Substrate Question / Coconut Fiber + Reptibark

obiwantortellini

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I have a redfoot tortoise hatchling coming on wednesday, I have read some people saying that they need finer substrate like cypress mulch or something and that repti bark isn’t good enough for them. My temporary set up looks like this so far (still missing the uvb strip) should I add more coconut fiber or is this okay? the coconot fiber is mixed in it but i put more of it in the bottom part of the terrarium. I’ve read redfoots aren’t the burrowing type but wanna make sure this is okay for hatchlings
 

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Blair64

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Hi, I have some experience with young redfoots. First of all I would advise moving the heat source towards the cool side as the tort might be too hot and want to move to the cool side and hide. Also the more coco fir the better. Redfoots required a high humidity around 80%. The coco fir is good for holding humidity. In addition the uvb light should be installed ASAP as it is a vital component l.
 

wellington

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What you really need is a closed chamber. Do a search on the forum for the closed chamber thread written by Tom.
Also the screen will block uvb.
Check out the care sheet in the redfoot section.
Substrate is fine its other things that needs changing.
 

obiwantortellini

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What you really need is a closed chamber. Do a search on the forum for the closed chamber thread written by Tom.
Also the screen will block uvb.
Check out the care sheet in the redfoot section.
Substrate is fine its other things that needs changing.
we’re going to cover half of it with aluminum foil, this is just a temporary enclosure for it maybe for a month or two..
 

obiwantortellini

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Hi, I have some experience with young redfoots. First of all I would advise moving the heat source towards the cool side as the tort might be too hot and want to move to the cool side and hide. Also the more coco fir the better. Redfoots required a high humidity around 80%. The coco fir is good for holding humidity. In addition the uvb light should be installed ASAP as it is a vital component l.
thank you, just gof the strip today, i’ll move the che on the other side. thank you!! generally what is the temp for the cool side/hide? i know the overall enclosure shouldn’t go below 80-84 and humidity above 80%
 

wellington

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we’re going to cover half of it with aluminum foil, this is just a temporary enclosure for it maybe for a month or two..
The most important time to have a closed chamber high humidity enclosure is before you even get it. Most breeders don't do that so it's even more important for you to start him out right. I would do the tin foil over all of it until you can get a better enclosure.
 

Tom

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we’re going to cover half of it with aluminum foil, this is just a temporary enclosure for it maybe for a month or two..
The trick with RFs is to maintain high humidity, but also maintain a dry surface for their plastron to be in contact with. A RF with a constantly wet plastron will get shell rot. They are the only species I know of that is prone to shell rot.

The best way to accomplish this is with a large closed chamber, with all the heating and lighting contained inside, and using 3-4 inches of orchid bark. I wouldn't use coco coir. Its too loose and to keep it from getting dusty, you have to keep it pretty wet. This would be fine for most species, but too damp for a RF. The orchid bark stays damp on the bottom layers and keeps humidity up, while maintaining a dry surface on top to keep the plastron rot free.

With an open topped enclosure, you will lose all your humidity up and into the room. Covering half of it won't help much. Having the heating and lighting outside the enclosure just exacerbates this effect and creates chimneys to lift up all your humidity and escort it right out of the tank. While all that bad stuff is happening, you have to run hunger wattage bulbs for heat and light, and this dries out the enclosure, and the baby's carapace even more which is going to cause irreversible pyramiding.

This is the wrong tank for a RF baby. I know this is not what you want to hear, but be glad you heard it BEFORE you did damage with either plastron rot or pyramiding to your fantastic new baby. Tell the breeder to hold your baby until you can get the correct type of enclosure, set it up, run it, check it, and make any necessary adjustments BEFORE your baby comes home to live in it.
 

obiwantortellini

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The most important time to have a closed chamber high humidity enclosure is before you even get it. Most breeders don't do that so it's even more important for you to start him out right. I would do the tin foil over all of it until you can get a better enclosure.
okay thank you,
The trick with RFs is to maintain high humidity, but also maintain a dry surface for their plastron to be in contact with. A RF with a constantly wet plastron will get shell rot. They are the only species I know of that is prone to shell rot.

The best way to accomplish this is with a large closed chamber, with all the heating and lighting contained inside, and using 3-4 inches of orchid bark. I wouldn't use coco coir. Its too loose and to keep it from getting dusty, you have to keep it pretty wet. This would be fine for most species, but too damp for a RF. The orchid bark stays damp on the bottom layers and keeps humidity up, while maintaining a dry surface on top to keep the plastron rot free.

With an open topped enclosure, you will lose all your humidity up and into the room. Covering half of it won't help much. Having the heating and lighting outside the enclosure just exacerbates this effect and creates chimneys to lift up all your humidity and escort it right out of the tank. While all that bad stuff is happening, you have to run hunger wattage bulbs for heat and light, and this dries out the enclosure, and the baby's carapace even more which is going to cause irreversible pyramiding.

This is the wrong tank for a RF baby. I know this is not what you want to hear, but be glad you heard it BEFORE you did damage with either plastron rot or pyramiding to your fantastic new baby. Tell the breeder to hold your baby until you can get the correct type of enclosure, set it up, run it, check it, and make any necessary adjustments BEFORE your baby comes home to live in it.
Thank you, unfortunately the breeder cannot hold him because he is already paid for and needs to get shipped out... I ordered a PVC 4x2x2 enclosure from Zen habitats that will come later in June which is why we got him this temporary enclosure (that the breeder actua suggested along with doing the aluminum foil top) I am thinking of just replacing the mesh altogether and put in a pvc panel instead of doing the aluminum foil i have read people doing that. I tested running everything a while ago just to see how the humidity will hold up. I am really trying my best, he is our first baby and we’ve researched a lot before purchasing him and want to be responsible reptile parents.
 

Tom

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okay thank you,

Thank you, unfortunately the breeder cannot hold him because he is already paid for and needs to get shipped out... I ordered a PVC 4x2x2 enclosure from Zen habitats that will come later in June which is why we got him this temporary enclosure (that the breeder actua suggested along with doing the aluminum foil top) I am thinking of just replacing the mesh altogether and put in a pvc panel instead of doing the aluminum foil i have read people doing that. I tested running everything a while ago just to see how the humidity will hold up. I am really trying my best, he is our first baby and we’ve researched a lot before purchasing him and want to be responsible reptile parents.
Ask for a refund and buy from a better source. Think about it. Who is going to knowingly send a baby when the person has the wrong type of enclosure, and won't have the correct housing conditions for over a month? Not a breeder that cares about the well being of their babies. I've held babies for months for people and did not make them pay until the day of shipping. Don't support a breeder like this. Don't take no for an answer. The breeder will have all sorts of excuses and guilt trip non-sense. Don't fall for it. The baby hasn't shipped. If they give you any crap tell them not to ship and you will take it up with Vemno, PayPal, or your credit card company, however you paid. You don't have the correct environment for a baby RF, and receiving one will be a mistake.

Lots of people breed RFs. Find a breeder who cares more about the welfare of the baby than the money.
 
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