Substrate question

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TortLaw

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Hi everyone. I will be getting my cherry head baby, Sheldon, and becoming a tort mom, in a little over a week. I'm setting up his rubbermaid tub today so that I can mess with it over the next week and get the temps and humidity right before he gets here.

I live in Colorado so it is quite dry here, so I'm going to have to keep Sheldon with daily, or close to daily, soaks and frequent spraying/misting. The substrate I am using for now is Sphagnum Moss. I know that I don't want to have the substrate too wet, so that Sheldon doesn't get shell rot, so my question is should I mist all of the substrate or just the substrate near/under the CHE, and leave the cooler areas dry? Also, my substrate layer is about 2-2 1/2 inches, so it is just the top that is damp/wet. I wasn't sure if shell rot is still an issue if it is only the top of the substrate layer that is wet. Please advise. Thanks.
 

Alan RF

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Hi I use sphagnum moss but my main substrate is orchid bark. The sphagnum moss I soak in some water and then wring it out and leave it on the drainer till its damp. Then I place it in his hide, around his viv and soak bowl. As the bowl is near the heat lamp the moss dries out quickly so I repeat the process or spray it if the humidity is low but tbh the moss increases humidity that much I rarely need to. :) hope this helps
 

Team Gomberg

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Do you plan to convert your rubbermaid tub into a closed chamber?

I ask because I just love my closed chamber created from a glass tank. I have high humidity (80-high 90s%) without spraying water more than once every 2 weeks and the dirt (I use clean top soil) stays dry to the touch. It's perfect for your species. No risk of shell rot but perfect humidity.

Any thoughts on trying a set up like that?
 

TortLaw

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Team Gomberg said:
Do you plan to convert your rubbermaid tub into a closed chamber?

I ask because I just love my closed chamber created from a glass tank. I have high humidity (80-high 90s%) without spraying water more than once every 2 weeks and the dirt (I use clean top soil) stays dry to the touch. It's perfect for your species. No risk of shell rot but perfect humidity.

Any thoughts on trying a set up like that?

I am trying to see what works best before Sheldon gets here, so today is my first attempt. I may need to cover the top, and that is an option I will try. Before I do that, however, I'm trying to understand how damp/wet you expert tortoise owners make your substrate. I just broke up the sphagnum moss and put it in the tub and sprayed it some. Am I supposed to soak and drain the moss first before putting it in there as Alan RF suggested? I didn't know if that would cause shell rot.
 

Team Gomberg

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Good job on starting the tweaking before your tortoise comes. You'll still tweak afterwards (it's an unending thing) but hopefully you'll get most of it down first.

I don't keep Redfoots but I do raise Leopard hatchlings with the high humidity Redfoots also like.

My substrate (plain dirt) is fairly dry to the touch. I'm sure there is moisture under the top layer but it isn't saturated, soggy or dripping wet by any means. Have you ever bought a bag of top soil and when you open it, the dirt is damp but you can't really squeeze water from it? That is exactly how my dirt is. Remember, humidity is the water vapor in the air which is what you want. You don't need a soggy ground which can cause shell rot.

I have used the sphagnum moss in the past but didn't like it. When I used it, I soaked it completely before wringing it out and placing it in the enclosure. It was tracked all over and so I stopped using it.

I'll let others that are currently using this product give you more tips on it.
 
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