Am I doing it right?


New Member
Feb 5, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Arizona
This is my sulcata tortoise Cecil. He is six months old and weighs 8 oz. His enclosure is a 10 gallon fish tank with a rocky bottom (i added in myself) and a little layer of hay. I give him about two handfuls of either kale or romaine lettuce every morning and night with a sprinkle of calcium powder(nights only). He has a UV light during the day and a heating red lamp at night. He has a wooden shelter that i made myself, i will make a bigger one once he outgrows it. When ever he wants to get out, he'll pace across the tank until we let him out. We let him walk around the house by himself and we usually find him under or next to some furniture, asleep. I would love to make his home as natural as can be and i want him to be the healthiest he can be. If there is anything that i'm doing wrong or need to improve on, i would love to know. Thank you.


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Well-Known Member
Aug 15, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
East Texas
Hello and welcome to the Forum.
I'm afraid the answer to your question is- no.
Your using the old outdated info that is actually dangerous, here are some links to what we recommend here. It is proven again and again to allow your tort to Thrive and not just survive.
Here are some links for proper sulcata care along with some handy websites

Stuart S.

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Nov 29, 2016
Location (City and/or State)
Paris, Texas
Hey there and welcome to the forum! I'd encourage you to go through this care sheet pretty thoroughly.

Also just some things that I noticed first off and others will chime in is your lighting and heat sources. Good job on the UV light for the day (is it a coiled bulb or a strip bulb, if it's coiled get rid of it asap), on top of the UV light for the day, your baby needs a day time basking light, the UV light will not give him enough heat (unless it's a mercury vapor bulb?) and as for the heating lamp, replace it with a ceramic heat emitter, this is a heat source that puts off incredible heat and puts off zero light. Your tortoise needs to have a normal night and day rotation light wise. Your baby's enclosure should be 95-100 degrees on the warm side during the day and no less than 80 degrees on the cool side and 80 degrees at night. Is your enclosure fully enclosed? Your little one needs a lot of humidity, 80% to avoid pyramiding. Fully enclosing his home will highly help you hold in humidity and heat. You should also be giving him a 30 minute soak in warm water everyday to ensure he is hydrated, this also helps with pyramiding. You can cut back the calcium powder to twice a week and it would be good to throw in a cuttle bone too, it's a great item to spark some activity, a good source of calcium and also keeping his beak trimmed.

It can be overwhelming at first but stay on it and you will get a good routine to ensure you baby's happy and healthy!

Big Charlie

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Jul 28, 2015
Location (City and/or State)
To add to what others have said, your tank is way too small. Your tortoise needs lots of exercise and he needs an enclosure that is big enough to have a temperature gradient, so there is a cool side and a warm side.

The enclosure needs to be large enough that he doesn't need to walk around your home, which is really dangerous for him and not warm enough. It needs to be covered to keep in the heat and humidity.

With the warm weather in Arizona, you should be able to put him outside for a hour or two a day. If you have natural grass or weeds that haven't been sprayed or treated with anything, he can graze.


Active Member
Jan 23, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
Wow you need a way bigger enclosure and some substrate also give him cactus and hibiscus leaves he will be much happier