Hello everyone!

timus

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
65
Location (City and/or State)
Eastern Shore of Maryland
Hello everyone! I have been a member for a few years but have not owned any tortoises for a few years now also. I had a couple of torts a while back as well as a rather large collection of various different geckos I bred for years. Not long after I joined here way back when I was forced to part with the entirety of my reptile collection. It was one of the saddest times of my life if I’m being honest. But I am super happy to say that I will have a small group of western hermanns coming later this summer from Chris over at garden state. I made the decision almost a year ago to finally bring some reptiles back into my life because the hardships that lead me to selling my collection before are a distant memory now. I have been slowly getting together everything I will need to be successful with the little ones. Here is a quick run down of where I’m currently at. It was recommended to me to go with a 3x2 enclosure for them while they were still very small but I went with a 4x2 and it should be coming within the next couple of weeks. I have also ordered another 4x2 that will come a bit after the other. I plan to join the two together to have a 8x2. They are also both 2 foot high so I should have just enough room for proper light height. Also if there are any issues with any of them bullying I can separate the two chambers with a piece of the cut outs from joining them together. I already have all the lighting which is 2 36 inch Arcadia 12% t5’s, 2 of the Arcadia 34 inch led bars, and then 60 watt floods for the basking spots. I also bought a pack of 40 watts just in case the 60’s are too much. The basking bulbs will also be on a ve thermostat so I shouldn’t have an issue with the 60 being too much but the 40 watt pack was cheap so I just grabbed those at the same time lol. I also bought a solar meter 6.5 to be sure I’m offering a proper amount of uvb. The enclosures are pvc and will be closed chambers. For substrate I will be going with a 50/50 mix of coco and a nice clean top soil I was able to find locally. That mix will be 3 inches and then there will be a 2 inch layer of cypress mulch. After reading some things on here I may at some point switch the cypress to orchid bark. I will have two 10 inch by 10 inch slate tiles in each side for a feeding area and terracotta dishes for water. Each side will be well planted with a wide array of stuff that I’ve already started growing from seed. I also have a ton of house plants that bought awhile back that I’ve since taken cuttings from and are growing in a organic mix of my making. I have a 4x4 grow tent running and a rack with 4 levels that have low wattage led bars on each level and the house plants grow crazy well under decent lighting. House plant wise I currently have two varieties of prayer plants, babies tears which are cool and are actually native to areas of Italy where they would likely encounter them in the wild if they were wild lol, spider plant, air plants that I already have growing in cork board that I will place in a wall of the enclosure for food and shade, a few different succulents that stay smaller as well as 2 different types of optunia that starting to produce new growth, Boston fern, and a couple others as well. I have a ton of different flowers I’m growing now just to see how long they will take to flower. I have zinnia, ganzia, calendula, marigold, Johnny jump up, petunia, a couple different hibiscus, viola, nasturtium, African violets, and there’s more I just can’t think of them right now😂 I also planned to buy tortoise supplies testudo mix but go to thinking about it and thought that maybe I should just order seeds and do mixes myself. I will be using 2 8x4 permanest trays in each side with whatever seed mixes I end up going with. That’s what prompted me to go ahead and post on here to see what others thoughts on this may be. I like the idea of the mix already made but I’d prefer to know exactly what was in the mix so that I know that other stuff I choose to grow for them will be different. And making the mixes myself I could change the mix easily knowing what all is in there. Anyways this was a terribly long post and my main goal was to see what others much more knowledgeable than me thought about the seed mixes. So any input on that and any other details I may have missed are so welcome. I’m mega excited to finally have some tortoises soon to be back in my life and want them to have a great environment and diet to hopefully grow them well for many years to come. I also have already started planning my outdoor enclosures but that is a whole new post that will come later on lol. So anyways thanks to anyone who reads this book and please feel free to share any and all advice you may have😁😁😁
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
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Jul 8, 2017
Messages
4,867
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Welcome back! I'm so sorry you had to go through such a traumatic and heartbreaking trial.

But that's done and over! I'm happy for you to be getting a group of shelled buddies. It's a breath of fresh air for someone to come on and already know what to do and how to care for them!

