The Best Way To Raise A Sulcata, Leopard, Or Star Tortoise

Vampire1330

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My day temperatures are correct.

at night time it’s around 27 celcius and 99% humidity.

is it because of my night condition that’s why my tortoise have watery nose?
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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27C at night, if it's where tortoise sleeps, looks fine too.. Running nose is not a norm, of cause, but I can't tell for sure what's the reason. Both tortoises have it? How long ago has it started?

(At this point I feel, that it's better to move the whole discussion into its own thread).
 

Vampire1330

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27C at night, if it's where tortoise sleeps, looks fine too.. Running nose is not a norm, of cause, but I can't tell for sure what's the reason. Both tortoises have it? How long ago has it started?

(At this point I feel, that it's better to move the whole discussion into its own thread).
Both tortoises have it. It happened a few days ago.
 

Vampire1330

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Can someone please advise me what to do?
my tortoise nose has bubble and is watery. It’s been almost a week.

But his eyes are open most of the time, eats a lot and his poop is solid.

What does this mean? Does he need to see a vet or he will get better after some time?
 

Tom

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Can someone please advise me what to do?
my tortoise nose has bubble and is watery. It’s been almost a week.

But his eyes are open most of the time, eats a lot and his poop is solid.

What does this mean? Does he need to see a vet or he will get better after some time?
FIrst, they need to be separated. Living as a pair is bad for them and very stressful. Constant chronic stress hampers the immune system.

I just looked up Singapore weather and it says your night time lows are 76-77F, or 24-25C. Does that sound about right for your area of Singapore? It is warmer in your house than outside? No AC running at night in your house?
 

Vampire1330

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FIrst, they need to be separated. Living as a pair is bad for them and very stressful. Constant chronic stress hampers the immune system.

I just looked up Singapore weather and it says your night time lows are 76-77F, or 24-25C. Does that sound about right for your area of Singapore? It is warmer in your house than outside? No AC running at night in your house?
I have a ceramic heater inside the tank. Night temperature with heater is 31c. Without heater is about 27.8c. I covered the top of my tank with acrylic, humidity is always at 99%

No aircon in the room.
 

Tom

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I have a ceramic heater inside the tank. Night temperature with heater is 31c. Without heater is about 27.8c. I covered the top of my tank with acrylic, humidity is always at 99%

No aircon in the room.
At those temperatures, they shouldn't be getting sick.

If these were mine, I would separate them and bump the temperatures up 5-10 degrees 24/7 to see if that helps.
 

BajatheChickenMan

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I am also trying to make sure my temps are right. At the moment I think I'm getting a bit too hot in the basking area using the enclosed storage tub method. I had to order a true 75 watt bulb online as the stores seem hellbent on all those crappy energy efficient bulbs being the only things they carry.

I am getting basking temp 103f, cool side 82 and keeping the room at 75 and using a 100 watt incandescent bulb which is why i got the 75w to see if i can get a more friendly basking temp. i dont want to cook the little guy.

i have a lower watt bulb one of those halogen 75w replacements but it was only getting basking temps of about 83f.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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I am also trying to make sure my temps are right. At the moment I think I'm getting a bit too hot in the basking area using the enclosed storage tub method. I had to order a true 75 watt bulb online as the stores seem hellbent on all those crappy energy efficient bulbs being the only things they carry.

I am getting basking temp 103f, cool side 82 and keeping the room at 75 and using a 100 watt incandescent bulb which is why i got the 75w to see if i can get a more friendly basking temp. i dont want to cook the little guy.

i have a lower watt bulb one of those halogen 75w replacements but it was only getting basking temps of about 83f.
Don't use halogen lights - they have excessive IR-A, drying tortoise shell.

Try using a dimmer for incandescent lamp. It allows you reduce lamp output (and increases it's lifespan): https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/where-are-you-buying-incandescent-bulbs.209983/post-2093402 (credits to Len B for this idea)
 

BajatheChickenMan

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Tom

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I am also trying to make sure my temps are right. At the moment I think I'm getting a bit too hot in the basking area using the enclosed storage tub method. I had to order a true 75 watt bulb online as the stores seem hellbent on all those crappy energy efficient bulbs being the only things they carry.

I am getting basking temp 103f, cool side 82 and keeping the room at 75 and using a 100 watt incandescent bulb which is why i got the 75w to see if i can get a more friendly basking temp. i dont want to cook the little guy.

i have a lower watt bulb one of those halogen 75w replacements but it was only getting basking temps of about 83f.
What species are you housing? What size tortoise?

LED bulbs are not crappy. They are wonderful for lighting our homes and reptile enclosures. They just can't work as basking bulbs because they make almost no heat. A regular incandescent bulb makes 20% light and 80% heat. This is terrible efficiency if you are trying to use them t light your home, but fantastic for use as a reptile basking lamp. According to a quick internet search, LEDs use 85% less electricity to make the same light as an incandescent, and they last 25 times longer.
 

