Help! Visual and Behavioural Change

YoshiDavid

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My female red foot is a rescue (estimated 10 y/o). I’ve had her since start of autumn 2020 and I live in Canada so she’s indoor. Did a lot of research and thought I had things right as she seemed to be happy and healthy. Lately, she’s been spending a lot more time in her hide and appeared to be trying to itch her face with her arm repeatedly. Upon closer inspection I noticed what looked to be a dry rash like lesion or scab at the edge of her neck. There are some other similar looking spots on other parts of this tender skin. Her eyes seem to be producing more moisture as well and occasional little bubbles form at the eye itself. Initially I thought I had the humidity wrong (too low and dry?) and also that maybe she got bacterial infection somehow. Now I’m thinking the UVB is too close. Just saw vet who said Keratitis and prescribed antibiotics but didn’t suggest a cause or course of action to take to prevent this in the future. I also read in the red foot manual that the UVB bulb rating should be approx 5000 (I forget the unit but that was the value). I looked up the value for the particular bulb I purchased and it was rated at 6500. Sorry this was a bit unfocused, I’m just trying to paint a thorough picture in hopes that anyone might be able to help me. I feel I’ve done something disastrous and I just want my girl to live her best life. Thank you in advance.
 

ZenHerper

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Welcome! 'So sorry you are both going through this.

We really need very clear photos of the spots and her full enclosure before offering any opinions...
 

YoshiDavid

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Welcome! 'So sorry you are both going through this.

We really need very clear photos of the spots and her full enclosure before offering any opinions...
These are the best I have at the moment. Will try to take better ones tomm if necessary. The dry spots are not as pronounced in these are they seem in person but hopefully you can get an idea

61E539CE-D9D9-4FFB-85A4-8B4DEFF24D4B.jpeg CB57F6F0-6EAC-4906-93EB-54E505F40CC5.jpeg A04C304F-F088-4C24-8871-F643DBE90BC8.jpeg FBE2DE4F-123A-4D30-AFAC-200506C482A8.jpeg
 

KarenSoCal

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Tell us exactly what kinds of lights you are using on her. What she should have is a fluorescent tube type UVB. She should not have a basking bulb, since redfoot don't bask. They also dislike bright light, so any ambient light should be LED's that are dim.

Then for heat, she needs at least one and maybe 2 CHE's on a thermostat. Without a basking light it's likely that you need CHE heat during the day as well as night.

Some of the raw areas look like maybe her shell is rubbing her there? Do they line up with the shell edge?
In case you haven't read it yet, here is our care sheet for redfoot. Come and ask questions if there's something you don't understand. We're happy to explain why we say what we do.

I'm also going to tag 2 members that have redfoot. They might have more suggestions.

@ZEROPILOT
@Toddrickfl1

 

YoshiDavid

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Tell us exactly what kinds of lights you are using on her. What she should have is a fluorescent tube type UVB. She should not have a basking bulb, since redfoot don't bask. They also dislike bright light, so any ambient light should be LED's that are dim.

Then for heat, she needs at least one and maybe 2 CHE's on a thermostat. Without a basking light it's likely that you need CHE heat during the day as well as night.

Some of the raw areas look like maybe her shell is rubbing her there? Do they line up with the shell edge?
In case you haven't read it yet, here is our care sheet for redfoot. Come and ask questions if there's something you don't understand. We're happy to explain why we say what we do.

I'm also going to tag 2 members that have redfoot. They might have more suggestions.

@ZEROPILOT
@Toddrickfl1

 

YoshiDavid

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I am using a 70 watt high output UVB combo light (6500K) and a 60 watt/120 volt ceramic heat emitter housed in a wire cage with aluminum foil to focus the output. I will attach a photo of the exact product packaging on the UVB light. I already recognized a potentially massive error; I had been told by the reptile shop staffer (who alleged they keep Redfoots) that I needed to set this light around 12-14 inches height. Upon pouring over the spec sheet this seems to be in error. I will send a photo of the suggested “Ferguson heat” zones on the rear of the package. My interpretation is that the UVB should be between 18-28 inches height. I’m also wondering if there is a suggested height for the CHE. As for the scarring, only one spot seems aligned with the shell, however, since the neck is not fixed in place it’s hard to say that the shell would be the cause. Thank you all so much for your continued input; Jade and I appreciate it
 

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KarenSoCal

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I think there is way too much light on her. Your thermometer tells you if the CHE is doing its job. It is for ambient heat, and should be on a thermostat.

A solarmeter 6.5 is the only way to know for sure what height the UVB light should be. But these combo lights are not good to use. You need a tube type UVB.

It's time for the redfoot keepers to jump in here. They are tagged, just might have to wait til the weekend is over. They will respond.

In the meantime, try turning off that light. Let the CHE keep the heat up, and just provide some ambient light and heat. Maybe you have an ordinary incandescent light bulb, not LED, that will assist with heat, but no UVB, and not so bright.
 

