What Do I Need?

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MsBeBe_E

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Hi! I am getting a baby RT soon and am in the stages of preparing the enclosure. I have done TONS of research and now ready to get my baby rt. My only concern is what exactly do I need. I want some advice from experienced tort owners so this is the best place to ask! I just want a list of what you have for your tort or a list of what all I basically need! Any help and advice is welcomed. Thanks!
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome:) I will leave the answeres you are looking for to the RT owners.


Oh, Congrats on your upcoming shelled family member
 

hunterk997

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I have a built in hiding place, a terra cotta saucer fr a water dish, a flat rock for basking, a cuttle bone, thermometers and a hydrometer, timothy hay in the hiding place for burrowing, and eco earth substrate. I just started being a tortoise owner, but some of these things were recommended on the forum. Good luck with your new tortoise!
 

Team Gomberg

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I keep my Russians outdoors. So my list is different than those who keep them inside.

But all Russians need some outdoor time. So, for the outdoor pen make sure you have:

Tall walls with a lip or a cover
Terra cotta saucers for water
Lots of planted food sources. Weeds or seed mixes. This is for natural grazing
Rocks and/or logs for sight barriers
Hides
Cuttlebone

..here is a start!
 

Spn785

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I would suggest keeping the baby indoors for the most part and take him/her outside for a couple hours regularly. Here is my setup:

4' by 2' tub that is 2' tall,
Plain top soil for substrate 1' deep,
100w MVB (They prefer the Powersun from my experience)
4' long Zoo Med 10.0 UVB tube bulb,
4' long Florescent Balast,
2 Terra cotta pots for hides,
Terra cotta saucer for water
Terra cotta saucer for food,
3 Thermometer/Hydrogemeters,
Infrared temp gun,
Cuttle bone
Basking rock (I use flint now because my first basking rock didn't weigh enough and my Russian baby was able to toss it around).

I also have TNT from Carolina Pet Supply, a couple seed mixes, and Zoo Med Grassland tortoise pellets. I have Mazuri, but my Russian will not touch it.
 

JoesMum

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Baby RTs don't need too much space, but as it grows it will need lots. Make sure that you have the space to accomodate a much larger enclosure within a couple of years. As it gets older, it will be better off outdoors as much as possible.

Indoors you will require a source of UVB light - either a tube (not coil) type light or an MVB bulb which combines UVB with the other essential... a spot lamp for basking.

If you go for a tube UVB, you also need a spot lamp. Use a reptile lamp holder for the bulb, but save your pennies and use a standard household spot lamp in it!

I also suggest you get a temperature gun to accurately measure temperatures around the enclosure ( you can get them reasonably cheaply from Amazon)

You need a water bowl - not one of the fake rock type sold by pet stores. A shallow plant saucer that you can sink into the substrate is best.

A piece of tile or flat slate is great for feeding - much better than a bowl.
 

MsBeBe_E

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Thanks for all of the suggestions!!! Much needed advice!! I will be keeping my tort indoors, but will be taking him/her outside from time to time. I'm in Georgia and the weather is great! I do have a question about thermometers though, how many do I need and where is the best place to put them. I was looking at getting a couple digital ones with the probe. Also as far as a basking tile or flat rock, will it get to hot for the tort? For the substrate I have pretty much decided on the Eco Earth! And these Terra Cotta saucers, where would I find these?
 

Spn785

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I would suggest at least two thermometers with probes, put one near the basking spot and one on the cool side. The terra cotta saucers are the clay saucers that go under the clay pots, you can get them at any garden store or at a place like Lowe's or Home Depot. As for the basking rock getting too hot, it won't if your basking temp isn't too hot.
 

Tom

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What you do is put the flat rock directly under the basking lamp. Then use a temp gun or thermometer probe to check the temp right under the bulb. Let it run for a good hour or so first. You want the temp to be around 95-100 right under the light. If its too hot, raise the fixture. If its not hot enough, lower the fixture.

Set this bulb on a timer for about 12 hours a day. Unless your house gets really cold at night, below 60, no need for night heat for this species.

