- Feb 1, 2020
- Location (City and/or State)
- El Mirage. Az
and by the way thanks for all that information Tom that was extremely enlighteningClosed chambers work best when all the heating and lighting is contained INSIDE the chamber. This makes for the most stable conditions for the tortoise by avoiding the chimney effect, and also greatly reduces electrical usage. The CHE will not be too hot because it will be controlled by a thermostat.
- There are four elements to heating and lighting:
- Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. You can mount a fixture on the ceiling, or hang a dome lamp from the ceiling. Go lower or higher wattage if this makes the enclosure too hot or not warm enough. Do not use "spot" bulbs, mercury vapor bulbs or halogen bulbs because these bulbs are overly desiccating and cause pyramiding even in good living conditions.
- 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 like sulcatas or leopards. I like this thermostat: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller. Put the probe in the coolest corner away from all heating elements. You may need more than one heating element to spread the heat out for a given enclosure.
- Light. I use florescent tubes for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. I've been using LEDs lately and they are great, and run cooler than a florescent. This can be set on the same timer as the basking bulb.
- UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. I like the ZooMed 10.0 HO, and the Arcadia 12% HO. Which type will depend on mounting height. It helps to have a UV meter to test and see what your bulb is actually putting out at your mounting height. Plexi-glass or screen tops will filter out some or all of the UV produced by your bulb.