Too much soaking for babies/Green stuff in the water

MenagerieGrl

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So, they need UVA/UVB to help metabolize vitamin D3, spending time out side is a natural way to get the UV's.
II believe it is frowned upon to use a MVB (Mercury Vapor Bulb) UV source as it can dehydrate a shell/carapace since it concentrates the light UV in a small area. And stay away from the Compact Fluorescent UV bulbs as they are suspected to cause eye damage.
The T5 HO LED's are suggested, and many insist on using a Solarmeter to tell if the tort is getting the correct amount of UV from a bulb, but they are quite pricey.
 

GingerRene

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Got it! Thank you I am ordering that T5 today. The solar meter is a lot so I got this little card that changes color when exposed to uva . :/
 

MenagerieGrl

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Humidity in the general tank should be higher, 80%+, and the hide Humidity could/should be higher 90%+.
Low humidity when young is the leading cause of pyramiding. I will typically pour water into the substrate to keep the humidity up.
 

zolasmum

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Hello, I just wanted to say how glad I am that you found this forum when you did, after the wrong advice you have been given. You can trust what people here tell you - I think it is really shocking that the man you bought them from told you so many wrong things. You will do much better here, and so will your babies.
Angie
 

GingerRene

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Thank you very much. :) Everyone has been nice and helpful and surprisingly no one has been mean about my many mistakes. I got them less than a week ago so I'm glad I found y'all early. I was just reading about the importance of humidity and pyrimidine. I had no idea!
 

MenagerieGrl

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I'm trying recollect what they wattage/ distance to the carapace is. This is where the Solarmeter comes in....
Got it. What wattage do I get for that t5 ho led light? And thank you so very much for your help!
So, for starters, I think most the reputable bulbs like Arcadia have a reference of a distance from the bulb to the receptor/carapace. just guessing to get you started I have seen 3 for Russian Tort's, So like the Arcadia D3 Desert, 12" would be 5 to 6, and 16" would be 3 to 4. As a reference,,,,
 

Sarah2020

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Welcome, you have had so much advise and have made changes, Well done. These tortoise grow really big and are known as tanks hope you have space as they grow. I would suggest around the glass you tape black tape about 4 inch high to avoid them seeing straight out. I did this and added tape as they grow! Hatchlings do flip the corner step ornament could also be a hazard as they climb down. Well done for what yiu have done.
 

Tom

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Thank you very much. :) Everyone has been nice and helpful and surprisingly no one has been mean about my many mistakes. I got them less than a week ago so I'm glad I found y'all early. I was just reading about the importance of humidity and pyrimidine. I had no idea!
You did not do it all wrong. You did it exactly how "they" told you to do it. They gave you the typical old wrong info that almost every new tortoise owner gets. They were/are wrong. You, however, are the best kind of tortoise owner. None of us are born knowing this stuff, and we all make mistakes. The best of us learn from our mistakes and work to learn and improve. That is you.

We will help you sort all this out. Your questions are welcome, and you will not be "bothering" anyone if you ask a thousand questions a day. We are all here to talk torts!

Here is what I see so far:
1. Its great that you got rid of the ramped bowl. You learned the hard way, but hopefully without catastrophe, why those are no good for tortoises.
2. Aluminum foil will be safer to use than the plastic on top. Foil doesn't burn.
3. Glass tanks are fine. This is another old myth about tortoises being stressed out by see through glass tanks. Its non-sense and people like me and @Yvonne G and several others have been using glass tanks for decades with no problems.
4. There are two problems with glass tanks: 1. Too small for tortoises. 2. Open top. If you are going to use a glass tank go big. Really big. Like 60 -100 gallons for a baby. The open top lets all your heat and humidity out. Having the lights and heat outside and on top, creates a chimney effect which further sucks the heat and humidity out and into the room. The solution is a large closed chamber with the heating and lighting inside. Get one made of expanded PVC material and not wood. You will need one anyway to grow your tortoises large enough to live outside full time.
5. The little cards don't work to measure UV. You need the solarmeter 6.5. In your climate, you can run the UV tube a little high, and get your babies outside in a safe enclosure for real sunshine most of the year.
6. Your tortoises need night heat. It should never drop below 80 degrees. This is accomplished with a CHE or RHP set on a thermostat.
7. They should never be kept in pairs. Not at any age, and sexes don't matter. Best to either separate them, give one away, or get a third one to have a small group, and then sort out the sexes later.

The care sheet should tell you most of what you need to know about all of this, but here is a breakdown of the heating and lighting:
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  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.
  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.
 

Tim Carlisle

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  1. 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.

The link to the solarmeter is dead. Here's one to the model 6.5r that I've been using: https://www.solarmeter.com/product/model65r/
 

GingerRene

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Joined
May 26, 2022
Messages
34
Location (City and/or State)
Houston Texas
You did not do it all wrong. You did it exactly how "they" told you to do it. They gave you the typical old wrong info that almost every new tortoise owner gets. They were/are wrong. You, however, are the best kind of tortoise owner. None of us are born knowing this stuff, and we all make mistakes. The best of us learn from our mistakes and work to learn and improve. That is you.

We will help you sort all this out. Your questions are welcome, and you will not be "bothering" anyone if you ask a thousand questions a day. We are all here to talk torts!

