DIY Enclosure for land turtle

Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
46
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
Hi Everyone,

I'm in the planning stages of upgrading Panda's enclosure. He's currently in a 4ft x 2ft galvanized stock tank and based on his growth rate I'd like to upgrade him later this year/early 2022. He's out of the burrow all day-where am I?!-who are you?!-am I safe? stage, to exploring climbing resting in a different spot everyday, finally using his hide and I even caught him going for an early morning swim in the dark when I went to turn on his fake sun light. I'm building the enclosure with the help of a friend because I havent found what I want online. My initial thought is something reminiscent of a tortoise table-wide, rectangular and long, 18-24in height between 5-6ft length 4-5ft width with a detachable top. Here are my concerns/question would love any feedback. Thank you!

-PVC or treated Wood? His enclosure stays moist all.the.time so I need something that can withstand a constant flow of water. I mist 2+ x day, water the substrate 2x week and he has plants. For either option, how do I prevent leaks? Flex seal?

-Under tank heater for either option? I know these arent a fan favorite with the tort folk but I love them. Panda has two strategically placed under tank heat zones and its been great. Stock tank metal is very cool so having them in places that arent directly under his heat lamps keeps the floor of his enclosure warm.

-Material for detachable top? His fake sun light will be mounted inside the enclosure he currently has clamp lamps. What type of top can we build that will hold in heat/moisture and accommodate heat lamps? He currently has 2 CHEs and 1 60w heat light. The temp is steady between 30-32c and humidity ranges from 50-70%, he also has a heated pool, high is 90.7f water temp never goes below 90f. Will I need to use stands for the heat sources and not clamps?

-Experience, advice, suggestions on a two story enclosure? Thinking of making a loft area he can access by a ladder

-Bioactive enclosure, nothing too fancy, I want to encourage foraging. Thoughts about other live insects attracting who knows what and decay? Should I be concerned about him eating food from the dirt? I know that's what they would do in the wild but him eating dirty food makes me jumpy. Right now he only eats in the water or on a stone saucer.
 

mark1

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2015
Messages
1,369
Location (City and/or State)
ohio
Hi Everyone,

I'm in the planning stages of upgrading Panda's enclosure. He's currently in a 4ft x 2ft galvanized stock tank and based on his growth rate I'd like to upgrade him later this year/early 2022. He's out of the burrow all day-where am I?!-who are you?!-am I safe? stage, to exploring climbing resting in a different spot everyday, finally using his hide and I even caught him going for an early morning swim in the dark when I went to turn on his fake sun light. I'm building the enclosure with the help of a friend because I havent found what I want online. My initial thought is something reminiscent of a tortoise table-wide, rectangular and long, 18-24in height between 5-6ft length 4-5ft width with a detachable top. Here are my concerns/question would love any feedback. Thank you!

-PVC or treated Wood? His enclosure stays moist all.the.time so I need something that can withstand a constant flow of water. I mist 2+ x day, water the substrate 2x week and he has plants. For either option, how do I prevent leaks? Flex seal?

-Under tank heater for either option? I know these arent a fan favorite with the tort folk but I love them. Panda has two strategically placed under tank heat zones and its been great. Stock tank metal is very cool so having them in places that arent directly under his heat lamps keeps the floor of his enclosure warm.

-Material for detachable top? His fake sun light will be mounted inside the enclosure he currently has clamp lamps. What type of top can we build that will hold in heat/moisture and accommodate heat lamps? He currently has 2 CHEs and 1 60w heat light. The temp is steady between 30-32c and humidity ranges from 50-70%, he also has a heated pool, high is 90.7f water temp never goes below 90f. Will I need to use stands for the heat sources and not clamps?

-Experience, advice, suggestions on a two story enclosure? Thinking of making a loft area he can access by a ladder

-Bioactive enclosure, nothing too fancy, I want to encourage foraging. Thoughts about other live insects attracting who knows what and decay? Should I be concerned about him eating food from the dirt? I know that's what they would do in the wild but him eating dirty food makes me jumpy. Right now he only eats in the water or on a stone saucer.
i lined a room down my basement with a epdm pond liner about 18" up the walls .filled it with dirt rocks drainage and plants ...... been working for a long time , i'd guess more than 15yrs , less than 20 ............
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
46
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
i lined a room down my basement with a epdm pond liner about 18" up the walls .filled it with dirt rocks drainage and plants ...... been working for a long time , i'd guess more than 15yrs , less than 20 ............
Nice! Reason #452 why I love up north and the midwest-basements. Very rare in the south. I'd love to see some pics, please. We decided to build with PVC. My friend wasnt too excited about 2-story due to heating and Panda's continued growth and flipping concerns, but its not completely off the design table. He also wants to do some fancy drop pool with drainage or a mechanism where the pool slides out for cleaning. I just want a cross between a tortoise table and a 2-story chicken coop (chicken coops have come a long way!). He thinks we can get it done in a weekend after we get all the supplies, who knows. His girlfriend and I will be cooking, drinking wine and taking pics while he's being manly and building. The goal is before Christmas. I'll certainly update. Appreciate the response, thank you!
 

mark1

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2015
Messages
1,369
Location (City and/or State)
ohio
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mark1

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2015
Messages
1,369
Location (City and/or State)
ohio
Really? Wow. They look really nice and established.
live plants are an important of the nitrogen cycle ...... i've read those arrowhead plants are poisonous , which i believe as the r.p.manni in that enclosure eat every plant they can find , their outdoor enclosure is absolutely devoid of any plants ...... but in this enclosure they don't touch those arrowhead..........
 

nicoleann2214

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
827
Location (City and/or State)
NY
live plants are an important of the nitrogen cycle ...... i've read those arrowhead plants are poisonous , which i believe as the r.p.manni in that enclosure eat every plant they can find , their outdoor enclosure is absolutely devoid of any plants ...... but in this enclosure they don't touch those arrowhead..........
Wow!
 

Markw84

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5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,418
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
live plants are an important of the nitrogen cycle ...... i've read those arrowhead plants are poisonous , which i believe as the r.p.manni in that enclosure eat every plant they can find , their outdoor enclosure is absolutely devoid of any plants ...... but in this enclosure they don't touch those arrowhead..........
Mark - The syngonium are listed as poisonous due to raphides (calcium oxalate crystals). The same as pothos and elephant ear which are in the same family. Anything in the Aracaea family is always listed as "poisonous" due to raphides since mammals are certainly affected by them. Chelonians are not affected by raphides and can eat plants with raphides with no problem. A great enclosure plant!
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
46
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
Awww, Mark1 you created a turtle paradise!! It looks amazing and your turtles are quite robust. How big are they and what species? To me they look like CAWs? Do they all get along and do you worry about them flipping trying to climb the rocks? My turtle loves to climb and do kamikaze dives from short distances. Are your turtles all the same sex and get on together well? Thanks for sharing! Your plant life is goals. Right now I have a combination of live and artificial plants. Its really hard to find ones that can survive the heat and constant moisture in his enclosure but he has 2 that are flourishing closer to the UV on the high humid side that's around 85% 24/7. This is a pic of a spider plant he had recently but died in less than 2 weeks because of the constant wetness or heat, maybe both. I thought about getting some plants that are native to Mexico or a tropical climate might last longer.
 

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