YoshiDavid

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Thank you KarenSoCal,

I will await their advice. I can try to go pick up a tube type UVB today. Any idea on the output or lighting specific details for that? The ones stated earlier are larger than my enclosure is wide and I’m not even sure I could make that logistically work with the current setup. I read through the care guide provided and I’m pretty shook. It mentioned a completely closed indoor environment and one a fair deal larger than what I’m currently providing. I only have plexiglass covering a third of the tank at best and this may prevent me from keeping the levels where they need to be (even if the lighting issue is recitified). It also mentioned housing the lights inside the enclosure which seems like it would have me back in light damage territory again even with the correct lighting. Given that it sounds like my setup is completely wrong I’m worried that the time and money it would take to get this on track is a threat to her safety. Ive spent well over 1000$ on the setup and the cost of my red foot herself. The last thing I want is to get rid of her but I just want what is best for her and feel that I’ve failed her on a pretty unprecedented level.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Then get rid of that super desicating spot light
And just use a CHE.
You also need to close off the top of that enclosure and get the humidity up to over 75%. You need this high humidity all day. Every day and your temperatures should be about 84 ambient. Or from 80 to 88 at the highest.
You've just rescued a very special needs species of tortoise. And looking at him/her, it's off to a horrible start.
Also, what are you feeding?
A lot needs to happen and soon.
He looks very dry. And overly exposed to harsh lighting to me.
 
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ZEROPILOT

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With an open enclosure what would be the easiest way to affix this? Also tank is 4ft long and just under 3ft wide. What would be the best way to orient light and recommended height?
I use plexiglass.
You can attach a UVB fixture to the underside of the plexi. Or place it on top where it doesn't have to pass through the plexiglass. Plexiglass and glass block out most of the UVB. (90%?)
Screen tops also block out about 40%.
With no screen, 10" for a T5 5.0 should work.
What part of the world is "Saint Catherines"?
Is the weather outside warmer than the mid 70s?
 

harrythetortoise

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Like this.
 

YoshiDavid

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Then get rid of that super desicating spot light
And just use a CHE.
You also need to close off the top of that enclosure and get the humidity up to over 75%. You need this high humidity all day. Every day and your temperatures should be about 84 ambient. Or from 80 to 88 at the highest.
You've just rescued a very special needs species of tortoise. And looking at him/her, it's off to a horrible start.
Also, what are you feeding?
A lot needs to happen and soon.
He looks very dry. And overly exposed to harsh lighting to me.
 

ZEROPILOT

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He/she is a tropical tortoise.
Think warm. Not hot. UVB but no harsh lights.
High humidity. Day and night
Lots of places to hide and get out of the "sun".
Access to water that is large enough to climb into.
They need to soak.
A diet of greens, flowers, fruit, cactus, mushrooms and even animal protein. They can eat a giant variety of foods that would kill some other species.
Read our care sheets and read about CLOSED CHAMBER enclosures.
As soon as you get these things "dialed in" it will get much simpler.
That tortoise needs an enclosure of at least 6'x6'.
It's going to be easier and cheaper to just make a different enclosure.
Or maybe re purpose something that is that size or larger.
Unfortunately the bigger the better. But the bigger also makes keeping in the warmth and humidity more difficult.
 

YoshiDavid

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I use plexiglass.
You can attach a UVB fixture to the underside of the plexi. Or place it on top where it doesn't have to pass through the plexiglass. Plexiglass and glass block out most of the UVB. (90%?)
Screen tops also block out about 40%.
With no screen, 10" for a T5 5.0 should work.
What part of the world is "Saint Catherines"?
Is the weather outside warmer than the mid 70s?
Then get rid of that super desicating spot light
And just use a CHE.
You also need to close off the top of that enclosure and get the humidity up to over 75%. You need this high humidity all day. Every day and your temperatures should be about 84 ambient. Or from 80 to 88 at the highest.
You've just rescued a very special needs species of tortoise. And looking at him/her, it's off to a horrible start.
Also, what are you feeding?
A lot needs to happen and soon.
He looks very dry. And overly exposed to harsh lighting to me.
I feed lots of leafy green veg although she can be picky so I rotate. Also some fruit. Very occasionally some type of worm (mealworm) and I sprinkle her meals with calcium/d3 and multivitamin. St Catharines is an hour away from Toronto so outdoors is strictly a summer time thing. So that tube light wouldn’t be too bright for her then, since they are averse to bright lights? If I were to close off the remaining two thirds of enclosure with the same plexiglass pieces just resting overtop, would this be acceptable? I didn’t realize I could affix the light to the plexiglass, I thought it may pose a hazard. I’m going to send a photo of the light I found at the reptile shop (I’m currently there now). They do not sell the one photographed.
 

ZEROPILOT

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I feed lots of leafy green veg although she can be picky so I rotate. Also some fruit. Very occasionally some type of worm (mealworm) and I sprinkle her meals with calcium/d3 and multivitamin. St Catharines is an hour away from Toronto so outdoors is strictly a summer time thing. So that tube light wouldn’t be too bright for her then, since they are averse to bright lights? If I were to close off the remaining two thirds of enclosure with the same plexiglass pieces just resting overtop, would this be acceptable? I didn’t realize I could affix the light to the plexiglass, I thought it may pose a hazard. I’m going to send a photo of the light I found at the reptile shop (I’m currently there now). They do not sell the one photographed.
I'm pretty familiar with the lights reptile shops sell. Lots of coiled, compact CFL and MVB. They are all horrible for most tortoises and especially so for a Redfoot.
And in many cases just as expensive as buying the correct type of light.
LLL REPTILES and BIG AL'S PETS both sell the one in the picture for about $50 U.S. (for the 24")
None of my local pet stores sell them, either.
Although a few still sell the older T8 strip UVBs.
They are adequate up close. Like no more than 8" away from the tortoise. But are considered useless compared to a newer T5.
 
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ZEROPILOT

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