drenched, or maybe a drain hole.)
Water Bowl - plant saucer
Food Dish - Tile (already bought 2 from Lowes)
Heat - ceramic lamp fixture with CHE. Dimmer for control. Obviously a thermometer or two as well.
Lighting - Florescent light fixture with bulb. (He will have access to the outdoors daily as weather permits. And the weather is getting warmer and warmer.)
Humidity - Spray bottle indoors with indoor hygrometer (is that the correct word?)
Hidebox - still thinking, but I have a few good ideas to go with.
Live Plants - Still deciding which types. They will be in pots and be easy to remove from enclosure.

Did I forget anything for his enclosure?
 

Tom

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Your ideas sound good, but it will be difficult to maintain the conditions needed for a red foot in an open topped enclosure. All your heat and humidity will simply float up into the room.

Your CHE will serve you much better if you put it on a thermostat instead of a dimmer.
 

Zergy

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I am a little concerned. I washed the Ruff Stuff tub and put it in my bedroom. I noticed a while later that it has a smell to it. Not plesant to me, so I can only assume what a baby tort would think who has to live in it and not just in the same room like me. I did notice, however, that the smell has decreased in a few hours.

Question: I know plastic storage containers have a smell to them and people still use them for their torts. Is the Ruff Stuff tub safe to use? It says on the side that it is recycled LDPE.

I did go the the pet store today and it seems a lot of the items I was planning on getting are cheaper on Amazon, so I will just order it online.
 

lynnedit

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The odors usually dissipate. That is why it is great that you are doing this ahead of time.
Online is often MUCH cheaper than big box pet stores, you are correct.

You could cover part of the indoor enclosure with a piece of plexiglass, or even some wire with saran wrap on it. As long as the CHE is not too close.

Also, you might not have to build the substrate up too high, if you can hang your lights on chains to raise them up and down to adjust as needed.

I love your #3 option. If there are any hose attachments nearby, you can even possibly set up a mister on a timer in one part.
 

Zergy

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I hope the odor goes away. I have to stick my head in the tub to smell it now. I have the tub set up in my bedroom on top of a small table for now. It doesn't look aesthetically pleasing, but it is functional. I will have a stand made later for it.


Future Tort Tub by Mothi03, on Flickr

The light I have is a 24" plant bulb/fixture kit. (I also have 2 18" fixtures from old aquariums.) The plants in the tub are my seedlings that I am growing and will not be in the tub with a tort. I just put it in there to test how dark it looked with the lights on. The light fixture will be running across the back length of the tub. The height of it I am not sure yet. One concern is the light fixture instructions say to use in dry locations only. It has a light diffuser that I would probably want to remove? The tort will have sun access outdoors.

I bought the Zoomed lamp stand so I could hang the heat source where I want it. I still have to look into the plexiglass or something to cover half the top.

As for #3, yes there is a hose nearby. The faucet is a little ways, but I do have one of those do it yourself garden watering kits in the backyard for my raised garden. I shouldn't be a problem to make a similar set-up with the closest faucet for the patio tort enclosure. I will be getting that set up next week.

I placed an online order for my heating equipment (stand, lamp, and CHE) and it won't arrive until the end of next week. So I won't be able to test that out until later.
 

Zergy

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I let the tub air out for about a week and the odor has decreased significantly.

Here is how my torts tub looks now.
2012-02-28_12-23-53_329.jpg


2012-02-28_12-36-02_303.jpg


The lime green sphere is to give you an idea big my baby red foot will be compared to the indoor enclosure.

Substrate is coco coir and cypress mulch. I haven't added the sphagnum moss yet. The white box in the back of the tub is the sensor for temperature and humidity. It does display on the box, but it is easier to see the numbers on the separate display I have on my bed side table.

I still need to set-up the CHE (waiting for lamp stand to arrive with today's mail I hope) and some live potted plants.
 

Zergy

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I suppose I can if I made the substrate deep enough, but right now it is only about 1" deep. My plan is to have live safe decorative plants in pots to help increase humidity. I can scatter seeds in his tub to grow for his eating enjoyment though.
 

lynnedit

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Yes, you can put fake plants (silk hold moisture better, I believe), and real plants in pots, submerged partway in the substrate. If you cluster them on one end, and leave a little opening, it will make a nice hide. Perhaps some fake ivy twined around the edge.
You can used a small plastic container turned upside down, with a door and some sphagnum moss that you keep moist as a hide too, for a nice humid spot for him to retreat to.
Young tortoises feels safer if they have places to hide, and a humid hide is nice.
 
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