BajatheChickenMan

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What species are you housing? What size tortoise?

LED bulbs are not crappy. They are wonderful for lighting our homes and reptile enclosures. They just can't work as basking bulbs because they make almost no heat. A regular incandescent bulb makes 20% light and 80% heat. This is terrible efficiency if you are trying to use them t light your home, but fantastic for use as a reptile basking lamp. According to a quick internet search, LEDs use 85% less electricity to make the same light as an incandescent, and they last 25 times longer.
It's a for a baby Sulcata.

Sorry I meant crappy in the sense as for basking bulbs. I know they are more energy efficient. I just don't see why stores arent offering more of a variety but I guess online you can get a more accurate product.
 

Tom

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It's a for a baby Sulcata.

Sorry I meant crappy in the sense as for basking bulbs. I know they are more energy efficient. I just don't see why stores arent offering more of a variety but I guess online you can get a more accurate product.
With the exception of a few states like mine, I think this is primarily market driven. Outside of use reptile keepers, no one has any reason to buy the old style incandescent bulbs. The LEDs are now cheaper, last 25 times longer, and use a small fraction of the energy, so they save even more as the years go by.

For example, AZ was still selling them right up until August of this year, but after having to continually dust them off because no one was buying them, they got rid of them to use the shelf space for something that actually sells.

CA decided to make it illegal to sell them here. We can't even order them online and have them shipped in. Its so stupid. Now I have to have someone out of state order them, and then reship them to me upon arrival. How much energy is being wasted and CO2 begin generated by having to ship the same box twice to two different states. Its moronic.
 

BajatheChickenMan

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I'm in a rural area and thought my local Ace might be lucky to find old bulbs because they have so much other stuff on their shelves that looks a decade or 2 old, but I had no such luck :(.
 

Kmomzee

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Hi,
When setting up our enclosure for our hatchling that we got about a month ago. We followed this thread very closely. For our substrate we have coco, but it was becoming very messy. So I ended up putting some cypress mulch Ada too later on the top. Since then I have found information that says it’s not safe. Can you elaborate and reassure me that it’s safe for my tort. I truly value the information I get from this forum and from Tom. I would love to be reassured. Thank you. Just want the best for our little guy.
Also, how often should I switch out the substrate in full? Thanks in advance!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Hi,
When setting up our enclosure for our hatchling that we got about a month ago. We followed this thread very closely. For our substrate we have coco, but it was becoming very messy. So I ended up putting some cypress mulch Ada too later on the top. Since then I have found information that says it’s not safe. Can you elaborate and reassure me that it’s safe for my tort. I truly value the information I get from this forum and from Tom. I would love to be reassured. Thank you. Just want the best for our little guy.
Also, how often should I switch out the substrate in full? Thanks in advance!
You can only be talking about those crazy FB pages. The crazy lady and her minions that immediately ban anyone that says anything contrary to their ridiculous assertions, evidence be damned. Outside of this forum, I have been unable to find consistent good care info. I tried to watch more than a dozen YT videos all showing, demonstrating and saying all the wrong stuff. It was sad and frightening to think that that is where people are getting their care info. Worse, many people learn their info there and then teach it to others, perpetuating the bad info...

Coco coir is safe but messy. You have to use a thick layer and hand pack it firmly. Don't use "chips" or "fiber".

Cypress mulch is safe, but not my favorite.

Fine grade orchid bark works best.

There is no point in mixing substrates, but also no harm in it if you stick to these three. Do not use any sort of peat moss. Do not use soil or sand. Do not use wood shavings, rabbit pellets or compressed grass pellets.
 

Kmomzee

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You can only be talking about those crazy FB pages. The crazy lady and her minions that immediately ban anyone that says anything contrary to their ridiculous assertions, evidence be damned. Outside of this forum, I have been unable to find consistent good care info. I tried to watch more than a dozen YT videos all showing, demonstrating and saying all the wrong stuff. It was sad and frightening to think that that is where people are getting their care info. Worse, many people learn their info there and then teach it to others, perpetuating the bad info...

Coco coir is safe but messy. You have to use a thick layer and hand pack it firmly. Don't use "chips" or "fiber".

Cypress mulch is safe, but not my favorite.

Fine grade orchid bark works best.

There is no point in mixing substrates, but also no harm in it if you stick to these three. Do not use any sort of peat moss. Do not use soil or sand. Do not use wood shavings, rabbit pellets or compressed grass pellets.
Yeah, you aren’t kidding! I just got jumped for my temporary closed chambers enclosure because there wasn’t enough air flow.. I got private messaged when I shut off comments after getting berated.. It got weird , lol!