The only thing I don't agree with is any soil. I know you are planning to cover it with mulch, but sometimes layers get turned over. We don't recommend soil because often we don't know what's in it, and if eaten, it's a serious impaction risk.

I've never kept Hermann's, but that's all I see. I'm sure you know that Chris is a member here on the forum, so you are familiar with the Hermann's expert.

Keep posting...we want to see your setup and babies when they're here!
 

timus

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
65
Location (City and/or State)
Eastern Shore of Maryland
Welcome back! I'm so sorry you had to go through such a traumatic and heartbreaking trial.

But that's done and over! I'm happy for you to be getting a group of shelled buddies. It's a breath of fresh air for someone to come on and already know what to do and how to care for them!

The only thing I don't agree with is any soil. I know you are planning to cover it with mulch, but sometimes layers get turned over. We don't recommend soil because often we don't know what's in it, and if eaten, it's a serious impaction risk.

I've never kept Hermann's, but that's all I see. I'm sure you know that Chris is a member here on the forum, so you are familiar with the Hermann's expert.

Keep posting...we want to see your setup and babies when they're here!
Welcome back! I'm so sorry you had to go through such a traumatic and heartbreaking trial.

But that's done and over! I'm happy for you to be getting a group of shelled buddies. It's a breath of fresh air for someone to come on and already know what to do and how to care for them!

The only thing I don't agree with is any soil. I know you are planning to cover it with mulch, but sometimes layers get turned over. We don't recommend soil because often we don't know what's in it, and if eaten, it's a serious impaction risk.

I've never kept Hermann's, but that's all I see. I'm sure you know that Chris is a member here on the forum, so you are familiar with the Hermann's expert.

Keep posting...we want to see your setup and babies when they're here!
 

timus

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
65
Location (City and/or State)
Eastern Shore of Maryland
Thanks for the welcome back Karen! I’m super excited and though I’m still a ways off of the babies even coming I’m super happy knowing I will be well prepared for their arrival. The substrate is actually the area I’ve given the most thought too. And being honest i don’t really like the idea of of the layer underneath the mulch. It would invariably mix and get turned over as you said. It has to be way more messy and harder to maintain. But this way was what Chris suggests as it would be very similar to what they would naturally be on. He also makes it clear to use a nice clean top soil and I didn’t really know there was levels to top soil quality lol. But there is. A place I found locally has clean top soil that has been sifted a few times and has never had anything added to it. But still it has just got to be much messier than just say doing a 4-5 inch layer of mulch or bark. Thankfully I still have some time and I haven’t bought the top soil yet because I’ve been on the fence about it anyways. I want to offer them as natural of an environment as I can but also would like for things to be as less messy as possible😝
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
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Jan 23, 2008
Messages
87,838
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Nice that you're able to get tortoises back into your life, Tim, and good to see you back here on the Forum!
 

timus

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
65
Location (City and/or State)
Eastern Shore of Maryland
Hey Yvonne! How have you been? Yes I’m super excited!!! My wife and I have always run big veggie gardens every year and tortoises and turtles have always been the reptiles I loved most. For the past two years I’ve had some tortoises on my mind😁 Buuuutttt I had patience and waited until we were super ready. And my wait isn’t over yet but I’ll be ready. I contacted the guy doing my chamber today and he’s going to do the 2 4x2x2 enclosures as a two piece 8 footer that will bolt right together. I’ll start them in just half for a bit. Then open it up once they get some size. If someone is a bully I’ll just have to split it back in half. Anyways... before I write another book🤣 Glad to be here!
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
4,867
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Chris certainly knows best what they should be on. But just to be clear...the problem with any store-bought soil is not only shards of who-knows-what in it.

There is really no way to know what kinds of plants were ground up to make it. It could be from a pile of oleander or azaleas, both very toxic.

To me, coco coir is so close to being dirt that I would consider using it. It's messy too, but you can pack it down hard and that helps.

I'm sure whatever you decide will be just fine.

Whereabouts on the eastern shore? Eastern eastern or western eastern? :D
 
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