Enclosure Humidity/General help

Skyfire03

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Joined
Jan 4, 2016
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4
Hello! We have a 3x5 foot double decker tortoise table, and I'm having a heck of a time getting/keeping the temps a humidity high enough. I live in Oregon, and our average house temp, even in the winter is about 70º Our red foot, Kirby, is less than a year old, and we've had him now for about 3 months. I have a lid on the top floor, and a misting system that sprays up there to keep in nice and moist. The average temp up there is about 79-80º with a basking lamp that he rarely (basically never) goes and sits under. Under the lamp, It's about 95º. The humidity though, has proven to be a challenge to maintain - I was spraying the enclosure pretty frequently and the levels were high, until one day I noticed that the bottom layers of the substrate were sopping. So I turned it way down, and now the substrate isnt sopping, but the humidity levels are way down. I also bought a heat rope, but I am unclear how I can use it. the instructions say no acrylic or wood, and not to bury it, but I have read that a few people are doing this here? The table is made out of wood, with a shower curtain liner, and plexiglass rails. It's a 50watt 15 ft cable. Can I put it under the substrate? Will it cause problems with the shower curtain?

Another issue is that though the temp in the inclosure is about 80º, Kirby always goes and sits in the corner, just out of the light, and that area, expecially in the substrate averages a lower temp. Often times I pull him out of the corner to feed him, or soak him, and he's cold to the touch. I've been fighting with this for a bit now, and getting frustrated. and what's worse, now one of his eyes has started running, and I've noticed a decline in how much he is eating. He is also making the occasional clicking noise with his mouth? Is this him breathing out his mouth? Does he have an RI? His nose isn`t running or anything, and when I pull him out, he moves around enough, but his eyes are satying closed a lot these days (not like, stuck chut, just more ike he doesn't want to open them right away when I pick him up. See the pics of the enclosure attached. Any advice/help is appreciated!

12468289_10153860655489451_1082691532_n.jpg 12476061_10153860655394451_1810441559_n.jpg 12483012_10153860654769451_1070365530_o.jpg 12507062_10153860655339451_934127070_n.jpg
 
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Yvonne G

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It's just darned near impossible to keep an uncovered, open habitat humid. Heat rises, and in doing so, it takes the humidity with it. I know that you (the collective 'you', not you personally) want your tortoise habitat to be an attractive addition to the room it's in, so you don't want some hokey plastic or foil cover over it, but if you want the moisture to stay where you want it, you're going to have to figure out a way to cover the enclosure.

The light on the right of the picture is up too high to be offering any heat down into the habitat, and it would work much better hanging straight down. The clamp fixtures sometimes fail and cause fire damage.
 

Pearly

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Hello! We have a 3x5 foot double decker tortoise table, and I'm having a heck of a time getting/keeping the temps a humidity high enough. I live in Oregon, and our average house temp, even in the winter is about 70º Our red foot, Kirby, is less than a year old, and we've had him now for about 3 months. I have a lid on the top floor, and a misting system that sprays up there to keep in nice and moist. The average temp up there is about 79-80º with a basking lamp that he rarely (basically never) goes and sits under. Under the lamp, It's about 95º. The humidity though, has proven to be a challenge to maintain - I was spraying the enclosure pretty frequently and the levels were high, until one day I noticed that the bottom layers of the substrate were sopping. So I turned it way down, and now the substrate isnt sopping, but the humidity levels are way down. I also bought a heat rope, but I am unclear how I can use it. the instructions say no acrylic or wood, and not to bury it, but I have read that a few people are doing this here? The table is made out of wood, with a shower curtain liner, and plexiglass rails. It's a 50watt 15 ft cable. Can I put it under the substrate? Will it cause problems with the shower curtain?

Another issue is that though the temp in the inclosure is about 80º, Kirby always goes and sits in the corner, just out of the light, and that area, expecially in the substrate averages a lower temp. Often times I pull him out of the corner to feed him, or soak him, and he's cold to the touch. I've been fighting with this for a bit now, and getting frustrated. and what's worse, now one of his eyes has started running, and I've noticed a decline in how much he is eating. He is also making the occasional clicking noise with his mouth? Is this him breathing out his mouth? Does he have an RI? His nose isn`t running or anything, and when I pull him out, he moves around enough, but his eyes are satying closed a lot these days (not like, stuck chut, just more ike he doesn't want to open them right away when I pick him up. See the pics of the enclosure attached. Any advice/help is appreciated!