Here is what I see so far:
1. Its great that you got rid of the ramped bowl. You learned the hard way, but hopefully without catastrophe, why those are no good for tortoises.
2. Aluminum foil will be safer to use than the plastic on top. Foil doesn't burn.
3. Glass tanks are fine. This is another old myth about tortoises being stressed out by see through glass tanks. Its non-sense and people like me and @Yvonne G and several others have been using glass tanks for decades with no problems.
4. There are two problems with glass tanks: 1. Too small for tortoises. 2. Open top. If you are going to use a glass tank go big. Really big. Like 60 -100 gallons for a baby. The open top lets all your heat and humidity out. Having the lights and heat outside and on top, creates a chimney effect which further sucks the heat and humidity out and into the room. The solution is a large closed chamber with the heating and lighting inside. Get one made of expanded PVC material and not wood. You will need one anyway to grow your tortoises large enough to live outside full time.
5. The little cards don't work to measure UV. You need the solarmeter 6.5. In your climate, you can run the UV tube a little high, and get your babies outside in a safe enclosure for real sunshine most of the year.
6. Your tortoises need night heat. It should never drop below 80 degrees. This is accomplished with a CHE or RHP set on a thermostat.
7. They should never be kept in pairs. Not at any age, and sexes don't matter. Best to either separate them, give one away, or get a third one to have a small group, and then sort out the sexes later.

The care sheet should tell you most of what you need to know about all of this, but here is a breakdown of the heating and lighting:
There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  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.
  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.
Thank you thank you! I've got some work to do. Lol I'm going to work on the set up and I'll be back to ask more questions! You/ everyone here is so helpful! Thank you!
 

GingerRene

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Joined
May 26, 2022
Messages
34
Location (City and/or State)
Houston Texas
Welcome, you have had so much advise and have made changes, Well done. These tortoise grow really big and are known as tanks hope you have space as they grow. I would suggest around the glass you tape black tape about 4 inch high to avoid them seeing straight out. I did this and added tape as they grow! Hatchlings do flip the corner step ornament could also be a hazard as they climb down. Well done for what yiu have done.
Thank you! I just left my local Walmart and they didn't have a tub strong enough for my lighting needs. I'm going to Lowes this weekend! For now, I've added a plastic humidity hide, some aluminum foil on top to keep some heat in, and a new bowl. I also got a baby pool for safe outside time! (Supervised) whew. I'm sure glad I found you all!
 

GingerRene

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Joined
May 26, 2022
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Location (City and/or State)
Houston Texas
Thank you! I just left my local Walmart and they didn't have a tub strong enough for my lighting needs. I'm going to Lowes this weekend! For now, I've added a plastic humidity hide, some aluminum foil on top to keep some heat in, and a new bowl. I also got a baby pool for safe outside time! (Supervised) whew. I'm sure glad I found you all!
Oh, and I have lots of land. I just have to keep them alive until I can let them live outside safely. We are going to get them their own shed with heating for night time, and a fenced area to roam in the day time.
From what others have told me, I may have to keep them separated, or re-home one. :( I don't want to have to do that, but I will if it's healthier for them.
 

GingerRene

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Joined
May 26, 2022
Messages
34
Location (City and/or State)
Houston Texas
Oh, and I have lots of land. I just have to keep them alive until I can let them live outside safely. We are going to get them their own shed with heating for night time, and a fenced area to roam in the day time.
From what others have told me, I may have to keep them separated, or re-home one. :( I don't want to have to do that, but I will if it's healthier for them.
I live in south East Texas. The humidity is always high and the winters are short
 

Donna Albu

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Our heavy weight experts have not yet weighed in to help you - so I'll put in my 2 cents in the meantime. They are not, nor will they ever be, friends. Torts bully one another - no matter their sex. Your 2 babies need to be separate, if you don't, one will outgrow the other as a result of being bullied, and the smaller one may even die. The bullying does not usually take the form of actually beating the other up - it's way more subtle, but equally as effective. In adulthood, two males will fight for breeding rights, and be very aggressive, even if they are breeding with a rock.

You really don't need a basking rock - they will bask where it is warm (to their liking); they will move away from the heat source when it gets too warm, and into it when they are cold. You can use a flat rock from your yard if you'd like, buried in the substrate. but make sure it is skinny. They will climb and fall off of the one you have now, landing upside down, unable to turn back over. Looks cute to us humans, but not good for them. What you could use in there are plants that are safe for them to eat. Helps with the humidity levels and gives them places to hide. They will plow over them, so I suggest burying the pots in the substrate to afford some protection for the plant. It's a good idea to remove all of the dirt the plant came in, and replant it is dirt from your yard, providing you've used no fertilizer, herbicides or insecticides on it.

Your substrate needs to be wet underneath, and damp to the touch on the surface. By all means, take your babies outside in the sunshine. The sun is the best UV you can get for them, and they need several hours of it a week to grow properly and digest their food. They need to be able to roam in plenty of space to aid digestion, and simulate life in the wild. Be warned, when outside they need to be watched 100% of the time, so if you don't have help, take them out one at a time. You'll be surprised at how fast they can be! When out they need to be on grass, weeds, etc., NOT on cement.

Soak them daily. Being in Texas, you can put them in a shallow plastic container placed in the sun. The sun will keep the water warm. Make sure no predator can get to them (dogs, cats, birds, snakes, racoons, bears, etc.) When they are this small, lots of things will want to eat them.

Enjoy them - they can be real characters!
 

sue white

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Are they in front of a window? If so ,even with curtain closed, it could affect the temps in the enclosure weather enclosure is wood or especially glass
 
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