Tortoise Nursery Room

theguy67

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Although my breeding is a bit slow, my collection of hatchlings is still growing. I've been needing somewhere to keep them that will last for a couple years. Then I dawned on me, I use to have a building just for that...


A long time ago, in a galaxy...not so far away, I had a shed. This little shed was built well. It had "enclosures" that were built in, like a free standing shelf, but anchored to the walls. They weren't much. Very over built. Had silly frames for doors with clear plastic stretched over them. I housed my geckos and bearded dragons in here, and it worked well. Years passed, and I got out of the lizard hobby. The enclosures were ripped out, shelves saved, and was used for storage.

I'm starting with the middle shelf. It measures nearly 2ft deep, by 10.5 feet long, and 18 inches high.
I've thought about painting the exposed surfaces of wood on the inside of the enclosure with a acrylic based paint. I'd then add some sort of liner. Shower curtain perhaps.

For doors, I'm thinking of getting tracks, and doing either acrylic or glass sliding doors. There is a brace in the center, so there will probably be 2 sets of doors on either side.

This will be a slow-ish build, as I can only really work on it during the weekend.

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Tom

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Awesome! I love it. Keep us updated on how it goes and what you end up doing with it. I need something like this too...
 

wellington

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Glad that light bulb went off:p going to be a great use for it. Like Tom said, keep us updated with progress and pics please.
 

theguy67

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Awesome! I love it. Keep us updated on how it goes and what you end up doing with it. I need something like this too...
Glad that light bulb went off:p going to be a great use for it. Like Tom said, keep us updated with progress and pics please.
Will do. It will be used for small redfoots. There's 3 levels total that I could potentially turn into enclosures, but I will only be doing one for now. I like the length, as I could leave it open for them to use, or put up barriers if there are issues. The room itself is 7ftx14ft, which opens up to a 14ftx14ft room that the adults have access to from the outside.

I'd really like to get some grass to grow and establish in there The main obstacle will be lighting I assume, but grass might be a simpler plant to grow indoors.

I hate to have to wait a week, but I should make a lot of progress next weekend. I have 3 yearlings that need to be moved, and 1 egg ready to hatch any day. I painted yesterday and today. I plan on finishing paint next Friday, and do the electrical.
 

theguy67

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Painting of the interior is nearly done. I decided to go ahead and paint the facing a brown color, but that will be started tomorrow. I still need to attach the board on the other side, and the track for the doors which is coming tomorrow.

Still lots of cleaning and hauling junk out of the room as well.

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theguy67

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Progress being made with paint. ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1495234586.184432.jpg

As you can see on the top board (the one painted brown) I really should have faced all of it to present a more finished/clean look, but I didn't feel like messing with it right now. I'll probably find some sort of wood filler and patch the ugly spots then repaint in spots. Sounds like more work in the long run, but it's work that I believe can be done at my leisure,...just here and there. That's just mere aesthetic touch up.
 

theguy67

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My tracks for the doors came today! They are made of a durable plastic that can be easily cut to fit. Next decision...should I paint them? I'd like for them to blend with the wood, but I don't think it's a good idea to paint a surface that will be experiencing friction, although I could just paint the outside?

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theguy67

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This weekend proved moderately productive:
I worked in the outside enclosure mostly, while I waited for other supplies to arrive.

Painting is "finished". I ordered some wood filler for some gaps, and other troubled spots that I can then sand down and paint, but all of the larger surfaces are painted.

Electrical was kinda started. I'm just dropping boxes behind the top board, like they were in the past.

I have to wait to put the dirt until until I have my liner. I was late with getting a shower curtain, and I suppose I should get electrical finished first.

I will have the plexiglass sometime this week. So hopefully Friday will be super productive as everything now is just waiting on materials. The brown paint I've been using successfully adhered to the plastic track, which is good news. I can't wait for the doors to be in place.

I have also ordered some grass seed mix from Tortoise Supply, in hopes to grow some in the cage. For lighting, I am going to try LED. I have 2 reef fixtures that are dimmable. I haven't read any negative experience with LEDs and tortoises. I may attach some frosted glass/plastic to the fixtures to help diffuse the light so its not so harsh directly below it. It should be enough light to sustain smaller plants, like grass and weeds. I think since these aren't flowering or fruiting plants, the demand for light won't be as high....And ,of course, there will be a fluorescent fixture for the UV bulb.

There are also plans to run water inside the building. The tortoise pen (which wraps around the back and one side of the building) is already irrigated with sprinklers set to an electric timer. I would like to also run irrigation inside for the enclosure(s). There are 2 more channels on the controller box, so I should be able to program the enclosure's irrigation from the same one I use for the outside pen. This part will probably be last.
 

theguy67

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Tracks are painted and glued into place. Electrical is done. Now I just have to go pick up my plexiglass and cut the doors, put down the liner and dirt, and hang the lights. I'm also going to continue painting the rest of the shelving unit. Will probably do that before I put any substrate down to give the room time to air out.
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theguy67

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Doors are in!!! Just waiting to peel the covers off. Did some more painting too. Need to clean up the room, hang the lights and let things air out for a few days.

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Quick question: what would you do for ventilation? There's a small space between the 2 plexiglass sheets, but everything is pretty tight. Not really sure where to drill holes.

Would like some feedback, let me know what you think so far!
 

tortdad

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Why would you drill holes in a sealed closed chamber? Holes mean losing heat and humidity which is counter productive to a closed chamber.