View attachment 161048 View attachment 161049 View attachment 161050 View attachment 161051
OMG!!!!!!!! I WANT THAT TABLE!!!!!!! You are so lucky to have been able to get such thing made (or bought) whatever it took. But where are my manners?! Welcome to the Forum! I'd love to see more detailed pictures of your enclosure and hear the whole story of the building it. It is BEAUTIFUL!!!! Stick around here, you'll get some ideas on how to get to where you want to go with it. Meanwhile please tell me MORE about this gorgeous tort table! I WANNA HEAR IT ALL!!!! I keep redfoot babies and opted for a humble 40 gal breeder tank to give them at least first few months in high humidity and good temps. So far so good. Have had them since June, they are putting on weight and have nice smooth growth. But tank is easy to heat and humidity. My babies are kept very warm, never below 80F in cool end. ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1451940306.656180.jpg this pic was taken couple of months ago. It looks little different now but you get the general idea. Mine is really humble comparing to your setup. If you are worried about the health of your tort, do all you can to keep him warm. The experienced keepers here always say to bump up your temps. I'd say if you can't control your temps in that table, get a big plastic tub (christmas tree storage or some kind of a farming trough or something) and make this your hospital area where you can control heat/humidity. But I'm still new at this. There are folks in here who treat/rehab sick torts. I'm sure you'll get some sound advice. Still, I love your tort table!!!! Again, Welcome!
 

Anyfoot

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Hello! We have a 3x5 foot double decker tortoise table, and I'm having a heck of a time getting/keeping the temps a humidity high enough. I live in Oregon, and our average house temp, even in the winter is about 70º Our red foot, Kirby, is less than a year old, and we've had him now for about 3 months. I have a lid on the top floor, and a misting system that sprays up there to keep in nice and moist. The average temp up there is about 79-80º with a basking lamp that he rarely (basically never) goes and sits under. Under the lamp, It's about 95º. The humidity though, has proven to be a challenge to maintain - I was spraying the enclosure pretty frequently and the levels were high, until one day I noticed that the bottom layers of the substrate were sopping. So I turned it way down, and now the substrate isnt sopping, but the humidity levels are way down. I also bought a heat rope, but I am unclear how I can use it. the instructions say no acrylic or wood, and not to bury it, but I have read that a few people are doing this here? The table is made out of wood, with a shower curtain liner, and plexiglass rails. It's a 50watt 15 ft cable. Can I put it under the substrate? Will it cause problems with the shower curtain?

Another issue is that though the temp in the inclosure is about 80º, Kirby always goes and sits in the corner, just out of the light, and that area, expecially in the substrate averages a lower temp. Often times I pull him out of the corner to feed him, or soak him, and he's cold to the touch. I've been fighting with this for a bit now, and getting frustrated. and what's worse, now one of his eyes has started running, and I've noticed a decline in how much he is eating. He is also making the occasional clicking noise with his mouth? Is this him breathing out his mouth? Does he have an RI? His nose isn`t running or anything, and when I pull him out, he moves around enough, but his eyes are satying closed a lot these days (not like, stuck chut, just more ike he doesn't want to open them right away when I pick him up. See the pics of the enclosure attached. Any advice/help is appreciated!

View attachment 161048 View attachment 161049 View attachment 161050 View attachment 161051
That looks like a really unique enclosure. Love it.
If it was mine, I would take the lid off of that upper deck, then make a lid(probably in to sections and hinged for access) covering right up to just past the bottom of the ramp, so you will need to build front up a bit to that level, then have some sort of curtains draping to ground level at the end of your new lid. Effectively making 2/3 of it enclosed, but so your tort can walk through the curtain. On the outside if the curtain I would grow a mini garden.
Put your heat source over where the ground is at its lowest on the inside of the curtained area. You can get plastic curtains. Because you should get air flow you may be able to grow live plants everywhere.
Hope that made sense and triggers thoughts from others.
That could work really well and still look good with some thought. :D.

Make it so your tort does NOT have to go out of the curtain to get up the ramp.
 

Anyfoot

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Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
That looks like a really unique enclosure. Love it.
If it was mine, I would take the lid off of that upper deck, then make a lid(probably in to sections and hinged for access) covering right up to just past the bottom of the ramp, so you will need to build front up a bit to that level, then have some sort of curtains draping to ground level at the end of your new lid. Effectively making 2/3 of it enclosed, but so your tort can walk through the curtain. On the outside if the curtain I would grow a mini garden.
Put your heat source over where the ground is at its lowest on the inside of the curtained area. You can get plastic curtains. Because you should get air flow you may be able to grow live plants everywhere.
Hope that made sense and triggers thoughts from others.
That could work really well and still look good with some thought. :D.

