Help baby sulcata pyramiding????

Five-sprout

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For those who remember, I stumbled upon a baby sulcata a few weeks ago, when someone in my family found him while weeding a garden bed. Being unfamiliar with tortoises I thought he was healthy as a horse, but the more I read and browse this site in convinced he has early pyramiding signs. And I'll be damned if I let it continue. I want this guy to have the best life possible, so is much appreciate your opinions.
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I'm having a hard time telling if this has progressed or if it's always been like this, as I've been going through my pictures I have of him. Here's an old pic I took when I first got him if someone wants to try their luck.
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I'm scared because I feel like I've been following the recommendations of toms care sheet as well as anything I've picked up from the rest of you too. I soak him once a day for 30 minutes everytime. I've only been feeding him a wide variety of recommended weeds and grasses including
-dandelion
-grape leaves
-lawn grass
-buffalo grass
And all the other commonly found weeds in a unkempt garden. (All verified through toms care sheet and Google images)
And I also spritz the leaves of whatever it is with coral calcium maybe twice a week? Is coral calcium bad? I haven't been able to find anything on this?

I have him under a red bulb with a high basking area of 98F. And a low zone of 83F. I also purchased a MVP POWERSUN from zoomed, 100w and its approx 18-20" away from the substrate. (Coco coir) which I mist maybe 10 times a day or more. Basically every time I walk past his terrarium. Which I forgot to mention is a 20 gal. Also, I completely rehydrate the coir every morning so it's nice and moist, and he digs underneath a large flat piece of slate down further into the moisture.
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Can somebody please re-evaluate my routine and tell me if there's something I can be doing better?
 

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ascott

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is the enclosure covered at least 75%? how deep is the substrate (5 - 6 inches is good)....beautiful tort by the way :D
 

Five-sprout

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is the enclosure covered at least 75%? how deep is the substrate (5 - 6 inches is good)....beautiful tort by the way :D

No I don't have the terrarium covered at all.. And the substrates only about 2 inches but I have another brick so I can get that going right now. And thanks ascott, how do you feel about the scutes on his carapace then?
 

ascott

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No I don't have the terrarium covered at all.. And the substrates only about 2 inches but I have another brick so I can get that going right now. And thanks ascott, how do you feel about the scutes on his carapace then?


I would use some foil to cover at least 75 % of the top...taking into account the lighting fixture(s)....and I would offer substrate of at least 5-6 inches (you will want to hand pack the substrate down really really, did I say really, firmly--this will offer a firm and sturdy footing for the tort to tool around....if the substrate is "fluffy" this is a hard ground to get around on, it also can splay the form of the torts gait/legs.....and that tortoise has a little raise to the scutes...but nothing that takes an ounce of beauty from him....I would be sure that if you are going to run high constant humidity as some like here...that you never ever ever let the temps drop below 80 degrees day nor night....
 

Five-sprout

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I would use some foil to cover at least 75 % of the top...taking into account the lighting fixture(s)....and I would offer substrate of at least 5-6 inches (you will want to hand pack the substrate down really really, did I say really, firmly--this will offer a firm and sturdy footing for the tort to tool around....if the substrate is "fluffy" this is a hard ground to get around on, it also can splay the form of the torts gait/legs.....and that tortoise has a little raise to the scutes...but nothing that takes an ounce of beauty from him....I would be sure that if you are going to run high constant humidity as some like here...that you never ever ever let the temps drop below 80 degrees day nor night....

Whoa man... That just blew my mind with information ive yet to encounter. Thank you so much, I've totally had his coir very very fluffy. I'll fix that immediately. And I'll run some foil on the top. Again, thank you.
 

Dizisdalife

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A humid hide would help a lot. Use a plastic shoe box or small plastic tub and cut a door way for the tortoise. Fill it with moist substrate. Not so full that your tortoise cannot get in or out. Some members use a moss in the hide instead of coir. Also, the red bulb may become a problem. For ambient and night time heat I suggest a ceramic heat emitter (CHE). Attach it to a thermostat and set the temp to about 80°. To stop the pyramiding that has begun you will want to completely cover the top of this enclosure, creating a closed chamber. Having good temperature and humidity measuring instruments is really necessary to set up and monitor your tortoise's environment. I recommend that you get a digital thermometer/hygrometer that has a probe that you can place at various points in the enclosure. It's almost impossible in a 20 gallon tank to create a suitable environment for a sulcata. Even a hatchling. I suggest you make plans for a much bigger closed chamber enclosure for your tortoise. A year from now you will be glad that you did it sooner than later.
 

Five-sprout

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A humid hide would help a lot. Use a plastic shoe box or small plastic tub and cut a door way for the tortoise. Fill it with moist substrate. Not so full that your tortoise cannot get in or out. Some members use a moss in the hide instead of coir. Also, the red bulb may become a problem. For ambient and night time heat I suggest a ceramic heat emitter (CHE). Attach it to a thermostat and set the temp to about 80°. To stop the pyramiding that has begun you will want to completely cover the top of this enclosure, creating a closed chamber. Having good temperature and humidity measuring instruments is really necessary to set up and monitor your tortoise's environment. I recommend that you get a digital thermometer/hygrometer that has a probe that you can place at various points in the enclosure. It's almost impossible in a 20 gallon tank to create a suitable environment for a sulcata. Even a hatchling. I suggest you make plans for a much bigger closed chamber enclosure for your tortoise. A year from now you will be glad that you did it sooner than later.

Alright I'll start the humid hide right now. Can you please elaborate on the ceramic heat emitter? Also, why is the red basking bulb bad?
 

wellington

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The red bulb isn't really bad, it's just not preferred by most of us. Tortoises will sometimes eat or try to eat red things, they seem to really be attracted to red and white. The CHE gives heat without giving off light. The CHE can also be put on a thermostat so it will help to maintain the proper temp without over heating. A red bulb probably could be too. The Che's also are fairly cheap an will out last many, many bulbs.
 

wellington

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Btw, if you haven't read them yet, Toms threads below in my post will help you a lot to know how your little one should be housed. The leopard threads will also apply to your sully.
The pyramiding isn't bad at all. If you get him in a maintained warm humid environment, you will get the new growth growing in smooth and when s/he is an adult, or close to it, you won't even notice the pyramiding.
He is a cutie, I'm sure s/he will have a great home with you.
 

lismar79

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Will take some time to get the new growth to smooth out from the previous care. Good save with him btw. This is a che:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002AQCPK/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
I would also suggest looking for bigger enclosures, give him better microclimates and more room to excersize. A big rubber made tote or even a ivestock feeding tank would work. Building a big wood box lined with a shower curtain is also cheap and probably the best way to go. Look up enclosed chambers to give you some ideas :)
 

Melissacoop

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Read the caresheet if you haven’t already. Mine looked like that when I got him. It will smooth out as he grows if he is raised in the right environment. You really need a larger closed chamber for him. They need areas of different temps which you can’t achieve in a small tank. You should have a basking zone which has temps 95-100, a humid hide in the 90’s, then a cooler side with the Che on thermostat set to 80 and then the ambient heat in the middle. This is what has worked for me and we were able to make it longer as he is getting much bigger now.
 

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