This species really needs a lot of space, so go big with the enclosure.

A safe outdoor enclosure is really really good for them. Sunshine and exercise are very important and this species can tolerate a wide range of temps and conditions, so spend some time building and escape proof, predator proof enclosure that offer some shad at all times of the day. If your baby gets some regular sunshine, you can skip all the expensive indoor reptile UV bulbs.
 

JoesMum

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Terracotta saucers are avialable from any garden shop. They are, as we say in the UK, "dirt cheap"... buying one won't blow your budget :)
 

MsBeBe_E

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Ok thanks!!! With these thermometer probes I'm I putting the probe in the substrate or I'm a hanging it somewhere? Will just one hygrometer do just fine like in the middle of the enclosure? Or do rt even need their enclosure to be humid? Can I use regular tap water for the water dish and also expanding the substrate? Sorry for all the questions I'm just trying to clarify A couple of road blocks I've stumbled upon.
 

JoesMum

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Re: RE: What Do I Need?

MsBeBe_E said:
Ok thanks!!! With these thermometer probes I'm I putting the probe in the substrate or I'm a hanging it somewhere? Will just one hygrometer do just fine like in the middle of the enclosure? Or do rt even need their enclosure to be humid? Can I use regular tap water for the water dish and also expanding the substrate? Sorry for all the questions I'm just trying to clarify A couple of road blocks I've stumbled upon.

Honestly, a single temperature gun is easier! Point and shoot. No messing, no setting up!
 

Tom

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Please keep asking lots and lots of questions. That's why we are all here. To learn and help others.

I like to move my temp probe around, so I don't permanently mount it. Same with hygrometer. It is only going to tell you the humidity percentage wherever it sits.

The number I've seen for Russians is 50-60% humidity. A damp substrate should help accomplish this. A humid hide is a good idea for any species.

If your regular tap is drinkable, it's fine for your tortoise.

I like to hand pack the coco coir after its expands. It keeps it a lot less messy and it makes it easier for them to walk on, but they can still burrow into it.
 

MsBeBe_E

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I've been confused on the type if lighting I will need. I was thinking of going with a Reptisun 10.0 Compact light placed horizontally for uvb and a 60 watt basking bulb for heat in a combo terrarium hood I have? I also have an extra clamp dome if I need another basking bulb to boost heat. Any thoughts on lights and fixtures to use? Which lights and fixtures are you all using?
 

JoesMum

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Reptisun compact is a coil type UVB and could damage your tort's eyes. Do not buy it.

Get a tube type UVB or an MVB, but NOT a compact... the wretched things should be banned... they are too risky.
 

kanalomele

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My answers will vary with the age of the tort. A baby/hatchling as you have indicated do just fine indoors. They are a very active species. So I always say go as big as you can with the enclosure. I dont use a table for hatchlings. Simply because its much harder to maintain the temps and humidity. I go higher on humidity for the first 6 months(closer to 60%) and offer a warm humid hide that is very humid indeed.. dripping walls humid. I dont bother measuring this. I have found a 100w mvb to work just fine for me in Central Ca. With no heat at all at night. This species likes a nighttime cool down. I also have an outside "play pen" where they go on warm days. Its a large rabbit/guinea pig cage with a wire top and plastic bottom. Its entirely planted with nommable seeds and diggable substrate.
 

MsBeBe_E

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kanalomele said:
My answers will vary with the age of the tort. A baby/hatchling as you have indicated do just fine indoors. They are a very active species. So I always say go as big as you can with the enclosure. I dont use a table for hatchlings. Simply because its much harder to maintain the temps and humidity. I go higher on humidity for the first 6 months(closer to 60%) and offer a warm humid hide that is very humid indeed.. dripping walls humid. I dont bother measuring this. I have found a 100w mvb to work just fine for me in Central Ca. With no heat at all at night. This species likes a nighttime cool down. I also have an outside "play pen" where they go on warm days. Its a large rabbit/guinea pig cage with a wire top and plastic bottom. Its entirely planted with nommable seeds and diggable substrate.

Thanks!
 
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