We used a 55 gallon tote and put the lights on the inside while keeping the correct distance from light to shell. Multiple holes in the top to hang lights and to run cords. We will also be accessing it twice daily which will recirculate the air. We are going to make a much nicer set up out of wood when the weather is nicer (come April/may), but we wanted him in a bigger enclosure. We actually bought an expensive open top tortoise table but decided to ditch it and return it as I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to control temperature and humidity. Our set up isn’t the prettiest but it’s working great so far and I think it coincides with your advice.

But thank you for clarifying on the substrate. I went ahead a bought the fine grade orchard bark.
I have one more question… I want to get a timer to switch the lights to the CHE at night time as he does NOT like his light on past 7:30pm lol (( s/he has quite the little personality already).I see there is a zoomed one as well as one by link. Is there one you recommend?
I extremely appreciate your time and your help! Thank you!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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I have one more question… I want to get a timer to switch the lights to the CHE at night time as he does NOT like his light on past 7:30pm lol (( s/he has quite the little personality already).I see there is a zoomed one as well as one by link. Is there one you recommend?
I extremely appreciate your time and your help! Thank you!
Your experience with that group is not unique and fairly predictable, I am sorry to say. Any one of them can take a look over here and see that they are completely wrong, and that the methods you are using produce healthy smooth tortoises that grow up to be beautiful healthy adults and produce lot of babies, but they just seem to prefer to bury their head ever deeper into that proverbial sand. I don't understand it. When someone tells me I am wrong, shows me a better way and can produce experienced based evidence, I not only listen, I adopt the better method. This has happened many times here on TFO over the years. I have learned so much from the other tortoise keepers here.

In any case, on to your question: You don't want a switch. You want your light on a regular timer, and you want your CHE on a thermostat to maintain ambient temperature above the set point 24/7. During the day, the heat lamp should raise the temperature up a bit, and the thermostat will simply keep the CHE turned off. At night, after your heat lamp kicks off, the thermostat will turn the CHE on, as needed, to keep the temperature above your set point.

Here is a breakdown of the four heating and lighting essentials:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.
 

Kmomzee

New Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2023
Messages
24
Location (City and/or State)
Acworth, GA
Your experience with that group is not unique and fairly predictable, I am sorry to say. Any one of them can take a look over here and see that they are completely wrong, and that the methods you are using produce healthy smooth tortoises that grow up to be beautiful healthy adults and produce lot of babies, but they just seem to prefer to bury their head ever deeper into that proverbial sand. I don't understand it. When someone tells me I am wrong, shows me a better way and can produce experienced based evidence, I not only listen, I adopt the better method. This has happened many times here on TFO over the years. I have learned so much from the other tortoise keepers here.

In any case, on to your question: You don't want a switch. You want your light on a regular timer, and you want your CHE on a thermostat to maintain ambient temperature above the set point 24/7. During the day, the heat lamp should raise the temperature up a bit, and the thermostat will simply keep the CHE turned off. At night, after your heat lamp kicks off, the thermostat will turn the CHE on, as needed, to keep the temperature above your set point.

Here is a breakdown of the four heating and lighting essentials:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt incandescent floods from the hardware store. Some people will need bigger, or smaller wattage bulbs. Let your thermometer be your guide. I run them on a timer for about 12 hours and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb. You need to check the temp with a thermometer directly under the bulb and get it to around 95-100F (36-37C).
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. In most cases you'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT, as long as your house stays above 60F (15-16C) at night. Some people in colder climates or with larger enclosures will need multiple CHEs or RHPs to spread out enough heat.
  3. Ambient light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. Strip or screw-in LED bulb types are both fine.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. In colder climates, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. I like the 12% HO bulbs from Arcadia. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html A good UV bulb only needs to run for 2-3 hours mid day. You need the basking bulb and the ambient lighting to be on at least 12 hours a day.
Ahhhh!!! That makes perfect sense now. Ok, thank you. I was hung up there for a minute and thought I had to have them both on timers and then a separate one on a thermostat. But that totally makes sense now. Thank you for breaking it down for me/ I think I have too many lights! I have two sets of doubles and then a long zoomed Uv light. 😂

Yes! I totally don’t mind learning. I just can’t handle being talked down to and given a bunch information that doesn’t even make sense or information that contradicts what we’re trying to achieve. Not gonna lie they had me second guessing myself there for a moment, like I misunderstood the information I had been given. Im definitely all for learning! I think I will be more active here and less active through Fb.

But I am super thankful for this forum and your help. .

I will set the lights up tomorrow. I do everything manually which is time consuming and sometimes my temp isn’t super steady doing it that way. Ty again!
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Just in case, you can make a post in "Introductions" or enclosures section, so we can suggest some tweaks or improvements.
 

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