UVB light

Kingaroo

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
Ireland
Hi, I'm planning on getting a my first horsefield tortoise that is two years old. The person that has him has him only under heating lights with no UVB. She said the bulb was fitted for him but like everyone knows petshops don't know anything about pets. So I'm wondering will there be any long effects if he never had uvb light or should he be okay if I start providing it for him?

Also I'm new so I don't know really know if I'm posting this in the right section. Sorry.
 

JoesMum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
21,511
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
Hello and welcome from Kent, UK

I recommend you read the TFO care guides if you haven't already

They're written by species experts working hard to correct the outdated information widely available on the internet and from pet stores and, sadly, from some breeders and vets too.

Beginner Mistakes
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

Russian Tortoise Care
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/

These should answer most of your questions. I am just boarding a plane, but can be back later if others haven’t helped you :)
 

JoesMum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
21,511
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
And briefly, from my plane seat... if you can get the tortoise setup as in these guides it should be OK.

If the shell is soft, you have a problem
 

Kingaroo

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
Ireland
Thank you. Well I don't think his shell is soft but I'm going to see him on saturday.

To my knowledge he didn't get good care. His diet consist of chop up veg and sometimes tortoise food. He also isn't getting any calcium. And his tortoise table is 2 ft long.

I am hopping to get a rabbit care that's four ft long as I don't want my cat getting in tortoises enclosure. (knowing my cat he will want to chill under the heat lamp)
 

JoesMum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
21,511
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
Rabbit cages are not suitable for tortoises. It is impossible to hold the heat and humidity in them. Please read those threads I linked earlier. They explain everything
 

WithLisa

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2015
Messages
967
Location (City and/or State)
Austria
Wouldn't a rabbit cage be the same tortoise table? I know a person that keeps their tortoise in rabbit cage. I was told not to get a terrarium. I might look at tanks but I would need one that closes so the cat would be able to come in.

Would this not work?
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/tortoise-tables-indoor-rabitt-cage.973/

Of course it would work, you just have to cover it with foil or acrylic glass. But 4 ft seems pretty small to me; I would recommend to get something bigger.
 

JoesMum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
21,511
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
Wouldn't a rabbit cage be the same tortoise table? I know a person that keeps their tortoise in rabbit cage. I was told not to get a terrarium. I might look at tanks but I would need one that closes so the cat would be able to come in.

Would this not work?
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/tortoise-tables-indoor-rabitt-cage.973/

Who told you? Young tortoises need a closed chamber and big vivs are suitable for small tortoises. Those care sheets provide the accurate care information you need rather than outdated hearsay
 

Kingaroo

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
Ireland
This is a quote from my vets page 'We do not recommend vivariums for Tortoises as they have poor ventilation which predisposes them to respiratory infection. Also tortoises do not recognise glass as a barrier and can damage themselves trying to get through the glass.'
She's the best reptile vet in Ireland.
 

Kingaroo

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
Ireland
Also I don't think this tortoise had a lot of humidity as from pictures it looks like hamster wood shaving is used as a substrate. Could this cause any problems later or would he be fine if i change it to a right one? I asked about substrate and was told his diet (I don't think the person understood my question).

And I know I will try getting bigger one later on but that's the biggest I found and even the biggest tortoise tables are 4ft here. I will have to make something myself later or find something custom made. Right now I just want him out of two ft enclosure.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,794
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
This is a quote from my vets page 'We do not recommend vivariums for Tortoises as they have poor ventilation which predisposes them to respiratory infection. Also tortoises do not recognise glass as a barrier and can damage themselves trying to get through the glass.'
She's the best reptile vet in Ireland.

Well its sad that the best reptile vet in Ireland is still promoting old, out-dated, incorrect care info. Every word of that quote has been proven totally false and backwards. Many here have been using glass tanks for decades with no problem. I have literally raised hundreds of baby tortoises in large glass tanks and closed chambers. Not exaggerating. Several hundred. I've seen not one respiratory infect and not one of them has beens stressed by living behind a glass barrier. The "poor ventilation" means that the warm humid air that babies need is staying inside the enclosure with your baby, instead of floating up and away onto the room. They don't need cold dry air ventilated into their enclosure. They need warm humid air to thrive and be healthy.

Please read the linked threads above for current and correct care info. The only problem with vivs and glass tanks is that they are too small for older, larger tortoises. Great for starting babies though.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,794
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hi, I'm planning on getting a my first horsefield tortoise that is two years old. The person that has him has him only under heating lights with no UVB. She said the bulb was fitted for him but like everyone knows petshops don't know anything about pets. So I'm wondering will there be any long effects if he never had uvb light or should he be okay if I start providing it for him?

Also I'm new so I don't know really know if I'm posting this in the right section. Sorry.

I never answered your original question!

There is no way for us to know how far gone your tortoise is with no UV for two years. There are so many variables. Whatever the case is, the solution is to get it under a good UV lamp and get it eating the right foods ASAP.