Don't be scared of a closed chamber.

You change our food and water daily which will exchange more than enough oxygen for your tort. If your tort can survive in a tiny box for 24hrs while being shipped it can certainly handle a large closed chamber.
 

theguy67

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Why would you drill holes in a sealed closed chamber? Holes mean losing heat and humidity which is counter productive to a closed chamber.

Don't be scared of a closed chamber.

You change our food and water daily which will exchange more than enough oxygen for your tort. If your tort can survive in a tiny box for 24hrs while being shipped it can certainly handle a large closed chamber.
I've seen others provide ventilation, and I wouldn't describe closed chambers as "sealed", at least not this one-which may answer my question.

I suppose I won't worry about it for now. The small gaps between the plexi may be enough. Who knows I may wind up adding weather stripping after I fail to keep humidity high.
 

tortdad

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I've seen others provide ventilation, and I wouldn't describe closed chambers as "sealed", at least not this one-which may answer my question.

I suppose I won't worry about it for now. The small gaps between the plexi may be enough. Who knows I may wind up adding weather stripping after I fail to keep humidity high.
I was nervous the first time i built a closed chamber and added vents. It was just as you mentioned.... my humidity and temps were way better than what I had but I still struggled to get it to stay in my "sweet spot". After a couple weeks I sealed up the vents and my box held up like a champ. They really are low maintenance once you get get it down. That consistency is what's going to keep your tort healthy, stress free and provide some sexy growth.
 

theguy67

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I was nervous the first time i built a closed chamber and added vents. It was just as you mentioned.... my humidity and temps were way better than what I had but I still struggled to get it to stay in my "sweet spot". After a couple weeks I sealed up the vents and my box held up like a champ. They really are low maintenance once you get get it down. That consistency is what's going to keep your tort healthy, stress free and provide some sexy growth.
That makes sense. I suppose this is my first "true" closed chamber, as the others were converted. I knew the whole idea of closed chamber was to contain the air, but instinctively assumed there would be SOME ventilation.Thanks for talking me down!
 
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theguy67

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Enclosure is finished. It's holding nicely at 83, with just over 80% humidity.

ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1496531925.071627.jpg

The other side is identical, just not lit, as I only have 2 LED lamps. The room is too narrow for a full shot.

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I'm currently using LEDs, but I may forego them and use fluorescent. It seems they are still superior to LED for growing plants, at least in cost and electricity. Due to LEDs poor spread I would need many more fixtures. Also, my current lights are too far on the blue side of the spectrum. It would be much easier to cover the entire enclosure with 2, 4ft fluorescent fixtures rather than half a dozen LED units ( not to mention that would be harsh on the little ones eyes).

I just moved them in, so I still need to add their burrow/humid hide, but they were certainly checking everything out. I currently have a divider to keep them away from the grass for now. I just removed it for pictures.


The goal of growing and maintaining a turf for 24/7 grazing is mainly an experiment. I will update on this thread if it is successful, plus any other remodels in the room as I continue.
 
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Oxalis

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Enclosure is finished. It's holding nicely at 83, with just over 80% humidity.

View attachment 209449

The other side is identical, just not lit, as I only have 2 LED lamps. The room is too narrow for a full shot.

View attachment 209450

View attachment 209451

View attachment 209452

I'm currently using LEDs, but I may forego them and use fluorescent. It seems they are still superior to LED for growing plants, at least in cost and electricity. Due to LEDs poor spread I would need many more fixtures. Also, my current lights are too far on the blue side of the spectrum. It would be much easier to cover the entire enclosure with 2, 4ft fluorescent fixtures rather than half a dozen LED units ( not to mention that would be harsh on the little ones eyes).

I just moved them in, so I still need to add their burrow/humid hide, but they were certainly checking everything out. I currently have a divider to keep them away from the grass for now. I just removed it for pictures.


The goal of growing and maintaining a turf for 24/7 grazing is mainly an experiment. I will update on this thread if it is successful, plus any other remodels in the room as I continue.
Thanks for posting; this is a pretty cool project. We're re-building our indoor Russian enclosure and I'll be facing the same challenge of lighting some indoor plants for his food. Maybe a combination of fluorescent and LEDs would be sufficient? I'm excited to see your progress! Also, what kind of substrate are you using, just plain dirt? I haven't decided for mine yet.
 

theguy67

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Thanks for posting; this is a pretty cool project. We're re-building our indoor Russian enclosure and I'll be facing the same challenge of lighting some indoor plants for his food. Maybe a combination of fluorescent and LEDs would be sufficient? I'm excited to see your progress! Also, what kind of substrate are you using, just plain dirt? I haven't decided for mine yet.
I'll probably just use 2 4ft florescent T8 fixtures. If the grass/weeds need more, Ill add 2 more, but I think that would be enough. You COULD supplement with LED, but it would have to be a long strip. My main issue is that LEDs create a spotlight effect. Its possible that even the florescent will fail, so I'm just doing it for experiment sake. If the entire enclosure is still too small to meet the grazing demands of 3 small tortoises, I may put a divider in the middle, and move them between the two sections as the grass recovers from their grazing.
 

Oxalis

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Also, the substrate is a type of organic topsoil, with a little mulch. I'm going to add peatmoss.
Very nice. I like it. Can't wait to see more pictures as the plants and torts grow. :)
 

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