Make it so your tort does NOT have to go out of the curtain to get up the ramp.
I was thinking a miniature version of this for curtains
. strip-curtain-250x250.jpg
 

Skyfire03

New Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
4
It's just darned near impossible to keep an uncovered, open habitat humid. Heat rises, and in doing so, it takes the humidity with it. I know that you (the collective 'you', not you personally) want your tortoise habitat to be an attractive addition to the room it's in, so you don't want some hokey plastic or foil cover over it, but if you want the moisture to stay where you want it, you're going to have to figure out a way to cover the enclosure.

The light on the right of the picture is up too high to be offering any heat down into the habitat, and it would work much better hanging straight down. The clamp fixtures sometimes fail and cause fire damage.

Yeah, I was afraid of that - which is why I added the lid on the top level - though that doesn't appear to be enough. He almost never leaves the top level, so the light on the bottom level is kind of a waste anyways. It's on my list of things to do to permanently fix the lights to the table, and bring it down lower (will probably do so when I put a lid on the whole thing, which is *also* now on my list of things to do to it lol. I have an idea about how to put a nice sloping lid on the whole table, but I'm concerned about the lights/UVB sitaution. I am not 100% sure how to cut plexiglass in a circle to put the lights on top, and have the UVB still get through - has anyone had experience with this? Ive seen some enclosures with foil around the light hoods and then set directly on the tops of the enclosures - does anyone have experience with doing this on plexiglass? I guess I could make a square and line it with wood?

Also, what about coiling the heat cable around some wire mesh and burying it in the sub-strait to maintain humidity? Is this okay with a wee little guy?
 

Skyfire03

New Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
4
How high is the enclosure at its highest point?
The bottom level is about 2 feet deep? The whole thing is about waist high on me, and I'm 5'6" it's perfect leaning height for observation :) The top level is about a foot high, maybe a bit less. He'll out-grow it eventually, but I can always mod it later to make it bigger, or build something new :)
 

Skyfire03

New Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
4
OMG!!!!!!!! I WANT THAT TABLE!!!!!!! You are so lucky to have been able to get such thing made (or bought) whatever it took. But where are my manners?! Welcome to the Forum! I'd love to see more detailed pictures of your enclosure and hear the whole story of the building it. It is BEAUTIFUL!!!! Stick around here, you'll get some ideas on how to get to where you want to go with it. Meanwhile please tell me MORE about this gorgeous tort table! I WANNA HEAR IT ALL!!!! I keep redfoot babies and opted for a humble 40 gal breeder tank to give them at least first few months in high humidity and good temps. So far so good. Have had them since June, they are putting on weight and have nice smooth growth. But tank is easy to heat and humidity. My babies are kept very warm, never below 80F in cool end. View attachment 161056 this pic was taken couple of months ago. It looks little different now but you get the general idea. Mine is really humble comparing to your setup. If you are worried about the health of your tort, do all you can to keep him warm. The experienced keepers here always say to bump up your temps. I'd say if you can't control your temps in that table, get a big plastic tub (christmas tree storage or some kind of a farming trough or something) and make this your hospital area where you can control heat/humidity. But I'm still new at this. There are folks in here who treat/rehab sick torts. I'm sure you'll get some sound advice. Still, I love your tort table!!!! Again, Welcome!

Thank you! I built this table from scratch over the summer :) I figured if I was going to have a pet for so long, and a piece of furniture that takes up so much of my living room, I was going to have it match my furniture. I'll post some in-progress pics later if you like. I was originally building it with a russian in mind, hence the lack of lid. and then we decided we wanted a totoise that would get a bit bigger and went with a red foot. I have been scrambling to mod it ever since. We call the table the "Jolly Roger" because I modeled it after a pirate ship. the top level is the captains quarters hehe!

We had a plastic tub for a bit to make a humid hide for him, and he spent all of his time in there, and that was great, until one day I noticed his shell was discoloring. A frantic trip to the vet later that day resulted in a shell rot diagnosis, and a a newly added lid to the captains quarters. This weekend I will be designing a total enclosure lid me thinks.

ALso, I LOVE all the plants in your enclosure! That's on my list too - to add more plants - real plants, that he can eat. Are those real plants in there? or fake?
 
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