If the tortoise got some occasional sunshine outdoors, it might be totally fine. If it was given the right supplements, the damage might be minimal.

Arcadia products should be available to you over there, and they make excellent stuff. I use the 12%HO tubes and they make very strong UV. They need to be mounted 18-20" above the tortoise and you only need to run them for 3-4 hours mid day. I use 4 heating and lighting elements in my enclosures:
  1. Basking bulb for heat. I usually use regular incandescent 65 watt flood bulbs in a ceramic based fixture hung from over head. I adjust the height of the fixture to get the correct basking temp under it, and I run these on a timer for about 12-13 hours a day in most cases.
  2. A long florescent tube in the 5000-6500K color range set on the same timer as the heat lamp.
  3. The Arcadia bulb as described above for UV.
  4. If needed, depending on species and room temp, I use a CHE or two set on a thermostat to maintain ambient temperature where I want it.
 

Salspi

Active Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
352
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago
Tom,
Do you think 3-4 hours for the Arcadia bulb is for an adult tortoise or do you mean that is just for hatchlings/juveniles? Thank you
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,794
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Tom,
Do you think 3-4 hours for the Arcadia bulb is for an adult tortoise or do you mean that is just for hatchlings/juveniles? Thank you

My Solarmeter 6.5 gives me a reading of 6-7 UVI under the Arcadia 12%HO mounted at about 20" over the tortoise. This level simulates mid day summer sun. 3-4 hours per day of UV at that level is plenty of UV for any age tortoise. In fact, its a bit on the strong side, so its important the the tortoise be offered plenty of cover and hiding places when the UV is on. They should have the option to get out of the strong UV rays if they feel the need.

This is a good time to note that very little is known about UV and tortoises. Is a UVI level of 1 good enough if its on for 12 hours a day? Or is it better to have higher levels for shorter duration? More study is needed, and at this point we are all guessing about what works and what doesn't based on the results we see.
 

Kingaroo

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
Ireland
Thank you for all the information. After reading more I decided to get terrarium for him. Unfortunately the biggest one I found is 90x45x45cm, which is too small but still bigger from what he has at the moment. I am hopping to find a bigger one or find someone who might be able to make a bigger one.

And yes the vets here are quite bad. It took me ages to find a good avian vet here as the best one wasn't good at all!! And don't even get me started on finding a good vet for my cat and dog. I will definitely look for different reptile vet as the best isn't always the best.

I will also look for those arcadia products if I can't find them I will just order them from amazon.
 

Salspi

Active Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
352
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago
That’s great info Tom. Thank you.

Do you think people, who have their mercury vapor bulbs on for 12 hours a day, are blasting their tortoises with UV? I get that the tortoise can always move away to a hide but it needs heat also. So, it is forced to take the UV. What do you think the UVI index is under a MVB if the hotspot is kept at 105? Thank you for clearing this up. Very informative!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,794
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
That’s great info Tom. Thank you.

Do you think people, who have their mercury vapor bulbs on for 12 hours a day, are blasting their tortoises with UV? I get that the tortoise can always move away to a hide but it needs heat also. So, it is forced to take the UV. What do you think the UVI index is under a MVB if the hotspot is kept at 105? Thank you for clearing this up. Very informative!

Every MVB is different. That is one of the problems with them. A lack of reliability and a lack of consistency. I've seen several versions of them over the years since they first came out. We have a vet member here with a UV meter that told us that current MVBs were only making UV for about three months. I had a 4 year old one that was delivering a very high reading of 7.9 at 18" through a screen. I figured that after 6 months it wasn't producing any UV and I was just using it for heat. Until I got a meter and put it under that bulb, I had no idea it was so high.

In any case, I don't even have a guess for you about what someone's MVB is doing in their individual enclosures. Only a UV meter can answer that.

The moral of the story is: Get a UV meter, and use it early and often. Here is the current standard: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html
 

Salspi

Active Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
352
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago
Thanks for that link I def will look into purchasing one and change out my Arcadia’s as the meter dictates. Would you say that a MVB that is putting out a UVI of 7 should only be kept on for 3-4 hours a day like with the arcadia’s?

It seems like MVB’s aren’t as useful after the Arcadia’s came out.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,794
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thanks for that link I def will look into purchasing one and change out my Arcadia’s as the meter dictates. Would you say that a MVB that is putting out a UVI of 7 should only be kept on for 3-4 hours a day like with the arcadia’s?

It seems like MVB’s aren’t as useful after the Arcadia’s came out.

As you noted previously, they need the heat, so the MVB needs to stay on… Its a dilemma. The turning point for me was when I realized how desiccating the MVBs are to the carapace's of our tortoises.

Now I use a lower wattage heat bulb for heat, and use a separate bulb for UV that I can control on its own timer. In enclosures where the UV is only on mid day, I use a regular florescent tube for more light during the day. The final element, if needed, would be a CHE or RHP set on the thermostat to keep things warm for tropical species.
 
Top